The Populist Zeitgeist

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Across the Atlantic, Donald Trump is about to stomp into the White House and slap his surname onto the front of the place. Trump has been elected on a platform to end free trade, seal the border with Mexico and get tough on Muslims at home. Far from fascism, Trump stands for the same all-American nativism going back to the Know Nothing movement. Trump is the Platonic form of the sinister buffoon. He is Silvio Berlusconi, Nigel Farage and Louis Bonaparte, fused into one and timesed by several billion dollars. The Donald is the idol of all populist charlatans. A … Continue reading

Push Back

Our current forms of democratic government are looking hollowed out and weary, to put it very mildly indeed. Of course, “democracy” isn’t an a-historical given. You get many kinds. The question is how you arrange it. The problems with what we’ve got now are legion: we might agree about what many of them are. I’d say that the radical critique of liberal democracy still has force: that its deep links to capitalism, its inequality, ideology and instability mean that we must work to transform and eventually replace with something better. Right now, some kind of action is needed to push … Continue reading

Talking Like Adam Curtis

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I can say that I have sat through the whole of HyperNormalisation. It is arduous viewing, putting it kindly. It’s extremely rich, some might say decadent. If Bitter Lake was a cornerstone, I suspect this film is the excess that followed from it. Everything about it is overdone. If you’ve followed Adam Curtis closely, you’ll note that the footage carries with it his obsessions from recent years. He was writing about Iran, Syria and Libya on his blog back going back five years. For more 15 years or more, Adam Curtis has been able to captivate mainstream audiences with his … Continue reading