Posts Tagged ‘social justice’

Europe’s democracy shock

by Olaf Cramme 

The outcry over EU legitimacy only diverts attention away from the real challenges to democracy and sovereignty in our capitalist system. We deserve a better debate.

The seismic social and economic aftershocks of the global financial crisis have raised a new awareness among citizens: democracy is in a pretty bad shape and national sovereignty is under siege. It is not so much the widely-reported violent demonstrations in Greece which embody this growing unease, but rather hardening cynicism and wide scale disenchantment with politics in the liberal West. We are in a situation where representational power looks worryingly distorted, the most basic demands and concerns of citizens are often ignored and the emotional gap between the elite and the population at large seems to be growing. At the same time, questions of belonging, identity and nationalism have re-emerged on the agenda – and with it a new surge in populist rhetoric.

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We May Be Witnessing the First Large Global Conflict Where People Are Aligned by Consciousness and Not Nation State or Religion

By Naomi Wolf
They’re fighting a “corporatocracy” that has bought governments, created armed enforcers, engaged in systemic economic fraud, and plundered treasuries and ecosystems.
America’s politicians, it seems, have had their fill of democracy. Across the country, police, acting under orders from local officials, are breaking up protest encampments set up by supporters of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement – sometimes with shocking and utterly gratuitous violence.

In the worst incident so far, hundreds of police, dressed in riot gear, surrounded Occupy Oakland’s encampment and fired rubber bullets (which can be fatal), flash grenades and tear-gas canisters – with some officers taking aim directly at demonstrators. The Occupy Oakland Twitter feed read like a report from Cairo’s Tahrir Square: “they are surrounding us”; “hundreds and hundreds of police”; “there are armoured vehicles and Hummers”. There were 170 arrests.

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The ‘Why’s’ and ‘What for’s’ of People taking to the Streets

by Zygmunt Bauman

“The Arab Spring triggers popular rebellions against autocrats across the Arab world. The Israeli Summer brings 250,000 Israelis into the streets, protesting the lack of affordable housing and the way their country is now dominated by an oligopoly of crony capitalists. From Athens to Barcelona, European town squares are being taken over by young people railing against unemployment and the injustice of yawning income gaps…” – so wrote Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times on 12 August 2011.

People took to the streets. And public squares. First on Prague Vaclavske Namesti, well back in 1989, and right after in one after the other capital of Soviet bloc countries. Then, famously, on the main Kiev city square. In all those places and some others as well, new habits started to be tested: no longer a march, a demo, from a gathering point to the destination. Rather, a permanent occupation of sorts, or a siege lasting as long as the demands are not met.

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The Rise of the Regressive Right and the Reawakening of America

by Robert Reich

A fundamental war has been waged in this nation since its founding, between progressive forces pushing us forward and regressive forces pulling us backward. 

We are going to battle once again.

Progressives believe in openness, equal opportunity, and tolerance. Progressives assume we’re all in it together: We all benefit from public investments in schools and health care and infrastructure. And we all do better with strong safety nets, reasonable constraints on Wall Street and big business, and a truly progressive tax system. Progressives worry when the rich and privileged become powerful enough to undermine democracy.

Regressives take the opposite positions.

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‘Can I thee wed?’ Same-sex marriage in Australia

by John Murphy

The issue of same-sex marriage in Australia is fraught with associated problems that confuse the central issue. These problems range from a residual opposition to same-sex relationships on the social and political level to the religious consciences of those who see them as sinful and immoral.

Opponents of same-sex marriage claim that allowing such couples to marry will lead to a degrading of marriage in society and, indeed, to the value of family life itself. Simply speaking, the floodgates will open and society will be consigned to the slippery slope where values and morals become redundant. Understandably, emotions are running high.

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