Tracy Burr Strong died on May 11th. Tracy was one of the greatest contemporary political theorists with an extraordinary range. His first book, Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration (1975) is still read widely as both a contribution to Nietzsche studies and to political thinking more broadly. His latest book, Learning One’s Native Tongue, argues that the essence of American citizenship is not simply a matter of who can vote or whom has rights.
Anne Applebaum tells the stories of Wolfgang Leonhard and Markus Wolf. Both were sons of prominent German Communist families who were educated in the Soviet Union and were roommates in the same military camp. They had similar ideological educations and both came to understand that the communist system behind the Iron Curtain was failing to deliver on its utopian promise. But then their paths diverged.
Many have been waiting and wondering when, and if, leaders would emerge from the conservative strongholds like the military and the Republican Party to call out the childishness, narcissism, and boorishness that makes Donald Trump such a singularly disastrous President. It seems that the President’s decision to use the U.S. military to clear away protesters so he could have a photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church...
Thirty-one years ago today the Chinese People’s Liberation Army forcibly cleared democracy protesters from Tiananmen Square. Marking that anniversary has been banned in China (something I found out the hard way when I foolishly wore an Amnesty International t-shirt onto Tiananmen Square on June 4th, 1991 and nearly got arrested).
Masha Gessen’s newest book argues that Donald Trump is paving the way for the end of American democracy and the rise of autocracy. Whether Gessen is right, their argument about how President Trump attacks language attacks a shared world of meaning necessary for democracy is right. Gessen founds their argument on insights from Hannah Arendt...
I’ve written about the controversy over the prosecution of Michael Flynn. On the one hand, the effort by the Trump administration to drop charges against Flynn smacks of an authoritarian interference with the independent judiciary and the rule of law. On the other hand, there are questions about the original prosecution itself as an overreach by security agencies.
Melvin Rogers argues that the protests and riots convulsing Minneapolis and the United States are about more than the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman. “The anger and rage on display in Minneapolis is not only about police violence, however. It is taking place against a broad horizon of state violence, which among other things takes the form of utter disregard for the pain of black Americans.”
In an earlier post about Michael Flynn, I linked to Matt Taibbi’s essay arguing that Flynn was mistakenly prosecuted by an overzealous FBI. Now Eli Lake has published a detailed and devastating account of the way the FBI railroaded Flynn. The importance of these stories is that the resistance to Trump continues to put its faith in the FBI and other institutions and to base its case against President Trump on the...
The AIDS activist and playwright Larry Kramer died this week. Kramer started ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in 1987 to fight hard for both gay rights and action against AIDS. His uncompromising activism and fight reinvented civil disobedience in the 1980s and 1990s, giving birth to tactics that have come to define democratic activism.
Rebecca Traister tells the incredible story of Marga Griesbach, now 92 and a survivor of—well of everything. Griesbach just recently made it back from a harrowing cruise to her home in Washington state. She was born Marga Steinhardt in Germany in 1927.