“Today’s political and social conditions are highly unjust and therefore, we need to fight them with the greatest energy possible.” And: “Performance needs to be worthwhile again”. These are not quotations from the Social Democratic candidate for chancellor, Martin Schulz.
The German singer Rio Reiser once envisioned his hypothetical kingdom with these lyrics: “I’d travel the world including the USA, I’d like to bite Ronald Reagans calves like a doggie. I would change my crown daily, would bathe twice. The German Army would only play the pop charts…”.
Populism is the current trending topic when one explains politics in Western countries. Though it is not a new concept, it is rising in Europe and it also managed to win hearts and minds of American people last year who chose Donald Trump to be the 45th president of the United States.
“The residents of the East German village Unterleuten didn’t read the papers, didn’t watch TV, didn’t use the World Wide Web. Politicians didn’t pay attention to Unterleuten – why would Unterleuten pay attention to politics? The village was missing stores, doctors, clergymen, the postal service, a pharmacy, as well as a school – it didn’t have sewerage either.” Juli Zeh hereby hits the bull’s eye.
Just over a week ago the UK’s latest Prime Minister was revealed. The leadership contest, sparked by the country’s vote to leave the EU and expected to last weeks, was over in just days. Is this a reflection of the UK’s political environment post Brexit? Matthew Amroliwala from the BBC reflects on covering the day David Cameron waved good bye and Theresa May embarked on her premiership.
We do not know whether Brexit will bring about more harm or benefit for Europe. It is a sad moment to see a great European country leaving the Union, and it also raises questions about the future of the UK as a mid-ranked European power and, indeed, as a united kingdom. The EU may come out of this turmoil institutionally strengthened, and its Eastern member states may be especially better off.
Recently I read two seemingly contradictory ‘letters to the editor’ in a daily paper, I frequent regularly: “We always claimed that the boom of the East is really happening in the West,” a citizen from Wittstock in Brandenburg wrote. A reader from a city in North-Rhine-Westphalia, on the other hand, criticized my party DIE LINKE for a “policy which focuses too strongly on the Eastern Germany.”
The German teacher Friedrich Froebel founded an educational establishment in the East-German Keilhau, Thuringia, about two hundred years ago. His credo at the time: “Children shall not be safeguarded or indoctrinated, but shall happily grow in the sunlight, gain strength and develop.” And 200 years later? Well, today we can hardly ignore the encompassing concern of society for our offspring.
The possibility of a “Europe” worth dreaming of was saved, for sure. But Europe didn’t save itself. Greece took a bullet for the rest of us.
Yanis Varoufakis dubbed himself an “erratic Marxist” and presented his interpretation of Marx in detail. But his dialectical spirit is unlikely to succeed.
Impact Investing, an investment “into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return” is being hyped right now. Go to any conference related to investing and it will be mentioned at some point. The landscape is growing with new funds emerging.
The specifics of Dutch history have lead to a Netherlands which, despite a modern government active in social issues, maintains a strong culture of private charitable giving.
The culture of charity and giving in the UK is shaped by three key factors: state structures, citizens’ religious backgrounds, and the country’s industrial and colonial history.
Zakat is a form of alms mandated by Islamic scripture. The coordination of this massive giving project has taken several forms throughout history. In today’s western world, Muslim charities play a central role.
“The Beautiful is not different from the Good: The Beautiful is the Good that shows itself to us pleasingly veiled. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
What is the history of salon culture? How did the salon contribute to the formation of a European public sphere? In what ways did salons create new forms of community through culture and ideas? What lessons can be learned for communication, discursive action and human interaction today? These are questions we must consider in envisioning new forms of participatory democracy in the 21 st century.
The notion of the universality of human rights is morally undeniable. Why do we struggle to act on them?
Throughout spring 2016, the news coverage on war-torn Syria had been without doubt overwhelmingly dominated by the strong symbolic message sent by the Damascene regime by gaining ground against Islamic State as it recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra in the Syrian desert. Within the broader picture, the incident also provides valuable insight into a less tangible strategic enterprise of Russia.
Despite his conservative critics, Obama’s opening to Cuba is as significant as Nixon’s opening to China in 1972. The arguments against this step forward just don’t pass muster.
President Obama seeks to strengthen his historical legacy by reaching out to Cuba, but can he succeed where Presidents Ford and Carter have failed?
The U.S. embargo of Cuba is less a political issue than a humanitarian one. The Revolution is ending, and the U.S. must be present to help the Cuban people choose their future freely.