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?’
Senior editor at Eurozine.
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.
Literature in a politicized age
In a politicized age, literary debate seems to be seeking consensus. But many still argue that the task of writers is to voice what would otherwise be seen as unacceptable. Today, the question is as much about how literature is talked about as what it talks about.
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.
Commemoration risks becoming ideology-lite if it makes the fall of the Berlin Wall synonymous with the collapse of communism. Only real dialogue with the other side of the former Iron Curtain can save the West from parochialism.
An interview with Ivan Krastev on ’89 and the end of liberal hegemony
Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes argue that illiberalism in central eastern Europe today is part of a global contestation of western liberal hegemony. In an interview with Eurozine, Krastev elaborates on this thesis, discussing what happened to the hopes of ’89, why dissidence cannot be equated with anti-capitalism or even liberalism, and why explaining the new authoritarianism as a backlash against the ‘imitation imperative’ is not to trivialize its ideological substance.
The moral and existential tenor of ecological politics today makes Günther Anders’s definition of the ‘third industrial revolution’ seem more contemporary than its much more recent sociological counterpart. This is a positive sign for climate politics and climate journalism.
Paradox is the predominant mode in recent articles on 1989. As historical distance brings greater perspicacity on the past thirty years, so received ideas clash with facts, sharpening the focus for real contradictions.
Police violence, mass detentions, internet shutdown, arrest of opposition candidates: the reaction to the latest protests in Moscow has been an overreaction even by the standards of the Russian authorities. It seems that the government has good reason to be afraid of putting its popularity to the test. But is it advised to ask what next, given the sheer weight of resistance to democratization in Russia?
The sight of the US president staring ahead impassively while around him the crowd chanted ‘Send her back’, felt like the crossing of the Rubicon. This was the point when Trump and his Republican supporters finally dropped the mask and revealed their contempt for the values underlying the liberal consensus.
The ‘containment’ argument fails to admit that, in order to reverse the Eurosceptic trend, Europe needs to confront its causes. Homilies about the rule of law will not do the trick. Addressing the rise of the right means reforming the European Union itself.
Few articles in the recent past can have been vilified so heavily by so many intelligent people than Francis Fukuyama’s ‘The end of history’. Now, thirty years on, the article is worth re-reading. Because, unless one is nostalgic for an orthodox version of dialectical materialism, it is hard to find anything to strongly disagree with. On the contrary.
How we mark historical anniversaries says as much, if not more about our perception of the present as it does about the past. This familiar axiom has interesting results when we apply it to how the revolutions of ’89 have been remembered in each decade since.
Every so often an article gets under your skin. Reading it, one is both exhilarated and unsettled. It is something that cannot be ‘unread’. Eurozine’s latest editorial introduces the highlights of the past two weeks.
Internet technologies are being used in ways that raise far-reaching questions about the resilience and sustainability of democratic systems. And they have fundamentally impacted on understandings of the political, transforming democracies from within.