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Anger Management: The Ruins of Democracy

with
Peter Galison
Karin Pettersson
Georg Diez
13.03.17
60 min
60hertz

What is your place in society – this is the central question of politics today, it is at the heart of so many fights and struggles, about identity, about equality, about representation, symbolic and real. Dislocation, in other words, is the fundamental experience of our time, both dislocation in physical and spiritual terms. Do you belong? And what is your stake in society, very concretely, materially? This is the theme that drove the conversation with Peter Galison forward, historian of science at Harvard University.

Anger Management: What Is Wrong With Human Rights?

with
Sam Moyn
Karin Pettersson
Georg Diez
07.03.17
60 min
60hertz

Sam Moyn is one of the most original thinkers when it comes to some of the most profound contradictions about common perceptions about politics: Human rights, for example, is a good thing, right? Or, isn’t it rather a proxy, something invented to fill the void that concrete policy left open? A weak claim without any real substance? And thus more harmful than helpful when it comes to rethinking and reshaping tomorrow’s world?

Anger Management: The Trump Challenge

with
Theda Skocpol
Karin Pettersson
Georg Diez
06.02.17
60 min
60hertz

Theda Skocpol is one of the great political scientists of the USA, and if she is torn about where this country is heading, this means there is real confusion. She talked to us, Karin Pettersson and me, about how the country got to this point, the massive failure on parts of the media, but also on the parts of the people refusing to acknowledge that Hillary Clinton was a viable candidate. She believes it is time for the American civil society to rise up to the challenge. She is a patriot, after all, she said. Which means today to withstand nationalism. Just one of the contradictions of our times.

Anger Management: Democracy For the 21st Century

with
Karin Pettersson
Georg Diez
02.02.17
60 min
60hertz

This is exciting, we will start a new podcast, and this podcast will be shaped around the discussion which will be going on on 60pages and via the initiative Disrupt Democracy on Medium: Karin and I will be talking to thinkers and scientist from Harvard and MIT for the next few months to come up with clues and ideas about how we got here and what we might do to get out of this dilemma. Karin and I are in the USA at the moment, she is from Sweden where she used to work for Aftonbladet as the editor of the opinion page, I am on a leave of absence from my job as a columnist for Der Spiegel, we are both fellows of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. This conversation here is the beginning, we set out what we want to do, cover questions of populism, the relationship between capital and labor, the progressive dilemma, the progressive alternative. She says she is the pragmatist and I am the utopian. I am not sure about that. And I would not even see this two opposing sides. I think both are relevant and necessary. But, please, judge for yourself.

Trump is the Revenge of the Nineties

with
Josh Simon
Georg Diez
07.12.16
60 min
60hertz

Josh has brought some beers. It is Sunday evening, he has some papers due soon, he has a cold, he has one hour to talk about the lessons from Trump. We sit in the deserted building of the Department of Government. I have been really looking forward to this conversation. Josh is one of those people you rarely meet even at a place like Harvard. He is young, he has a sharp intellect and a keen understanding of how to use it. He is all about politics, but not in the way that would make you feel that you know what he is going to say. He has a clear set of things he believes, I think, but he is also formulating his views as he goes along. He is a truly exciting voice in the desolate landscape of political thinking. Because this is what it is all about: How to revive the practise of left and liberal thinking. In the face of Trump. But also in the tradition of what the politics of rights and respect could be like for the 21st century.

The Triumph of Arab Porn

with
Youssef Rakha
Georg Diez
15.11.16
60 min
60hertz

Masturbation is as central to the Arab Spring as it is to Arab Porn, states Youssef Rakha, inventive, intriguing novelist from Cairo, in his essay “Arab Porn”. He wrote the text for 60pages after a workshop in Cairo in the fall of 2015 – the implications of what he has to say about the nature of political protests, their narcissistic way of turning a common cause into a vanity project, the irresponsibility of a lot of the people involved, but mainly the understanding that this is what politics should look like, a mass of people on the street or on Tahrir Square, presumably with very little plan of what to do with the notion of power: This all has a strange resonance today, after the failure of a liberal approach to politics which led to a US president Trump. You can learn from the future of democracy by studying the authoritarian past, sadly. Listen to what Youssef has to say.

The Trump Puzzle

with
Georg Diez
Karin Pettersson
01.11.16
60 min
60hertz

One week to go, and still, the question is: What does this mean? Apart from the fact that Donald Trump is a racist, a sexist, a liar and a very dangerous person who would possibly or not destroy democracy in the US and thus with further consequences in other parts of the world as well. Is he part of a larger trend, away from a democratic consensus even in so called democratic countries? Is he a force of a larger authoritarian trend? Illiberal democracies and undemocratic liberalism, as Yascha Mounk calls it? And where does that leave Europe, where we are from, Karin and me, Sweden and Germany? We are in this privileged spot for a specific time, Harvard for one year. But we will return. Time will move on. What will be then? What will we be? Who will we be? Karin and I sat down at the Coop bookstore at Harvard Yard on a particularily crisp and clear sunny morning. Karin is a journalist like me, in charge of the opinion page of the Aftonbladet in Stockholm and a former politician for the Swedish Social Democrats. She is no longer a member.

On Refugees

with
Aman Sethi
27.10.16
60 min
60hertz

When the Indian writer Aman Sethi first talked to me about the refugees, he had a very different perspective: He said, think of the people who come to Europe not as weak, don’t fall into the trap of making them dependent upon your help, your jugdement, your jurisdiction for that matter – think of them as strong and self-reliant, as humans who chose to leave the place they called home and come to this country, a brave and uniquely individual decision. One year later, the discourse is different. It is, in Germany and in other countries, a profoundly anti-human-rights discourse, it is the preperation for a post-democratic regime which relies on keeping the people called refugees outside. Aman called them musafir, the wanderer. He has been here forever.

What's a Mistake?

Georg Diez about seeing a country sink
12.09.16
3 min
Post

I called my friend Aman Sethi the other day, he was in New Delhi, I was in Cambridge, he had just gotten up, I was about to go to bed, we said hello on skype and recorded what we talked about for 60hz – and it felt good to be so far away and think about this mad mad year that has passed. Just that day I had read another of the many many articles about why Merkel has to go and how the mood in the country has changed and why it was a mistake a year ago to let the refugees in.
In this text, like in the others I read, I tend to skip them, actually, because they all sound alike, there was no argument why it was a mistake. There was no explanation of the alternatives at that time, there was no discussion about the fundamentals or principals of what Merkel did or what the alternatives might have been. She acted to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. But this is something that does not count for much these days it seems.
What was important, it seems, and what is important, is politics. To turn a problem into politics, you have to forget the problem and just talk about what other people in the political sphere say about the reasons, the consequences, but preferably the failures and mistakes of others. Some call this spin, but that was a while ago. Today it is reality which is replaced by rhetoric.
The problem with that kind of approach – or journalism, for that matter – is the profound inabilty to formulate any guiding principle for how things should be. Actually, this is the whole purpose of the endeavour. Talk about who said what in order not to talk about guilt and responsability.
The role of the press in this context strikes me as reckless. What is this obsession of parts of the Berlin establishment to get rid of that woman that they listened to like schoolboys for such a long time? They chose to ignore that the country is doing fine one year into the brave decision to let the refugees in. There is no crisis, but they need one, so they talk about it without touching reality.
It seems that the campaign against Angela Merkel is a primarily destructive journalism not based on reality but resentment. Merkel’s mistake is not a mistake in an objective sense, it cannot be, it does not have to be. The mistake is not even a mistake. It just needs to be called one. The mistake serves its purpose like a discursive poison.
A country like Germany with so little balance and confidence, a country so insecure about who it is and what it wants to be, a country with such a long tradition in obedience will have problems to adjust to this new situation if it only relies on the capacities of the people they consider Germans – if the large part of the population with different background, stories, perspectives are shut out, this would the most catastrophic consequence, the beginning of really fundamental change in the way this country works.
Aman was helpful. It was good to talk to him. Listen to what he had to say, Monday, 7 pm Berlin time, on Berlin Community Radio.

DISCREET

with
Agustina Woodgate
Armen Avanessian
Alexander Martos
09.07.16
60 min
60hertz

DISCREET is a new kind of intelligence agency that is currently under development. Between June 22 and July 11, 2016—during the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Paranoia, Terror, Anxiety and Safety are discussed by the founding agents as well as it’s basic mission statement, its goals, strategies, and actions for an open-source secret service organization. DISCREET seeks to respond to the massive increase of means available to entities worldwide not under democratic control. 

Anger Management: The Ruins of Democracy

with
Peter Galison
Karin Pettersson
Georg Diez
13.03.17
60 min

Anger Management: What Is Wrong With Human Rights?

with
Sam Moyn
Karin Pettersson
Georg Diez
07.03.17
60 min

Anger Management: The Trump Challenge

with
Theda Skocpol
Karin Pettersson
Georg Diez
06.02.17
60 min

Anger Management: Democracy For the 21st Century

with
Karin Pettersson
Georg Diez
02.02.17
60 min

Trump is the Revenge of the Nineties

with
Josh Simon
Georg Diez
07.12.16
60 min

The Triumph of Arab Porn

with
Youssef Rakha
Georg Diez
15.11.16
60 min

The Trump Puzzle

with
Georg Diez
Karin Pettersson
01.11.16
60 min

On Refugees

with
Aman Sethi
27.10.16
60 min

What's a Mistake?

Georg Diez about seeing a country sink
12.09.16
3 min

DISCREET

with
Agustina Woodgate
Armen Avanessian
Alexander Martos
09.07.16
60 min