Five years ago, Malala Yousafzai was listed among the most influential teenagers in the world. Her position is now contested by climate activist Greta Thunberg. Thankfully, they don’t compete with each other for fame. They do, however, challenge assumptions about what can and cannot be done in politics. Especially by girls.
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Malala Yousafzai advocates for girls’ education, while Greta Thunberg demands climate action. Thankfully, they don’t compete with each other for fame. They do, however, challenge assumptions about what can and cannot be done in politics. Especially by girls. For the European Week of the Girl, Eurozine offers reads which may help girls navigate the treacherous swamps of international politics.
Farewell to György Konrád
György Konrád (1933–2019) was one of the intellectual leaders of the democratic transformation in Hungary, whose writings – banned at home – inspired a political generation throughout Central Europe and beyond. Publisher Gábor Csordás remembers Konrád’s wisdom and serenity, even in the face of censorship, surveillance and denunciation.
Both Russia and Turkey are ethnically diverse former empires that underwent similar processes of modernization and had similar relationships with the West. Today, they have revived a civilizational paradigm with a strong authoritarian and anti-western character. Precisely this resemblance is resurrecting rivalry for power and influence in the region.
Disinformation and audience fragmentation pose major questions for the future of the public sphere. Media literacy is increasingly being seen as one response. But what precisely is to be taught? Central to one media literacy project in Croatia is giving voice to migrants and refugees.
The emotional politics of Brexit
Apposite though the ‘heroic failure’ analysis is, the politics of self-pity is not limited to Brexit. Writing from Wales, Angharad Closs Stephens asks whether peripheral national movements also share something of this sense of woundedness. At the emotional level, the boundaries between progressive and reactionary politics are less clear cut than we may like to think.
Media professionals often engage in a collective hysteria. They complain about their loss of authority, signalling a deep unwillingness to take responsibility for our trade’s failures and, often, complicity. And yet, the ‘post-truth era’ is not a death toll of journalism, but the signal of a necessary change.
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.
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. Kate Brown 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.