Christopher Lasch – «Totalitarianism»: From Radical Evil to Comparative Political Typology

The attempt to understand Hitler’s Final Solution on the Jewish problem confronts us, then, with a choice between equally compelling and equally unsatisfactory lines of explanation. If we insist on its uniqueness, we lost the ability to place it in a wider perspective. If we try to use it as the basis for larger generalizations about modern politics and culture, on the other hand, we obscure its particular horror.

Murray Bookchin – The Idea of Citizenship (excerpt)

the Athenian citizen was not a corporate being in our usual meaning of the term. Most present-day discussions of the Athenian’s lack of individuality and the polis’s tendency to subserve his personality to an overbeating collectivity are weighted down by Eurocentrically neurotic images of the individual as such. The modern identification of individuality with egotism and personality with neurosis has been overindulged under the rubric of »modernity» with an arrogance that bears comparison only with the conceited claims of psychoanalysis and psychohistory to explain the human drama in all its aspects. The human beings can be individuated in different ways – some as highly social and political beings, others as private and self-indulgent beings, still others as combinations and permutations of both -is an alien to the claims of modernity as it is to the admirers of Gemeinschaft, the stagnant folk community based on kinship and organismic relationships.

Ζαν Μπωντρυγιάρ – Οι τελετουργίες της διαφάνειας

Η αβεβαιότητα της ύπαρξης και, κατά συνέπεια, η έμμονη ιδέα της απόδειξης της ύπαρξής μας στις μέρες μας αναμφίβολα υπερισχύει της επιθυμίας που είναι κατ’ εξοχήν σεξουαλική. Αν η σεξουαλικότητα αποτελεί ένα ρίσκο της ταυτότητάς μας (έως το γεγονός πως κάνουμε παιδιά), τότε πράγματι δεν είμαστε πια σε θέση να αφιερώσουμε τον εαυτό μας σ’ αυτόν τον σκοπό, επειδή είμαστε τόσο πολύ απασχολημένοι με το να σώσουμε την ταυτότητά μας, ώστε να μη μας περισσεύει δυναμικό για οτιδήποτε άλλο. Αυτό που ενδιαφέρει πάνω από οτιδήποτε άλλο είναι η απόδειξη της ταυτότητάς μας, ακόμη και αν αυτό αποτελεί τη μόνη της σημασία.

Christopher Lasch – Communitarianism or populism

Populism […] is for this reason, among others, that populism is to be preferred to communitarianism, which is too quick to compromise with the welfare state and to endorse its ideology of compassion […] Populism is the authentic voice of democracy. It assumes that individuals are entitles to respect until they prove themselves unworthy of it, but it insists that they take responsibility for themselves. It is reluctant to make allowances or to withhold judgement on the grounds that “society is to blame”. Populism is “judgemental”, to invoke a current adjective the pejorative use of which shows how far the capacity for discriminating judgement has been weakened by the moral climate of humanitarian “concern”.

Cornelius Castoriadis – Neither resignation nor archaism

( Posted in «L ‘Evenement du jeudi» 21 to 17 December 1995 under the title: «Ni» Esprit «ni Bourdieu: les intellos entre l’ archaisme et la fuite».) Both the political left and the trade unions have demonstrated their emptiness once again. They had nothing to say about the essence of the issues. The Socialist Party, loyal manager of the established system, asked for vague negotiations. The two trade unions, the CGT and FO, jumped on the train of the movement after it started, trying to restore their prestige. From this point of view, nothing new. Instead, what is new is the social awakening we observe […] There can be no solution without radical changes in the organization of society…

Niccolò Machiavelli – Excerpts on principality and republic

Where equality exists, it is impossible to set up a Principality, and, where it does not exist, impossible to set up a Republic […] Let, then, a republic be constituted where there exists or can be brought into being, notable equality; and a regime of the opposite type, i.e. a principality, where there is notable inequality. Otherwise what is done will lack proportion and will be of but short duration […].

Hannah Arendt «Zur Person» Full Interview

In this interview with the German journalist Günter Gaus (October the 28th, 1964) Hannah Arendt addresses a wide range of topics concerning philosophy, gender and politics. Subjects that are of particular importance (for Arendt) are also discussed, drawing on ideas expressed in her earlier works, such as The Origins of Totalitarianism (perhaps the most notable of Arendt’s work, focused on Judaism in Europe, imperialism and the two major totalitarian movements of the twentieth century; Nazism and Stalinism), her controversial Eichmann In Jerusalem and The Human Condition (one of the most important works for the understanding of the Greek polis and democracy)…

Cornelius Castoriadis, interview on the Greek public TV (ERT)

For Castoriadis, an autonomous society knows (consciously) that every institution is created by its members and no extrasocial force (such as the laws of ancestors, the laws of markets, the laws of history, laws of God) interferes in the common world of public sphere. The project of social and individual autonomy is a reflection of the progress and evolution of the spirit of Greek antiquity in the modern age. This spirit is enhanced when citizens become politically active; engaged in political movements that call into question the existing social institutionalized order, proposing more openness and broader participation.

Murray Bookchin – Thoughts on Libertarian Municipalism

This article was presented as the keynote speech to the conference “The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism” held in Plainfield, Vermont, U.S.A., on August 26-29, 1999. The speech has been revised for publication. This article originally appeared in Left Green Perspectives (Number 41, January 2000). Some issues have recently arisen in discussions of libertarian municipalism, and I would like to offer my views on them. One of the most important involves the distinction that should be drawn between libertarian municipalism and communitarianism, a distinction that is often lost in discussions of politics.

Cornelius Castoriadis – History as creation (Part III)

[Start from the first part (link) and the second (link)]. This is a further instalment, in English, of Marxisme et Teorie Revolutionnaire by Cornelius Castoriadis (Paul Cardan). The original French text appeared between 1961 and 1964) in issues 36-40 of the now defunct journal Socialisme ou Barbarie. Published in English by Solidarity London in 1966 (vol. IV, no.3) under the title ‘The fate of Marxism’. The impossible synthesis There is therefore a central problem: there are significations which go beyond the immediate significations experiences and lived in reality, and they are conveyed by causal mechanism which, in themselves, have no signification – or not that particular signification. Sensed by humanity

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