EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

Phyllis Schlafly and Donald Trump: not-so-strange bedfellows

Phyllis Schlafly’s conservative manifesto, A Choice, Not an Echo, has a quote on the cover that is as fresh today as when it was first published in May 1964. Under a picture of the author (in perfectly styled hair and two strings of pearls) a caption promises to tell “the inside story of how American Presidents are chosen.” Comparing GOP leaders to Paris couturiers who “brainwash” unthinking female consumers, she revealed in the introduction that the presidential nominating process had been stolen from the people. Between 1936 and 1960, she wrote, “a few secret kingmakers based in New York selected Republican presidential nominees…and successfully forced their choice on a free country where there are more than 34 million voters.”

As Donald Trump’s unexpected electoral strength potentially leads  …

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EssaysEventsFeature

Refugee Crisis and European Shame

On fences and fronts

If we had to describe the European Union’s response to the current refugee crisis with a single word, that word would be “chaos.” If we could use two words, the second word would be “shame,” necessary to refer to what European leaders and technocrats should feel upon reading the statement released by Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF) on March 22, 2016, announcing that the humanitarian organization would cease all activities connected to Moria, the main camp in the Greek island of Lesvos, where refugees are registered and fingerprinted before being relocated or deported. As Marie Elisabeth Ingres, MSF head of mission in Greece, said, ““We made the extremely difficult decision to end our activities in Moria because continuing to work inside would make us complicit in a system we consider to be both unfair and inhumane …

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CapitalismEssaysFeatureImaginal PoliticsLiberal 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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EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

The Republicans’ Trump Problem

The Republican Party has a problem. At the time I am writing (March 24, 2016), Donald Trump enjoys a clear lead in the race for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination. With nearly 60% (739) of the 1,237 delegates required for the nomination, more than both of his remaining opponents, Ted Cruz of Texas (465) and John Kasich of Ohio (143). According to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com website, Trump is expected to win all or a majority of delegates from Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Indiana, West Virginia, Washington, California, and New Jersey. If he wins significant minorities of delegations from the remaining states (Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Montana, and New Mexico), he …

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CapitalismEssaysFeatureMedia/PublicsTheory & Practice

Theses On The Philosophy Of The FKA-Anthropocene, Feat. Shia LaBeouf, Part II

Something of Shia LaBeouf’s name stands in, perfectly, controversially, for what is now happening to us, across us, as a kind of general FKA-transing of all available terms. Around the time Caitlyn Jenner came out, there was talk of an intersectional “trans-”: a trans for race and class and even for ecographic sub-constituencies. During Occupy Wall Street, the same talk happened, and then nothing happened, and a few people said it was still on, and then nothing happened.

Intersectionality seems to be the least sustainable piece …

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CapitalismEssaysFeatureMedia/PublicsRaceTheory & Practice

Theses On The Philosophy Of The FKA-Anthropocene, Feat. Shia LaBeouf, Part I

Walter Benjamin’s strategy in the Theses on the Philosophy of History was to focus on a non-human moment in human time and to present this instance on blast in his prose style. What I mean by “blast” here is the fact that the message had to be pirated past ideological hangers-on and historical barriers, past both Marxist and theotropic renditions, and also past the Nazi episode that might have been his more obvious target in 1940. His prose is clear but depth-charged, resonates at another frequency, still as if exploded past the imaginary proscriptions of Theodor Adorno, who was already in situ in New York …

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EssaysFeature

The Communist Roots of Anti-Refugee Sentiment

Those seeking to explain why the response to foreigners on the part of Eastern Europeans — in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and eastern Germany — has been so severe and contemptuous have to take a look back.

It must have been shortly before we left for Germany, in 1980 or 1981. My father had taken me — I was five or six at the time — for a walk at the edge of our apartment complex in Toruń, Poland. Along the way he pointed at a deserted construction site. It was supposed to be an indoor swimming pool, but the materials and willpower needed to complete the project were obviously lacking. The pool basin had been finished many years earlier; …

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EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & GenderTheory & Practice

Dilley in Retrospect: Machismo & Lasting Emotional Injury, Part II

On the other side of the political situation that women fleeing Central America represent for the United States are the individual stories of the women and children who populate the prison in Dilley Texas. As a psychoanalytically oriented clinician, I was struck by stories I heard, one after the next, each reflecting the long-lasting effects of trauma that could hardly be explained or understood other than as outcomes of the culture of machismo. So often the rape, physical abuse, and murder of loved ones the women had endured had been acceptable to some degree at home, for long periods of time, …

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CapitalismEssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in QuestionThe Left

A Working-Class Hero Is Something To Be

Bernie Sanders and the White Working Class

A good deal of ink has been spilled over the question of Bernie Sanders’s relationship to African American voters, and it still remains a real question whether he can attract enough black Democratic voters in the upcoming primaries to close the distance between himself and Hillary Clinton.  Even his historic upset in the Michigan primary only won him 28% of the African American vote.  However, the Michigan results may reveal something even more significant. Sanders won the white working class vote in the Democratic Primary, putting him over the top.  Even more stunning is that this is the constituency that had provided Clinton with one of her strongest bases of support in her 2008 contest with Obama. …

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EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

Flirting with Populist Politics

“He reminds me of Hugo Chavéz”, I blurted out to the group discussing Donald Trump and the current state of the US presidential election. Befuddled looks abounded. Much has been written and plenty discussed regarding Trump’s authoritarian streak. Mainstream media is rife with articles, memes, and comments comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. Two Mexican presidents, Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon, have already compared Trump to Hitler. Trump’s call to ban all Muslim travel to America is eerily reminiscent of the Nazi regime.  The Huffington Post has linked Trump’s style of politics to the historical populist regimes of Adolf Hitler and Silvio Berlusconi, …

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