What Europe Can Learn from Ukraine

As the European Parliament elections scheduled to take place in late May draw near, one should keep in mind the recent events in Ukraine. The protests that eventually toppled Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and his gang in late February were triggered by the government’s decision to prioritize good relations with Russia over the country’s possible integration into the European Union. Predictably, many Leftists reacted to the news about of the massive protests by patronizing the[ …]

Anger in Bosnia, but this time the people can read their leaders’ ethnic lies

Last week, cities were burning in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It all began in Tuzla, a city with a Muslim majority. The protests then spread to the capital, Sarajevo, and Zenica, but also Mostar, home to a large segment of the Croat population, and Banja Luka, capital of the Serb part of Bosnia. Thousands of enraged protesters occupied and set fire to government buildings. Although the situation then calmed down, an atmosphere of high tension still hangs in[ …]

Syria is a pseudo-struggle

All that was false in the idea and practice of humanitarian interventions exploded in a condensed form apropos Syria. OK, there is a bad dictator who is (allegedly) using poisonous gas against the population of his own state – but who is opposing his regime? It seems that whatever remained of the democratic-secular resistance is now more or less drowned in the mess of fundamentalist Islamist groups supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, with a[ …]

Deaths on the Nile

Now that the Egyptian Army has decided to break the stalemate and cleanse the public space of Islamist protesters, and the result is hundreds of deaths, one should first just imagine what an uproar this would have caused if the same bloodbath were to happen, say, in Iran. However, it is more urgent to take a step back and focus on the absent third party in the ongoing conflict: Where are the protesters who took[ …]

Trouble in Paradise

In his early writings, Marx described the German situation as one in which the only answer to particular problems was the universal solution: global revolution. This is a succinct expression of the difference between a reformist and a revolutionary period: in a reformist period, global revolution remains a dream which, if it does anything, merely lends weight to attempts to change things locally; in a revolutionary period, it becomes clear that nothing will improve without[ …]

Occupy Wall Street: what is to be done next?

What to do in the aftermath of the Occupy Wall Street movement, when the protests that started far away – in the Middle East, Greece, Spain, UK – reached the centre, and are now reinforced and rolling out all around the world? In a San Francisco echo of the OWS movement on 16 October 2011, a guy addressed the crowd with an invitation to participate in it as if it were a happening in the[ …]

The Revolt of the Salaried Bourgeoisie

How did Bill Gates become the richest man in America? His wealth has nothing to do with Microsoft producing good software at lower prices than its competitors, or ‘exploiting’ its workers more successfully (Microsoft pays its intellectual workers a relatively high salary). Millions of people still buy Microsoft software because Microsoft has imposed itself as an almost universal standard, practically monopolising the field, as one embodiment of what Marx called the ‘general intellect’, by which[ …]

Beyond the occupations

What to do after the occupations of Wall Street and beyond – the protests that started far away, reached the centre and are now, reinforced, rolling back around the world? One of the great dangers the protesters face is that they will fall in love with themselves. In a San Francisco echo of the Wall Street occupation this week, a man addressed the crowd with an invitation to participate as if it was a happening[ …]

Democracy is the enemy

The protests on Wall Street and at St Paul’s Cathedral are similar, Anne Applebaum wrote in the Washington Post, ‘in their lack of focus, in their inchoate nature, and above all in their refusal to engage with existing democratic institutions’. ‘Unlike the Egyptians in Tahrir Square,’ she went on, ‘to whom the London and New York protesters openly (and ridiculously) compare themselves, we have democratic institutions.’ Once you have reduced the Tahrir Square protests to[ …]

The Violent Silence of a New Beginning

What to do after the Wall Street occupation, after the protests that started far away (Middle East, Greece, Spain, UK) reached the center, and now, reinforced, roll back around the world? One of the great dangers the protesters face is that they will fall in love with themselves, with the nice time they are having in the “occupied” places. In a San Francisco echo of the Wall Street occupation on October 16, a guy invited[ …]