Democracy

Jessie Simmons: How a schoolteacher became an unsung hero of the civil rights movement

Jessie Dean Gipson Simmons was full of optimism when she and her family moved from an apartment in a troubled area of Detroit to a new development in Inkster, Michigan in 1955. Valerie Hill-Jackson The Conversation With three children in tow, Jessie and her husband settled into a home on Colgate Street in a neighborhood known as “Brick City” – an idyllic enclave of single, working-class families with a shared community garden. The plan was simple. Like many African Americans ... Read More »

UN Strengthens Peacekeeping Despite U.S. Scepticism

This Friday, the UN hosts the 2019 Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference, an opportunity for politicians and diplomats to fill gaps in blue helmet missions. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s UN Director Richard Gowan previews the agenda. What is the point of the conference? This is the latest edition of a series of conferences that former U.S. President Barack Obama kicked off with other leaders at the UN General Assembly in 2015. Vice President Joe Biden had chaired a trial run the ... Read More »

The Fall and Troubled Rise of a Ukrainian Populist

The country’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is running to be president, but Ukraine’s allies worry she may endanger the country’s only plan for peace. Ian Bateson The Atlantic SLOVIANSK, Ukraine—Yulia Tymoshenko is nothing if not a crowd-pleaser. Running to be Ukraine’s next president, she has promised to triple pension payouts and halve heating-fuel charges; pushed to impeach the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, weeks before the presidential election; and said that immediately after being elected, she will close the country’s ... Read More »

The Eurozone’s Real Weakness

A new eurozone crisis would most likely have a less uneven effect than in 2008 or 2011, not least because its largest economies are currently weak. Lucrezia Reichlin Project Syndicate But if a recession hits, policymakers will find it hard to mount an effective response. LONDON – The 20th anniversary of the euro this year is a good time to reflect on the robustness of Europe’s monetary union. The memory of the last crisis, which began in the United States ... Read More »

In presidential vote, Ukraine looks east

Russian-speaking candidate wants to undo ‘Russophobic’ turn in Ukrainian politics. Vijai Maheshwari Politico Since Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union, political power in the country has always shifted between the Ukrainian-speaking, western part of the country and the Russian-speaking east. Then Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea in 2014 and kicked off a brutal war in eastern Ukraine later that year. After that, it seemed, ordinary Ukrainians closed ranks against their aggressive neighbor. Patriotism and love of Ukrainian culture and ... Read More »

After Iraqi Kurdistan’s Thwarted Independence Bid

Backlash to the 2017 independence referendum bolstered family rule within Iraq’s two main Kurdish parties. ICG Internal democracy has eroded; ties between the parties have frayed. Only strong institutions in Erbil and renewed inter-party cooperation can help Iraqi Kurdistan to reach a sustainable settlement with Baghdad on outstanding issues.  What’s new?  Elections in 2018 confirmed that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) remain the dominant forces in Iraqi Kurdish politics. But fallout from the 2017 ... Read More »

J’Accuse! The guilty men and women of the Brexit debacle

Afer this humiliating failure for our political class, we need a new constitutional settlement. Anthony Seldon NewStatesman Roll up, roll up for the Brexit blame game, it’s waiting to take you away. Not since Robert Walpole became the first prime minister 298 years ago has this country seen such a prolonged and deep political crisis. Not since the struggle between Catholic and Protestant factions calmed in Britain (if not in Ireland) after the… Whatever happens in the next few weeks and months, ... Read More »

Top Chinese leader backs crackdown on Uighurs

Ruling Communist Party’s fourth-ranked leader Wang Yang said situation in Xianjiang was ‘continuing to develop well’. Al Jazeera News Agencies Xinjiang needs to “perfect” stability maintenance measures and crack down on “religious extremism”, the ruling Communist Party’s fourth-ranked leader said on a tour of the Chinese region where members of the Uighur community have been put in internment camps. Critics say Uighurs and other Muslims who live in Xinjiang are being held in detention centres, though the government calls them “vocational training ... Read More »

Little England, little Blitz?

Neil Berry on Brits, Brexit and myths of the people’s war It often seems that Nigel Farage is fighting the Second World War in his head. Neil Berry The Times Literary Supplement In the 2016 referendum he campaigned for British withdrawal from the European Union on a battle bus out of which boomed the march from the Second World War blockbuster The Great Escape. The following year found him thrilling to the film Dunkirk. For Farage, the near-disaster of the ... Read More »

Erdogan Is Weak. And Invincible.

Turkey’s president has rarely been so unpopular. He’s likely to dominate this week’s local elections anyway. Steven A. Cook FP No one ever prospered by predicting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political demise, but on the eve of Turkey’s local elections this weekend, he and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) seem weaker than ever. If he were not feeling political pressure, he would not be featuring the grotesque video of the Christchurch mosque massacre at campaign rallies, nor would ... Read More »

The strategic consequence of the Chagos Islands legal dispute

At the end of last month, the African archipelago nation of Mauritius secured an important legal victory in its territorial and maritime disputes against its former coloniser, the United Kingdom. Bec Strating Lowy Interpreter The International Court of Justice (ICJ) produce an advisory opinion that rejected the UK’s claims to sovereignty over the Chagos Islands, a small group of atolls in the Indian Ocean. It found instead that the UK had unlawfully separated the islands from the former colony of ... Read More »

Australia’s big media companies would face breakup under Greens’ ‘blow torch’ policy

Sarah Hanson-Young says party would put ‘public interest journalism and the public good’ ahead of profits Amy Remeikis Guardian Australia’s big media companies would be put under a “blow torch” under the federal Greens’ policy, which places breaking up the nation’s media concentration front and centre. Sarah Hanson-Young said the Greens’ policy, finalised in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack and subsequent coverage, as well as the recent Tayla Harris trolling and response, would “reorient priorities” to put “public interest journalism and the public good” ahead ... Read More »

Decentralisation in Tunisia: Consolidating Democracy without Weakening the State

The decentralisation process is polarising Tunisia and risks fueling social and political tensions. ICG In order to fulfill its promise – to reduce socio-regional inequalities and improve public services – all sides must compromise on a new understanding of decentralisation that includes strengthening state services nationwide. Executive Summary Tunisia’s decentralisation process is increasingly in disarray. Through this reform, mandated by the new constitution adopted in January 2014, the central state is to cede certain of its powers to actors and ... Read More »

Brexit: It’s so obvious the will of the people has changed – Christine Jardine MP

It’s time for Theresa May to stop pretending the UK is united in its desire to leave the European Union. It never was and the public mood is radically different to three years ago, writes Christine Jardine MP. The Scotsman I could not believe how quickly the numbers were rising. It was changing so quickly that every time you said the latest figure out loud it was instantly out of date. Less than 24 hours after the Prime Minister had ... Read More »

New ABC chairman has history calling out ‘problems’ with multiculturalism

“There are problems with multiculturalism and it’s about time our politicians had the guts to mention some of them,”  wrote Ita Buttrose in 1988 when she was editor-in-chief of the Sun-Herald. Jennifer Duke The Age In the column, Buttrose talks about two-thirds of voters wanting a reduction in immigration levels, Australians fearing “Asianisation” and her hopes for a referendum on immigration. “I don’t object to specific groups of people, linked to their country of birth, congregating in a specific area, but ... Read More »

Algeria opposition propose six-month political transition

A group of Algerian opposition parties and unions proposed on March 23 a “roadmap” to end a political crisis and weeks of protests sparked by the veteran president’s bid to stay in power. ALGIERS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said on February 22 he would run for a fifth term in April 18 elections, despite concerns about his ability to rule, triggering an outcry in the country which has since… The 82-year-old, who uses a wheelchair and has rarely appeared ... Read More »