Category Archives: agonism

Yavor Tarinski: “Individuals and minorities in the framework of direct democracy”

Choice between participation and civil liberties is false: “There is no inherent contradiction between individual freedom and broad civic deliberation. Instead the one contributes for the development of the other. By its very nature direct democracy requires constant polemical debate and questioning of the ‘now’, which demands the creation and maintenance of colorful and pluralist social amalgam.”

Adrian Bonenberger: “The Left must Organize for Violence”

Arming for violence:  ‘But this does not mean that “the left” cannot turn things around. On the contrary, “the left” can and should begin militarizing, immediately. By taking back the means of violence that is every American’s Constitutional right, “the left” will be able to bargain again on its own terms—or, failing that, expose centrists as the collaborationist stooges they are, and “the right” as fascists, elitists, despots and authoritarians.’

Ezra Klein: “Trump thrives on heightening the divisions in American politics.”

Winning and governing by division:  ‘If Obama’s contention was that there’s no “them,” only “us,” Trump’s contention is that there really is a “them” — a “them” of immigrants and Muslims and terrorists and Black Lives Matter activists and elites and crooked journalists — and so it’s all the more important for the “us” to stick together.  This is how he won the primary. It’s how he won the election. It’s how he intends to govern. If Obamaism was about strength through unity, Trumpism is about power through division.’

‘The price of all this division is, well, division. It is unknown if Trump can hold together a governing majority with such low approval numbers, so little interest in conciliatory rhetoric or legislation, and such an angry, activated opposition. He may prove to be the president who convinces the Democratic coalition that voting in midterm elections really is important — and if so, he will have done the Republican Party terrible, lasting damage. Usually, the strategy of breaking the country in half is pursued by coalitions certain they represent the bigger half; in this case, it’s being tried by the coalition representing the smaller, albeit geographically more efficient, half.  But this is the experiment we began today. Obamaism is dead. Welcome to Trumpism.’


Paul Stoller: “Going Public: Resistance In The Age Of Trump”

“In the post-truth world of Trumplandia there is a clear need for scholars to go public—as a form of resistance. This need is particularly acute in the social sciences in which scholars attempt to make sense of the human condition. Why is there discrimination and hate and cruelty in the world? Why is income and social inequality so historically persistent? Why do people not act in their best interests? What are the social factors that lead to needless suffering and premature death? Why have our politics become so mean-spirited?”

Michael Quirk: “Eleven Theses on American Democracy”

Sanders’ proposed revolution “is a strong democratic socialist/social democratic challenge to the crumbling neoliberal doctrines of the present-day Democratic Party. It expresses the yearning of many for effective political participation, as opposed to the best government money can buy. It challenges the plutocracy in the name of both freedom and equality. But most importantly … it is a movement that does not begin and end with electoral politics, and even less with the prospects of a Sanders presidency.”

Chantal Mouffe: “The populist moment”

The recent success of European populist politics is the expression of a crisis of liberal-democratic politics:  “To live up to the challenge that the populist moment represents for the future of democracy what is needed is a politics that reestablishes the agonistic tension between the liberal logic and the democratic logic. … Conceived in a progressive way, populism, far from being a perversion of democracy, constitutes the most adequate political force to recover it and expand it in today’s Europe.”