Travelers in Iran share a living room with two local shepherds © Hamed Saber | Flickr
DemocracyEssaysMedia & Publics

My Living Room as a Public Sphere

An Iranian experiment in free society

“I’m not certain that the ideal society should be religious. I start from the premise that the ideal society should be secular.” So spoke documentary filmmaker, Mehran Tamadon, in a conversation with the four conservative mullahs, advocates of the Islamic republic, he invited to be part of his new movie Iranian. The conversation consists of five men sitting in a living room in Iran, arguing about the ideal society: this is pretty much the plot.

Behind closed doors, the mullahs’ wives are relegated to the bedrooms as their children play in the garden; in the living room, the four clerics and the self-avowed atheist embark upon a fascinating experiment. …

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Andreas Kalyvas on the Critical Situation in Greece and Europe
CapitalismDemocracyMulti MediaVideo

Andreas Kalyvas on the Critical Situation in Greece and Europe

A conversation with Jeffrey Goldfarb

Andreas Kalyvas and I sat down the other day to discuss the situation of Greece and Europe. He and I have been talking about politics for years, in Wroclaw, in Johannesburg, in New York. We understand each other as we differ. He is a leftist, committed to radical transformation. I feel a need to understand how transformations can be realized, and when it comes to revolutions, it’s the self- limiting kind that I saw up close in Poland that I think is most desirable. He is a political dreamer with the eye on the utopian (this is not a criticism), while my dreams are more rooted in experience. …

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A mosaic by Louis Delsarte in Harlem, the former epicenter of Black jazz © Wally Gobetz | Flickr
EssaysRaceTheory & Practice

The Social Condition and the Ghetto

Jeffrey Goldfarb and Iddo Tavory (recently joined additionally by Tim Rosenkranz) have been trading pieces in this forum toward sketching the outlines of an existential sociology based on a concept they call “the social condition.” The social condition, if I understand them correctly, is the intrinsic potential for our lives and our projects to come up against impasses. Borne from the complexity of our existences as social beings, it is the impossibility of overarching, unproblematic narratives. It is the inevitably of indeterminacy and irreconcilability. …

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In Ramallah, Palestine © scottmontreal | Flickr
Essays

Hamas and the Israeli Ruling Coalition Are Not Collaborators

A response to Jeffrey Goldfarb

Jeffrey Goldfarb argues that if we criticize the behavior of one group, we should not turn a blind eye to the behavior of another. He complains that the contributions of Yossi Gurvitz, Omri Boehm, and Nahed Habibibah to this seminar, while effective in their criticisms of the policies and practices of Israel, ignore the terroristic tactics of Hamas. The truth is, he suggests using a phrase of Omri Boehm, that both Israel (or at least its ruling coalition) and Hamas are “collaborators” in terrorism. Insofar as they both seek “military solutions to problems that ultimately must be addressed politically … they share responsibility for the escalating inhumane death and destruction.”

Jeff’s initial point is a good one. There are good moral as well as political reasons for Palestinians and their supporters to look critically at the tactics of their political leaders — not only of Hamas but also of Fatah. But to move from this to …

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