Migranten In Passau am 10.12.2015 Clearingstelle der Bundespolizei © Metropolico.org | Flickr
EssaysFeature

We Refugees

In 1943 Hannah Arendt published a short essay in the Jewish periodical “The Menorah Journal” entitled We Refugees. She described in it a widespread refusal among Jews who had escaped the Nazis to call themselves “refugees.” Having lost everything — their occupation, their language, their family — they were eager to adapt to their new country as quickly as possible and to become “normal” citizens. Arendt thought that this assimilation strategy was doomed to failure, because it ignored the fact that the European model of the nation state is structurally dependent upon the fabrication of stateless and displaced persons. Instead, Jews should remember what made them special precisely as refugees. Refugees, she wrote, are “the vanguard of their peoples,” since for them history was no longer “a sealed book.” They have already experienced and recognized what to others has only become obvious today, in the era of globalization: the violence, fragility, and historical obsolescence of a territorial understanding of citizenship. …

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The Espace Leopold, the seat of the European Parliament in Brussels, 2007 © Alina Zienowicz | Wikimedia Commons
CapitalismEssaysFascism: Old and NewFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

The End of Europe

The process of European unification is undergoing a deep crisis, certainly the deepest since it started at the beginning of the 1950s. In less than a year, the EU faced two major tests—first the Greek quarrel, then the refugee crisis — that revealed its true face: a mixture of impotence, unwillingness, egoism, arrogance and cynicism. It is not a pretty spectacle.  …

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Graphic with dots representing seats in the Greek Parliament as of Jan. 25, 2015. Syriza in pink with 149. © JackWilfred | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionThe Left

Hope and its Discontents in Greece

The impressive victory of Syriza in the January 25th Greek elections was the direct result of increasing popular discontent with the Greek political elites and years of self-defeating austerity. The party, which symbolized a break with the past, ran on a platform based on hope, in contrast to the campaign of fear waged by the center-right government of New Democracy. “Hope is under way” was the main slogan, reverberating the famous Chilean “La alegria ya viene” from the referendum on Pinochet in the mid-1980s. Syriza played well on that terrain, promising to the people radical change, including the drastic restructuring of the debt through a 1953-style international conference, and the rejection of the memorandum of agreement with the “troika” of bailout monitors.

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"Masquerade" by Aubrey Beardsley (1872 - 1898) © Public Domain |masterpieceart.net/aubrey-beardsley
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionMedia & Publics

We Say No to the “Sacred Union”

In the aftermath of the killings at Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher, critical voices have largely been drowned in the general sea of undifferentiated outrage. But this statement by French colleagues, which recently appeared in Le Monde, is a major intervention and a welcome exception.

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