Thinking Like a Member-State
In the second of two pieces on the meanings of Brexit, Bickerton examines the outcomes of the UK’s 2016–20 upheaval through the concept of the ‘member-state’, its elites tied to transnational regimes, while a void gapes between politicians and voters. Even after quitting the EU, does Britain remain a ‘member’ in this sense?
A comparative engagement with Tom Hazeldine’s The Northern Question, setting the trajectory of England’s former industrial powerhouse against that of Belgium’s Wallonia. Rustbelt regions, embedded in national contexts beset by persistent geographical polarizations, yet stubbornly consequential for their political outcomes.
A periodization of European social policy, from attempts to manage the militant labour upsurge of the late 1960s to a supra-national lever for neoliberal restructuring, by way of Maastricht’s Social Protocol. The upshot: a deleterious relocation of social-policy battles from the terrain of welfare-state building to the fields of fiscal policy and immigration.
Against panegyrics to a frictionless, post-national EU polity, evidence from Europe’s multiple borders. Greece as gauge of an emerging order, in which interior and exterior tangle in overlapping jurisdictions and enforcement zones, ultimately dependent on Libyan warlords, Turkish prisons and the mass graves of the Mediterranean.
Conceptions of a revolution from the right in the era of European fascism, and an activist overcoming of conservative dejection at the fate of the West. Political and philosophical imaginings of an alternate capitalist modernity, capable of settling accounts with decadence and Bolshevism.
The Soul of the Eurozone
The character, career and intellectual output of Europe’s most consequential politician, Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble—longest-standing member of parliament in his country’s history, superintendent of national reunification and drill-master of continental austerity, obliged to serve in the shadow of a muddle-through mediocrity.
How to assess the latest set-back for the European Union: the vote to leave by its second-largest state? Complex determinants of the Brexit protest—party-political contingencies played out against topographies of class and sub-national disaffection—met by single-minded condemnation of it by the global elite.
Europe’s Other Periphery
The fate of the East European economies in the transition from COMECON to EU. From post-communist slump to the politics of austerity, by way of industrial decline, wage collapses, external debt and buy-outs. The emergence of new dependencies, financial and industrial.
Syriza’s Rise and Fall
Why did the Tsipras government sign up to a third Memorandum, within days of the massive popular rejection of austerity in the July 2015 referendum? Stathis Kouvelakis tracks Syriza’s repositioning since 2012 and its self-imprisonment inside the single-currency regime.
Capitalisms After Communism
A leading Hungarian sociologist revises Weber’s notion of prebendal and patrimonial regimes to classify the new capitalist orders of the former Second World. Are governments from Budapest to Beijing now converging on the same models of politicized economy?
Why the Euro Divides Europe
A landmark critique of Smithian notions of money as neutral medium of exchange, naturalized in social theory from Parsons to Habermas. Arguing instead for Weber’s concept of money as weapon in the market struggle, Wolfgang Streeck reveals how the single currency has transformed Europe’s qualitative horizontal diversity into quantitative vertical inequality.
The Political State of the Union
Debt, deflation and stagnation have now become the familiar economic stigmata of the EU. But what of its political distortions? A survey of the three principal—and steadily worsening—imbalances in the outcome of European integration: the oligarchic cast of its governors, the lop-sided rise of Germany, and the declining autonomy of the Union as a whole in the North Atlantic universe.
The European Vortex
Global economic turmoil has exposed the structural flaws in the single currency. Amid deepening divergences between industrial north and debt-laden south, Michel Aglietta assesses the Eurozone’s chances of recovery, and the impact of its continued travails on the world economy.
Learning from Small Nations
Leading scholar of national questions discusses his personal trajectory and theoretical development, against the backdrop of the Czech experience. Sociological and historical roots of national feeling, and comparative perspectives on their European destinies.
A Lockean Europe?
Liberalization and its discontents seen in the longue durée—the struggle of late-coming statist contenders against an Anglophone heartland, now subsuming Europe in its Lockean embrace. Kees van der Pijl tracks the removal of macro-economic questions from democratic decision-making as central precondition for the EU’s neoliberal turn.
From Buddenbrooks to Babbitt?
Donald Sassoon on Victoria de Grazia, Irresistible Empire: America’s Advance Through 20th-Century Europe. How the US reshaped European ideals of consumption and culture, from the stately world of Thomas Mann to that of McDonald’s and José Bové. All the way from the club to the kitchen, learning from Duluth and San Bernardino.
Capital and Social Europe
What positive programme can the Left propose for a ‘social Europe’, against the Anglo-Saxon model? Robin Blackburn outlines first steps towards a new financial regime aimed at boosting resources for sustainable health and retirement provision, with a share levy on corporations, redistributed across the continent.
Letter from America
Why does a malcontent Europe not simply sue for union with the global hegemon, discarding its wisps of independence to exchange proud membership of the American Empire for today’s sullen servility? A jeu d’esprit from the 18th century in the caustic spirit of S*** and V***.