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Politics

Day of the Oprichnik, 16 Years Later

Day of the Oprichnik, 16 Years Later

Sorokin deserves credit for bothering to skewer such a marginal figure

This rhythm in Russia, of repression and violent revolution, is well known to Sorokin, who first emerged as a writer under Soviet rule in the 1980s, when he was no less irritating to the Kremlin. He’s not just a satirist but also a speculative fantasist, and he became angrily political after Putin came to power.

New Left Review

New Left Review

Who did neoliberalism?

The extent to which the iconic movements of the ’60s United States fed on existing liberalism and fed into neoliberalism is, however, all the more reason not to isolate the New Left as a singular cataclysm that destabilized the New Deal order. Far from a gently humming machine that could have kept operating indefinitely were it not for the intervention of a new generation of radicals, the United States’ simulacrum of social democracy was a fragile assemblage of competing intellectual tendencies and political coalition partners that was always threatening to fall apart.

Said of the Sixties

Said of the Sixties

Revising Said’s “out of place” self-image is a project worth pursuing further

Although Brennan’s book prioritizes Said’s English-department dramas, his longstanding anti-militarism is arguably at least as interesting a thread to follow, and one that seems destined to stay interesting longer.

Long, Invisible, and Highly Profitable

Long, Invisible, and Highly Profitable

Before the recent withdrawal, private contractors had greatly outnumbered US troops in Afghanistan

It is worth recalling that “we don’t do body counts” became the Bush administration’s unofficial motto in the early years of the global war on terror, and that reporting on Afghan civilian deaths did not even begin until 2007. In 2017 the Department of Defense stopped reporting the number of US military personnel deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, and in 2019, President Trump signed an executive order that revoked the requirement for US intelligence to report on civilian casualties outside of areas of “Active Hostilities.” Taken together, these actions indicate a clear preference to render both the nature of military interventions and their costs invisible.

The Ambitions of Illiberal Democracy

The Ambitions of Illiberal Democracy

How did the revolutionaries of 1989 become the nativists of the 2010s and 2020s?

Migration shapes nativist politics, but does not suffice to explain the wider crisis of liberalism. Exclusionary policies on immigration are being pursued in most European countries (with some notable exceptions, such as Portugal). Yet despite general anti-immigrant sentiment, it is only in the United Kingdom, Poland, and Hungary that nationalist governments have actively turned away from the European Union, and only in Budapest and Warsaw that open season has been declared on liberal civil society and the rule of law. Kaczyński and Orbán are special among Europe’s nationalists not for their chauvinism, but for their authoritarian actions against domestic opponents and the EU.

A Trip to Minsk

A Trip to Minsk

Marches and trials in Belarus

I was in a cab headed to the Courtyard of Changes when my friends texted to say that the police had just painted over the mural. But by the time I got there, building residents had almost finished repainting it. “This is the sixth time they’ve painted over it, and we always put it up again right away,” they told me, laughing.

Austere Moral Economy

Austere Moral Economy

AMLO’s politics of wanting it, badly

Mexican critics have raised concerns that AMLO and Morena are little more than a recycled PRI, pointing to AMLO’s formative political years and to Morena’s scale of control. What is different about AMLO, however, is his cult of personality and his distaste for the separation of powers.