Essays | Eurozine

‘Human Flow’ is Ai Weiwei’s film on the plight of refugees in 23 countries. The artist goes further than Picasso, who never got as far as Guernica himself, but did Ai Weiwei lose his way whilst making the film? Georges Didi-Huberman insists that human suffering on this scale calls for a much bolder critical spirit.

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As the social and economic violence of inequality intensifies, contemporary French literature is charting new territory in the face of the partial failure of social activism and the conquests of aggressive economic liberalism, writes Nicolas Léger. Collective utopias may be done for; humour, the carnivalesque and gestures of solidarity remain.

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The decree recently approved by the Italian government restricting the right to asylum is the terrestrial counterpart to the criminalization of NGOs operating in the Mediterranean. The climax to Matteo Salvini’s ongoing campaign against humanitarianism, it will have a fundamental impact on the management of migration within the country.

From the 1970s, communitarian notions of self and society gave way to concepts of autonomous, rights-based individuality. In today’s backlash, we see the return of the politics of solidarity. As politics becomes marketized, however, the more likely prospect is further disaggregation, suggests historian of ideas Daniel T. Rodgers.

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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.

What started thirty-five years ago as an informal meeting of European editors became the basis for Eurozine, founded in 1998 as an online cultural journal and editorial network. One of Eurozine’s original goals – to offer print journals a gateway to digital publishing – has long been realized. Another goal, however, remains a work in progress: to act as a plural forum for transnational European debate. Two of Eurozine’s founding editors reflect on the evolution of the project.

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The great Polish poet and novelist Zbigniew Herbert was an ‘aesthetic dissident’ during communism whose frequent travelling was a form of escape. He became a figurehead of Solidarity yet was forgotten after 1989. Ukrainian poet Andriy Lyubka on Herbert’s life and the revival of interest in his work.

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For Oksana Forostyna, memories of Maidan mingle with accounts of her grandmother’s life in Kyiv before and during World War Two. Recollections of her own search for happiness in her adoptive city lead to more universal questions about the possibility of freedom and love amidst conflict and war.

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