After getting into a fight, a homeless man collapsed on a pavement in Rome; a few days later he died in hospital. Neither the police, the judiciary nor the media seemed interested in the case. In a country where five million people live in absolute poverty and fifty thousand are homeless, it was symptomatic of how Italy treats its needy, writes Giuseppe Rizzo.
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Two years after global economy crashed in 2008, austerity politics swung into action. Using Greece as its example, a transatlantic alliance of right-wing fearmongers, conservative political entrepreneurs and centrist fiscal hawks abandoned stimulus and instead turned the screw.
The tales of Austrian greatness and ethnic purity conflict with current-day Vienna’s diversity. Enda O’Doherty confronts touristic narratives with the controversies of Austrian history.
Advocates of bitcoin typically claim two things: that by introducing certainty into the monetary system, it overcomes the problem of trust and its failure; and that by removing hierarchies between users, the system becomes democratic. Both claims are problematic, argues Lea Kuhar.
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.
The internet is, as a medium, fundamentally changing our conception of the political. By removing speech from its social context, it has blurred our sense of the unsayable; by uncoupling us from our real-life community, it has made us shameless; and by fetishizing fact, it has undermined the legitimacy of shared reason. All help explain the extraordinary success of Donald Trump.
Nowhere is aversion towards transparency deeper than in the tech industry. The result of this corporate culture has been a massive breakdown of public trust. What management cannot fix, engineering must, argues leading privacy campaigner Simon Davies.
The mayor of Gdańsk has long been target of a smear campaign in national media. Yet the harsh reaction of state propaganda after his death surprised even some supporters of the government.
‘Sex work will disappear the day we abolish capitalism. Until then, let’s talk about labour rights.’ Amaranta Heredia Jaén calls to address the controversial results of anti-trafficking measures.
An idealistic Havel, a cynical Orbán, and a compassionate Walter
How can intellectuals of central Europe maintain their moral principles and independence, yet support democracy, in an age when the region is again traversing a rocky road paved with nationalism and populism?
An investigation by openDemocracy into the financing of the Brexit campaign in 2016 has raised far-reaching questions about connections between neoliberal elites, the tech industry and the private intelligence sector. Adam Ramsay, one of the journalists involved, summarises a story vital to understanding how Britain has ended up where it is today.
A socio-political charivari
The Romanian diaspora used their summer vacations to protest the government’s attempt to decriminalize corruption. They got tear gas from the authorities and belittling from intellectuals.
Security forces increasingly use data-driven crowd control techniques to pre-empt unpredictable situations. Unlike traditional prevention methods, pre-emptive policing actively engenders crowd behaviour – and in doing so interferes with the basic conditions for political agency, argues Krystian Woznicki.
Some thoughts on solidarity
The word ‘solidarity’ combines the double sense of independence and mutuality, writes Polish literary scholar Leonard Neuger. The Solidarity movement in Poland was the political manifestation of this paradoxical semantic.
While classical melancholy was defined by isolation and introspection, today’s tristesse plays out amidst busy social media interactions. Geert Lovink on ‘technological sadness’ – the default mental state of the online billions.
Poland and 1918
Poland regained its independence after the First World War. Despite developing multiple ambitious visions, it failed to recreate its former state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and to reconstruct the map of western Eurasia.