Archive

Politics

7 April 2014

The drastic turn in Canadian politics and policy raises some urgent questions. Why hasn’t the population stopped the attack on its public services? Why have left-leaning parties lost ground at the polls while Harper and his ilk continue getting reelected? Why, in a society with a more collectively oriented spirit, has the political discourse taken a sharp turn to the right? More…

10 March 2014

Come celebrate Utopia or Bust, A new piece of must-read polemic from n+1 editor Benjamin Kunkel More…

11 February 2014

Even with an uncontrolled addiction and a volatile supply of opiates, Hoffman was able to maintain a schedule and rate of productivity that would be challenging for most sober people. But that speaks to heroin’s chief paradox—while its use is less likely to publicly stigmatize you as an addict through erratic behaviors, it’s far more likely to kill you. Virtually every celebrity overdose involves some kind of opiate trigger. More…

5 February 2014

The trial will probably be after the Olympics. They hope the Games will take place and the international community will stop worrying about the problems of gays in Russia. Although I’m sure it won’t be that way. Three or four people have already been convicted under this law, the latest as recently as January 30. More…

21 January 2014


In fact, it was obvious that the man in front of us was nothing but an unscrupulous Komsomol careerist with a dishonest smile, someone who’d never look you in the eye, and whose future was very hazy indeed. When he left, Professor Zorin drove home the point for those of us who hadn’t caught on yet: “Do you realize how many thousands of dollars a minute this man’s time costs? And he spent them with us, by the way.” More…

8 November 2013

Society is distinct from the economy in that no direct monetary rewards flow from participation. Being popular may help you make money, and having money may in turn make you popular, but no one is paid a fee for his personal popularity, nor can I pay people to like me. The autonomy of society is limited but nevertheless real. More…

25 September 2013

It is possible to tolerate anything as long as it affects you alone. But the method of collective correction at the prison is something else. It means that your unit, or even the entire prison, has to endure your punishment along with you. The most vile thing of all is that this includes people you’ve come to care about. More…

7 August 2013

No, I can’t really challenge or logic chop Peter — A) Philosophers have leisure, B) Soldiers have leisure, C) Soldiers are, ergo, now philosophers; spot the fallacy. Sneering seems beside the point. I too once played at war across the toy-strewn floor of my bedroom and eagerly read books with titles like Tactical Genius in Battle. More…

26 July 2013

What Navalny’s anticorruption platform is not—and the repeated insistence that if good, moral people were in charge of the government, instead of bad, immoral people, things would be entirely different—is a politics. Politics begins where corruption ends. What do you do with the funds freed up by a no longer corrupt system? How do you distribute them? More…

26 July 2013

The trial and subsequent miraculous release of Alexei Navalny have caused an outburst of anger in the democratic community, followed by great celebration. But who has really benefited from the behind-the-scenes games and sincere protests surrounding this opposition leader? We are not for Navalny—we are against repression. More…

20 June 2013

Gestures of pure art are really not useful right now . . . your privileges, such as they are, whether of being “straight,” that is, a member of the majority, or the privilege of being an author, needs to be used without any shame or shyness, and without being afraid of didacticism—in some part on behalf of those whose much more serious and dangerous heroic acts no one will ever describe or record. More…

19 June 2013

“Pussy Riot is in the Gulag. It’s crazy! It’s a labor camp!” some guy said to me at a bar in Brooklyn a few months ago. To hear him talk, you’d think he’d never imagined prison, pre–Pussy Riot. “Labor camp” sounds so authoritarian, so retrograde and scary (and it is), but in truth almost all prisons are “labor camps.” More…

22 May 2013

Despite our generalized faith in their power to predict, when systemic disaster strikes we continue to accept experts’ claims that the cataclysm was an unforeseeable “act of god”. … But this extrapolation overestimates our ability to statistically manage reality’s irreducible complexity and to eliminate uncertainty. The result is a world well prepared for the regularly occurring dangers of modern life, but woefully fragile to the rare, extreme events that drive history. More…

15 May 2013

By 2008, thousands of middle-class and rich people in Juarez, desperate to avoid shakedowns, murders, and kidnappings by cartel hit men, had begun packing up and fleeing to El Paso, where they bought houses and opened businesses. Their migration kept the northern side of the border economically afloat and turned Juarez into a pariah city—or worse, a ghost city that El Pasoans ceased thinking about. More…

22 April 2013

My days are probably least different from yours on occasions of special public horror: another gun massacre, a bombing on American soil, the deadly explosion of a fertilizer plant. And like nearly everyone else I was angry and upset all last week, if not always for universal reasons. On Monday morning I read testimony in the Times from one of the hunger strikers indefinitely detained, so far without trial, at Guantanamo Bay, about his painful force-feeding. More…

20 March 2013

Two sets of images bookend our Iraq War. First, there were the photographs of the naked protests of men and women, in what seemed to be the most ineffectual or deliberately trivial dissent, at a time when not even articulate dissent on a mass scale could stop the war. Now, we see photographs of the naked, piled bodies of men, sandbags on their heads, and Americans laughing at them. More…

Originally published in Issue 1: Negation

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4 February 2013

The latest installment of the n+1 podcast looks back to December 11, to a daylong conference about the ongoing Occupy movement, Occupy Onwards. This, the first of the four panels, was called “The Banks: What Can Be Done?” It featured panelists Julia Ott of The New School, Doug Henwood of Left Business Observer, and Carne Ross of the OWS Alternative Banking Group, and was moderated by n+1 and Occupy Gazette editor Keith Gessen. More…

17 December 2012

The purpose of this trial is to have a reckoning with Breivik, to go through his actions and try to understand them. What happened, how, and why? There is also the problem of deciding an appropriate sentence — either sanity and an initial term of twenty-one years in a penal institution (likely followed by many more) or insanity and commitment to a mental ward. More…

Originally published in Issue 15: Amnesty

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7 November 2012

In its 1960s contraception rulings and the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the Court used the language of privacy to identify several relationships that merited special protection from state interference. The Court’s decisions were a substantive victory for women’s access to reproductive health care. But its focus on privacy put legal liberals in the increasingly common position of supporting the retreat of public power. More…

11 October 2012

Life in many working-class areas of London has remained difficult. Local groups have reported repeated police raids and a tightening of policing. A friend who attended some of the court cases put me in touch with George, a 44-year-old black man from London who was arrested in a raid on his home some weeks after the riots. I went to his house in East London, and we spoke for a couple of hours in his living room. More…

13 August 2012

On August 8, the three members of Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot delivered their closing statements at the Moscow Khamovniki District Court. Charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were first arrested on March 3, a day before the controversial re-election of Vladimir Putin. More…

8 June 2012

The Occupy Frankfurt camp has existed for seven months, directly in front of the ECB. Despite the addition of as many as 5,000 on-duty policemen per shift, entry bans for potential rioters, and the fact that Occupy is a peaceful organization in its declared principles, someone suddenly decided that we were a threat to the business of the ECB and other Frankfurt banks, and a “forbidden zone” was established in Frankfurt. More…

6 June 2012

That was when the full force of the SPVM riot squad—some 100 armed and armored cops backed by the SPVM mounted unit—charged us. Someone up ahead had thrown a Molotov cocktail at the riot line, and now the police were determined to punish us all. Later the police claimed they had warned us three times that the march was illegal and had asked us to disperse. I never heard them. More…

5 June 2012

The next night, at 8 PM, when the music started again, my partner and I took our daughter down into the street. We strolled around the neighborhood, seeing friends and meeting strangers while the music got louder and louder, magnetically bringing more and more people together. Eventually one hundred of us were lined up along St. Viateur. More…

3 February 2012

The wife of an activist who died under strange circumstances,/ though more likely than not it was an accident,/ says to me that she literally finds herself shaking/ from everything that’s going on, the arrests and the interrogations of activists . . . / I’m sure you know the story of N, she says./ A labor activist, they planted drugs on him, he got five years. More…

16 December 2011

The global justice movement—so inspiring and innovative for a time, and based on a sweeping critique of how global trade agreements were undermining democracy, worker’s rights, and the environment—faded quickly after September 11. A planned mass mobilization for late September 2001 against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund was called off when the meetings themselves were canceled. More…

26 August 2011

It is not an accident that the term “IMF riots” has become a social science cliché, or that Cameron’s public sector cuts mirror an IMF structural adjustment program. Gary Younge, writing for the Guardian, noted that serious social unrest was predicted “not just by the left but by, among others, the guardians of global capital.” Nick Clegg, now deputy prime minister, had predicted “Greek-style unrest.” More…

18 August 2011

I went down to the courthouse to take a look at him. The younger journalists were camped out on the floor, and the court officers had set up a velvet rope in front of the door. This led to a certain amount of posturing. “Don’t you know who I am?” one of the Newsweek reporters asked a bailiff, unconsciously echoing what Strauss-Kahn is supposed to have asked the maid. More…

13 August 2011

More…

20 May 2011

If you have been following the news out of Wisconsin—the state that, though I have not lived in it for over a decade, I stubbornly insist on continuing to call “home”—then you probably already know that the recent State Supreme Court election, which pitted incumbent Justice David Prosser against a former assistant state attorney general named JoAnne Kloppenburg, was more than just that. More…

11 March 2011

At first the question was whether he was a lone wolf or a Tea Party operative, or at least influenced by the Tea Party, or perhaps just by our culture of hate, the vitriolic rhetoric of our culture of hate, for which either the former vice presidential candidate-turned-reality-television-star or people on “both sides” are to blame. More…

9 March 2011

January 25th was warm and sunny, the omnipresent Cairo traffic eerily absent. A few friends and I walked outside and counted the ordered lines of police stationed around Tahrir Square. We had read reports of the prior protests in Cairo: smaller numbers than expected, haphazardly formed, quickly shut down. More…

7 February 2011

All the conditions that nurtured a powerful left in California have virtually disappeared. Today, the educational plans of the Sixties administrators read like fables, while California’s legendary liberal consensus has unraveled to the extent that no Orange County conservative would identify with the Ronald Reagan who, as governor, signed into law the largest tax increase in California’s history. More…

14 June 2010

In all this the vuvuzela reminds us that soccer is a black and working-class sport in a country whose cricket and rugby teams, among the best in the world, are still very much the extension of a privileged and mostly white sports infrastructure. More…

4 June 2010

Of all classic capitalist problems—income inequality, imperialism, the class character of the state—mass unemployment has probably been the one to trouble living Americans least. From the establishment of FDR’s war economy through the end of the so-called golden age of capitalism in the early 1970s, the US matched other major economies in functioning at close to full employment. More…

Originally published in Issue 9: Bad Money

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13 May 2010

There are also large numbers of people wearing green camouflage outfits emblazoned with red armbands. These were recruited via advertisements promising a salary of 1,000 RMB a month (which is more than the average factory worker or high school teacher gets) in return for an ill-defined role in keeping order: most have received little or no training, and in general seem aimless. More…

31 January 2010

It was at a conference some twenty-eight years ago, just before the moderator’s opening remarks, that the Rome-born architect and theorist Bruno Zevi pushed back from the roundtable and rose from his seat to declare, “I denounce the presence at this symposium of the fascist Philip Johnson.” The audience members shifted nervously in their chairs. More…

9 October 2009

Last week, the Daily Telegraph reported that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Holocaust-denier, Iranian president, was descended from Jews. It was revealed that his family’s original name, abandoned in the early 1950s, was Sabourjian, which the newspaper maintained was a common Persian Jewish surname meaning “weaver of the sabour,” sabour meaning “prayershawl.” More…

14 September 2009

Many things changed in the twentieth century. No change was more momentous and utopian than that men could choose men for love objects, and women choose women, to remake the sexual household. If the household organization of three thousand years of recorded history could be altered simply in the interest of what people wanted, in the interest of desire, then anything could be changed. More…

Originally published in Issue 8: Recessional

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14 September 2009

We’ll probably see more unemployment, we’ll certainly see more bankruptcies. We know damage has been inflicted by the credit heart attack; we know damage has been inflicted by the drop in demand, the drop in commodity prices. You know what it’s like? It’s like somebody drops a depth charge onto a submarine, and you hear a big explosion, but you don’t know what’s happening. More…

Originally published in Issue 8: Recessional

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22 April 2009

Despite its austerely philosophical agenda, the conference was haunted by the fact that, as sociologist Alberto Toscano put it, “the Idea of communism cannot be separated from the problem, if not the program, of its realization.” More…

18 March 2008

There are people whom capitalism pretends to cherish by never letting them rest; others that capitalism has no use for at all; and the narrow, specialized labors of both groups are pressed into the service of heaping up goods for those who can hardly enjoy them—an arrangement the price of which is global warming. The common term for this collective situation is “freedom.” More…

Originally published in Issue 6: Mainstream

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7 February 2008

Hitler lives in Uruguay. Yes. In this eastern republic of South America lives a Hitler Aguirre and a Hitler da Silva. There’s Hitler Pereira and Hitler Edén Ganoso. There’s even a Hitler de los Santos—“of the Saints.” To be called by the surname of the perpetrator of the worst genocide of the twentieth century—that is, Hitler—wouldn’t that give one cause for shame? More…

7 February 2008

Hitler vive en Uruguay. Sí. En esta república oriental de Sudamérica viven Hitler Aguirre y Hitler da Silva. Viven Hitler Pereira y Hitler Edén Ganoso. Vive hasta un Hitler de los Santos. Llamarse como se apellidó el mayor genocida del siglo XX, o sea Hitles, ¿no es acaso una razón para vivir avergonzado? More…

4 December 2007

We must reject the coercive rhetoric of constant growth, and stop thinking of our way of life (which is so anomalous in the history of the world, and even in the world today) as immutable. This is not a moral challenge, but a practical and philosophical one. Can we think of ourselves sufficiently differently to save ourselves? More…

Originally published in Issue 6: Mainstream

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2 December 2007

No social change is possible without a great deal of uncertainty, and even the production of insecurity. While it may seem odd to take aim at environmentalism while the uglier war on terror still presides, it is because we wish to move past the politics of fear that we should subject all the alternatives to rigorous scrutiny. More…

Originally published in Issue 6: Mainstream

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14 February 2005

The bad effects of the two-party system, if anyone doubted these, are now undeniable. Since four years ago, and for who knows how many years to come, a large minority of voters is utterly without power at the federal level. The tyranny of the majority is the law of the land, and the scandal is as plain as your face. More…

Originally published in Issue 2: Happiness

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14 February 2005

The Hindu nationalists used the folksy symbols of Hinduism even as they struck deals with big businessmen and multinational corporations. They pointed to various terrorist and Islamic fundamentalist threats to India, and promised to restore the national virility that a “liberal and secular elite” had apparently sapped. More…

Originally published in Issue 2: Happiness

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Image: Joshua Boulet, "Tent City."