EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in QuestionMedia/PublicsThe Left

Populism, Representation, and Sanders

A Reply to Mueller

In a recent article published on Public Seminar, Jan-Werner Mueller affirmed that populism is by its very nature not only anti-elitist, but also anti-pluralist: “Populists claim that they, and only they, represent the people.” He then attacked the undemocratic tendency populist politicians show when they lose the elections: they “begin to question the existing political institutions, which are obviously producing the wrong outcome, or even accuse the winners of fraud, as Donald Trump just did.” Of course, Mueller admitted, unsatisfactory electoral results will not prevent populists from speaking in the name of “real Americans,” but at that point, …

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EssaysFeatureMedia/Publics

Just Do It

On Stiegler and LaBeouf in the neganthropocene

One way of understanding Shia LaBeouf’s “Just Do It” motivational video is as a translation of Bernard Stiegler’s recent work about “escaping the anthropocene.” And vice versa. Reading Stiegler’s essays and watching LaBeouf’s video are essentially the same experience: one feels exhilarated, thrilled, excited (as if one might really do the impossible) and then a little disappointed.

Stiegler’s latest essays, many translated into English by Daniel Ross, sharpen the thought of a new type of urgency and are in some ways quite simple. This thought of urgency — figured as an “alternative” — is expressed succinctly at …

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EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in QuestionMedia/PublicsThe Left

Anachronism with a Kafkaesque Touch

Last Thursday, I received a message via Facebook messenger. The message’s author was (so it read) the Chief Censor of Israel’s Military Censor, one Colonel Ariella Ben-Avraham, and in it she demanded that I submit to the Censor’s warrant. Entering Ben-Abraham’s Facebook page showed a page that was almost empty — her name and picture only. In fact, it seems that the Censor was so embarrassed by all the publicity in recent days that she erased it. When I tried to enter the page today in order to write the post, it …

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EssaysFeatureImaginal PoliticsLiberal Democracy in QuestionMedia/PublicsPower and CrisisTheory & Practice

Claims to Populism, Danger to Democracy?

No US election campaign in living memory has seen as many invocations of “populism” as this one. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are labelled as “populists;” the term is regularly used as a synonym for “anti-establishment,” irrespective of any particular political ideas; it is also associated with particular moods and emotions: populists are “angry,” their voters are “frustrated,” or suffer from “resentment.” Similar claims are made about figures in Europe: Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders are most commonly …

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