Leaving Democracy to the Experts

On June 19, the second anniversary of Julian Assange’s confinement to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, WikiLeaks rendered public the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex. The document was classified not only during TISA negotiations, but for five years after it enters into force. While the TISA negotiations have not been censored outright, they have been barely mentioned in the media— a marginalization and secrecy that are in[ …]

The simple courage of decision: a leftist tribute to Thatcher

In the last pages of his monumental Second World War, Winston Churchill ponders on the enigma of a military decision: after the specialists (economic and military analysts, psychologists, meteorologists) propose their analysis, somebody must assume the simple and for that very reason most difficult act of transposing this complex multitude into a simple “Yes” or “No”. We shall attack, we continue to wait… This gesture, which can never be fully grounded in reasons, is that[ …]

Can you give my son a job?

Khrushchev’s speech in 1956 denouncing Stalin’s crimes was a political act from which, as his biographer William Taubman put it, ‘the Soviet regime never fully recovered, and neither did he.’ Although it was plainly opportunistic, there was just as plainly more to it than that, a kind of reckless excess that cannot be accounted for in terms of political strategy. The speech so undermined the dogma of infallible leadership that the entire nomenklatura sank into[ …]

How Much Democracy Is Too Much?

Democracy is not merely the “power of, by, and for the people.” It is not enough just to claim that, in democracy, the will and the interests (the two in no way automatically coincide) of the large majority determine state decisions. Democracy—in the way the term is used today—concerns, above all, formal legalism. Its minimal definition is the unconditional adherence to a certain set of formal rules which guarantee that antagonisms are fully absorbed into[ …]