Books

“I AM WHAT I AM.” This is marketing’s latest offering to the world, the final stage in the development of advertising, far beyond all the exhortations to be different, to be oneself and drink Pepsi. Decades of concepts in order to get where we are, to arrive at pure tautology. 1 = 1. He’s running on a treadmill in front of the mirror in his gym. She’s coming back from work behind the wheel of her Smart car. Will they meet? (More…)

Jair Bolsonaro’s violent authoritarianism is nothing new in Brazilian society.  The country’s Afro-Brazilian population lived under these terms for centuries.  Today Bolsonaro voices an unfounded belief, common in the United States as well as Brazil, that slavery is long gone and irrelevant to contemporary concerns.  (More…)

Marine Le Pen’s partner had just left the country. A Jew of Algerian background, Louis Aliot had been dispatched to Israel to raise funds for the Front National (FN).

Money was tight for the populists in 2012, and they were fishing for cash everywhere. Even from North African Jewish expats, sympathetic to the Front’s Islamophobia. (More…)

There has never been in the history of Italy a state so completely identified with one man as in the case of Fascism — and there has never been a Government in which the name of its creator and the title of its governmental system has been so meticulously kept apart. You hear plenty of  the Duce del Fascismo, but never nowadays of the “Mussolini ” Fascists; you hear in Italy of the “ Fascist ” or the “ Italian ” but not of the “Mussolini ” government, and there are Fascisti, but no “Mussoliniani.” (More…)

The late historian Detlev Peukert once wrote of the literature on Max Weber that the annual volume of new publications was such that not even specialists could keep fully current. This statement could equally apply to the literature on Marx and Marxism which, even without “actually existing socialism” to act as motivator or bête noire, continues to appear in its accustomed profusion. (More…)

On July 23-24, 1968, African American radicals engaged in a wild shootout with police in the Glenville section of Cleveland. When it was over, six people were dead and the raw racial tension that had simmered below the surface in the city since the Hough Riots two years earlier again flashed into the open. (More…)

Gaza—the outpost of Africa, and the door of Asia—is situated in the south-west of Palestine, and is only about twelve miles to the north of Rafah (formerly Raphia), which marks the Turko-Egyptian boundary, running down to Akaba. (More…)

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s reputation in North America is founded almost entirely on his work as a filmmaker, particularly his medievalist trilogy of box-office hits: The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales and The Arabian Nights. In Italy, he was a central and very public figure in twenty-five years of post-war intellectual life. Besides his work in film — which came toward the end of his interrupted career — he wrote poetry and novels, worked in theatre, social criticism, political theory, social linguistics, and was a journalist. (More…)

No problem is so central to everyday life in the modern world as that of work, although its manifestations vary widely depending on one’s location in the global topography of production and consumption. If the central issue of David Graeber’s latest book, Bullshit Jobs, is a phenomenon specific to postindustrial society, it is nonetheless true that the broader implications of his argument spiral outwards, making contact with the broader reaches the productive processes in late capitalism. (More…)

Discussions of the Mear One mural, Jeremy Corbyn’s reaction, and anti-Semitism within the UK Labour party bring to mind a long-ago discussion.  The reason lies with majoritarian difficulty or inability to see what is perfectly visible to a minority.  (More…)

It has often been said that when two armies face each other across a battlefront and engage in mutual slaughter, they may be considered as a single army engaged in suicide. Now it seems to me that when countries, each one doing its best to arrest its economic ruin, do their utmost to accelerate the ruin of each other, we are witnessing the suicide of civilisation itself. (More…)

BEIRUT – When she wrote her book We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices From Syria, Wendy Pearlman set herself a difficult target: She wanted “readers who might not otherwise think of picking up a book on Syria” to not only come away with a better understanding of the complex conflict but also care about it. (More…)