By Eric Lee
While the Russian Bolsheviks were clamping down on trade unions, which were dismissed by Trotsky as being under the control of “chatterboxes,” in Menshevik-led Georgia they thrived – retaining their independence from the state and winning a constitutional right to strike. They also played a key role in a remarkable institution known as the Wages Board, which consisted of ten representatives each from the employers and trade unions.
By EuropeNow Editors
The EuropeNow Editors choose their favorite literary translations of 2017.
By Anne Price-Owen
For over three decades, devotees of the painter-poet David Jones have waited eagerly for the definitive biography and attendant revelations concerning this extraordinary artist and poet, and they have not been disappointed. Thomas Dilworth’s book is a compelling read, and his claim that Jones was the greatest native British Modernist working in twentieth century Britain is convincingly articulated.
Reviewed by Mark B. Tauger
This book contains reproductions of more than sixty Soviet propaganda posters from the 1920s and 1930s, selected from a large collection at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California.
By Christos Louvaris
Sixty years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, and nearly twenty years after the proclamation of the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers, the Commission finally published the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) in April 2017.
Interviewed by Frédéric Baitinger
The question of populism is essential, even though the term is a bit confusing. To be a populist does not mean to be close to the people. To be a populist, according to me, is to speak in the name of people, to speak for them, which is to say, on their behalf.
By Jonathan Sherry
All too often, the Spanish Civil War is discussed by way of subsequent events. The trend is just as marked in public discourse as it is in academic study. Whether intellectuals conceptualize the terms of World War II as the “first chapter” in the battle between the Axis and Allied powers, or in the Cold War lexicon as a struggle against Communist or Soviet domination, the ideological and historical complexity of the conflict is often swept under the carpet.
By Mark Römisch
Among the many challenges that Europe faces in the wake of the recent refugee crisis is the integration of millions of immigrants and the rise of xenophobia and nationalism at the same time. The photographic work Broken highlights an aspect of the crisis that is not necessarily obvious to those who are in support of the refugees or for those who want to refuse them entry to their country.
Interviewed by Kader Attia
Many Syrian refugees are suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as delirium. These people were already ill in Syria before they arrived here. The delirium is mostly political; they feel persecuted by ISIS, the Syrian army. It has to do with politics rather than religion. We see more patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder than patients who are truly depressed.
By Roger Eberhard
It is quite common for wealthy tourists to visit impoverished countries without ever exposing themselves to the extreme penury its citizens suffer.
By Thomas Henökl
The EU is about to digest the separation from Great Britain, a major member state, and one of Europe’s two military powers. Setting a precedent of sorts, Brexit, so far, may appear to be a negative example of how to prepare for common challenges and multilateral cooperation in times of turbulence.
By Michael Keating
Ten years after stepping down as first minister of Scotland, Jack McConnell remains a busy man. I caught up with him by Skype in New York, where he was attending the UN meetings on development.
By Aude Cefaliello
I belong to a generation that has been told there is no other choice other than to be flexible in the labour market. It means being flexible about where you go to work, when you go to work, and about what work you are going to do. For many of us, the idea of a long-term employment contract in a company where there is the possibility to progress belongs to another time.
By Kelly Kollman and Alvise Favotto
When the Trump administration was still deciding whether America should remain in the Paris climate agreement, the president’s closest officials lined up on different sides of the debate. Those in favour of the agreement included Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, a career property developer, and the secretary of state and former chief executive of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson.
By Susan Giaimo
The economic crisis of the past decade has been a wrenching experience, particularly for Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. They all required bailouts from the Troika of the European Commission, European Central Bank, and the IMF. The bailouts came with tough conditions to slash public spending and employment and raise taxes to achieve a balanced budget.
By Sarah French Brennan
Aziz is from Kabul in Afghanistan. His boyfriend was murdered by his own family in early 2014. They threatened to kill Aziz too, so he fled. After he arrived at an asylum camp in the Netherlands, the family beat his mother and siblings. He sought asylum claiming he was in fear of his life, but the Dutch authorities rejected the application.
By Hunter Doyle and Sofia Pia Belenky
Zooming to the scale of the individual bill, it is clear that the note itself reflects both of these trends, the cultural narrative or mythology, as well as the private desire for territorial accumulation. Each euro note has an architectural theme ranging from classical to “modern” twentieth century. As the bill increasses in value, the architectural period becomes more contemporary.
The difference with today’s migrants is that they are better educated and leaving a welfare state that ranks as one of the best places to live in the world according to most indices. The likelihood of them returning has nevertheless fallen sharply. Why?
Interviewed by James Crossley
I hoped this story would go beyond the Persian diaspora. It is about all migrant communities, all refugees, all people exiled either by choice or because of necessity. We do need labels, to flag the limits of our knowledge, the extent of our ignorance, but as Aminatta Forna says, labels can also limit who we are.
Reviewed by Roger Hillman
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the ongoing emergence of a new, multi-faceted European identity has been a gradual process. In a valuable contribution, this book takes stock of a work-in-process after its first quarter century, the melting pot fusion that is Europe, as reflected (but not in a vulgar Marxist sense) in European cinema
By Irial Glynn
With peak season approaching for refugees making treacherous journeys to and through Europe, don’t be surprised if we are told again that this is unprecedented. That would certainly be in keeping with what news organisations, politicians and research bodies have asserted in the past several years.
By Jake Purcell
EuropeNow is collaborating with the World of Film International Festival Glasgow to make the EuropeNow Festival, featuring films from across the globe that address sustainability and transformation in Europe.
By Julie Reiss
Like many people, I had been concerned about the frightening implications of the Anthropocene long before I even heard the word. As I worried about the widespread destructive impact of human activity on the earth, I became aware that geologists were debating whether that impact was so far reaching that it had caused a distinct geological epoch: the Anthropocene.
By Jan Čulík
While the Czechs as members of a ten million nation know very well their international influence would be greatly diminished if the EU ceased to exist, their dissatisfaction of what they increasingly see as a position of second rate citizens within the EU could in future become a deeply destabilizing factor.
Curated by Antonio Laruffa
When you talk about Nik Spatari, it is a very complex figure you are dealing with. Like the pagan god Janus, this artist might be seen as a man with two faces; like the god that can look to the past and the future, Spatari has been and still is a protagonist of artistic movements that span two centuries, both representing 20th-century Avant-garde and being an independent pioneer in 21st-century art.
By Aline Sierp and Jenny Wüstenberg
As Michael Rothberg recently pointed out, we currently appear to be living in a “moment of danger” in which memory has become particularly salient–both in terms of being abused by authoritarian and populist forces, and in terms of its importance in resisting them.
By Sacha van Leeuwen
On May 8, 1945, three days after the liberation from Nazi Germany, the State Institute for War Documentation (Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie; RIOD) was founded in the Netherlands. Led by historian, Loe de Jong, RIOD was tasked by the government to write the official history of the Dutch kingdom during World War II.
Reviewed by Yasmin Roshanian
With language, Mandell encompasses this urgent tie to the past. The history is fed to us in visceral images of women required to veil, drug rings flowing with opium, rotting buildings crippled with rickety bedframes, and cigarette burns dented in wood. As Franz recollects his most poignant memories from Tehran, he revisits a city still reeling from a revolution.
By Agostino Petrillo
There is nothing more vague and ambiguous than the concept of the suburb; it cannot exist on its own, it can only do so in connection with the center, in a never-ending and repetitive connection of meanings, a spiral of reciprocal definitions that Saint Thomas Aquinas called infinitum ad quem.
Interviewed by Jake Purcell
Director of the World of Film International Festival Martin Petrov, discusses EuropeNow Festival; a collaboration with WoFF and the Council for European Studies.
By Jan Čulík
The significant upsurge of refugees, which came into Europe in 2015, was met with unprecedented anger and hostility from an overwhelming majority of citizens of most of the post-communist Central European countries. It would appear that a synergy of several historical, cultural, political, and economic factors has created this fiercely hostile reaction.
By Sheri Berman
Economically, much of the continent suffers from low growth, high unemployment and rising inequality, while politically, disillusionment with the European community as well as domestic institutions and elites is widespread. Partially as a result, right-wing populism is growing, increasing political instability and uncertainty even further.
By Claire Needler
This project aims to influence policy and practice, and to make tangible improvements to the lives of migrants who have settled in Scotland. Our focus is participatory action research, working with migrants and stakeholders to find local, grassroots solutions to issues they have identified.
By Mary Wang
In European countries with growing right-wing movements, the upcoming elections should serve as a reminder that merging bodies into one space isn’t always enough. Instead, those in countries like France and the Netherlands, who will elect new governments in March, will need to understand that even in countries where the female body isn’t immediately under threat, female solidarity means voting against the politicians who will hurt immigrant and colored bodies more.
By Thomas Henökl
Never before has the change of administration in the United States caused this much concern globally, and never before has a US President incited so much tension ahead of taking office. As the hopes for a Damascene conversion for the new POTUS are waning, one thing has become evident by now: the path of naive unilateralism that the forthcoming American government is set to follow will prove to be of little help for international development or a burgeoning global policy of common good.
By Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough
While city attitudes toward women cutting their tresses had by then become more liberal, in small towns and villages the daring ones were branded morally delinquent and sentenced a priori to eternal damnation. A popular saying: “Short hair, short on brains” expressed prevalent attitudes.
By Robert van Voren
The tragedy of Leonidas’ death is the fact that he did not have to die. The fact is that Vilnius airport has three defibrillators and none of them was touched. As I said, none of the airport staff tried to resuscitate him, and instead waited until the ambulance arrived–too late to save his life.
Translated by Jordan Stump
But just then a crowd appeared, bellowing, with machetes in their hands, and spears, bows, clubs, torches. We hurried to hide in the banana grove. Still roaring, the men burst into our house. They set fire to the straw-roofed hut, the stables full of calves. They slashed the stores of beans and sorghum. They launched a frenzied attack on the brick house we would never live in. They didn’t take anything, they only wanted to destroy, to wipe out all sign of us, annihilate us.
By Jake Purcell
On December 1 and 2, Columbia University hosted Brexit: Before & Beyond, a set of panels and events that brought together journalists and scholars from both European and American universities to discuss the events that precipitated the UK’s vote to leave the EU, as well as the continuing fallout from that referendum.
By Mary Wang
John Lancester’s “Brexit Blues,” published in the London Review of Books starts with an explanation of the “Overton window,” a concept in political science that describes the range of ideas that are deemed acceptable by the public at one time. The crucial insight of Joseph Overton, the inventor who lent his name to the concept, was that this window of acceptability could be shifted.
Interviewed by Jake Purcell
Council for European Studies chair Sheri Berman, discusses the rise of populism and the inclusion problems of the center-left.
By Jake Purcell
Columbia University’s Department of History kicked off the academic year with an “air-clearing” conversation about the Brexit vote.
Reviewed by Margaret Galvan
In focusing on the readership patterns of comics among British girls in the second half of the twentieth century, Mel Gibson recuperates a richly textured subject that has, by her account, “been largely neglected as a research subject within the academy and in popular accounts of youth culture.”
By Sheri Berman
Europe today is a mess. The strongest countries face lackluster economic growth, while the weakest, like Greece, are struggling to recover from depression-like downturns. Politically, things are even worse, as disillusionment with European and domestic institutions and elites is at record levels, and support for far-left and far-right parties is growing, creating political instability.
Reviewed by Julie Hemment
Oil, corporate power, and shifting corporate/state alignments are all urgent twenty-first century themes, implicated and embedded in Europe’s current intersecting crises.