Author: Lily Cichanowicz


Progressive Neoliberalism and the Pull of Populist Politics

In the wake of the turbulent US election, social theorist Nancy Fraser wrote that the progressive neoliberal politics of the establishment served as a major factor in ensuring the success of Donald Trump in ascending to the presidency. In her article, ‘The End of Progressive Neoliberalism,’ [1] Fraser described the way that politicians like Hillary Clinton, and her forebears, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, embodied this concept. Their platforms vociferously included progressive stances on issues like LGBTQ rights, equal pay for women, and affirmative action as a means of coaxing the left-leaning masses into support at the ballot box. Meanwhile, their neoliberal economic policies are generally overlooked or even willfully ignored despite the fact that these have far more substantive impacts on the world at large. Fraser concludes her piece by explaining that the American left’s approach to the issues facing the working populace is too obtuse in that instead of addressing their concerns, liberals dismiss them as backward or xenophobic. The result is that progressive politics become deeply intertwined with neoliberal platforms like that …

© Warren K. Leffler, U.S. News & World Report/WikiCommons

What We Can Learn from MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign

Towards the end of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shifted from the civil rights agenda for which he is remembered to a new phase in his struggle for justice, the Poor People’s Campaign. It had five demands for the federal government: the creation of ‘socially useful career jobs,’ urban development projects, an end to punitive welfare policies, the protection of farmers’ rights to unionize, and the reallocation of public funds to educational programs. To achieve these goals, King organized a protest on National Mall. At 50,000 strong, the demonstrators erected a ‘Resurrection City’ where they camped for weeks, even though King himself was assassinated before the occupation commenced. The campaign was controversial with both King’s opponents and his allies. His opponents viewed his call for ‘a radical restructuring of wealth and power’ as proof that he was a communist. Being that this proposition followed King’s public condemnation of the Vietnam War, his Democratic political allies in the White House also found the new campaign to be too radical. Fellow members of the Southern …


On the Consumption of Current Events

Over the summer as I logged into the fourth dimensional reality that is Facebook, I noticed something I hadn’t before. As I watched my social network ride the wave from Harambe into the latest outrage about Brock Turner, I got to thinking about the point in Romeo and Juliet at which the impetuous Tybalt kills the clever and rye humored Mercutio in a duel at the height of a stifling heat wave. I began to wonder about the ways that this summer’s outrageous events functioned as a release for each of us to vent some of our own heat-induced neuroses. Fast forward through the stream of allegedly apocalyptic events to Trump’s election. It seemed that everyone with two thumbs and a blaring screen before them cared to weigh in on what happened. Most of the people on my feed took one polarized stance or another in what a more astute observer in my network likened to a Hobbesian trap. No doubt, a climactic sense of bitterness and resentment arose online between Trump’s supporters and his …


The Identity Politics of Being a Foreign Body

Quickly after moving to Berlin I assumed the title of ‘expat.’ Being an American expat became part of my identity. For better or worse, it was something I was stuck with. For better, it established a profound connection with other wayward souls like me. For worse, it meant being singled out as somehow representing the country I had taken pretty big measures to leave…. Read more.   Photo Courtesy of Social Science Works 

Courtesy of Civil March for Aleppo

Extreme Travels: Why Some Are Walking From Berlin To Aleppo

By what means would you be willing to travel? Would the answer change if you were traveling for something you believe in? In the case of those behind Civil March for Aleppo, walking many thousands of kilometers for a cause is well worth it, and peace activists have already embarked on a journey of solidarity, going by foot from Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport to war-ravaged Aleppo in Syria…. Read more.   Photo Credit: Courtesy of Civil March for Aleppo 

© Post of the Soviet Union, designer A. Kalashnikov / Почта СССР, художник А. Калашников/WikiCommons

GDR Brands That Have Survived Capitalism

Due to the fact that the GDR largely arose out of a vision to resist the destructive materialism ushered in by modern capitalism following World War II, those living in East Germany did not have access to many popular commercial products…. Read more.   Photo Credit: © Post of the Soviet Union, designer A. Kalashnikov / Почта СССР, художник А. Калашников/WikiCommons