Does the comfort of the quarantined consumer outweigh the life and safety of the slaughterhouse workers who cannot afford to stay home? The recent coronavirus outbreaks in meat processing plants pose a dreadful question.
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The US has no monopoly on under-serving and over-policing minorities. Police brutality is reported from the French suburbs to the Bulgarian countryside, and neo-Nazi resurgence is threatening European Roma in Hungary and Ukraine. Europeans must not wait for another horrific murder to draw attention to our own systemic racism.
Housing is part of the foundation upon which all other human social relations are built. Like sustenance and sex, society can’t be reproduced without shelter. Vikerkaar editor Aro Velmet announces the new Eurozine focal point ‘Room temperature: Housing in crisis’.
Ágnes Heller, Krzysztof Michalski, Miriam Rasch and the wisdom we borrow
Dataism is the new positivism, promising to make humans more effective. But we’ve seen horrific attempts at perfecting humans before. Instead, we need a better understanding of differences, and the wisdom that lies in the love of life.
The recent embarrassment of the ‘New York Times’ over its story on Kremlin-orchestrated disinformation on US health science felt like the nail in the coffin of the ‘all roads lead to Putin’ narrative. Common sense now says that the new propaganda thrives best under democratic conditions.
The coronavirus pandemic took the spotlight from the refugee crisis on the Greek border with Turkey in early March long before a political solution could be reached. Now, the two situations have merged into a poly-crisis.
While the rest of Europe is trying to keep citizens from mass economic ruin, the Hungarian government uses the coronavirus for another power grab, also coming down on theatres and transgender people. Orbán knows he can get away with it because he offers a key political product.
Decades of cuts to public health are now exposed as the spread of the coronavirus overwhelms the system. Europe has been lucky to observe hurricanes, floods and plagues of the past decades from afar, but geography or wealth doesn’t safeguard us from epidemics. How we treat our least powerful now will be telling about what we can hope for.
The technoliberationism that accompanied the early days of the web now belongs to myth. Deleting Facebook is the new rebellion. Surveillance capitalism is the buzzword. Regulating is radical. Introducing the new Eurozine focal point ‘Big Tech: The law of power?’
Thinking about ‘what to do’ about disinformation means understanding information’s positive quality as a public good. Abandoning a purely reactive strategy will stand democracies in better stead. Contributions to the new Eurozine focal point ‘Information: A public good’ reflect this way of thinking.
The illiberal backlash cannot be sanitized through conventional political morality: liberal democracy must redefine itself in order to win back credibility. Literature and literary debate are not necessarily where that process will start. But if they succumb to dogmatism, it is hard to see where else free thought will flourish.
Speculation may not be the best approach in a trial, but it can be useful for making sense of seemingly nonsensical events happened the way they did. Our authors try their luck in explaining new authoritarianism, the loneliness of online socializing, and women’s advancement in politics.
The 2010s in 10 articles
This decade brought us revolutions, crises and strong backlashes too. But although it’s easy for authoritarians to prey on societies in turmoil, the popular demand for equality and a liveable future do not dissolve, even under tyranny.
The joker, the trickster and the prankster
A vaudeville figure has been reinstated to lead Britain through Brexit, while in the US a reality-tv star is being impeached for trying to blackmail a comedian in Ukraine. Comedy seems to have taken over the wheel in political leadership. But the quality of this entertainment varies greatly.
The description of the European Union as a ‘peace project’ recalls an important aspect of the genesis of post-war Europe. But a defence of Europe based on anti-fascism runs into dead ends – both conceptually and politically – if it sees European integration as a ‘post-national’ movement.
The share economy, although originally built on the logic of mutual help, has been weaponized by monopolistic enterprises to foster precarity, gentrification and political deception. But this doesn’t mean that trading in goodwill was a bad idea in the first place. Eurozine is the proof itself.