Author: Lily Cichanowicz

political spectrum

Bipartisanism & Other Blunders in U.S. Political Consciousness

The United States today is a nation divided. We’ve all witnessed the way that both liberals and conservatives attack one another on social media at the first indication that someone upholds the opposing political stance. Considering that we exist in an age of post-truth, data harvesting, and infowars, this rift continues to widen and calcify. It has gotten to the point that a recent survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, suggests that Americans have “become radically split in their basic perceptions of reality.” The resulting damage can feel massively irreparable. Yet, perhaps this so-called polarization isn’t actually the root of our nationwide psychosis, but a symptom of something deeper. Our entrenchment in an atmosphere of American exceptionalism and historical amnesia deludes us into believing the falsehood that this polarization is based on a legitimate opposition of two political ideologies. In actuality, the divide between liberal and conservative has more to do with party branding than it does with concrete reality. While the policies and political history of the United States display relatively little systemic …

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The Role of Grievability in the State’s Monopoly on Violence

This post was originally published on Left Voice. You can find it here. The Stoneman Douglas mass shooting has launched a nationwide movement against gun violence. Student activists and their supporters have rallied in the hundreds of thousands across the country in acts of protest including school walkouts and at the end of last month, the March for Our Lives. On the surface, it’s hard not to agree with these organizers. As young people, they have brought a refreshing amount of honesty into political discourse by confronting mainstream politicians for being in the pocket of the NRA. They’ve managed to take the trauma they’ve faced and use it as a rallying cry for social change. For much of the American public coming out in support of a ban on assault rifles and other gun reforms is a no-brainer, but when we examine the specific policy demands set forth on behalf of the movement, there are apt critiques to be made. In doing so, we have the opportunity to pinpoint its shortcomings in securing conditions of nonviolence for …

Photo credits: Jason Redmond / Reuters

Harnessing Anti-Trumpism for More Strategic Resistance

This post was originally published on Left Voice. You can find it here.  Now that Trump’s first SOTU address has come and gone, we’ve hit a milestone for reflection on the ways that mobilization has and hasn’t happened. Trump and his cronies have already done their best to roll back any progressive reforms that have been made in recent times. They’ve pushed for legislations that will continue to draw wealth and agency from the working class and minority groups. These have included his motion to end DACA, the passage of a new tax bill that includes major cuts for billionaires, his efforts to replace Obamacare with a grotesque Republican variation on healthcare, and much more. No doubt, in his words and in his actions, in the legislation he supports and in that which he opposes, in the people he praises and the ones he degrades, Trump offers us a look at the US government in its rawest most authentic form, unmasked by rhetoric and genteel performative progressivism. As a result, we are at a unique …

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Lost & Found in Translation

I never really thought much about the complexity of translation until my junior year of college when a writing professor, a Belarusian poet, brought in several different translations of the poem Ithaca by CP Cavafy to prove exactly this. Leafing through each version, which stressed different poetic devices and emphasized different themes and imagery, it became clear just how much power the translator had to shape another person’s innermost thoughts and feelings for a new audience of readers…. Read more.

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Vilnius, Lithuania

I imagine that Vilnius is akin to what Berlin was like decades ago. Here in Lithuania’s capital, youngsters have adopted their own impeccable brand of edgy cool. And unlike in Germany’s capital (its world-renowned cousin), the underground culture really is underground…. Read more.

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Granada, Nicaragua

Revered for its colonial architecture, its streets are lined with buildings distinguished from each other by their successive shades of pastel hues. Palms rise amidst a sea of red tile roofs against the backdrop of lake shores and volcanoes. There are baroque and Moorish aesthetic influences interspersed throughout the cityscape…. Read more.

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Copenhagen, Denmark

Any savvy traveler will attest to the fact that integrating with the locals is the best way to immerse yourself in a new destination. This approach certainly isn’t only relevant while on a safari adventure in Kenya or a rainforest trek in Peru. When exploring Copenhagen, Scandinavia’s most stylish city, this same mindset applies…. Read more.

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Venice, Italy

There’s no doubting that Venice is one of the most touristic cities in Europe. While the rest of the world regards Paris as the city of lovers, Parisians have reserved this title for Venice, meaning that it can be hard to escape the clichés that come along with it, especially in a city that’s hardly even inhabited by native Venetians…. Read more.  

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On Catalonian Independence in an Era of Global Neoliberalism

Over the course of the last few months, news of the Catalonian Independence movement has been elevated onto the international arena. Yet, the European Union has repeatedly dismissed it as an exclusively internal affair to be dealt with by the Spanish government. In today’s globalized world, however, the situation does not exist in a vacuum. In his article titled, “Catalonia: Past and Future,” Luke Stobart says, “In all, throughout Catalonia’s modern history a general pattern can be identified: rather than Catalan national consciousness being a constant — ever-seeking to create or develop a national polity — it is a more variable reaction to the political and social limitations of the Spanish national project.” One of the most significant external forces to have a hand in the latest wave of Catalonian independent struggle is that of neoliberal economic policy, which has taken hold in Europe and beyond over the past fifty years. The European Union To understand how these forces are at play in the situation, it is necessary to zoom out and examine the trajectory of the EU in the …