The nascent internet played a key role in defeating the military coup in Russia in 1991, writes Andrei Soldatov. However, the democratic promise of the web was never fulfilled. In the 2000s, it became a means of escape for a disaffected middle class closed out of the political process. The failed protest wave of 2011–2012 bore the mark of this ‘lost decade’. Meanwhile, in the era of political trolling, online participation has come to mean something very different.
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Accusations of Russian interference have become the primary route through which to undermine Donald Trump. In order to sustain public outrage, media and political elites provide a constant flow of leaks, rumours and conspiracy theories. Failing liberal self-confidence is to blame for the return of Cold War rhetoric, argues Andrei P. Tsygankov.
The power of the past and the postponement of the future
In Britain today, a burgeoning Churchill industry promotes an idea of the nation as a place of purpose and moral certainty. But Churchill’s historical record is not what conservatives would have it to be, argues Gerry Hassan. In the post-war era, ‘Churchillism’ showed an ability to adapt that is beyond the current political leadership – not only on the right.
Peter Lodenius, the former editor-in-chief of Finland-Swedish Eurozine partner Ny Tid, has passed away. Carl Henrik Fredriksson remembers an outstandingly clearsighted journalist and editor able to make sense of European events for a Scandinavian readership in a way that was unique. Peter Lodenius played an important part in the Eurozine network, where he will be greatly missed.
The term ‘hybrid war’ has become synonymous with Russian aggression. It denotes a style of warfare that combines the political, economic, social and kinetic, in a kind of conflict that recognizes no boundaries between covert and overt war. However, this definition fails to recognize crucial distinctions in Russian strategy, writes Mark Galeotti.
Despite Democrat gains in the mid-terms, the party is no closer to winning back the ‘silent majority’ that was once its core support. In the public sphere, divisions are becoming ever more entrenched. As things stand, Trump’s position remains secure, according to George Blecher.
The absence in liberal democracies of an agonistic confrontation between different political projects has led to a crisis of representation, argues Chantal Mouffe. Demonization of the ‘enemies’ of the bipartisan consensus might be morally comforting, but it is politically disempowering. We need a progressive populism that can mobilize common affects towards a defence of equality and social justice.
Russia has become an important hub for cryptocurrency. To the concern of investors, the authorities are trying to bring the market under state control – not least because they are beginning to recognize crypto’s potential to bypass western sanctions.
For all its loathing of Trump, the US liberal elite shares with him a common delusion: that US hegemony can persist in the 21st century. Trump is not the cause of the disruption but a consequence of it, writes the sociologist Norman Birnbaum.
On modern fables
Popular anthropology has recently questioned assumptions about the role of farming in the emergence of the bureaucratic state and the inevitable connection between inequality and urban life. But while it is important to challenge doctrines of civilizational development, their origins must also be examined if conventional knowledge and its blind spots are not to be reproduced.
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. To celebrate this double anniversary, Eurozine has published a print anthology spanning the project chronologically, thematically, generically and geographically.
Automated technology and the digital economy have revived old fears about mass redundancy, but also inspired visions of a productive symbiosis between human and mechanized labour. Economic historian Robert Skidelsky surveys both the pessimistic and optimistic traditions of economic thought on mechanization and asks how policy can offset the effects of the rapid technological changes underway today.
Feminists have long criticized the adequacy of consent in defining non-coercive heterosexual sex. In order to comprehend the grey area between unwilling yet consensual sex, and outright sexual assault and rape, the concept of ‘unjust sex’ is increasingly used. As Ann J. Cahill argues, unjust sex is sex that a woman is pressured into having, but in which her agency still plays a role.
The use of magazines by the German far-right to integrate its ideology into acceptable political discourse goes back to the transformation of former National Socialist networks into the so-called New Right. Emphasis on the democratic function of the public sphere has caused far-right magazine publishing to be overlooked.
Populists vs the elite, the elite vs populists
The key feature of populism is said to be its claim to speak exclusively for the people. But by placing populism beyond the pale of respectable politics, this definition reinforces liberal prejudices, argues Philip Manow. More useful for forming a response to populism is to take into account ideological and geographic variance.