Europe today is divided not by developmental or systemic differences, but two competing ideologies. They cannot co-exist, like political parties, but must displace each other’s vision for the West. But while liberal democracies adhere to a liberal international order, and leaders like Orbán define the West in narrow ethnonationalist terms, a whole new East-West front opens up between the US and an ascendant China.
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An interview with Kate Brown
In the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident, international agencies dismissed local doctors’ warnings about a ‘public health catastrophe’ in order to suppress scandal over nuclear tests carried out by the West since the 1950s. This is the conclusion reached by Kate Brown, in her new book ‘Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future’. Here, she talks to Aro Velmet about the secret history of radiation and what Chernobyl means in the era of climate change.
Brexiters claim that the Northern Ireland question is exaggerated by the EU to keep the UK in its orbit. But, as the murder of journalist Lyra McKee showed, the potential for a renewed spiral of sectarian violence is very real. The central problem, writes Peter Geoghegan, is that every side believes it won the war. Equally damaging is the denialism of the British state over its role in the Troubles.
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.
Populist pangs in France
The ‘gilets jaunes’ are a complex movement that has grown from a distrust of France’s elites towards demands for citizen-led democracy. Their invocation of the French Revolution has provided the movement with a powerful sense of popular legitimacy but, as Gabriel Bristow argues, contains contradictions of its own.
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.
The rise and contestation of eastern European populism
Eastern Europe is clearly part of a global populist wave, and is now part of the western right-wing populist imaginary as the bedrock for ‘pure’ European values. Only by looking at ‘1989’ from a new angle can we see how populist governments’ rejection of a ‘decadent’ and ‘imperialist’ West merely continues a communist stance, despite their strident anti-communist rhetoric.
Human rights, gender history and the road to 1989
Soviet, Polish, and Czech women were active but sidelined members of pre-1989 dissident groups. This not only kept up conventional gender roles, but shared them with the regimes they were fighting against, a fact concealed by their ‘vernacularized’ concept of human rights.
Three misperceptions of the east-west divide since 1989
It was assumed after 1989 that eastern economies would easily take up western-style capitalism without a ‘third option’. Their transformation was far deeper and more brutal than if socialism had collapsed two decades earlier. As a result, the free movement of labour and capital after 2004 produced lopsided developments, and after the turbulence caused by the 2008 financial crisis the EU became unwilling to reign in new member states’ illiberal governments.
An interview with Matthias Lilienthal
Celebrated playwright and theatre director Matthias Lilienthal talks about the past, present and future of what he calls the ‘theatrical mode of production’, the new forms it might bring about, and the new audiences attending radical theatre productions.
On Norwegian cultural journals today
Norway’s cultural journals are driven by the voluntary work of idealistic writers and editors and survive on generous gifts and subsidies. This same idealism, however, allows them to document key trends and act as a ‘zeitgeist archive’.
A European dialectic
Attitudes towards immigration are said to be split down an East–West divide, but it is western Europe that has traditionally feared ‘invasions’ from the East and that responded to EU enlargement in 2004 with restrictions on labour migration. Now that eastern and western Europe are more deeply integrated than ever before, the defining question will be how Europe negotiates immigration from outside its borders.
Although on the rise, popular engagement with EU politics is still a poor reflection on European democracy. International coverage maintains a narrow focus, despite important and uneven developments in national politics throughout the Union. Eurozine’s series on the EP elections addresses this deficit.
Mittelweg 36 3–4/2019
Twentieth-century social sciences tended to leave monetary questions to economists, but in recent years there has been an explosion in the sociological research of money. ‘Mittelweg 36’ offers perspectives.
Czech Republic, Spain, Norway and Belgium after the EP elections
After May’s elections, Prague saw the largest public demonstration since the Velvet Revolution. The country now hosts the strongest Pirate Party in Europe, while Spain provides the largest national component in the S&D bloc. Norway may yet become Europe’s green battery, as Belgium faces a great divide.
For a radicalization of the European Left
In order to become a force for the future, the European Left must rediscover a politics of class that combines social solidarity with radical economic critique. Challenging exclusory discourse on immigration is central to this process of renewal, argues political scientist Lea Ypi in an interview with ‘Il Mulino’.