The Revolt against the Elites, or the New Populist Wave: An Interview

Today, the anti-elitist political concept responds directly and effectively to social demands in Europe and the United States. And this anti-elitist or anti-system concept perfectly encompasses both the left and right, and, of course, the extremists. As different as they are, the new leaders are protesting and transgressive. Their demagoguery is marked by the language of transgression, provocation, and excess, based on the subversion of language or behavior codes: for them, this is a matter of drawing a clear distinction from the standard model policy. They can complain about being demonized by their opponents, while still trying to stay slightly demonized in order to maintain their attractiveness. This is the prerequisite to the seduction that they perform. This differentiates them from formatted and conformist leaders, who pursue respectability, which makes them somewhat watery.

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Castoriadis on the Crisis of Western Societies

With the publication of “The Crisis of Western Societies” (1982), Cornelius Castoriadis returns to an early theme in his work by proposing that over the previous twenty years Western societies had begun to enter a new phase, one that could be considered to be a situation of crisis. In his earlier political thought—associated with Socialisme ou Barbarie—Castoriadis identified signs of a transition into this new phase, marked by a widespread bureaucratization of political decision-making that emerged alongside a general turn toward the privatization of social life. At the time of his revisitation of this theme, Castoriadis’s work had undergone what would be the first of two ontological turns: a turn that involved a radical rethinking of historicity, which understood the historical dimension of society as a socially contingent mode of creation that is central to the constitution of the world of a given society. This article reflects an articulation of his previous theme of crisis with regard to this broader rethinking of historicity throughout the 1970s, which extended political analysis into more foundational issues of social institution and cultural expression.

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Johann Herder, Early Nineteenth-century Romanticism, and the Common Roots of Multiculturalism and Right-wing Populism

In today’s public life, marked by large-scale migration, welfare states under pressure, and a soaring right-wing scene, “multiculturalism” and “right-wing populism” remain at the center of political debate. It is assumed, moreover, that they stand in sharp opposition to one another. On the one hand, multiculturalism is widely acclaimed for being progressive, radical, and safely leftist. It is seen as a vital precondition for a modern society: tolerant, humble, and anti-racist. Anyone who opposes multiculturalism, then, will be deemed at best a conservative or reactionary—if not outright racist, xenophobe, nationalist, or fascist. On the other hand, we have right-wing populism. Due to its allegiance with racism, virulent nationalism, and fascism, right-wing populism has a dubious reputation. Multiculturalism, as it seems, is anything that right-wing populism is not.

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An Open Letter from Heshmat Tabarzadi to Western Governments

The following is an open letter from Heshmat Tabarzadi, Iran’s leading pro-democracy activist, to leaders of Western governments. The original Persian version is available at the Iran Democratic Front website. Translated by Banafsheh Zand.

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Michael Millerman on Alexander Dugin, Russia’s Ideological Mastermind

On The Agenda with Steve Paikin, Michael Millerman discusses the philosophy of Alexander Dugin and its influence on Vladimir Putin and contemporary Russian geopolitics. It’s a wide-ranging interview that covers Dugin’s theory of Eurasianism, his critique of the West and liberal democracy, the defense of Russia as a unique, non-Western civilization in its own right, the compatibility of Dugin’s anti-communism with the view that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical catastrophe, the difference between Western multiculturalism and the kind of multicivilizational diversity that Dugin advocates, and much more. Watch the full interview below. In addition to co-translating Dugin’s The Fourth Political Theory (Arktos, 2012), Michael is also a former Telos intern. You can read more of his writing in the TELOSscope archives.

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Adrian Pabst on Germany's Future, Twenty-Five Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall

On The Agenda with Steve Paikin, Telos Associate Editor Adrian Pabst and others discuss the transformation of Germany since the Fall of the Berlin Wall, which took place twenty-five years ago this month, as well as Germany’s future as a dominant political and economic force in Europe.

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