My Life Outside Syria: Diary Entry 73

My Life Outside Syria: Diary Entry 73

Marah, a teenage girl from one of Syria’s besieged cities, recently arrived in Switzerland as a refugee, where she is struggling with her first pregnancy and the potential breakup of her family. More»

The Fuck You Vote

The Fuck You Vote

In one of the most contested votes in British history, the UK has voted for the unknown. Many believed the fear of change would triumph over anger. This is a moment of profound emotion. The door is wide open and there is nothing out there, but darkness. The unknown is here. The old post-war certainties are dead. More»

Brexit from the States

Brexit from the States

In some ways, Americans have never felt closer to Europe than they do today. Social media collapse our sense of distance, so that people who live thousands of miles away can seem as proximate as our own neighbors. All it takes is knowing a few people who have recently spent time somewhere between Iceland and Turkey to appreciate the significance of today’s vote in the United Kingdom. More»

Latest entries
The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, Revisited

The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, Revisited

Jean Baudillard thought that Operation Desert Storm should not be considered a war. Rather, despite containing the material features of one, it was at once real, and a simulation. Baudillard’s logic is that the term “war” was used to legitimise a performance, and it is critical to apply his logic to the War on Terror.  More»

Germany at War

Germany at War

Few countries agonize more about sending their troops to war than Germany. That doesn’t prevent foreign deployments, however. German forces have been sent abroad for over twenty years nows, beginning with the war in Bosnia. But the ongoing debate highlights the persistence of pacifism in the country, crossing political boundaries in a manner unheard of in the United States. Given German history, one can understand why. More»

The Tabloid Country

The Tabloid Country

If the BBC sets the agenda for the media, then the right-wing tabloids play the role of court provocateurs. The written word is traditionally more partial than television news in the UK. So the tabloids are still defined by the BBC, as they rail against it. This is the irony behind the talk of a ‘left-wing’ bias. Even still, Britain’s tabloids have become notorious for their news coverage. More»

The Risk of Populism

The Risk of Populism

Over the past few weeks, as the mainstream media has finally started to recognize Bernie Sanders as a serious challenger to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, it has become commonplace to equate him with Donald Trump. Both, we are told, are protest candidates, supported by those who are “mad as hell” about the establishment in Washington and its masters on Wall Street. But are they really equivalent? More»

Bernie Sanders: Socialist Superhero?

Bernie Sanders: Socialist Superhero?

It seems fair to say that most observers of politics in the United States have been surprised by the ascent of Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the presidency. I put myself in a special category, though, with respect to that feeling of surprise. As a political scientist, I purport to have at least better than average observational skills and analytic tools focused on the world of politics. More»

Nazis in Dover

Nazis in Dover

On January 30th, we joined anti-fascist demonstrators in confronting far-right groups, including the National Front, the Southeast Alliance, Combat 18, and the Scottish Defence League, as they marched in Dover. We ended up being confronted by brutal violence, that was easy to rationalize, in the context of the British government’s incitement against migrants and refugees, and its fiscal policies. More»

Going Underground

Going Underground

For radicals, it can be exciting. Graffiti denouncing god scrawled on churches. Manifestos posted to to nearly every utility box. Streets and squares named after left-wing icons, like Karl Marx, and Walter Benjamin, in nearly every district, in the western half of the city, as well as the the predictable east. More»

The Fair State

The Fair State

You often hear the BBC described as having a ‘left-wing’ bias. This is despite all the evidence to the contrary. The logic behind such accusations seems to be that the state and its institutions are inherently ‘left-wing’. Although the BBC is somewhat removed from the market pressures heaped upon private companies, it is still subject to the same sorts of political pressures facing state bodies. More»

Politics in a New Key

Politics in a New Key

Politics in the United States is no more corrupt or crazy than anywhere else. Certainly there has been no shortage of scandals (from Teapot Dome to Watergate) and systemic corruption (Tammany Hall, Chicago up to and including the present day), but one needn’t be an avid student of history to find similar sorts of things in any the major industrialized states one cares to study. More»

Something in the Water

Something in the Water

Even amid the incessant coverage of the Republican and Democratic campaigns for President, the crisis surrounding the water supply in Flint, Michigan has stayed in the news. While the sheer it-should-not-happen-HERE horror is the primary reason, the story’s staying power also attests to the fact that so many people can use it as evidence of what is wrong with the American political landscape. More»

Berlin Über Alles

Berlin Über Alles

Jerusalem for hipsters. San Francisco in exile. New York, when it was still cool. Berlinistan, to its Middle Eastern inhabitants. Poor but sexy, according to its former mayor. The German capital is many things to many people, the majority of reasons of which are decidedly unglamorous. For a major European city, it’s still relatively inexpensive. More»

Clockwork Orange in Polish

Clockwork Orange in Polish

Some 22 million Europeans watched the debate on 19 January, when Polish Premier Beata Szydło defended her government against EU allegations of breaching the rule of law. More»