Progressive parties must bundle ecology, anti-authoritarianism and multiculturalism into a political project ‘beyond right and left’, argues Claus Leggewie. Resistance now means social and ecological campaigning against the dominant powers and ideas of industrial modernity. The right is called upon to take part in this new politics of concordance.
Claus Leggewie is a political scientist. Since 2015 has been Ludwig Börne Professor at the Justus Liebig University in Gießen. Until 2017 he was director of the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut (KWI), Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen (Germany). Leggewie has served as professor of political science at the universities of Goettingen and Giessen (1996-2017) and as fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences (IWM) Vienna (1994 and 2006), Max Weber Chair at New York University (1995-97), Remarque Institute New York (1997-8), and at Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin (1999-2000).
His main research topics are participatory and digital democracy, right-wing extremism and neo-conservatism in comparative perspective, memory studies, climate and cultures. His book ‘Europe First: A Declaration of Independence’ came out in 2017. Claus Leggewie is a member of the Eurozine Advisory Board and co-publisher of Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik.
Transformation and revision in European politics of history
European memory culture is being undermined from two very different directions: first by resurgent far-right revisionism, second by the new subjectivism in historical methodology. Rather than relying on new technologies to preserve memory, we need to return to the event, to physical place, and to direct communication, argues Claus Leggewie.
As of this year, Germany has been united for a longer time than the Wall and its barbed wire stood. Yet despite 30 years of the Solidarpakt, social differences have not been evened out as hoped, and the division is tangible in political leanings as well.
In 1968, West German students protested against the monopoly of the Springer Press. Does the campaign have an equivalent today? Given the power and ubiquity of social media, Claus Leggewie doubts it. Like the ’68ers before them, a genuinely alternative European media must create its own means of production.
Resistance is a word inextricably linked to historical anti-fascism. So can it be used to describe opposition to contemporary authoritarianisms? Yes, argues Claus Leggewie: wherever the foundations of democracy are being undermined, the history of resistance teaches us how to respond.
Retrospectives of 1968 tend to dismiss its socialism and instead to see identity politics as its primary legacy. Rightly so? Claus Leggewie asks how far the New Left achieved its political goals and whether identity politics were necessarily incompatible with its anti-capitalist and social-revolutionary agenda.
Participation between collective rage and constructive involvement
Current usage of the word “populist” in the German and European media is beginning to obscure the alarming rise of xenophobia and authoritarian tendencies across the continent. In the face of which, Claus Leggewie argues that it’s high time for rhetorical anti-fascism to take a practical turn. This means meeting an urgent need for democratic participation to be extended beyond (but never used against) political parties and parliaments.
Integration als Großaufgabe
How Greece can strengthen Europe
Political and economic relations need to be established that provide Greek society with a future in Europe, argues Claus Leggewie. But if this is to happen, even more important than dealing with the past is future-oriented investment in areas such as renewable energy.
New forms of democratic participation
Decisions on large-scale infrastructure projects and sustainable energy development must draw on dialogue-based processes. “Future councils” can provide a basis for political identity through the expression of regional cohesion and clarify the implications that large infrastructure projects have at a local level.
Ideals and European realities
Claus Leggewie pieces together the preconditions of transnationality – migrant communities, religious pluralism and hybrid popular mass culture – with a view to foregrounding the challenge that it presents: between local cultures and global markets, how can a cross-border demos be constructed?
On 9 November 1918, the first German Republic was declared; exactly four years later, Hitler staged a putsch. The Reichskristallnacht on 9 November in 1938 was linked to both and on 9 November 1989 the division of Germany came to an end. How, then, should Germany commemorate this fateful and ambiguous day?
Deciding the future of the Mediterranean
Regeneration of the Mediterranean region must draw on its legacy of cosmopolitan democracy while offering prospects for ecological, energy-political and scientific development. The Mediterranean may then re-enter the European consciousness as the Mare nostrum, with all the joint responsibilities that entails.
Memory laws are the wrong way for Europeans to remember and debate their difficult pasts, argues Claus Leggewie and Horst Meier. Europe needs a pluralism of memory policies. That is why 23 August is a good candidate for a truly pan-European day of remembrance.
Explaining Europe's reluctance to remember migration
Why does Europe find it so difficult to remember the facts of migration, both voluntary and forced? Reluctance to address the more noxious aspects of collective European identity impedes an engagement with migration history, argues Claus Leggewie.
A new project for the next generation
Democratic upsurge in North Africa can combine with the renewable energy revolution to inject new life into the European project. Two-way developmental traffic across the Mediterranean would leave new generations in both North and South with fair chances of a good life, Claus Leggewie suggests.