As I’ve read about the furor over anti-Semitism in Britain’s Labour Party, I’ve thought of my grandfather and wondered what he would have made of it.
In his youth, in czarist Russia, he had been a revolutionary activist, a member of the Jewish socialist movement known as the Bund. By the time the Bolsheviks seized power, he had fled to England to make a new life in North London. The Labour Party was his natural constituency, as it was my father’s. Can the party that welcomed my family have changed so much?
To read the recent headlines, one would think so.… Seguir leyendo »
El historiador Fritz Stern, que escapó de los nazis, fue uno de los pioneros de los estudios de historia de Alemania en Estados Unidos. Falleció este año, pero antes llevaba ya cierto tiempo avisando sobre las señales de que el fascismo estaba reapareciendo. Y no hablaba de su país natal.
¿Fascismo en Estados Unidos? No hay que exagerar. Ahora bien, antes de descartarlo, quizá deberíamos reflexionar sobre lo que hemos aprendido del fascismo en general, gracias a la labor de Stern y otros autores.
En ciertos aspectos, es difícil ver similitudes entre la República de Weimar o la Italia de Mussolini y el mundo en el que vivimos.… Seguir leyendo »
The human costs of five years of austerity have been catastrophic for Greece but the decision to hold a referendum on Sunday will only make matters worse.
The one unambiguous benefit, for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, has been to unite his party, Syriza, which had been growing increasingly restive as the negotiations went on. Overnight, he has cemented his political base and strengthened his hand internally. Syriza is back in the position it likes best: standing for opposition to the global status quo.
But what has this done for the country as a whole? That the Constitution seems to exclude referendums on fiscal matters is perhaps a legal nicety but it highlights the government’s rather cavalier attitude toward existing political institutions.… Seguir leyendo »
El pasado acechó a Europa en 2014. El año comenzó con mucha energía conmemorativa por el centenario del estallido de la Gran Guerra. Pero conforme avanzó, comenzaron a aparecer paralelos inquietantes, no con 1914, sino con algunas de las peores características de los años de entreguerras.
De Escocia y Cataluña a las fronteras de Ucrania hubo un rebrote nacionalista, mientras la economía europea se estancaba por la fobia alemana a la inflación, que se remite a 1923. Y con el correr del año, se hizo evidente un nuevo tira y afloja geopolítico entre los dos gigantes del continente a principios del siglo XX, Alemania y Rusia, mientras la amnésica élite política europea parecía cometer un error tras otro.… Seguir leyendo »
In Eric Ambler’s masterly interwar thriller, The Mask of Dimitrios, the puppet master pulling the strings as a seedy Europe slides hopelessly into war is the shadowy Eurasian Credit Trust. The name was deliberately chosen. For most of the last century, Eurasia was scarcely a neutral term: it evoked the whiff of racial degeneration, the prospect of civilisation overrun by eastern hordes.
But now comes the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, perhaps looking to lift the attention of a restive public at home to something more elevated than a peremptorily staged presidential succession, supporting the idea of creating a Eurasian union of former Soviet-bloc nations that could become «one of the poles of the modern world, serving as an efficient link between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific region».… Seguir leyendo »
Yesterday, the whole world was watching Greece as its Parliament voted to pass a divisive package of austerity measures that could have critical ramifications for the global financial system. It may come as a surprise that this tiny tip of the Balkan Peninsula could command such attention. We usually think of Greece as the home of Plato and Pericles, its real importance lying deep in antiquity. But this is hardly the first time that to understand Europe’s future, you need to turn away from the big powers at the center of the continent and look closely at what is happening in Athens.… Seguir leyendo »