Articles on Political theory

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Could a randomly selected tree make a better president than Donald Trump? Bruce Irschick/flickr

Democracy needs more trees and less Trump

If people are starting to look much worse in democratic terms, trees are starting to look much better. We are learning that plants engage in meaningful and, more to the point, truthful communication.
Donald Trump’s reinvention of the royal fiat as rule-by-tweet, or ‘twiat’, is anti-democratic and needs to be resisted. Twitter

Trump, the wannabe king ruling by ‘twiat’

Donald Trump is reinventing the royal fiat by novel means: the rule-by-tweet, or 'twiat'. This move is not an extension of popular democracy, but its enemy, and it needs to be resisted.
Thomas Piketty has demonstrated how inequality can be – and has been over time – fundamentally destructive of sustained economic growth. Reuters/Charles Platiau

If we are reaching neoliberal capitalism’s end days, what comes next?

The crisis confronting neoliberal capitalism suggests that its internal contradictions are now undermining its very foundations. What can we expect from a post-neoliberal world?
Just say no! Tyranny depends on mass subservience. Alek S./flickr

To resist Trump’s tyranny, just don’t comply

The origin of tyrannical power is irrelevant: whether by election, inheritance or force, if rulership is oppressive, it is tyrannical. And the way to beat it is deceptively simple: refuse to comply.
Graffiti on a wall in Sana'a, Yemen, denounces US drone strikes that have killed scores of civilians. Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

War and democracy in the age of Trump

The ancient Greek historian Herodotus once observed that Persian rulers indulged the habit of getting drunk when making important decisions. When sober and sensible next morning, their custom was to reconsider…
What do you call a democracy that depends on the exclusion of whole groups from political participation? Gaia/Wikipedia Commons

What’s in a name? How a democracy becomes an aristocracy

Democracy today contains within itself impulses towards both inclusion and exclusion. Spinoza's thinking on aristocracy should alert us to how democratic rule by the people can be hollowed out.
Shifts in our communication infrastructures have reshaped the very possibilities of social order driven by markets and commercial exploitation. Marc Smith/flickr

The price of connection: ‘surveillance capitalism’

Capitalism has become focused on expanding the proportion of social life that is open to data collection and processing – as if the social itself has become the new target of capitalism’s expansion.
Donald Trump has enacted the paranoid style, giving its ideas a platform and legitimacy, in his presidential campaign. Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Paranoid politics: how does Donald Trump get away with it?

How does Donald Trump get away with the type of campaign he’s running? Why, if he’s a narcissistic demagogue, has he found an audience who respond to his politics?
Tea Party supporters have been demanding to be heard for a long time. Valerie Hinjosa/flickr

Face the facts: populism is here to stay

We are witnessing the global rise of populism. Once seen as a fringe phenomenon from another era or only certain parts of the world, populism is a mainstay of politics today across the globe.

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