How WikiLeaks opened our eyes to the illusion of freedom

We remember anniversaries that mark the important events of our era: September 11 (not only the 2001 Twin Towers attack, but also the 1973 military coup against Allende in Chile), D-day, etc. Maybe another date should be added to this list: 19 June. Most of us like to take a stroll during the day to get a breath of fresh air. There must be a good reason for those who cannot do it – maybe[ …]

China’s Valley of Tears

The explosion of capitalism in China has many Westerners asking when political democracy–as the “natural” accompaniment of capitalism–will emerge. But a closer look quickly dispels any such hope. Modern-day China is not an oriental-despotic distortion of capitalism, but rather the repetition of capitalism’s development in Europe itself. In the early modern era, most European states were far from democratic. And if they were democratic (as was the case of the Netherlands during the 17th century),[ …]

The Not-So-Quiet American

The Iraqi elections appear to authenticate the statement George W. Bush made in his January inauguration speech: “America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains or that women welcome humiliation and servitude.” It is difficult to disagree with Bush here: He effectively did touch the Achilles’ heel of many Western progressives, who were often disarmed by the one good argument, repeatedly evoked by Christopher Hitchens, for the war against Iraq: The majority of[ …]

The Liberal Waterloo

The first reaction of progressives to Bush’s second victory was that of despair, even fear: The last four years were not just a bad dream. The nightmarish coalition of big business and fundamentalist populism will roll on, as Bush pursues his agenda with new gusto, nominating conservative judges to the Supreme Court, invading the next country after Iraq, and pushing liberalism in the United States one step closer to extinction. However, this emotional reaction is[ …]

From Joyce-the-Symptom to the Symptom of Power

What does Lacan’s thesis on “Joyce-the-symptom” aim at? Joyce’s famous statement that he wrote Finnegans Wake in order to keep literary historians busy for the next 400 years has to be read against the background of Lacan’s assertion that, within a psychoanalytic cure, a symptom is always addressed at the analyst and as such points forward towards its interpretation. The “modernism” of Joyce resides in the fact that his works, at least Ulysses and Finnegans[ …]

Es gibt keinen Staat in Europa (There is no state in Europe)

For many long years in left-wing (and not only left-wing) mythology the State appeared as the original source of Evil, as a living dead sponging off the body of the community. The repressive, particularly ideological machinery of the State was presented as the process of supervising and maintaining discipline, as armour shaping the healthy body of the community. The utopian perspective, which henceforth opened up towards both the radical left-wing as well as the antiliberal[ …]