EssaysFeatureIn DepthLiberal Democracy in Question

The Promise and Logic of Federations, and The Problem of Their Stability

Historians are right to describe the 19th century as the age of nationalism. While many also depict the 20th as the triumph of the nation-state, with more justice it could be called the century of its failure, despite the vast proliferation of the form. If collapsing empires brought us the first World War, the new problems of the nation state prepared the ground for the second. In our own century, looking around the world, we encounter countless examples of nation-state failure to solve the problem that brought it into being: the management of plurality and the self-determination of different political identities.

Throughout the crises of empires and of nation-states, the option of federal union was ever-present, promising to solve what neither other political form could ultimately deal with. …

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FeatureLettersReviews

Xu Youyu Takes Stock Of The Chinese Cultural Revolution

In “The Cultural Revolution, Fifty Years Later,” recently published in Foreign Affairs, Professor Xu Youyu, the University in Exile Scholar at The New School, rightly notes that many intellectuals and officials who lived through the Chinese Cultural Revolution are quietly taking stock of the lessons and legacies of that tumultuous event. …

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FeatureLettersSex & Gender

Orlando, the City Beautiful

In May 1981, a sinkhole opened up in Winter Park, Florida, the tiny suburb just north of downtown Orlando. Over the course of that day the ground gave way, swallowing five Porsches from a repair shop, a small home, and the deep end of an Olympic-size swimming pool.

The event brought national attention to my hometown; all three national television news networks came to report the story. Years later I would open my college geology textbook and find a picture of the Winter Park sinkhole staring back at me. Eventually, my textbook explained, the sinkhole had been filled with water and christened Lake Rose by the city. But I already knew that. We had picnicked through the years in the new park built beside it. I took social dance and etiquette lessons for Junior Cotillion at a small building just up the street. …

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EssaysFeatureScience

Climate Policies After Paris

Toward the end of 2015, leaders from around the world convened in Paris for the latest round of international climate talks. This marks the 21st annual Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. More than 40,000 people from over 150 countries attended the conference, representing governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and supranational institutions.

The Paris talks underscore the importance of addressing climate change before Earth’s ecosystems face irrevocable damage. Simply put, the use of carbon-based fuels that have been central to the economic development of the last couple hundred years creates a significant cost for the environment. Increasing dependence on fossil fuels has precipitated an unprecedented shift in a number of climate indicators. …

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CapitalismFeatureMulti MediaReviewsVideo

Comments on Paul Mason’s PostCapitalism: A Guide to our Future

This video was shown at ‘The G20 of Philosophy and Economics’ in Amsterdam on April1, 2016. The event coincided with the publication of the Dutch translation of Paul Mason’s recent book ‘Post-Capitalism: A Guide to Our Future’ and the opening session was a discussion on it. After Mason’s presentation, there were short invited comments and responses to it. …

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EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in QuestionThe Left

Paris Spring? Social Media And The Spread Of European Solidarity Protests

June marks the fifth month of Nuit Debout (Standing Night) a movement that sprung from earlier protests by young people against the French government’s labor law reform. On March 31, 2016, an informal group of a dozen citizens from Fakir, a left-wing activist magazine, used the #mars40 Twitter hashtag to launch a public demonstration in and subsequent occupation of Place de la République in Paris. Since its debut, a crowd has gathered every evening on the square. Participants and activists come together to share their discontents, proposals, and ideals for a new society. Nuit Debout has now become an international movement, with gatherings in more than 266 cities in France and 130 other cities in Europe.

Focusing on this movement, our aim here is twofold: first, …

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EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in QuestionThe Left

The Left, the 2016 Election and the Cunning of History

Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president has fallen short, edged out by Hillary Clinton’s formidable organization and her deep ties to the Party’s establishment. The Sanders campaign offered a genuine alternative, funded by record-breaking amounts of small donations from ordinary people, promising to implement an agenda of progressive social, economic, political and foreign policy reforms. Many disaffected young people in particular were brought into the Party and helped Sanders win his share of caucuses and primaries. Still he fell short. And now as the Democrats pivot to the general election to defeat the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, the critical question is whether those young folks and others who were so energized to vote for Bernie as a progressive alternative are willing to show up on election day to vote for Hillary. …

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