Stop and Think
The Hannah Arendt Center

Dear Samantha,

to say that there is “no” Frankfurt School is too easy. Despite the significant disagreements among the group, a look at their journal Zeitschrift fuer Sozialforschung, will show the vitality of their collaboration. The term “school” suggests more uniformity than it should, but if we mean a shared research project in terms of understanding the transformations of inter-war capitalism (1939–1945) and the rise of European Fascism, yes there is a Frankfurt “School.” Many scholars beginning with Martin Jay, David Held, Susan Buck-Morss, Andrew Arato, Helmut Dubiel, myself etc have documented this.

But I am very curious about this: what is the context in which J.J. Goldberg generates this tweet? I am not familiar with the discussion. Please clarify.

I also want to take objection to the quick equivalence between “left” and “right” journalism that your Tweet suggests, via the strange comment about Rachel Maddow, “whipping up” left hysteria. She is one of the mot grounded journalists around in terms of the sheer research that goes into her show. And there is nothing wrong in pointing out repeatedly what an extra-ordinarily unconstitutional and unlawful moment we are living through in this country when executive privilege has become executive abuse and the President behaves like an arbitrary dictator. There is too much Arendt ventriloquizing on this site so I will not bring her in except to say that we should all re-read “The Crises of the Republic” to understand what we are going through.

On Arendt and Benjamin, I agree and would love to have our thoughts on my new book, “Playing Chess with History. Exile, Statelessness, Migration from Hannah Arendt to Isaiah Berlin,” when it appears from Princeton U Press next year.