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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.

A Critique of the Austerity Proposal put forward by Syriza for Greece, and an Alternative.

It is increasingly likely although not a done deal that Greece will come to an agreement with the 19 European Union countries that use the Euro, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (the troika) in the next week or so. The Greek proposal which can be found on the New York Times website for July 10, 2015 is similar to what the European Union proposed last week and that Greek voters overwhelmingly voted no to last Sunday, July 5th, 2015. There will be a new three year loan to the Greek government of $59 billion dollars and there will be an infusion of Euros into Greek banks so that they can reopen and make loans…

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.

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 […].

The Greek December Revolt and its Current Relevance

The Greek uprising of 2008 (which started after the assassination of the 15 year old schoolboy, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, in Exarcheia by a police officer) could undoubtedly be considered a milestone in contemporary Greek history, as a par excellence populist event that marked not only the political course of the country but also shaped the entire European socio-political landscape. Unlike other urban revolts that took place in the European continent during the past two decades – such as the Paris uprising (2005) and the London riots (2011) – the December unrest carries a peculiar message…

European integration: knowing the value of everything but the price of nothing!

European integration has failed not only to eliminate cultural divisions, but also to unite the peoples of Europe themselves; as we have clearly witnessed within the past five years, European nations have massively begun to turn one against another, especially the powerful countries of the North against the devastated South, since national antagonisms started to penetrate the economic and political sphere. But what practically matters right now is the rapprochement of some key concepts, in order to shift to a decentralized paradigm of democratic governance, focusing on the role of communal identity and municipality, and above all on the project of de-growth…

More than an incident of depression: a counter-comment on the Germanwings crash

A genuine public space that would have nothing to do with parliamentary lobbying, the markets or society as a “pseudo-public realm … characterised by a combination of conformity and egocentricity” (Canovan, p. 117) and dominated by ‘social events’ and material interests, is necessary in order to begin the seemingly impossible work of change: institutional, cultural, and of collective and personal conscience […] How do we define the words holiday, free time, creative work? By simply posing and beginning to discuss these questions in public, a space and a possibility open up for the re-evaluation…

Political apathy as a symptom

Political apathy is a phenomenon that preoccupied (and still preoccupies) many intellectuals and social scientists. It is a pathological symptom of a society that loses its creativity and sets the foundations of its decay. If we attempt to give a definition of political apathy, we would say that it is the condition where human beings cease to function as active political animals, they cease to consider themselves able to take responsibility for making decisions that determine their lives, finally cease to become exponents of a different social institution, ignoring any sense of autonomy [1]. Instead they adopt a passive stance characterized by mass behaviour, conformity, introversion and excessive individualism or as Cornelius Castoriadis (2001) says…

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