DiEM25: Democracy in Europe and beyond

November 17, 2023

It is difficult to make even a moderate and cautious turn towards a more social democratic and ecologically oriented direction unless there is a broad transnational or worldwide movement behind it. In this regard, DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025) can be seen as one of the few glimmers of hope. Established in early 2016 in the aftermath of the Euro crisis, DiEM25 has assumed many characteristics of a world party, thus offering valuable insights for the larger project. This is my contribution to the GTI Forum Experiments in Movement Unity in November 2023.

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Ukraine: the problem of understanding the causes of the war

August 26, 2023

Abstract: Could the war in Ukraine have been avoided? Familiar counterfactuals include: (i) NATO’s 2008 announcement on Ukraine’s and Georgia’s NATO membership was an unnecessary provocation and (ii) implementing the Minsk II agreement could have prevented the full-scale war. What is often ignored, however, are the political economy dynamics of global (in)security and how it manifests itself in this particular case. First comes the immediate context of the development of Russia, shaped spectacularly by the “shock therapy” of the 1990s. Second, what happened in Russia can be seen as a compressed version of the consequences of neoliberalism more generally. Third, the unevenness of economic growth as well as related imbalances and crisis tendencies shape power relations and are liable to securitisation. The war in Ukraine and these wider developments are multiply connected. For one thing, the strained Sino-American relations have affected China’s orientation and reduced its willingness or ability to prevent or end the war. Finally, it may be asked whether it is relevant to understand causes when the war is ongoing. [This is a next-to-final version of a short paper published in The Defence Horizon Journal #3 August 2023.]

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World statehood: the future of world politics

August 2, 2023

The planetary perspective on the future of world politics is commonly associated with life and complex ecological systems on Earth. In the two centuries since the industrial revolution, the world economy has grown by a factor of 70 or 80. This huge economic growth has shaped the Earth system and led to multiple ongoing and interconnected ecological crises. Processes such as virus mutations, the development of science for example in AI and nanotechnology, securitization of issues such as migration and environment, and peace and war, also shape the future of humanity – as does space expansionism, for global processes have already extended their reach beyond the globe and into outer space. These dynamics have generated increasingly serious existential threats to humanity, which seems incapable of addressing them. In January 2023, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists set the famous Doomsday Clock at 90 seconds to midnight – the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been. There is a need for novel ideas about the future of world politics. [This blog was first published at the Progress in Political Economy PPE-website on 1.8.2023 and can be directly accessed here; it has also been republished here, here and here.]

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The causes of war in Ukraine: on dialectical method and the role of global political economy

July 29, 2023

On the day that Russia attacked Ukraine, 24 February 2022, I was with my friend and colleague Tuomas Forsberg (TF) at the gym swimming as we do every now and then. We discussed the war and, above all, whether it could have been avoided and how. Over the years, we have had countless similar conversations. Although we have many joint interests, our theoretical research orientations as well as general political orientations are somewhat different. One of our agreements concerns the relevance of the dialectical method. As we both consider that arguments have to be formed in relation to other, alternative interpretations, we thought that perhaps we could try writing a systematic analysis of the causes of the war following the dialogue format. This resulted in a book Debating the War in Ukraine. Counterfactual Histories and Possible Futures published in December 2022 (available open access). The book is now followed by a special forum of Globalizations, “War in Ukraine: Future Possibilities”, published in July 2023, which includes our “The shape of things to come: a further dialogue” (also available open access). [This blog was originally published at the Progress in Political Economy PPE-website in Sydney and can be directly accessed here.]

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