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A Ghost from the Future

The Postsocialist Myth of Capitalism and the Ideological Suspension of Postmodernity

Ridvan Peshkopia

There is a widespread tendency to see the perils of postsocialism in the revival of the ghosts and myths from the past—namely ethnocentrism, nationalism, exclusiveness, bickering, collectivist-authoritarianism, expansionist chauvinism, and victimisation. I suggest that postsocialism's perils rest with a myth from the future, namely, the myth of capitalism. Those perils, I argue, are rooted in the fetishisation of capitalism by the postsocialist societies as a reflection of their deeply ingrained teleological way of perceiving the future. Political leaders are taking advantage of this situation by putting themselves in the position of those who would lead toward such a utopia. As a consequence, individual freedoms are sacrificed at the altar of communitarian bliss. I suggest that the only hope that we have to secularise the newly re-religiosised postsocialist societies rests with intellectuals.

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Paul Nursey-Bray

Within European debates on the left about the future of the socialist project, particularly within the United Kingdom, market socialism has been enjoying a certain vogue over the last decade. It represents one of a number of approaches that have been canvassed in pursuit of a Third Way that would steer a course between the old authoritarian, state-controlled socialism of Soviet and Eastern European practice and the untrammelled excesses of a free market capitalist approach. It has claimed some influential supporters, as well as vehement critics who aver that in surrendering to the market and the law of value market socialism vitiates its socialist credentials. But the issues raised in the European context have specific contextual characteristics. European economies and social structures are what we term developed or advanced. While large disparities of wealth exist between social strata and social classes, there is an absence of the fundamental development problems and crushing poverty that are the all too familiar features of the world of Africa. It may be suggestive therefore to consider the application of market socialism within an African setting, acknowledging that there will be a shift of emphasis. While the concerns for social justice and equality that are central to the evaluation of market socialism in a European setting naturally remain relevant in the case of Africa, there is also the question of development itself. Can market socialism be considered as a prescription for the disease of underdevelopment that continues to undermine the economies, the politics and the very life of African societies? We will begin with a review of the history and nature of market socialism before returning to this central question. In general I subscribe to the view that we should avoid dealing with “Africa” in a general way, since it ignores the need to recognize country by country differences and specifics. However, on occasion, a broad brush is useful. I believe it has utility here in a comparison and contrast between European and African experiences of socialism.

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Lauri Rapeli and Inga Saikkonen

end of the Cold War and most formerly autocratic states adopted (at least de jure ) democratic institutions. Some of these new democracies have consolidated, but others have reverted to more authoritarian types of government. These autocratizing

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Book Roundtable

Discussion text: Chin, C. 2018. The Practice of Political Theory: Rorty and Continental Thought.

Lasse Thomassen, Joe Hoover, David Owen, Paul Patton, and Clayton Chin

perhaps a work of more profound reconstruction than he suggests, and pondering whether Rorty's anti-authoritarian liberalism is an adequate response to the problems we face today. Due to limitations of space, I focus on areas where I challenge Chin

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Latin America and COVID-19

Political Rights and Presidential Leadership to the Test

Brigitte Weiffen

their history of strong authoritarian leaders. After the demise of military dictatorships, Latin America continued to see democratic regimes in which presidents did their utmost to ensure that their powers remained unchecked by parliaments, courts, or

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Marcelo Hoffman

relationship between this party and the larger constellation of social forces in decolonising societies. Fanon contends that deeply authoritarian tendencies in the nationalist party spring from the insecurity and fragility of the privileged classes there

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Who Governs in Deep Crises?

The Case of Germany

Wolfgang Merkel

acceptance of restrictions on basic rights and existential economic losses exhibits subtle features of the “authoritarian personality” as described by Erich Fromm and later Theodor W. Adorno et al. (1950) for Germany, the US, and beyond. For at least two

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Matthew Bradney

least, Dean herself, among others. The book should also be of interest to those on the Left who advocate the kind of anti-authoritarianism that is the target of much of Dean’s critique: in her words, ‘autonomists, insurrectionists, anarchists, and

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Neither Shadow nor Spectre

Populism as the Ideological Embodiment of the Democratic Paradox

Anthony Lawrence Borja

, consists of a movement from the primary object that populist ideology is engaged with (i.e. the democratic paradox) towards an elaboration of the engagement (i.e. decontestation) and its distinction from authoritarianism (i.e. the case of Italian fascism

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Democracy in a Global Emergency

Five Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Afsoun Afsahi, Emily Beausoleil, Rikki Dean, Selen A. Ercan, and Jean-Paul Gagnon

governance have received little attention beyond a simplistic narrative of democratic erosion and authoritarian drift. Is COVID-19 an emergency for democracy, globally? And, what lessons does the pandemic hold for doing democratic governance in an emergency