Democracy

Democracy has a future, if we rethink and remake it

Consider Brexit, the election of US President Donald Trump, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s referendum, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy of state-sanctioned murder and Hungary’s drift towards a new authoritarianism. Authors The Conversation “Democracy is dead,” say the disheartened. “It’s time to bury democracy,” pounds one Tunisian pro-Sharia party. “Democracy has fallen, we need a new game in town,” argue Vladimir Putin’s populist and Xi Jinping’s neo-authoritarian allies. These mantras, circulated widely through social media, have ricocheted around the world ... Read More »

Freedom House reduces Turkey’s status to ‘not free’ in annual report

U.S.-based non-governmental organization Freedom House has reduced Turkey’s status from “partly free” to “not free” in its latest annual report. Hurriyet The “Freedom in the World” 2018 report, published on Jan. 16, ruled that Turkey’s “political rights rating” had declined from 4 to 5 and its “civil liberties rating” had declined from 5 to 6. Specifically referring to the “deeply flawed” April 2017 referendum on shifting to an executive presidential system, the report also blasted the mass dismissals of state ... Read More »

Will Religious Instability Destroy Bangladesh?

Bangladesh was born in 1971 after India intervened in Pakistan’s civil war, which resulted in the independence of what was known as East Pakistan. Doug Bandow The National Interest The new state’s politics were violent too, punctuated by military rule, which pushed to Islamicize the secular state. Bangladesh today is nominally democratic, but politics is bitterly fractious and violent. Moreover, Islamist tides are rising. Like a number of other majority Islamic states, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, a once relaxed social ... Read More »

Martin Luther King’s Call to ‘Give Us the Ballot’ Is As Relevant Today as It Was in 1957

And that’s a mark of how endangered voting rights are right now Martin Luther King Jr.’s first speech at the Lincoln Memorial was not his celebrated 1963 address at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. By Barbara Arnwine and John Nichols The Nation Six years earlier, when he was still a relative newcomer on the national scene, Dr. King addressed 25,000 civil-rights activists who had gathered at the memorial for the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17, ... Read More »

America is spiritually bankrupt

We must fight back together The undeniable collapse of integrity, honesty and decency in our public and private life has fueled racial hatred and contempt Cornel West The Guardian We live in one of the darkest moments in American history – a bleak time of spiritual blackout and imperial meltdown. Exactly 25 years ago, in my book Race Matters, I tried to lay bare the realities and challenges to American democracy in light of the doings and sufferings of black ... Read More »

Chelsea Manning: Ex-army leaker to run for US senate

Chelsea Manning, the former US intelligence analyst who was jailed for leaking classified documents, is seeking the Democratic Party nomination to run for the US senate in Maryland. BBC In 2013 Manning was sentenced to 35 years after being found guilty of 20 charges, including espionage. But former US President Barack Obama commuted her sentence. The 30-year-old, who was born Bradley Manning, will challenge Democratic Senator Ben Cardin for the nomination. The former US soldier moved to Maryland after being ... Read More »

Meet the theologian who helped MLK see the value of nonviolence

After this last tumultuous year of political rancor and racial animus, many people could well be asking what can sustain them over the next coming days: How do they make the space for self-care alongside a constant call to activism? Paul Harvey The Conversation Or, how do they turn off their phones, when there are more calls to be made and focus instead on inward cultivation? As a historian of American race and religion, I have studied how figures in ... Read More »

Farage calls for a second EU membership referendum

Nigel Farage has endorsed the idea of a second referendum on the UK leaving the European Union By NEOnline | IR NewEurope In an interview with the Channel Five show the “Wright Stuff,” the former UKIP leader argued that a second referendum would “kill off” the issue for a generation. “The percentage that would vote to leave next time would be very much bigger than it was last time round,” Farage argued with confidence. He went on to suggest that ... Read More »

Romanian PM’s execution comment sparks spat with Hungary

Mihai Tudose suggested that ethnic Hungarians be hanged for seeking autonomy. Carmen Paun Politico Tensions are running high between Budapest and Bucharest after the Romanian prime minister made a veiled threat to hang members of the country’s Hungarian minority. On Monday, three Hungarian minority parties signed a resolution calling for autonomy for the Romanian region of Szeklerland, in which ethnic Hungarians are a majority. In response, Mihai Tudose said on a late night TV show on Wednesday that “if the flag of the Székely community will wave ... Read More »

Cypriot veterans win right to claim damages over UK torture claims

Government’s arguments against claim rejected, paving way for ex-guerrillas to sue for alleged abuse during independence fight Helena Smith The Guardian A high court judge has opened the way for 34 Greek Cypriots to seek damages from Britain, following claims of torture and human rights abuses at the hands of colonial forces during the island’s struggle for independence in the 1950s. Passing judgment at the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Justice Kerr dismissed the British government’s argument that Cypriot law applied in ... Read More »

Brexit bill may have broken international environment law, says UN

Exclusive: compliance committee considers complaint alleging government breached Aarhus convention by not consulting public over withdrawal bill Laura Laker The Guardian The British government may have breached a major “environmental democracy” law by failing to consult the public when drawing up Brexit legislation. A UN-backed committee has confirmed it is considering a complaint from Friends of the Earth that the government’s EU withdrawal bill breached the Aarhus convention, which requires public consultation on any new environmental law. Most of the… Brexit bill may… Read More »

Tunisian opposition leader calls for continued protests

Tunisia’s main opposition party has called for continued protests against “unjust” government austerity measures, a day after widespread demonstrations left one person dead and several others injured, according to reports. AlJazeera and News Agencies Protests took place in a number of towns across Tunisia on Monday following the government’s decision to raise taxes under its 2018 Finance Act. The budget, which took effect on January 1, hiked fuel prices and introduced new tax measures related to the… Hamma Hammami, leader ... Read More »

Malaysia’s Mahathir named opposition PM candidate

Malaysia’s veteran ex-leader Mahathir Mohamad was named as the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate Sunday as a bruising election battle looms against scandal-plagued premier Najib Razak and his long-ruling coalition. SHAH ALAM, Malaysia – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The decision means the 92-year-old, a hugely divisive figure criticized for ruling with an iron fist during his long reign, could return as premier 15 years after stepping down. But he also agreed to make way for jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim — his ... Read More »

Rising nationalism and the EU’s split with the East

What’s wrong with the EU? Poland and Hungary, who only joined the bloc 13 years ago, are increasingly turning to nationalism. Volker Wagener DW examines a phenomenon that has been smoldering for some time Once upon a time, the European Union was a desirable destination for former Eastern Bloc countries. Twenty-five years ago, to be exact. Today, the European alliance faces major difficulties with some of its most recent additions — and vice versa. Poland and Hungary enjoy the EU ... Read More »

Macron’s fake news law will protect democracy

This is a POLITICO debate. For the counterargument, click here.  LONDON — President Macron kicked off the year by announcing the introduction of legislation to safeguard liberal democracy — in France at least — from fake news. By AURORE BELFRAGE Politico Twitter commentators were quick to attack him for oversimplifying the problem to make a political point. They may be right. But at its core, Macron’s instinct is the right one. We need to rethink the rules of engagement in social media and hold ... Read More »

How robots will break politics

Automation is dramatically reshaping the workforce, but we’ve barely begun to grapple with how it will reshape society Ryan Avent Politico For those of us who have lived in relatively placid times, it is hard to believe that American politics could become more chaotic than it is today But far beyond allegations of criminal acts in the executive branch, the unending reality-show trash talk of the president on his Twitter feed or even nuclear brinkmanship, something else will push us into ... Read More »