Always Inventing Marxism

Always Inventing Marxism

When attempting to assess the work of the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, one is tempted to do as Richard Bernstein did in a piece about Habermas in the 1980s and write two columns: one showing what a sympathetic, the other what an unsympathetic critic would say. More»

Metal Pakistan

Metal Pakistan

During the 1990s, numerous Pakistani bands arose from the nascent democracy that followed the end of the Zia ul-Haq era. Dusk was one of them: a Pakistani metal band with a sound that has evolved with the miseries of daily life. More»

The Death of Meaning

The Death of Meaning

Even if you’ve heard nothing about the new Sufjan Stevens album Carrie and Lowell, the cover should make its purpose clear. But I somehow managed to remain willfully ignorant until the moment when I put it on the stereo. It must have been a defense mechanism, because the minute his voice entered the warbling folk of the first track, I was already in tears. More»

Latest entries
Back to Berkeley

Back to Berkeley

When word of the protests in Berkeley came in a few days ago, my heart started beating faster. I had been following the recent demonstrations against police brutality with a mixture of despair and rage. But I had been too far from the action, both physically and geographically, to feel like a participant. Now, even though I was 1000 miles from the Bay Area, I suddenly did. . More»

A Journalistic Failure

A Journalistic Failure

Rolling Stone may very well lose some of the honor it’s earned over the decades. From Annie Leibovitz’s photography to Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo journalism to Michael Hastings’s story that brought down a top US general in Afghanistan, the publication has commanded a presence not just in the world of magazines, but in Americana at large. More»

Decolonization is Dead

Decolonization is Dead

ISIS, Iran and regional instability have motivated the UK to build a permanent £15 million pound military base in Bahrain, according to the British government. But is that all there is to it? And what else is at stake? More»

A New European Communism

A New European Communism

After the sad reality of the extreme and populist right-wing gains in the European elections last May, a sober look at the European Union, and what the left should do, is long overdue. More»

Selling Newspapers in Italy

Selling Newspapers in Italy

I’d nearly crashed my car. Headed back to Milan, after a brief vacation in Rome, I was slowly making my way up the highway on-ramp, when I swerved to avoid a newspaper salesman. Walking through the traffic, holding up copies of La Repubblica, were several uncharacteristically dark-looking men. I made sure to pay attention to the next guy in line. He was South Asian. More»

The Obama Unpresidency

The Obama Unpresidency

The beat goes on. A St. Louis grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager who he had pursued for fifty yards down an open street. An NYPD officer in Brooklyn shot Akai Gurley to death with no warning and nothing even vaguely approximating probable cause (much less justification.) More»

When Every Flag Seems False

When Every Flag Seems False

If director Laura Poitras’s new film Citizenfour doesn’t make you paranoid, nothing will. By the time she has finished telling the story of Edward Snowden, how he meticulously plans to reveal the extremity of the post-9/11 surveillance state and then suffers the consequences once he sets the wheels in motion, you may be wondering whether privacy is even possible More»

Ending the Fifty-Years War

Ending the Fifty-Years War

A peace process that could finally end a conflict that has lasted for over 50 years resumed yesterday with the release of Colombian Brigadier General Rubén Darío Alzate Mora. The negotiations, between the government and the FARC communist insurgency, began in September 4th of 2012, after secret negotiations produced a preliminary agreement focusing More»

Chinese Afghanistan

Chinese Afghanistan

For his first official state visit, newly-elected Afghan president Ashraf Ghani chose China. The move wasn’t surprising, considering that Kabul is looking for new foreign backers, and recognizes that China is seeking to reevaluate its relationship with Afghanistan. More»

Culture of Secrecy

Culture of Secrecy

There is a section in David Kilcullen’s excellent counter-insurgency book The Accidental Guerrilla where the author describes a rising insurgency in terms of an antibody model. The antibodies being those resisting the occupation, theorised as a foreign object. More»

Demystifying Post-Racial America

Demystifying Post-Racial America

The results of the grand jury proceeding in the shooting of Michael Brown are hardly a surprise. Indeed, the jurors’ failure to return a bill of indictment was a foregone conclusion. The number of times that law enforcement personnel have been brought to book in this country for an act of violence committed against a person of color can probably be counted on one hand. More»

The Whole World Is Watching

The Whole World Is Watching

After watching hours of CNN’s coverage of the unrest in Ferguson, I felt a desperate need to protest against the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Mike Brown. But because there were no protests taking place nearby, I headed to a suburban theater to watch the latest installment in the Hunger Games franchise instead More»