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Streit ums Politische 2015/16: Homeless Anticapitalism

Part of the aftershock of the 2008 crisis, when it looked like the global financial system might crash, was a feeling of unease about the capitalism to which we had tied our fate. But since then it has become clear that capitalism and crisis go hand in hand. Even the neoliberal propagandists of this economic system of infinite boom and boundless availability admit as much. Yet the more we are coerced into accepting that there is no alternative, the stronger our doubts grow about how long this can go on. Many people, especially in Germany, feel we are dangerously well off when compared to France, Italy or Greece. An expression of this mood of unease and suspicion is a homeless anti-capitalism. Sometimes based on right-wing thoughts, sometimes on left, people warn that we are on a sinking ship but no-one dares to ready the lifeboats. Where is the rescue going to come from in this danger? The new season in our »Streit ums Politische« series deals with the reasons for the development and forms of expression of this »homeless anti-capitalism« which some people fear and upon which others build their hopes.

Streit ums Politische 2014/15: Fear and Hatred in Democracy

When a society is gripped by an atmosphere of fear, as is shown by the experience of the 20th century, democracy becomes imperilled. Then, rather than an equitable balance of interests, hatred of the rich, freeloaders and foreigners holds sway. Given that Europe can only barely keep itself together, that society’s centre ground is increasingly being divided into an elite and an underclass, and that capitalism – which insists on being without alternative – appears to be living on borrowed time, the new »Streit ums Politische« series investigates the impulses which rule the political landscape. Are we living today in a society of fear in which the politics of hate receive expression? Who is entrenching themselves behind defensiveness and identification of hate figures and which groups are still responsive to a critical analysis of their way of life? Or is everything just drowning in entertainment, fun and games? Political theorists contend that a wider perspective must be taken and questions posed about the logic of impulses in a democracy. Ultimately, political disputes are not only about competing solutions to problems but also battles between different attitudes towards life and visions of existence. Democracy has spawned liberating revolutions, terrible regression and endless boredom. It is not easy to identify which is preferable.