Bundestag and Knesset

Bundestag and Knesset

On a visit to Israel in 2008, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke before the Knesset. “The historical responsibility for Israel’s security is part of Germany’s raison d’être,” she said. During her most recent visit, in February, on which she was accompanied by nearly her entire cabinet, Merkel was awarded Israel’s highest civilian honor for “standing by Israel” and fighting against anti-Semitism and racism. More»

The Past-Perfect Thing

The Past-Perfect Thing

It made me feel sad, seeing the “perfect thing” reduced to such a pedestrian function. Impersonally repurposed, devoid of caché, the antithesis of the iPod’s glory years. Worse still, it had been caged next to instructions on how to use it, as if the average consumer would have forgotten, in stark contrast to the portable phonograph displayed by the cash register for Record Store Day. More»

Rise of Javid

Rise of Javid

David Cameron’s Tories have become enamored with the British-Pakistani banker Sajid Javid. The danger of this cannot be understated. Unlike Cameron’s other token efforts, like Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Javid actually has a chance of being successful. More»

American Labor’s Death

American Labor’s Death

A U.S. Supreme Court decision set to come out this summer could decide the fate of the nation’s public sector unions, and judging by the temperament of the court’s conservative five-member majority, it looks as if labor is bracing for a powerful punch to the gut. The court’s acceptance of the idea of that money is tantamount to speech means that a decision in Harris v. Quinn could mean the end of the “closed shop” in government employment. More»

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Fear of Drones

Fear of Drones

Conquest isn’t what it used to be. Large scale invasions and occupations are out of the question. The West is still militarily preeminent on paper, yet in practice its coalitions have floundered in Iraq and Afghanistan. This situation has forced a shift away from conventional military force towards a more politically palatable method of warfare More»

Occupied Territories

Occupied Territories

Three times each week, from August through December, I walked by this SUV on the way to teach my first class. My mind would sometimes be preoccupied with its bumper stickers as I hurried to the classroom. After a while, they started to seem like a political koan, a puzzle I wasn’t meant to solve. More»

Zapatistas in Pakistan

Zapatistas in Pakistan

War continues in the restive tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. After several failures at democratization, many of us continue to seek a way to break the impasse. I believe that we must reformulate ourselves, and take inspiration from the Zapatistas. More»

Music at a Standstill

Music at a Standstill

Today we’re witnessing the fulfillment of the postmodern condition that figures such as Baudrillard and Lyotard first proclaimed – prematurely – in the 1980s. Abundance, and the simultaneous availability of every kind of cultural commodity threatens to ‘flatten’ out the world, creating a kind of continuous present, beyond progress, beyond history. More»

Currency as Culture

Currency as Culture

Who could argue with such a simple request? “1 Euro for education”, the sign reads, advertising IKEA’s ongoing commitment to donate that amount to Save the Children with the purchase of each soft toy. But given the context, it’s hard not to read the message as a disturbing double entendre. More»

The Fall of Saud

The Fall of Saud

The writing is on the wall. Saudi Arabia, in its current form, is destined to self-destruct. The question is what will succeed it. And if it’s the Saudi-we-know that will collapse, we’re already seeing indications of Saudi-to-be in the violent, and ineffective Nitaqat Program. More»

Everyone Against Apartheid

Everyone Against Apartheid

From Pretoria to Peoria, the whole world is in mourning. For a one-time revolutionary leader from South Africa, that ought to say something. Not just about his political achievements, in helping end his country’s hated Apartheid regime. Rather, what Nelson Mandela’s breakthroughs meant to persons abroad, with little to no immediate stakes in his victories. More»

Discrimination and Inequality

Discrimination and Inequality

Many have noted, with amused or outraged disdain, the contortions with which right-wingers from Dick Cheney to David Cameron are seeking to appropriate a piece of the Madiba magic. Few have as yet noted its converse: icons of the modern left condemning Nelson Mandela for not being socialist enough. More»

Invisible Metal

Invisible Metal

Historically, scarcity has played a crucial role in metal, particularly in underground extreme metal. Until recently, there were considerable logistical barriers to recording, releasing, circulating and publicising metal recordings. It took considerable time, money and commitment to make a demo, to trade it and to market it. Copying tapes, printing flyers and hand-answering fanzine interviews required a certain degree of determination. More»

In Praise of Failure

In Praise of Failure

Tony Judt, who died in 2010 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, had the quality of an epigone. This is not the case because he was a historian of a stripe very much in retreat from the onslaught of post-structuralist trends since the 1970s. He was also a representative of a humanistic strain of liberalism which had, by the time of his death, long since begun to seem atavistic. More»

DIY Means Diversity

DIY Means Diversity

Focused on increasing the presence of people of color, transgender, queer, and female-identified people in punk and DIY in Philadelphia, First Time’s the Charm was a 16 band gig held in early November. Each group was playing their very first show, which made for a very exciting and interesting night of underground music. More»

Nowhere To Hide

Nowhere To Hide

“Exposure can kill as easily as a knife,” cautions the woman who introduces Katniss Everdeen and her fellow tributes to their training sessions for the Hunger Games. She is advising them to practice survival skills as well as combat techniques. But the formulation resonates throughout the first film based on Suzanne Collins’ trilogy and into the second, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire More»