France: the choice

Given the stress that French capital is under, and Thatcherite François Fillon’s tarnished candidacy, heterodox economist Michael Roberts argues that political upstart and centrist Emmanuel Macron is the only viable presidential candidate that can secure a pro-EU, pro-neoliberal order amongst the anti-systemic alternatives. Some valuable pre-election analysis:

Michael Roberts Blog

It’s only a week to go before the first round of the French presidential election and it seems that the race is wide open.  Only two candidates can take part in the second round in May.  But who will those two be?  Extreme right-wing Front National candidate Marine Le Pen has been the front runner in the polls over the last year, but her support has been slipping.  Ex-socialist minister and centrist darling of the bourgeois media, Emmanuel Macron is neck and neck with Le Pen, both at around 22-23%.  The official conservative (Republican) candidate Francois Fillon should be ahead, but he has been damaged by the expenses scandal of his wife and children getting huge government-funded salaries for parliamentary work which they did not do.  Even so, Fillon is getting about 18-19% share of those saying they will vote.  The big surprise in the last few weeks had been…

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Postmodernism: Periodisation, Permutations & Spectres

Postmodernism as a philosophy is most generally associated with two fundamental principles: anti-foundationalism and anti-essentialism. These may be characterised as the repudiation of metaphysics, that is, of any ultimate system of meaning in nature or the universe; and as the struggle against any normative idea of human nature. It promotes a skepticism toward sweeping universal, absolute… Continue reading Postmodernism: Periodisation, Permutations & Spectres

Theoretical Reflections on the State in the Era of Trump

How 'Deep' is Your State? A spate of articles and conversations have been circulating social media feeds that have re-aligned focus on the 'deep state' and its shadowy machinations. It is used to explain how the Trump administration's first major scandal - the resignation of Michael Flynn as national security advisor - was the result of a powerful, institutional offensive. At the… Continue reading Theoretical Reflections on the State in the Era of Trump

Minimalism At Home, Maximalism abroad: The Curious Case of Islamophobic Anti-Islamophobia

P U L S E

8f54ed819732badc8cd3e9fdba223d30 Artwork by Molly Crabapple 

Every once in a while, this space christened the Left—of whose foundational texts and core values I largely hold in regard—feels like a foreign place. The paradox is that occupying a place on the Left, a priori, is “supposed” to feel like refuge. 

A curious phenomenon I’ve come across on the Left is a politics of pro-Muslim islamophobia. Take for instance Angela Merkel’s proposition to ban the Niqab, or the face-veil. Of course, a ban would be an affront to egalitarian ideals. And a ban should be very much be opposed. But one noticeable knee-jerk reaction—even cliche—that many progressives have produced is that such an initiative would alienate German—and by extension all—Muslims, if not impel them to active opposition or radicalization. This is profoundly mistaken. There is no data that supports such a conclusion.

But it’s worth noting, first, the problematic nature of the underlying presumption: that…

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