This section includes book reviews of 600-900 words, as well as some book notes of 100-200 words, on books of particular interest to the members of our group. If members either have a review that they consider of interest to the SG, or a recent book of their own, which they would like to see reviewed in the newsletter, please contact Cas Mudde at: email@example.com.
Recent Reflections on Populism, the FPÖ, and Austria
Reinhold Gärtner (University of Innsbruck)
Fleischhacker, Michael, Wien, 4. Februar 2000 oder: Die Hysterie zur Wende, Wien: Czernin Verlag, 2001, 128 pp., EURO 14,02, ISBN 3-7076-0112-9.
Kopeinig, Margaretha and Christoph Kotanko, Eine europäische Affäre. Der Weisen-Bericht und die Sanktionen gegen Österreich, Wien: Czernin Verlag, 2000, 112p, EURO 12,95, ISBN 3-7076-0105-6.
Oetsch, Walter, Haider light. Handbuch für Demagogie, Wien: Czernin Verlag, 2000, 272p, EURO 20,25, ISBN 3-7076-0047-5.
Ottomeyer, Klaus, Die Haider-Show. Zur Psychopolitik der FPÖ, Klagenfurt-Celovec: Drava Verlag, 2000, 128p, EURO 14,32 , ISBN 3-85435-337-5.
Reinfeldt, Sebastian, Nicht-wir und Die-da. Studien zum rechten Populismus, Studien zur politischen Wirklichkeit Bd. 8, Wien: Braumüller Verlag, 2000, 228p, EURO 27,62, ISBN 3-7003-1312-8.
Scharsach, Hans-Henning and Kurt Kuch, Haider - Schatten über Europa, Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch Verlag, 2000, 332p, EURO 15,84, ISBN 3-462-02963-0.
Many books have been published since the FPÖ entered the Austrian government in February 2000. Unsurprisingly they differ in quality, scientific value and meaningfulness. The books reviewed here are written by journalists (Fleischhacker, Kopeinig, Kotanko, Scharsach, Kuch) and social scientists (Oetsch, Ottomeyer, Reinfeldt), and in line with their professions the authors have chosen different ways of analysing this part of Austria's recent past.
Fleischhacker and Kopeinig/Kotanko focus on the concrete political situation in Austria in the year 2000 - i.e. the bilateral sanctions of the so-called "EU-14", the report of the "three wise men" (Ahtisaari, Frowein, Oreja), and the reactions to these in Austria. Kopeinig/Kotanko give a very short overview of the political events which led to the ÖVP-FPÖ government, followed by the reactions of the other 14 EU member states. The main part of the book consists of the text of the "wise men report", which was published in September 2000. The book should be seen primarily as a documentation of this report, which is important enough given that the Austrian state (especially ÖVP and FPÖ officials) presented very selective interpretations of the report.
In his book, Fleischhacker sets out to explain the reactions of European (and non-European) countries to the formation of the ÖVP-FPÖ government. The results, however, are disappointing. The book is centred on the application of psychoanalytic terminology (symptom, case history, diagnosis, therapy), and reads as a mere conglomeration of the author's opinions (which, of course, are legitimate but not necessarily important enough to publish a book about) with more or less clumsy psychoanalytical conclusions. Interestingly, Fleischhacker writes in his epilogue that it might be impossible to intensify and exaggerate in order to strengthen discernment and interest and - at the same time - give expression to real concern. At least he has failed in this intention (which does not necessarily mean that it is impossible).
The main field of interest of Reinfeldt and Oetsch is populism and demagogy. Reinfeldt's "Nicht-wir und Die-Da" is a very profound, detailed and analytic study of right wing populism and, as Anton Pelinka points out in the introduction, far from every day political simplification. In the first part, Reinfeldt focuses on populism in general and in Austria in particular, followed by an exemplary case study of the FPÖ and some of the FPÖ's political issues (unsurprisingly immigration appears repeatedly, this being the most important issue in populist propaganda of right wing parties around Europe).
All in all, Reinfeldt's book is worth reading, even though he seems to lose the thread somewhat which makes the reading demanding and tiring. What is really frustrating, however, is the number of typing mistakes throughout the book. There are also a few mistakes in content -- two examples: the Treaty of Vienna - Staatsvertrag - was in 1955 and not in 1956 (p. 29) and the referendum "Austria first" was not in 1992 but in 1993 (p. 138 and p. 164).
The subtitle of Oetsch's "Haider light - Handbuch für Demagogie" indicates that one can expect a certain ironic undertone. This is strengthened by the table of contents, which indicate that Oetsch proposes five steps to become a demagogue: first, make up a simple conception of the world; second, make yourself a 'feeling-manager'; third, create a sectarian organisation; fourth, become the leader of this organisation; and, fifth, take over power.
Though there are numerous examples of Haider's arguments, there are not really new pieces of information given by Oetsch, but the simplicity of his argumentation - and thus the simplicity of Haider's agitation - are well exemplified. If one is looking for an easy read, Oetsch's book can be recommended.
Scharsach already published other books on Haider and the extreme right in the early 1990s ("Haider's Kampf"; "Haider's Clan"). In his new book, with Kuch, he again tries to describe Haider's ideology in detail. Scharsach and Kuch have chosen various aspects from historic revisionism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, German nationalism, scapegoats, Haider's concept of a Third Republic; law and order; (acceptance of) violence to Haider's allies. Finally, they ask if Haider is a democrat and point out that serious doubts are legitimate. Haider's system of a "social national community" is contrary to democracy; his concept of a Third Republic means a serious reduction of representative democracy; and his attacks on the freedom of expression and especially his treatment of critics within his party are evidence enough to seriously doubt his lip-service to democracy.
Finally, Ottomeyer - who also has published various books on Haider and the FPÖ before - describes the various manifestations of the chameleon Haider: the Robin Hood of Austria, the male sportsman, the beer-garden socialist, and the advocate of the "war-generation". He also depicts Haider's sometimes strange attitude towards truth, his racist statements, and his ability to connect topics which in reality have no connection. Even if Haider's attractiveness might fade, there are, according to Ottomeyer, others attempting to emulate their master -- not only (or even necessarily) in Austria, but in other (European) countries.
In addition to these books, there are countless other studies of Haider and his FPÖ. Bailer-Galanda, Czernin, Goldmann, Gstettner, Januschek, Luther, Neugebauer, Tributsch, Wodak or Zöchling - to name just a few - have published books on this topic too. It is not surprising that Haider is the focus of publications on right wing populism and the extreme right in Austria. The books are profoundly different in content - from mere collections of quotations (Czernin) to profound, deep and thorough analyses (Januschek) - and focus: some concentrate on Haider, his political career and the populism performed by him, others see Haider in a wider context and provide information about the FPÖ in general or about other party representatives.
One problem with Haider (and the FPÖ) has been that everything was focused on him. This is not surprising, as Haider was indeed (and partly still is) the FPÖ. Haider is the undisputed number one. Even more so than in books and articles, Haider is the main focus of interest in political weeklies and newspapers. With a Haider cover one can be sure to sell out. This led to a certain neglect of others within the FPÖ, who had clearer connections to the extreme right, and to the (wrong) assumption that the problem of the extreme right in Austria was only to be found within the FPÖ.
The main question was (and still is) whether Haider and the FPÖ can or cannot be categorised as "extreme right". Without a doubt, the FPÖ has developed into a right wing populist party. And, according to the scientific terminology used by some (e.g. Ignazi, Hainsworth), one can also argue that it has become an extreme right party. This does not mean, however, that one can categorise the supporters and voters of the FPÖ as a homogenous group of right wing extremists -- with 26.91 per cent of the votes cast in the 1999 elections this would be really misleading. What is true, though, is that all FPÖ voters at least tolerate and accept the xenophobia and NS-nostalgia promulgated by the party.
A particular problem is that the label "extreme right" has to be seen in a special context. Many journalists tend to use the term "extreme right" in a quite often biased way. This makes it even more difficult to use the term in a scientific-analytical way. Moreover, "extreme right" in Austria is quite often associated with "neo-Nazi" - something which Haider and the FPÖ have relied on frequently in recent years in order to instigate legal proceedings. In this respect, a recent decision of the Viennese court of appeal includes a very important statement. Haider had accused the Innsbruck political scientist Anton Pelinka of damaging his reputation. On 21 March 2001 the Court explained the acquittal of Pelinka with Haider's coquetry with Nazism and the fact that he again and again enters the grey area in which Nazi-crimes are not accepted in their real dimension.
Richard Blaug and John Schwartzmantel (eds), Democracy. A Reader, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2001, 571 pp., GBP 16.95, ISBN 0-7486-1267-X (pbk) / GBP 45.00, ISBN 0-7486-1266-1 (hbk).
Reviewed by Cas Mudde (University of Edinburgh)
This massive new reader on democracy should be part of any university library and, given the decent price of the paperback, also provides a valuable and affordable addition to the private libraries of political scientists.
Part one brings together 'traditional affirmations of democracy', including work from most of the classics (including Pericles and Schumpeter). Part two deals with the 'key concepts', i.e. 'freedom and autonomy' (e.g. Rousseau and Berlin); 'equality' (e.g. Locke and Rousseau); 'representation' (e.g. Burke and Bakunin); 'majority rule' (e.g. Mill and Sartori); and 'citizenship' (e.g. Aristotle and Sewell Jr.). Part three deals with 'critiques of democracy', coming from Marxists and socialists (e.g. Marx and Miliband), conservatives, elitists and authoritarians (e.g. Plato, Scruton and Mussolini), and feminists (e.g. Coole and Mendus). The fourth and final part combines texts on contemporary issues, including rational choice (e.g. Sen and Downs); 'the market' (e.g. Hayek and Beetham); nationalism (e.g. Nodia and Schwarzmantel); multiculturalism (e.g. Taylor and Kymlicka); 'beyond the West' (e.g. Parekh and Nathan); participation (e.g. Barber and Pateman); civil society (e.g. Cohen & Arrow and Putnam); deliberation (e.g. Blaug and Habermas); and 'the future of democracy' (e.g. Mouffe and Stewart).
Undoubtedly, the editors have accomplished their main stated objective, i.e. "to bring together as wide a range of material on democracy as can be assembled in one volume" (p.xi). Though one can always debate the importance of some included contributions (for example, those by the editors themselves), and regret the exclusion of certain texts (for example, John Keane on civil society), this collection does bring together most of the key texts and arguments, historical and contemporary. What makes the volume of particular interest to our membership is that it includes "extracts from thinkers hostile to the democratic ideal as well as from those defending and justifying democracy" (p.xi).
Luke W. Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement, New York and London: New York University Press, 2001, 244 pp., USD 18.95, ISBN 0-8147-1537-0 (pbk) / USD 45.00, ISBN 0-8147-1536-2 (hbk).
Reviewed by Chris Rootes (University of Kent at Canterbury)
This book is enlivened by case studies and includes a very useful annotated bibliography. It is a useful addition to the literature on the environmental justice movement in the US, drawing heavily on legal literature, but it is by no means of interest only to lawyers. The authors argue that litigation is not always the best strategy for low-income communities fighting wealthy corporations. Grassroots community organisation may serve better both by counterpoising the power of numbers of people to the power of money, and by developing the political skills and confidence of communities and activists.
The authors criticise the legal system for its insistence on a narrow conception of racism that requires proof of the racist intent of the actor. Many have declared the existence of 'environmental racism' on the basis of the discriminatory outcomes of decision-making processes that visit a disproportionate share of the burdens of pollution upon people of colour. Cole and Foster go further by drawing attention to the political economy of environmental decision-making and its intersection with historic patterns of racial discrimination and their consequences, especially in the (increasing) social segregation of space. Paradoxically, campaigns for environmental justice have generally relied on the most moderate of constitutional tactics.
Angela D. Dillard, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Now? Multicultural Conservatism in America, New York: NYU Press, 2001, 288 pp., USD 26.95, ISBN 0-8147-1939-2 (hbk).
Reviewed by Paul Gottfried (Elizabethtown College)
According to Dillard, "multicultural conservatism" is taking shape now that the American Right has begun to reach out in its discourse and choice of representatives to include women, blacks, Jews, Hispanics, and, more recently and more tentatively, self-declared gays. She devotes several chapters of her slim volume to describing and celebrating this "enriching" diversity that has penetrated the American Right; and she contrasts the movement's earlier and more narrow-minded manifestations to this newly attempted inclusiveness. Nonetheless, Dillard also complains that the effort by conservative (really neoconservative) institutions to showcase minorities is exacting a high price, by depriving blacks, women, and other minorities of the possibility of bearing "authentic" witness to their individual and collective histories of oppression. Whatever continues to exist of the Right, we are warned, is tainted by xenophobia, racism, misogyny, and Old Testament homophobia, and Dillard is forced to conclude: "Perhaps it is simply impossible to alter the conservative discourse to the extent necessary to make it appealing to a truly diverse constituency."
What Dillard really regrets is that the respectable American Right has not moved into her camp thoroughly enough. Indeed any black conservative resistance to racial quotas is dismissed as the attempt of the African-American middle class to "assimilate on the backs of the black poor." But this judgment is misleading. It is in fact the black middle class, who benefit most palpably from quotas. Dillard also makes it appear that everyone on her right is an anti-immigration racialist, an opinion that comes up with particular force in the final chapter.
Despite her own 'venom' toward the insufficiently transformed multicultural conservatives, Dillard may be on her way to becoming part of a "development" that she tells us is "not desirable." Those whom she goes after as racists and sexists have taken to courting her.
Peter J.S. Duncan, Russian Messianism: Third Rome, Revolution, Communism and After, London: Routledge, 2000, 235 pp., GBP 55.00, ISBN 0-4151-5205-4 (hbk).
Reviewed by Andreas Umland (Ural State University)
In this dense, highly informative study Peter Duncan succinctly presents one of the most important recurring features in Russian nationalist thought: the idea of a special mission of the Russian people for Europe, Eurasia, or even the whole world. He starts with a short comparative overview of the international varieties of messianism, and then proceeds to the origins of Russian messianism in the late fourteenth century when "the monasteries developed the ideological claim that Muscovy and her Grand Dukes were chosen to represent the climax of Christian history" (p.11). A more elaborate version of this idea became later known under the heading of Moscow as the "Third Rome".
In his survey, Duncan succeeds in comparing all the different permutations of, and in providing a useful taxonomic scheme for, Russian messianism. For example, he distinguishes between a state-oriented messianism inspired by the idea of Moscow's domination of other peoples (a messianism he classifies as "nationalist"), and a people-oriented messianism linked with the idea of the Russian people as being a model for other nations to follow (which he categorizes as "universalist messianism"; p.3). His appraisal is especially helpful in differentiating between 19th-century Russian revolutionary and Leninist messianism, on the one side, and Stalinist messianism, on the other.
Duncan's study is to be singled out as a major contribution to the field of comparative nationalism studies, and a unique addition to the study of Russian intellectual and political history. Moreover, it provides perhaps the most extensive bibliography on Russian nationalism assembled so far. It will thus be of great value to students and advanced researchers alike.
Dominique Lecourt, The Mediocracy- French Philosophy Since the Mid-1970s, London: Verso, 2001, 240 pp., GBP 18.00 / USD 27.00, ISBN 1-85984-793-5.
Reviewed by Göran Adamson (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Hesitant towards his more fierce disciples, Karl Marx once said: "I do not belong to any church." But what about those central figures of contemporary French Philosophy -- Jacques Lacan, Gilles Deleuze, Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault; are they too undogmatic believers, leaving the orthodoxy to others? These issues, among others, are dealt with in this book.
The chapter on Michel Foucault´s power critically examines the moral and practical implications of the gloomy idea of eternal mental imprisonment. Revolving around the brief phrase: "We were mistaken", The Burial of Leftism gives one of two revealing insights, and Death and Resurrection of the Intellectual in particular contains elegant discussions concerning the surprising lack of self-esteem on the part of the intellectuals above, trumpeting that universal intellectuals simply no longer exist.
Less amusing, however, is the style of the book. The chapters are short, and often the reader is often left with a handful of intellectual gossip by someone who "was there". By means of phrases such as "I do not cite these declarations and analyses out of derision or morose delight", Lecourt, furthermore, leaps into that pond of clay called "The one who excuses himself accuses himself".
Returning to the initial question -- Would those modern French philosophers rather be labelled sceptics than priests within their own thought system? Possibly not, Lecourt seems to argue, repeatedly and rather convincingly pointing at that one puzzling feature of many a fashionable relativist. Scepticism, subjectivism, encapsulated languages, anti-universalism, particularism, dogmatic hesitance, lack of knowledge and what not are indeed being supported, but for one vital exception -- the dogmatism, anti-historicism and at times imperialistic arrogance with which this delicate "tolerance" is being presented.
Alexander Lukin, The Political Culture of Russian 'Democrats', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 335 pp., GBP 50.00, ISBN 0-19-829558-8 (hbk).
Reviewed by Luke March (University of Edinburgh)
Aiming to correct a perceived Eurocentrism and one-sidedness in existing treatments of the perestroika era, this detailed monograph focuses on the ideas, motivations and belief system of Russian 'democratic' groups in 1985-1991. The author evaluates the relationship between what he claims is a coherent democratic subculture and Russia's mainstream political culture, examines how political culture changes and advances claims for it having a major role in political development. Using an extensive array of documentation and qualitative interviews, the author then provides a detailed analysis of the origins of this counterculture and the evolution of its belief system. The ideology even of those 'democrats' who most decisively rejected Soviet ideology was, it is claimed, an amalgam of Western theories and distinctively Soviet values and beliefs often as Manichean, idealised, and instrumental towards the actual institutions of democracy as Marxism-Leninism itself.
This is a complex and original account, whose many sources will make it of particular use as a reference work and historical sourcebook. It makes generally convincing claims for the existence of a unique Russian 'democratic subculture', and contains often penetrating critiques of existing Western approaches. Yet the claim that figures and groups of often evanescent influence deserve the attention lavished on them here holds less water. Much more attention to themes developed in passing such as the debt more influential 'democrats' like Yeltsin owe to their predecessors and Soviet ideology would have buttressed this theme. Overall, this book betrays its origins as a doctoral dissertation and might benefit from judicious editing - it is a work of many insights but often obsessive detail.
Erna Paris, Long Shadows: Truth, Lies and History. London: Bloomsbury, 2001, 495 pp., GBP 20.00, ISBN: 0-7475-5399-8 (hbk).
Reviewed by Andrew Schaap (University of Edinburgh)
Paris examines how collective memories of state wrongs, with their truths, distortions, omissions and partialities, impact on the politics of contemporary societies. Like Ian Buruma's The Wages of Guilt, this is a comparative study written as a travelogue. Paris journeys through the territories and political imaginaries of Germany, France, Japan, the United States, South Africa, Israel, Serbia and Bosnia, before dropping in on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Along the way she encounters some interesting people, including: Archbishop Tutu (Truth Commissioner in South Africa); Louise Arbour (then chief prosecutor of the ICTY); the anti-nationalist grandson of Wagner; historian Raul Hilberg; a white supremacist from South Carolina; various writers and museum curators, and Hitoshsi Matashima (former mayor of Nagasaki who publicly suggested the Emperor bore responsibility for Japan's involvement in W.W.II). Brief historical accounts of the various countries visited form the background to the author's journey. The interviews Paris relates provide a sense of how particular individuals struggle with collective memories.
Michael Ignatieff describes Long Shadows as 'a tenacious and intelligent investigation of how nations lie to themselves and how these lies scar national identities'. However, I would have preferred a shorter, more analytic text with fewer of the author's flourishes (e.g. the past 'shelters behind beautifully painted moveable screens' in Japan), personal responses (e.g. 'A lump of emotion rises in my throat...') and moralistic interventions (e.g. 'I have heard this kind of self-serving argument before and it incenses me...'). This may be to judge the book unfairly, however, as it seems to be intended for a popular rather than an academic audience where it might find readers more sympathetic to this style.
David Sciulli, Corporate Power in Civil Society. An Application of Societal Constitutionalism. New York: New York University Press, 2001, 407 pp., USD 45.00, ISBN 0-8147-9786-5 (hbk).
Reviewed by Petr Kopecky (Sheffield University)
David Sciulli's book provides an interesting account of the relationship between corporate governance and civil society. It focuses on the American corporate judiciary and explores questions of how and why courts (continue to) impose social norms of behaviour on corporate managers, directors and shareholders. The author argues that issues surrounding corporate power and structure began to resurface in America in the late 1980s, during a wave of hostile takeovers and leveraged buyouts. At the same time, the traditional legal doctrine - the idea that courts should identify and protect extra-economic responsibilities that corporations bear to the society - came under attack from an influential group of legal contractarians, who argue that governance of companies should be left to self-regulating markets.
The author thus explores tensions inherent in corporate governance - the tensions that have become commonplace in the world of multinational companies and global economic competition. Moreover, he takes on these issues from the perspective of a sociologist, thus broadening the debate about corporate purpose beyond narrowly legal confines. His richly detailed account of the history of corporate law and governance in America is therefore an invaluable source not only to those interested in American society, but also to those interested in broader issues of institutional design in democratic societies and their effect on intermediary associations.
Rick Simon, Labour and Political Transformation in Russia and Ukraine, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000, 203 pp., GBP 39.50, ISBN 0-7546-1510-3 (hbk).
Reviewed by Vlad Mykhnenko (University of Cambridge)
This book's ambitious aim is to bring global politics and social class back into the debate on post-communism. Simon's object of criticism is the dominant democratisation paradigm with its focus on elite actors, negotiations and institutions. He claims that the influence of the global political economy on the Soviet bloc and the impact of civil society, especially organised labour, on the fate of state socialism have been greatly neglected by mainstream transitologists. Complicating his argument with Marxist and dependency theory jargon, Simon attempts to show that the much celebrated 'third wave of democracy' is no more than "dependent democratisation in which democratising states are subordinated both politically and economically to the interests of western capital in most cases through very high levels of indebtedness, the 'relief' of which involves imbibing the ... medicine of the IMF and World Bank, and 'democratic regimes' dominated by the executive, overseeing growing extremes of wealth and poverty, and minimising the participation of the mass of people in the political process" (p. 26). While providing some provocative theorising, the author, nonetheless, appears to have trouble supporting his argument. The two case studies on Russian and Ukrainian labour movements provide some background information. They are, however, significantly out-dated, mostly descriptive, and fall out of the main discussion.
Gnanapala Welhengama, Minorities' Claims: From Autonomy to Secession. International Law and State Practice, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000, 339 pp., USD 84.95 , ISBN 0-7546-1077-2 (hbk).
Reviewed by Pål Kolstø (University of Oslo)
Welhengama's book is a balanced, judicious, and (over)detailed account of the twin issues of autonomy and secession in international law. Most of the chapters record the position of various states on these thorny matters, particularly as expressed in UN documents. The book concludes that with rare exceptions states adamantly reject secession as a solution to minority problems (or any other problems for that matter), unless it occurs peacefully and by common agreement. This is also the author's position.
With regard to autonomy Welhengama appears to be more ambivalent. While it is said that "autonomy may be the best formula" (p.321), the author also maintains that "the strong presence of centrifugal forces is not fertile ground for any experiment using autonomy as a device to defuse ethnic tensions" (p.331). Autonomy and secession are, in principle, "completely different issues" (p.313), but minority movements too often tend to use claims for autonomy as a springboard to independent statehood.
Welhengama's attempts to illustrate the legal and philosophical points made in the book with historical and factual examples are often less than successful, with inaccurate spelling of names and imprecise analyses of events. In order to prove that the international taboo on secession was not undermined by the acceptance of the break-away former Yugoslav republics into the international community, Welhengama insists that Slovenia and Croatia did not gain independence through a process of secession. The spurious argument used to prop up this rather surprising conclusion is that these events took place when the Yugoslav Federation "was already in a process of dissolution" (p, 250). This line of reasoning seems to be an inadvertent invitation to minorities to engineer a process of state dissolution to circumvent the prohibition against secession, if that is what they want to achieve. This is exactly the opposite of what Welhengama wants to convey.
Richard Ellis, The Dark Side of the Left: Illiberal Egalitarianism in America. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1998, 426 pp., USD 34.95, ISBN 0-7006-0875-3 (hbk)/ 2000, USD 17.95, ISBN 0-7006-1030-8 (pbk).
Reviewed by Herman van Gunsteren (Leiden University)
Anyone who is more than marginally interested in justice and politics will have observed that socio/political movements that start out with ideals frequently end up betraying those very ideals. After a while we find them practising precisely what they fought against: from non-violence to condoning righteous violence, from democracy to manipulative leadership, from respecting people to dismissing their real life choices as false consciousness. This is especially disturbing in the case of left-wing egalitarian movements when their leaders' actual behaviour mirrors the practices and convictions of the extreme right. Their behaviour is a betrayal of the abhorrence of such practices that united the members of egalitarian movements to begin with.
On a broad canvas, and in interesting detail, Richard Ellis presents the egalitarian way of life and its dangers, "the inadvertent miseries - the illiberalism - that come with egalitarian choices" (p.5). The usual explanations for the backsliding of left movements are couched either in psychological terms of individual self-interest or trauma, or in historical terms of events like the Vietnam war or generational change. Ellis convinces the reader that a better explanation is to be found in the organisational and cultural dilemmas that are inevitably bound up with an egalitarian position. How to reform while remaining pure? How to organise co-operation among anti-hierarchists? How to deal with conflict when you believe in harmony? What to do when oppressed fellow human beings show non-egalitarian (submissive or manipulative) convictions and behaviour?
Ellis works within the framework of cultural theory, as developed by Mary Douglas and Aaron Wildavsky, but he refrains from the usual schematic reiterations of their initial insights. He shows how diverse egalitarian movements in American political history went off course, and how this can be understood in terms of the organisational dilemmas that their egalitarian stance brings. He treats in fascinating and respectful detail the anti-slavery movement, utopianism, Walt Whitman, the new left, and contemporary feminism and environmentalism.
His analysis of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) and the 1960s is particularly enlightening. Why did they succumb so quickly to problems they had warned against from the beginning: sectarian fights, doctrinaire Marxism, vanguard fantasies, condoning and excusing illiberal regimes. Ignorance or naivety cannot be invoked, because the lure and structure of these aberrations had been clearly spelled out at the birth of SDS. Popular explanations for the degeneration of the new left refer to generational strife - idealistic leaders being ousted by power grabbing types - or to external events like the Vietnam war that tended to polarise and radicalise all who were involved in conducting or opposing it. Ellis finds such explanations inadequate for reasons that seem convincing to me, but that require too much detail to be reported here. He also convincingly dismisses arguments, like those of SDS leader, Tom Hayden, in his memoirs, that refer to the triumph of hate over love and of ego over co-operation.
Ellis sees the main cause of degeneration of SDS in the fear of co-optation, in the necessity to act while remaining untainted by the 'system'. Leaders of SDS were often relieved when repression was found in full and pure form, when it showed its 'real face', when compromise was out of the question. When the opponent shows his 'true' nature, the need to dirty one's hands through political compromise is replaced with the need to fight, with whatever dirty means, that with which it is impossible to compromise.
Whereas Hayden wishes us to see the illiberalism and violence of the later 1960s, including his own, as a turning away from and rejection of the innocent idealism of the Port Huron Statement, Ellis sees the later developments of SDS as "generated in part by the attempt to live by the egalitarian values spelled out in the Port Huron Statement" (p.145).
This impressive study contains a disturbing message for those interested in justice. Any notion of justice involves some notion of equality. Organising equality tends to create new inequalities. If what Ellis says is true, then individual restraint and goodness will never be sufficient to avoid such new inequalities and injustices. Organising on behalf of reform toward justice involves real and unavoidable dilemmas that cannot be resolved through individual goodwill. Relying on such individual restraint alone tends to exacerbate the problems it is intended to cure. In his concluding chapters, Ellis shows that this is a lesson that contemporary feminists and environmentalists would do well to not only take to heart but also to translate into institutional arrangements that do not directly depend on the consciences of the individuals involved.
Norman G. Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry. Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, London; New York: Verso, 2000, 160 pp., USD 13.00 / GBP 8.00, ISBN 1-85984-323-9 (pbk) / USD 23.00 / GBP 20.00, ISBN 1-85984-773-0 (hbk).
Reviewed by Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs (Jagiellonian University)
Being a researcher and teacher focused on educational programs aimed at enhancing students' tolerance toward foreigners and minorities, I cannot neglect Holocaust education; on the contrary I must address it as part of my obligation as a scholar and a child of witnesses to the Holocaust. My professional involvement in designing evaluation tools has made me familiar with some aspects of the activities of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the organizations targeted by Finkelstein's criticism.
Evidently the book is proof that basically we are all emotional beings. Norman G. Finkelstein, a second generation Holocaust survivor, and an American political scientist based at New York's City University, has openly admitted that his motivation to attack Jewish organizations is related to his mother's situation: she received as compensation only $ 3,500 without a pension. He accuses American Jewish organizations which, according to him, instead of distributing the money claimed as compensation for Holocaust victims to individuals, have collected it to fulfill their own vague goals, often called educational. His thesis that special interest in the Holocaust in the US plays a political role in defending Israel can be easily demolished.
In the beginning of his book, which, as one would expect, drew the attention of extreme right groups and Holocaust deniers, Finkelstein recalls the difference between facts and their ideological representation, which is well known at least from Hegel; namely, he wants to distinguish the "Nazi holocaust" from "the Holocaust" as an ideology crafted by Jewish leadership. Apparently so careful in linguistic representations and terms, he nevertheless throws all Jewish American organizations into one bag, not noticing the differences among them. Moreover, he does not notice the differences within those organizations. Paying so much attention to the Holocaust ideology of the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) or the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), he ignores many other parts of their activities, for example the excellent educational ADL "World for Difference" program, present also in Europe, or the monitoring of hate speeches of extreme right groups in the US and abroad by the SWC.
Finkelstein seems to ignore the fact that "Holocaust awareness" has different implications in Germany, Israel, the US, and Europe. He pays a lot of attention to Elie Wiesel, blaming him for being a spiritual leader whose activity is causing an increase in anti-Semitism. Such logic of argumentation is not far from the classic mechanism of scapegoating. Finkelstein's attitudes are revealed also in his linguistic choices when he addresses the "Holocaust industry" leaders who either "intoned" (pp. 97, 121) or "lamented' (p. 102) or were repeating the "mantra of the Holocaust industry" (pp. 99-100). This vocabulary conveys cynicism and depreciation of many people's efforts to commemorate the victims, or to raise public awareness of the economic sectors (industry, banks) and countries that benefited from the Holocaust but were not mentioned officially for almost half a century.
Unlike in Europe, Holocaust education in the US is built around the immediate environment of students, teaching them how to be responsible citizens and how to react to injustice when they face it. Despite this, the whole enterprise irritates Finkelstein, as do museums and memorials. The lack of memorials to the non-Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust and victims of American crimes is mentioned as quantitative proof of the preoccupation of Americans with the topic of the Holocaust. Facing slavery or the destruction of the American Indians is still ahead of us and has to be dealt with, as are many historical facts whitewashed from textbooks for almost half a century in many Central and Eastern European countries, but this does not mean that the Holocaust should be less remembered.
The very controversial topic of the uniqueness of the Holocaust is also brought up in The Holocaust Industry. The Holocaust is unique but at the same time is one case of genocide, not The Genocide as Elie Wiesel announced. This point is expressed by many Jewish American scholars, but is ignored by Finkelstein. To make a selective choice of arguments that suits the thesis is not difficult, and Finkelstein makes excessive use of certain arguments and manipulates many facts (e.g. listing the books of Jerzy Kosinski and Beniamin Wilkomirski as fiction, not biography).
Holocaust memoralization is present not only in the US. In countries without a strong Jewish lobby, and even those with very small Jewish populations, societies call for the young generations to be taught about the Nazi evil, about the destruction of almost the whole of European Jewry, and about the different attitudes of European societies toward the Holocaust during World War II. This is a process which started in many countries only after the fall of communism. There are still more facts to study, more topics to teach, and Finkelstein's book will definitely not obstruct this process.
Reviewed by Sinisa Malesevic (National University Of Ireland, Galway)
The main aim of this book is to explain an interesting paradox of contemporary Serbian history: Why and how has Milosevic and his Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) managed to remain in power for more than a decade despite the policies that brought total economic collapse and ruin, four war defeats, undelivered promises of 'Serbian national unification' and absolute international isolation and condemnation?
This is obviously a great political and sociological puzzle of our times and a substantial historical distance is needed to provide a full and generally acceptable explanation. In the last decade or so events were (and are still) happening at such a speed that very persuasive and highly regarded accounts quickly become dated, incomplete, superficial or simply irrelevant. This book certainly will not be immune to this inevitability: the fact that just two years after its publication Serbia has experienced war with NATO, a revolution that overthrew Milosevic and SPS from power, Milosevic's sending to the Hague, and the near collapse of the ruling DOS coalition, might make some analyses and conclusions in this book dated or questionable.
However, this book stands out from the sea of recent publications on Yugoslavia and its successor states in many ways. As a trained sociologist Gordy does not subscribe to shallow journalistic clichés (on balkanisation, ancient hatreds, orientalist themes, etc.), does not engage in simplified historical analogies (on congruence between the Balkan wars at the beginning and end of the century), nor does he accept reified geography as a parameter of explanation ('Balkan mentality'). Rather, he looks for answers in the social fabric of Serbian society. In order to explain the longevity of the SPS's and Milosevic's grip on power Gordy, who spent two years researching in Belgrade, focuses in particular on four areas of everyday life in Serbia: a) social changes in political institutions, b) the mass media and information system, c) socio-cultural changes in popular music tastes and, d) transformations in economics. Gordy's main argument is that Milosevic's regime was not so much concerned with building the necessary support base among its citizens but rather with destroying any visible and viable alternative to his rule.
In this very well researched book Gordy documents how Milosevic's authoritarianism has managed to disperse and silence political, cultural, economic and social alternatives: the clearly pronounced social divisions in Serbian society (rural vs. urban, old vs. young, educated vs. non-educated) were widened and deepened to the extreme. In a hyper reality of war and dramatic social change the fully controlled mass media provided a sense of 'authoritarian comfort, security and certainty'. Economic collapse, hyperinflation and UN imposed sanctions led to the erosion of sociability, disintegration of the existing moral order and the neo-Hobbesian environment where communal solidarity was sacrificed to individual survival. Even cultural and musical alternatives were destroyed through the silencing of cosmopolitan and rebellious rock and roll and intensive state promotion of neofolk/turbofolk provincial and low quality music. (The chapter on the destruction of musical alternatives is the longest and most articulate in the book.) As Gordy shows, instead of the active political mobilisation of the Serbian public, Milosevic's regime was extremely successful in 'mobilising passivity'.
Although the book has its weaknesses -- such as the clear lack of understanding of the role of charismatic authority (p.9, p.31), underestimation of Milosevic's and SPS's public support in the early nineties when Milosevic easily won several presidential elections (the often repeated argument that 'the party in power has not once received a majority of votes in an election' is simply not true since SPS has won alone or in coalition with its nationalist puppets the relative majority of votes in 1990, 1992, 1993), sporadic and rather superficial excursions in social theory (p.98, 200-1, 204) and uncritical glorification of urban life -- this is a very important sociological contribution to the understanding of Serbian society.
Andres Kasekamp The Radical Right in Interwar Estonia (Studies in Russia and Eastern Europe), London: Macmillan / New York: St. Martins' Press, 2000, 232 pp., GBP 42.50 / USD 65.00, ISBN 0-3337-3249-9 (hbk).
Reviewed by Marcus Kreuzer (Villanova University)
The study of the intertwined fortunes of democracies and right-wing extremist formations during the interwar period has long suffered from a geographical bias as the literature disproportionately concentrates on France, Italy and particularly Germany. This has contributed to the widely held view that interwar regime outcomes were the direct by-product of the socio-economic conditions favouring or disfavouring the rise of right-wing extremism. By providing the first account of Estonian right-wing extremism, Andres Kasekamp's The Radical Right in Interwar Estonia helps to mitigate both the geographical bias and the sociological reductionism in the existing literature.
Kasekamp focuses on the rise and fall of the Estonian War of Independence Veterans' League and nicely nests this account in the country's larger political context. At first sight, the story seems very familiar. A rudderless democracy, plagued by a fragmented party system and adverse economic conditions, provides the fertile breeding ground for an extra-parliamentary protest movement. As elsewhere in Europe, veteran groups constitute the organisational nucleus for this movement while their nationalism and front experience provide the ideological cement holding it together and differentiating it from opportunistic career politicians. Kasekamp adds many interesting twists and nuances to this standard account. Organisationally, the Veterans' League is run collectively and lacks a strong, all domineering leader bent on implementing the Fuehrerprinciple. Anti-Semitism, irredentism and anti-communism also do not appear to be the same all consuming themes as they were in French and German right-wing movements. For a movement of veterans, the League has little support among the officer corps but draws a surprisingly large amount of support among workers. Finally, and arguably most astonishingly, the Veterans' League appears as very legalistic and bent more on reforming Estonia's highly participatory democracy than overthrowing it. Until 1934, the Veterans' most prominent and seemingly popular demand is the introduction of a directly elected and powerful president and the reduction of both the size and prerogatives of the legislature. After regular lobbying leaves the established parties unmoved, the Veterans organise a referendum on their constitutional reform plan which is adopted by a two thirds majority.
In addition to the League itself, the outcome of its struggle with established parties also differs from what happened in Western Europe. The Veterans' League's end comes in 1934, when parties rally behind Konstantin Pats, who declares a state of emergency in order to pre-empt the impending electoral victory of the League. The League is outlawed and its members receive light prison sentences. One year later, Pats succeeds in transforming the state of emergency into a durable dictatorship by skilfully exploiting the League's failed coup attempt to widen his powers. The collapse of Estonia's democracy thus had a high degree of collusion from existing parties (including the Socialists) and occurred in a political climate far less polarised than in Western Europe (no communists). Estonian democracy can be said to have dissolved itself in order to pre-empt a threat that seemed far less subversive and anti-democratic than in other European countries.
Kasekamp presents his account in a straightforward manner and draws on a wide variety of sources. Given the lack of any historiography on the topic, he draws on comparative literature to interpret his facts. He also added an instructive chapter comparing the League to its Finnish and Latvian counterparts. Generally, his interpretations are modest, self-restrained and hence compelling. Kasekamp manages to provide both a fine-grained monograph of an important Estonian political group and an informative general history of the volatile interwar years. It is to be hoped that similar books will follow on other countries still largely untouched by historians and that he and his fellow historians will add further nuances to how Estonia's first democracy perished.
Ruud Koopmans and Paul Statham (eds.), Challenging Immigration and Ethnic Relations Politics: Comparative European Perspectives, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 443 pp., USD 85.00, ISBN 0-19-829560-X (hbk) / USD 29.95, ISBN 0-19-829561-8 (pbk).
Reviewed by Gary P. Freeman (University of Texas at Austin)
This awkwardly titled tome is the product of a conference held in late 1997. The book is divided into four parts that break down, roughly, into (1) theory, (2) national differences, (3) migrant and xenophobic movements, and (4) transnational activities. As edited volumes in the field of migration studies go, the individual contributions are generally strong and the volume as a whole is certainly worth consulting.
The editors' long and comprehensive overview of migration and ethnic relations as a "field of political contention" is the strongest offering in section one. They review and critique a range of theoretical scholarship, noting that "much traditional work in the migration, ethnic relations, and xenophobia field, has not taken the political process systematically into its explanatory approach" (16) and is "nation-bound, inward-looking, and overly descriptive" (17). They focus on newer work on citizenship and nationhood, neo-institutionalism, political opportunity structures, and postnationalism. Advocating a political opportunity structure approach, they conclude on a note that becomes perhaps the general theme of the volume: "there is little reason to drop the nation-state as the central unit of analysis in studies of immigration and ethnic relations" (45).
In section two, Han Entzinger's multi-dimensional model of integration policies is a helpful way to sort out the literature. Meindert Fennema's discussion of attempts by European governments to repress extreme-right parties and racial discrimination should be required reading. Implicitly distinguishing the European from the American approach to free speech and unfettered political organization, the author deals skilfully both with individual national peculiarities and international and region-wide developments. While he finds that the repression of extreme-right parties has "shifted its ideological foundation from anti-fascism to anti-racism," he notes that laws against the denial of the Holocaust remain firmly rooted in anti-fascism (139). Fennema provocatively highlights the tensions between the requirements of multicultural societies and democracy. As countries become more multicultural they require more legal measures to protect minorities. But because they are becoming more multicultural they also need to develop a more procedural than substantive form of democracy given that diverse cultural groups lack a common history or system of values. To fight racism with laws requires a social consensus about the intrinsic equality of human beings which multiculturalism makes unlikely (140). Christian Joppke contributes a typically subtle comparison of the role of culture in German and American citizenship reforms, while Dietrich Thränhardt presents a richly empirical comparison of German and Dutch integration policies that concludes that Dutch policymakers, by refusing to play the race card, avoided the vicious policy cycles that plagued Germany (179).
Section three contains six illuminating chapters that address either migrant or anti-migrant mobilization. Although they employ diverse methodologies, all pay close attention to concept definition, hypothesis development, case selection, and data collection. Koopmans and Statham's revision of their 1999 American Journal of Sociology article is certainly worth revisiting. The authors identify three models of citizenship in the literature and test them against systematic data on the claims-making of migrants and ethnic minorities in Britain and Germany for the period 1990-95. Their evidence produces a decisive 'no' to the question whether this claims-making fundamentally challenges the liberal nation-state, as is supposed in theories of postnational and multicultural citizenship (218). Patrick Ireland compares the participation-institution relationship in the migrant politics of five countries and finds that the integration policies, naturalization laws, and institutional frameworks in each case produce distinctive migrant politics, no matter the migrant group in question (269-70). Romain Garbaye sheds light on a topic that is frequently ignored: the management of ethnic diversity in European cities. He uncovers strong differences between Lille and Birmingham which he attributes to the institutional frameworks in which the two cities operate, especially national-local linkages.
Roger Karapin's study of Germany and Britain is a tantalizing start toward a systematic explanation of the relationship between anti-minority riots and anti-immigrant campaigns. As it stands his study is stronger empirically than theoretically and all the author is able to show (although that is quite a lot) is the temporal relationship between movements and riots. He finds that in the early phase of anti-minority campaigns riots occurred in the absence of campaigns. During a middle phase they "overlapped and may have influenced each other" (321). In the last phase, campaigns occurred in the absence of riots. The author has opened up a promising vein of scholarship that should yield more substantial findings as it is further mined. Roger Eatwell's study of ethnocentric party mobilization is, in contrast to Karapin's article, theory-heavy and empirically light as he resorts to examples to illustrate but not test the relative strengths of rational choice, functionalism, discourse theory, phenomenology, and political opportunity structure approaches. He advocates a multi-dimensional approach that incorporates micro, meso, and macro-level explanations. Tore Björgo draws his chapter from a dissertation that apparently involved detailed, unstructured interviews with Swedish and Norwegian anti-minority activists, although his data-base is never actually described. He argues that anti-minority violence is not always the consequence of racism or xenophobia and does not necessarily reflect a political-ideological motive. He identifies the sources of such actions in personal (as opposed to ethnic) identity, scarce resources, sexuality, territory, and security.
The final section contains a refreshingly sceptical discussion of the possibilities for transnational political mobilization in the EU by Adrian Favell and Andrew Geddes. They pour cold water on feverish warnings of a 'fortress Europe' that excludes ethnic and migrant minorities or the inevitable coming of a new variant of 'fascism' (for an essay that leans in the direction of apocalypse mongering, see the chapter by Cathie Lloyd). They believe the powers of EU institutions have been "vastly exaggerated" (408) and point out that "most pro-immigrant efforts in Europe are either based on ethical norms embedded in national citizenship-and therefore not transnational at all-or on the concept of universal personhood which is global, and not connected to the specific European context." (423).
This book, in sum, contains scholarship that is attentive to theory, rooted in empirics, and mostly devoid of ideological coloring. Scholars and graduate students will find a good deal to chew on and several of the chapters (those by Fennema, Joppke, Ireland, and Björgo, especially) could be profitably assigned to undergraduate classes.