Open Letter to the Parties:
Time for the Neo-Dissidents

 

No liberal democracy, political party, market economy, or human right is set in stone. People created these concepts, and people have the power to destroy them. These social constructs are often elevated to the rank of universal laws or endowed with a sacred permanence; they carry on, immutable, even when utterly stripped of the spirit in which they originally came into being.

If I had not seen the thousands of people protesting in the streets of Spain, peacefully demanding legal reforms to laws governing their political existence, perhaps I would lack the confidence to write the following: we are witnessing the demise of state systems made up of political parties as we know them today.

Occupy Wall Street and the Spanish protests of 2011 and 2012 made the same claim that the thinkers who make up the group Krytyka Polityczna and many other groups have been making for years: we need to analyze the absence of real political choice, as well as the lack of differences between parties in their economic policies. No ruling leftist party can, or will, implement socio-democratic reforms, whether it wants to or not; this is a consequence of globalized developments that relate to capital and not democratic choice. These developments, such as the competition between national states to introduce the lowest tax rate, have led to a system in which social-democratic economic policy within a single state is practically impossible. Such a policy would increase the national deficit, lower stock prices, and chase investment into neighboring countries, threatening the stability of the entire national economy. Those socially rejected by a powerless Left turn instead to firebrand populist campaigners, thus fueling other conflicts over such issues as abortion and immigration or creating new symbolic spheres of discord.

*

One can still pretend that differences, and therefore pluralism and diversity, exist—or rather, continue to exist. Yet these are merely empty excuses, which fail to resolve any social problems. Indeed, they become problems in themselves, focusing the media’s attention on the parties and taking with it the attention of the electorate. Hence, the “cartel” of the same parties remains in power, all the while acting as if it is engaged in a real democratic struggle over real issues, as if differences have not disappeared. No, they claim, not only have they not vanished, but they live on, in Herculean proportions!

How much longer are we going to pretend that this is democracy? How much longer will we fool ourselves into thinking that voters have any real choices? Is the artificial polarization of our political system really the pluralism that we promised ourselves, at least after 1989 in Poland?

We are witnessing the demise of state systems made up of political parties as we know them today.

This illusion of choice is present almost everywhere in the Western world. Political opponents absorb one another, old parties wither away, the spaces created for new alternatives never appear, turning instead into hollow voids, and risking the shutdown of the entire democratic system. And because it is conformists, rather than nonconformists, who are more likely to accept this state of affairs, the political scene is increasingly dominated by the former. Silvio Berlusconi, Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande, Angela Merkel, and even Barack Obama, not to mention our own Donald Tusk, build kaleidoscopic political coalitions in which “public relations,” political marketing, and teleprompters replace programs of meaningful political action. Image becomes privileged above all else, as if the whole thing were no more than a well-cast, never-ending soap opera about power, rather than a project that aims to achieve a political goal. In this way, a new elite of permanent party politicians is created, into which one can at best be co-opted; at the same time, success now requires no more than an easily recognizable public persona, something to be pursued and cultivated at all cost. Celebrity politicians will always find a place in some party, plastered in substantial quantities of television studio make-up and spouting cheap sound bites, utterly stripped of any true vision or honor.

*

Society, or rather the masses, is now confronted with a new social contract: we will take any steps necessary to gain power. To this end, we will jettison any ideological ballast along the way. But don’t worry! Despite all this, we will be able to manage the economic crisis, the building of motorways and atomic power stations, the national deficit and other administrative wrangles. The problem is that this kind of escape from politics turns out to be effective in the process of securing power, but completely useless when it comes to exercising it. Western economies have fallen into a deep crisis, while the European Union has found itself frozen and powerless in an accelerating downward spiral.

How much longer are we going to pretend that this is democracy? How much longer will we fool ourselves into thinking that voters have any real choices?

If such an escape from politics were even possible, perhaps we would need to accept it as a necessary evil. But all it is good for is the creation of a sanitized line of fire against right-wing populists (from the Greek Golden Dawn to the American Tea Party). The spirit currently evaporating from present-day liberal democracies was once a useful tension between political ideologies with the idealistic hope that the best one would win. Compromises happened frequently. However, a compromise between ideals or policies is completely different from opportunistic evolutions in a collective public image. Political parties today are as good at dumbing down the public as are most television programs. It seems as if whoever first abandons any spirit of mission ends up victorious. This kind of thinking may make economic sense in the media, but not in politics.

*

In the long run, what happens in the political sphere reflects what happens in the public sphere. The commercialization of an increasing number of social spheres has led to the dissolution of society all the way down to individuals, each competing with one another at every possible step. Political communities have been transformed into a modernized “state of nature,” in which once again homo homini lupus est(man is a wolf to man). And so perhaps it is not only the concepts of systems of political parties or liberal democracy that are coming to an end, but even society itself in an increasingly disenchanted world.

One of the most perceptive observers of this process was Czesław Miłosz; in our current predicament, we would do well to pay careful attention to his writings. His most political essay, The Captive Mind, published in 1951, was not only a dissection of communist ideology but the unmasking of a system in which the appearance of a lack of alternatives insidiously enslaves even the most enlightened minds. It is not repression that Miłosz warns us against most vigorously, but rather the ponderous weight of ideology—an ideology that can crush both the individual and any democracy which individuals create; an ideology that forces obedience by making alternatives seem inconceivable.

This holds true not only for the totalitarian ideologies of the twentieth century but for the ideologies we encounter now. Indeed, Miłosz’s skepticism toward the heralding of “The End of the Age of Ideologies” should not be read as analogous to the belief that another ideology such as communism can again enslave people. He would observe that this enslavement is taking place before our very eyes; the steady degeneration of life down to its base physiology results in a “cattle-like existence,” which Miłosz described in his 1995 in The Year of the Hunter as, “papu, kaku i lulu” (“They eat, they drink, they multiply, and they are content—but why?”). This kind of life, predominant in modern consumerist capitalist states, was also described by Miłosz in 1969 in his prophetic Visions from San Francisco Bay, as a paradoxical consequence of ever-advancing individualization.

*

Today, the radical perspectives of both Left and Right seem equally improbable in a world characterized by liberal irony, something nearly all of us delight in. We refuse to take ourselves too seriously. We are reluctant to become engaged, animated, or active, feeding our reluctance with a sense of shame both crippling and near-universal. The “prison of ridicule” built by regimes of cynical thinking has turned out to be as frightening a tool of coercion as the old punishment of being locked up in a real prison.

So we find ourselves with a dilemma: does a politics that guarantees that the crimes of the twentieth century will not be repeated also function as a barrier to societal self-organization? Miłosz spent his life seeking to answer the question of how to rediscover the meaning of life in a disenchanted world. He searched for it not only in Polish and Russian literature of the nineteenth century but also in Blake and Swedenborg, in early Manichean Christian sects, and in the Bible. This zealous poet and intellectual pursued his quest every place where one does not gamble away free will or human liberties—not even for the promise of life in a “crystal palace.”

*

Today, the radical perspectives of both Left and Right seem equally improbable in a world characterized by liberal irony, something nearly all of us delight in.

In analogous fashion, the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk has noted the transition between classical enlightenment critiques of ideology, in which social evils were accounted for by false perceptions of reality, and today’s attitude of conscious resignation. It is no longer the case that people “act unknowingly.” Rather, “they know very well what they are doing, but still, they do it.” It is no secret that we live in an exhibitionist age; the question is, how can we get ourselves to rise up from our all-too-comfortable seats in the audience?

Since we are dealing with an overwhelming paralysis of action rather than the debilitation of minds, there is no need for any complicated new arguments. Confronted by the breakup of society as a result of the individualization and mercantilization of nearly all spheres of public life, we need more than a new political narrative to unite and mobilize ourselves to put our self-interest aside and trust one another enough to engage in making social change. People will not risk their own careers if they are not sure that others will do the same. It is not fear that paralyzes people, as it did in the twentieth century. It is the shame of falling behind in the rat race.

*

What may really persuade people to come together is common experience as the experience of commonness. It is undertakings rather than abstract theory. In today’s world, it is not the argument or emotion that can form social bonds, but common actions that build real and long-term trust. Sociologists express concern about the decrease of social capital, what Robert Putnam calls the phenomenon of “bowling alone.” Less is written about how one can act politically in such a “post-society.” It appears that “social glue” cannot be produced on a mass scale. “Together,” in real life, refers to a very few, later to a few dozen, at most to a few hundred people, if it is to be a real together, one that derives from common experiences. But the power of close-knit people is enormous, and their determination is far greater than that which emerges from the logic of the market or NGOs, much less the glitzy but desiccated party structures.

The “action plans” proposed in the past works of such East European thinkers and activists as Jacek Kuroń and Václav Havel suggest a way forward. The theory and practice of small groups does not guarantee the creation of a social movement. Yet, no such movement can be created without it—without islands of trust. Perhaps their absence explains why recent mass outbreaks of discontent, such as the Indignados and Occupy, were merely protests and did not develop into social movements.

Havel neither believed in Soviet Communism nor ever became an uncritical dreamer of liberal democracy, the invisible hand of the market, and consumer prosperity. After the collapse of communism, he did not get stuck on old maps, nor did he neglect new challenges. Already in The Power of the Powerless, published in 1978, he wrote,

It would appear that the traditional parliamentary democracies can offer no fundamental opposition to the automatism of technological civilization and the industrial-consumer society, for they, too, are being dragged helplessly along by it. They are manipulated in ways that are infinitely more subtle and refined than the brutal methods used in the post-totalitarian societies.

And these were not the views of a naïve idealist. As president of the Czech Republic, Havel did not silently accept the “realities” of power. His autobiography was originally entitled Keep It Short. Please (in English, it is To the Castle and Back: Reflections on My Strange Life as a Fairy-Tale Hero). Havel picked the title to protest the stupidity of commercialized media, which he believed turned everything into a thoughtless form, and against the journalists who accepted this. Yes, we know, said Havel, that this is the norm, and those who do not comply will be hidden away under a hat. But maybe if more of us did not comply it would be much easier to think in fresher and more helpful ways. For Havel, we are all shoppers at the grocery store who can either accept the imperfect world around us or challenge it. We will remain this way as long as this imperfect world is based on almost universal indifference.

In The Power of the Powerless, Havel recommended a method of social action:

I believe in structures that are not aimed at the technical aspect of the execution of power….There can and must be structures that are open, dynamic, and small; beyond a certain point, human ties like personal trust and personal responsibility cannot work….They would be structures not in the sense of organizations or institutions, but like a community. Their authority certainly cannot be based on long-empty traditions, like the tradition of mass political parties, but rather on how, in concrete terms, they enter into a given situation.

Jacek Kuroń organized such groups to resist Communist rule in Poland. He helped form such groups as “The Commandos,” which initiated student protests in March 1968 (with Adam Michnik, among others), and the Workers’ Defense Committee, a vital forerunner of the Solidarity movement. Kuroń paid a lot of attention to two ideal types of groups: expressive and instrumental. Expressive groups derive from a bond that is formed between people “who share the same experience, read the same books, have the same viewpoints.” They show “incredible strength and resilience.” Instrumental groups, on the other hand, concentrate on an external aim. They are more formalized, regulated, and aim for efficiency. The latter are more familiar to us; this “cold” element, ubiquitous in today’s world, overshadows the warm one. Kuroń and Havel envisioned not a conservative utopia of organic communities but a well-balanced mixture of the warm element of a solid social bond and the cold element, reliable and effective.

What we need now are not nuclear power plants generating more energy for wealthy post-societies but plants capable of producing social glue that would restore societies. We must rebuild interpersonal relationships for change, first through actively organized groups and then through social movements.

A mere three decades ago, Poland gave birth to the largest such movement the world has ever seen; Solidarity had ten million members. But we still behave as though present-day political parties—stripped of ideals and staffed by people without qualities—can satisfy us. “The world crashes into us like un-reason incarnate, like the creation of some deranged gigantic brain. Can one nonchalantly accept that huge burden, and agree that what exists, simply is, and that’s that?” asked Milosz. The answer? “One can, but only by passively accepting it in a state of brutish contemplation, like a grazing cow. If we are capable of compassion, yet at the same time powerless, then we live in a state of desperate irritability.”

From Dissent, Spring 2013


Sławomir Sierakowski is the leader of Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique), based in Poland with branches in Ukraine and Russia. It is the largest movement of left-wing intellectuals, artists, and activists in Eastern Europe. He is also director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw. This open letter to political parties was published in the weekend edition of Gazeta Wyborcza (June 18–19, 2011). Its publication sparked months of debate, which included, among others, essays in response by the social theorist Zygmunt Bauman and Poland’s former president Aleksander Kwaśniewski. Portions translated from the Polish by Klara Wojtkowska.

The title of this essay is taken from the famous text written by two Polish dissidents, Jacek Kuroń and Karol Modzelewski, in 1964. In this letter they criticized a new ruling and bureaucratic class in communist Poland. The wordplay is based on the word “Partii,” which in the genitive case can mean in Polish both “party” and “parties.” The first party is the (one and the only) Polish Communist Party, the second is the current Polish (but not only Polish) party system.

Tr@nsit Online Authors

  • Bradley F. Abrams

    History, Stanford University
    Read more

  • Thomas Ahbe

    Thomas Ahbe studierte Philosophie, Ökonomie und Soziologie. Seit 1998 wirkt er freischaffend als Sozialwissenschaftler und Publizist. Seine Arbeitsschwerpunkte sind Diskurs- und Kulturgeschichte der deutschen Zweistaatlichkeit und der ostdeutschen Transformation sowie die Generationengeschichte der DDR und Ostdeutschlands.   Print

  • Karl Aiginger

    Karl Aiginger is Director of WIFO (Österreichisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung), Professor of Economics and Coordinator of the project A new growth path for Europe within the 7th European Framework Program.   Print

  • Huercan Asli Aksoy

    Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, University of Tübingen
    Read more

  • Sorin Antohi

    Sorin Antohi is Professor of History at Central European University, Budapest.   Print

  • Timothy Garton Ash

    History, Oxford
    Read more

  • Roumen Avramov

    Program director for economic research at the Center for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
    Read more

  • Adam Baczko

    PhD Candidate in Political Science, EHESS, Paris
    Read more

  • Pavel Barsa

    Associate Professor of Political Science, Charles University Prague
    Read more

  • Rainer Bauböck

    Rainer Bauböck is professor of social and political theory at the European University Institute in Florence. In 2006 he was awarded the Latsis Prize of the European Science Foundation for his work on immigration and social cohesion in modern societies. Among his many publications are Immigration and Boundaries of Citizenship (1992), Transnational Citizenship: Membership and …
    Read more

  • Steven Beller

    Geschichte, Cambridge
    Read more

  • Naja Bentzen

    Freelance journalist, Wien
    Read more

  • Luiza Bialasiewicz

    Jean Monnet Professor of EU External Relations, University of Amsterdam
    Read more

  • Muriel Blaive

    Muriel Blaive ist seit 2012 Institutskoordinatorin des Ludwig Boltzmann Instituts für Europäische Geschichte und Öffentlichkeit.   Print

  • Andras Bozoki

    Sociology, Budapest
    Read more

  • José Casanova

    Professor für Soziologie, New School for Social Research, New York
    Read more

  • Daniel Chirot

    Soziologie, Seattle
    Read more

  • Robert Cooper

    Robert Cooper ist britischer Diplomat und derzeit als Sonderberater des Europäischen Auswärtigen Dienstes (European External Action Service, EEAS) tätig. Er ist zudem Gründungsmitglied des European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).   Print

  • Peter Demetz

    Sterling Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature, Yale University; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
    Read more

  • James Dodd

    Associate Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, New York
    Read more

  • Martin Endreß

    Martin Endreß ist Professor für Soziologie an der Universität Trier.   Print

  • Mischa Gabowitsch

    Mischa Gabowitsch (gabowitsch.net) is a research fellow at the Einstein Forum in Potsdam. He is the author of Putin kaputt!? (Suhrkamp, 2013), a study of the 2011-13 Russian protests for fair elections, and maintains protestrussia.net, which collects academic resources for the study of protest in Russia.   Print

  • Charles Gati

    Charles Gati is Senior Acting Director of Russian and Eurasian Studies and Foreign Policy Institute Senior Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C.     Print

  • Dessy Gavrilova

    Dessy Gavrilova is the founding Director of The Red House – Center for Culture and Debate in Sofia, Bulgaria.     Print

  • Keith Gessen

    Keith Gessen is a freelance writer living in Cambridge, MA.   Print

  • Gerhard Gnauck

    Warsaw correspondent for Die Welt
    Read more

  • Katya Gorchinskaya

    Managing Editor for Investigative Programming, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (REF/RL), Kyiv
    Read more

  • John Gray

    John Gray is Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics.   Print

  • Rainer Gries

    Rainer Gries lehrt und forscht als Universitätsprofessor am Historischen Institut der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, am Institut für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft der Universität Wien sowie an der Sigmund Freud PrivatUniversität Wien. Zu seinen Forschungsschwerpuntken zählen u.a. die Gesellschaftsgeschichte Deutschlands und Österreichs im 20. Jahrhundert und die Geschichte des Konsums in Europa.   Print

  • Eva Hahn

    Geschichte
    Read more

  • Gábor Halmai

    Professor of Law, Department of European Studies; Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
    Read more

  • Elemer Hankiss

    Professor für Politikwissenschaft, Eötvös Lorand Universität, Budapest; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
    Read more

  • Miklós Haraszti

    Miklós Haraszti is a writer, journalist, human rights advocate and university professor. He served the maximum of two terms as the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media from 2004 to 2010. Currently he is Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia Law School, New York. Haraszti studied philosophy and …
    Read more

  • Sabine Hark

    Sabine Hark forscht an der Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität Potsdam, Professur für Frauenforschung.   Print

  • Annemieke Hendriks

    Freelance journalist, Berlin
    Read more

  • Charles Hirschman

    Charles Hirschman is Boeing International Professor at the Department of Sociology and the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, Washington University.     Print

  • Jennifer L. Hochschild

    Jennifer L. Hochschild is Professor of Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Professor of African and African-American Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University.   Print

  • Yaroslav Hrytsak

    History, Central European University Budapest
    Read more

  • Richard Hyman

    Richard Hyman ist Professor für Politikwissenschaft an der London School of Economics.   Print

  • Vladislav Inozemtsev

    Professor of Economics at Higher School of Economics; Director, Centre for Post-Industrial Studies, Moscow
    Read more

  • Bruce P. Jackson

    Bruce P. Jackson is the founder and President of the Project on Transitional Democracies. The Project is a multi-year endeavour aimed at accelerating the pace of reform in post-1989 democracies and advancing the date for the integration of these democracies into the institutions of the Euro-Atlantic. Jackson has written extensively about the engagement of Russia …
    Read more

  • Tom Junes

    Visiting Researcher, Warsaw University, and Visiting Lecturer in Polish history, KULeuven, Belgium
    Read more

  • Alex J. Kay

    Alex J. Kay holds a PhD in History from the Humboldt University Berlin.   Print

  • Anatoly M. Khazanov

    Anatoly M. Khazanov ist Professor für Anthropologie an der University of Wisconsin, Madison.   Print

  • Cornelia Klinger

    Professor of Philosophy, University of Tübingen
    Read more

  • Gudrun-Axeli Knapp

    Professor of Social Sciences and Social Psychology, University of Hannover
    Read more

  • Jacek Kochanowicz

    Jacek Kochanowicz is Professor for Economic History at Warsaw University.       Print

  • Michal Kopecek

    International Relations, Charles University Prague
    Read more

  • János Kornai

    János Kornai is Prof. em. for Economics  at Harvard University and Permanent Fellow at the Collegium Budapest – Institute for Advanced Study. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europeae, and Foreign Member of the American, British, Bulgarian, Finnish, Russian and Swedish Academies. He has served as President of …
    Read more

  • Pavel Kouba

    Professor für Philosophie an der Karlsuniversität, Prag; Leiter des Zentrums für Phänomenologische Forschung an der Tschechischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
    Read more

  • János Mátyás Kovács

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Lecturer, Department of Economics, Eötvös Lorand University, Budapest
    Read more

  • Ivan Krastev

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Chair of the Board, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
    Read more

  • Yustyna Kravchuk

    PhD candidate in Film and Media Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv
    Read more

  • Jacek Kucharczyk

    Jacek Kucharczyk ist Head of Programs am Institute of Public Affairs in Warschau.   Print

  • Aleksander Kwasniewski

    Aleksander Kwasniewski war Präsident Polens. Seine Amtszeit verlief von 1995 bis 2005 über zwei Legislaturperioden.   Print

  • Mladen Lazic

    Professor of Sociology, University of Belgrade
    Read more

  • Claus Leggewie

    Professor für Politikwissenschaft, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen
    Read more

  • André Liebich

    Honorary Professor of International History and Politics, Graduate Institute, Geneva
    Read more

  • Burkhard Liebsch

    Burkhard Liebsch ist Professor für Philosophie an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum.   Print

  • Michal Luczewski

    Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, Warsaw University
    Read more

  • Charles S. Maier

    Charles S. Maier ist Direktor des Center for European Studies, Harvard University.   Print

  • Andrey Makarychev

    Andrey Makarychev ist Professor und Research Fellow am Institut Osteuropäische Studien an der Freien Universität Berlin.   Print

  • Michał Maciej Matlak

    Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute, Florence
    Read more

  • Erik Meyer

    Erik Meyer ist seit 2000 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Sonderforschungsbereich ‘Erinnerungskulturen’ an der Justus-Liebig Universität Gießen.   Print

  • Krzysztof Michalski

    IWM Founding Rector
    Read more

  • Hans J. Misselwitz

    Hans-Jürgen Misselwitz ist ein deutscher SPD-Politiker und Gründungsmitglied des Instituts Solidarische Moderne.   Print

  • Alessandro Monsutti

    Alessandro Monsutti is an associate professor of anthropology and development sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, as well as research associate at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. He worked as a consultant for several nongovernmental and international organizations, icnluding UNHCR. His book War and Migration: Social Networks …
    Read more

  • Jan-Werner Müller

    Professor of Politics, Princeton University

    Visiting Fellow
    (September 2016 – June 2017)
    Read more

  • Rainer Münz

    Professor für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Korrespondierendes Mitglied des IWM
    Read more

  • Sighard Neckel

    Professor of Sociology, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main
    Read more

  • Katherine Newman

    Katherine S. Newman is the James B. Knapp Dean of The Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. She is a widely published expert on poverty and the working poor who led major interdisciplinary initiatives at Princeton and Harvard universities.     Print

  • Pierre Nora

    Pierre Nora lehrt Geschichte an der École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris.   Print

  • Tereza Novotna

    Political Science, Boston University
    Read more

  • Ewald Nowotny

    Ewald Nowotny is Governor of the Austrian National Bank.   Print

  • Thomas Nowotny

    Thomas Nowotny teaches Political Science at the University of Vienna. He has been Austrian diplomat, private secretary to Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, senior political counselor to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and consultant to the OECD.   Print

  • Vlad Odobescu

    Freelance journalist, Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, Bucharest
    Read more

  • Andrzej Paczkowski

    Professor für Geschichte, Institut für Politische Studien, Polnische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Warschau
    Read more

  • Emilia Palonen

    Politics, University of Essex
    Read more

  • Irina Papkova

    Irina Papkova is a Research Fellow of Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. She spent five years teaching at the Department of International Relations and European Studies at Central European University, Budapest.   Print

  • Agnieszka Pasieka

    Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the Martin Luther University, Halle/Saale
    Read more

  • Gleb Pavlovsky

    President, Center of Effective Policies; Member, Public Chamber of the Russian Federation; Editor-in-Chief, The Russian Journal (Moscow)
    Read more

  • György Péteri

    Professor of Contemporary European History, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
    Read more

  • Tanja Petrovic

    Tanja Petrovic works at the Scientific Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana.   Print

  • David Petruccelli

    PhD candidate in History, Yale University
    Read more

  • Alexander von Plato

    Alexander von Plato ist ein deutscher Philosoph und Historiker. Er gründete das Instituts für Geschichte und Biographie an der Fernuniversität Hagen, das er bis 2007 leitete. Von 1996 bis 2000 war er Sekretär der International Oral History Association, von 2006 bis 2008 deren Vizepräsident. Er ist Mitherausgeber und Redakteur von BIOS – Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung, Oral …
    Read more

  • Andrei Plesu

    Andrei Plesu ist Rektor des New Europe College, Bukarest. 1989- 1991 war er rumänischer Kulturminister und 1997- 1999 rumänischer Außenminister.   Print

  • Martin Pollack

    Martin Pollack, geb. 1944 in OÖ, studierte Slawistik und osteuropäische Geschichte. Er war von 1987 bis 1998 Redakteur des “Spiegel” in Warschau und Wien und lebt heute als Schriftsteller und literarischer Übersetzer in Wien und Bocksdorf im Südburgenland. 2011 erhielt er den Leipziger Buchpreis zur Europäischen Verständigung und 2012 den Stanislaw-Vincenz-Preis. Zuletzt erschien von ihm …
    Read more

  • Krzysztof Pomian

    Krzysztof Pomian is Professor of History at the Nicolaus Copernicus University (Toruń) and Academic Director of the Museum of Europe in Brussels.   Print

  • Romano Prodi

    Romano Prodi war von September 1999 bis November 2004 Präsident der Europäischen Kommission.   Print

  • Lipin Ram

    PhD candidate and teaching assistant in Anthropology and Sociology of Development, Graduate Institute, Geneva
    Read more

  • Mykola Riabchuk

    Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Political and Nationalities’ Studies, Academy of Sciences, Kyiv
    Read more

  • Edelbert Richter

    Edelbert Richter ist deutscher Theologe, Politiker und war Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestages.   Print

  • Paul Ricoeur

    Paul Ricoeur ist Philosoph und war Professor Emeritus an der University of Chicago und an der Sorbonne. Er war Mitglied der Académie Francaise und Mitglied des Wissenschaftlichen Beirats des IWM. Er starb 2005.   Print

  • Michel Rocard

    Michel Rocard, former First Secretary of the French Socialist Party and a member of the European Parliament for 15 years, was Prime Minister of France from 1988 to 1991.   Print

  • Akos Rona-Tas

    Akos Rona-Tas is professor at the Sociology Department of the University of California, San Diego and a research associate at Met@risk, INRA, Paris. He is the author of the books Plastic Money: Constructing Markets for Credit Cards in Eight Postcommunist Countries (with Alya Guseva, 2014) and Surprise of the Small Transformation: Demise of Communism and …
    Read more

  • Lew Rubinstein

    Lew Rubinstein lebt als Poet und Essayist in Moskau. Nach dem Studium der Philologie war er als Bibliothekar tätig. Seit Ende der 1960er-Jahre verfasst er poetische Arbeiten, seit 1974 serielle Textzyklen als so genannte Kartotheken. Zusammen mit Andrej Monastyrskij, Dimitrij A. Prigov und Vladimir Sorokin gilt er als wichtigster Vertreter des Moskauer Konzeptualismus. Print

  • Jacques Rupnik

    Geschichte und Politikwissenschaft, Paris
    Read more

  • Claudia Šabi?

    Claudia Šabi? ist Politikwissenschaftlerin und Ethnologin. Seit 1998 ist sie Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main. Print

  • Ranabir Samaddar

    Ranabir Samaddar is the Director of the Calcutta Research Group. His research focuses on migration and refugee studies, the theory and practices of dialogue, nationalism and post-colonial statehood in South Asia, and new regimes of technological restructuring and labour control. Among his many publications are Marginal Nation: Trans-border Migration from Bangladesh to India (1999), Politics of Dialogue: Living under …
    Read more

  • Paul Sanders

    Paul Sanders is a historian and management scholar. He is a full-time professor at Reims Management School in Reims, France. He has published across the disciplines of history, international relations and leadership.   Print

  • Karl Schlögel

    Karl Schlögel war Professor für Osteuropäische Geschichte zuerst an der Universität Konstanz, dann an der Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. Nach seiner Emeritierung arbeitet er an einer Archäologie des Kommunismus und einer Geschichte des Wolgaraumes. Zurzeit ist er City of Vienna/IFK Fellow am IFK in Wien.     Print

  • Thomas Schmid

    Thomas Schmid is the publisher of the WELT Group, Berlin. He worked for various newspapers, among them as editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. From 2006 to 2010 he was Editor-in-Chief of Die Welt.   Print

  • Margit Schratzenstaller

    Margit Schratzenstaller is senior researcher at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) and is currently coordinating (together with Karl Aiginger and Stefan Ederer) ‘WWW for Europe’, a 4-year research project within the 7th Framework Program funded by the European Commission.   Print

  • Dieter Segert

    Dieter Segert ist Professor für Transformationsprozesse in Mittel-, Südost- und Osteuropa am Institut für Politikwissenschaft der Universität Wien. Seit September 2007 ist er Mitglied des Vorstandes des IDM Wien, seit Juni 2008 Mitglied der Leibniz-Sozietät der Wissenschaften zu Berlin.   Print

  • Victoriya Sereda

    Sociologie, Ivan-Franko-Universität, Lviv
    Read more

  • Michel Serres

    Michel Serres ist Philosoph und Mitglied der Académie Française.   Print

  • Marci Shore

    Associate Professor of History, Yale University
    Read more

  • Sławomir Sierakowski

    Director, Institute for Advanced Study, Warsaw; Founder, "Krytyka Polityczna" movement
    Read more

  • Sara Silverstein

    Ph.D. Candidate in Modern European and International History, Yale University
    Read more

  • Aleksander Smolar

    Political Science, Paris
    Read more

  • Timothy Snyder

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Bird White Housum Professor of History, Yale University
    Read more

  • George Soros

    George Soros is a pioneer of the hedge-fund industry, investor and philanthropist, he is the author of many books, including Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays (2012), The Soros Lectures: At the Central European University (2010), The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Finance Markets (2009).   …
    Read more

  • Robert Spaemann

    Robert Spaemann ist Professor em. für Philosophie an der Universität München.   Print

  • Pawel Spiewak

    Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Philosophy, Warsaw University
    Read more

  • Wilfried Stadler

    Wilfried Stadler ist Unternehmensberater, Wirtschaftspublizist und Honorarprofessor an der Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien. Bis 2009 war er Vorstandsvorsitzender einer österreichischen Spezialbank für Unternehmensfinanzierung.   Print

  • Rudolf Stamm

    Rudolf Stamm war von 1975 bis 1988 Korrespondent der Neuen Zürcher Zeitung für Osteuropa und Österreich, anschließend bis 1999 für Italien, dann bis zu seiner Pensionierung 2002 für die USA mit Sitz in Washington D.C. Er starb 2010 in der Schweiz. 1985 erscheinen seine NZZ-Reportagen aus Osteuropa in dem Band Alltag und Tradition in Osteuropa. …
    Read more

  • Paul Starr

    Paul Starr ist Professor für Soziologie an der Princeton University und Mitherausgeber von The American Prospect. Er ist Pulitzer-Preisträger.   Print

  • Martina Steer

    ÖAW APART Fellow (History)
    Read more

  • Kristina Stoeckl

    Research Director
    APART Fellow, Austrian Academy of Sciences; Department of Political Sciences, University of Vienna
    Read more

  • Roman Szporluk

    Roman Szporluk is Professor em. of Ukrainian History at Harvard and Professor em. of History at the University of Michigan. He is a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine. His research focuses on modern Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish history, and on Marxism and nationalism in Eastern Europe.   Print

  • Charles Taylor

    IWM Permanent Fellow
    Professor em. of Philosophy, McGill University, Montréal
    Read more

  • Maria Teteriuk

    PhD candidate in Mass Communications and senior lecturer in Media Studies, National University of 'Kyiv-Mohyla Academy', Ukraine
    Read more

  • Philipp Ther

    Junior Professor of Polish and Ukrainian Studies, Europa-Universität Frankfurt / Oder
    Read more

  • Maria Todorova

    Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
    Read more

  • Balázs Trencsényi

    Balázs Trencsényi, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Department of History, CEU. His research focuses on the comparative history of political thought in East Central Europe and the history of historiography. He is co-director of Pasts, Inc., Center for Historical Studies at CEU and Associate Editor of the periodical East Central Europe (Brill). He was …
    Read more

  • Stefan Troebst

    .
    Read more

  • Marius Turda

    Lecturer in the Education Abroad Program, Eötvös Lorand University, Faculty of Humanities, Budapest
    Read more

  • Andreas Umland

    Andreas Umland ist Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Institut für Euro-Atlantische Kooperation Kiew sowie Herausgeber der Buchreihe Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, ibidem-Verlag Stuttgart. Print

  • Victoria Vasilenko

    Assistant Professor of Contemporary History and International Relations, Belgorod National Research University
    Read more

  • David G. Victor

    David G. Victor is a Professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego, where he directs the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation.   Print

  • Harald Welzer

    Harald Welzer ist Forschungsprofessor für Sozialpsychologie an der Universität Witten/Herdecke und Direktor des Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research am Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts Essen.   Print

  • Karolina Wigura

    Adjunct of the History of Ideas, University of Warsaw; Co-Editor of Kultura Liberalna
    Read more

  • Volodymyr Yermolenko

    Volodymyr Yermolenko is a Ukrainian philosopher and essayist. He has a degree in Political Science from the EHESS, Paris, and teaches at Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kyiv. He is the author of the book Narrator and Philosopher: Walter Benjamin and his time (2011, in Ukrainian). Print

  • Oksana Zabuzhko

    Free-lance writer, Kiev
    Read more

  • Tatiana Zhurzhenko

    Research Director, Russia in Global Dialogue / Ukraine in European Dialogue
    Read more