What is the role of gender in consolidating social identity and subjectivity? How has Conchita Wurst changed our aesthetics and political ethos?
openDemocracy is a website for debate about international politics and culture, offering news and opinion articles from established academics, journalists and policymakers covering current issues in world affairs. openDemocracy was founded in 2000 by Anthony Barnett, David Hayes, Susan Richards and Paul Hilder. Publishing started in May 2001.
In dialogue with feminist, queer and transgender groups, the Challenging Male Supremacy Project works with male activists to raise consciousness and strengthen practices of accountability in order to counter the harms of male violence and privilege, and build broader struggles for transformative justice and collective liberation.
Prominent contributors to the webzine have included Kofi Annan, George Soros, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Shirin Ebadi, Sidney Blumenthal, Peter Hain, Pierre Bourdieu, Manuel Castells, Fred Halliday, and David Blunkett.
We must use our freedom to maintain a radical perspective and build an alternative to austerity and exclusion, says Tom Vickers.
openDemocracy’s mission statement asserts: “openDemocracy is committed to human rights and democracy. We aim to ensure that marginalised views and voices are heard. We believe facilitating argument and understanding across geographical boundaries is vital to preventing injustice”.
Women have played a seminal role in keeping food cultures all over the world alive. Nikandre Kopcke discusses her inspiration for setting up a pop-up restaurant which showcases the culinary talents and diverse cultural heritages of migrant women in London.
openDemocracy is owned and published through a non-profit foundation. It has been funded by a number of philanthropic organisations, including the Ford Foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, as well as a base of individual donors. High profile individual supporters have included Heidi Bergemann, John Cleese, Carl Djerassi, Pamela Raspe, and Reinhard Hesse.
African feminist filmmakers and theorists reflect on the shifting roles of women working at all levels of the film and media industries on the continent, and the task of making films that challenge the existing fictions that misrepresent and distort women’s realities.
The CIA uses philanthropic foundations as the most effective conduit to channel large sums of money to Agency projects without alerting the recipients to their source. From the early 1950s to the present the CIA’s intrusion into the foundation field was and is huge. A U.S. Congressional investigation in 1976 revealed that nearly 50% of the 700 grants in the field of international activities by the principal foundations were funded by the CIA (Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War, Frances Stonor Saunders, Granta Books, 1999, pp. 134-135). The CIA considers foundations such as Ford “The best and most plausible kind of funding cover” (Ibid, p. 135). The collaboration of respectable and prestigious foundations, according to one former CIA operative, allowed the Agency to fund “a seemingly limitless range of covert action programs affecting youth groups, labor unions, universities, publishing houses and other private institutions” (p. 135). The latter included “human rights” groups beginning in the 1950s to the present. One of the most important “private foundations” collaborating with the CIA over a significant span of time in major projects in the cultural Cold War is the Ford Foundation.
According to Balibar, and I share his view, if we adopt a radically relational perspective, the concrete redefinition of statehood in Europe is already bringing with it the material conditions for a redefinition of a collective subject of history. The crisis of Europe is therefore the problem of a collective subject of history – the people – which is beyond the nation state.
It is important to note that once the CIA had officially been established in 1947, John Whitley and Nelson Rockefeller would both cooperate actively with the Agency, serving either as ‘fronts’ for CIA funding, or using their own money to fund initiatives which were useful assets to the Agency. Whitney, who also served on the Psychological Strategy board (PSB) during the early 1950s, made himself useful to the CIA by furnishing financial backing for new companies and business ventures, which he registered under his own name. As Frances Stonor Saunders has pointed out, the Rockefeller Foundation formed ‘an integral component of America’s Cold War machinery’. Although it may not have been an actual CIA conduit, the Foundation did play an important part in shaping US foreign policy, funding the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a major Cold War think-tank, as well as research grants and fellowships. Nelson Rockefeller himself had strong ties to the American intelligence community and used his family’s extensive fortune to promote US foreign policy objectives. In addition to his influential position within the Rockefeller Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, he also served as president of the Museum of Modern Art, which played an important role in the CIA’s cultural Cold War. During the 1950s, Rockefeller received briefings on covert activities from both CIA director Allen Dulles and Tom Braden, director of the CIA’s International Organizations Division. In 1954 Rockefeller was appointed chairman of the Planning Coordinating Group, which controlled all National Security Council decisions and cover t operations. In that same year Rockefeller replaced C. D. Jackson as Eisenhower’s special advisor on psychological warfare.
Theorists of gender and sexuality stress the significance of public performance of gender and the role of repetition in consolidating one’s social identity and subjectivity: we are (exist), as gendered and sexual human beings, in relation to our peers and society; our public presence plays a role in this recognition and our social integrations. But we can also constantly become what we aspire to be by challenging social norms and expectations. Narratives of gender and sexuality meet half way – or so they should in a society respecting individual and sub-group rights. In this respect, collecting 12 points from many European countries – amongst them, several with over-active fascist-populist movements – produces a series of controversial discourses: first, European audiences are beginning to accept the Euro-pop consumption of marginalised social identities (homosexual, transvestite, drag and what is known in gender studies as ‘queer’). Second, the artistic elites (Eurovision judges) appear to promote new tolerance agendas that incorporate art into policies of equality (still not harmonised at European level). Finally, popular venues, such as that of Eurovision, can streamline such agendas into global public consciousness in as imperceptive ways as those employed by harmful propaganda machines of old times (e.g. the Third Reich).