Since censorship in state socialist Poland was more lenient than in other countries of the Eastern Bloc, a peculiar counterpublicity was formed between samizdat, émigré publishing and western radio stations which amplified the voice of dissent.
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Climate change is the biggest story ever – and yet the media do not do it justice. To blame are a number of journalistic vices, from misinterpretation of the principle of neutrality to a failure to contextualize; from slavishness to conventional media formats to a tendency to individualize the problem. A new climate politics starts by resetting the media agenda.
UK, Estonia and Latvia after the EP election
What next for Britain and the EU? Though the Brexit Party will now be one of the largest national parties in the European Parliament, combined support for the ‘hard Remain’ parties is greater still. The EP election played out as a referendum on Estonia’s government too, while Latvia was spared a populist surge.
Can Tunisia’s Islamist party Ennahdha secure the gains of the 2011 uprising and adapt itself to secular democracy? The coalition has been praised for its progressiveness as its new constitution enshrined sexual equality, omitted Sharia law, and maintained the separation between ‘mosque and state’. Leftists, however, fear that these are ‘fig leaf’ measures.
A clash of the titans is emerging in Eurozine, as the anniversary discourse starts to recount the cultural heritage and the political failures of 1989. Aleida Assmann heavily criticizes Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev; Holly Case and Ulrike Liebert offer resolutions.
Ireland, Poland and the Western Balkans after the EP election
The European elections have been key to determining citizens’ priorities, albeit with one significant caveat in Ireland. In Poland, voters clearly care more about social welfare than abstract issues like rule of law. And issues of real consequence for the Western Balkans may finally be addressed, now that the elections are over.
The trope of building bridges between peoples on opposing sides of a conflict often seems compelling, and infers an inevitable benevolence. Yet Mykola Riabchuk considers the strategy itself to be misguided, especially when those bridges actually separate people instead of bringing them together.
Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev argue that illiberal politics in central and eastern Europe should be understood primarily as a reaction to the ‘imperative to imitate’ the West after 1989. But to downplay the ideological substance of the new authoritarianism is reckless in the current situation, responds Aleida Assmann. Recalling the contribution of eastern European dissidents to Europe’s culture of human rights offers a corrective to the damaging myth of the ‘victorious West’.
Imitation and its discontents
For countries emerging from communism, the post-1989 imperative to ‘be like the West’ has generated discontent and even a ‘return of the repressed’, as the region feels old nationalist stirrings and new demographic pressures. The origins of illiberalism in central and eastern Europe are emotional and pre-ideological, rooted in rebellion at the humiliations that accompany a project requiring acknowledgment of a foreign culture as superior to one’s own.
Netherlands, Austria and Malta after the European elections
The Labour Party’s surprising success in the Netherlands may merely have proven opinion polls wrong but the political earthquake experienced in Austria will clearly have lasting consequences. Both Austria and Malta happened to achieve gender equality among elected MEPs, prefacing a drive to achieve the same among appointments to top EU jobs.
In Romania, the commemoration of ’89 always means remembrance of those who died for freedom. But three decades since the fall of communism, responsibility for the victims has yet to be clearly established. Meanwhile, concerns about the rule of law appear more pressing.
Italy, Germany and Slovenia after the EP election
Editors from the Eurozine network offer initial responses to the outcome of the European elections. First up are views from Bologna, Berlin and Maribor. As the Union itself seems less precarious than before the vote, new coalitions form to safeguard the climate on the one hand and nationalistic interests on the other.
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.
The erstwhile students of 1989 have recently returned to the streets of Bucharest, Warsaw, Bratislava and Budapest to defend what they achieved three decades ago. But could the tragedy of Central Europe that Milan Kundera wrote about so compellingly in 1983 be repeating itself?
How (un)democratic is the EU?
Democracy is being denied by the EU’s leaders. At fault are not ‘Brussels bureaucrats’ but the member states and their representatives. Lack of transparency makes legislation vulnerable to lobbying and enables national interests to be put before the European common good. Preventing Eurosceptic reaction means democratizing the European legislature.
Neoliberal feminism is criticized for its disregard for structural inequalities and thus for failing women most susceptible to violence. But in a society like Nigeria’s, where lack of financial opportunity has fostered an entrepreneurial mindset, and where distrust of western feminism is culturally entrenched, neoliberal feminism may be women’s best option.