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No shades of grey

26 January 2005

It's not just the bright sunshine and Brazilian colours that mean there are no shades of grey at the forum. Much of the politics is in black and white

When it comes to the Iraq war, a straw poll - and the posters and graffiti all around - speak with one voice: "farce", "imperialist ploy" and "long live the heroic iraqi resistance".

No space, so far at least, for nuance or any sense that some good may come out of the Iraqi election, however tragic or compromised the circumstances.  For a range of views  - by no means all pro-election, but much more thoughtful - see Iraqis on openDemocracy.

Similarly, the word is that Lula, the Brazilian president, may get a pretty rough ride when he comes to an early morning event tomorrow in stadium. The majority here clearly think he's gone too far in making deals with what is known here as the neo-liberal order.

Before the week is out Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, is almost sure to be greeted as man of the forum.  Not too long after Lula flies off to Davos tomorrow afternoon to build a bridge to the suits, Chavez jets in to Porto Alegre to express solidarity with the T shirts of the MST (Brazil's Movement of Landless Workers).

Chavez comes fresh from overseeing occupation of land in Venezuela owned by an English Lord.  The man has charisma and big cojones. It's hard not to chuckle at his recent offer of a one dollar bet to George W Bush that he would be longer in office than the US president. 

But will Chavez outlast Lula?  The countries are vastly different. Comparisons are not especially helpful.

This will not, however, stop the MST capitalising on Chavez's visit. They are shaping up for a big challenge to Lula a little later this year because they see the pace of land reform in Brazil as far too slow.

How can Americans fight dark money and disinformation?

Violence, corruption and cynicism threaten America's flagging democracy. Joe Biden has promised to revive it – but can his new administration stem the flow of online disinformation and shady political financing that has eroded the trust of many US voters?

Hear from leading global experts and commentators on what the new president and Congress must do to stem the flood of dark money and misinformation that is warping politics around the world.

Join us on Thursday 21 January, 5pm UK time/12pm EST.

Hear from:

Emily Bell Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism and director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School

Anoa Changa Journalist focusing on electoral justice, social movements and culture

Peter Geoghegan openDemocracy investigations editor and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Josh Rudolph Fellow for Malign Finance at the Alliance for Securing Democracy

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy 

Further speakers to be announced

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