More of the same

Makroskop, 4. März 2022.

Der 100 Milliarden-Euro-Zuschlag für die Bundeswehr ist alles andere als eine „Kehrtwende“. Im Gegenteil setzt er die Merkel’sche Politik der symbolischen Beschwichtigung von Unmut bei gleichzeitiger Problemverschleierung und Diskussionsverweigerung präzise fort.

Die in den letzten Wochen noch mehr als sonst selbstgleichgeschaltete deutsche Presse feiert den von Bundeskanzler Scholz im Bundestag angekündigten 100-Milliarden-Euro-Zuschlag zum sogenannten Verteidigungshaushalt, verteilt über eine offengelassene Anzahl von Jahren, als radikale Abkehr von der Politik der in kürzester Zeit im Misskredit geratenen Angela Merkel. In Wahrheit aber handelt es sich um eine kongeniale Fortsetzung: um ein momentanes Nachgeben gegenüber Stimmungen im In- und Ausland, um politischen Symbolismus, das „Senden eines Signals“ mit dem Ziel, „ein Zeichen zu setzen“, bedeute es was es wolle, solange es erst später etwas bedeuten muss, und wer weiß schon, was dann sein wird. (…)

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Letter from Europe: Fog of War

Sidecar, March 1, 2022.

Accounting for the descent of the European state system into the barbarism of war – for the first time since the collapse of Yugoslavia and NATO’s 1999 bombing of Belgrade – needs more than lay psychiatry. What made Russia and ‘the West’ engage in an unrelenting wrestling match on the edge of the abyss, with both sides eventually falling off the cliff? As we live through these monstrous weeks, we understand better than ever what Gramsci must have meant by an interregnum: a situation ‘in which the old is dying and the new cannot be born’, one in which ‘a great variety of morbid symptoms appear’, like powerful countries turning their future over to the uncertainties of a battlefield clouded in the fog of war. (…)

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Versión española:
Despertar a los perros dormidos

El Salto, 1 de marzo, 2022.

La unidad occidental está de vuelta. Cuando Europa occidental vuelve a “Occidente”, la Unión Europea es reducida a una entidad de prestación de servicios de apoyo geoeconómico en beneficio de la OTAN, es decir, de Estados Unidos.

Explicar el descenso del sistema de Estados europeo a la barbarie de la guerra por primera vez desde el bombardeo de Belgrado por la OTAN en 1999 precisa de algo más que de un psiquiatra lego. ¿Qué hizo que Rusia y “Occidente” se involucraran en un interminable juego de forcejeo al borde del abismo que finalmente ha precipitado a ambos contendientes al fondo del mismo? (…)

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RevDem Podcast

Central European University, Democracy Institute, January 21, 2022.

Wolfgang Streeck, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.

Interview by:

Laszlo Bruszt, Co-director of the CEU Democracy Institute, Professor of Sociology at the Central European University, and Editor-in-Chief of RevDem.

Michal Matlak, Managing Editor of the Review of Democracy, and Fellow at the CEU Democracy Institute.



Buchpräsentation im Disput: Wolfgang Streeck, Zwischen Globalismus und Demokratie

Haus am Dom, 17. Februar 2022.


Nicole Deitelhoff, Friedensforscherin, Direktorin des Leibniz-Institutes Hessische Stiftung für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, Frankfurt.

Astrid Séville, Politikwissenschaftlerin, Akademische Rätin am Geschwister-Scholl-Institut der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München.

Wolfgang Streeck, Soziologe, bis 2014 Direktor am Max-Plank-Institut für Gesellschaftsforschung, Köln.

L’Europe, cet empire dont l’Allemagne n’est pas sûre de vouloir

Le Monde Diplomatique, Février 2022, 6-7.

À la tête d’une coalition sans identité politique, le nouveau chancelier allemand Olaf Scholz devra résoudre une série de contradictions que sa prédécesseure avait habilement contournées : les vues divergentes de Paris et de Berlin sur l’Europe et sur la sécurité ; le rapport avec la Chine et la Russie, clients et fournisseurs indispensables mais adversaires sur le plan des valeurs…

Après seize années à la tête du pays, la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel a quitté ses fonctions, le 8 décembre 2021. Peut-être se souviendra-t-on rétrospectivement de ses quatre mandats successifs comme d’un âge d’or pendant lequel les décisions qui fâchent pouvaient encore être remises à plus tard, les dilemmes dissimulés derrière des démentis optimistes, et les conflits étouffés en distribuant de l’argent réel ou imaginaire, emprunté ou imprimé.

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English version:
New German coalition’s competing visions

Le Monde Diplomatique, February 2022.

Germany faces big decisions about its place in the world. Angela Merkel’s successor, Olaf Scholz, needs to reconcile differing foreign policy priorities within his own government.

In a few years Angela Merkel’s time may be remembered as a golden era when potentially divisive decisions could be postponed, dilemmas hidden by cheerful denial, and conflicts papered over with money, real or imagined, borrowed or printed. Germany, prosperous and powerful, became a model for other EU member states, partly because their political class believed the German way could and should be theirs as well. (…)

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Deutsche Version:
Die EU nach Merkel

Le Monde Diplomatique, Februar 2022, S. 4-5.

Die Meisterin des Aufschiebens hat die zentralen Fragen zur Zukunft Europas unbeantwortet gelassen.

ls Angela Merkel nach 16 Jahren im Amt abtrat, hinterließ sie eine bemerkenswert lange Liste offener Fragen, ungelöster Konflikte und latenter Krisen, die fast alle einen gemeinsamen Ursprung hatten: die komplexe Verschränkung von Problemen und Strategien der deutschen Innenpolitik mit denen der internationalen Politik auf europäischer Ebene. (…)

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“Berlino fa i suoi interessi. E continuerà a farlo”

Intervista di Cinzia Sciuto, MicroMega+, Gennaio 28, 2022.

La Germania dopo il lungo cancellierato di Angela Merkel e il suo ruolo nell’Ue. L’analisi del sociologo tedesco: “Non ci saranno modifiche ai Trattati. I Paesi che soffrono dell’unione monetaria dovrebbero pensare a come liberarsene invece di sperare in compensazioni da parte dei Paesi che ne beneficiano”.

Dopo 16 anni al potere, dall’8 dicembre scorso Angela Merkel non è più cancelliera. Quali sono stati i momenti più significativi del suo cancellierato, quali gli errori più gravi?

Questa è una domanda per rispondere alla quale servirebbero uno o due libri! Angela Merkel è stata molto abile far passare come interesse europeo l’interesse nazionale tedesco nel preservare l’unione monetaria. È riuscita a far passare l’unione monetaria di Kohl e le riforme neoliberali di Schröder come merito suo. Allo stesso tempo, con le politiche di bilancio dei suoi governi, ha accettato il decadimento ormai avanzato dell’infrastruttura tedesca. (…)

书籍翻译 – 资本主义将如何终结 (Book translation – How Will Capitalism End?)

Chinese translation: How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System (Beijing: China Renmin University Press 2021).



In the Superstate

Review of Christopher J. Bickerton and Carlo Invernizzi Accetti (2021), Technopopulism: The New Logic of Democratic Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Appeared in London Review of Books, 44 (2), January 2022.

By and large,​ we know what we mean by technocracy: the delegation of public authority to an elite cadre with some sort of scientific expertise, their legitimacy derived from their superior knowledge. In a technocracy, decisions can be challenged only by other experts. Everyone else must sit back and watch.

It’s less clear what we mean by populism, since the term is used for so many different things. Most current definitions share the idea of a ‘people’ divided and short-changed by an ‘elite’, and who come to consciousness by pushing that elite aside, replacing it with a new leadership that has a relationship of something like mystical unity with ‘the people’. Populism, on the left and the right, promises a social unity achieved through politics and the state, overcoming division by eliminating the enemies of the common people – the capitalists in left populism, non-nationals of various sorts in the populism of the right. While elite rule divides the people into self-seeking factions, populism unites them, in a struggle against those who claim to know better than the masses what the masses need. (…)

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Letter from Europe: Ultra Vires

Sidecar, January 7, 2022.

Remember the campaign, conducted by the European Commission (EC) and the EU Parliament (EP) with the help of the Court of Justice (CJEU), to teach Poland the rule of law by withholding its share in Ursula von der Leyen’s precious, the Next Generation EU (NGEU) Corona Recovery Fund? EU legalese being not by accident notoriously difficult to understand for anyone but the Court itself, hard thinking reveals that ‘rule of law’ means two things here: independence of the national judiciary from the national executive, and recognition by both of the supremacy of European over national law, including national constitutional law, whatever the European law may be, which in case of doubt is a matter for the CJEU to determine, and the CJEU alone. (…)

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Versión española:
Despertar a los perros dormidos

El Salto, 9 de enero 2022.

A medida que han quedado estancadas las posibilidad de revisión de los Tratados, la Comisión y el Parlamento han afirmado el derecho a intervenir en la política nacional y en los ordenamientos legales de los países miembros.

Recuerdan ustedes la campaña orquestada por la Comisión Europea (CE) y el Parlamento Europeo (PE) para enseñar a Polonia el respeto del Estado de derecho, con la ayuda del Tribunal de Justicia de la Unión Europea (TJUE), mediante la retención de la cuota asignada a este país en el más precioso recurso de von der Leyen, el Next Generation EU Corona Recovery Fund? (…)

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Deutsche Version:
Schlafende Hunde wecken

Makroskop, 12. Januar 2022.

Das Bestreben, EU-Recht vor nationalem Recht durchzusetzen, ist ein „Staatsstreich von oben“. Und der hat das Potenzial, schlafende Hunde in den nationalen Hauptstädten zu wecken.

Man erinnert sich an die Kampagne der Europäischen Kommission und des EU-Parlaments, Polen mit Hilfe des Europäischen Gerichtshofs (EuGH) durch Vorenthaltung seines Anteils an von der Leyens Wertvollstem, dem Next Generation EU Corona Recovery Fund, zur Rechtsstaatlichkeit zu erziehen. (…)

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Angela Merkel’s empty leadership

Unherd, December 23, 2021.

When she left office, Angela Merkel was celebrated across Europe as a benevolent and circumspect leader who had led the Continent through a succession of serious calamities.

This was in striking contrast to her public image during the Greek debt crisis, when cartoonists depicted her in SS uniform resplendent with swastika. But those cartoons were for the masses only. The European political elites, all of them, happily voted with the Merkel government when it came to disciplining the Greek dissidents. They were as eager as the Germans to keep European monetary union alive. Merkel has left Europe to a political class to whom she has not only taught the trickery of two-level politics — national and supranational — but whom she has also, in part, brought to or kept in office. It is a political class that has bet its future on a Europe built around German hegemony. (…)

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