Cihan Tuğal’s recent book The Fall of the Turkish Model argued that the root of recent authoritarian turn is not simply in Erdogan's own authoritarianism but is deeply embedded in Turkey’s peculiar form of Islamic liberalism. He believes that the Turkish problem arises from the marriage of neoliberalism and democracy that formed the basis of the AKP's ascendancy.
Recently, Tuğal has published articles in the Guardian and on Open Democracy, which have been summarised here. The first article, originally published in The Guardian, looks at how the AKP has manipulated public sympathy and antipathy towards the mass migration of Syrian refugees, and Europe’s role within this exploitation:
“Today, Europe’s best bet against the mounting crisis seems to be to deploy the new regime in Turkey, the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), with its mutating mixture of extreme nationalism, conservative religion, and militarisation. A harsh crackdown on refugees within Turkey began in October and has continued unabated. As one lawyer put it, Europe has “outsourced its border security to Turkey”.
Speaking at Walter Benjamin Now, an event at Whitechapel Gallery marking the 75th anniversary of Benjamin's death, Esther Leslie thinks through Benjamin's concepts, in particular the ‘microcosm’, to reflect on the contemporary migrant crisis at the borders of Fortress Europe. These ‘millions of nameless movers’ give Benjamin’s own death a contemporary resonance, as well as endowing his memorial with new meaning in ‘the Now’.
Esther Leslie is a translator of Walter Benjamin’s ‘The Storyteller’ and author of ‘Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant-Garde’.
'Pre-op'. 'Post-op'. 'No-op'. Not until recently did anybody question why trans people should be defined exclusively by whether or not they'd had genital surgery. Though gender variance has existed in most cultures throughout time, trans people today – particularly women – are still forced to situate themselves in relation to the idea of the medicalised 'sex change'. Have you had the op? Are you planning to? Are you taking testosterone? How far will you go?
In a number of recent articles, Jacques Sapir has argued for the 'logic of fronts', stating that the Left must temporarily subordinate its ideological differences with far-right groups such as the Front National to pursue the common objective of leaving the euro. Writing for Le Monde Diplomatique, Frédéric Lordon strongly rejects this view, arguing that any euro-exit must be from the left and to the left, not shackled to forces with fundamentally different conceptions of what 'national sovereignty' would entail.
By Frédéric Lordon. Translated by David Broder
Will the debate on the euro ever be free of the curse of the Front National? Without doubt, everything seems set on condemning it to this association, especially in an era when all kinds of confusion and hysteria mix together to the extent that it is impossible to have even the slightest rational debate. But what are we to say when some of the advocates of euro exit add to the intellectual mayhem, identifying themselves as of the Left but then calling for improbable alliances with the far Right?
"Under Blair and Brown, I’d usually felt angry and disappointed; now, I was desperate and defeated. Working at the PCT as it was dismembered and downsized, watching as arts funding, unemployment and disability benefits, mental health services and support networks for women and LGBT people were ruthlessly cut, I’d often told friends that one problem I had with the coalition was I could never decided which MP to despise the most. Arguing in favour of abolishing the Human Rights Act, Theresa May had spoken of ‘the illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because – and I am not making this up – he had a pet cat’, and she was always near the top of my Hate List." Juliet Jacques, Trans: A Memoir
In 2011, Juliet Jacques received an invitation to the launch of Diversity Role Models in the Houses of Parliament, a charity that aimed to tackle homo/bi/transphobic bullying in schools. In her memoir Trans, Jacques recalls: “I wish we’d had that at Oakwood, I thought – but could I go to an event fronted by the Conservative home secretary?” This scene captures the contradiction of pursuing trans rights from neoliberal states. In the end, Jacques pragmatically decides to attend, with the intention of avoiding the guest speaker – Theresa May MP.