Conflict https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/6647/all cached version 19/01/2019 11:57:38 en Rising roar of faux faith in poll-bound India https://www.opendemocracy.net/openindia/l-k-sharma/rising-roar-of-faux-faith-in-poll-bound-india <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Read the newspapers, listen to the TV “debates” and see the WhatsApp-trained ignorant armies clash day and night. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/20181229_191923.jpeg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/20181229_191923.jpeg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A rural temple in South India, painted stone as deity.</span></span></span></p><p>If you hear the rising roar of faith, it is election-time in India. Belief in God is stronger than any political belief. Faith rushes to fill ideological vacuum and goes on to cleanse politics of its residual ideological content. &nbsp;</p> <p>Religious fervour, injected into a poll campaign, boosts popular interest in elections, promotes identity politics and alters voting preferences. That is why the ruling BJP has made religious polarisation its electoral strategy. It consolidates Hindu votes by propagating Hindutva, a militant and less inclusive version of Hinduism.</p> <h2><strong>Hindu nationalists</strong></h2> <p>The BJP leaders including L K Advani, who went to Ayodhya in 1992 to demand the building of a Ram temple, were erroneously called “Hindu fundamentalists”. Knowing that the term “fundamentalism” has acquired bad odour in the context of Islam, Advani declared that they were “Hindu nationalists” not “Hindu fundamentalists”. He was correct because going back to the fundamentals in his religion would mean the Vedic tradition which will rob the proposed Ram temple of all significance! </p> <p>His 1992 movement to build a Ram temple generated a toxic mix of religion and nationalism and turned it into a potent political weapon. Till then the political armies marching under the saffron flag had not been able to make much headway. Advani’s historic journey to Ayodhya in his belief-driven ‘chariot’ led to the demolition of a mosque and the killings of Muslims and Hindus. </p> <p>Noted documentary maker Anand Patwardhan says TV serial <em>Ramayan</em>, watched by millions, paved the way for the demolition of the Babri mosque. “A bow-and-arrow bearing Ram entered every household and every heart.” There was no social media then, but TV too promotes pop religion and causes social disharmony. Some partisan TV channels go all out to fuel religious polarisation. </p> <h2><strong>Mental pollution</strong></h2> <p>During the past four years, the sectarian poison has spread much more, with incidents of mob rule becoming frequent. It has seeped into “cultured” upper-class Hindu homes. The kind of people involved in violence matters. Intent is important. While sectarian violence can break out in the best of times, mental pollution sustains the process of violence. </p> <p>The BJP finds assemblies of Hindu monks in saffron politically valuable. Communal worship and public observance of rituals make good TV that spreads the message of Hindutva. Mythology-based TV drama helps. </p> <p>The Hindu nationalists wilfully ignore the theological complexities of Vedic thought and their faith’s glorious history of disputation and argumentation. They try to enforce a simplistic doctrine that supersedes the rich variegated strands of thought and belief. In order to collect Hindus on a single political platform, they want to create a central creed and designate one holy book. Above all, they want to establish the primacy of warrior-king Lord Ram. The people must feel, not think.</p> <p>To get more Hindu votes, the party must fuel envy and animosity by blaming a secular government for “appeasing Muslims. In an election speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a subtle reference to the Hindu cremation grounds and the Muslim graveyards. This was a hint that the socialist state government’s provision of building walls around the graveyards to protect these from encroachment was discriminatory. </p> <p>In the run-up to elections, vicious statements are made to cause tensions and promote orthodoxy. What the BJP spokesmen shout at times during TV discussions is unfit to print. The Muslim spokesmen shout back, which serves the purpose of all sectarian forces. The atmosphere reeks of bigotry and hostility towards the “other” faith. &nbsp;Some children hear their parents say that so and so should be elected since he would “fix” a minority. They learn that “when we say prayers loudly, it is worship, when they worship loudly, it is disturbing noise!” <span class="mag-quote-center">Children learn that “when we say prayers loudly, it is worship, when they worship loudly, it is disturbing noise!”</span></p> <p>As the BJP gained power, the Hindutva got many new adherents. The “secular” leaders who used to condemn Narendra Modi’s sectarianism, now see a messiah in him. Several Hindutva groups have sprung up under official patronage. Their activity highlights the anti-minority dimension of Hindutva. The divisive rhetoric flows with force as the police and some in the lower rungs of judiciary have turned partisan. </p> <p>Some BJP leaders make weird statements that can be generally described as anti-science and irrational. The power of superstition seems to have increased. A poll candidate declares that if she is elected, the police will not be allowed to check child marriage! The fashion of wearing religion on one’s sleeves has caught on. Commercial interests promote more religious festivals. The outbreak of religiosity is to be seen to be believed. More Hindu pilgrims march for miles and miles to fetch the holy Ganga water. Charitable Hindus set up tents on the footpaths for feeding the tired pilgrims. This public spectacle disrupts traffic and at times results in clashes.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/images_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/images_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="400" height="233" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Meditation, quiet contemplation.</span></span></span>The attendance in temples has gone up. More Hindu temples, as also mosques and churches, are being built as a result of growing prosperity. Competitive communalism makes mosques more crowded. The temple loudspeaker’s volume is increased to match the sound coming from the neighbouring mosque. In this atmosphere of religious rivalry, private contemplation and meditation get devalued. </p><h2><strong>Hindutva versus Hindu interplay</strong></h2> <p>A brainchild of the Hindu nationalists, Hindutva is not eclectic and dialogic. It has been honed as a powerful tool for political mobilisation through incendiary divisive statements. Hindutva fiercely seeks converts. When popularised by a charismatic divisive leader, its political dimension overshadows spirituality.</p> <p>In the current atmosphere of intolerance, the political message of Hindutva is amplified through social media by political activists including the Non-Resident Indians. Little is heard about the huge difference between Hindutva and Hinduism known over the centuries as <em>Santan Dharma.</em> </p> <p>To understand the distortion of Hinduism, one has to be familiarised with the real thing. Hinduism, tolerant and inclusive, includes principles taken from different faiths and cultures. Even before its interaction with Islam and Christianity, Hinduism assimilated new ideas and practices while transiting from the Vedic to the Puranic period.</p> <p>Hinduism sanctifies sacrifices of the Vedic Aryans as well as the rituals of primitive tribes. Not all Hindu gods are Aryan gods. Hinduism has no central creed and no central authority, nor does it prescribe one specific book to follow. It is not based on a revelation granted to a prophet. Hindus do not consider themselves to be the “chosen people”. They do not consider their faith to be superior to others. This democratic religion, presided over by a Parliament of Gods, has no founder. <span class="mag-quote-center">Hinduism has no central creed and no central authority, nor does it prescribe one specific book to follow… This democratic religion, presided over by a Parliament of Gods, has no founder.</span></p> <p>The Divine can be reached through any of the several different ways. Two prominent ones are the path of knowledge and the path of devotion. This is a simple journalistic statement about a faith whose complexities even scholars find hard to fathom. Hinduism is studded with elegant metaphysical knots and strange paradoxes. It offers infinite choice. Those who do not like the idea of a galaxy of gods and goddesses can take comfort from the Rig Vedic thought that all the many gods are manifestation of the One Reality. Hindus revere a saint-poet who does not believe in rituals or external formalities and for whom God lives, not in a temple or a mosque but in his devotion. </p> <p>A Hindu can choose from the nine specified ways to perform devotion or devise one of his own. Astounding diversity is reflected not just in innumerable gods and ways of worship but also in the multiple versions of its sacred books and philosophical treatises. Rituals vary from region to region and from caste to caste. There is choice in the ways of dying. Hindus are generally cremated, but thousands of Hindus are given earthen and riverine burials. The variety of thought content, rituals and devotional practices meet the needs of all sections of society, ranging from the intellectual elite to the illiterate masses.</p> <p>Millions recite 1000 names of one God and 1000 names of a Goddess. A sacred text features <em>Mahadevi</em>, literally the Great Goddess who encompasses the thousands of local and regional <em>devis </em>as well as the pan-Indian goddesses. Each god or goddess is worshipped in several forms. </p> <p>Columnist Shobha Narayan writes about her mother being part of an ancient Hindu lineage linked to goddess worship called <em>Sri Vidya</em>. She says: “It is visually and aesthetically very beautiful - with flowers, incense, oil lamps, hand gestures called mudras, sacred drawings called mandalas or yantras, and the chanting of mantras. Mudra, mandala and mantra, the triumvirate as it were - is at the root of this goddess cult.”&nbsp; </p> <p>Hindus of one region may accord primacy to one form which may not be worshipped at all by those of another region. Then, the veneration of natural forces such as the monsoon rains and trees and of animals is common among those living in forests. Ideas and practices from the margins have been leaking into the mainstream. </p> <p>This interplay is seen in Hindu religious art and objects made by Muslims. &nbsp;They participate in Hindu religious festivals. Eminent Muslim musicians played in Hindu temples. Muslim poets wrote devotional songs in praise of Hindu Gods. A most devout Brahmin, Congress leader Kamalapati Tripathi, had a Muslim assistant to clean and arrange the idols in his home temple before daily worship. </p> <h2><strong>Good behaviour</strong></h2> <p>In the absence of a set form of worship, a Hindu is free to act according to his individual belief. What counts is not belief but conduct, as stated by philosopher S. Radhakrishnan, who was India’s President. No wonder Hinduism embraces believers and non-believers, the theist and the atheist, the sceptic and the agonistic.</p> <p>Scholar Kshiti Mohan Sen says the uniting force among the enormous variety of religious beliefs and ceremonies in Hinduism has been the belief in a basic code of behaviour. Today he would have seen more Hindus indulging in an un-Hindu-like conduct at the behest of political leaders. The examples include the lynching of alleged beef transporters, intimidating women temple-goers, disrupting a Christian prayer meeting and demolishing a mosque.</p> <p>The influence of Hinduism over Islam and Christianity is reflected in the Sufi tradition and in Christian meditation and Christian Vedanta. It can be seen in the global Hare Krishna movement. Hinduism also contributed to the New Age faiths! Muslims and Christians extended the reach of the sacred Hindu literature by translating it and even helped preserve some of it. This is never recalled while the voters are constantly reminded of the Hindu temples destroyed by the Moghuls.</p> <p>India’s syncretic tradition can be attributed mainly to the diversity of Hinduism that has a history of several philosophical turns. Of course, this diversity leads to confusion over certain precepts. Differing practices and various interpretations of the same sacred text, in the absence of a validating central authority, result in mixed-up theological concepts and endless arguments. That is why theological dissent always got accommodated.</p> <p>Hinduism is suffused with paradoxes. The Divine is unimaginable and unknowable and yet the Divine is imagined in countless forms appearing in representational and abstract art and as idols of stone and metal. Hindus worship gods both in iconic and aniconic forms. The deity in thousands of rural temples is just a painted stone. Devotion takes the form of meditation, quiet contemplation, lighting sacrificial fire, loud out-of-tune community singing, disciplined congregational chanting, ritual bathing, fasting or even social service since God lives in every human being. </p> <p>There is latent divinity in every being and everything. There is an external God and the God within. God is a distant entity but then the devotee is also part of Brahman, the universal soul! <em>Ahaṁ Brahmāsmi</em>&nbsp;in general terms implies the unity of individual self with the Absolute. Thus, divinity is shared by every human being. Divisive rhetoric has to be foreign to Hinduism which says: Thou art That (<em>Tat Tvam Asi)</em>. </p> <h2><strong>Faux religiosity</strong></h2> <p>Scholars of comparative religions can observe how Hinduism, when hijacked for political purposes, gets vulgarised. The devotees are encouraged to display faux religiosity. The<em> Sarkari</em> (pro-Government) “seers”, in their so-called religious discourses, bless the Prime Minister. The ruling party needs their endorsement, the seers want political patronage. The seers are sought after by politicians more than by spiritual aspirants. </p> <p>Respected heads of genuine spiritual institutions keep quiet about the misuse of religion for elections. Surely, they are pained by the distortion of their faith tradition, seeing an immense idea being reduced to a dismal creed. Islamic leaders get blamed for not condemning the misuse of their faith by politicians and terrorists. One may ask where have the Hindu spiritual leaders gone? <span class="mag-quote-center">Islamic leaders get blamed for not condemning the misuse of their faith by politicians and terrorists. One may ask where have the Hindu spiritual leaders gone? </span></p> <p>The distortion of Hinduism does not provoke much reaction while many western Christian communities vigorously debate spirituality vs. institutionalised religion. Currently there is no such discourse in Hinduism, notwithstanding its tradition of argumentation.&nbsp; </p> <p>It is left to a few secular politicians and the leftists to offer a trenchant criticism of Hindutva. They reason well but they cannot influence those swayed by the men in saffron robes. The leftists, not well-versed in India’s spiritual traditions, have little leverage with the faithful. Only firm believers protesting against the “hijacking of our religion” can make an impact. They can increase the public understanding of Hinduism unsullied by politics. </p> <p>Those rushing to demolish a mosque or build a temple on a disputed plot know nothing about a faith that assimilated various religions and cultural movements. They are familiar with folklore, mythology and miracles and black magic but unaware of the Vedic Song of Creation that wonders whether even the Creator knows all! That kind of questioning will be considered blasphemy and a punishable offence in some other religions. The sacred texts of Hinduism make bigotry unthinkable. In the wake of the Babri mosque’s demolition, Prof. Amartya Sen attributed growing fanaticism to the neglect of the classics in education. In the wake of the Babri mosque’s demolition, <span class="mag-quote-center">Prof. Amartya Sen attributed growing fanaticism to the neglect of the classics in education.</span></p> <h2><strong>Fanaticism versus self-renewing reform</strong></h2> <p>Fanaticism characterises the politicisation of a religion which retards reforms. The Supreme Court lifted the ban on the entry of young women into a Hindu temple. The BJP launched an agitation against the entry of young women in order to uphold a “sacred tradition”. However, the same ruling party was all for abolishing the traditional Muslim custom of instant divorce because it oppressed Muslim women. The BJP Government undertook the noble mission of reforming Islam but considers reformation of Hinduism as a no-go area. The BJP president advises law courts to refrain from hurting Hindu sentiments and to pass only such judgments that are “implementable”! </p> <p>Every old faith tradition accumulates undesirable rituals and practices and Hinduism, being a product of many cultures and cults, is more prone to do so. In its long journey, Hinduism acquired and discarded many questionable rituals. It abolished some practices partly due to the influence of Christian values but mainly by recollecting its own glorious Vedic past. There was recognition of the corruptive influence of idolatry, child-marriage, self-immolation by widows and untouchability that had no place in its ancient culture. Commenting on this process of reforms and renewal, scholar Kshiti Mohan Sen writes that the impact of the West produced new schools of thought which emphasised old doctrines. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/download-1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/download-1.jpg" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="429" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Swami Dyanand who founded Arya Samaj to reform Hinduism.</span></span></span>Hinduism has a rich history of reforms. Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824-83), who founded the <em>Arya Samaj, </em>gave the call “Back to the<em> Vedas”, </em>drawing a large section of Hindus away from idol-worship and exploitative priests. <em>Arya Samaj</em> established excellent educational institutions and worked to raise the status of the backward classes. It also introduced proselytization, which was no part of the Hindu traditions. </p><p>Swami Dayanand came from the state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had used regional pride as an electoral card. Curiously, videos glorify several sons of Gujarat, but not this <em>Arya Samaj</em> founder! Praising this great Gujarati will pose a problem for the party that has made the Ram Temple a central issue of its political campaign. <em>Arya Samaj</em> opposes idol-worship. The Vedic tradition involved sacred sacrifice in the open. The Indo-Aryans did not build permanent structures for the practice of their religion. Temples began to be built much later when worship and supplication were added to sacrifice in the Hindu religious ethos. </p> <p>In Bengal, Raja Rammohun Roy (1774-1833) founded the <em>Brahmo Samaj </em>facing opposition by orthodox Hindus who were dead set against his progressive outlook on social matters. He advocated modern education and wanted Indians to learn science and technology. His agitation led to the abolition of the criminal practice of Sati that ordained a wife to commit suicide by plunging into the fire consuming her dead husband.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/download.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/download.jpg" alt="" title="" width="400" height="439" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Reformer Raja Rammohan Roy.</span></span></span>Another new school of Hinduism developed in Bengal under the influence of Ramakrishna Paramhamsa (1834-86) that appealed to the common man who just prays before a deity without bothering about theology. This simple communication with God, known as the <em>Bhakti</em> movement, became very popular. Earlier in the late 15th century Bengal, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had mesmerised his followers, leading them in congregational chanting, <em>Sankirtan</em>. There were reformers in south India who are venerated by millions of Hindus. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/lord-chaitanya copy.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/lord-chaitanya copy.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="206" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – simple devotion through singing in praise of the Lord.</span></span></span>In British India, the conservative Hindu leaders debated with reformers vigorously, but that contestation was due to clashing beliefs and not a political strategy for use in a democracy. Today the orthodox Hindu leaders who are corralled into supporting Prime Minister Modi have no interest in theological debates.</p> <p>In the current atmosphere, Hindus hesitate to even talk of reforms lest they are called anti-Hindu. Political mobs are unleashed on the few reformists asserting the inclusiveness of Hinduism and fighting bigotry. Swami Agnivesh, a social activist who propagates the Vedic tradition, has faced physical assaults. That has not deterred him from continuing his struggle against superstitions that defile religion. Swami Agnivesh laments that politicians promote belief without truth. He reminds the people that the Vedic religion identified God with truth and Gandhi went a step further by saying that “Truth is God”.</p> <p>The Hindu nationalists always opposed religious reforms. In Nehru’s secular India, they protested strongly, but the Government went ahead taking steps for improving the status of Hindu women. Today it seems like a miracle that in the face of horrendous Partition-related Hindu-Muslim killings, the Congress leaders managed to establish a secular state. That feat was made possible by Hinduism’s spirit of tolerance and mass adoration of the secular leaders. The parent bodies of today’s Hindutva forces failed to politically challenge Nehru and destroy the Nehruvian ethos. Nehru had called development projects the new temples of India!</p> <p>The slogan “Hinduism in danger” had no appeal then as Hindus had enough self-confidence. That was the India that was! Since then much water has flowed down the holy Ganga. Hinduism now figures in a story of regression. Read the newspapers, listen to the TV “debates” and see the WhatsApp-trained ignorant armies clash day and night. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openindia/l-k-sharma/divine-players-in-indian-politics">Divine players in Indian politics </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openindia/l-k-sharma/sowing-division-caste-is-crucial-in-indian-elections">Sowing division: caste is crucial in Indian elections</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> India </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openIndia openIndia India Conflict Culture Democracy and government Ideas L K Sharma Sat, 19 Jan 2019 10:01:35 +0000 L K Sharma 121354 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Pro-Europe and anti-EU? Reviewing the far right’s view of Europe https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/marta-lorimer/pro-europe-and-anti-eu-reviewing-far-right-s-view-of-europe <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The far right’s claim to be attached to ‘Europe’, not the EU, suggests that ‘European identity’ may pose a challenge rather than an opportunity for the European Union.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40677883.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40677883.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>President of Rassemblement National, Marine Le Pen, and her Head of European Elections campaign Jordan Bardella, Nanterre, France, January 17, 2019. Liewig Christian/ Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>The 2019 European elections are set to see an unprecedented number of far-right parties enter the European Parliament. These parties are for the most part rabidly anti-EU, and widely seen as presenting a danger for its future. However, far right parties have a complex relationship with ‘Europe’ that the label ‘eurosceptic’ does not fully convey. </p> <p>Firstly, far right parties have not always been anti-EU. While many of them converged on anti-EU positions, they did not start from there. Both the Italian Social Movement (MSI), a neo-fascist party founded by supporters of Mussolini’s regime in 1946 and which transformed into the conservative Alleanza Nazionale in the mid-90s, and the French Front National (FN, now Rassemblement National), were broadly in favour of European integration in the 1980s, although they were sceptical about the form it took. </p> <p>Guided by their opposition to the Soviet Union and their distrust of American power, the parties saw European unity as a means to defend their homelands and remain relevant in a bipolar world. At the same time, they opposed the primarily economic nature of the European project. Thus, they advocated in favour of a European common defence and a stronger European foreign policy. While for both parties this appeared to be a way to pursue the national interest by European means, it still translated into a form of support for the EEC. </p> <p>This did not survive the fall of the Soviet Union and, most importantly, the signing of the Maastricht treaty. These two events in particular pushed the MSI to a more critical stance, and the FN into an area of firm opposition to the European project. The FN and MSI are also not isolated cases: the Italian Northern League and Austrian Freedom Party (FPO) underwent similar changes in their European policies, moving from support for the project to <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/populist-radical-right-parties-in-europe/europe-for-the-europeans/90B6EBA3397C15DFD0EC647ABE1D3A35">opposition to it</a> . Therefore, it is worth remembering that far right opposition to the EU is a relatively new feature of the party family.</p> <h2><strong>The beautiful European dream</strong></h2> <p>Second, even if far right parties do oppose the European Union, this does not imply that they all oppose it in the same way. If we consider the example of exit from the European Union, this remains a rather marginal position across the European far right. While PVV leader Geert Wilders has famously advocated in favour of ‘Nexit’ <a href="http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2017/03/02/nexit-evolving-euroscepticism-geert-wilders/">(albeit tuning it down in the 2017 elections)</a>, the League’s Matteo Salvini has most recently argued for the need to ‘reform Europe from within’ and take back control of the <a href="http://www.ansa.it/europa/notizie/rubriche/altrenews/2018/12/03/europee-salvini-vogliamo-cambiare-ue-dallinterno_463eba00-9e43-4953-b29b-2ab2f9e76dbb.html">‘beautiful European dream’</a>. </p> <p>The Rassemblement National, on the other hand, has been shifting position on the issue since 2002, arguing at times in favour of ‘Frexit’ and at other times pushing ‘only’ for a radical reform of the EU. Thus, while most parties agree that the EU in its current shape is unsustainable, they may still live by the claim that ‘<a href="http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2016/02/01/a-cross-european-platform-to-undermine-the-eu-eurosceptic-parties-cooperate-to-create-a-vision-for-another-europe/">another Europe is possible</a>’ – although it is not clear what, exactly, this ‘other Europe’ would look like, and if all parties would agree on its form. </p> <h2><strong>Europe as a culture</strong></h2> <p>Finally, it is worth noting that the far right’s opposition to the EU <a href="http://www.euvisions.eu/right-thinks-europe/">does not necessarily lead them to reject ‘Europe’</a>. In fact, far right parties’ understanding of ‘Europe’ is grounded in a distinction between ‘Europe’ intended as a continent and civilisation, and the concrete project of the European Union. This distinction, inspired by the French Nouvelle Droite and adopted by the Front National at the end of the 1980s, is still alive and well today in parties that claim to be ‘pro-Europe but anti-EU’. </p> <p>On one side, it is used as a form of <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01419870.2017.1294700">‘civilisationism’</a>&nbsp; to recreate the image of a unified European civilisation typically opposed to Islam, and on the other side, to oppose the European Union in the name of ‘Europe’. This is well exemplified in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyty5HSaAx0&amp;t=4s">the claim made by Marine Le Pen</a> that ‘For us, Europe is not an idea. Europe is a culture, it’s a civilization with its values […] I believe in the need for a European organisation in the great uproar of the world and of globalisation, but in no case can this construction provoke the disappearance of the nations that form it. Our European project will be that of the Nations and peoples, their diversity and their respect.’ </p> <h2><strong>True Europeans </strong></h2> <p>In other words, Le Pen considers that she is allowed to criticise the European Union because she is a true ‘European’ fighting against a ‘fake’ and anti-European EU. Recent research by <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/International_Populism.html?id=_NDFvAEACAAJ&amp;source=kp_book_description&amp;redir_esc=y">McDonnell and Werner </a>even suggests that this sense of a shared Europeanness has been conducive to alliances on the far right, worth keeping in mind when following group formations in the European Parliament.</p> <p>These points encourage us to be mindful of the similarities, but also the differences between various European far right parties and their views of Europe. They also suggest that the notion of a ‘European identity’ is no panacea for the EU. While often viewed as a possible solution to the EU’s legitimacy issues, the far right’s claim to be attached to ‘Europe’ against the EU suggests that depending on how it is defined, European identity may pose a challenge rather than an opportunity for the European Union.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Visit the <a href="https://www.radicalrightanalysis.com">Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right</a> (#CARR).</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/cas-mudde/on-extremism-and-democracy-in-europe-three-years-later">On extremism and democracy in Europe: three years later</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/ric-fassin/neo-fascist-moment-of-neoliberalism">The neo-fascist moment of neoliberalism</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/sara-garbagnoli/matteo-salvini-renaturalizing-racial-and-sexual-boundaries-of-dem">Matteo Salvini, renaturalizing the racial and sexual boundaries of democracy</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? EU Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government International politics Marta Lorimer Thu, 17 Jan 2019 19:06:21 +0000 Marta Lorimer 121330 at https://www.opendemocracy.net New solidarity for the Mapuche indigenous movement in today’s Chile https://www.opendemocracy.net/miguel-leone/new-solidarity-for-mapuche-indigenous-movement-in-today-s-chile <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The murder of the Mapuche community member Catrillanca at the hands of the Special Forces has become a matter of solidarity towards the Mapuche people for Chilean society.<em>&nbsp;</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/castrillanca.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/castrillanca.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="466" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Retrato de Camilo Castrillanca. Imagen: cortesía del autor. Todos los derechos reservados.</span></span></span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/openMovements_0_1_0_7_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/openMovements_0_1_0_7_2.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="59" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><strong>The&nbsp;<em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openmovements">openMovements</a></em>&nbsp;series invites leading social scientists to share their research results and perspectives on contemporary social struggles.</strong></p><p>Social movements in Chile in the post-dictatorship era present an interesting and varied diversity. </p><p>The Mapuche movement has been, in this scenario, an ever-present actor, which has stood out for its ability to institutionalize much of its political demands (e.g., <em>Acuerdo de Nueva Imperial -1989- </em>[the New Imperial Accord of 1989]<em>; Ley Indígena 1993-</em> [the Indigenous Law of 1993]<em>; Ratificación Convenio 169 OIT -2008 </em>[the Ratification Convention 169 OIT of 2008]). The movement is also notable for their ability to make their demands resonate within the logic of media discourse.</p> <p>For their part, in the last few decades, other important social movements have demonstrated a great capacity for intervening in the national political agenda. Perhaps the most prominent in that sense has been the student movement which, beginning in the year 2006 and with greater force in 2011, was established as a powerhouse of political thought like no other in the country. </p><p>Equally remarkable is the trajectory of the anti-extractivist movement in the last few years. This movement was set up in the heat of the struggles against Pascua Lama, the red tides in Chiloe, and the Port Project in Punta de Choros. </p><p>Somewhat closer in time is the emergence of the NO AFP movement and at present, an unavoidable reference is the feminist student movement that, during the first semester of 2018, managed to paralyze both universities and high schools, as a part of an intense fight against the patriarchy, abuse, and gender violence in the Chilean educational system.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Up to this point, the solidarity between the Mapuche movement and the other social movements has not been very close</p> <p>Up to this point, the solidarity between the Mapuche movement and the other social movements has not been very close. Neither has the ability of Chilean society in general to understand and meet the demands of the indigenous people, or to repudiate the strong state repression on the movement applied from 2000 to the present, been very deep. Repression that includes, by the way, more than a dozen activists killed by security forces. </p><p>Such are the cases of Alex Lemún, who was murdered at the age of 17 in 2002, while he was occupying land; or Matías Catrileo, murdered at age 23 in 2008, when he also participated in an occupation with other Mapuche community members; just to note some of the most renowned.</p> <p>However, this lack of social articulation seems to be currently reversing. The assassination of the Mapuche community member Camilo Catrillanca on November 14, 2018 became the focus of important examples of solidarity and political support from different sectors of Chilean society and represented a point of rapproachement between various social movements. </p><p>Likewise, social networks have been plagued with posts and tweets repudiating the case, and the mobilizations sustained for several days in the country’s capital were massive and intense (also intense, of course, was the police repression of these movements). </p> <p>Regarding the case of Catrillanca, Chilean society expressed, through banners and flags, a clear solidarity with the Mapuche cause and a strong rejection of the state violence against these native people. Many pot-banging protests (<em>cacerolazos</em>) were held in downtown Santiago, demanding that the political authorities assume responsibility and contribute to the clarification of the truth and the attainment of justice.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Regarding the case of Catrillanca, Chilean society expressed a clear solidarity with the Mapuche cause and a strong rejection of the state violence against these native people.</p> <p>Certainly, the behavior of the Judiciary, the media, and political elites in the face of the situation was quite scandalous. Initially, prosecutors and the media limited themselves to pointing out that Camilo had taken a bullet to his head while driving a tractor in the vicinity of the community of Temucuicui, in Araucanía. They indicated that Camilo was “in the middle of” an operation conducted by the Carabineros to recover three vehicles that had been stolen in the area a few hours prior. </p><p>The governmental authorities, on the other hand, imprudently gave as definitive the version of the story told by the Carabineros. Although, soon the responsibility for the force used in that case became evident, as well as the disproportionality of the Carabineros’ operation (helicopters, armored tanks, and the deployment of the special “Jungle Command” Carabineros group). </p><p>It also became public knowledge that a Carabineros official intentionally destroyed the video card that contained the recording of the murder, although recently <a href="https://ciperchile.cl/2018/12/19/muerte-de-catrillanca-ciper-revela-en-exclusiva-tres-de-los-videos-que-grabo-carabineros/">videos</a> that make the responsibility for the act clear have come to light. </p> <p>Faced with this, the government and police versions began to contradict each other, each entity trying to distance itself from taking responsibility in the case. </p><p>As a result, the <a href="http://www.elmercurio.com/blogs/2018/11/21/65018/Caso-Catrillanca-intendente-de-La-Araucania-renuncia-tras-anuncio-DC-de-acusacion-constitucional-en-su-contra.aspx">regional authority</a> Luis Mayol ended up resigning before an imminent constitutional accusation against him, and <a href="https://www.publimetro.cl/cl/noticias/2018/12/07/carabineros-franzani-catrillanca-christian-franzani-fiscalia.html">General Christian Franzani of the Carabineros</a> was discharged because Sargent Alarcón, one of the Carabineros accused of the homicide of Catrillanca, declared that he had been <a href="https://www.publimetro.cl/cl/noticias/2018/12/03/hermes-soto-citado-moneda-induccion-mentira.html">“induced to lie and to give false statements.”</a> </p><p>The Executive branch requested the resignation of the General Director of the Carabineros, Hermes Soto, who refused to resign and forced his dismissal to be enacted through a special Congressional session called specifically for that purpose. </p><p>Likewise, demands for the Minister of the Interior, Andrés Chadwick, to resign have grown to massive proportions on social networks. Chadwick, demonstrating an almost criminal arrogance, did not refrain from making <a href="https://www.cooperativa.cl/noticias/tecnologia/redes-sociales/twitter/el-comentado-tuiteo-sobre-chadwick-y-catrillanca-que-el-ministerio-del/2018-11-20/042149.html">provocative statements and displaying a lack of respect for the victims’ families</a>. </p> <p>However, these types of actions are not very different from those observed in prior cases of Mapuche murders. Thus, the solidarity offered by different areas of Chilean society for the Mapuche cause deserves to be explained by other factors, perhaps of a deeper and more structural dimension.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">There is a rapprochement between the demands of the Mapuche movement with the student movement, on the one hand, and with the environmental movement, on the other.</p><p>We argue that the aforementioned solidarities are the expression of a process of rapprochement between the demands and trajectories of the Mapuche movement with the student movement, on the one hand, and with the environmental movement, on the other. </p> <p>In fact, the 2011 student movement functioned like a connecting channel between the university youth and the Mapuche youth. Although it is an under-investigated topic, there were many Mapuche students who nurtured that epic student movement.</p> <p>From the 1990s on, the <em>weichafe</em> (warrior) figure has become the main character of the Mapuche story, but the sociological profile of that figure has been principally that of a young person (between 17 and 30 years old), male<a href="#_ftn1">[1]</a>, and, in many cases, is or has been a university student. </p><p>As such, the young activists of the Mapuche movement have seldom stayed away from the Chilean student mobilization. Indeed, Camilo Carrillanca himself was a dynamic spokesperson during the processes of student mobilization in the Ercilla region during the politicized years of 2011 and 2012. </p> <p>At the same time, thanks to its democratic character and its opening of dialogue, the 2011 student movement generated communication channels with the Mapuche people’s demands. The primary leader of that movement, Camila Vallejo, expressed it thus on <a href="https://www.biobiochile.cl/noticias/nacional/region-de-la-araucania/2017/06/15/hugo-gutierrez-y-camila-vallejo-visitaran-a-machi-francisca-linconao.shtml">many occasions</a>. Even recently, she <a href="http://www.theclinic.cl/2018/11/15/basta-de-politicas-de-exterminio-camila-vallejo-arremete-contra-el-comando-jungla-tras-muerte-de-camilo-catrillanca/">spoke publicly</a> in her role as a Deputy against the militarization of the Mapuche territory and “the policies of extermination” carried out against the Mapuche people. </p><p>In this context, it is understood that the university <a href="https://www.latercera.com/nacional/noticia/tras-muerte-catrillanca-estudiantes-la-u-austral-inician-paro-represion-violencia-del-estado/411640/">strikes</a> and paralyzations are counted as part of the massive claims over the death of the Mapuche community member. There are cases of these at the <a href="https://www.latercera.com/nacional/noticia/tras-muerte-catrillanca-estudiantes-la-u-austral-inician-paro-represion-violencia-del-estado/411640/">Universidad Austral de Valdivia</a>, the Universidad Católica de Temuco, the Universidad de Chile, and the <a href="http://www.diarioeldia.cl/region/estudiantes-se-toman-campus-uls-coquimbo-por-muerte-camilo-catrillanca">Universidad de la Serena</a>.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Deforestation in the Patagonian regions and the scarcity of water led to the Mapuches’ demands taking on a dimension of environmental conservation and fighting for environmental rights.</p><p>At the same time, within the framework of the expansion of the agroforestry model and the environmental problems generated by the salmon industry, the Mapuche movement has increasingly become a field of resonance for environmental problems. </p><p>The intense deforestation in the Patagonian regions and the scarcity of water that exotic crops are producing led to the Mapuches’ demands increasingly taking on a dimension of environmental conservation and fighting for environmental rights. </p><p>For its part, the environmental movement has presented, during the last time, a series of interesting approaches to the reality lived by the people and the Mapuche movement. The recent assassination of the environmental activist Alejandro Castro put this movement in front of a particularly similar situation – although different – that the Mapuche movement has been facing for some time. </p> <p>To understand these questions in greater detail, we will do a quick review of the trajectory of the Mapuche movement during the last few decades, as well as its relationships with the state and capital. </p> <h3>Intertwined movements</h3><p>In 1977, the Chilean dictatorship enacted Decree 701, aimed at promoting the development of the forest industry. Today this industry maintains billing levels that represent about 2.5% of the national GDP. </p><p>It does so, however, at the cost of appropriating huge territorial extensions, expelling communities, destroying the ecosystems and native forests, and using huge amounts of water, leaving the people with serious problems with access to water. </p><p>Only two businesses – Forestal Arauco and Mininco S.A. – are owners of 2 million hectares, mainly concentrated in the historical Mapuche territory, in the south of Chile. </p><p>As the Mapuche historian Fernando Pairican points out, during the nineties, the growth of exotic forests (eucalyptus and pines) occurred in parallel with the growth of militant youth and a Mapuche organization aware of the importance of their struggles and the defense of their territories. In that climate, a radicalized militancy emerged that did not refrain from resorting to the burning of crops and forestry trucks as a way to expel companies from their territories.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Historically, governments have chosen to interpret the Mapuche demand as a "threat" to public order and, consequently, as a security problem.</p> <p>Far from understanding the Mapuche demand as a legitimate claim, a human right, and a historically-rooted demand in response to the expropriations and the violence that the Chilean state has perpetrated on that people during the euphemistically denominated "pacification of the Araucanía", the governments of the Concertación and the last governments of Michelle Bachelet and Sebastián Piñera have chosen to interpret that demand as a "threat" to public order and, consequently, as a security problem. </p><p>The business world and the Chilean state quickly understood that this hindered the possibilities for capital reproduction and, as a result, resorted to repression, vigilance, prosecution, and even criminalization of social protest. </p><p>The government has insistently made use of anti-terrorism legislation (also bequeathed by the dictatorship) to address actions that are not only political acts, rather than criminal acts, but also are not part of this legal classification, because they are not intended to generate fear. </p><p>Thus, the Chilean state has used the social conflict generated within the framework of the dispossession of the Mapuche people to produce a discourse akin to the doctrine of "new threats" promoted by the Pentagon: a military, governmental, and security logic aimed at constructing enemies as diffuse as they are unreal (terrorists, narco-terrorism, organized crime) but which, nevertheless, while they are presented as imminent dangers to "national security," justify the growing militarization of civic life.</p> <p>In this context, for the last two decades, violent and intimidating raids on the communities have been carried out continuously and systematically, fixed checkpoints and surveillance have been implemented throughout the Araucanía region, and they have even mounted Intelligence services operations and have made accusations that end in outrageous episodes of implantation of false evidence (e.g., The recent Operation Huracán and Operation Andes). &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>The result of this dynamic has been the arrest (many times without reliable evidence) of activists and in reference to the Mapuche movement, the assassination of various community members and the disappearance of many others. In most cases, it involves young people, men, and active defenders of the cause of their people. </p><p>It is in this historical trajectory that the referenced murder of Camilo Catrillanca is framed; and it is in this context that the aforementioned converges with the emerging environmental movement. </p> <p>In fact, in mid-2018, news about the extremely high levels of pollution reached in the communities of Quintero and Puchuncaví, located about 150 kilometers northwest of Santiago, emerged with force in the media. </p><p>The Ventanas Complex is concentrated there, a dense industrial node that has turned the region into a truly sacrificial zone. A <a href="https://www.24horas.cl/nacional/informe-sobre-gases-contaminantes-en-quintero-y-puchuncavi-advierte-sobre-riesgos-de-cancer-y-uso-de-sustancia-prohibida-2836879">study</a> carried out by the Environmental Department of the Medical College, showed that the inhabitants of the area are exposed to different toxic substances such as nitrobenzene, methyl chloroform (trichloroethane), nitrobenzene, toluene, and isobutane. </p><p>The contact with these substances increases the risk of developing different types of cancer, such as bronchopulmonary, bladder, renal, urinary tract, liver, or skin, as well as the risk of myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accidents.</p> <p>The anti-extractivist and local movement strongly raised its voice against these violations of citizens' environmental rights. Powers as strong as they are dark let their effects be seen. On October 4, 2018, in the vicinity of Valparaíso, the fisherman, union leader, and leader of the protests in Quintero, Alejandro Castro, was hanged. His death has not yet been explained.</p> <p>In the first days of November, a number of social-environmental organizations from the municipalities in the Valparaíso region – among which the <em>Cabildo Abierto Quintero-Puchuncaví</em> was particularly notable, called for a mobilization for the 15th of that month, under the slogan, "No more sacrificial zones. May the territories rise up and exercise sovereignty." </p><p>The objective of the mobilization was to demand the recovery of the territory and to stop contaminating mega-projects, such as environmental exploitation initiatives, but it also adopted some of the demands of the Mapuche movement. </p><p>Even so, the murder of Camilo Catrillanca on the 14th changed the scenario. From there, the originally scheduled mobilization took on, with much greater force, the claims against the militarization of the Araucanía region and the demands for an end to the violence and criminalization of the Mapuche people, granting them equal or greater importance than the claims against pollution in Quintero and Puchuncavi.</p> <p>&nbsp;According to the declarations of the Cabildo Abierto Quintero-Puchuncaví, its leaders made the necessary arrangements so that "the mobilization was of a peaceful and family nature," but Santiago’s City Hall denied the permit and, therefore, the crowd that gathered at six thirty in the afternoon in Plaza Italia could not march. Police repression, using tear gas and “guanacos,”<a href="#_ftn2">[2]</a> began in the first hour of the mobilization.</p><p> Many demonstrators ran through Bustamante Park and barricaded the surrounding streets. Bicycles rented for public use and a Transantiago bus were set on fire. Hundreds of people came out to show their discomfort in the face of impunity for the murder of Camilo Catrillanca.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Sin título 2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Sin título 2.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="278" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A burning barricade set by protesters aganist the handling of Casmilo Castrillanca's case. Image: courtesy of the author. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Many wore Mapuche costumes, others carried flags. Most were young, but there were also older adults and children. Thus, the student, environmental, and Mapuche social mobilizations seem to be converging in the present, generating an expansive effect on the whole of Chilean society.</p> <p>&nbsp;<strong>Looking Forward</strong></p> <p>Faced with this scenario, we argue that this is a moment of cleavage in the history of the social movements of Chilean society. A time in which, finally, the different struggles that these people have been constructing and rebuilding continuously, throughout the almost three decades that have passed since the end of the dictatorship, seem to be synergistically articulated.</p><p><span class="mag-quote-center">Solidarities and political support are as much needed by the Mapuche movement as by society in general.</span></p><p>In the end, it would seem that the Mapuche people's historical demands are beginning to be understood by a society that until very recently was unable to listen to the cries of the Mapuche people; mounted, not infrequently, on the reproduction of fallacies by the governmental and the media, about the terrorist characteristics of that activism. </p><p>In short, these solidarities and political support are as much needed by the Mapuche movement as by society in general that, without a wide range of alliances, found it difficult to overcome the authoritarian, neoliberal, and individualist enclaves that the almost twenty years of dictatorship bequeathed to them.</p> <hr size="1" /> <p><a href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> Millaleo, Ana (2014), “Mujer y sexualidad mapuche, la cotidianeidad olvidada tras la identidad weichafe”, <em>Mapuexpress</em>, available at: http://www.mapuexpress.org/?p=195</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref2">[2]</a> The water trucks used by the police to disperse demonstrators during protests are known by this name.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/protest/mapuche-repression-argentina">Detained and injured: why does the Argentine state repress the Mapuche people?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/felipe-lagos-rojas-centro-de-investigaci-n-y-defensa-del-sur/chile-criminalizes-ma">Chile criminalizes Mapuche defenders of land and water</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/saskia-fischer/mapuche-vs-benetton-un-settling-land">Mapuche vs Benetton: un-settling the land</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/daniel-wizenberg-pablo-linietsky/tragic-patagonia">Tragic Patagonia</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Chile </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Chile Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Economics openmovements Miguel Leone Camila Ponce Wed, 16 Jan 2019 15:18:58 +0000 Camila Ponce and Miguel Leone 121305 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Can we please learn from history? https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/anatol-lieven/can-we-please-learn-from-history <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In their enthusiasm for a new cold war against China and Russia, the western establishments of today are making a mistake comparable to that of their forbears of 1914.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-39640340.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-39640340.jpg" alt="lead lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Beach drawing of war poet Wilfred Owen during commemoration at Folkestone of 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. Steve Parsons/Press Association. All rights reserved</span></span></span></p><p>This year saw the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, in which some 16 million Europeans died, two great European countries were destroyed, and others crippled. This year may also be seen by future historians as the last year of the period between the cold wars, when after 29 years of relative quiet, the world's major powers once again moved into positions of deep and structural mutual hostility.</p> <p>The First World War also engendered the dreadful scourges of Communism and Nazism, and thereby led to the Second World War, which very nearly finished off European civilisation. As a result of these catastrophes, almost all of the political and cultural elites that led their countries into war in 1914 were swept away, and in the Russian and Austrian cases, destroyed. Historians differ concerning the precise balance of causes and of blame for the disaster of 1914, but on one thing all are agreed: nothing that the great powers could conceivably have gained from going to war remotely compared to what they risked losing. <span class="mag-quote-center">Nothing that the great powers could conceivably have gained from going to war remotely compared to what they risked losing.</span></p> <p>During World War I, the British and French, later joined by the Americans, portrayed the war as one of civilisation against German barbarism. One hundred years later, one can certainly say that on balance the British and French systems were better than the German; but one must also admit that an Algerian subject of the French Empire or an African subject of the British Empire might have a different perspective – and also that the Russian Empire made a pretty odd member of a supposed alliance for democracy. </p> <p>Above all, as it turned out, the real barbaric threat to European civilisation did not come from any of the European ruling establishments of 1914. It came from the hatreds and tensions generated within European societies by the social and economic changes of the previous decades, which the war then released. One of the reasons why the conservative elites of European countries before 1914 encouraged aggressive nationalism in their societies was because they thought that this would divert mass support away from socialism, and thereby preserve the old European order. They were most disastrously mistaken.</p> <h2><strong>Graver threats</strong></h2> <p>I fear that in their enthusiasm for a new cold war against China and Russia, the western establishments of today are making a mistake comparable to that of their forbears of 1914, and that the historians of the future will judge us by a similarly harsh standard. This is not primarily because of the threat of world war, but because this new cold war is serving – and in certain quarters is deliberately intended to serve – as a distraction from vastly graver threats which will eventually overwhelm us if they are not addressed. </p> <p>Existing western political elites (on both sides of the political divide) are desperately unwilling to address these threats, because this would involve radical changes to their existing ideological positions.&nbsp;In their obsession with their own righteousness and civilizational superiority, the western elites are also falling into the moral trap warned of by Hans Morgenthau (a cold warrior who opposed Soviet aggression, but also a German Jew deeply acquainted with the civilizational fantasies that had helped bring on the disaster of 1914-18):</p> <blockquote><p>“Political realism refuses to identify the moral aspirations of a particular nation with the moral laws that govern the universe...&nbsp; the light-hearted equation between a particular nationalism and the counsels of Providence is morally indefensible, for it is the very sin of pride against which the Greek tragedians and the Biblical prophets warned rulers and ruled. The equation is also politically pernicious, for it is liable to engender the distortion in judgement which, in the blindness of crusading frenzy, destroys nations and civilizations.”</p></blockquote> <h2><strong>Anti-Russian regimes</strong></h2> <p>The historians of the future may also note the multiple ironies involved in the idea of the USA leading a new "league of democracies" against an "authoritarian alliance". In Asia, of course, this anti-Chinese alliance would include as key members Vietnamese communists, murderous Filipino authoritarian populists, and above all Indian Hindu neo-fascists. Even in Europe, the most bitterly anti-Russian regime – that of Poland – is also the one that in its authoritarianism and cultural nationalism is in fact ideologically closest to Putin! In the USA, we may devoutly pray that in 2020 Trump will be defeated and replaced by a more convincing leader of the "free world". On the other hand, all the evidence now suggests that in 2022, France will elect a president from the National Front.&nbsp;<span class="mag-quote-center">Does anyone who has interviewed the "Yellow Vests" in France seriously think that they are acting as they do because of manipulation from Moscow?</span></p> <p>Even if they do not lead to catastrophic war, diverting domestic discontent into external hostility very rarely works, because of course the factors that created the discontent remain unchanged. Does anyone who has interviewed the "Yellow Vests" in France seriously think that they are acting as they do because of manipulation from Moscow? Does anyone who has seriously studied the crisis of the white working classes in the USA (Robert Putnam or Thomas Frank, for example) write that the reason that they have voted for Trump is because they have been swayed by Russian propaganda? </p> <h2><strong>Rising death rates</strong></h2> <p>The people who claim this would do better to address a much more important link between developments in Russia and the USA, and a far more important contribution to the rise of Putin and Trump: the rising death rate among working class males in Russia in the 1990s and the USA in recent years, for the same reasons: diseases and addictions fuelled by economic, social and cultural insecurity and despair. In Central America, a far more terrible version of these pathologies is driving millions of people to seek to move to the USA, driving in turn the radicalisation of parts of the US population; yet total US aid to Mexico in 2017 was less than that to Ukraine or Egypt, and a fraction of that to Afghanistan. Does any truly responsible national establishment neglect its own neighbourhood in this way?</p> <p>Looming behind these problems is the even graver danger of climate change, which threatens damage to the USA and the West incomparably greater than anything that the Chinese or Russian governments could or would wish to inflict. In a tragicomic irony, amidst the hysteria over a minor clash between Russia and Ukraine in the Sea of Azov, and barely noticed by most of the US media, there was one example of close US-Russian co-operation: the US and Russian governments combined to block adoption of the latest UN report on climate change.</p> <p>This is not to say that there are not real threats from Russia and China, and real areas (notably trade) where the USA needs to push back. But these are all in the end limited issues, which are either negotiable or containable. None of them &nbsp;justifies trying once again to restructure the national strategies and institutions of the USA and Europe around the principle of a cold war. <span class="mag-quote-center">None of these issues justifies trying once again to restructure the national strategies and institutions of the USA and Europe around the principle of a cold war. </span></p> <p>If Khrushchev had not transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in 1956, everyone would recognise the Sea of Azov as Russian, and this issue would not even exist. In the South China Sea, the USA is pushing back against China in the name of an international Law of the Sea which the USA itself does not recognise. If the Chinese were ever so mad as to use their position in the South China Sea against US trade, the US Navy could block Chinese trade to the whole of the rest of the world. And so it goes.</p> <h2><strong>Sarajevo</strong></h2> <p>There were of course deep factors pushing the European states to war in 1914. The one that actually led to war however was Serbian nationalist claims to Austrian-ruled Bosnia, leading to the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. It seems highly probable that not one in a hundred of the British soldiers who died in the First World War had previously ever heard of Serbia's claims, or of Sarajevo. In the name of God, let us not make this mistake again.</p><p><em>This article was <a href="https://nationalinterest.org/feature/western-nations-are-repeating-mistakes-1914-39522?page=0%2C1">originally published</a> in </em>The National Interest <em>on December 22, 2018. </em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/pierre-schori/fateful-issue-in-sweden-s-autumn-election-was-nuclear-weapons">The fateful issue in Sweden’s autumn election was nuclear weapons</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/torgeir-e-fj-rtoft/on-failures-of-western-russia-policies-and-what-to-do-about-th">On the failures of western-Russia policies and what to do about them</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Russia </div> <div class="field-item even"> China </div> <div class="field-item odd"> EU </div> <div class="field-item even"> UK </div> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? United States UK EU China Russia Conflict International politics Anatol Lieven Wed, 16 Jan 2019 14:27:44 +0000 Anatol Lieven 121304 at https://www.opendemocracy.net El asesinato del mapuche Catrillanca y el activismo solidario en Chile https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/miguel-leone/el-asesinato-de-camilo-catrillanca-y-el-movimiento-mapuche-en-chile <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>El 14 de noviembre fuerzas especiales de Carabineros aesinaron al comunero mapuche Camilo Catrillanca. Distintos sectores de la sociedad chilena están reaccionando en solidaridad.<em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/miguel-leone/new-solidarity-for-mapuche-indigenous-movement-in-today-s-chile"> English</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/castrillanca_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/castrillanca_0.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="466" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Retrato del comunero mapuche Camilo Castrillanca. Imagen: cortesía del autor. Todos los derechos reservados</span></span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openmovements"></a></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/openMovements_0_1_0_7_1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/openMovements_0_1_0_7_1.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="59" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><p><strong><strong>La serie&nbsp;<em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openmovements">openMovements</a></em>&nbsp;invita a politólogos líderes en sus campos de investigación para compartir sus resultados y sus perspectivas sobre luchas sociales contemporáneas</strong>.</strong></p><p>Los movimientos sociales en el Chile de la postdictadura presentan una diversidad interesante y variada. </p><p>El movimiento mapuche ha sido, en ese escenario, un actor siempre presente, que se ha destacado por su capacidad para institucionalizar buena parte de sus demandas políticas (<em>vg.</em> Acuerdo de Nueva Imperial -1989-; Ley Indígena 1993-; Ratificación Convenio 169 OIT -2008). Como también, por su habilidad para hacer resonar sus demandas dentro de las lógicas del discurso mediático.</p> <p>Por su parte, en las últimas décadas, otros importantes movimientos sociales han demostrado una gran capacidad para intervenir en la agenda política nacional. </p><p>Tal vez el más destacado en ese sentido ha sido el movimiento estudiantil que, a partir del año 2006 y con mayor fuerza en 2011, se instaló como una usina de pensamiento y acción política como ningún otro en el país. Es igualmente destacable la trayectoria que el movimiento anti extractivista ha atravesado durante los últimos años. </p><p>Este movimiento se configuró al calor de las luchas contra Pascua Lama, las mareas rojas en Chiloé, o el Proyecto Portuario en Punta de Choros. </p><p>Algo más cerca en el tiempo, es la emergencia del movimiento NO+AFP y, en la actualidad resulta una referencia insoslayable el movimiento estudiantil feminista que, durante el primer semestre del 2018, consiguió paralizar universidades y liceos, como parte de una intensa lucha contra el patriarcado, los abusos y la violencia de género en el sistema educativo chileno.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Hasta el momento, las solidaridades entre el movimiento mapuche y los demás movimientos sociales no han sido muy estrechas.</p> <p>Ahora bien, hasta el momento, las solidaridades entre el movimiento mapuche y los demás movimientos sociales no han sido muy estrechas. Tampoco ha sido intensa la capacidad de la sociedad chilena en general para entender y atender las demandas de ese pueblo originario, ni tampoco repudiar la fuerte represión estatal que sobre el mismo se aplica desde el año 2000 al presente.</p><p> Represión que cuenta –por cierto– ya bastante más de una decena de activistas asesinados a manos de fuerzas de seguridad.&nbsp;</p><p> Tales son los casos de Alex Lemún, quien murió asesinado a los 17 años en 2002, cuando realizaba una ocupación de terrenos; o Matías Catrileo, asesinado a los 23 años el año 2008, cuando también participaba en una ocupación junto a otros comuneros; por solo señalar algunos de los más renombrados.</p> <p>Sin embargo, esta falta de articulación social es algo que actualmente parece estar revirtiéndose. El asesinato del comunero mapuche Camilo Catrillanca el 14 de noviembre de 2018, se convirtió en foco de importantes muestras de solidaridad y apoyos políticos por parte de distintos sectores de la sociedad chilena y representó un punto de acercamiento entre diversos movimientos sociales. </p><p>Asimismo, las redes sociales han estado plagadas de <em>posteos</em> y <em>tweets</em> repudiando el caso, y fueron masivas e intensas las movilizaciones sostenidas por varios días en la capital del país (también fue intensa, por cierto, la represión policial sobre ellas).</p> <p>En torno al caso del asesinato de Catrillanca, la sociedad chilena expresó, por medio de pancartas y banderas, una clara solidaridad con la causa mapuche y un fuerte rechazo a la violencia estatal sobre este pueblo originario. </p><p>Se realizaron cacerolazos en el centro de Santiago exigiendo que las autoridades políticas asuman las responsabilidades y contribuyan con el esclarecimiento de la verdad y la consecución de la justicia. </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">En torno al caso Catrillanca, la sociedad chilena expresó una clara solidaridad con la causa mapuche y un fuerte rechazo a la violencia estatal sobre este pueblo originario.</p><p>Ciertamente, el comportamiento del Poder Judicial, los medios de comunicación y el poder político frente a la situación resultó por demás escandaloso. En un comienzo, los fiscales y los medios de comunicación se limitaron a señalar que Camilo había recibido un impacto de bala en su cabeza mientras conducía un tractor en los alrededores de la comunidad de Temucuicui, en la Araucanía.</p><p> Señalaron que Camilo quedó “en medio de” un operativo desplegado por Carabineros para recuperar tres vehículos que habían sido robados en la zona hacía algunas horas. Las autoridades gubernamentales, por su parte, imprudentemente, dieron por ciertas las versiones brindadas por Carabineros; aunque prontamente quedó en evidencia la responsabilidad de esa fuerza en el caso, así como lo desproporcionado del operativo desplegado (con helicópteros, tanques blindados y el despliegue del grupo especial de Carabineros “Comando Jungla”). </p><p>También se hizo público que un oficial de Carabineros destruyó intencionalmente la tarjeta de video que contenía la grabación del asesinato, aunque recientemente se conocieron <a href="https://ciperchile.cl/2018/12/19/muerte-de-catrillanca-ciper-revela-en-exclusiva-tres-de-los-videos-que-grabo-carabineros/">videos</a> que dejan en claro la responsabilidad de la fuerza en el hecho.</p> <p>Frente a ello, las versiones del gobierno y la policía comenzaron a contradecirse mutuamente, intentando cada quien desmarcarse de las responsabilidades del caso. Como resultado de esto, la <a href="http://www.elmercurio.com/blogs/2018/11/21/65018/Caso-Catrillanca-intendente-de-La-Araucania-renuncia-tras-anuncio-DC-de-acusacion-constitucional-en-su-contra.aspx">autoridad regional</a> Luis Mayol terminó por renunciar ante una inminente acusación constitucional en su contra, y se dio de baja al <a href="https://www.publimetro.cl/cl/noticias/2018/12/07/carabineros-franzani-catrillanca-christian-franzani-fiscalia.html">General de Carabineros Cristian Franzani</a> puesto que el sargento Alarcón, uno de los acusados por el homicidio a Catrillanca, declaró que había sido <a href="https://www.publimetro.cl/cl/noticias/2018/12/03/hermes-soto-citado-moneda-induccion-mentira.html">“inducido a la mentira y a dar declaraciones falsas”</a>. </p><p>El Poder Ejecutivo nacional pidió la renuncia del General Director de Carabineros, Hermes Soto, quien se negó a hacerlo y obligó a que su destitución se hiciera mediante una sesión especialmente llamada para el caso en el Congreso. Por su parte, también se ha hecho masiva en las redes sociales la demanda por la renuncia del Ministro de Interior, Andrés Chadwick, quien (haciendo gala de una altanería casi criminal) no se ahorró <a href="https://www.cooperativa.cl/noticias/tecnologia/redes-sociales/twitter/el-comentado-tuiteo-sobre-chadwick-y-catrillanca-que-el-ministerio-del/2018-11-20/042149.html">declaraciones provocativas y faltas de todo respeto a las familias de la víctima.</a></p> <p>Sin embargo, ese tipo de actuaciones no distan demasiado de las observadas en los casos anteriores de asesinatos de mapuches. De forma que las solidaridades brindadas por distintos espacios de la sociedad chilena para con la causa mapuche merecen ser explicadas por otros factores, tal vez más profundos y de una dimensión más estructural.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Estiste un proceso de acercamiento entre las demandas del movimiento mapuche con el movimiento estudiantil, por un lado, y con el movimiento ambientalista, por el otro.</p><p>Desde nuestro punto de vista, las referidas solidaridades son la expresión de un proceso de acercamiento entre las demandas y trayectorias del movimiento mapuche con el movimiento estudiantil, por un lado, y con el movimiento ambientalista, por el otro. </p> <p>De hecho, el movimiento estudiantil de 2011 funcionó como un canal de aproximaciones entre las juventudes universitarias y las juventudes mapuche. Aunque es un asunto no suficientemente indagado, fueron muchos los estudiantes estudiantiles mapuche que nutrieron aquel épico movimiento estudiantil. </p> <p>Desde los años ´90 en adelante, la figura del <em>weichafe</em> (guerrero) se ha convertido en el personaje principal de la historia mapuche, pero el perfil sociológico de esa figura ha sido principalmente la del joven (entre 17 y 30 años), masculino<a href="#_ftn1">[1]</a>, y que, en muchos casos, es o ha sido estudiante universitario. </p><p>Como tales, rara vez los jóvenes activistas del movimiento mapuche se han mantenido ajenos a la movilización estudiantil chilena. El propio Camilo Carrillanca, en efecto, fue un dinámico vocero en los procesos de movilización estudiantil en la región de Ercilla durante aquellos politizados años de 2011 y 2012.</p> <p>Al mismo tiempo, gracias a su carácter democrático y su apertura al diálogo, el movimiento estudiantil de 2011 generó canales de interlocución con las demandas del pueblo mapuche. La principal líder de aquel movimiento, Camila Vallejo, así lo expresó en <a href="https://www.biobiochile.cl/noticias/nacional/region-de-la-araucania/2017/06/15/hugo-gutierrez-y-camila-vallejo-visitaran-a-machi-francisca-linconao.shtml">diversas oportunidades</a>. </p><p>Recientemente, incluso, <a href="http://www.theclinic.cl/2018/11/15/basta-de-politicas-de-exterminio-camila-vallejo-arremete-contra-el-comando-jungla-tras-muerte-de-camilo-catrillanca/">se pronunció públicamente</a> desde su rol de diputada, en contra de la militarización del territorio mapuche y “las políticas de exterminio” aplicadas contra ese pueblo. En ese contexto se entiende que, como parte del reclamo masivo por la muerte del comunero, se contabilizan <a href="https://www.latercera.com/nacional/noticia/tras-muerte-catrillanca-estudiantes-la-u-austral-inician-paro-represion-violencia-del-estado/411640/">tomas</a> y paros en instituciones de educación superior. Son casos de ello los de la <a href="https://www.latercera.com/nacional/noticia/tras-muerte-catrillanca-estudiantes-la-u-austral-inician-paro-represion-violencia-del-estado/411640/">Universidad Austral de Valdivia</a>, la Universidad Católica de Temuco, la Universidad de Chile y la <a href="http://www.diarioeldia.cl/region/estudiantes-se-toman-campus-uls-coquimbo-por-muerte-camilo-catrillanca">Universidad de la Serena</a>.</p> <p>Paralelamente, en el marco de la expansión del modelo agroforestal y los problemas ambientales generados por la industria salmonera, el movimiento mapuche se ha convertido cada vez más en un campo de resonancia de la problemática ambiental. </p><p>La intensa deforestación producida en las regiones patagónicas y la carencia de agua que los cultivos exóticos están produciendo, llevan a que las demandas mapuche crecientemente hayan cobrado una dimensión de conservación del ambiente y lucha por los derechos ambientales. </p><p>Por su parte, el movimiento ambientalista ha presentado, durante el último tiempo, una serie de aproximaciones interesantes a la realidad que vive el pueblo y el movimiento mapuche. </p><p>El reciente asesinato del activista ambientalista Alejandro Castro puso a este movimiento frente a una situación particularmente semejante –aun cuando diferente– a la que desde hace tiempo viene enfrentando el movimiento mapuche. Allí asientan elementos relevantes para comprender las recientes solidaridades con el pueblo mapuche.</p> <p>Para entender con mayor detalle estas cuestiones, proponemos hacer una rápida revisión de la trayectoria del movimiento mapuche durante las últimas décadas, así como de sus relaciones con el estado y el capital.</p> <h3><strong>&nbsp;</strong><strong>Movimientos que se trenzan</strong></h3> <p>En el año 1977 la dictadura chilena emitió el decreto 701 destinado a impulsar el desarrollo de la industria forestal. Hoy esta industria mantiene niveles de facturación que representan alrededor del 2,5 % del PBI nacional. </p><p>Lo hace, no obstante, a costa de apropiarse de enormes extensiones territoriales, expulsar a las comunidades, destruir los ecosistemas y los bosques nativos, y utilizar enormes cantidades de agua, dejando a los pobladores con serios problemas para su acceso. Sólo dos empresas –Forestal Arauco y Mininco S.A– son dueñas de 2 millones de hectáreas concentradas fundamentalmente en el histórico territorio mapuche, al sur de Chile. </p> <p>Como señala el historiador mapuche Fernando Pairican, durante los años noventa, el crecimiento de los bosques exóticos (eucaliptus y pinos) fue paralelo al crecimiento de una juventud militante y una organización mapuche consciente de la importancia de sus luchas y la defensa de sus territorios. </p><p>En ese clima emergió una militancia radicalizada que no dejó de recurrir a la quema de cultivos y camiones forestales como forma de expulsar a las empresas de sus territorios.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Históricamente, los gobiernos han optado por asumir la demanda mapuche como una “amenaza” al orden público y, consecuentemente, un problema de seguridad.</p> <p>Lejos de entender la demanda mapuche como un reclamo legítimo, un derecho humano y una demanda histórica ante las expropiaciones y las violencias que el estado chileno ha realizado a ese pueblo desde la eufemísticamente denominada “pacificación de la Araucanía”; los gobiernos de la Concertación y los últimos gobiernos de Michelle Bachelet y Sebastián Piñera han optado por asumir esa demanda como una “amenaza” al orden público y, consecuentemente, un problema de seguridad. </p><p>El empresariado y el estado chileno rápidamente comprendieron que ello obstaculizaba las posibilidades de reproducción del capital y, en virtud de ello, no tuvieron prurito alguno en recurrir a la represión, la vigilancia, la persecución judicial e incluso la criminalizacón de la protesta social. Insistentemente se ha hecho uso de la legislación antiterrorista (también legada por la dictadura) para abordar acciones que, no sólo son actos políticos antes que criminales, sino que tampoco se inscriben en esa tipificación jurídica, pues no se orientan a generar temor. </p><p>Así, el estado chileno ha utilizado la conflictividad social generada en el marco del despojo del pueblo mapuche para producir un discurso afín a la doctrina de las “nuevas amenazas” impulsada por el Pentágono: una lógica militar, gubernamental y de seguridad direccionada a construir enemigos tan difusos como poco reales (terroristas, narcoterrorismo, crimen organizado) pero que –sin embargo–, en tanto son presentados como peligros inminentes a la “seguridad nacional”, justifican la creciente militarización de la vida ciudadana.</p> <p>En ese marco, desde hace dos décadas se realizan, de forma continuada y sistemática, allanamientos violentos e intimidatorios en las comunidades, se implementan puestos fijos de control y vigilancia por toda la Araucanía y hasta se montan operaciones y acusaciones de los servicios de Inteligencia que acaban en escandalosos episodios de implantación de pruebas falsas (<em>vg.</em> las recientes Operación Huracán y Operación Andes).</p> <p>El resultado de esa dinámica ha sido el arresto (muchas veces sin pruebas fehacientes) de activistas y referentes del movimiento mapuche, el asesinato de varios comuneros y la desaparición de otros tantos. En la mayoría de los casos se trata de jóvenes, hombres y activos defensores de la causa de su pueblo. </p><p>Es en esa trayectoria histórica que se enmarca el referido asesinato de Camilo Catrillanca; y es en este contexto que emergen las referidas convergencias con el movimiento ambientalista.</p> <p>En efecto, a mediados de 2018 surgió con fuerza en los medios la noticia sobre los elevadísimos niveles de contaminación alcanzados en las comunas de Quintero y Puchuncaví, localizadas a unos 150 kilómetros al noroeste de Santiago. Se concentra allí el Complejo Ventanas, un denso nodo industrial que ha convertido a la región en una verdadera zona de sacrificio. </p><p>Un <a href="https://www.24horas.cl/nacional/informe-sobre-gases-contaminantes-en-quintero-y-puchuncavi-advierte-sobre-riesgos-de-cancer-y-uso-de-sustancia-prohibida-2836879">estudio</a> realizado por el Departamento de Medio Ambiente del Colegio Médico, da cuenta que los habitantes de la zona están expuestos a distintas sustancias tóxicas, como el nitrobenceno, el metilcloroformo (tricloroetano), el nitrobenceno, el tolueno y el isobutano. El contacto con estas sustancias, incrementa el riesgo de desarrollar distintos tipos de cáncer, tales como broncopulmonar, de vejiga, renal, de vías urinarias, hígado o piel, como también riesgo de infarto al miocardio y accidentes cerebrovasculares. </p> <p>El movimiento anti extractivista y local alzó fuertemente su voz en contra de estas violaciones al derecho ambiental de los ciudadanos. Poderes tan fuertes como oscuros dejaron ver sus efectos. El 4 de octubre de 2018, en los alrededores de Valparaíso, apareció ahorcado el pescador, dirigente sindical y líder de las protestas en Quintero, Alejandro Castro. Su muerte aún no ha sido aclarada. </p> <p>Los primeros días de noviembre, una serie de organizaciones socioambientales de las comunas de la Región de Valparaíso –entre las que se destacaba particularmente el Cabildo Abierto Quintero-Puchuncaví– convocaron una movilización para el día 15 de ese mes, bajo el lema <em>“No más zonas de sacrificio. Que los territorios se levanten y ejerzan soberanía”</em>. El <a href="https://resumen.cl/articulos/llaman-a-movilizacion-nacional-por-no-mas-zonas-de-sacrificio-este-15-de-noviembre?fbclid=IwAR22qihZrpm80vgFh7arQ41_xrm3ii8e0vcfbdSR8MBmJxUtePC4wzs6l2Q">objetivo de la movilización</a> era exigir la recuperación del territorio y frenar los mega proyectos contaminantes como las iniciativas de explotación ambiental, pero también retomaba algunas de las demandas del movimiento mapuche. </p><p>Aun así, el asesinato de Camilo Catrillanca el día 14 cambió el escenario. A partir de allí, la movilización originalmente programada asumió con mucha mayor fuerza las reivindicaciones contra la militarización de la Araucanía y el fin de la violencia y criminalización del pueblo mapuche, adquiriendo éstas una importancia igual o mayor a la de los reclamos frente a la contaminación en Quintero y Puchuncaví. </p> <p>Según declaraciones del Cabildo Abierto Quintero-Puchuncaví, sus referentes realizaron las gestiones pertinentes para que “la movilización fuera de carácter pacífica y familiar”, pero la Intendencia de Santiago denegó el permiso y, por lo tanto, la multitud que se congregó a las seis y media de la tarde en Plaza Italia, no pudo marchar. </p><p>La represión policial, mediante gases lacrimógenos y “guanacos”<a href="#_ftn2">[2]</a> se desplegó cuando apenas corría la primera hora de la movilización. Muchos manifestantes corrieron por el Parque Bustamante y realizaron barricadas en las calles aledañas. Fueron quemadas bicicletas de uso público y un bus del Transantiago.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Cientos de personas quisieron demostrar su malestar frente a la impunidad del asesinato de Camilo Catrillanca. Muchos vistieron trajes mapuche.</p><p>Fueron cientos de personas las que quisieron demostrar su malestar frente a la impunidad del asesinato de Camilo Catrillanca. Muchos vistieron trajes mapuche, otros portaron banderas; la mayoría eran jóvenes, pero también había adultos mayores y niños. Así, la movilización social estudiantil, ambientalista y mapuche parecen estar confluyendo en la actualidad, generando con ello un efecto expansivo sobre el conjunto de la sociedad chilena.</p> <h3><strong>Mirando hacia adelante</strong></h3> <p>Frente a este escenario, creemos que estamos ante un momento de clivaje en la historia de los movimientos sociales de la sociedad chilena. Un tiempo en el que, finalmente, parecen articularse de formas sinérgicas las distintas luchas que este pueblo ha estado construyendo y reconstruyendo de manera continuada a lo largo de las casi tres décadas que transcurrieron desde el fin de la dictadura. </p><p>Al fin pareciera suceder que las reivindicaciones históricas del pueblo mapuche comienzan a ser comprendidas por una sociedad que hasta hace muy poco se mostraba incapaz de escuchar los gritos del pueblo mapuche; montándose, no pocas veces, en la reproducción de la falacia gubernamental y de los medios de comunicación, sobre la condición terrorista de ese activismo. </p><p>En definitiva, estas son solidaridades y apoyos políticos tan necesitados por el movimiento mapuche como por la sociedad en general que, sin un abanico amplio de alianzas, difícilmente consiga superar los enclaves autoritarios, neoliberales e individualistas que los casi veinte años de dictadura le legaron.</p> <hr size="1" /> <p><a href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> Millaleo, Ana (2014), “Mujer y sexualidad mapuche, la cotidianeidad olvidada tras la identidad weichafe”, <em>Mapuexpress</em>, disponible en: http://www.mapuexpress.org/?p=195</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref2">[2]</a> Se conoce con ese nombre a los carros hidrantes de la policía utilizados en las movilizaciones para dispersar a los manifestantes. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/sebasti-n-ortega/en-argentina-hay-1500-comunidades-originarias-en-peligro">¿Cuántas comunidades originarias peligran en Argentina?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/felipe-lagos-rojas-centro-de-investigaci-n-y-defensa-del-sur/chile-criminaliza-los">Chile criminaliza a los defensores de la tierra y el agua mapuches</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Chile </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Chile Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Indigenous People openmovements Miguel Leone Camila Ponce Tue, 15 Jan 2019 18:28:00 +0000 Camila Ponce and Miguel Leone 121298 at https://www.opendemocracy.net El Estado democrático se encuentra bajo grave amenaza en Guatemala https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/various-authors/el-estado-democr-tico-se-encuentra-bajo-grave-amenaza-en-guatemala <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A partir de los últimos hechos y declaraciones planteadas por el máximo representante del poder ejecutivo en Guatemala, el presidente Jimmy Morales, varias organizaciones emitieron este comunicado.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/foto_web_cejil.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/foto_web_cejil.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="257" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Imagen: Cortesía del Centro por la justicia y el derecho internacional, CIJIL: Todos los derechos reservados</span></span></span></p><p>La sutruación democrática de Guatemanla se ha deteriorado profundamente en los últimos días. Reproducimos a continuación el Comunicado emitido el<strong>&nbsp;pasado 9 de Enero de 2019 </strong>por las organizaciones abajo firmantes.</p><p>"A partir de los últimos hechos y declaraciones planteadas por el máximo representante del poder ejecutivo en Guatemala, el presidente Jimmy Morales, las organizaciones que suscribimos este pronunciamiento declaramos lo siguiente:&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ol><li>Condenamos enérgicamente la reciente serie de acciones emprendidas por los organismos del Poder Ejecutivo ya que violan sistemáticamente los principios fundamentales de la democracia, la separación de poderes, la independencia de los poderes públicos y el respeto a las normas internacionales.</li><li>Aplaudimos la decisión de la Corte de Constitucionalidad, de dejar sin efecto los actos realizados por el poder ejecutivo el 7 de enero cuando de manera unilateral y anticipada decidió terminar el acuerdo con Naciones Unidas y con ello poner fin al trabajo de la Comisión Internacional Contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG), violando tanto las normas internacionales como las constitucionales ya que el decreto de ley ratificado por el Congreso Nacional de Guatemala plantea con claridad el proceso para terminar el mandato de la CICIG, proceso que no fue observado por las autoridades implicadas. Notamos que el Secretario General Guterres rechazó enérgicamente la decisión y así afirmó que "El mandato de la Comisión finalizará el 3 de septiembre de 2019. Hasta esa fecha, esperamos que el Gobierno de Guatemala cumpla íntegramente sus obligaciones legales en virtud del Acuerdo".&nbsp;&nbsp;</li><li>Estamos alarmados ante las acciones encaminadas a desaforar la Corte de Constitucionalidad y la expulsión de la CICIG, las cuales sin duda podrían tener un impacto negativo irreversible en la integridad del proceso electoral próximo a iniciar, asi como en la protección de los derechos humanos y en los avances realizados en el combate a la corrupción.&nbsp;</li><li>Hacemos un llamado a las instituciones guatemaltecas, a la sociedad civil y a la comunidad internacional a que adopten las medidas necesarias para proteger la independencia de la Corte de Constitucionalidad y la integridad personal y física de sus magistradas y magistrados. Actualmente, no sólo han sufrido llamados a la destitución de sus cargos, pero también peticiones de encarcelamiento. Condenamos estos ataques y amenazas en los términos más firmes.&nbsp;</li><li>Expresamos profunda preocupación por el futuro de la institucionalidad democrática de Guatemala ante un asalto coordinado por sectores vinculados a redes de corrupción y crimen organizado, a través de denuncias infundadas contra las y los magistrados de la Corte de Constitucionalidad que tienen por objetivo obstruir el ejercicio libre e independiente de su función tal como está consagrada en la Constitución de la República. Confiamos en que la Corte Suprema de Justicia cumplirá con el papel histórico que hoy le toca asumir.</li><li>Observamos con especial preocupación la difamación, estigmatización, persecución penal maliciosa, y los ataques físicos y psicológicos en contra de sectores claves en la lucha contra las redes de corrupción, entre ellos los y las jueces, fiscales, defensores de los derechos humanos,&nbsp; denunciantes, periodistas y los medios de comunicación.&nbsp; &nbsp;</li><li>Enfatizamos la importancia de la CICIG en la preservación de los derechos humanos, tal como fue expresado por la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en la resolución del 12 de septiembre, donde expresa: “La lucha contra la corrupción guarda una relación inequívoca con el ejercicio y disfrute de los derechos humanos. La impunidad impulsa y perpetúa actos de corrupción”.</li><li>Denunciamos que las acciones del presidente Morales y los sectores que han construido poder político a través de redes criminales de corrupción y tráfico de influencias reflejan un patrón creciente de abuso y concentración de poder en la rama ejecutiva; retroceso también lamentablemente observado en otros países de la región.&nbsp;</li></ol> <p>En base a todo lo anterior, instamos a la comunidad internacional a tomar las siguientes acciones:</p> <p>● Condenar públicamente las violaciones a las normas internacionales y a la falta de respeto del estado de derecho, en especial cualquier infracción cometida en contra de la integridad de la Corte de Constitucionalidad o de su capacidad de actuar con independencia;</p> <p>● Alentar a la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA) a promover una delegación a Guatemala para evaluar el cumplimiento de la Carta Democrática Interamericana de conformidad con el artículo 18 de la misma;</p> <p>● Velar por el completo cumplimiento de las resoluciones de la Corte de Constitucionalidad, incluidas, entre otras, aquellas relacionadas con el funcionamiento de la CICIG en Guatemala a medida que completa su mandato; y</p> <p>● Finalmente, suspender el financiamiento&nbsp;no-humanitario&nbsp;bilateral y multilateral al Gobierno guatemalteco mientras no existan las condiciones para garantizar el cumplimiento de las normas internacionalmente aceptadas, incluyendo la separación de poderes, la independencia judicial y las medidas efectivas para controlar la corrupción en los organismos estatales, medidas necesarios para proteger los derechos fundamentales de todos los guatemaltecos."</p> <p><strong>Organizaciones firmantes<br /></strong>Abogados sin Fronteras Canadá<br />Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)<br />Fundación para el Debido Proceso (DPLF)<br />Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC)<br />Impunity Watch<br />Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI)<br />Plataforma contra la Impunidad<br />Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights<br />Oficina en Washington para Asuntos Latinoamericanos (WOLA)<br />Oxfam</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/aisling-walsh/genocidio-ind-gena-en-guatemala-justicia-demorada-justicia-denegada">Genocidio indígena en Guatemala: ¿justicia demorada, justicia denegada?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/virgilio-lvarez-arag-n/guatemala-objetivo-impunidad">Guatemala: objetivo impunidad</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/jos-zepeda-iv-n-vel-squez/la-cruzada-de-los-corruptos-contra-la-comisi-n-internaci">La cruzada de los corruptos contra la Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Guatemala </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Guatemala Civil society Conflict Democracy and government International politics Varias Organizaciones Mon, 14 Jan 2019 16:41:17 +0000 Varias Organizaciones 121279 at https://www.opendemocracy.net More World: can communal practices save the planet? https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/krystian-woznicki/more-world-berliner-gazette-project <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Climate change, migration and digitalization are three of the greatest challenges in the current phase of globalization. How can we rise to them? asks the Berliner Gazette. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Imagen8.JPG" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Imagen8.JPG" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Zapatista Women.</span></span></span></p><p>Offers to escape the complexities of globalization are ubiquitous. Especially in weakened, crisis-ridden or authoritarian democracies something that could be called <em>globalization escapism</em> is becoming increasingly popular, while the state as a self-sufficient and encapsulated shelter is promoted as a fantasy refuge. </p><p>The proliferation of nationalist right-wing populism in the global public sphere aggravates this dangerous escapism. Though this may seem pretty obvious, the consequences are however less perceptible, requiring more attention. The escapist tendency, that, following Hannah Arendt, could be called “Weltentfremdung” (alienation from the world), shrinks access to the world. The result is a shrinkage for all of us in access to <em>the world as it is, </em>as well as access to <em>the world as it could be</em>. This has particularly strong affects on marginalised, invisibilized and illegalized actors. But the privileged are also affected: persons with unlimited legal status, access to higher education systems, jobs subject to social security contributions, and so forth.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>This development makes the escapist fantasy untenable, forcing us sooner or later to develop a new sense of reality and a new love for the world. The question arises, to what degree can the state function as a shelter at all? Whoever asks this question needs to face up to and affirm the complexities of globalization in the first place, and needs to find ways not to see these as <em>threats</em>, since this triggers paranoid defense mechanisms that have devastating consequences. </p> <p>Instead, we need to see the complexities that are becoming increasingly visible in the course of globalization as <em>challenges</em> to be tackled cooperatively by all of us – privileged and dispossessed alike. The MORE WORLD project proposes that these challenges can be overcome neither by the nation state alone, nor without it. Rather, the challenges should be approached by combining communal, state and global structures. </p> <p>The MORE WORLD project suggests starting at the micro level, that is, exploring communal practices and tools that are potentially useful for the multi-layered interplay of communal, state and global structures. To this end, the project will focus on such exemplary complexes produced by and productive of globalization, as climate change, migration and digitalization, which the Berliner Gazette (BG) intends to relate to one another as <em>interconnected planetary challenges</em>. </p> <p>In its twentieth year, BG calls for exploration of the complexities that populisms are currently attempting to ignore in particularly damaging ways. Firstly, the fact that the state is not only permeable to cross-border movements, but always tries to make them productive in order to secure its continued existence. Secondly, the fact that our societies have always been richer, meaning more diverse and more heterogeneous, than any single and dominant notion of social life could project. In other words, the We has always been more rich than homogenized images of ‘society’ – nowadays turning to extremes due to right-wing populisms – would have us believe. Hence we are challenged to make this repressed richness of the social world visible, especially those other ways of living and working together at the communal level that forge tools for planetary challenges arising from within the world-shaping process called globalization. </p> <p><strong>Call for Contributions:</strong> <em>The BG’s 20th anniversary project MORE WORLD invites you to explore together communal tools for planetary challenges. To this end, the BG will create a special section in the Internet newspaper berlinergazette.de which will be open for contributions from all over the world. Moreover, we will organize a series of events. Further information on that can be found on this website: <a href="https://more-world.berlinergazette.de/">https://more-world.berlinergazette.de</a>&nbsp; If you would like to learn more about the project’s questions and ideas, please continue reading here.</em></p> <h2><strong>Climate change, migration, digitalization</strong></h2> <p>Today, climate change is one of the most pressing planetary challenges. It appears to be something that surrounds, envelops and entangles us, but it is literally too large to be seen and understood in its entirety. While climate change seems to be intangible, nowhere and everywhere at the same time, it is linked to everything and everyone, not least to migration and digitalization. The millions of people who are fleeing their homes in the Global South are ever increasingly on the run due to climate change and related disasters. Research has also provided initial insight into how global warming may already influence armed conflict. So, increasingly, mass movements of migrants and refugees are also fleeing their devastated homes and destroyed life-worlds because of wars breaking out due to climate change, such as in the Syrian conflict. There is more to come. And we must prepare ourselves for further entanglements. We also need to take notice of further interdependencies, which are becoming more complex and dynamic, for example, in the wake of digitalization.</p> <p>Digitalization is an ongoing worldwide process, including the expansion of cloud infrastructure: the installation of fiber optic cables, the erection of data centers and server farms, etc. This infrastructure has a geopolitical dimension that is rarely discussed, which materializes itself at border controls, in immigration decisions or drone attacks, and is also linked to global warming. The political geography of cloud infrastructure transcends the sovereignty of nation-states and apparently also suspends the responsibility of nation-states for the influence of cloud infrastructure on global warming. </p> <p>Meanwhile, higher temperatures cause stress for cloud infrastructure, while an incessant increase in ‘cloud activities’ leads to higher temperatures through the rising heat of server farms, etc. In the midst of this environmental infrastructure crisis, political spaces are emerging in which civil and human rights are muddled and seem to be criss-crossed. The people most affected by this are those who wish to assert their right to freedom of movement. Thus, migration is becoming a ‘risk game’ in which markets and states that want to benefit from the ‘mobile workforce’ shift the risk solely to those who are among the most vulnerable in this ‘game’: refugees, asylum seekers, paperless and stateless persons, etc. </p> <p>How can cloud infrastructure be appropriated by existing networks of solidarity? How can we find ways to make heavier the apparent ‘lightness’ of cloud infrastructure that accelerates climate change and passes judgment on people’s lives? How can cloud infrastructure be undermined and replaced by alternative communal structures that, last but not least, can also support vulnerable people on the move? What kind of communal practices and tools are useful for the interplay between communal, state and global approaches to the planetary challenges at hand? </p> <p>These are far-reaching questions. But we need to get started somewhere. If we want to meet the complexities of globalization at the height of their current development, we must first recognize that climate change, migration and digitalization are interlinked geopolitical complexes that can only be managed appropriately if tackled by an interplay of communal, state and global organizational structures. </p> <p>But this is easier said than done. After all, escapism abounds. In the course of this, access to the world is shrinking – to reiterate, not only to the world as it is, but also to the world as it could be. This world shrinkage has two interconnected dimensions. Firstly, complex problems such as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_denial">climate change are suppressed</a>. Secondly, the diversity of the social, as it also arises in the course of migration, is suppressed. Everything is supposed to become clear and easily manageable – could that ever be the case? </p> <p>That’s highly doubtful. After all, the problematic complexities at hand are brought about by the diversity of the social and vice versa. This said, complex problems cannot be overcome without the potential for social diversity. Therefore, it is vital to create new accesses to the We, which always also means creating new forms of access to the world – and vice versa. </p> <h2><strong>The destructive false frontline of right-wing populism</strong></h2> <p>Today, we cannot avoid taking note of the damage caused by populism to any emancipatory endeavor. But we should not stop here. Populism’s agenda should not devour too much of our attention and energy. After all, we need enough strength for our own agenda. <span class="mag-quote-center">Populism’s agenda should not devour too much of our attention and energy. After all, we need enough strength for our own agenda. </span></p> <p>First, to populism.<strong> </strong>Nowadays, the most dominant form of populism is nationalist right-wing populism. It is spreading rapidly in countries as diverse as Hungary, India, the USA, Turkey, Japan, Brazil and Germany. Where it finds supporters, simple solutions to complex problems are promised. This deceptive formula for success conjures up a homogeneous and authoritarian nation-state as a shelter, ignoring the fact that the nation-state has for centuries been a catalyst for the expansion of transnational networks and traffic flows. So this also obscures the fact that the nation-state has always played a decisive role in globalization. In other words, right-wing populism is suppressing the fact that the nation-state has crucially contributed to the production of planetary problems. In conjuring up the phantasm of the nation, the nation-state has even been responsible for some of the most atrocious crimes in human history, for example those committed in the process of colonization. </p> <p>By blocking out the ways in which that the state has created the conditions for globalization, nationalist right-wing populists simultaneously suppress the fact that the state produces exactly those complexities and problems whose consequences they want to hide away from inside the ‘sheltering state’.<em> </em>This irreconcilable contradiction is systematically suppressed by nationalist right-wing populists today. As they spread their misleading propaganda ever further afield, the suppressed is discharged into increasingly threatening energies. We already see, for example, the hounding of ‘the others’ of society, the ostracizing of ‘unhomogeneous alliances’, and the self-destruction of societies as in the case of Brexit. In the course of this we risk a regression into fascism as the proliferation of public debates on the subject, for example under the heading of “neo-fascism”, also reminds us. </p> <p>Following the line of thought of the Frankfurt School, they give us the following to think about: fascism is driven by a kind of lack of courage. First of all, a lack of courage on the part of those who join the fascists out of fear of the fascists, but also a lack of courage on the part of all those who are afraid to face the richness of the world in all its entanglements and complexities. At the beginning of this tendency stands escapism: the right-wing populist renunciation of global interdependencies and transnational obligations, i.e. of the complexities of economic and ecological, technological and cultural globalization. </p> <h2><strong>The distinction between nationalist and revolutionary politics of affect </strong></h2> <p>In shrinking the world and the access points to the world, an escapist renunciation is sanctioned by forms of irrationality that are being legitimized by the nationalist right-wing politics of affect. What is particularly telling about this tendency is, that it is not enough to appeal to the reason of those who have apparently gone mad. Ultimately, the escapist renunciation of planetary interdependencies goes hand in hand with the revival of proto-fascist ideas of white supremacy (e.g. Trump, Orban, Gauland), and also with the revitalization of an idea of rationality – born inside the European Enlightenment-colonization-complex – that ultimately enforces white supremacy.</p> <p>World shrinkage and alienation from the world are forms of escapism that are performed in an ecstasy of irrationality or an excess of this reason that stands under the sign of white supremacy. What today haunts the public sphere as disinhibited resentment is often an example of both:&nbsp; the ecstasy of irrationality and the excess of reason informed by notions of white supremacy. </p> <p>These processes vitalize a nationalist right-wing politics of affect, and discredit in the same breath other affect-driven social movements, as recently celebrated, for example, in the public debate using the case of the indignados in Southern Europe. The discrediting of such revolutionary politics of affect is at issue for various reasons, one of which is: nationalist and revolutionary politics of affect appear increasingly indistinguishable to the general public, so that revolutionary politics of affect seem to be robbed of their claim to be historically right and truthful. </p> <p>This sets the stage for a paradoxical predicament.<strong> </strong>Today, the rise of nationalist right-wing populism is creating conditions in which the broader spectrum of revolutionary politics is being delegitimized, while the ‘irrational’ agenda and doings of the nationalists and the extreme Right appear legitimate and rational. </p> <p>In this political climate the public sphere is being severely constricted, catalyzing a far-reaching shrinkage of the world (that is always also a shrinkage of the We) and contributing to shutting down the public discourse for opposition, for dissent and, above all, for the greatest possible plurality of contributions to the discourse; the latter would also include marginalized, invisibilized and illegalized actors, for whom discursive openings generally tend to be less secure than for others. <span class="mag-quote-center">The incessant creation of an open public sphere – open for dissent and, above all, for the greatest possible plurality of contributions – has always been the vital basis of any democracy.</span></p> <p>Needless to say, the incessant creation of an open public sphere – open for dissent and, above all, for the greatest possible plurality of contributions – has always been the vital basis of any democracy; yet, remarkably, it is in this historic moment, in Europe, in the USA and beyond, that it takes the greatest collective courage to step forward to perform any basic democratic engagement and to live the richness of the We as it is and as it could be. We are hereby challenged to explore how this courage can manifest itself productively. </p> <h2><strong>Who needs blocked access to the world anyway?</strong></h2> <p>Before we explore and search, it is first necessary to note critically that ‘the courage for democracy’ and ‘the courage for the We’ are often limited to the self-defense of the privileged – those ‘at the center of society’ composing ‘the majority of society’: persons with unlimited legal status, access to the higher education system, jobs subject to social security contributions, etc. Unsurprisingly, their self-defense is highly problematic, as it is complicit with the proto-fascist tendencies nurtured by right-wing populism. </p> <p>For instance, the privileged are claiming, not without good reason, that ‘the nationalists are threatening the achievements of liberal democracy’. Yet, they do not bother to ask who remained and remains excluded from those very ‘achievements’. Instead, they take as the only measure of the threat those who have benefited from them and who now seem to be benefiting less in terms of freedom, security, influence, status, etc. </p> <p>In remaining focused on their own certainties – often mirrored in their fixation on the nationalists – the privileged ultimately support the currently dominant tendency, normalized by nationalist right-wing populism, of sanctioning the relating of all precarious developments exclusively to oneself, rather than to others. <span class="mag-quote-center">The privileged are claiming that ‘the nationalists are threatening the achievements of liberal democracy’. Yet, they do not bother to ask who remained and remains excluded from those very ‘achievements’.</span></p> <p>This has particularly grave consequences, as the real threat of shrinking discursive-political accesses to the world is not so much to the privileged, as to those who are truly vulnerable: the marginalized, invisible and illegalized actors, including stateless persons or people of color, as refugee activist Jennifer Kamau reminds us.&nbsp; </p> <p>Therefore, if we are now to demand MORE WORLD, we must do so <em>for and with</em> those who – according to nationalist right-wing populist propaganda – allegedly are of no concern to us, and who allegedly should be ignored, excluded or even killed. But we also demand this <em>for and with</em> the privileged. They too need more access to the world as it is and as it could be. Because – and this is the crux of the matter – only if, together, we all create and deploy more access to the world can we constructively meet planetary challenges.&nbsp; </p> <h2><strong>Unshrinking the We</strong></h2> <p>Today, we are challenged to reverse the trend towards world shrinkage. We have to create conditions for <em>more world</em>, which, in the sense of Hegel's “positive infinity”, should always mean ‘ever-more world’. In other words, we need to create conditions for an infinite <em>more </em>of the riches of the social world, which have been forcibly suppressed or fought against under white supremacy and its white, male rationality. </p> <p>Consequently, we need to enable and support the recognition of other ways of thinking, living and working together, and ultimately, of other politics of affects that are practiced day in, day out in the shadow of hegemonic discourses on the micro-level of the communal. Moreover, we need to support the visibility of those actors at the communal level who arrive at globalization as responsible contemporaries by recognizing and dealing with global dynamics without necessarily declaring themselves as political actor models. </p> <p>After all, it is these actors, rising to their status as actors from within global dynamics, in the very networks and movements that hold our societies together in tension and conflict, who are, in the course of this, critically analyzing and modeling the handling of these complexities as an interplay of communal, national and transnational approaches. All of this also means supporting the visibility of practices that are deploying communal structures and connecting them with state and global structures to tackle global challenges. </p> <h2><strong>Utopian margins</strong></h2> <p>One important source for this endeavor is Avery F. Gordon’s “<a href="https://www.fordhampress.com/9780823276325/the-hawthorn-archive/">The Hawthorn Archive. Letters from the Utopian Margins</a>”. This impressively kaleidoscopic and genre-bending book is based on research that Gordon began in the 1990s on utopian traditions that have been systematically excluded from the western canon. Organized in the form of an archive of actual and fictional experiences of living and working differently, Gordon’s book makes a vast array of “subjugated knowledge” (Foucault) visible and available for appropriation. <span class="mag-quote-center">Here, those who were struggling for the Commons (and against enclosures) in seventeenth-century England are a major reference point for a variety of other movements.</span></p> <p>“The Hawthorn Archive” unearths neglected utopian traditions that are less about some distant future place that would have to be built according to people’s ideals, and much more about living and working differently in the here and now. Here, those who were struggling for the Commons (and against enclosures) in seventeenth-century England are a major reference point for a variety of other movements, including those who struggled for the abolition of the slave trade and slavery in the Americas and those who struggled for decolonization in the Global South. </p> <p>Needless to say, these struggles are still taking place. Making their history accessible by raising documents not as witnesses but rather as voices, makes it possible to situate contemporary struggles in a wider context and to understand how to detect them in the present. After all, aren’t many of the contemporary practices of living and working differently at the communal level simply taking place, rather than being declared and recorded as explicitly political, not to say utopian, projects? These undeclared acts tend to be overlooked when we are collectively making sense of the world in general and globalization in particular. The richness of communal practices remains buried in the “utopian margins”, as Gordon puts it.<strong> <br /></strong></p> <h2><strong>Rebooting the commons question</strong></h2> <p>When probing the potential richness of the communal in the present political climate, it is compelling to take a closer look at the 1990s, that is, at the official beginning of the most recent chapter of globalization. Comparing our present moment to the 1990s, we may ask what constitutes continuity, repetition and difference? </p> <p>One thing is certain: the by-now largely forgotten social movements that emerged back then were challenged, like we are today, to position themselves at various fronts at the same time and to develop new alliances along the way. For instance, they had to position themselves in a doubly antagonistic fashion – both to globalization <em>euphoria</em> (apropos ‘global triumph of the free market and liberal democracy’) and to globalization <em>phobia</em> (see, for example, the rise of international right-wing populism or racist-motivated attacks on asylum centres in Germany). </p> <p>Since movements of the 1990s cultivated a critical distance to the tendency of ‘irrational’ reactions to globalization, this critical distance enabled an <em>analytical clarity</em> that could prove vital vis-à-vis the ‘false clarity’ incited in the currently ‘irrationally’ heated right-wing populist climate. In this sense we could approach the critical movements of the 1990s as buried toolboxes to be unearthed in this historical moment. We could inspect them as to how they realized key political practices, above all making possible a revival of the practice of the Commons: the local self-administration of resources and livelihoods that are increasingly being destroyed or privatized in the course of neo-liberal globalization, which has kicked off a new phase of enclosures. </p> <p>Around the Commons question, ways of living and working together at the communal level were cultivated that were at once local and global. No wonder: after all, these were movements of the early Internet era. Ushering in forms of collective imagination and cooperation across borders, their actions were driven by something that activist and scholar Angela Davis calls “hyper-empathy” – an empathy that enables solidarity beyond the limits of the nation-state. </p> <p>In the course of this, alliances were formed between the Global North and the Global South and between the West and the East, the former, for example, in the case of movements as different as Zapatism, No One Is Illegal or Afrofuturism; the latter, for example, in the case of net activism or cyberfeminism. </p> <p>Not least, the interplay of municipal, state and global structures could be tested in seminal ways. A particularly dazzling example of this would be the Zapatistas. In order to organize their livelihoods communally, the Zapatistas claimed regional autonomy, appealed to the rule of law and cultivated international solidarity networks – all in the shadow of and in resistance to the predatory doings of private-sector and governmental global players. <span class="mag-quote-center">In this sense we could approach the critical movements of the 1990s as buried toolboxes to be unearthed in this historical moment… What can we – the privileged and dispossessed alike – learn from their failures? </span></p> <p>Resisting idealizing them nostalgically, we could rescue these approaches from the shadows of the utopian margins, thereby making their subjugated knowledge about communal practices visible and putting the usefulness of this knowledge for today's situation up for discussion: How did the movements of the 1990s model the communal and, more generally speaking, the We in relation to state and global structures? What lessons do they offer for today's (planetary) challenges at the intersection of climate change, migration and digitalization? What can we – the privileged and dispossessed alike – learn from their failures? </p><p><em>Please note that many people who photograph the EZLN do so anonymously and make their work sharable for non-commercial use. Such is the case here, so we do not have credits to attach.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><strong>Getting involved:</strong> Learn more about how to join Berliner Gazette’s 20th anniversary initiative on communal tools for planetary challenges - #climate change #migration #digitalization – on <a href="https://more-world.berlinergazette.de ">this website</a>. </p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sylvia-marcos/zapatista-women%E2%80%99s-revolutionary-law-as-it-is-lived-today">The Zapatista Women’s Revolutionary Law as it is lived today</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/transformation/martin-winiecki/sacred-activism-movement-for-global-healing">Sacred activism: a movement for global healing</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/rosemary-bechler/creativity-must-operate-across-borders">Creativity must operate across borders</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Conflict Democracy and government Ideas International politics Internet Krystian Woznicki Mon, 14 Jan 2019 10:41:37 +0000 Krystian Woznicki 121278 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The fateful issue in Sweden’s autumn election was nuclear weapons https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/pierre-schori/fateful-issue-in-sweden-s-autumn-election-was-nuclear-weapons <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>As we await the formation of the new Swedish government this week-end, one overriding issue and far too narrow an escape consumes the thoughts of an elder statesman.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/640px-Daniel_Ellsberg_(15800531795).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/640px-Daniel_Ellsberg_(15800531795).jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Daniel Ellsberg, whistleblower and peace activist. Wikicommons/Christopher Michel. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>After long and hard negotiations to form a new government following the September elections, it now seems that we will get a continued Social Democratic/Green government&nbsp;supported by the Left Party and, more importantly, now also supported by Liberal and Center parties which broke away from their former coalition with the Moderate/ Conservatives and Christian Democrats (in what was called the ‘Alliance’).&nbsp; </p> <p>It has taken all this to isolate the xenophobe Swedish Democrats (who got 17 % of the votes) which with some success flirted both with the Conservatives and the Christian Democrats. This means that compromises were made on both sides, mainly by the parties in government together with the Liberals and the Center party.</p> <p>If&nbsp;this is confirmed&nbsp; – probably at the latest on Monday, after intense internal party meetings over this weekend, it will be the first time in recent European history that, what we can call "the politically decent centre" has taken up a fight with the xenophobes rather than including them in some kind of cooperation.&nbsp;We have seen the negative effects of the latter strategy in Denmark, Finland and Norway among others.&nbsp;</p> <p>Yeats' 'Second Coming' springs to mind here of course:</p> <p>"Turning and turning in the widening gyre<br /> The falcon cannot hear the falconer;<br /> Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;<br /> Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,<br /> The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere<br /> The ceremony of innocence is drowned;<br /> The best lack all conviction, while the worst<br /> Are full of passionate intensity.”&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>So, we keep our fingers crossed and wait for the final outcome Sunday or Monday. In particular, because the fateful issue in Sweden’s autumn election was nuclear weapons.</p> <h2><strong>Fateful elections</strong></h2> <p>Last summer, just before the election fever started to rise, an old friend of mine told me he had made a decisive decision. Based on his own dramatic life experiences and as a likely last-time voter, he had asked his children and grandchildren how he should vote. It was their future that was at stake, not his.</p> <p>Suddenly the election campaign took on a deeper meaning for me. My mind flew back to another fateful election, in the early 1960s, when the issue of a Swedish nuclear weapon was under consideration.</p> <p>In favour of the bomb at the time were the Conservative Party and Commander-in-Chief Torsten Rapp. Social democracy was cautious, while a broad public opinion mobilized against. In the end, Prime Minister Tage Erlander, a Social Democrat, realized that possession of a nuclear bomb would make Sweden a target and drastically reduce our security.</p> <p>On August 6 this year, the world commemorates the memory of the 212,000 men, women and children who died when American nuclear bombs were released over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Even today, hospitals in Hiroshima treat radiation-damaged people and find new diseases in survivors and their children.</p> <p>And the nuclear powers are now investing in more "efficient" atomic bombs. Today, there are nearly 15,000 nuclear warheads. Of these, 1,800 stand ready to be fired. Their explosive strength equals 50,000 Hiroshima bombs.</p> <p>The scientists behind the Domesday clock, which is updated according to how close the planet is to a nuclear war, had issued a warning. Only at one earlier time had the clock been closer to midnight – in 1953 when both the United States and the then Soviet Union tested nuclear weapons.</p> <p>When we went to vote in September last year, the atomic bomb was once again at stake, with the threat of a dramatic shift in security policy. A shift that would have severely limited our foreign policy freedom of action, increased Sweden's insecurity and, moreover, opposed a strongly-held public opinion.</p> <p>This was about Sweden's role in the fight against the new nuclear arms race and about membership of NATO, issues that are organically intertwined. Initially, these fateful issues received little space in the election debate, despite the fact that one never-ending story in bourgeois and military circles is the unlikely threat of a unilateral Russian invasion of Gotland, that has to be addressed, it is argued, with the help of US marines and the super-expensive, failed American Patriot missile system.</p> <p>But the system change was to be sneaked in, under the citizens' radar. The party headquarters involved had all seen the people's verdict : a devastating majority had supported the government's declaration of their intention to vote for the UN Convention on the abolition of nuclear arms. According to the opinion institute Sifo in October 2017, almost nine out of ten Swedes were in favour. Resistance to NATO was also clear: 44 per cent said in January 2018 no to membership, an increase of 4 per cent since 2017, 31 per cent yes.</p> <p>But with their no to the UN Convention and yes to NATO, the bourgeois parties in the Alliance ignoring this, pulled the atomic bomb into the election campaign. In a Moderate party motion to the Riksdag, "Security Policy for Sweden", they insisted that Sweden must create a road map for NATO membership and that Sweden's defense expenditure should increase, approaching the 2 per cent of GDP that was NATO's goal.</p> <p>It is no wonder that Trump insists that NATO should contribute more. The US military budget is 3.5 percent of GDP, that is, $ 600 billion, which is 10 times more than Russia's. </p> <p>But the 2 percent is not just for being able to operate in Europe, it is also money that enables the United States to conduct unbridled&nbsp; wars, assisting Saudi Arabia and Israel militarily, and maintaining nearly 100 military bases across the globe.</p> <p>Why in the world should Sweden participate in this? Our one-percent peace-promoting and conflict-prevention civilian assistance is far more effective than NATO's two percent military upgrading.</p> <p>The motion protested against the government's intention to ratify the UN Convention as "something that risks jeopardizing Sweden's defense policy cooperation". The same language was deployed by the rest of the Alliance. </p> <p>What had happened to Torbjörn Fälldin's and Karin Söders Center party, once a staunch defender of our military non-alignment? In 2010, Annie Lööf motioned that "the Swedish government together with our Nordic neighbors should work to make the Nordic region a nuclear-free zone". Same thing in the Nordic Council 2011.</p> <p>But now she was the leader of the Center Party and had joined the conservatives in not wanting to sign the UN treaty.</p> <p>In other words, the Swedish bourgeoisie had given up decades of Swedish struggle for a nuclear-free world, accepting NATO's nuclear weapon doctrine and the Pentagon's illusory nuclear umbrella. What can an umbrella achieve against the annihilating rays of death?</p> <p>Was the future security and independence of Sweden now to be deposited in the hands of the Pentagon?</p> <h2><strong>Nuclear-free zones</strong></h2> <p>Sweden has long argued that unless the nuclear weapon states live up to their obligations of mutual disarmament, other states are encouraged to acquire the same weapons. Unfortunately, this is what has happened. From the original five nuclear states, we now have nine, which, in the words of Olof Palme, hold the rest of the world hostage.</p> <p>For these reasons, Olof Palme and Ingvar Carlsson, both Social Democratic prime ministers, pushed the demand for a nuclear-free zone in the Nordic region. They wanted to see an "unrestricted nuclear-free zone" in and around the Baltic Sea, as a process and a way to reduce the militarization in our part of the world."</p> <p>The "increased tension" in the Baltic Sea, which is so often used as a reason for NATO membership, gives the zone idea a new topicality. "Unrealistic", claim the Nato proponents. </p> <p>But what is the breathtaking crisis triggered by North Korea and the United States about? Well, about a nuclear-free zone on the Korean Peninsula!</p> <p>The eight nuclear-free zones set up so far include 120 states plus 18 other territories and just over half of all the land of the earth. They&nbsp; represent a tangible evidence of the will of the global majority.</p> <p>We are embarking on a collective suicide if we hand over the responsibility of working for a nuclear weapons community to Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, Benjamin Netanyahu and the other five nuclear weapons holders. Take for example, the idiocy of providing smaller and “more accurate” nuclear weapons which we hear coming from both the Kremlin and the White House, without apparently taking into account all the evidence that this leads – falsely – to a perception that nuclear weapons can be treated like “ordinary” weapons, unlike the sui generis monstrosities which they are.</p> <p>We cannot build lasting welfare under a nationalist glass lampshade. Inner peace is connected to the peace outside.</p> <h2><strong>My vote</strong></h2> <p>So how would I vote? At the time, I felt strongly that Sweden’s election process was part of a much larger context. It had not been Olof Palme who had brought me into politics: it was the atomic bomb. But it was Palme who had shown the way, with courage and concrete initiatives.</p> <p>Prime Minister Stefan Löfven had explained earlier in 2018 how "nuclear weapons are the single biggest threat to our common survival". Foreign Minister Margot Wallström followed up in that year´s foreign debate in Parliament: "The risk that nuclear weapons can actually be used is currently judged to be greater than in a very long time. Passivity is not an option".</p> <p>At the same time, the Government's message was obscured by the one-man commission on the pros and cons for ratifying the UN treaty that was due to report back after the election. Was it reasonable to put the political solution to such a fateful decision into the hands of one solitary diplomat? </p> <p>The first vote of my lifetime had been driven by political passion. My choice this time was burdened by angst, but also by the realization that the most effective way to prevent a nuclear apocalypse is to abolish these doomsday weapons.</p> <p>I thought of the Swedish poet Harry Martinson's despairing warning in his space poem Aniara (1956): that man on earth risked "becoming his own executioner", from whom "God and Satan, hand in hand" would flee.</p> <p>The choice was then for me above all a position for military non-alignment and a nuclear-free world, against all nuclear weapons, its alliances and its defenders.</p> <p>We cannot, after all, flee the atom bomb in the election booth!</p><h2>Postscript</h2><p>The annual Olof Palme Prize is awarded for an outstanding achievement in the spirit of Olof Palme, chosen by the Fund’s Board, chaired by Pierre Schori. The Prize is 100,000 US dollars.</p> <p><strong>The 2018 Olof Palme Prize goes to Daniel Ellsberg </strong></p> <p><em>“for his profound humanism and exceptional moral courage”.</em></p> <p>Motivation:<em> When Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst and the world’s most important whistleblower, exposed the U.S. Government’s secret plans for Vietnam in 1971, he was well aware of risking a long time in prison and a spoiled career.</em></p> <p><em>Regardless of such consequences, his decision led to the removal of a&nbsp;&nbsp; mendacious government, a shortening of an illegal war, and an untold number of saved lives.</em></p> <p><em>More than four decades later Daniel Ellsberg again takes on the Pentagon´s secret war plans. He warns us of a nuclear holocaust, caused by the refusal of the nine nuclear states to comply with the binding commitment of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to further the goals of a nuclear-free world.</em></p> <p><em>The 2018 Olof Palme Prize goes to Daniel Ellsberg for his profound humanism and exceptional moral courage.</em></p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sweden </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? EU Sweden Conflict Democracy and government International politics Pierre Schori Sat, 12 Jan 2019 15:31:03 +0000 Pierre Schori 121269 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Sapiens, Homo Deus, 21 Lecciones, y las ficciones inconfesadas de Yuval Harari https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/jeremy-lent/sapiens-homo-deus-12-lecciones-y-las-ficciones-inconfesadas-de-yuval-h <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>El profesor Harari influye en los más poderosos y ha vendido millones de ejemplares, pero no se enfrentan los problemas existenciales de la tierra sustituyendo un conjunto de mitos por otro. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/transformation/jeremy-lent/unacknowledged-fictions-of-yuval-harari"><em><strong>English</strong></em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/JeremyLentnew3.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/JeremyLentnew3.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Yuval Noah Harari en Davos, el 24 de Enero del 2018. Copyright by World Economic Forum/Ciaran McCrickard. CC BY-SA-NC 2.0. Todos los derechos reservados.</span></span></span></p><p>Cuando habla Yuval Noah Harari, todo el mundo le escucha. O, al menos, gran parte del público lector del mundo. De sus dos primeros éxitos de ventas, <a href="https://www.ynharari.com/book/sapiens/"><em>Sapiens: </em><em>una breve historia de la humanidad</em></a>, y <a href="https://www.ynharari.com/book/homo-deus/"><em>Homo Deus: </em><em>una breve historia del mañana</em></a>, <a href="https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/books/sapiens-author-on-rewriting-the-rule-book-after-a-cult-bestseller-a3860256.html">se llevan vendidos </a>12 millones de ejemplares y su último libro, <a href="https://www.ynharari.com/book/21-lessons/"><em>21 Le</em><em>cciones para el siglo XXI</em></a>, está en las listas de los más vendidos en todo el mundo. </p><p>Entre sus fans se cuentan Barack Obama, Bill Gates y Mark Zuckerberg, le admiran creadores de opinión tan diversos como Sam Harris y Russell Brand, y se le agasaja en el FMI y en el Foro Económico Mundial.</p> <p>Uno de los temas más provocadores de los que escribe Harari es el de que a los humanos nos mueven ficciones compartidas, a menudo no reconocidas e inconfesadas. Muchas de estas ficciones, señala acertadamente, subyacen a los conceptos que organizan la sociedad, como el valor del dólar estadounidense o la autoridad de los estados nacionales. </p><p>En cuanto a un tema de tanta actualidad como las llamadas "noticias falsas", Harari hace notar que no se trata de nada nuevo, sino que existe desde hace milenios en forma de religión organizada.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">&nbsp;Harari perpetúa un conjunto de ficciones no reconocidas, que constituyen la base de su versión de la realidad.</p> <p>Sin embargo, aunque aparentemente sin querer, el propio Harari perpetúa un conjunto de ficciones no reconocidas que constituyen la base de su versión de la realidad. Considerando su enorme influencia pública como intelectual, esto podría acarrear daños considerables.</p><p> Al igual que los tradicionales dogmas religiosos de los que se burla, sus propias historias implícitas ejercen una gran influencia sobre la élite del poder mundial -&nbsp; siempre y cuando permanezcan inconfesadas.</p> <h3><strong>Ficción nº1: la naturaleza es una máquina</strong></h3> <p>Una de las profecías más impactantes de Harari es que la inteligencia artificial sustituirá incluso nuestras labores más creativas y será capaz, en última instancia, de controlar todos los aspectos de la cognición humana. </p><p>El razonamiento que subyace a su predicción es que la conciencia humana - incluidas las emociones, intuiciones y sentimientos - no es más que una serie de algoritmos que, en teoría, podrían descifrarse y predecirse con un programa informático. </p><p>Nuestros sentimientos, <a href="https://www.ynharari.com/book/21-lessons/">dice</a>, son meros "mecanismos bioquímicos" que resultan del "cálculo que realizan miles de millones de neuronas" en base a algoritmos perfeccionados por la evolución.</p> <p>La idea de que los humanos – y, de hecho, la naturaleza en su conjunto - pueden entenderse como máquinas complejas, es en realidad un <a href="https://www.jeremylent.com/is-nature-a-machine.html">mito cultural exclusivamente europeo</a> que surgió en el siglo XVII y se ha instalado desde entonces en el imaginario popular. En aquellos embriagadores días de la Revolución Científica, Descartes declaraba que no veía ninguna diferencia "entre las máquinas construidas por artesanos y los distintos cuerpos que solo la naturaleza es capaz de componer".&nbsp; </p><p>Hoy, la metáfora preferida es el ordenador - <a href="https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins">Richard Dawkins</a> (que al parecer ha influenciado a Harari) dice que “la vida son solo bytes y bytes y bytes de información digital” -, pero la idea sigue siendo la misma: todo lo que forma parte de la naturaleza puede reducirse a sus componentes y entenderse en consecuencia.</p> <p>Por atractivo que resulte en nuestra era tecnológica, lo cierto es que este mito es tan ficticio como la teoría de que Dios creó el universo en seis días. Los biólogos señalan principios intrínsecos de la vida que la diferencian de modo rotundo incluso de la más compleja de las máquinas. </p><p>Los organismos vivos no pueden dividirse entre hardware y software. Y la composición biofísica de las neuronas está intrínsecamente vinculada a su comportamiento: la información que transmiten no existe independientemente de su construcción física.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Según Damasio, los supuestos de Harari "no son científicamente sólidos" y sus conclusiones "ciertamente erróneas".</p><p>Como afirma el neurocientífico Antonio Damasio en <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/feb/02/strange-order-of-things-antonio-damasio-review"><em>Strange</em><em> </em><em>Order</em><em> </em><em>Things</em></a>, los supuestos de Harari "no son científicamente sólidos" y sus conclusiones "ciertamente erróneas".</p> <p>Los peligros que entraña esta ficción surgen cuando alguien se basa en ella - un fundamento defectuoso - para actuar. Creer que la naturaleza es una máquina da pie a la arrogancia de suponer que la tecnología puede resolver todos los problemas de la humanidad. </p><p>Tenemos a biólogos moleculares promoviendo la ingeniería genética para mejorar la producción de alimentos, mientras que otros abogan por la geoingeniería como solución para el colapso climático - estrategias ambas que conllevan el riesgo de consecuencias indeseadas a gran escala. </p><p>Reconocer que los procesos naturales, desde la mente humana al ecosistema global, son complejos, no lineales e intrínsecamente impredecibles, es un necesario primer paso para poder diseñar soluciones sistémicas para las crisis existenciales que enfrenta nuestra civilización.</p> <h3><strong>Ficción nº2: “no hay alternativa”</strong></h3> <p>Cuando Margaret Thatcher se unió a Ronald Reagan en los años 80 para imponer al mundo la doctrina neoliberal de un libre mercado impulsado por las corporaciones, utilizó la máxima de "No hay alternativa" para argumentar que las otras dos grandes ideologías del siglo XX, el fascismo y el comunismo, habían fracasado, y dejaban como única opción viable su versión del capitalismo de mercado sin restricciones.</p> <p>Sorprendentemente, treinta años más tarde, Harari se hace eco de esta interpretación caricaturizada de la historia, afirmando que, tras el colapso del comunismo, "ha quedado solo la versión liberal". La crisis actual, tal como la percibe Harari, consiste en que "el liberalismo no dispone de respuestas evidentes para los principales problemas con los que nos enfrentamos”. </p><p>Lo que tenemos que hacer ahora, dice, es “crear una narrativa completamente nueva” para responder a la confusión de los tiempos modernos.</p> <p>Harari parece haberse perdido, desgraciadamente, el efervescente cultivo de motivadoras visiones de futuro que llevan años desarrollando un buen número de pensadores progresistas en todo el mundo. </p><p>Parece ignorar por completo los nuevos fundamentos económicos que plantean pensadores pioneros como <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/kate-raworth/seven-ways-to-think-like-21st-century-economist">Kate Raworth</a>; los apasionantes principios orientadores de futuros que apuestan por la vida en el marco de una <a href="https://patternsofmeaning.com/2018/10/10/we-need-an-ecological-civilization-before-its-too-late/">civilización ecológica</a>; las bases morales que establece la <a href="http://earthcharter.org/discover/what-is-the-earth-charter/">Carta de la Tierra</a>, respaldada por más de 6.000 organizaciones en todo el mundo – entre otras muchas variaciones de esa "nueva narrativa" que Harari lamenta que no existe. Se trata de una narrativa de esperanza que celebra nuestra humanidad compartida y enfatiza nuestra profunda conexión con una tierra viva.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Harari está inmejorablemente posicionado para poder informar a los pensadores establecidos acerca de la oferta existente de posibilidades esperanzadoras.</p><p>El problema no es, como sostiene Harari, que nos hayamos "quedado sin narrativa" sino, más bien, que en el mundo en el que vivimos,&nbsp; <a href="https://patternsofmeaning.com/2017/12/19/what-will-it-really-take-to-avoid-collapse/">los medios de comunicación de masas controlados</a> por las mismas corporaciones transnacionales que dominan prácticamente todos los demás aspectos de la actividad global y se niegan a ofrecer espacio a las narrativas que socavan el mito thatcheriano de que el neoliberalismo sigue siendo la única alternativa.</p> <p>Harari está inmejorablemente posicionado para poder informar a los pensadores establecidos acerca de la oferta existente de posibilidades esperanzadoras. Si lo hiciera, tendría la oportunidad de influir en un futuro cuyas perspectivas son, como señala acertadamente, aterradoras a condición de que no se produzca un cambio de rumbo. </p><p>¿Está dispuesto a aceptar el desafío? Tal vez, pero primero tendría que analizar los supuestos que subyacen a la Ficción nº3.</p> <h3><strong>Ficción nº3: la vida no tiene sentido, es mejor no hacer nada</strong></h3> <p>Yuval Harari se sienta cada día, durante dos horas, a practicar la meditación<em> </em><a href="https://tricycle.org/magazine/vipassana-meditation/"><em>vipassana</em></a><em>&nbsp;</em>(ver las cosas tal como son), que aprendió como discípulo de <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._N._Goenka">N.S. Goenka</a>. Basándose en lo aprendido del célebre maestro, Harari ofrece su propia versión de las enseñanzas de Buda: "La vida", escribe, "no tiene significado alguno y no necesitamos darle ninguno". </p><p>En respuesta a la pregunta de qué debería hacer la gente, Harari resume así su visión de la respuesta de Buda: “No hacer nada. Nada en absoluto".</p> <p>Como colega meditador y admirador de los principios budistas, comparto la convicción de Harari de que la perspectiva budista puede ayudar a reducir el sufrimiento a muchos niveles.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">La afirmación de que "la vida no tiene sentido" parece surgir más de la ontología reduccionista moderna del físico Steven Weinberg que de lo que dijo Buda.</p><p>Me preocupa sin embargo que, destilando unas pocas frases con gancho de las enseñanzas de Buda, lo que hace Harari es ofrecer una justificación filosófica a quienes deciden no hacer nada para intentar evitar las inminentes catástrofes humanitarias y ecológicas que amenazan nuestro futuro.</p> <p>La afirmación de que "la vida no tiene sentido" parece surgir más de la ontología reduccionista moderna del físico <a href="https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Steven_Weinberg">Steven Weinberg</a> que de lo que dijo Buda. Sugerir que la gente "no necesita darle ningún significado" contradice el instinto evolucionado del género humano. </p><p>Como describo en mi libro <a href="https://www.jeremylent.com/the-patterning-instinct.html">The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning</a>, la cognición humana nos impulsa a imponer un significado al universo y es este un proceso que configura esencialmente la cultura en la que nacemos. </p><p>Sin embargo, reconociendo las estructuras de significado subyacentes que nos inculca nuestra cultura, podemos llegar a ser conscientes de nuestros patrones de pensamiento, lo cual nos permite remodelarlos a fin de conseguir resultados más beneficiosos para nosotros - un proceso al que doy en llamar "conciencia cultural".</p> <p>De hecho, existen otras interpretaciones de las enseñanzas básicas de Buda que permiten destilaciones muy distintas: piden a gritos “¡Haz algo! y animan a un compromiso pleno con las actividades terrenales. </p><p>El principio de "originación dependiente", sin ir más lejos, resalta la interdependencia intrínseca de todos los aspectos de la existencia y constituye, por ejemplo, la base del <a href="https://www.mindfulnessbell.org/archive/2015/02/dharma-talk-history-of-engaged-buddhism-2">budismo políticamente comprometido</a> del monje vietnamita y destacado activista por la paz, Thich Nhất Hạnh. </p><p>Otra práctica budista esencial es el <a href="https://tricycle.org/magazine/metta-practice/"><em>metta</em></a>, o meditación de la compasión, en la que el meditador se centra en identificarse con el sufrimiento de los demás y toma la decisión de dedicar sus energías vitales a reducir ese sufrimiento. Todas ellas, fuentes de significado de la vida fundamentalmente consistentes con los principios budistas.</p> <h3><strong>Ficción nº4: el futuro de la humanidad es un deporte espectáculo</strong></h3> <p>Una característica distintiva de los textos de Harari, y que puede explicar gran parte de su prodigioso éxito, es su habilidad para trascender las ideas preconcebidas sobre la vida cotidiana y ofrecer una vista panorámica de la historia de la humanidad, como si estuviera orbitando la tierra a diez mil millas de distancia y transmitiendo todo lo que ve. </p><p>Harari confiesa que la práctica de la meditación le ha permitido "observar la realidad como es" y esto le ha aportado el enfoque y la claridad necesarias para escribir <em>Sapiens </em>y <em>Homo Deus</em>. Y establece una diferencia entre <em>21 lecciones para el siglo XXI</em> y sus dos primeros libros porque, en contraste con su órbita terrestre a diez mil millas, ahora lo que hace es "acercar el foco al aquí y ahora".</p> <p>Aunque el contenido de su último libro es, desde luego, nuestro conflictivo presente, Harari sigue observando el mundo como a través de la lente objetiva de un científico. Pero la comprensión que tiene Harari de la ciencia parece confinada a los límites del terreno de la Ficción nº1 - "La naturaleza es una máquina" -, que requiere un completo desapego del objeto de estudio.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Los pensadores de sistemas de distintas disciplinas científicas han ido desmontando la noción de que existe una prístina objetividad científica.</p><p> Reconociendo, eso sí, que su pronóstico para la humanidad "parece manifiestamente injusto", Harari <a href="https://www.ynharari.com/book/homo-deus/">justifica su desapego moral con el argumento</a> que "se trata de una predicción histórica, no de un manifiesto político".</p> <p>En las últimas décadas, sin embargo, los pensadores de sistemas de distintas disciplinas científicas han ido desmontando esta noción de prístina objetividad científica. </p><p>Reconociendo que la naturaleza es un complejo fractal auto-organizado y dinámico de sistemas no lineales, que solo puede entenderse realmente en términos de cómo todas las partes se relacionan entre sí y cada parte con el conjunto, han demostrado que estos principios se aplican no solo al mundo natural, sino también a los sistemas sociales humanos. </p><p>Una implicación crucial es que el observador es parte de lo que se está observando, de manera que las conclusiones del observador y las acciones subsiguientes se incorporan al sistema que se está investigando.</p> <p>Esta perspectiva tiene importantes implicaciones éticas a la hora de abordar los grandes problemas con los que se enfrenta la humanidad. Una vez que se reconoce que somos parte del sistema que estamos analizando, este reconocimiento genera el imperativo moral de actuar en base a nuestros hallazgos y concienciar a los demás acerca de sus responsabilidades intrínsecas. </p><p>El futuro no es un deporte espectáculo. Cada uno de nosotros forma parte del equipo y puede marcar la diferencia en cuanto al resultado final del partido. Ya no podemos permitirnos ninguna ficción, las apuestas son demasiado altas.</p> <p><em>Para cualquier persona interesada en explorar más a fondo las cuestiones planteadas en este artículo, ofrezco </em><a href="https://patternsofmeaning.com/the-patterning-instinct/a-reading-list-for-yuval-noah-harari/"><em>aquí fuentes</em></a><em> para una investigación complementaria.</em>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/jeremy-lent/necesitamos-una-civilizaci-n-ecol-gica-antes-de-que-sea-demasiado-tard">Necesitamos una civilización ecológica antes de que sea demasiado tarde</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/qu-hay-despu-s-del-final-abrupto-del-fin-de-la-historia">¿Qué hay después del final abrupto del fin de la historia? </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/jeremy-lent/steven-pinker-s-ideas-are-fatally-flawed-these-eight-graphs-show-why">Steven Pinker’s ideas are fatally flawed. These eight graphs show why.</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Conflict Culture Democracy and government Economics Equality Ideas Internet Jeremy Lent Fri, 11 Jan 2019 16:56:04 +0000 Jeremy Lent 121264 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The Macedonian question and Greece’s national solitude https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/dimitris-christopoulos/macedonian-question-and-greece-s-national-solitude <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Ever since the creation of Yugoslav Macedonia in 1944, Greece has been burying its head in the sand. It wouldn’t see, because it could not stand to face it.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-37054538-2_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-37054538-2_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and PM of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Zoran Zaev attend signing ceremony in the Prespes lake region of Greece, June 17, 2018.Dimitris Tosidis/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>In 1992 a beautiful Greek song, drawing on the Macedonian Question, was written. It was entitled “Our national solitude” : </p> <blockquote><p><em>“</em><em>In this land where our years learned to be of blame </em></p><p><em>And all our neighbours want a share </em></p><p><em>Gamble away and curse them, you poor man</em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em><em>With a very Greek vocabulary</em></p><p><em>Because here, here is the love we all know</em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em><em>Here as well the grief that wants us and we want </em></p><p><em>Here as well are we, so that we may always provide company </em></p><p><em>For our national solitude</em>”<a href="#_ftn1">[1]</a></p></blockquote> <p>The song became a hit and Greeks would be merrily singing it over the 90s.<em> </em>Yet,<em> our national solitude</em> has not been cloudless. It has forged a creeping authoritarianism in dominant political culture, that has led to silence through violence. So that when the infamous “name issue” arose, it did not just poison Greece’s relationship with its neighbour, but poisoned Greek democracy itself and freedom of expression within it.&nbsp; </p> <p>In April 2018, I wrote a book with Kostis Karpozilos titled ‘<em>10+1 Questions &amp; Answers on the Macedonian Question</em>’ (Athens, Polis pub.): our small contribution aiming to deconstruct the dominant myths that have haunted Greek public opinion on the matter of our neighbouring country’s name.<a href="#_ftn2">[2]</a></p> <p>When the book was published I called up a colleague at the university with whom I have a relationship of mutual respect, while disagreeing on the matter, and I asked him to write a few words about it without holding back his reservations. My colleague politely told me that he would not write something: “he did not want to praise, nor could he libel the book.” He could not honestly review the book, because he did not want to speak publicly regarding its virtues, which he acknowledged to me in private. He blamed our ‘national solitude’ for it. “<em>Since no one understands us, it is no good to scratch our myths. Let them be!</em>” he said. </p> <p>What went wrong and why have Greeks behaved in such a way? Is there, in fact, a dominant political culture favouring an underdog nationalism in Greece, as dictated by a contemporary and still dominant version of Balkan orientalism? This thesis is supported by the theory of <em>cultural dualism</em>, according to which Greece has always been a stage for competition between two tendencies: national introversion and a modernising rationalisation project.<a href="#_ftn3">[3]</a> </p> <p>Despite the dualist assumptions, the government’s “modernisation” plan for a “strong Greece” during the frantic growth of the ‘90s had no serious problem with compromising over the denial of a people’s name, although the overall “name issue” was not part of the political culture of Greek modernisers, such as then Prime Minister K. Simitis (1996-2004). This was incorporated, however, with no difficulty, because it did not hinder the strategies of economic expansion and political dominance in the Balkan hinterland. Greek capitalism could perfectly well assume a hegemonic role in the Balkans after the end of the cold war <em>despite</em> the name issue. To put it bluntly, it is exactly Greece’s micro-imperialist arrogance vis-a-vis the “poor Balkan fellows”, that fed Greek nationalism in the 90s and created the teratogenesis of the so-called “name issue”. </p> <p>So cultural dualism cannot explain why Greece responded in the way it did in 1991, when its neighbour simply decided to stop calling itself the “Socialist Republic of Macedonia”, drop the “Socialist” part and keep the rest: “Republic of Macedonia”. After all, these people were already referred to as Macedonians before that: long before 1991, even before 1944, the year when their State was created.&nbsp; </p> <p><strong>What seems unreasonable is not inconceivable: history’s hinterland</strong></p> <p>Abroad, Greece’s position seemed inconceivable even to those well disposed towards the country. People who love Greece and who have stood by its side during difficult times, such as the years of the current crisis, have given up over the “name issue”...<a href="#_ftn4">[4]</a>&nbsp; “I recall” <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/costas-douzinas/macedonia-and-post-ideology">writes Douzinas</a>, “that the incomprehensible Greek denial of the name used by everyone in academic conferences raised eyebrows and ironic comments”. I guess few Greeks have discussed the Macedonian question in public fora over the last 25 years without being faced with those “raised eyebrows”….&nbsp; </p> <p>Yet, what seems unreasonable is never inconceivable. Even the most unreasonable things in the behavioural sphere of nations, make some sort of sense. In our case, seeing the Greek model of state formation as part of the historical legacy of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is the path to understanding.<strong> </strong>In the early twentieth century we can identify the first stirrings of an indigenous national consciousness, of Macedonianism in the Balkan hinterland, which, with the gradual demise of the Ottoman Empire fell prey to the young, <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/augustine-zenakos/greece-macedonia-negotiating-history-doesn-t-make-it-true">robust nationalism of the states</a>: “about nine thousand people arriving at Ellis Island between 1897 and 1924 declared their ethnicity to be Macedonian”. </p> <p>Until the established defeat of the Bulgarian national movement in the region, the idea that some Slavic-speaking peoples of Macedonia – that were not subjected to the Bulgarian Exarchate (the Bulgarian national church) – would turn the place-name “Macedonian” into an ethnic marker was probably convenient to Greek intentions.&nbsp; In one word, unlike what is commonly believed in Greece even today, the Macedonian nation was not Tito’s product.&nbsp; </p> <p>When, later, the borders were established after the Second Balkan War (1913) and Greece had to compose its own national narrative as a single dominant state, the existence of a Macedonian minority became a structural problem for the Greek unitary national idea. In Greece, as in France for example, state vocabulary has no room for national minorities. This is not because it is racist and violent, but because it is deeply unitarian. In principle, national minorities are unimaginable, inconceivable. Like French or Turkish citizens, Greek citizens cannot but be nationally Greek. There is no space for something else. <span class="mag-quote-center">This is not because it is racist and violent, but because it is deeply unitarian. In principle, national minorities are unimaginable, inconceivable.</span></p> <p>The French revolutionary model of “one state, one nation, one language” is complemented by one more demand that does not exist in France: <em>One</em> religion. Those who are Greek Orthodox Christians cannot be anything but Greek. Even the name of the religion, in twentieth century terms, indicates national belonging. The result is that if someone is Greek Orthodox,<a href="#_ftn5">[5]</a> then (s)he must be Greek. </p> <p>Slavic-speaking Macedonians were therefore, from the very beginning, the ideal exception that breathed life into the unitary rule. They believed in the Patriarchate, whereas they did not belong to the Greek nation. Some years later, the enlisting of most of the Slav-Macedonian minority in the Communist Party during the Greek Civil War (1946-1949) was the decisive act of their national “unworthiness”. </p> <p>With the end of the civil war and their expulsion from the territory, Greece denied their existence by refusing that such an identity even existed. <a href="http://theconversation.com/greeces-macedonian-slavic-heritage-was-wiped-out-by-linguistic-oppression-heres-how-94675">The language was simply banned.</a> Persecution of the remaining Slav-Macedonians in the post-war period until the end of the Cold War (with a gradual relaxation during the 80s due to the Socialist Party in power) was part of a daily agenda. It is only in 2000 that the first history book was issued in Greece documenting this situation!<a href="#_ftn6">[6]</a></p> <p>So, just when Greece had almost completed its project of forceful assimilation of the Macedonian minority within its borders, in 1991 a real bombshell went off: a “Republic of Macedonia” next door! Now, a sovereign state has the name that Greece had done everything it could to erase for the biggest part of the twentieth century. Greece had succeeded within its own territory, but the battle couldn’t be fought beyond it. </p> <p>Ever since the creation of Yugoslav Macedonia in 1944, Greece has been burying its head in the sand. It wouldn’t see, because it could not stand to face it. This strategy was also convenient because the Cold War “Athens-Belgrade” axis had to be preserved at all costs, particularly for NATO plans. The Macedonian Question remained a thorn in Greece’s side, however, that caused a pain Greece was prepared to tolerate due to other more important needs, both regarding itself and the entire West. </p> <p>In conclusion, Greece’s reaction to the use of the name “Macedonia” by the former Yugoslav Republic seems unreasonable: but it is not, after all. On a first level, it obeys the norm of a classic authoritarian assimilatory state model, but along the way it was derailed by its own ostrich-like denialism, and then entered into the sphere of the “inconceivable”.</p> <p><strong>Questions on Macedonian irredentism and the ‘name’ issue. </strong><strong>Could it all possibly be in the Greek imaginary? </strong></p> <ul><li><em>Are Greek fears regarding Macedonian irredentism well-founded? </em></li></ul> <p>One might assume that the smaller or poorer entity (whether a State or an economy) could not possibly threaten the bigger or richer one motivated by irredentist claims. We won’t agree with this. The small(er) Greece had historically irredentist claims vis-a-vis big(er) Turkey, for example. The fact that the Republic of Macedonia is smaller and poorer in relation to Greece does not suffice to quell possible Greek concerns. If there is irredentism north of the Greek borders, and a minority in Greece that is negatively disposed towards belonging to the country territorially, then it is of little importance if Greece has 500 aeroplanes and its neighbour one. The goal is not to go to war so as to measure our power against each other.&nbsp; </p> <p>Yet, irredentism is a marginal political ideology and concerns a small portion of Macedonian nationalists. It is not absent, but it is marginal. That portion has no capacity for political leadership in future plans in the region. On the contrary, as is usually the case, the further they find themselves, the more nostalgia may be poisoned by the toxic gases of irredentism. Large portions of both the Greek and Macedonian diaspora have taken an aggressive lead in the conflict regarding the name in the safety of their new nationality. Macedonian irredentism, therefore, is much easier to find in Melbourne or Toronto than in Skopje itself.</p> <ul><li><em>If we assume that part of these fears is indeed well-founded, did the Greek policy of refusing to use the name “Macedonia” to this day allay or intensify those fears? </em></li></ul> <p>If the answer to the first question had relatively complicated historical and political shades to it, we can be certain that the answer here is much simpler. Greece’s political stubbornness regarding the name “Macedonia” did everything it could to intensify the insecure reflexes of a nationalism whose identity was questioned so intensely by the majority of its neighbours. The territory of the country is questioned by Albanian separatists, the nation is considered “Bulgarian” by the Bulgarians, and the state was anything other than “Macedonia” for Greeks. </p> <p>The wound is not easy to heal. The worst part is that this policy intensified the self-victimisation of Macedonian nationalism, resulting in every ill fate that has befallen the country being attributed with ease to foreigners. Resorting to conspiracy theories that drastically poison discussion, unfortunately, is an established political behaviour in Macedonia. To this day, as people are unable to explain Greek denial, they attribute it to a plan to dismember their homeland. They cannot conceive of anything else. And yet, in strictly geopolitical terms, the existence of this state is a godsend for Greece, as it stands in the way of the nationalism of all neighbours (Albania, Serbia, and Bulgaria). As a Greek International Law expert said, “even if it did not exist, we would have to invent it”.&nbsp; </p> <ul><li><em>To the degree to which irredentism fears are valid, would the use of the name “Macedonia” be a condition for the possible success of their threats?</em></li></ul> <p>The only case of a state that changed its name because other states wished it to do so, was that of Austria in the twentieth century.<a href="#_ftn7">[7]</a> However, the renaming was the result of a war and the enforcement of an international alliance. The answer to the question of whether the choice to change Austria’s name was just, was found in the result: the change of the constitutional name did not stop the country from jumping onto the Nazi bandwagon a few years later.</p> <p>Since 1991, no matter where Greek diplomats have found themselves, they have been crying: <em>“Irredentism exists through the name itself. If the name is removed, the weapon aiming at the populations that identify through that name will also be removed.</em>” If the term “Macedonia” is removed, the problem disappears. Through the use of this name,&nbsp; geopolitical instability and claims on the historical right to “Macedonianism” start to be nurtured. If the name, magically, disappears, then the quiver of irredentism is empty. However, as the Austrian experience of the Inter-war shows, this view is subterfuge. If there is a problem, it is not in the name, but in the geopolitical matters at stake, which may remain in hibernation, regardless of whether the name “Macedonia” is used. If, for example, they wanted to change the borders to include the “irredentist<strong> </strong>Macedonians”, they would continue to do so, even if they had been forced to called themselves something else. </p> <p>This makes the Greek policy regarding the ‘name issue’ futile, among other things. Even in the most heartlessly cynical terms of political expediency, nothing guarantees the fact that forbidding the use of a name disarms the irredentist intentions of a nation, should they be present<strong>. </strong>In conclusion, the Greek position on the infamous ‘name issue’ is not that incomprehensible after all. However it has been proven both unfair and politically pointless. That is why the Prespes Agreement is a great step forward. One less problem for such a region is of major importance for all! </p> <hr size="1" /> <p><a href="#_ftnref1">[1]&nbsp;&nbsp; </a>Music by Marios Tokas, lyrics by Philippos Grapsas and sung by a really great singer, Dimitris Mitropanos, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b57vAQHDWe4">on the record by the same name</a>. Neither of the two was ever considered a Greek nationalist. Mitropanos himself was in fact a communist. The song’s lyrics are still considered absolutely mainstream. </p> <p><a href="#_ftnref2">[2]</a>&nbsp;&nbsp; The book is now <a href="https://www.academia.edu/36282429/10_1_%CE%B5%CF%81%CF%89%CF%84%CE%AE%CF%83%CE%B5%CE%B9%CF%82_%CE%BA%CE%B1%CE%B9_%CE%B1%CF%80%CE%B1%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%AE%CF%83%CE%B5%CE%B9%CF%82_%CE%B3%CE%B9%CE%B1_%CF%84%CE%BF_%CE%9C%CE%B1%CE%BA%CE%B5%CE%B4%CE%BF%CE%BD%CE%B9%CE%BA%CF%8C_online_PDF_version_">available online</a>, <a href="https://www.rosalux.de/fileadmin/images/EnglishWS/publications/macedonia/MAKEDONIKO.pdf">free of charge</a> in English, Greek and <a href="http://mhc.org.mk/publications/821?locale=mk&amp;fbclid=IwAR2VyYHpq8yfjyfb5Sh_Jhjxc__5rpwwleUJud5q193RxvxmGKgG_Q5qs-Q#.W7yhzmgzbIU">Macedonian</a>. </p> <p><a href="#_ftnref3">[3]</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Cf. <em>Cultural Dualism and Political Change in Postauthoritarian Greece, </em>Nikiforos Diamandouros, Athens, Alexandria Pub. 2000.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref4">[4]</a>&nbsp;&nbsp; Only the European extreme right justify Greece’s position, firstly, because it applauds when the strong impose a name to the weak, and secondly, because they see a racial conflict here between “Greeks” and “Slavs”, in which they can easily take the side of the descendants of ancient Greek glory.&nbsp; With the exception of the Far Right, the Prespa Agreement was welcomed almost unanimously, with the well known exception of Russia, exclusively related to geopolitical reasons.&nbsp; </p> <p><a href="#_ftnref5">[5]</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Meaning, subject to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref6">[6]</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; T. Kostopoulos, <em>The forbidden language,</em> Athens, Mavri Lista, 2000.</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref7">[7]</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In 1918, after the defeat of Austro-hungary in WWI, the Austrian parliament declared a new state with the name “German Austria” (Deutschösterreich). The Allies reacted, saying that the new state would bear the name “Republic of Austria” (République d’Autriche). The name Deutschösterreich implied territorial claims on areas in Central Europe (mainly Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia), which were inhabited by German-speaking former subjects of Austrohungary and it supported intentions of a future Austro-German union, which was reasonably seen as a threat. In the end, with the international Treaty of St. Germain, the name imposed was “Republic of Austria”. Thus, the Austrian Constitution changed, by assigning the new name for all use within the country (erga omnes) and by removing from the constitution any references to a future union with Germany.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/augustine-zenakos/greece-macedonia-negotiating-history-doesn-t-make-it-true">Greece &amp; Macedonia: negotiating history doesn’t make it true</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/vassilis-k-fouskas/what-s-in-name-macedonian-question-and-social-question">What’s in a name: the Macedonian question and the social question</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/costas-douzinas/macedonia-and-post-ideology"> Macedonia and ideology</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Greece </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Greece Civil society Conflict International politics Dimitris Christopoulos Thu, 10 Jan 2019 18:16:11 +0000 Dimitris Christopoulos 121255 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Sowing division: caste is crucial in Indian elections https://www.opendemocracy.net/openindia/l-k-sharma/sowing-division-caste-is-crucial-in-indian-elections <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Of course, politicians did not create the powerful Hindu caste system. They merely exploit this fault-line, exacerbating the caste animosities to build vote banks. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-35768923.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-35768923.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Supporters listening to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in March, 2018. Hindustan Times/Press Association. All rights reserved. </span></span></span></p><p>“<em>Jaati na poocho sadhu ki, pooch leejiye gyan</em>”, sang India’s saint-poet Kabir. (Do not judge a saint by his caste, imbibe his knowledge). However, the most-asked question in an Indian election is about the candidate’s caste. Political analysts ask it, poll strategists ask it, and the voters ask it. The caste-related issues frivolous to outsiders are debated seriously in TV shows and newspaper articles during an election season. Such weird identity-politics is not played out in any other democracy!</p> <p>Of course, politicians did not create the powerful Hindu caste system. They merely exploit this fault-line, exacerbating the caste animosities to build vote banks. There are four main castes – Brahman (priests and intellectuals), Kshatriya (warriors and kings), Vaishya (traders) and Shudras (servants including the untouchables). They form a hierarchical order that covers hundreds of sub-castes within a caste. Every caste is credited with certain attributes such as valour or craftiness. The tradition of caste-based military regiments established by the British continue. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/varnasystem_0.jpeg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/varnasystem_0.jpeg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="277" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><p><span class="mag-quote-center">The tradition of caste-based military regiments established by the British continue. </span></p> <p>The caste matters a great deal in Hindu rituals and ceremonies. Caste conflict is a regular feature of life in villages and cities. Many inter-caste marriages are destroyed by social sanctions. Some of these and at times even love affairs end in the crematorium. </p> <h2><strong>A god intervenes</strong></h2> <p>Hindu humans are governed by caste hierarchy, but a god was brought under its purview during the recent election campaign. Yogi Adityanath, BJP’s &nbsp;monk-chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, hit the headlines by telling an election rally that Lord Hanuman, known in the West as Monkey God, was a Dalit (belonging to the most depressed caste). The statement made to garner the Dalit votes caused a huge blowback! In a country where Dalits were denied entry into temples, the Yogi called a god Dalit! </p> <p>The statement highlighted the astounding complexity of Indian politics and of Hindu religion. Political parties face a difficult choice. They woo the oppressed and depressed castes in order to collect more votes. In doing so, they antagonise some upper castes. Religiosity and tradition expect them to respect the caste boundaries! Many upper-caste voters in the recent elections turned away from the BJP because of its support to positive discrimination in favour of the depressed castes.</p> <p>By calling Lord Hanuman a Dalit, the Yogi offended the Brahmans, the priestly class. Some protesting Brahmans threatened to sue the chief minister. Interestingly, the Yogi is a Rajput (of warrior caste). BJP’s mentor organisation RSS has mostly been headed by a Brahman and &nbsp;it is often asked whether a Dalit could ever head the RSS. </p> <p>With the Yogi calling Lord Hanuman a Dalit, the Dalit leaders demanded that all Hanuman temples should have Dalit priests, and these should be handed over to them! The Dalits took their protests to some Hanuman temples and in one they forced the Brahman priest to leave the building.</p> <p>A woman Dalit MP resigned from the ruling BJP complaining that Hanuman was humiliated and treated as a slave by the high-caste Hindus. She said Hanuman helped Lord Ram win the war against the demon king Ravan and yet this Dalit was turned into a monkey with a black face!</p> <p>One leader in the Yogi’s own party said Hanuman was not a Dalit but an Arya since the caste system had not started in his age! This will be contested by those who worship Ram as a Kshatriya (the warrior caste). A pro-BJP royal Rajput family claims to have descended from Lord Ram.</p> <h2><strong>Conflicting claims</strong></h2> <p>Contradicting the Yogi, the state BJP minister for religious affairs declared that Hanuman was a Jat (of an intermediate caste). He gave a simple reason. Only the people of this caste jump in to help anyone in trouble and since Hanuman fought Ram’s battle, he was a Jat! A socialist leader of the same state said Hanuman was a Gond tribal. A Jain monk claimed that Hanuman was a Jain. Jainism identifies him as one of the 169 great persons, he said.</p> <p>A Hindu monk-businessman who supports the ruling BJP invoked the sacred texts to say that the caste is determined not by birth but by the nature of duties performed by a Hindu. Since Hanuman burnt down Sri Lanka and made Ram victorious in his war against Ravan, he was a Kshatriya! While some Hindus do worship Ravan, fortunately none declared that a Kshatriya sinned by killing Ravan, the Brahman scholar.</p> <p>As if citing the Hindu caste system was not funny enough, a Muslim politician declared that Hanuman was a Muslim because his name rhymed with common Muslim names such as Rehman and Usman! A wag said Hanuman was a Chinese because his name rhymes with Jackie Chan! All such statements were given due publicity in the media and led to serious high-decibel TV discussions! <span class="mag-quote-center">A wag said Hanuman was a Chinese because his name rhymes with Jackie Chan!</span></p> <p>Considering half a dozen conflicting claims made about Lord Hanuman’s caste, only a law court can allocate the correct caste to this god and free him from an imposed identity crisis. Secular Hindus grumble that having dividing humans for political gains, the BJP is dividing gods on the basis of caste! Newspaper editors wrote that the poll campaign ought to have focused on the vital livelihood issues instead of on gods and castes. </p> <h2><strong>Caste solidarity and self-immolation</strong></h2> <p>Caste animosities transform the political scene. It happened following Prime Minister V. P. Singh’s decision in 1990 to grant job reservation to the “other backward castes”. The measure, based on the Mandal Commission Report, was designed to reduce inequalities. But by exacerbating caste divisions, it hindered the BJP’s project to unify Hindus on one political platform. The decision did have the political objectives of countering the BJP’s Ram temple agitation and winning the votes of the “other backward classes”.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/article-qlzrqzmdyd-1457194913.jpeg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/article-qlzrqzmdyd-1457194913.jpeg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="207" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Anti-Mandal agitation against job reservations for other backward classes.</span></span></span>It sparked a violent agitation by the upper caste students. Self-immolation by some students gave a tragic twist to the protest. The agitation lit caste fires in young minds and sparked a political storm. The BJP, whose core constituency includes a large section of the upper castes, resumed its agitation for building the Ram temple and went on to withdraw its support to the V. P. Singh Government that lost its majority in Parliament and resigned. </p><p>Many upper-caste voters do not like positive discrimination in favour of the backward castes and resent the BJP’s stand on job reservations for them. The BJP does not dare to weaken that policy and displease the lower castes but its attempt to enlarge its footprint alienates the upper castes as seen in the recent state elections.</p> <p>Different political parties are supported by a coalition of specific caste groups. Such coalitions usually stick with their preferred party for a few years. Some join a group for a couple of years then switch their support to another party. In some democracies, such coalitions are based on shared ideology, in India these are formed on the basis of caste solidarity.</p> <h2><strong>Building your caste profile</strong></h2> <p>All parties draw up poll strategy on the basis of the constituency’s caste profile. Messages in the election speeches are tailored to suit the dominant caste, ideological coherence is sacrificed. If a candidate belongs to caste A, his rival belonging to caste B fields dummy candidates of caste A to divide the opponent’s votes.</p> <p>Incendiary rumours enhance inter-caste and intra-caste animosities. False statements fuel sub-caste jealousy. Political rivalry is promoted among the caste groups. The dominant caste in the village tries to impose its political preference on the depressed section by issuing threats. If the election results show that the dominant caste leader’s fiat was ignored, the defiant voters are subjected to violence. Extensive opinion polls, by indicating the voting preference of a particular caste group, make it easy to take revenge.</p> <p>Newspapers give the caste-wise break-up of the candidates fielded and the candidates who win the elections. Caste matters in the selection of the candidates and shapes the content of the poll campaign speeches. When the government is formed, the media highlights the caste composition of the cabinet. It wasn’t so in the newly independent India when democracy was less mature.</p> <p>Earlier, some secular political leaders tried to reduce the role of caste in politics. Congress leader Indira Gandhi once ran a successful poll campaign with the slogan: <em>Na jaat pe, na paat pe, muhar lagegi haath pe </em>(We shall ignore the candidate’s caste and sub-caste and vote for the Congress symbol of hand.)<em> </em></p> <p>Today no party ignores the caste factor that influences the voting behaviour and creates vote banks. Every party devises it poll strategy by considering castes and sub-castes. Paradoxically, even the BJP, while committed to uniting Hindus, plays caste-based politics in a big way. BJP minister has no hesitation in saying that since Congress President Rahul Gandhi belongs to an upper caste, his party cannot bear to see Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is not from an upper caste. BJP’s spokesman Sambit Patra publicly asked Rahul Gandhi to declare his Gotra (his specific clan within the caste). This question usually comes up when a matrimonial alliance is discussed!</p> <h2><strong>The BJP and caste</strong></h2> <p>The RSS which is BJP’s ideological mentor has mostly been headed by a Brahman and it gives no place to the minorities. A large section of its followers happens to belong to the Baniya caste engaged in business. The ruling BJP, known earlier as a Brahman-Baniya party, has been reaching out to other castes. And yet the organisation is still dominated by the upper castes, as indicated by a detailed analysis of its hierarchy by <em>ThePrint</em>. </p> <p>Prejudices die hard. So, the BJP leaders in the southern state of Kerala invoked the low caste of its leftist chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to attack him. He is being asked to leave his political office and go back to his caste profession as toddy tapper. The chief minister is trying to implement the Supreme Court’s judgment lifting a temple’s ban on the entry of young women. The BJP has launched a violent agitation in defence of faith and tradition. It believes that by consolidating the upper-caste votes, it would be able to make political gains. The Prime Minister made vague comments about belief and said nothing to discourage his party men from defying the Supreme Court judgment. </p> <p>While some BJP leaders do not refrain from making casteist comments, the party has co-opted even Dr B. R. Ambedkar, a Dalit icon. In protest against the oppressive and discriminatory caste system, Ambedkar converted to Buddhism taking thousands of his followers with him. He had warned the nation against Hindu hegemony and burnt a copy of <em>Manusmriti</em>, a Hindu law book containing casteist verses.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/12391924_1733316383564796_8404923063966469405_n.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/12391924_1733316383564796_8404923063966469405_n.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="257" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Dr. B R Ambedkar, the Dalit icon.</span></span></span>The support of the lower castes in elections is invaluable. It is more so for the BJP since it ignores Muslims and marginalises them to please its die-hard Hindu supporters. Since it has to woo the lower castes, in this limited context, political compulsions have made the BJP less exclusive. It publicises the caste of its candidate if he or she is from a depressed caste. It does so in the case of Prime Minister Modi who is not from an upper caste. If a party opposing it has a large following in a particular caste, the BJP fields a candidate belonging to the same caste in order to draw away voters of that caste. It does not matter any more which caste dominates the party. All parties play this game, but the case of the BJP is worth noting since its declared objective is to unite Hindus. <span class="mag-quote-center">No one talks of the abolition of the caste system.</span></p> <p>Caste rivalries and religious polarisation during election campaigns disturb social harmony and often cause violence. Elections come and go but tensions continue. Political leaders generate emotional frenzy through divisive rhetoric, mythological tales and false warnings of the danger posed by the religious “Other” or other caste community. Sectarian statements and violence during the election campaign have become the new normal. In this atmosphere, no one talks of the abolition of the caste system.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openindia/l-k-sharma/divine-players-in-indian-politics">Divine players in Indian politics </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> India </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openIndia openIndia India Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Equality Ideas International politics L K Sharma Thu, 10 Jan 2019 09:29:38 +0000 L K Sharma 121248 at https://www.opendemocracy.net #Venezuela2019: ¿Qué nos trae la posesión de Maduro? https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/democraciaabierta/venezuela-2019-qu-nos-trae-la-posesi-n-de-maduro <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Este 10 de enero, al asumir un nuevo mandato (2019-2025), Maduro encuentra un país al límite de sus fuerzas. Tras unas elecciones calificadas de ilegítimas y una creciente presión interncional, las dificultades se multiplican.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/2015_Venezuela–Colombia_migrant_crisis_3.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/2015_Venezuela–Colombia_migrant_crisis_3.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="263" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Crisis migrante en la frontera entre Venezuela y Colombia, 2015. Fuente: Wikimedia commons</span></span></span></p><p class="normal">El día de la muerte de Hugo Chávez, el 5 de marzo de 2012, Nicolás Maduro se convirtió en el presidente de Venezuela. Hijo de un sindicalista, Maduro empezó su carrera trabajando como conductor de autobuses para la compañía del metro de Caracas. Y ascendió desde un humilde origen en un barrio obrero del extrarradio, a la cima del poder en una Venezuela desde siempre gobernada por las oligarquías hasta que llegó Chávez a cambiarlo todo.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">La gestión del legado de un líder carismático de la talla de Chávez nunca es fácil, pero bajo Maduro el país vivió una deriva autoritaria. A partir de marzo del 2017, cuando una crisis institucional y económica profunda llevó a muchos miles de venezolanos a protestar en las calles, la represión violenta de las protestas dejó más de 100 víctimas mortales, miles de heridos y un país traumatizado. El espejo de un gobierno democrático siempre a favor de la ciudadanía se había roto.</p><p class="normal">Maduro reaccionó, disolvió la Asamblea Nacional recién electa y asumió todo el poder para encargar la redacción de una nueva constitución, nombrando una Asamblea Constituyente 100% hecha de afectos al régimen, siempre leales a los designios bolivarianos del líder.</p><p class="normal">Pero devorada por numerosas crisis que alcanzan dimensión catastrófica, Venezuela se ha convertido ya en un Estado casi fallido que provoca inestabilidad no sólo en casa, sino en toda la región y constituye uno de los principales desafíos para la democracia en 2019. Éstos podrían resolverse en dos sentidos.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">O bien la presión internacional y las fracturas internas finalmente convencen a Maduro de que abandonar el poder es lo más sensato, o bien la represión interna, el músculo de la retórica bolivariana, y los contratos petroleros (si el precio internacional del crudo no continúa su caída) le alcanzan para mantenerse lo suficientemente fuerte como para seguir gobernando, a pesar de casi todo y contra casi todos.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Venezuela se ha convertido en un Estado casi fallido que provoca inestabilidad en toda la región</p><p>Desgraciadamente, la opción reformista, que contempla una transición negociada con la oposición y con mediación internacional, casi no tiene hoy valedores.</p><p>Este 10 de enero, al asumir un nuevo mandato (2019-2025), Maduro encuentra un país al límite de sus fuerzas. Además, tras unas elecciones en mayo que fueron consideradas ilegítimas por la comunidad internacional, las dificultades para asegurar la gobernabilidad se multiplican. Ante esta situación, insostenible, empiezan a moverse algunas fichas políticas, que conspiran para precipitar el fin abrupto de Maduro.&nbsp;</p><p>Ante este escenario incierto, y hasta peligroso ante la escalada retórica de la confrontación, ¿qué podemos esperar para Venezuela en el 2019?</p><h3><span><strong>El éxodo masivo podría aumentar</strong></span></h3><p>Según diversas organizaciones y la propia ONU (ACNUR, OIM), desde que estalló la crisis habrían salido de Venezuela más de 3 millones de personas. Se trata de la mayor diáspora conocida de América Latina, que incluso podría acelerarse en las próximas semanas ante la nueva posesión de Maduro. Según observadores internacionales, esta cifra de venezolanos huidos del país podría dispararse hasta sumar más de 5 millones para final del 2019.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">Esta presión migratoria hacia los países vecinos es enorme. La falta de soluciones regionales integrales, y de acuerdos entre Colombia, Ecuador y Perú es alarmante. La realidad es que el acceso a servicios sociales fundamentales y a los mercados laborales internos, este flujo multitudinario seguirá alimentando una maraña de vulneración de derechos y de precariedad, multiplicando el sufrimiento para millones de historias personales, que huyen en busca de un lugar donde sobrevivir.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center">El éxodo venezolano podría dispararse hasta sumar 5 millones de personas para finales del 2019</p><h3>La presión internacional aumenta</h3><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/564150/31538334932_9f46f85004_b.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/564150/31538334932_9f46f85004_b.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Frontera Brasil-Venezuela. Fuente: Flickr</span></span></span></p><p class="normal">El año ha iniciado con una decisión trascendental. El Grupo de Lima, una instancia multilateral establecida en Agosto del 2017 para buscar una salida pacífica a la situación en Venezuela, reunida el 5 de Enero (con representantes de Argentina, Brasil, Canadá, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú y Santa Lucía) emitió un mensaje político contundente al no reconocer la legitimidad del nuevo periodo presidencial que se abre en Venezuela y pedir que se suspenda la posesión de Maduro.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">Cabe recordar que Maduro toma posesión delante de la Corte Suprema, controlada por él mismo, y no de la Asamblea Nacional, como sería lo institucionalmente correcto, puesto que ahi reside la&nbsp; soberanía nacional por más que la mayoría hoy la ostente la oposición. Es esta una prueba más de cómo su régimen está rompiendo las costuras del sistema democrático, aunque se alegue que el procedimiento está contemplado por la actual constitución.</p><p class="normal">Trece de los países del Grupo de Lima (la excepción esta vez es México) anunciaron medidas más drásticas como la retirada de embajadores, el aislamiento político e inclusive limitaciones económicas, como prevenir a determinados emprresas e individuos venezolanos el acceso a sistemas financieros en estos países, o congelamientos de activos y fondos.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">Por su parte, el nuevo gobierno en Brasil prepara el endurecimiento de las fronteras y de las relaciones comerciales. Bolsonaro intentará liderar una coalición americana contra Maduro, y se muestra decidido a unir fuerzas con Trump para generar un eje de derecha en la región que acabe por asfixiar el gobierno bolivariano de Venezuela. En este sentido, se suma a <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/colombia-y-la-l-nea-dura-frente-venezuela">la línea dura contra Maduro</a> acordada por el presidente colombiano en Estados Unidos desde su llegada al palacio de Nariño en Julio, y que ojalá no vaya hacía más.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Bolsonaro intentará liderar una coalición americana contra Maduro, y se muestra decidido a unir fuerzas con Trump</p><h3>Los derechos humanos seguirán siendo socavados</h3><p class="normal">Pero la presión exterior no aliviará previsiblemente la continua vulneración de los derechos humanos en un país que, según la FAO, experimenta el mayor incremento de la subalimentación y en el que el hambre y la falta de medicinas se han convertido en las principales razones para huir del país.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">Con detenciones arbitrarias, periodistas y medios de comunicación censurados y una libertad de prensa bajo mínimos, parece que la vulneración de derechos ha tocado fondo mientras las operaciones de ayuda humanitaria encuentras dificultades insalvables.</p><p class="normal">No parece que el rumbo emprendido por Maduro vaya ahora a virar repentinamente con este nuevo mandato. Tampoco está claro si existen elementos suficientes, interna y externamente, como para detonar una salida final del mandatario. </p><p class="normal">Más bien parece que el régimen sufre una cubanización profunda, y los vínculos que mantienen aliados como China y Rusia, con intereses geoestratégicos en la región y apetito por las riquezas petrolíferas y minerales del país (níquel, bauxita, titanio), y lo que queda del "espiritu bolivariano" en la región, puede que ayuden a mantener el frágil equilibrio interno unos años más.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center">La vulneración de derechos ha tocado fondo mientras las operaciones de ayuda humanitaria encuentras dificultades insalvables</p><p class="normal">Pero sin una reforma a fondo, la salida parece difícil. La inflación superó hace tiempo el 1.000.000%, (el FMi prevé que la inflación se dispare hasta el 10.000.000 % en 2019, y la economñia caiga un 5%). Al mismo tiempo, la tasa de muertes violentas es de 81,4 por cada 100.000, los productos básicos escasean, los servicios públicos se deterioran sin remedio y la gente sigue sin medicamentos.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">Aunque la situación parece insostenible, no parece que Maduro vaya a aprovechar el mandato que ahora asume para abrirse a negociar un plan de contingencia que salve a los venezolanos, que viven en uno de los países con más recursos naturales de la región.</p><p class="normal">Es cierto que le faltan aliados, aunque la presión exterior, junto a una pinza entre Brasil, Colombia y Estados Unidos, puede resultar contraproducente, porque el enemigo exterior siempre cohesiona el patriotismo de la dignidad y de la resistencia.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal">No hay duda de que, si se produce -o se provoca, según se vio en el episodio del supuesto ataque con drones- una agresión, la épica marcial del chavismo llamará a resistir y cerrar filas. El aislamiento interncional, y la retórica de ser víctimas de la "persecución" del imperialismo, proporciona la épica necesaria para para la rebeldía heroica de David contra Goliat. A esto se apresta Maduro, cuya suerte, sin embargo, parece hoy demasiado incierta.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Venezuela </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Venezuela Conflict migración maduro Crisis Venezuela DemocraciaAbierta Wed, 09 Jan 2019 21:21:08 +0000 DemocraciaAbierta 121245 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Terrorism policing: the YPG/YPJ, an ally abroad but a danger at home? https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/nora-martin/terrorism-policing-ypgypj-ally-abroad-but-danger-at-home <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The erratic treatment members of the YPG/YPJ receive at the hands of Europe’s counterterrorism networks doesn’t look set to change in the near future. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-39301596.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-39301596.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Johannes Koenig, musician, charged by Munich police for liking an article about the Kurdisch YPG on Facebook by the satire site Der Postillion. Sachelle Babbar/Press Association</span></span></span></p><p>The first time Roni ( a pseudonym) came home to London after his 8 months as a medic for the anarchist Kurdish YPG/YPJ in northern Syria, he was nervous. If it wasn’t to see his closest Kurdish friend — a filmmaker for the same forces — <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/10/hundreds-funeral-british-film-maker-isis-raqqa-mehmet-aksoy">laid to rest</a> in Highgate Cemetery, he would have never boarded the plane. </p> <p>The passengers had not yet disembarked when four uniformed officers marched straight to his seat.</p> <p>“They escorted me out like a celebrity,” Roni said.</p> <p>The questioning was polite and ended in a “thank you for your cooperation,” but it was enough to convince Roni that this may be his last time in London. At least for a long time. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Roni has two passports: one British and one Turkish. He was born in a majority Alevi Kurdish town – a minority within a minority in Turkey – but remembers little about his childhood. His parents don’t talk about it. So he feels British.</p> <p>The questioning might not go so smoothly next time Roni visits London because he might be linked to the PKK — whose ties to the YPG/YPJ are still debated — and lose his British passport. Only dual nationals can have their <a href="http://cmsny.org/publications/unmaking-citizens/">citizenship revoked</a> for being a member of a terrorist-listed organization. To Roni, that would mean not being able to avoid compulsory military service in Turkey, where he would face near-certain imprisonment. It would also add another level of precarity in the UK.</p> <p>So until he is sure that he is safe in the UK, he will wait in what he jokingly calls “Yugoslavia.” Considering how erratic the UK and other European states have been in pursuing their citizens who were former YPG/YPJ volunteers, Roni and his friends in arms will probably not have an answer to this quandary soon.</p> <h2><strong>Abroad and at home</strong></h2> <p>Turkey and Qatar are the <a href="https://static.reuters.com/resources/media/editorial/20180116/armed_groups_list.pdf">only</a> countries to list the YPG/YPJ as a terrorist group, since they equate it with the Turkey-based PKK. Despite heavy lobbying efforts, however, Turkey has not changed the mind of its NATO allies on this issue. Many rely on a strict demarcation between the two groups to legitimize their support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a mostly YPG/YPJ-led group formed by the US-led coalition to help push back the so-called Islamic State. The SDF is the only opposition group in Syria that has won significant territory from Bashar Al-Assad and will remain a main player in forming Syria’s new geography. </p> <p>While these coalition countries – for the sake of this article, the UK, France and Germany – don’t let Turkey have its way on how they maneuver in the Middle East, they make up for any friction in the relationship however by being vigilant about the YPG/YPJ domestically. These crackdowns on former fighters, whether to please Turkey or not, are a symptom of ever-expanding counter-terrorism powers across the continent. </p> <p>The UK, France and Germany track YPG/YPJ fighters indiscriminately – as they do all combatants coming from Syria and Iraq – but only on occasion decide to take legal or punitive action, like opening court cases, confiscating passports or marking some with easily exploitable statuses. When they do, it has until now been action taken against non-Kurdish nationals (only <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/19/danish-woman-who-fought-against-isis-faces-jail-sentence">Denmark</a> has arrested a Kurdish YPJ fighter who was also a Danish national) and justified under the heading of counter-terrorism strategy. </p> <p>Those singled out are not necessarily more politically radical than others, and did not necessarily have more evidence against them. Their exceptions may prove the rule, but they also mean potential precedents that could affect anyone else in the YPG/YPJ, including non-national residents, asylum seekers and its PYD political representatives. They indirectly touch people like Roni and send chills across Europe’s large Kurdish diaspora, which is already under the close eye of police. Kurdish European nationals who opt for the more entrenched PKK over the younger YPG/YPJ – the vast majority of them – could become easy next targets.</p> <p>Their selection also reveals the sometimes conflictual, sometimes complicit relationship between the interior, foreign and justice departments – and the expanding ability of law enforcement to play acrobatics in pursuit of whomever they consider politically dangerous, terrorist-listed or not.</p> <p>The UK, France and Germany do not have a consistent policy toward the few returning YPG/YPJ nationals and maybe never will. Yet something can be deduced from the actions already taken and the pathways already explored.&nbsp; </p><h2><strong>The United Kingdom</strong></h2> <p>More than 400 non-Syrians joined the YPG/YPJ. Of those, most came from Turkey, then the US, then the UK. The British supported their operations through the SDF with non-lethal weapons and airstrikes in their fight against ISIS. Britain has also sold more than <a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/revealed-boom-uk-arms-exports-turkey-eve-erdogans-london-visit-1561968969">$1 billion</a> in arms to Turkey and continues to court its buyers as a looming Brexit forces the country to find new friends. </p> <p>When Turkey began stepping up its rhetoric against the YPG/YPJ, the UK, caught between the two, wondered if it had to choose sides. In October 2017, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons began an <a href="https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmfaff/518/51804.htm">inquiry</a> to decipher if the YPG/YPJ was in fact the UK’s friend or foe, terrorist or not. Two months before, the Henry Jackson Society had published a <a href="http://henryjacksonsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/3053-PYD-Foreign-Fighter-Project-1.pdf">report</a> arguing that returning YPG/YPJ fighters were a threat to UK security. The committee’s findings quoted the report but did not take the same position — it actually took none, apparently more confused than at the outset. </p> <p>So, police continued stopping most YPG/YPJ returnees when they arrived and keeping their passports — an action reserved for citizens who have “<a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-issuing-withdrawal-or-refusal-of-passports">actual or suspected</a>” plans to disturb the public interest. Some were detained and questioned for hours. Some have had their movements restricted to certain places and hours, one of the more <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/terrorism-prevention-and-investigation-measures-act">severe measures</a> police can take to prevent terrorism. Some have had their houses raided for incriminating evidence. If the police have found evidence, the attorney general and the Crown Protection Services, have prosecuted. Three cases have occurred so far. </p> <p>The first YPG returnee, <a href="https://theintercept.com/2017/10/28/josh-walker-anarchist-cookbook-terrorism-act-uk/">Josh Walker</a>, was charged under the Terrorism Act with possessing information “likely to be useful” for committing an act of terrorism: in his case, a digital copy of <em>The Anarchist Cookbook</em>. He was found not guilty.</p> <p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jul/31/james-matthews-who-joined-kurdish-forces-to-fight-isis-not-guilty">James Matthews</a>’ charge was more direct. The crown suspected him of being trained on a military camp "for purposes connected to the commission of preparation of terrorism". They argued that the same camp was run by the PKK. The prosecutor did not cite evidence to support the claim and gave no reason when the crown dropped the charge.</p> <p>“The whole thing was a mess and a mystery,” Matthews’ lawyer, Joel Bennathan QC, told me. European citizens have the right to be able to anticipate why they might be prosecuted, but since the YPG/YPJ is a “grey area” whose treatment is “in flux,” said Bennathan, no one knows when or why the gavel might fall. He said that lawyers representing the returned fighters speculated that pressure from Turkey, possibly indirect, had influenced the decisions to go after its former fighters, some of which have become celebrated public figures. Roni sees Matthews’ case as a low-hanging fruit: the UK could cave in under pressure in a case against a British veteran that it is sure to lose.</p> <p>One outstanding case could still set a precedent. Shortly after Matthews pleaded not guilty, police charged <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/james-charged-terror-offences-fighting-isis-syria-westminster-magistrates-court-a8213926.html">Aidan James</a> with three counts of terrorism, including “preparation of terrorist acts.” Sources close to the case worry that the charges have more to do with acts the person committed unrelated to the armed group, but a conviction might damage the prospect of a similar defense.</p> <p>In fact, courts could prosecute returning fighters for terrorism if they really wanted to. The UK has almost a dozen Terrorism Acts, including one <a href="https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/counterterrorismandbordersecurity.html">about to be passed</a>, that expands the definition of terrorism far beyond being the member of a listed group. Anyone who picks up arms abroad, not for the British army or for a mercenary group, qualifies. Anyone who travels to an area that the Secretary of State deems could expose the UK public to the “risk of terrorism” can be tried. </p> <h2><strong>Foreign fighters and freedom fighters</strong></h2> <p>Courts, at least until now, have chosen not to touch the YPG/YPJ. Even if the UK finds enough evidence to draw an explicit link with the PKK, they may still do nothing: only one recruit, <a href="https://willrworley.atavist.com/the-trial-of-shilan-ozcelik">Shilan Özçelik</a>, has been convicted for trying to join the PKK. Possibly sympathizers made enough noise outside her prison gates to dissuade them from a second conviction. </p> <p>But police still treat YPG/YPJ recruits as ripe for counter-terrorism strategy. The UK has a decentralized police force, so ten separate counter-terrorism units each follow their own way of doing things. One unit created a <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20180525151226/https://www.suffolkas.org/assets/Safeguarding-Topics/Prevent-/Counter-Terrorism-Policing-Extremist-Symbols-and-Flags.pdf">cheat sheet</a> of extremist symbols, which lists the YPG as “regarded as so close to the PKK as to be almost a subordinate entity.” Several make recruits sign a document that says they will travel to Syria knowing that they might face terrorism charges when they return, and then detains them when they do. Sometimes decisions come from above, like the deployment of Prevent officers to the families of the fighters that fall. </p> <p>John Cuddihy, former head of organized crime and counter-terrorism in Scotland who now advises forces internationally, lamented that broader counter-terrorism policy doesn’t explore the nuance between who is a “foreign fighter” and a “freedom fighter.” He said it is wrong to cram the YPG/YPJ and ISIS into the same category, though YPG/YPJ returnees are too few to motivate enough resources for a customized approach. For now, Scotland, which has a devolved system like Wales, targets potential YPG/YPJ recruits for deradicalization efforts just like any population “vulnerable” to extremist groups. </p> <p>Since terrorism is “drawn in very wide terms,” its application is “profoundly dividing lawyers and counterterrorism officers,” says Bennathan. Indecision – and diplomatic concerns – can mean inaction. When Turkey sentenced former British soldier and YPG volunteer <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/15/british-ex-soldier-jailed-in-turkey-for-fighting-alongside-banned-kurdish-militia">Joe Robinson</a> to eight years in prison, the UK didn’t say anything. </p> <h2><strong>France</strong></h2> <p>France’s stance on the YPG/YPJ is clear: it is their closest ally in Syria, and the relationship – fed by on-the-ground <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/what-france-doing-syria-new-us-military-photos-may-show-too-much-1120332">support</a> and a French <a href="http://ccf-rojava.com/projet/">cultural center</a> – is built to last, according to the group’s spokesperson Nuri Mahmoud. The UK and Germany do not meet officially with their representatives of YPG’s political wing, the PYD, but French President Emmanuel Macron has shaken the hand of the Paris representative, Khaled Issa, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-france/frances-macron-meets-north-syria-delegation-ypg-kurds-idUSKBN1H52V1">in public</a>. </p> <p>The meeting didn’t stop him from also shaking hands, time and again, with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Commercial profit between the two, which adds up to about <a href="https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/country-files/turkey/france-and-turkey/">$14.6 billion</a>, continues to <a href="http://www.ccift.com/fileadmin/template/turquie/galeries/2016/Les_echanges_commerciaux_franco-turcs_en_progression_sur_2015.pdf">rise</a>. Turkey is not just a NATO ally, but also a partner in France’s fight against homegrown terrorism, promising to repatriate French ISIS fighters.</p> <p>In the eyes of the foreign ministry, the dividing line between the PKK and the YPG/YPJ is solid. But the interior ministry could decide otherwise. (When asked for comment on its surveillance of the YPG/YPJ in France, the press contact for counter-terrorism policing refused comment on the domestic treatment of the PKK.) </p> <p>Even without crossover between the two groups, the French police has a big counter-terrorism toolbox to pick from. Since Macron <a href="https://www.sciencespo.fr/psia/sites/sciencespo.fr.psia/files/Terror%20in%20Courts.pdf">institutionalized</a> the state of emergency, police and intelligence have the power to arrest and surveil, after warning the prosecutor, anyone who they have “serious reasons to believe” are “commonly in relation with persons or organizations inciting, supporting, spreading or adhering to a thesis inciting terrorist acts or doing their apology.” These acts must apply to French soil – which the YPG/YPJ has not touched. Police could then play up the premise that they were paid – in non-monetary ways – for their service, since fighting as a mercenary is illegal in France. But no court has tried to push that argument.</p> <p>The last way to catch a YPG/YPJ volunteer, would be to stop them from flying to so-called “<a href="http://www.senat.fr/rap/r17-639/r17-6396.html">jihad zones</a>”, given the risk that could come with working alongside a criminalized group. However, the Senate <a href="http://www.senat.fr/rap/r17-639/r17-639_mono.html">affirmed</a> last summer that it grants Kurdish forces certain privileges: unlike other Syria-bound nationals, fighters with the YPG/YPJ “are not systematically pursued, regarding YPG cooperation with the French armed forces.” </p> <p>But ‘not systematically’ does not mean never. </p> <p>While some never see an officer, others have their passports confiscated, their driver’s licenses snatched, their bank accounts frozen. All of these powers came in with the new counter-terrorism measures. One former fighter sued the French state for how it treats of the YPG/YPJ. He won. Since then, said fellow fighter Serhat Tikkun*, police have been careful about pursuing them down the same alleys.</p> <p>But the drills continue. Tikkun said that he and his mother have had regular check-ups with the DGSI, France’s domestic intelligence agency, since he was referred to psychological services that handle cases of radicalization. That was three years before he left, when he was first learning about the militia. He moves around a lot, so he has got to know counter-terrorism officers from around the country – along with their counterparts in other European states, thanks to Interpol tip-offs. </p> <p>Most of the volunteers that came from France are former soldiers, but some are anarchist, communist and union activists. Of those, many were already closely tracked. Tikkun said that one DGSI officer told him that far-left terrorism is their second priority after Islamist terrorism – and that far-right terrorism comes only after separatist groups, like the PKK, which has risen on their radar. </p> <p>The Senate <a href="http://www.senat.fr/rap/r17-639/r17-639_mono.html">report</a> mentions that Islamic jihad “must not eclipse non-Islamic terrorism,” such as attacks against mosques by far-left groups “notably from the anarcho-autonomous movement, from which several have gone to Syria to fight against the Islamic State, and therefore are trained to handle arms.” </p> <p>Still, Tikkun said that officers would not let him, a self-described communist autonomist, go as easily as “if I was called Mohammed and came from the projects.” Since the state of emergency was declared, several politically active Kurds have been detained for terrorist financing without specification. Even more have been flagged with “FIJAT” and “S” files, a signal for special police treatment to prevent threats to national security. Those marked are not the most obvious candidates, said a Kurdish activist close to them, while those who travel to Northern Syria for civil and political work have been let off the hook. </p> <p>French surveillance of the politically-involved Kurdish diaspora is, to say the least, a sensitive topic. Former President François Hollande openly met with PKK members, but in 2013, three of them were assassinated in Paris. The <a href="https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/240116/militantes-kurdes-assassinees-paris-en-2013-lenquete-escamotee?onglet=full">slip-up</a> embarrassed French intelligence, which since then has been softer on the group and its sympathizers. But with “terrorism” a buzzword in post-state of emergency France, the question of policing is very much back on the table. </p> <h2><strong>Germany</strong></h2> <p>Of the three countries, Germany has the least contact with the SDF and the closest relationship, historically, with Turkey. Its participation in the US-led coalition in Syria is mostly symbolic, while it <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/germany-sells-arms-to-turkey-despite-afrin-offensive-german-broadcaster-reports/a-43188875">continues</a> – despite a current temporary hault – to sell Turkey arms and tanks that it <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/turkey-confirms-use-of-german-tanks-in-afrin-offensive/a-42358565">used</a> in its offensive in Afrin. Germany also leans on Turkey to keep its 3.5 million Syrian refugees on their side of the shore – and hosts the largest and most politically active Kurdish diaspora, the one most represented in the YPG/YPJ forces. </p> <p>This equation makes the YPG/YPJ question a more urgent one to solve. The answer, though, still depends on who is asked.</p> <p>For the federal prosecutor, no YPG/YPJ fighter has yet warranted a charge. The justice ministry has yet to weigh in on whether the group is a terrorist organization or not, but <em>Die Welt</em> reported that it considers it “<a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security-germany-steinmeier/germany-rejects-turkeys-assertion-that-berlin-backs-militant-groups-idUSKBN1331VK">politically inopportune</a>” to do so while this would anger France or the US.</p> <p>As for the interior ministry, a hint might come in a <a href="http://dip21.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/18/037/1803702.pdf">2015 report</a> where members of parliament asked about continuing operations against the PKK. In it, the interior ministry said that anti-ISIS fighters (it <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security-germany-steinmeier/germany-rejects-turkeys-assertion-that-berlin-backs-militant-groups-idUSKBN1331VK">could not separate</a> PKK and YPG/YPJ fighters) are fewer in quantity than Syrian jihadist fighters, but similar in quality. </p> <p>“We do not distinguish between supposedly ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorism,” said the report. In other words, they may fight for different reasons, but their weapons training – as long as it’s done outside the authorized frame of the German military – could pose the a similar threat to German nationals when they return. The report failed to cite when a returned YPG/YPJ fighter had intended to stage an attack in Germany. But their aims run close to those of the PKK, it found, a group which threatens the territorial integrity of a NATO ally. </p> <p>Answering questions from a parliamentarian in October, the interior ministry counted <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/more-than-120-anti-islamic-state-fighters-returned-to-germany-since-2013/a-46060177">nearly 250</a> anti-ISIS fighters who have left for Syria, half of whom have returned. Of those, federal police are investigating 32, including 27 for links to terrorist organizations; the others for planned attacks and recruitment for a foreign military organization. Seven of them were labelled “relevant” persons and two as “dangerous.” One is still being investigated for possible war crimes. Half of all cases were closed for lack of evidence that offenses were committed on German territory.</p> <p>Terrorism is still not <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56330ad3e4b0733dcc0c8495/t/56b29f27b6aa6091ebfae0cf/1454546728012/GLJ_Vol_13_No_09_Kretschmer..pdf">defined</a> in Germany, but under criminal law, it is illegal to be trained in a camp run by a terrorist organization, to plan an attack in Germany or to commit war crimes or crimes against humanity anywhere. Mere membership of a terrorist-listed organization abroad cannot be prosecuted, however, nor can it justify the revoking of citizenship. </p> <p>But officers are ordered to walk before judges can talk. When Martin Klamper* returned from Syria, he was detained at the airport and had his <a href="http://www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/germany-new-anti-terrorism-legislation-entered-into-force/">passport</a> and phone confiscated. He is still waiting to get them back and is not allowed to leave Germany until further notice. He said other YPG/YPJ fighters from Germany avoid flying in for that reason, but police end up finding them anyway.</p> <p>Some state police push even further. Bavaria – home state of the current Interior Minister – leads the way, followed by other state governments that have crept in expanding counter-terrorism <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/changes-to-german-police-law-spark-fears-of-surveillance-racial-profiling-what-you-need-to-know/a-44562008">powers</a> for their police forces that skip judicial overview and lower the bar on searches and detention. </p> <p>One additional measure of this kind is to revive the police title “Gefährder,” roughly translated to “potential threat,” which lets police detain anyone they believe might plan an attack. So far, the title has mostly been used on Islamists, and a few times on fascists and anarchists. We have learned of two <a href="https://de.nachrichten.yahoo.com/vom-kriegshelden-zum-gefahrder-125757237.html">cases</a> when it was applied to returned YPG fighters. These individuals have limited access to justice, and their status is not recognized federally.</p> <p>“We haven’t seen these kinds of laws since Hitler,” said Nick Brauns, who drafted the queries for Left Party parliamentarian Ulla Jelpke on how the interior ministry handles anti-ISIS fighters. </p> <p>Brauns also compares Germany’s current crackdown on Kurdish political groups to what happened in the 1990’s, when the PKK was at its most active and most repressed in Turkey. Then, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09546553.2015.1060226">after attacks</a> against Turkish sites in Germany, Germany became the first country after Turkey to list the PKK as a terrorist organization. Abdullah Öcalan, ideological father of both groups, has promised he would not touch Germany if his supporters were left alone – but his image was banned last year. The YPG/YPJ flag was banned, too, when police consider it is used to substitute the PKK flag. Enforcement has since been devolved to states. </p> <p>If the YPG/YPJ is brought into the counter-terrorism frame alongside the PKK, its returning fighters who are not German citizens – about three out of four, according to the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/more-than-120-anti-islamic-state-fighters-returned-to-germany-since-2013/a-46060177">report</a> that lumped together both groups – face even fewer protections since their cases would be treated by immigration, not criminal, law. A trip to Syria could then threaten their application for citizenship or asylum.</p> <h2><strong>Beyond borders</strong></h2> <p>These counter-terrorism developments don’t stop at borders. Even when Brexit yanks the UK out of the EU picture, intelligence and police coordination, especially within the scope of preventing terrorist acts, will continue. Cuddihy, who helped shape policing of the Kurdish diaspora in Scotland, said that police in Glasgow, London and several German cities share intelligence and work together closely since they recognize that the Kurds share networks across those cities, too. Then there’s Interpol, Europol, and a smattering of new initiatives to encourage intelligence sharing and best practices. States choose how much they share, which tends to be on the rise.</p> <p>Meanwhile, whatever intelligence these states don’t gather, Turkish secret services might. They have official permission for a number of surveillance operations in the three countries and, since the coup attempt in 2016, have been more aggressively on the lookout for members of both Gülen movement and the PKK — which to them includes the YPG/YPJ.</p> <p>How far they can go depends largely on the stance each country’s interior ministry takes. This position isn’t static: it depends on who heads the ministry, what’s at stake in the relationship with Turkey or the US, and what happens politically in Syria. Then there’s what the fighters and their supporters say and do back home. One Kurdish activist in Paris also said that she’s found that there’s an unspoken balance in Europe. When France goes easier on the group, Germany plays bad cop, and vice versa.</p> <p>In the end, some of the returned fighters even welcome the vigilance. They’re reassured that their police are watching out for terrorism, which is what they left for Syria to combat. But what worries them is the amount of information that police allow themselves to collect and sit on. They might not flex their counter-terrorism powers openly, but that doesn’t mean they never will.</p> <p>“You’re on the books until you’re worthy of their political agenda,” said Roni. “We can be sacrificed for the greater agenda.”</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Turkey </div> <div class="field-item even"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? North-Africa West-Asia uk United States Turkey EU Syria Conflict Democracy and government International politics Nora Martin Wed, 09 Jan 2019 20:05:21 +0000 Nora Martin 121243 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Colombia y la línea dura frente a Venezuela https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/colombia-y-la-l-nea-dura-frente-venezuela <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Hoy algunos países de la región, y especialmente Colombia, no solo quieren romper relaciones con Venezuela, sino que se suman al discurso de intervención militar de ciertos halcones en Washington. Es una postura riesgosa y equivocada.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/190102_06_SecEstadosUnidosMikePompeo_1800.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/190102_06_SecEstadosUnidosMikePompeo_1800.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="276" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>El presidente colombiano Iván Duque y el Secretario de Estado estadounidense Mike Pompeo en Cartagena de Indias, 2 de enero de 2019. Foto: Nicolás Galeano - Presidencia de la República. Todos los derechos reservados.</span></span></span></p><p>Todo parece indicar que la administración del presidente Iván Duque contempla seriamente romper relaciones diplomáticas con Venezuela después del 10 de enero. En esa fecha arranca el nuevo mandato de Nicolás Maduro, cuya legitimidad ha sido rechazada por muchos países de América Latina.</p> <p>Un antecedente importante es que hace poco Colombia se retiró de UNASUR por considerar a la organización cómplice del régimen venezolano. Sin embargo, el hecho tuvo un impacto nulo en la relación bilateral con Venezuela: no mejoró de ningún modo el prestigio del país en la región y tampoco contribuyó a elevar la capacidad negociadora frente a Washington.</p> <p>En medio de esto ha cobrado cierta relevancia el llamado Grupo de Lima, que nació en 2017 para hacerle frente a la aguda y degradada crisis venezolana. Colombia y&nbsp;Perú&nbsp;por motivos distintos pero concurrentes, expresan la “línea dura” de ese organismo.(Ecuador que no es miembro del Grupo también ha sido un crítico de Caracas).&nbsp;El dúo&nbsp;andino ha procurado que el resto de los miembros del Grupo adopten una postura rupturista con Caracas a pesar de no ser eso lo que esperan, por ejemplo:</p><ul><li>- los sectores más realistas y cautelosos en Estados Unidos,</li><li>- los diplomáticos de las principales naciones de la Unión Europea</li><li>- o mandatarios latinoamericanos de peso, quienes sin duda están seriamente inquietos por lo que sucede en Caracas.</li></ul> <p>La&nbsp;<a href="https://www.gob.pe/institucion/rree/noticias/24270-declaracion-del-grupo-de-lima">declaración</a>&nbsp;del Grupo de Lima del pasado 4 de enero —que México no suscribió a pesar de haber participado en los diálogos— instó a Maduro a no posesionarse de nuevo y dispuso “reevaluar” el estado de las relaciones diplomáticas con Venezuela.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">&nbsp;Perú y Colombia han procurado que el resto de los miembros del Grupo de Lima adopten una postura rupturista con Caracas&nbsp;</p><p>Además, el texto incluyó un conjunto de exigencias y demandas que dejan la sensación de haberse escrito en función de pedidos específicos de algunos de los 13 países firmantes en una suerte de árbol de navidad al cual cada uno fue colgando sus reclamos y preferencias.</p> <p>Es posible hacer un paralelo entre el Grupo de Lima y el Grupo de Contadora, una iniciativa que surgió en 1983 para promover la paz en Centroamérica. Una diferencia importante entre ambos es que el primero converge notoriamente en lo formal —las prácticas— y disiente disimuladamente en lo sustancial —los principios—; mientras que el segundo —aún con gobiernos de distinto signo ideológico— operaba de un modo más homogéneo en lo formal y sustancial.</p> <p>Si se espera un relativo éxito en las acciones diplomáticas ante asuntos tan complicados, es necesario que principios y prácticas vayan de la mano.</p> <h3>Ojo por ojo</h3> <p>Ahora bien, la respuesta inmediata de Caracas frente a lo expresado desde Lima fue, obviamente, negativa y sugiriendo—sin aclarar mucho—que el gobierno respondería “a la luz del principio de reciprocidad”.</p> <p>Todo indica que se entrará en una lógica del “<em>tit for tat</em>” (en clave anglosajona) u “ojo por ojo” (según la ley bíblica).</p><p class="mag-quote-center">El caso de Venezuela es un asunto internacional que involucra a potencias como China y Rusia y que debe analizarse en el marco de una trama geopolítica regional y global</p> <p>En este contexto, la presidencia y la cancillería en Bogotá pueden utilizar, incluso con cierta razón, todos los términos que crean pertinentes para descalificar al gobierno venezolano; pero no hay que pensar que ello constituye una política exterior. La diatriba puede tener algún efecto interno, pero ello no significa que se disponga de una estrategia de mediano y largo plazo para lidiar con Venezuela.</p> <p>Lo que sucede en ese país hace tiempo que no es una cuestión nacional, regional o continental. El caso de Venezuela es un asunto internacional que involucra a potencias como China y Rusia y que debe analizarse en el marco de una trama geopolítica regional y global muy inestable y agresiva.</p> <h3>¿Estamos ante una Cuba II?</h3> <p>Un componente importante de esa trama geopolítica es la constante comparación de Venezuela con Cuba. Pero hay que tener en cuenta:</p> <ul> <li>- Maduro no es Fidel Castro, ni la desastrosa Revolución Bolivariana tiene el atractivo que supo tener en sus inicios la Revolución Cubana.</li> <li>- Además, la economía cubana se sustentaba —y aún lo hace— en el azúcar, mientras Venezuela es una potencia en petróleo, gas, bauxita, titanio y níquel, todos recursos estratégicos que son fuente de intereses múltiples y conflictivos.</li> <li>- En Cuba hubo un sólido control jerárquico del Partido Comunista y un éxodo masivo de opositores; en Venezuela hay fuerzas políticas dispersas que controlan porciones del Estado ante una oposición muy fragmentada y una diáspora en dramático aumento.</li></ul><p class="mag-quote-center">&nbsp;Venezuela se ha fortificado en el campo militar y ha reforzado en ese terreno su vínculo con Rusia</p> <p>A pesar de estas diferencias, hay una similitud entre La Habana y Caracas. Cuba era débil militarmente y recurrió a la Unión Soviética para su propia protección y para provocar a Washington. Venezuela se ha fortificado en el campo militar y ha reforzado en ese terreno su vínculo con una Rusia dispuesta a ocasionarle dolores de cabeza a Estados Unidos en la región.</p> <p>Recordemos además que Cuba fue aislada política y económicamente después de la ruptura de relaciones con el continente —salvo con México— y con ello se instaló definitivamente la Guerra Fría en la región. A partir de entonces los latinoamericanos pagamos un precio exorbitante:</p> <ul> <li>- Golpes militares para evitar ensayos reformistas.</li> <li>- Violación de los derechos humanos para perpetuar regímenes autoritarios.</li> <li>- Impedimento a la implantación de modelos de desarrollo alternativos.</li> <li>- Y evidente limitación de la autonomía internacional.</li> </ul> <p>Aunque el contexto de la actual crisis venezolana sea uno muy distinto, es válido preguntarse si adoptar estrategias similares pueda tener algún efecto positivo.<span> </span></p> <h3><strong>El punto de partida</strong></h3> <p>Hoy algunos países de la región, entre ellos y especialmente Colombia, no solo quieren romper relaciones con Venezuela, sino que se suman al discurso de intervención militar de ciertos halcones—como se llama coloquialmente a los republicanos de línea dura—en Washington.</p> <p>Creo que esto sería un grave error pues solo terminaría con las ya muy maltrechas relaciones bilaterales en una coyuntura delicada para la propia Colombia, además de producirse un caos interno en Venezuela con ramificaciones en la región.</p> <p>Tal vez es tiempo de concebir otro modo de aproximarse a una situación tan compleja y contradictoria. Naturalmente, es difícil dialogar y llegar a acuerdos con una contraparte desagradable u odiosa. Sin embargo, la necesidad de negociar no resulta del altruismo sino del propio interés en el bienestar de Colombia.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">El punto de partida es reconocer que las relaciones entre Colombia y Venezuela son de mutua dependencia.&nbsp;</p><p>El punto de partida es reconocer que las relaciones entre Colombia y Venezuela son de mutua dependencia. Eso implica que, aunque existen temas espinosos, desafíos y vulnerabilidades, la relación entre ambos países también implica rasgos positivos, oportunidades y ventajas. Pero además hay que tener en cuenta:</p> <ul> <li>Una relación como esta entrelaza actores estatales y no gubernamentales, involucra fuerzas legítimas e ilegales, cubre temas inminentes y de largo plazo. Manejar la interdependencia exige maximizar lo provechoso, administrar lo difícil y neutralizar lo negativo.</li> <li>A su vez, las relaciones de interdependencia están atravesadas por movimientos regionales y mundiales. Los dos países interactúan entre sí, pero en un contexto donde distintos intereses y protagonistas pueden facilitar o entorpecer la relación bilateral.</li> <li>Las relaciones de interdependencia—por ejemplo, entre Canadá y Estados Unidos, Alemania y Francia o Brasil y Argentina—van cambiando con el tiempo. Pueden ser básicamente conflictivas o cooperativas o combinar colaboración y competencia.</li> </ul> <p>El actual vínculo entre Colombia y Venezuela ha heredado cuestiones tensas sin resolver y afronta otras nuevas que pueden aumentar las fricciones. Pero esa relación tuvo en el pasado elementos de rica convivencia y beneficios compartidos.</p> <p>Aunque en el momento sea difícil imaginarlo, las relaciones de interdependencia están abiertas a encontrar la armonía y el bienestar, no es la conflictividad permanente lo que las caracteriza.</p> <h3>¿Es posible una nueva estrategia?</h3> <p>En ese sentido, es importante combinar una doble estrategia de reducción de daños graves y de creación de puentes productivos. Por la vía de exacerbar la mirada del otro como contrincante diplomático, fuente de inestabilidad y origen de todos los males propios, acabarán tanto Bogotá como Caracas al borde de un precipicio.</p> <p>Desmantelar los esquemas existentes de trámite de las diferencias solo llevará a la sordera en ambas capitales y a un aumento de la retórica de la enemistad, algo impensado en la historia de dos países que nunca se han enfrentado militarmente.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">&nbsp;Aún es factible no entrar en el sendero incierto de la ruptura de relaciones diplomáticas con Venezuela</p> <p>Por todo lo anterior y para lidiar con Venezuela es posible concebir lo siguiente:</p> <ol><li>El gobierno colombiano debería insistir en el valor de la institucionalización. Los ejemplos mundiales e históricos reflejan que encarrilar los lazos bilaterales entre dos países en momentos críticos es más eficaz, productivo y sólido si se hace fortaleciendo o creando ámbitos institucionales. Lo contrario deteriora los vínculos, produce confusión, fomenta malentendidos y potencia el conflicto.</li><li>Colombia debe involucrarse positivamente. Cercar y rodear pues castigar a un país próximo con el cual hay una agenda variada, frágil y complicada solo alimenta las fricciones y la participación de actores externos con intereses estratégicos distintos a los nacionales. Involucrarse contribuye a pensar fórmulas de distensión, diálogo entre sociedades civiles y regenerar un mínimo nivel de confianza.</li><li>El país debería apostar al músculo diplomático. Si se hace un mal cálculo de las fuerzas militares recíprocas, Colombia se podría tentar con el uso de la coerción y correr mayores riesgos.</li><li>La discreción es esencial. La retórica centrada en la búsqueda de dividendos personales o políticos internos de corto plazo termina en resultados efímeros y disfuncionales.</li></ol> <p>En resumen, aún es factible no entrar en el sendero incierto de la ruptura de relaciones diplomáticas.</p> <p>&nbsp;****</p><p>Este artículo fue publicado previamente en Razón Pública. Lee el original <a href="https://razonpublica.org/index.php/econom-y-sociedad-temas-29/11661-como-lidiar-con-venezuela.html">aquí.</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/annette-idler-julia-zulver-juan-masullo/ver-colombia-un-acuerdo-de-paz-con-el-eln-">¿Verá Colombia un acuerdo de paz con el ELN en 2019?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/juan-gabriel-tokatlian/la-crisis-en-venezuela-es-negociable">La crisis en Venezuela, ¿es negociable?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/insight-crime/colombia-y-venezuela-hermanas-siamesas">Colombia y Venezuela, hermanas siamesas</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/phil-gunson/venezuela-ya-es-una-crisis-regional">Venezuela ya es una crisis regional</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Colombia </div> <div class="field-item even"> Venezuela </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Peru </div> <div class="field-item even"> Cuba </div> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta United States Cuba Peru Venezuela Colombia Conflict Democracy and government International politics Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Tue, 08 Jan 2019 17:44:01 +0000 Juan Gabriel Tokatlian 121236 at https://www.opendemocracy.net ¿Qué hay después del final abrupto del fin de la historia? https://www.opendemocracy.net/qu-hay-despu-s-del-final-abrupto-del-fin-de-la-historia <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="p1">El ciclo <em><a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/actividades/seis-contradicciones-fin-presente">Seis contradicciones y el fin del presente</a>&nbsp;</em>del Centro de Estudios del Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, nació evocando la urgencia de volver a imaginar un horizonte de transformación.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/AD06492_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/AD06492_1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="361" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Cildo Meireles. Serigrafía "Inserções em circuitos ideológicos: Projeto Coca-Cola". Colección Museo Nacional del Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Todos los derechos reservado</span></span></span></p><p>El futuro ya no es lo que era. No está a la altura de las expectativas. Ha perdido el brillo inspirador de aquel siglo XX cargado de utopías. Los horizontes posibles se difuminan. Los sueños acumulados de la modernidad se deshilachan. </p> <p>Desde que Francis Fukuyama decretase en 1992 <em>El fin de la historia </em>en un libro icónico que preveía un nuevo tiempo en el que las<em> </em>ideologías ya no serían necesarias, emergió un presente amniótico regido apenas por la economía global. El desplome de los gobiernos comunistas, según Fukuyama, consagraba a la democracia liberal como única alternativa.</p> <p>Y ese pensamiento único, que aplastaba los matices de todas las sublevaciones y utopías, fue construyendo un presente plano sin posibles líneas de fuga. El movimiento <em>punk </em>empezó a colocar<em> </em>a finales de los años setenta<em> </em>la cláusula <em>no future </em>en el futuro mayúsculo de la modernidad.</p> <p>Y aquel futuro siempre cognoscible, al alcance de la razón, modificable por los antojos y sueños de los hombres, fue desmoronándose bajo la melodía monocorde del neoliberalismo. <em>No future</em>, el fin de la historia, se acabaron las utopías mayúsculas.</p> <p>En las tres últimas décadas, el neoliberalismo ha transformado el presente en un tiempo fragmentado y replegado sobre sí mismo. Un presente mimetizado con las formas, espacios y subjetividades del capital. Un presente bloqueado, partido, habitado por sujetos sociales dispersos,&nbsp; incapaces de imaginar.</p> <p>"La técnica se ha revelado una divinidad despótica, que anula el futuro, transformando el tiempo en repetición, ilimitada generación de fragmentos idénticos", escribió Franco Berardi BIFO en <em>Después del futuro</em>.&nbsp;</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">¿Qué hay después del final abrupto del fin de la historia? Si no existe el futuro, ¿qué emergerá tras el fin del presente?</p> <p>La llegada de la crisis financiera global de 2008 supuso una interrupción del fin de la historia. La brutalidad de la crisis cuestionaba de lleno el pensamiento único y la infalibilidad de la economía. La disminución del bien estar, el aumento de las desigualdades y la escalada de tensiones en todas las regiones del mundo tumban de facto el mito de la eficiencia neoliberal.</p> <p>Durante la última década, el estruendo del desplome del capitalismo de dirección única se ha hecho ensordecedor. Tanto que el mismísimo Francis Fuyuyama <a href="https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/observations/2018/10/francis-fukuyama-interview-socialism-ought-come-back">se arrepiente</a> de sus tesis pretéritas y denuncia la incapacidad del neoliberalismo de regir el mundo: "Este periodo prolongado, que empezó con Reagan y Thatcher, en el cual se puso en marcha un set de ideas sobre los beneficios de la desregulación de los mercados, ha tenido un desastroso efecto en muchos sentidos (...)".</p> <p>¿Qué hay después del final abrupto del fin de la historia? Si no existe el futuro, ¿qué emergerá tras el fin del presente?</p> <h3><strong>Contradicciones propositivas</strong></h3> <p><span>El ciclo&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/actividades/seis-contradicciones-fin-presente" target="_blank"><em>Seis contradicciones y el fin del presente</em></a><span>, ideado por Carlos Prieto y Chema González del Centro de Estudios del Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, nació evocando la urgencia de volver a imaginar un horizonte de transformación.</span>, nació evocando la urgencia de volver a imaginar un horizonte de transformación. Y por eso llegó de la mano del Grupo de Estudios Críticos (GEC), una interfaz interdisciplinar para agitar el ciclo, una espacio colectivo de pensamiento, creación y acción.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Pensamiento a ras de suelo, procesado de forma colectiva, cocinado en red, multiplicado y adaptado al territorio del sistema-mundo&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Cada sesión, protagonizada por ponentes de prestigio internacional, se arropa con un repertorio de lecturas críticas, debates, conferencias, producción colaborativa de contenido, proyecciones de películas, encuentros con movimientos sociales...&nbsp;</p> <p>Pensamiento a ras de suelo, procesado de forma colectiva, cocinado en red, multiplicado y adaptado al territorio del sistema-mundo.&nbsp;</p> <p>¿Cómo empezar a imaginar un futuro para este presente despedazado por la precariedad y la dictadura de los algoritmos opacos de las máquinas? ¿Qué inspiraciones pueden nacer en un marco artístico como el Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía? ¿Cómo hilvanar una red de utopías mínimas para habitar un tiempo donde, como auguran algunos, están volviendo los monstruos de la Europa de entreguerras?</p> <p>La fotografía <a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/coleccion/obra/st-serie-punk-7">S/T</a>, de la <em>Serie Punk</em> de Salvador Costa expuesta en la colección 3 del museo, <em>De la revuelta a la posmodernidad</em> (1962-1982), muestra un cuarto de baño con un retrete sucio y revistas esparcidas.</p> <p>Una fotografía contradictoria, compuesta con portadas habitadas por cuerpos con pulsión de vida y un retrete con excrementos como metáfora de muerte. Mao Tse Tung consideraba que no todas las contradicciones eran antagonistas. Y que en la lucha de contrarios surge movimiento, creación y solución: "Los contrarios en una contradicción forman una unidad a la vez que luchan entre sí, lo cual impulsa el movimiento y el cambio de las cosas".&nbsp;</p> <p>La sociólogo boliviana Silvia Rivera Cusicanqu, en su ensayo <em>Un mundo ch’ixi es posible</em> alerta sobre los problemas inherentes a cualquier síntesis y aboga por habitar la contradicción: “Es necesario trabajar <em>dentro</em> de la contradicción, haciendo de su polaridad el espacio de creación de un tejido intermedio (taypi), una trama que no es ni lo uno ni lo otro, sino todo lo contrario, es ambos a la vez”.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Asumimos la contradicción como espacio de oportunidad</p> <p>Aludiendo a <em>17 contradicciones y el fin del capitalismo</em> (2014) de David Harvey, asumimos la contradicción como espacio de oportunidad. El ciclo <em>Seis contradicciones y el fin del presente</em> hace suya la metodología de Harvey y emplea el recurso de la contradicción para romper con el tiempo constante y homogéneo de la contemporaneidad neoliberal.</p> <p>Desde el GEC entendemos que para auscultar posibilidades en un mundo asfixiado por la prolongación <em>ad infinitum</em> del <em>no future</em> no sirven los mapas previos. Como el futuro ha dejado de ser sinónimo de utopía, intentamos desentrañar las complejidades, pliegues y resistencias de nuestro tiempo a partir de las propias contradicciones del neoliberalismo.</p> <p>Y de las brechas de oportunidades que surgen en esas contradicciones. ¿Qué presentes, qué futuros, qué colectividades, qué imaginaciones, qué afectos nos insinúa el ciclo <em>Seis contradicciones y el fin del presente</em>?</p> <p>¿Qué lecciones extraemos de este incipiente ciclo?</p> <h3><strong>Inventario de lecciones</strong>&nbsp;</h3> <h3><strong>Lección 1: Abrir los ojos a la magnitud del espionaje digital</strong><em>&nbsp;</em></h3> <p>La obra de Nancy Spero forma parte de la exposición de <a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/coleccion/sala/sala-10402">Guerra y Memoria,</a> que se puede visitar en la sala 104.2 del Museo Reina Sofía, junto con las obras del que fue su marido Leon Golub. Sus obras recogen su compromiso político contra la guerra de Vietnam, que en el caso de Spero cuentan también con una dimensión feminista, destacando el carácter fálico del imperialismo que anima la destrucción bélica.</p> <p>En <a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/coleccion/obra/search-and-destroy-busca-destruye"><em>Search and Destroy</em> </a>(1977) recoge una expresión del argot militar que expresa la lógica robótica y alienante de la racionalidad orientada a la imposición del poder.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">El capitalismo digital nos trae nuevos sistemas de gobierno basados en el análisis masivo de datos, lo que otorga a las corporaciones tecnológicas el poder de controlar la economía e incluso la democracia</p><p>En la conferencia y la sesión <a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/actividades/seis-contradicciones-fin-presente/evgeny-morozov">El capitalismo digital y sus descontentos</a><em> </em>de Evgeny Morozov aprendimos que, en la era del capitalismo digital, el poder del imperialismo se impone por medio de la lógica impersonal de los algoritmos.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/AD06637.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/AD06637.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="308" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Nancy Spero. "Helicóptero y payaso" , de la "Serie de la guerra". Tinta y gouache sobre papel. Colección Museo Nacional del Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Todos los derechos reservados.</span></span></span></p> <p>A su modo, estos algoritmos están también diseñados para “buscar y destruir”, es decir, para explorar sistemáticamente formas de acumular más poder.</p> <p>Así, el capitalismo digital nos trae nuevos sistemas de gobierno basados en el análisis masivo de datos, lo que otorga a las corporaciones tecnológicas el poder de controlar la economía e incluso la democracia. Solo <a href="http://www.gec-madrid.org/2018/03/25/el-capitalismo-digital-y-sus-descontentos/">tomando conciencia de la verdadera magnitud del problema</a> podremos atrevernos a pensar formas audaces para hacerle frente.</p> <h3><strong>Lección 2:<em> </em>La necesidad de subversión</strong></h3> <p>El artista brasileño Cildo Meirelles estampó en 1975 billetes del banco central de Brasil la pregunta “QUEM MATOU HERZOG?”, en referencia al periodista Vladimir Herzog, asesinado ese mismo año por la dictadura militar.</p> <p>La acción, parte del proyecto <a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/coleccion/obra/insercoes-em-circuitos-ideologicos-2-projeto-cedula-inserciones-circuitos-ideologicos">Inserções em circuitos ideológicos. Projeto Cédula</a><em>, </em>exhibido de la <em>Colección 3</em> del museo, consolidaba un objeto inacabado, eternamente modificable. Y mostraba una subversiva forma D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) de burlar la censura.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Las redes digitales están modificando profundamente lo que denomina la “infoesfera sensitiva”</p> <p>Franco Berardi Bifo, durante la conferencia de su sesión <a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/actividades/seis-contradicciones-fin-presente/franco-berardi-bifo">Subversión o barbarie. El fin del mundo tal y como lo conocemos</a>, planteó una pregunta clave: ¿podemos transformar nuestro pensamiento crítico en memética mitológica?</p> <p>Bifo escudriña cómo las señales y los estímulos de la híper producción semiótica de las redes digitales están modificando profundamente lo que denomina la “infoesfera sensitiva”. En su pregunta estaba implícita la respuesta: es posible.</p> <p>La posibilidad de introducir mensajes y estímulos cargados de pensamiento crítico en la citada infoesfera digital configura una indiscutible y radicalmente nueva <a href="http://www.gec-madrid.org/2018/05/24/subversion-o-barbarie-reflexiones-a-proposito-del-pensamiento-de-franco-berardi-bifo-parte-i/">subversión.</a>&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <h3><strong>Lección 3:<em> </em>Nuevas narrativas y cooperativismo<em> </em></strong></h3> <p>La barcelonesa Colita (Isabel Steva Hernández), fotógrafa y del movimiento feminista español, reflejó en <a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/coleccion/obra/obrera-trabajo-o-faena"><em>Obreras. Trabajo o Faena</em></a> los cuerpos femeninos fuera de la norma, del hogar e insertos en las fábricas.</p> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/AD06430_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/AD06430_1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="459" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Fotografía de Colita, serie "Antiféminas", 1976. Clorobromuro de plata virado al oro sobre papel. Colección Museo Arte Reina Sofía. Todos los derechos reservados.</span></span></span></p><p>La colección forma parte de su serie <em>Antiféminas</em>, expuesta en la sala 001.10 del Museo, en la que reflexiona sobre la construcción social de la mujer, muy influenciada por <em>El Segundo Sexo</em> de Beauvoir.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">El capitalismo digital invisibiliza a escala global la explotación laboral, de los recursos naturales y de los propios usuarios</p> <p>En su obra aparecen aquellos cuerpos y personalidades disidentes expulsados del espacio público, del relato histórico y encarnados en mujeres mayores, obreras y prostitutas. Las trabajadoras industriales, explotadas económica, personal y políticamente, eran el eslabón invisible de la cadena de montaje del capitalismo español en 1976.</p> <p>En 2018, el capitalismo digital invisibiliza a escala global la explotación laboral, de los recursos naturales y de los propios usuarios a través de sus datos y su trabajo no remunerado.</p> <p><a href="http://www.gec-madrid.org/2018/09/13/analisis-y-comentarios-de-los-textos-de-tiziana-terranova/">Tiziana Terranova</a> abrió su conferencia dentro de la sesión <a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/actividades/seis-contradicciones-fin-presente/scholz-terranova"><em>Sobrexplotados en infrapagados: Trabajo gratis, precariedad y creación</em></a> con la infografía <em>Anatomy of an AI System</em> de Kate Crawford y Vladan Joler que refleja la invisible cadena de explotación de <a href="http://www.gec-madrid.org/2018/09/21/desnudando-a-alexa/">Alexa</a>, el altavoz inteligente de Amazon. Y planteaba la necesidad de incorporar la acción social subversiva a estos mapas y de crear nuevas ficciones y una nueva subjetividad de la cooperación.</p><p>En esta línea, el cooperativismo de plataformas propuesto por Trebor Scholz en la misma sesión, plantea <a href="http://www.gec-madrid.org/2018/09/30/sobreexplotados-e-infrapagados-resumen-de-contenidos/">una alternativa</a> basada en la gobernanza democrática, el co-diseño, la programación de código abierto y la propiedad colectiva.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h3><strong>Lección 4: </strong><strong>El valor del eco-feminismo antirracista</strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong></h3> <p><a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/obra-destacada/lygia-pape"><em>Livro da Criação</em></a>, de la artista brasileña Lygia Pape, es una obra&nbsp; que habla tanto del origen de la tierra como del proceso de creación de cualquier pieza. Es un objeto sencillo, artesanal, que convierte a cada espectador en el eje central de la obra.</p> <p>La narración abandona las palabras y se recoge sensorialmente transformando la experiencia en una obra única para cada persona. Y, a la vez, colectiva, en cuanto a que crece con cada cuerpo que interactúa con ella. <em>Livro da Criaçao</em> se convierte así en una obra abierta construida por un público diverso y universal.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Existe la necesidad de desplazar el centro de las narraciones androcéntricas y eurocéntricas hacia sujetos universales diversos</p> <p>&nbsp;El trabajo de Lygia Pape conecta con la perspectiva de Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor y Yayo Herrero, desarrollada en la sesión <a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/actividades/seis-contradicciones-fin-presente/yamahtta-herrero"><em>Racialidad y cuidados en la disputa por otras vidas</em></a><em>,</em> en cuanto a la necesidad de desplazar el centro de las narraciones androcéntricas y eurocéntricas hacia sujetos universales diversos.</p> <p>Construir un relato colectivo que además reconozca nuestra ecodependencia y el valor de los trabajos invisibles para el mercado. En concreto, Taylor proponía centrar el relato en las mujeres negras, en la línea del manifiesto del <em>Colectivo Combahee River</em>.</p> <p>Si se desplaza al sujeto privilegiado del centro y se pelea en común por el colectivo más oprimido, toda la sociedad avanzará en derechos.</p><h3><strong>Lección 5: Recuperar el futuro, imaginar el postcapitalismo</strong></h3> <p>Antiguamente los libros se vendían <em>intonsos</em>, es decir, con las páginas unidas por el borde, de modo que su primer lector tuviera que separarlas según fuera descubriéndolas.</p> <p>En la obra <a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/coleccion/obra/intonsos"><em>Intonsos</em></a> de Javier Velasco se exponen ejemplares intonsos de <em>El Capital</em> de Marx, <em>La República</em> de Platón y <em>Utopía</em> de Tomas Moro, tres textos clásicos que nos hablan de crear una sociedad mejor y más justa.</p> <p>El futuro es también como un libro intonso, un guión que tenemos que recorrer sin saber qué nos depara la siguiente página. En su obra, Velasco atraviesa cada libro con una lámina de cristal, simbolizando el presente que separa el pasado del futuro, abriéndonos a la creación de nuevas realidades.</p> <p>Recuperar el futuro y pensar una salida a la aplastante mecanicidad del capitalismo es también la propuesta que nos sugirió Paul Mason en sus sesiones sobre <a href="https://www.museoreinasofia.es/actividades/seis-contradicciones-fin-presente/paul-manson"><em>Postcapitalismo: guía para la política del futuro que ya está aquí</em></a>.</p> <p><span class="mag-quote-center"><span>Imaginar el postcapitalismo es la condición necesaria para avanzar hacia una sociedad más igualitaria</span></span></p><p>Con Mason aprendimos que imaginar mundos posibles no es escapismo, al menos cuando lo hacemos desde la comprensión de las lógicas que nos han traído hacia la situación presente.</p> <p>Así, <a href="http://www.gec-madrid.org/2018/12/04/conclusiones-la-propuesta-del-postcapitalismo-de-mason/">imaginar el postcapitalismo</a> es la condición necesaria para avanzar hacia una sociedad más igualitaria, basada en la abundancia, el desarrollo cultura y la búsqueda de sentido vital más allá de la competición.</p> <p>Una sociedad en la que, gracias a una organización más razonable de los recursos, podamos cambiar el rumbo destructivo del capitalismo y hacer frente a los retos del futuro.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/paul-mason/una-nueva-trinchera-en-la-batalla-contra-el-neoliberalismo">Una nueva trinchera en la batalla contra el neoliberalismo</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/paul-mason/qu-clase-de-capitalismo-se-puede-construir-desde-la-izquierda">¿Qué clase de capitalismo se puede construir desde la izquierda?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/riccardo-mastini/el-decrecimiento-como-utop-concreta">El decrecimiento como utopía concreta</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/jeremy-lent/sapiens-homo-deus-12-lecciones-y-las-ficciones-inconfesadas-de-yuval-h">Sapiens, Homo Deus, 21 Lecciones, y las ficciones inconfesadas de Yuval Harari</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/jeremy-lent/necesitamos-una-civilizaci-n-ecol-gica-antes-de-que-sea-demasiado-tard">Necesitamos una civilización ecológica antes de que sea demasiado tarde</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> <div class="field-item even"> UK </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> <div class="field-item even"> Brazil </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> <div class="field-item even"> Internet </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Science </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Brazil Spain UK United States Conflict Culture Democracy and government Economics Equality Ideas International politics Internet Science Javier de Rivera Carmen Haro Bernardo Gutiérrez Tue, 08 Jan 2019 14:02:31 +0000 Bernardo Gutiérrez, Carmen Haro and Javier de Rivera 121227 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Democracy is facing strong headwinds in 2019 https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases/democracy-is-facing-strong-headwinds-in-2019 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Jair Bolsonaro’s inauguration as president of Brazil marks the beginning of the political year. The redrawing of the world order currently under way is increasingly adverse to democracy.<em><strong> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases/empieza-el-2019-soplan-vientos-contrarios-para-la-democr">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/DsCMD1bXcAInIHe_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/DsCMD1bXcAInIHe_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="316" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><p>2018 confirmed the trend: liberal democracy is weakening throughout the globe. Latin America is no exception.</p> <p>The wave of deterioration and setbacks that has been gathering momentum over the last year has taken place in an international and geopolitical context that has undergone a great deal of change, the pace of which quickened as a result of the 2008 recession. Its social and political consequences constitute a dire scenario for the deepening and strengthening of Western democracies. </p> <p>Different sorts of populism have mushroomed here and there in recent years. A simplifying discourse, endorsing the discredit of the institutions and the elites, and including, as a sinister side to it, an authoritarian bias, is an attractive proposition for many citizens who feel vulnerable, insecure. They are afraid of a future where their national identities wither away and their jobs disappear.</p> <p>Authoritarian nationalism led by heavy-handed men appears to be the privileged prescription against distrust and fear. We have seen it happening in Russia, Turkey, The Philippines, and even in India, where Narendra Modi, after suffering a setback at the recent regional elections, is now preparing for re-election by adopting populist measures.</p><h3>A sharp decline of US democracy</h3> <p>Donald Trump, however, still remains the biggest concern as far as the international order is concerned. For decades, the US has been the guarantor of multilateralism and the world champion of freedom. Despite its biased, sometimes arrogant and even violent behaviour in defending its national interests, including dictatorships when necessary, the Pax Americana imposed a liberal world order which, in many cases, has actually favoured the spread of democracy in a globalized, open economy world. </p> <p>Guantanamo and the Iraq war were precedents of democratic values degradation, but the current phase of impulsive, erratic leadership, combined with militant exceptionalism, has triggered a sharp corrosion of the US’s own democracy, and at the same time has unleashed trade wars which foreshadow not only a financially difficult forthcoming year (low growth forecasts for 2019, to say the least), but also politically highly unstable, with profound disagreements on fundamental issues (global security, migration, climate change).</p> <p>The dark Russian plot which helped him win the presidential election weighs heavily on Trump. This is a very serious concern indeed, which not only delegitimizes him, but also puts him on the defensive. A consequence of this is the unprecedented volatility of the people in positions of trust at the White House. In addition, Trump's "America first" doctrine has unleashed tensions with both rivals and allies, indistinctly.</p> <p>The US withdrawal from a number of critical joint-action consensus points on the international agenda is proving catastrophic. See the denunciation of the Paris agreements on climate change, or of the nuclear agreement with Iran. </p> <p>Contempt for the traditional allies, the return of the arms race, the alignment with Israeli policy on the Middle East, and the connivance with the Saudi monarchy despite the Khashoggi case and the war in Yemen are further examples. And the (intended) abrupt pulling out from Syria would leave the region in the hands of Russia and its allies, Iran and Turkey. In all, a bleak and disconcerting picture which the surprising (and positive) distension with North Korea does not compensate.</p> <h3><strong>Internal degradation</strong></h3> <p>But the domestic decline of US democracy is also quite obvious. As a result of the country’s most extreme polarization ever, we have witnessed a practically total absence of consensus on State matters, the practical disappearance of bipartisanship, and a no-concessions takeover of the regulators, including the Supreme Court.</p> <p>The systematic, irresponsible use of a Twitter account beyond diplomatic or Pentagon control, quite often laden with lies and visceral reactions, only exacerbates existing tensions. At the same time, the continuous attacks on the free press hasten the collapse of truth, already shattered and ravaged in the social media, and in so doing contribute to the blowing up of a fundamental pillar of democratic society.</p> <p>And the situation will probably worsen in 2019, prior to getting better.</p> <p>The president is cornered by investigations on sex, lies and videotapes that go beyond the meddling of the Kremlin, and Congress is now in the hands of the opposition. The democrats, most likely, will start impeachment proceedings that, although they will finally collapse in the Senate, will probably put the current administration in serious difficulties.</p> <p>A deterioration of the economic environment is to be added to the instability and unpredictability in place in Washington. After a strong upward cycle brought about by tax reductions and a number of concessions to big lobbies and billionaire friends, including the dismantling of some of the (faint) market regulations established after the 2007-2008 crash, a rise in interest rates and financial destabilization are being anticipated.</p> <h3><strong>Uncertainty in Europe, and the geopolitical context</strong></h3> <p>To the extent that the US has ceased to be a model of democracy, concern in Europe is apparent. The Brexit chaos (even though, in my opinion, the British will avoid throwing themselves off the cliff at the eleventh hour) represents a very severe blow to the common European project, which, nonetheless, remains standing.</p> <p>This is perhaps the best piece of news. Although the European elections in May will see a significant increase of the presence of populists and nationalists in the European Parliament, especially of the emerging far right spectrum, the centrist bloc will continue to constitute the majority of the chamber and will surely work to strengthen European citizenship and ensure peace and (some) prosperity. </p> <p>Yet the far right’s entry into some European governments, the anti-immigration and anti-European populist coalition in Italy, or the unexpected rise of VOX far-right party in Spain, are taking place in a particularly unhelpful geopolitical context.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Europe, no longer enjoying US protection and bearing the brunt of British reluctance, must find its own way with greater resolve in 2019.</p> <p>The other global power blocs in what is now, decidedly, a multipolar world - the US, China and, to a lesser extent, Russia (which has a keen interest in destabilizing the European Union and embraces the emulators of its illiberal democracy - Hungary, Poland...) -, do not guarantee any more the stability of the multilateral order inherited from the Second World War and the ensuing Cold War. Europe, no longer enjoying US protection and bearing the brunt of British reluctance, must find its own way with greater resolve in 2019.</p> <p>Facing a potentially serious downturn in the coming year, it is anybody’s guess what capacity to provide agreed solutions the leaders of China and the US, entangled as they are in a trade war, will have, considering moreover the fact that some prominent members of the G20 such as Brazil, Mexico or Italy are now governed by populists.</p> <p>Donald Trump’s attitude at the last G7 was downright insulting, and after the very mediocre results of the 2018 meeting organized by Argentina (now yet again ruined and intervened by the IMF), the prospects of reaching positive agreements in the next G20, which Japan will host in 2019, are to say the least scarce.</p> <h3><strong>¿And what about Latin America?</strong></h3> <p>In this adverse scenario, but in a peripheral situation that could stave off some discomfort, what are the prospects for Latin America in 2019?</p> <p>The 2018 intense electoral cycle brought some substantial changes. The election results in Colombia produced a shift further to the right, thus weakening crucial aspects of the implementation of the 2016 historic peace agreements with the FARC. In Mexico and, especially, in Brazil, the election produced uncertain perspectives, albeit of an opposite sign.</p> <p>In May, Nicolás Maduro's reelection in Venezuela took place with little guarantees and in a very difficult context, in which the country’s deepening economic and political crisis generated a humanitarian and migratory crisis never seen before in the region, to the point that the Lima Group met last week to ask Maduro not to take office this month.</p> <p>With inflation hitting the 1.000.000% mark and a sharp drop in oil prices in the last few months, the prospects for 2019 are even gloomier. The vital questions seem to be: How much more suffering is the Chavista regime willing to inflict on the population for the sake of staying in power? How much more Russian support, Chinese credit and Cuban solidarity could it hope to get?</p> <p>The deadlock in Venezuela has been followed by a relatively unexpected yet very deep crisis in Nicaragua. Ortega has unveiled the most horrific face of its regime, which seems interested in doing away with any remnants of democracy, and using repression as the only political response to the malaise of the population, some of which has already decided to flee to the North before it is too late.</p> <p>The unvailing migration crisis was evident in the caravans heading North from Honduras, a repressive regime backed by the Unites States. Also some caravans left El Salvador and, to a lesser extent, Guatemala, yet all of them prompted Latin Americans’ solidarity in their wake.</p> <p>For his part, López Obrador, whose victory at the elections was at the same time overwhelming and hopeful for many Mexicans, shows populist vigour in some of his proposed measures (i.e., debatable plebiscites and a substantive reduction of the salaries of senior officials, starting with his own), but he has so far proven cautious with Uncle Sam. </p> <p>AMLO is willing to avoid confrontation, both on immigration and economic issues. The Mexican president is well aware of his country’s huge dependence on the economic behemoth of the North. Along with a prudent fiscal policy, the unforeseen swift signing of a new free trade agreement will prove essential to carry out the ambitious internal reforms he has promised.</p> <p>If AMLO, true to his leftist background and strong popular support, is able to improve some key aspects of Mexican public life (corruption, security) and govern for the sake of all its citizens and not for that of the privileged classes, as has been the case in the last decades, his ambitious Fourth Transformation will start in 2019.</p> <p>But the biggest earthquake was undoubtedly the unexpected coming to power of the far-right national-populist Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, who has just taken office in January and whose first steps as president are marking the worrying direction of a highly polarized country.</p> <p>The major concern now in Brazil is not so much the economy, but how the divisive "Us vs.Them" politics is going to translate into practice, and whether the alarming campaign promises are going to actually become government measures.</p> <p>Among the several factors that produced Bolsonaro’s astonishing election victory, the following should be noted: a recessive cycle the intensity of which Brazil’s economy had never known, an equally unprecedented epidemic of violence (64.000 violent deaths in 2017), huge and widespread corruption, and the wide-ranging social expenditure cuts carried out by the last governments which hit a large part of the population.</p> <p>But the Brazil’s economic cycle is nearing recovery. The liberalizing orthodoxy and the privatizing mood, faithfully in line with the University of Chicago doctrines, have created great expectations among both national and foreign investors. If and when these measures are finally approved by the structurally fragmented Brazilian Congress, they could boost an upward economic cycle, which will be cheered on by the markets, especially if the measures are accompanied by a pension reform that every economic expert and international financial regulator have been demanding for years (pensions in Brazil currently are taking more than half of the federal budget).</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The major concern in Brazil is not so much the economy, but how the divisive "Us and Them" politics is going to translate into practice, and whether the most alarming campaign promises are going to become government measures.</p> <p>The consequences on human and civil rights, on black and indigenous minorities, on the protection of the environment and the preservation of demarcations in the vast Amazon region, and on guarantees on the rightful exercise of justice and the behaviour of the police, could entail, it is feared, a quick decline of the democratic conditions that no upward economic cycle would prevent. </p> <p>Yet, like any democratically elected president, would Bolsonaro earn his 100 days of grace? We will see if and how far pragmatism prevails over rage and far-right fury.</p><h3>At the gates of fascism?</h3><p>But if the Bolsonaro government acts violently, as some expect, then we shall be close to seeing his far right populism cross the red line separating it from fascism. After all, it has all the components noted by Yale professor Jason Stanley in his recent book <em>How Fascism Works</em><em>.</em></p> <p>We are witnessing a re-creation of a mythical past (the merry "order and progress" country which was allegedly brought by the dictatorship in Brazil), and an appropriation of the flag and the fatherland. Propaganda and anti-intellectualism are advancing. Schools and universities that do not agree with the ideas of the ruler are being put under surveillance, at the same time as reality and reasoned debate are collapsing through the onslaughts on the press, the spread of hate speech in social media, and the validation of all sorts of conspiracy theories.</p> <p>To this should be added the naturalization of group differences feeding on the racism rooted in a large part of Brazilian society, which establishes as "normal" a hierarchy that defends differences between the value of one's life and the life of others and contains a sexual anxiety which imposes patriarchy and attacks diversity as "gender ideology". </p> <p>The pre-eminence, in short, of a "law and order" policy which criminalizes those who do not belong to the dominant "Us", exploits victimhood and justifies the use of violence to combat violence. In the shadow of Trumpism, and blessed by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God evangelists, Brazil could well embody the greatest reactionary threat to democracy in the region.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">These are not good news. But the situation in Europe does not resemble that of the 1930s, nor is there saber-rattling in Latin America, as in the 60s and 70s.</p> <p>These are not good news. But the situation in Europe does not resemble that of the 1930s, nor is there saber-rattling in Latin America, as in the 60s and 70s.</p> <p>2019 looks full of uncertainties or, rather, there is certainty that the end of the progressive cycle will bring increased social tension and democratic regression. But the democratic and liberal order must defend itself by combating extreme polarization, valuing the centrality of truth and informed, honest debate, and forcefully protesting but constructively denouncing each time the red lines of freedom and the democratic guarantees, which have cost so much to gain, are crossed.</p> <p>The great challenge is to build an exciting and encouraging counter-narrative, capable of breaking this spiral of negativity. To this end we will devote ourselves at democraciaAbierta in this foul 2019.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/bernardo-guti-rrez/how-to-defeat-far-right-without-mentioning-fascism">To defeat the far right means to differentiate it from historical fascism</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/mat-as-bianchi-cristian-le-n/from-political-innovation-to-democratic-resilience-in">Now what? From political innovation to democratic resilience in Latin America</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/pablo-stefanoni/anti-progressivism-ghost-that-haunts-latin-america">Anti-progressivism: a ghost that haunts Latin America</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/renata-avila/how-to-neutralize-bolsonaro-in-his-first-100-days-of-government"> How to neutralize Bolsonaro in his first 100 days of government? </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Brazil </div> <div class="field-item even"> Mexico </div> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> <div class="field-item even"> Colombia </div> <div class="field-item odd"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta EU Colombia United States Mexico Brazil Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Economics Ideas International politics Francesc Badia i Dalmases Tue, 08 Jan 2019 12:52:16 +0000 Francesc Badia i Dalmases 121225 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Prospects for Yemen in 2019 and beyond https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/helen-lackner/prospects-for-yemen-in-2019-and-beyond <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The fear and terror induced by this situation, combined with unbearable survival conditions are creating a generation of psychologically scarred people, many of whom will never be able to live normal lives.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40471273.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40471273.jpg" alt="lead lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A boy waits for the arrival of UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths at the international airport of Sanaa, Yemen, on Jan. 5, 2019. Mohammed Mohammed/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Less than a month after the signature of the Stockholm Agreement between the Huthi movement and Hadi’s internationally-recognised government, concern for its implementation grows. </p> <p>It was agreed in a rush, under international pressure, for two main reasons: first the humanitarian crisis had reached catastrophic proportions by late 2018, hitting media headlines around the world daily. Images of starving children were made more poignant by knowledge of the scale of the emergency detailed in frightening figures from the World Food Programme and other UN institutions. The issue featured regularly in UN Security Council discussions on Yemen.&nbsp; </p> <p>This extreme urgency combined with the international outrage following the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoqji in his country’s Istanbul consulate. Evidence soon emerged pointing to the direct involvement of Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), Saudi Arabia’s crown prince.&nbsp; </p> <p>The worldwide public outcry was an incentive for the US administration to put meaningful pressure on the Saudi regime to make some concessions in Yemen. Calling for a ceasefire by the end of November, senior administration officials thus also forced the UN’s Special Envoy for Yemen to accelerate preparations for a new meeting, after the failed attempt in September. After years of prevarication, caused by the influence of the leading coalition partners, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the UK finally submitted a draft UN Security Council Resolution on 19 November. <span class="mag-quote-center">After years of prevarication, caused by the influence of the leading coalition partners, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the UK finally submitted a draft UN Security Council Resolution on 19 November.</span></p> <p>Its passing was delayed thanks to the resistance of the coalition members (who acted via Kuwait which was then on the UNSC), although the draft explicitly stated that the resolution did not challenge UNSC Resolution 2216 on which President Hadi relies for his own position and the Saudis for the legitimacy of their intervention. </p> <p>The new resolution focused on the urgency of addressing the humanitarian crisis, calling for a halt to the coalition’s offensive on Hodeida and facilitating access for supplies to the areas under greatest stress and in greatest need, most of them under Huthi control. This involved both opening roads closed by military action and interrupting administrative constraints put in the way of humanitarian agencies, national and international. Given that lack of cash is a major contributor to the food emergency, the draft also called for international cash injections in the economy. </p> <h2><strong>Stockholm Agreement</strong></h2> <p>As a result of further pressures on the coalition, including discussions between UNSG Guterres and MBS during the Argentine G 20 summit, a meeting sponsored by the UN took place in early December in Sweden between Huthi and Hadi government emissaries. </p> <p>Lasting a week, assisted by the additional pressure of the presence of Guterres himself on the last day of the meeting, the parties signed what is officially called the Stockholm Agreement, consisting of 3 sections: the first a general statement, the second a brief commitment to form a committee to discuss the situation in Taiz and the third concerning the Hodeida governorate and the access to basic necessities for the country via the Red Sea ports. </p> <p>An earlier agreement on an exchange of prisoners advanced to the point where lists of 16,000 individuals were exchanged and mechanisms for its implementation agreed. The meeting failed to agree on two other major issues: the opening of Sana’a airport, a demand of the population throughout the northern part of the country [Huthi and non-Huthi controlled areas alike] and discussion of the UN Special Envoy’s ‘framework for negotiations’.</p> <p>Composed of a ceasefire in the Hodeida governorate, the withdrawal of both parties’ military forces to agreed positions and supervision by the UN of port management, the agreement also includes the payment of port revenues to the Hodeida Branch of the Central Bank of Yemen and their use for the payment of salaries. </p> <p>The vagueness and brevity of the agreement showed that insufficient preparation time simply pushes problems further down the line. The agreement thus contains built-in flaws, leaving plenty of space for multiple interpretations which, unsurprisingly, each side made to its own advantage. A Redeployment Coordination Committee of 6 members (3 from each side) chaired by the UN was set up to oversee ceasefire and redeployment, and a Dutch retired senior military officer was appointed as chair. </p> <p>Following the Stockholm agreement, a very watered down UNSC resolution (2451) was finally passed on 21 December. In addition to endorsing Stockholm, its main contribution was to authorise the Secretary General to deploy a UN team to monitor the implementation of the agreements. Among others, references to accountability for contraventions to International Humanitarian law were removed.</p> <p>Since the ceasefire came into force on 18 December, predictably, there have been multiple breaches, some more serious than others.&nbsp; </p> <p>The Huthis skilfully stage-managed the apparent handover of the port to the Coast Guard, but it was a Huthi-managed entity who took over, a model which is likely to be reproduced in future as both groups have parallel institutions. To what extent either party is able to persuade UN monitors that their apparent implementation of the agreement is genuine will largely depend on two factors: first the monitors’ actual detailed knowledge of the situation on the ground and, second, the persuasive capacity of the members of the committee and other official spokesmen (no women involved, as usual). <span class="mag-quote-center">Regardless of its weaknesses, the Stockholm agreement is a first sign of hope for 29 million Yemenis who are desperately waiting for peace.</span></p> <p>Meanwhile, regardless of its weaknesses, the Stockholm agreement is a first sign of hope for 29 million Yemenis who are desperately waiting for peace and have been surviving war for close to&nbsp; 4 years, and in particular for the 20 million who are facing ‘severe acute food insecurity’ which is UN-speak for starvation.&nbsp; </p> <p>The likelihood of peace in 2019 is extremely low: history has shown on multiple occasions that such talks are the beginning of very long and protracted processes and, at this point, there is no indication that any of the warring parties has come to the conclusion that negotiations and peace are a better option than continuing to fight in anticipation of victory, regardless of the suffering of the population.</p> <h2><strong>What future for Yemen’s children?</strong></h2> <p>However, to put the urgency in perspective, the following is a brief survey of the impact of the war and its continuation for the future of Yemen, and particularly of its children. They face a multiplicity of immediate and long-term challenges. Yemen, prior to the war the country with the highest illiteracy rate in the region, is now creating a new generation of illiterate adults, as more than 2 million children &nbsp;(a quarter of the school age population) who should be in education are not.<a href="#_ftn1">[1]</a> More than 2500 schools are unusable (16% of the total), either because they have been damaged or destroyed by military action (2/3 of cases) or because they have been closed due to lack of staff, are used as shelters for displaced people or have been taken over by the military. <span class="mag-quote-center">Yemen… is now creating a new generation of illiterate adults.</span></p> <p>In a country with limited natural resources, any successful future economic development will depend on highly educated adults able to participate in the modern economy. Better-educated people find higher paid jobs and their likelihood of unemployment is significantly lower, and are therefore less likely to join or support extremist groups. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to the generation of children who remain out of education, those schools which are actually functioning only do so in a minimal level without equipment or other basics and with staff who, in many cases, have not been paid their salaries for well over two years now. Many teachers have stopped work, seeking an income elsewhere, or simply unable to afford the transport costs. Not only is education essential for the country’s future but, even now, while children are at school, they are fa<strong>r</strong> less vulnerable to risks such as recruitment as child soldiers, child labour or, in the case of girls, early marriage.</p> <p>Leaving aside the implications for the future of Yemen of millions of uneducated adults, children are currently suffering from many immediate problems which will affect them in the post-war period. As has been amply demonstrated worldwide, low birth weight children are more vulnerable to diseases and early childhood malnutrition reduces people’s intellectual and physical abilities throughout their lives. </p> <p>As of December 2018, about 1.1 million pregnant or breast-feeding women and 1.8 million children are malnourished. Many are basically starving, as we have seen on our screens in recent months, no more than skin and bones, too weak to cry or move.As UNICEF has pointed out repeatedly throughout 2018, one child dies every 10 minutes from malnutrition. More than 7 million Yemeni children go to bed hungry every night, they are half of the 15 million people suffering severe malnutrition. &nbsp;</p> <p>All the malnourished children who survive will suffer varying levels of physical and intellectual incapacitation throughout their lives, simply because of early age malnutrition due to the war. More than 6, 700 children have been killed or severely wounded, 85, 000 children are estimated to have died of hunger, directly or indirectly. </p> <p>Close to 1.5 million children have been displaced, millions more are suffering from the trauma resulting from proximity to war zones, including the many active fronts, but also fearing attacks by drones, air strikes and other terrifying events which can happen anywhere in the country suddenly out of clear skies, day or night.&nbsp; </p> <p>The fear and terror induced by this situation, combined with increasingly difficult, not to say, unbearable, living (or more accurately, survival) conditions are creating a generation of psychologically scarred people, many of whom will never be able to live normal lives. UNICEF and other organisations are providing training to teachers and others in psycho-social support, but at best it can merely alleviate the problem and help victims cope with their trauma. It cannot solve the deep psychological impact of living for years under war conditions and with complete uncertainty about present and future. </p> <p>We have not even mentioned here the issue of child soldiers; in an environment where there are no jobs, where families are desperate and adults [when ‘employed’] have not been paid, joining a militia or other military organisation features as a positive option for boys from an early age. </p> <p>The official figure of 2700 child soldiers is probably an under-estimate, as for many desperate families their sons’ involvement with the military is the only possible source income in desperate conditions where prices have doubled and incomes disappeared. Not only are child soldiers used by the Yemeni warring factions, but it appears that the coalition is also importing child fighters from Sudan.<a href="#_ftn2">[2]</a> Notwithstanding this reality, efforts to implement the Action Plan to end use and recruitment of child soldiers by armed forces are important.<a href="#_ftn3">[3]</a> <span class="mag-quote-center">‘The interests of Yemeni children have hardly been taken into account in any decision-making for decades.’</span></p> <p>The cholera epidemic which was the biggest medical crisis in 2017 thankfully affected fewer people in 2018, but between January and mid-November 2018 more than 280,000 cases occurred, including 32% of them children under 5 years old.<a href="#_ftn4">[4]</a> Other diseases have also become prominent, but malnutrition alone weakens children and makes them vulnerable to suffer and die from a wide range of diseases which are insignificant to stronger children. As pointed out by UNICEF’s Geert Cappelaere last month ‘The interests of Yemeni children have hardly been taken into account in any decision-making for decades.’</p> <p>Most importantly, once this pointless and murderous war ends, the future of Yemen will depend on its children. They will inherit a country destroyed by the self-serving leaderships which have brought horrific and unprecedented levels of suffering to Yemenis, showing neither compassion nor commitment to find solutions to Yemen’s fundamental problems. If psychologically and physically scarred for life, how will they be able to re-create a better governed country able to provide adequate living standards for its people?</p> <hr size="1" /> <p><a href="#_ftnref1">[1]</a> Most of the figures in this article have been taken from the statement by Geert Cappelaere,&nbsp; UNICEF&nbsp; Regional Director for the Middle East.&nbsp; https://www.unicef.org/mena/press-releases/yemens-children-15-million-lives-scarred-and-voices-not-heard</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref2">[2]</a>&nbsp; https://www.vox.com/2018/12/30/18161667/saudi-arabia-outsourcing-yemen-war-child-soldiers</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref3">[3]</a>&nbsp; See Tweet by Relano Meritxell on 18 December 2018 about an agreement made with the internationally recognised government of Yemen</p> <p><a href="#_ftnref4">[4]</a>&nbsp; World Health Organisation data on 07 12 2018</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/helen-lackner/famine-in-yemen-long-announced-now-on-our-screens">Famine in Yemen: long announced, now on our screens </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/helen-lackner/why-can-t-united-nations-bring-peace-to-yemen">Why can’t the United Nations bring peace to Yemen?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Yemen </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North Africa, West Asia North-Africa West-Asia Yemen Conflict International politics Helen Lackner Mon, 07 Jan 2019 18:57:02 +0000 Helen Lackner 121218 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Reforma de la policía federal en México. ¿Funcionará? https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/parker-asmann/la-reforma-de-la-polic-federal-en-m-xico-funcionar <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>En México, los políticos llevan años prometiendo reformar la policía, pero ésta continúa enfrentando las mismas dificultades para lograr reducir la creciente amenaza que representa el crimen organizado. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/parker-asmann/police-reform-in-mexico-will-it-work">English</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/41665902840_963c6ef22d_z_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="321" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Miembros de la Policía Federal Mexicana, en 2018. Foto: Presidencia de la República Mexicana. Algunos derechos reservados.</span></span></span></p><p>En ausencia de reformas, la policía en México tiene serios problemas para contener el crimen organizado. Obstáculos políticos e institucionales hacen muy difícil que la administración entrante logre poner el cuerpo de policía del país en condiciones de ejercer eficazmente su función.</p> <p>Durante años, la reforma a la policía en México ha sido tema de polémica y debate. Sin embargo, poco se ha hecho para enfrentar la falta de capacitación de los agentes y apoyo adecuado, para corregir unos salarios de hambre, resolver la crónica carencia de personal y disminuir las largas jornadas de trabajo que a menudo les incapacitan para el servicio y les hace vulnerables a la corrupción y a la infiltración por parte de grupos del crimen organizado.</p> <p>El público ha tomado nota de todo ello. De todas las fuerzas de seguridad de México, la que menos confianza inspira a los ciudadanos es la policía. Solo el 6,1% de los mexicanos confía en la policía federal y solo el 4,6% confía en la policía municipal, según entrevistas realizadas a 1.200 ciudadanos en agosto de 2018 para una encuesta del Centro de Estudios Sociales y de Opinión Pública (CESOP) de la Cámara de Diputados de México.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Solo el 6,1% de los mexicanos confía en la policía federal y solo el 4,6% confía en la policía municipal</p> <p>Cerca de la mitad de los encuestados opinaba que las autoridades participaban en actividades criminales, y más del 27% opinaba que las autoridades, en general, no están cumpliendo con su labor.</p> <p>Las consecuencias de la inoperancia de la institución policial en México son complejas. Por una parte, se registraron más homicidios en 2017 que en cualquier otro año y la violencia ha alcanzado nuevas cotas en 2018. Por otra parte, el panorama de la criminalidad en el país se ha vuelto progresivamente más fragmentado - y más violento -, en parte por la controvertida “estrategia anti capos” adoptada por el gobierno consistente en capturar o asesinar a los cabecillas de las organizaciones criminales.</p> <p>Y la policía ha quedado atrapada en el fuego cruzado. En 2018, un agente de policía caía muerto cada día, casi la mitad de ellos policías municipales, según un estudio de la organización no gubernamental Causa en Común.</p> <p>En toda Latinoamérica la reforma policial es una tarea monumental que requiere, para ser efectiva, considerable respaldo político e institucional. La falta de la voluntad política imprescindible para llevar a cabo la reforma ha dejado a la policía en México en situación de peligro.</p> <p>Según Eric L. Olson, del Instituto de México del Centro Woodrow Wilson, “La policía ha sido muchas veces, y sigue siendo en algunos casos, un instrumento de la élite dominante. Esto es especialmente cierto en los ámbitos estatal y municipal, donde la policía suele estar básicamente bajo el mando y dirección de políticos y gobernadores”.</p> <p>En México, los políticos y, en particular, los gobernadores de los estados, tienen una larga tradición de corrupción y de mantener relaciones con grupos del crimen organizado, especialmente en algunas de las zonas de mayor conflicto como los estados de Veracruz, en la costa del Pacífico, y el de Tamaulipas, en la frontera con Estados Unidos, que son donde más se necesita la reforma policial.</p> <p>En opinión de Yanilda González, profesora asistente de la Universidad de Chicago, que se dedica a investigar la actividad policial en Estados Unidos y Latinoamérica, esas relaciones pueden “incidir negativamente en cualquier tipo de reforma policial que se plantee. Reformar la policía implica la pérdida por parte de algunos políticos de su capacidad de dirigirla y de manejar los recursos policiales en función de sus intereses personales”. Y, señala González, “es poco probable que los políticos accedan a alterar esta relación implementando reformas que enajenen a la policía”.</p> <p>Olson coincide en que implementar las reformas necesarias para profesionalizar la policía implicaría acabar con esa relación política. “Muchas veces los políticos y legisladores se niegan a reformar o profesionalizar el cuerpo de policía y por consiguiente lo debilitan y lo mantienen bajo su control”, agregó Olson.</p> <p>A resultas de todo esto, los agentes de policía en México han perdido mucha legitimidad, especialmente en los municipios más afectados por la presencia y actividades de grupos del crimen organizado. Los habitantes de esos municipios sienten a menudo que su seguridad y su destino está en manos de grupos criminales o de grupos armados de autodefensa que ellos mismos han formado para defender a sus comunidades, como en el estado de Michoacán.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">El plan de AMLO consiste en crear una “nueva” guardia nacional bajo control militar y destinar mayores recursos al ejército y menos a los servicios de investigación e inteligencia.</p> <p>“Cuando el Estado está ausente o no ejerce su legítima autoridad, se producen efectos secundarios, como la sustitución del Estado por organizaciones criminales”, puntualiza Olson. “En esos casos, es extraordinariamente difícil volver a meter el genio en la lámpara”.</p> <p>Por lo visto hasta la fecha de la administración del presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador y de su anunciada política de seguridad, la reforma de la policía tendrá que esperar.</p> <p>López Obrador se ha comprometido, entre otras cosas, a crear una “nueva” guardia nacional bajo control militar y a destinar mayores recursos al ejército y menos a los servicios de investigación e inteligencia. Es probable que esto posponga las reformas que la policía de México tanto necesita, a la vez que puede impedir la contención de los índices de criminalidad y violencia en el país.</p> <p>*****</p><p>Este artículo fue publicado previamente por <em>InSight Crime</em>. Lea el original <em><strong><a href="https://es.insightcrime.org/noticias/analisis/reforma-policial-mexico/">aquí</a></strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/massimo-modonesi/m-xico-grandes-esperanzas">México: grandes esperanzas</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/erick-fern-ndez-salda/m-xico-se-acab-el-ancien-r-gime">México: se acabó el &quot;ancien régime&quot;</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mexico </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Mexico Democracy and government Conflict Parker Asmann Mon, 07 Jan 2019 17:17:43 +0000 Parker Asmann 121217 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Police reform in Mexico. Will it work? https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/parker-asmann/police-reform-in-mexico-will-it-work <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Politicians and officials in Mexico have promised to reform the police for years, but the force continues to face the same struggles in curtailing the growing threat posed by organized crime. <em><strong><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/parker-asmann/la-reforma-de-la-polic-federal-en-m-xico-funcionar">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/41665902840_963c6ef22d_z.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/41665902840_963c6ef22d_z.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="321" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Federal Police in Mexico. Image: Presidencia de la República Mexicana. Flikr. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Various obstacles have prevented real police reform from happening in Mexico. Officers lack adequate training and support, receive dismal salaries, and must work long hours because of understaffing - all of which hampers their ability to fulfill their duties. At worst, these difficulties make officers highly susceptible to corruption and infiltration from organized crime groups.</p> <p>The public has taken note. Out of all of Mexico’s security forces, citizens have the least confidence in the police. Just 6.1% of them have confidence in the federal police, while only 4.6% are confident in the municipal police, according to interviews with 1.200 citizens for an August 2018 survey conducted by the Social Studies and Public Opinion Center (CESOP) of Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies.</p> <p>Almost half of respondents said authorities were likely taking part in criminal activities, and over 27% felt that authorities were not adequately performing their duties overall.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Just 6.1% of Mexicans have confidence in the federal police</p> <p>The consequences of the ineffectiveness of Mexico’s police force are complex. In part, the country saw more homicides in 2017 than any other year on record, and violence has reached new heights in&nbsp; 2018. The country’s criminal landscape has also grown increasingly fragmented - and more violent - due to the government’s controversial “kingpin strategy”, which consists of arresting or killing the leaders of criminal organizations.</p> <p>Yet these high-profile arrests haven’t made the job any safer for the police. One officer has been killed every day in 2018, almost half of which were municipal police, according to a study by the non-governmental organization Common Cause.</p> <p>Police reform in Mexico is a monumental task that requires considerable institutional and political support, but the country’s politicians have so far shown little will to take action, as they benefit from the status quo.</p> <p>According to Eric Olson, a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, “The police have often been and in some cases continue to be an arm of the ruling elite. This is particularly true at the State and municipal levels, where the police are often still directed primarily by politicians and governors”.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Police reform in Mexico is a monumental task that requires considerable institutional and political support, but the country’s politicians have so far shown little will to take action</p><p>In Mexico, politicians, and in particular governors, have a long history of corruption and of having links to organized crime groups in some of the country’s most embattled States, such as Veracruz along the Pacific coast, and Tamaulipas along the US-Mexico border. These are also the places where police reform is needed most.</p> <p>These links can “in part militate against any kind of police reform”, says Yanilda González, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago who has conducted research on policing across the United States and Latin America. “Police reform in some ways makes politicians lose their ability to direct the police and police resources in a way that serves their own interests”, &nbsp;she explains. “Politicians are unlikely to disturb this relationship by enacting reforms that would alienate the police”.</p> <p>Olson agrees, saying that “politicians and policymakers often don’t want to reform or professionalize the police force, and therefore weaken it and keep it under their control.”</p> <p>As a result, Mexico’s police officers have lost much of their legitimacy, especially in municipalities hit hard by the presence and activities of organized crime groups. Citizens often view their safety and destiny as being in the hands of violent criminals or well-armed self-defense groups that have formed to defend their communities, such as in the state of Michoacán. These self-defense groups, however, come with their own problems.</p> <p>“When the State is absent or fails to exercise its legitimate authority, secondary impacts occur, such as criminal organizations replacing or substituting the State”, Olson says. “In these cases, it’s extraordinarily difficult to put the genie back in the bottle”.</p> <p>&nbsp;From what we have seen so far from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his administration’s security policy, police reform in Mexico will have to wait.</p> <p>López Obrador has, among other things, pledged to create a “new” national guard under military control, and allocate more resources to the army and less to other security services. This will likely put off the reforms that Mexico’s police so desperately need while potentially preventing authorities from achieving any long-term reduction of crime and violence.</p><p>***</p> <p>This article was previously published by <em>InSight Crime</em>. Read the original<em><strong> <a href="https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/police-reform-mexico/">here</a></strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/guillermo-trejo/mexico-2018-will-regime-change-be-possible">Mexico 2018: end of an era and regime change?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mexico </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Mexico Democracy and government Conflict Parker Asmann Mon, 07 Jan 2019 11:35:18 +0000 Parker Asmann 121214 at https://www.opendemocracy.net كُرد سوريا وكعب أخيل https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia-11 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl">الانسحاب الأمريكي سيضع الكُرد أمام امتحان صعب، وعليهم الاختيار بين التفاوض مع الحكومة السورية والقبول بتنازلات مؤلمة على طريق الوصول لحل سياسي مقبول، أو الدخول في مواجهة عسكرية مع الجيش التركي وفصائل المعارضة السورية الموالية لها.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="direction-rtl"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-37543879.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-37543879.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Kurdish training camp in Hasaka, Syria. Picture by Sebastian Backhaus/NurPhoto/Sipa USA/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>لم تكن الحرب السورية الممتدة منذ آذار/مارس عام 2011 بأكثر تعقيداً مما هي عليه الآن؛ فما من طرف إقليمي أو دولي، إلا وينتظر جني ثمار ما زرعه خلال السنوات السبع الماضية، لكن ذلك ليس بالإمكان على ما يبدو. </p><p dir="rtl">يقف كُرد سوريا اليوم على مفترق طرق خطير للغاية، يواجهون الخطر الأكبر منذ انخراطهم في الحرب السورية بالتنسيق حينها مع الحكومة السورية التي سلمتهم المناطق ذات الغالبية الكُردية، واستداروا باتجاه التحالف الدولي بقيادة الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية منذ معركة استعادة السيطرة على مدينة كوباني/عين العرب شمال سوريا أواخر العام 2013</p> <p dir="rtl">التحالف ذاك توطد شيئاً فشيئاً بفضل الانتصارات المشتركة التي توجت بالسيطرة على مدن تل أبيض ومنبج والرقة وأجزاء دير الزور الواقعة شرق نهر الفرات، وهو ما اُعتبر حداً فاصلاً بين النفوذ الروسي غرب النهر، والأمريكي شرقه.</p> <p dir="rtl">كانت الانتصارات العسكرية لقوات سوريا الديمقراطية (والتي تشكل وحدات حماية الشعب "الكُردية" عمادها الرئيسي) تسير بالتوازي مع مكاسب إدارية تمثلت بإعلان حزب الاتحاد الديمقراطي (مع حلفائه من الأحزاب العربية والسريانية) الإدارة الذاتية الديمقراطية مطلع العام 2014 ومن ثم الفيدرالية الديمقراطية لشمال سوريا ربيع العام 2016 وأخيراً الإدارة الذاتية المشتركة لشمال وشرقي سوريا أواخر العام 2018</p> <p dir="rtl">بقيت أزمة تمثيل حقيقي لمكونات المنطقة تشكل عائقاً رئيسياً تمنع الانفتاح الغربي على المشاريع السياسية لـ "الاتحاد الديمقراطي"، فكانت متهمة دوماً بالانفراد بحكم المنطقة، دون إشراك فعلي لبقية الأطر السياسية والعرقية، وجنوحه لإيديولوجيا حزب العمال الكُردستاني وزعيمه عبد الله أوجلان الذي يقضي حكماً مؤبداً في سجن إيمرالي ببحيرة مرمرة التركية منذ عام 1999</p> <p dir="rtl">كان إعلان الرئيس الأمريكي عن انسحاب كامل وسريع لقوات بلاده، مفاجئاً للكُرد، رغم أنه الثاني من نوعه، حيث سبق ذلك إعلان ترامب نفسه ربيع العام 2018 خطط لسحب الجنود الأمريكيين من سوريا معللاً ذلك آنذاك بغياب النجاعة الاقتصادية لوجود جيشه هناك، وتراجعه عن طرحه ذاك لاحقاً، بعد تدخل من الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون، وكذلك نصائح المستشارين العسكريين الأمريكيين، وبتمويل من المملكة العربية السعودية.</p> <p dir="rtl">ويأتي الإعلان الأخير صادماً في هذا الوقت؛ كون المبعوث الأمريكي الخاص لسوريا جيمس جيفري أعلن أكثر من مرة عن ثلاثة محددات لإنهاء الوجود الأمريكي في سوريا، وحددها بهزيمة تنظيم "الدولة الإسلامية" ومنع عودة ظهوره شمال شرقي سوريا، وتقليص النفوذ الإيراني، والعمل مع موسكو بالحوار والضغط للوصول إلى حل سياسي وفق القرار «2254».</p> <p dir="rtl">يبدو الرئيس ترامب مصراً على موقفه بعدم إيلاء أي أهمية للوضع السوري عامة، والوضع في الشمال بشكل خاص، إلا فيما يخص أمن إسرائيل بالطبع، ولهذا السبب فإنه غير آبه باعتراض كبار ضباط الجيش الأمريكي على قراره، أو نصائح أعضاء بارزين في الكونغرس بضرورة البقاء في المنطقة وعدم تركها لمصيرها.</p> <p dir="rtl">القرار الجديد أكد غياب أي استراتيجية للولايات المتحدة في سوريا، وأربك حسابات جميع فرقاء الأزمة السورية، فحالة الفراغ الذي سيشكله الغياب الأمريكي ليس من السهل إشغاله، وكذلك فإن قضية منع ظهور تنظيم "الدولة الإسلامية" لم تحسم بعد، ولعل ضمان عدم حصول حرب عرقية في المنطقة، خصوصاً ضد الكُرد، هي من أبرز الملفات التي يجب العمل لأجلها، فالانتقامات التي حصلت في عفرين شمال سوريا عقب سيطرة الجيش التركي وحلفائه من المعارضة السورية المسلحة مطلع عام ٢٠١٨، هي أشد ما يخشاه سكان شرق الفرات، خصوصاً بعد التهديدات التركية الأخيرة بشن عملية واسعة شرق الفرات.</p> <p dir="rtl">هذا الانسحاب سيضع المنطقة في حالة من التشظي السياسي بين حلفاء الضرورة (روسيا وتركيا وإيران) وسيبحث الجميع عن أدوار تناسب طموحاتهم التوسعية، بعد أن توحدوا لمواجهة النفوذ الأمريكي والطموح الكُردي، وستظهر التناقضات الموجودة بينها، خصوصاُ في ملفي إدلب وشرق الفرات.</p> <p dir="rtl">الإعلان الفرنسي عن بقاء قواته في سوريا لن يغير من واقع الحال شيئاً، فلا تعويل على أي دولة من دول التحالف دون مشاركة واشنطن، وكذلك فإن الاحتجاجات الفرنسية تمنع أي مراهنة على دور فرنسي لاحق في سوريا، وما حماس باريس للانخراط في تحديد مستقبل الشمال السوري إلا وسيلة لاستخدام الملف الكُردي كأداة في المفاوضات المقبلة بخصوص إعادة إعمار سوريا، والذي يشكل ملف صراع بين عديد من الدول والشركات العالمية.</p> <p dir="rtl">الانسحاب الأمريكي سيضع الكُرد أمام امتحان صعب، وعليهم الاختيار بين التفاوض مع الحكومة السورية والقبول بتنازلات مؤلمة على طريق الوصول لحل سياسي مقبول، أو الدخول في مواجهة عسكرية مع الجيش التركي وفصائل المعارضة السورية الموالية لها، وهذا الخيار يعيد إلى الأذهان سيناريو عفرين، والذي انتهى بانسحاب وحدات حماية الشعب "الكُردية" من المدينة بعد مقتل وإصابة المئات، وكذلك تهجير الآلاف من أبناء المدينة.</p> <p dir="rtl">خيار الحرب، إن حصل، لن يحمي أحد، وسيكون كارثياً على حزب الاتحاد الديمقراطي بالدرجة الأولى، الذي راهن على الدعم الأمريكي، دون سواه، عسكرياً وسياسياً في تحديد مستقبل المنطقة، حيث بات محاصراً بجملة من الأعداء والخصوم بدءاً من حكومة الرئيس التركي رجب طيب أردوغان مروراً بحكومة كردستان العراق وليس انتهاءً بحكومة الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد، وكل من مواليه، ومعارضيه على حد سواء.</p> <p dir="rtl">سيكون على قادة "الاتحاد الديمقراطي" أن يتحلوا بالحكمة اللازمة لإدارة المرحلة الأكثر دقة في الحرب السورية، وأن يتخلوا عن سياسات أكبر من أن يتحملها الكُرد عبر مشاريع طوباوية غير قابلة للتطبيق، وأن يجنبوا المنطقة ويلات كوارث لن تقي أحداً من أتونها.</p> <p dir="rtl">فالخوف كل الخوف هو من سهم قاتل يخترق كعب أخيل الكُردي، بعد أن وصلوا إلى ربع الساعة الأخيرة من الحرب.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/alan-hassan/Syria-US-war-withdrawal">انسحاب أمريكا: ما التالي؟</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia-4"> إيران المقبولة في سوريا</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia-9"> الثقافة الشفوية الشعبية والطائفية، تحليل مادي</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia-10">في الاعتراف بعنصريتنا الإثنو-دينية: تحليلٌ مفاهيميٌّ أوليٌّ</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North Africa, West Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Conflict آلان حسن Through Syrian eyes Arabic language Mon, 07 Jan 2019 11:19:47 +0000 آلان حسن 121209 at https://www.opendemocracy.net ¿Verá Colombia un acuerdo de paz con el ELN en 2019? https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/annette-idler-julia-zulver-juan-masullo/ver-colombia-un-acuerdo-de-paz-con-el-eln- <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Los sondeos de opinión muestran que el 64% de la población colombiana quiere que el Presidente Duque reanude las negociaciones con el ELN. Pero en 2018 el gobierno suspendió las negociaciones.<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/will-2019-see-peace-process-for-eln-rebels-in-colombia"> <strong><em>English</em></strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/eln-1_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/eln-1_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Guerrilleros del ELN. Fotografía: Cortesía de pacifista.tv. Todos los derechos reservados.</span></span></span></p><p>Colombia firmó un acuerdo de paz con las FARC en 2016, pero el conflicto armado continua en el país. El Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), actualmente la guerrilla más grande del país, sigue activa y se disputa con diferentes grupos criminales el control de los territorios dejados por las FARC y el acceso a rutas del narcotráfico. </p><p>En algunas regiones la violencia ha aumentado y la superficie dedicada al cultivo de coca alcanzó <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/20/world/americas/cocaine-colombia.html">&nbsp;máximos históricos</a> en 2018 – esto a pesar de los esfuerzos de erradicación avanzados por el gobierno. </p> <p>El ex-presidente Juan Manuel Santos empezó formalmente un proceso de paz con el ELN en 2017. Sin embargo, en 2018 el nuevo presidente, Iván Duque, suspendió las negociaciones, resaltando que los insurgentes persisten con sus actividades criminales. Mientras tanto, el equipo de negociación del ELN espera en Cuba que el gobierno envíe una nueva delegación y declara seguir comprometido con las negociaciones.</p> <p>Las negociaciones de Santos con el ELN llegaron a su zénit en septiembre del 2017 cuando ambas partes pactaron un cese al fuego bilateral de cuatro meses. Este fue el primero de su tipo desde que el grupo insurgente se creó en los años sesenta y fue ampliamente respetado por ambos lados. </p><p>Sin embargo, cuando el periodo llegó a su fin, los insurgentes reanudaron su actividad violenta rápidamente. A partir de enero de 2018 <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/10/world/americas/colombia-eln-attack.html">bombardearon oleoductos y atacaron instalaciones militares</a> y <a href="https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/los-detalles-desconocidos-del-atentado-del-eln-en-barranquilla/555835">estaciones de policía</a>, afectando tanto a la fuerza pública como a la población civil.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center">El equipo de negociación del ELN espera en Cuba que el gobierno envíe una nueva delegación y declara seguir comprometido con las negociaciones.</p> <p>Como respuesta Santos suspendió las negociaciones, citando incoherencias entre el discurso de paz del ELN y sus acciones de guerra. Las negociaciones se reanudaron en Cuba en mayo de 2018 con el propósito de forjar una nueva tregua. Aunque hubo algunos avances, los partidos no lograron pactar otro cese de fuego.</p> <h3>¿Negociar con un “grupo terrorista”?</h3> <p>Desde su campaña electoral Iván Duque fue abiertamente crítico de las negociaciones con el ELN. En su discurso inaugural anunció que se tomaría 30 días para evaluar los 17 meses de negociaciones entre el grupo insurgente y el gobierno de Santos para decidir si continuar o no en la mesa.</p> <p>Estos días caducaron y el futuro de las negociaciones es más incierto que nunca. En septiembre Duque retiró al equipo de negociación de La Habana, sin conformar una nueva delegación. Luego, cuando visitó Nueva York para la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adEdtJvbuak">se refirió a los insurgentes como un grupo terrorista</a> y reafirmó que su gobierno estaría dispuesto a negociar con el ELN solo cuando los insurgentes <a href="https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/politica/duque-dice-que-mantiene-voluntad-de-dialogo-con-la-guerrilla-del-eln-articulo-813841">pongan en libertad a todos sus secuestrados y cesen definitivamente sus actividades criminales.</a></p> <p>Esta ha sido la posición de gobierno desde entonces.</p> <p>En respuesta, el ELN ha declarado públicamente que con esta posición el gobierno de Duque esta dejando ver <a href="https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/politica/eln-asegura-que-cumplio-con-la-tregua-de-fin-de-ano-articulo-832304">sus tendencias belicistas</a> y <a href="https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/comision-de-paz-del-senado-mediara-entre-el-eln-y-el-presidente-ivan-duque/585759">ha pedido apoyo a la comisión de paz</a> creada en el Senado para destrabar las negociaciones. </p><p>Los delegados del ELN en la Habana han <a href="http://www.colombiainforma.info/cumplir-acuerdos-y-avanzar-hacia-la-paz-entrevista-con-aureliano-carbonell-del-eln/">insinuado</a> que estarían dispuestos a discutir las exigencias de Duque, pero insistieron que cualquier nueva condición se debe negociar formalmente y no puede ser definida unilateralmente por parte del gobierno.</p> <p>El 18 de diciembre el ELN publicó un <a href="https://twitter.com/ELN_Paz/status/1075196774271332357">tuit</a> que expresaba su deseo de que el año 2019 traiga la paz en Colombia y <a href="http://eln-voces.com/tregua-de-navidad-por-la-paz/">anunció</a> un cese al fuego unilateral desde el 23 de diciembre hasta el 3 de enero con el objetivo de “aportar a un clima de tranquilidad en la Navidad y el año nuevo.”</p> <h3>¿Qué quieren los colombianos?</h3> <p>La posición tomada por el gobierno parece estar en contravía con lo que quiere la mayoría de los colombianos. El <a href="https://www.elpais.com.co/especiales/encuesta-gallup-127.pdf">sondeo más reciénte de Gallup</a> (de octubre 2018), que mide las percepciones de los colombianos en las cinco ciudades principales del país, muestra que un 64% de los encuestados cree que se debería reiniciar las negociaciones. </p><p>Esta cifra es significativa y resulta de una tendencia creciente que aumentó del 50% en febrero de 2018 y llegó a un máximo de 70% en junio del mismo año.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Una persona no tiene que apoyar o simpatizar con el ELN para creer que el gobierno debería volver a la mesa de negociación</p><p>Los que se oponen a las negociaciones han insinuado que solo aquellos que simpatizan con el ELN apoyan las negociaciones con este grupo. Sin embargo, los datos de estos sondeos muestran que no es así. </p><p>El 93% de los encuestados tiene una opinión desfavorable del grupo insurgente, lo que supone un importante traslapo con quienes quieren que el gobierno reanude las negociaciones. Esto deja claro que una persona no tiene que apoyar o simpatizar con el ELN para creer que el gobierno debería volver a la mesa de negociación.</p> <h3>Las voces desde los márgenes</h3> <p>Nuestro trabajado de campo en varias regiones de país sugiere que las opiniones y actitudes de quienes viven en las grandes ciudades coinciden con las de aquellos que viven en regiones marginalizadas (donde no suelen llegar los sondeos de opinión) y con alta presencia del ELN.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">&nbsp;Los colombianos quieren ver un acuerdo de paz con el ELN en 2019.</p> <p>Por ejemplo, en Arauca -- departamento con presencia histórica del ELN, un oficial del gobierno comentó que el proceso de paz con las FARC permitió una mayor presencia de las fuerzas armadas en la región y resaltó que en las ultimas elecciones presidenciales no hubo casos de intimidación y que la criminalidad ha bajado en general. </p><p>Sin embargo, enfatizó que el ELN se mantiene activo y sigue amenazando la seguridad de las comunidades y que por lo tanto un proceso de paz con este grupo es necesario para garantizar la seguridad en la región. En su opinión, el gobierno debe reiniciar las negociaciones.&nbsp; </p> <p>A su vez, una líder de la sociedad civil secundó esta opinión. Reconoció que las condiciones de seguridad han mejorado desde la desmovilización de las FARC, pero resaltó que el ELN sigue acosando e intimidando a varias comunidades en las zonas donde ella trabaja. </p><p>Los insurgentes siguen reclutando forzosamente y asesinando a miembros de su comunidad. Para ella es claro que las negociaciones no se pueden dilatar más. “…la gente ya está cansada…quiere un proceso de paz con el ELN.” En su opinión, reanudar los diálogos de paz es la clave para alcanzar “una paz completa.”</p> <p>Duque <a href="http://caracol.com.co/radio/2018/05/28/politica/1527471228_648915.html">alcanzó</a> una mayoría en el departamento de Arauca – una muestra más de que los colombianos que quieren que se reanuden las negociaciones no necesariamente simpatizan con la guerrilla. </p><p>Las encuestas y los testimonios recogidos en las áreas donde trabajamos son claros en cuanto a lo que quieren los colombianos. Sea en las grandes ciudades o en zonas rurales más marginadas -- incluso en áreas de presencia histórica del ELN –, los colombianos quieren ver un acuerdo de paz con el ELN en 2019.</p> <p>Cuando decida cuál será su próximo paso, Duque debería tomar en consideración estas opiniones.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/kristian-herbolzheimer/el-dilema-del-eln-en-colombia-qu-camino-tomar">El dilema del ELN en Colombia: ¿qué camino tomar?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/el-posconflicto-en-la-colombia-rural">¿Qué trajo el fin del conflicto a la Colombia rural?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases-jonatan-rodr-guez/pesar-de-tantas-polarizaciones-y-menti">Colombia ante la posibilidad de modernizar su democracia</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Colombia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Colombia Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Juan Masullo Julia Zulver Annette Idler Mon, 07 Jan 2019 09:53:34 +0000 Annette Idler, Julia Zulver and Juan Masullo 121205 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Will 2019 see a Peace Process for the ELN rebels in Colombia? https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/will-2019-see-peace-process-for-eln-rebels-in-colombia <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Polls show that 64% of Colombians want President Duque to resume negotiations with the ELN, but the new government called off talks in 2018, leaving the future of the peace process uncertain. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/annette-idler-julia-zulver-juan-masullo/ver-colombia-un-acuerdo-de-paz-con-el-eln-">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/eln-1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/eln-1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>ELN Guerrilla members. Image: cortesy of pacifista.tv </span></span></span></p><p>Even though Colombia signed a peace deal with the FARC rebels in 2016, armed conflict in the country is not yet over. Another rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN – <em>Ejército de Liberación Nacional</em>, in Spanish), the country’s now-largest guerrilla organisation, is still alive and kicking. </p> <p>Since the demobilisation of the FARC, remote parts of the country have witnessed increased violence, as guerrillas – most notably the ELN – and criminal groups compete for the control of territories left behind by the FARC, including access to drug-trafficking routes. In fact, Colombia’s coca acreage for cocaine production is at <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/20/world/americas/cocaine-colombia.html">an all-time high</a>, despite government efforts to eradicate plants. </p> <p>Former President Juan Manuel Santos began formal peace negotiations with the ELN in 2017, but in September 2018 newly-elected President Iván Duque&nbsp;<a href="https://www.economist.com/the-americas/2018/09/13/colombias-new-president-calls-off-talks-with-a-leftist-insurgent-group">called home the negotiation</a> team from Havana, pointing to the ELN’s continued involvement in kidnapping and their refusal to free hostages. Meanwhile, the rebels’ negotiation team – still in Cuba – insists that they are committed to negotiating peace and are waiting for the government to send a new delegation. </p> <p>Santos’ negotiations with the ELN reached their zenith in September 2017, when both parties agreed to a 4-month bilateral ceasefire. This was the first of its kind since the rebel group was created in the 1960s.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The rebels’ negotiation team – still in Cuba – insists that they are committed to negotiating peace and are waiting for the government to send a new delegation.</p><p>Following the end of the ceasefire –largely respected by both sides – the insurgents resumed violent activity in January 2018. They <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/10/world/americas/colombia-eln-attack.html">bombed oil pipelines and attacked military installations</a> and <a href="https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/los-detalles-desconocidos-del-atentado-del-eln-en-barranquilla/555835">police stations</a>, affecting the civilian population and killing and injuring several members of the forces of the state.</p> <p>Ultimately, Santos suspended the talks, claiming inconsistencies between the ELN’s words of peace and actions of war. Negotiations began again in Cuba in May 2018, with the aim of forging another truce. Despite some advancements, the parties were unable to agree to another ceasefire.</p> <h3><strong>Negotiating with a “terrorist group”?</strong></h3> <p>Colombia’s new president Iván Duque has been openly critical of the negotiations. In his inaugural speech, he announced that he would take 30 days to evaluate the past 17 months of talks and decide whether to continue with the process.</p> <p>These 30 days have passed, leaving the future of negotiations more uncertain than ever. In September Duque dissolved the negotiation team in Havana. Later on, while in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, he referred to the rebels as a “terrorist group” and reaffirmed that his government was open to resuming dialogue <em>only</em> when the ELN <a href="https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/politica/duque-dice-que-mantiene-voluntad-de-dialogo-con-la-guerrilla-del-eln-articulo-813841">releases <em>all </em>remaining hostages and ends participation in all criminal activity.</a></p> <p>This has been the position of the government since then.</p> <p>In response, the ELN has released damning statements claiming that Duque’s government is revealing its bellicose tendencies, and they have <a href="https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/comision-de-paz-del-senado-mediara-entre-el-eln-y-el-presidente-ivan-duque/585759">reached out to</a> the Senate’s newly created peace commission urging them help the negotiation to advance. </p><p>The rebels’ delegation in Havana even <a href="http://www.colombiainforma.info/cumplir-acuerdos-y-avanzar-hacia-la-paz-entrevista-con-aureliano-carbonell-del-eln/">suggested</a> they would be open to discussing Duque’s demands (i.e. releasing hostages and suspending all military activity), but stressed that any new set of conditions need to be discussed at the negotiation table, and not defined unilaterally by the new government.</p> <p>On 18 December, the ELN <a href="https://twitter.com/ELN_Paz/status/1075196774271332357">tweeted</a> their desire for 2019 to bring peace for Colombia and later &nbsp;<a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-rebels/colombias-eln-rebels-call-ceasefire-for-festive-period-idUSKBN1OG1M4">declared</a> a 12-day unilateral ceasefire from 23 December-3 January to “contribute to a climate of tranquility at Christmas and the New Year.” </p> <h3><strong>What do Colombians want?</strong></h3> <p>The messages sent by the government conflict with what most Colombians want. The <a href="https://www.elpais.com.co/especiales/encuesta-gallup-127.pdf">most recent Gallup poll</a> (fielded in October 2018), which measures the perceptions of Colombians living in five of the country’s major cities, show that 64% of those surveyed think that negotiations should begin again. </p><p>Not only are these figures substantial in their own right, they also show a clear upward trend, steadily increasing from 50% in February 2018, reaching almost 70% in June.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">One does not need to be an ELN-supporter to believe the government should sit down and continue negotiating.</p> <p>Opponents to the peace negotiations have suggested that only those who are sympathetic to the ELN support the peace negotiations with the insurgents. </p><p>Poll figures clearly show that this is not the case. &nbsp;Indeed, 93% of the people surveyed by Gallup reported a negative (<em>desfavorable</em>) opinion of the insurgent group, which implies a considerable overlap with those who are calling the government to resume talks. One does not need to be an ELN-supporter to believe the government should sit down and continue negotiating.</p> <h3>The voices from the margins</h3> <p>The opinions and attitudes from Colombian cities were confirmed by our conversations with community members from marginalised regions with high ELN presence (and where polls usually do not arrive)—notwithstanding the country’s stark urban-rural divide.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Colombians want to see the negotiations to resume in 2019.</p> <p>For example, in Arauca -- a department with a historically high presence of the ELN -- a government official noted that the peace process with the FARC meant that the military could increase its presence in the region, that there were no cases of intimidation during the presidential elections, and that criminality has gone down overall. </p><p>However, he also stressed that the ELN is still active in the area and continues to threaten the security of the communities living there. Therefore, he hopes that a similar process with the ELN will serve to increase security in this region and thus believes that the new government should resume the talks.</p> <p>A civil society leader from the department echoed these messages. Recognising that security conditions have improved since the demobilisation of the FARC, she noted that the ELN continue to harass, intimidate, and enact violence in the communities in which she works, including forced recruitment and homicide. </p><p>Therefore, she was clear in voicing her opinion that ongoing negotiations should continue. In her view, this will allow the region to finally experience “una paz completa” (a holistic peace). &nbsp;She noted, “people are fed up… they want a peace process with the ELN.”</p> <p>Duque <a href="http://caracol.com.co/radio/2018/05/28/politica/1527471228_648915.html">won</a> a majority of votes in the department of Arauca. This further shows that Colombians who want the government to continue negotiations with the ELN are not necessarily guerrilla sympathisers. Regardless of whether people come from large cities or rural areas, including regions where the ELN has had historical presence, Colombians want to see the negotiations to resume in 2019.</p> <p>When deciding his next move, Duque should pay attention to these demands.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/kristian-herbolzheimer/nowhere-to-turn-for-eln-in-colombia">Nowhere to turn for the ELN in Colombia?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/miguel-garc-s-nchez/what-did-post-conflict-bring-to-rural-colombia-0">What did the end of the conflict bring to rural Colombia?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases-jonatan-rodr-guez/colombia-and-possibility-of-modernisin">Colombia and the possibility of modernising democracy</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Colombia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Colombia Conflict Democracy and government International politics Juan Masullo Julia Zulver Annette Idler Mon, 07 Jan 2019 00:58:25 +0000 Annette Idler, Julia Zulver and Juan Masullo 121186 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Divine players in Indian politics https://www.opendemocracy.net/openindia/l-k-sharma/divine-players-in-indian-politics <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In a politically-surcharged atmosphere, no one should doubt that the appearance of Lord Ram’s idol in the mosque on the night of December 22, 1949 was an act of God.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40132071.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40132071.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Agitation demanding Ram Temple construction in Ayodhya, December 9, 2018, New Delhi, India.Hindustan Times/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Foreign reporters coming to cover India’s general election in a few months ought to dive deep into the sea of mythology that has sustained this ancient civilisation. Apart from India’s secular and democratic Constitution, they must read the great Hindu epics such as the <em>Ramayan.</em> To understand the modern India, they have to go back billions of years for the epochs whose memory is rekindled in poll campaigns. </p> <p>Beliefs have become more relevant in politics. Since the ruling BJP injected religion into politics, the media has drawn extensively on mythological stories. The BJP campaign in recent state elections focused on a Ram temple, Lord Hanuman, castes, sub-castes, gods, sadhus, and the holy cow. What do the voters really want from an elected government? Many commentators wondered.</p> <h2><strong>Tradition, tradition</strong></h2> <p>The ruling BJP and its family of right-wing religious groups propagate Hindutva, a muscular and aggressive form of Hinduism. Their opponents see it as a distortion of their noble, gentle and inclusive faith. </p> <p>Superficial signs of modernity do not hide an India that seems obsessed with its pre-historic past. The political discourse resounds to the cries of “tradition, tradition”. But eclectic Hinduism has clashing traditions and the rival armies pick and cite what validates their belief.</p> <p>Come to India and hear about the child who leapt up thousands of miles to eat the Sun, imagining it to be a fruit! He fell down on a rock and got his jaw disfigured. This child with a tail and the face of a monkey grew up to be Lord Hanuman to whom the largest number of temples are dedicated in India and in other countries. An ardent devotee of Lord Ram, he miraculously rescued Ram’s wife Sita abducted by Ravan, the king of Sri Lanka. Lord Ram is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu who belongs to the Trinity of Hindu gods. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Lord-Hanuman-wallpaper-ima.jpeg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Lord-Hanuman-wallpaper-ima.jpeg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Lord Hanuman.</span></span></span>Come to India and feel the miraculous presence of a “divine mortal, a mortal god, incorporating both into the exemplar who transcends both humans and god”. Ram is described thus by scholar Sheldon Pollock. Lord Ram’s influence extends to countries in South Asia and South-East Asia and to Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. His long rule over his kingdom of Ayodhya is famous for good governance, called <em>Ram-Rajya</em>. </p><h2><strong>Lord Ram</strong></h2> <p>Ram’s life as an ideal human being has inspired sacred texts, varied biographies, poems, philosophical schools and books, paintings, films, sculpture, puppet shows, shadow plays, festivals, novels, songs, TV serials and plays. But he also comes in for criticism by many Hindus for his treatment of Sita. A Hindi poem attacks him on this count. </p> <p>Ram’s devotees sometimes indulge in violence as they did while demolishing a mosque in 1992. A powerful documentary <em>Ram ke Naam</em> (In the Name of God) covers the issue of religious violence.</p> <p>The demand to build a Ram temple figured prominently in the recent state election campaigns. The BJP set the terms of political discourse that also featured the protection of the holy cow. In a BJP-ruled state not involved in the elections, a mob agitating against alleged cow slaughter killed two persons including a police officer. Following this tragedy caused by cow vigilantes, the state’s monk-politician chief minister Yogi Adityanath instructed the police to focus on the crime against the cows! Those stressing the value of human life, including a noted film actor, got trolled in social media. </p> <p>The monk-chief minister unfolded a plan to build a gigantic 221-metre tall copper statue of Lord Ram in Ayodhya. &nbsp;He announced this holy project hours before a rally of sadhus and political activists in that town demanded that the Ram temple be built on the site of the demolished mosque. </p> <p>The statue plan is also designed to soften the hardliners in the ruling party and its right-wing allies who have started criticising the Modi Government for its failure to build the Ram temple in Ayodhya. They believe a large number of Hindus voted for the BJP because they were sure that its government would make their temple dream come true.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Sita-Ram-PNG-Transparent-Image.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Sita-Ram-PNG-Transparent-Image.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="288" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>An idol of Ram and Sita together in a temple.</span></span></span>While the sop of the proposed Ram statue is unlikely to silence those demanding the temple, some intellectuals comment on the statue plan from the Hindu perspective. Karan Singh, scholar-parliamentarian, asked the monk-chief minister why there must be a statue of Lord Ram without his wife Sita. It should have both Ram and Sita. He points out that Lord Ram is traditionally always shown in the company of Sita and the couple is referred to as Sita-Ram and Siya-Ram. Sita was unjustly banished on the basis of a rumour after she was rescued from the kingdom of Ravan. So she ought to be honoured. </p><h2><strong>Idol-worship</strong></h2> <p>Author Mrinal Pande highlights the convoluted history of idol-worship in the Hindu tradition by pointing out that the Vedic verses offer prayers only to anthropomorphic forces like the Usha (dawn), Vayu (wind) and Agni (fire). In that era, idols were not created so there was no question of building structures to house them for public worship. Then came icons and much later idol-making was borrowed from Buddhism and Jainism. Sculpted images of gods in various forms caught on in the 4th century. Scriptures appeared saying that the learned ones and yogis know that their gods are in heaven, for the less knowledgeable, they reside in idols made of wood or clay. The sizes specified for idols are tiny to small and thus a giant statue has never been prescribed. </p> <p>Mrinal Pande points out that there is no reference to installation of a large statue of a god out in the open and thus leaving a large divine idol out under the skies is not an option at any point. A political activist wanting to pray in the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya is opposed to this statue for the simple reason that it will be sullied by birds sitting on his head!</p> <h2><strong>Babri mosque</strong></h2> <p>The Hindu nationalist politicians and other devotees demand that the Ram temple must be constructed precisely on the spot where the Babri Mosque was built in 1528. This mosque was demolished in 1992 by a politically mobilised mob. It was said that Moghul Emperor Babur built it after demolishing a Ram temple there. And that the temple had supposedly come up on the spot where centuries earlier Lord Ram was born. </p> <p>The movement for building the Ram temple in Ayodhya that began before independence has a tangled history and an eternal life. It sees ups and downs and, depending on the political situation, and is activated or allowed to hibernate. The demolition of the Babri mosque, which resulted in widespread religious clashes and killings, marked a turning point in Indian politics. </p> <p>The demolition sent a shock wave since India is dotted with common places of worship visited by Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. Secular Hindus as well as a large section of devout Hindus called the demolition a shameful event in India’s history. While the Hindutva votaries celebrate that day as a Day of Bravery, many Hindus along with Muslims see it as a Black Day. </p> <p>Here is just one example of the typical reaction of genuinely devout Hindus to the destruction of the Babri mosque. Writer Salil Tripathi’s elderly Gujarati mother was grief-stricken while watching the mosque destruction on tv. She rang her son in Singapore to say: “We have just killed Gandhi again”. And she added: <em>Avu te karaay koi divas</em>? (in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mother-tongue). Can anyone do such a thing any time? Her statement comes closest to the British sentiment: It’s simply not done!</p> <p>After the mosque’s demolition, philosopher Ramchandra Gandhi argued that in the Hindu tradition, the place where a baby is born is considered “impure” and thus a temple cannot be built on such a site. </p> <h2><strong>Nowhere is safe </strong></h2> <p>These days anyone arguing with a believer has to run for safety. Swami Agnivesh, a social activist and Vedic scholar, was subjected to a physical assault for his campaign against superstitions and “belief without truth”. Religious intolerance is not caused by theological differences but inspired by a political force seeking to consolidate Hindu votes.</p> <p>In a politically-surcharged atmosphere, no one should doubt that the appearance of Lord Ram’s idol in the mosque on the night of December 22, 1949 was an act of God. That this was no divine intervention but a man-made conspiracy to generate religious mass fervour is recorded in a police report on the incident. But a police report or a court judgment cannot lead to suspension of belief. </p> <p>Forty years later in 1992, a Hindu nationalist leader, L K Advani, revived the Ram temple movement with disastrous consequences and went on to become India’s Deputy Prime Minister following BJP’s unprecedented election victory. </p> <p>The Ram temple dispute symbolises a tragic but sustained interaction between religion and politics in India. It proved its political potential and encouraged the Hindu nationalist party. </p> <p>Notwithstanding the campaign by the BJP and its allies, it has not been possible to build the temple on the legally disputed site. Massive preparations for it have been going on for years to keep the momentum. Some Hindu nationalists accuse Prime Minister Narendra Modi of betrayal since he has been in office for more than four years.</p> <p>Now, as Prime Minister Modi’s popularity shows some decline, one of his regional allies, Shiv Sena, is trying to steal a march over the BJP by declaring that its alliance will depend on the building of Ram temple. It says unless the Prime Minister does that, his party will be defeated in elections. Shiv Sena’s slogan is “Temple first and the Government afterwards!”. It is organising more rallies for building the temple without waiting for the Supreme Court judgment on the dispute. If the Modi Government does take the route of an ordinance for the temple to be built soon, Shiv Sena will take the credit in the election campaign. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1534864745-9445.jpeg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1534864745-9445.jpeg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="297" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A model of the proposed Ram Temple in Ayodhya.</span></span></span>The demand for the temple in Ayodhya continues to inspire thousands of Hindus to assemble in several towns to raise saffron flags and shout slogans. The ruling party’s political future seems to depend on the Ram temple dispute that awaits the Supreme Court judgment. The Hindu nationalists issue subtle threats to convey to the court that it should “respect Hindu sentiments”. </p><h2><strong>Crowds and vultures</strong></h2> <p>The primacy of the Ram temple issue is mainly due to the associated religious rivalry on which sectarian politicians feed. The issue would be less significant for a political party had the dispute not involved a mosque. It lets a politically-surcharged emotional discourse be framed in temple vs. mosque terms. Religious fervour pulls large crowds and as Swami Agnivesh, a Vedic scholar and social activist, says, crowds are to politicians what corpses are to vultures! </p> <p>The ruling BJP is also agitating against the Supreme Court judgment lifting the ban on the entry of young women into the Sabarimala temple in a south Indian state ruled by the leftists. The Swami says there would be no stir had this temple been attracting a few hundred devotees instead of millions</p> <p>The Sabarimala temple issue cannot be seen as a clash between tradition and modernity. This was originally a temple of the forest-dwellers and traditionally had no restrictions on the entry of young women. The prohibition came as recently as 1991 when menstruation was linked with impurity and thus with the celibate Lord Ayyappa. Protests have sought to upset the temple’s traditional secular identity and religious symbiosis by disapproving of Ayyappa’s association with Vavar, a Muslim. So, it shows that tradition can be modern, and modernity promoted under the upper-caste influence can lead to the obscuring and violation of women’s rights!&nbsp; </p> <p>Ram’s political devotees remained on the fringe in secular India for more than four decades. But in the nineties, the fortunes of a political party were turned around by the movement to build a Ram temple on a plot of land where once a mosque stood. Later Hindutva lost some of its political influence only to return with full force in 2014. The Hindu nationalists won a big victory mainly because the voters got disappointed by the Congress government. Then in the state elections a few weeks ago, the Hindutva card did not work.</p> <h2><strong>The largest gathering of humanity on earth</strong></h2> <p>The ruling BJP is preparing to play the Hindutva card with greater vigour since it has little else to influence the voters. Grand plans have been drawn up for the mega religious fair called <em>Kumbh </em>beginning this month in the state of monk-chief minister. It is held every six years and draws millions of Hindus for a ritual bath at the confluence of sacred rivers in a town whose name has been changed from Allahabad to Prayagraj by the Yogi’s government. The devotee’s sins are washed away by the holy dip at the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. The last one in 2013 was attended by 100 million people. The largest gathering of humanity on earth can be photographed by satellites in space.</p> <p>The state-enabled confluence of religion and politics is not hard to observe. The official preparatory events for this religious fair carried a subtle political message. The UP Government has allocated a huge budget for making the fair a magnificent success. </p> <p>The chief minister earlier got the government building painted saffron, a sacred colour that is used in the flags of the BJP and the RSS. The Yogi has made it mandatory for all official stationery and publicity material including hoardings and advertisements, to carry the <em>Kumbh Mela</em> logo. The logo shows Sadhus taking a holy dip against the backdrop of temples and the Swastik symbol. Cinema halls have been directed to screen the <em>Kumbh </em>logo after the national anthem is played. </p> <p>Lord Ram has often been dragged into the political arena since India’s independence. The public display of devotion to Ram intensifies during election campaigns. At times, Lord Ram grants an electoral boon to his devotees; at other times, he withholds that favour and the secular constitution is not undermined. Inter-religious harmony impedes political mobilisation on a sectarian basis. That is why it becomes necessary to cause a conflict between Hindus and Muslims by inflammatory statements. The status of the Muslim minority is to be lowered through militant Hinduism. </p> <h2><strong>Vigilantism and violence </strong></h2> <p>The ruling BJP strategy to win elections through religious polarisation not only marginalises a minority but also divides the Hindu community. Its campaigners say Hinduism is in a danger that must be warded off through political power. Their opponents feel that if Hinduism needs any protection at all, it is from the Hindutva crowd seeking to make Hinduism less tolerant. </p> <p>In the current political atmosphere, many vigilante groups are formed and take to violence without fearing the police. On one St. Valentine Day, the Christian saint attracted the hostile attention of Hindu vigilantes who roughed up couples in a south Indian town. A few days ago, a radical group attacked a house in a village in Maharashtra where a Hindu family had invited many worshippers for a Bible prayer meeting. Some 13 persons were injured. The memory of the alleged beef sellers or cow killers being killed is still fresh. The police are often charged with indifference in such cases because of the political pressures in BJP-ruled states.</p> <p>That the Hindutva card did not yield the desired election results this time does not mean that sectarian political leaders will stop using religion for political mobilisation. In fact, among Hindutva allies, the competition in religious extremism is set to grow in the coming weeks. </p> <h2><strong>May elections</strong></h2> <p>With the general election due in May, Lord Ram will loom larger on India’s political scene as the movement for building the Ram temple on a Hindu-Muslim disputed site has been intensified. This enthuses many Hindus but disturbs those opposed to the religion-politics nexus and the official push towards majoritarianism. The latter feel concerned about Hindutva rising on the back of the Modi Government. They are religious, but they also worship the secular constitution. They do not want God descending in the election machine. </p> <p>The ruling BJP is convinced that the Ram temple issue will help it win the coming national election. It is a powerful instrument for building a massive vote bank through religious polarisation. Faith yields votes, enriches the priests’ coffers and unleashes armed mobs against the Other! Christianity has lost such powers; a version of Hinduism retains these. </p> <p>Some so-called religious movements diminish India’s secular Constitution and the much-admired syncretic tradition. Once again it will be evident in the coming months that inter-religious and inter-caste tensions make the consolidation of votes possible. </p> <p>God’s help is sought for election victory, not for peace and social harmony. The protection of democracy in India also lies in the hands of the Divine!</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Ram_ke_Naam.gif" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Ram_ke_Naam.gif" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A poster of the documentary In the Name of God.</span></span></span></p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> India </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openIndia openIndia India Civil society Conflict Democracy and government International politics L K Sharma Thu, 03 Jan 2019 17:42:44 +0000 L K Sharma 121175 at https://www.opendemocracy.net How to neutralize Bolsonaro in his first 100 days of government? https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/renata-avila/how-to-neutralize-bolsonaro-in-his-first-100-days-of-government <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A passive attitude from the International Community is not an option, and broad support from all progressives will be much needed to mitigate the damages. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/renata-avila/c-mo-neutralizar-bolsonaro-en-sus-primeros-100-d-as-de-gobierno-5-acc">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/800px-Encontro_do_Assessor_de_Segurança_Nacional_dos_EUA_John_Bolton_com_Presidente_Eleito_do_Brasil_Jair_Bolsonaro_2_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/800px-Encontro_do_Assessor_de_Segurança_Nacional_dos_EUA_John_Bolton_com_Presidente_Eleito_do_Brasil_Jair_Bolsonaro_2_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="369" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Bolsonaro with Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton in Rio de Janeiro, 29 November 2019. By U.S. Consulate in Rio - https://www.flickr.com/photos/embaixadaeua-brasil/45381679454/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74899892</span></span></span></p><p class="normal">The inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro marks a watershed moment for Latin America, perhaps for the world. It is an important step forward towards the consolidation of a destructive axis, well beyond Erdogan and Donald Trump. </p><p class="normal">The Asia of Duterte, the Middle East under the leadership of the Saudis, the Europe of Orban and Salvini. It is spreading like a wildfire in summer.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal"> With the elected government, the most powerful country in Latin America embraces a political agenda that is accelerating the destruction of the planet, destroying the hard-build multilateral consensus, undermining international institutions, dismantling major advances in the area of economic, social and cultural rights, triggering military spending and accelerating aggressive, fast-tracked&nbsp; privatizations at the expense of the people. It is using the State itself to neutralize and even destroy the opposition. <br /> &nbsp;<br /> A passive attitude from the International Community is not an option, and broad support from all progressives will be much needed to mitigate the damages, delay the plans and help Brazilians resist the attacks on the most vulnerable. To start the conversation, here I share five immediate actions for the first 100 days of Bolsonarismo:</p><p class="mag-quote-center">We must help Brazilians resist the attacks on the most vulnerable. To start the conversation, here I share five immediate actions for the first 100 days of Bolsonarismo</p> <p class="normal"><strong>First:</strong> Elevate the profiles of newly elected progressives. The Brazilian Congress and Senate is welcoming for the first time a new generation of political leaders, especially black women, and the World needs to know more about them and their remarkable efforts to democratise a traditionally exclusive and now alarmingly threatening political arena.&nbsp; </p><p class="normal">It is important to have internationally recognized voices that can legitimately raise the voice of alarm and denounce the abuses of the new Government. We can support their teams and coordinate their agendas with the European Parliament, establish links with the newly elected progressive Democrats in the US Congress and Senate. </p><p class="normal">Help them get interviews and profiles in international media, so they can be recognisable and voice their concerns when necessary. We can also activate our own support network to amplify their voices.&nbsp; </p> <p class="normal"><strong>Second:</strong> Progressive Cities and local Governments as spaces of resistance. It is important to reinforce the role of local governments as spaces for political renewal, innovation and protection of the vulnerable, in the face of extreme austerity measures and escalations of governmental violence. Do not forget that some cities in Brazil are larger than some European nations.</p> <p class="normal">Soon we should connect progressive Brazilian local governments with international networks that are fighting against the 'nationalist international' agenda.&nbsp; </p><p class="normal">The next round of local elections in Brazil will take place in 2020. It is a golden opportunity to shift power back to democratic forces, producing an effect similar to the midterms of the United States. It is also a real opportunity for political renewal for the parties. </p><p class="normal">There is time to cultivate and grow a whole new generation of candidates for young municipal councillors, with the potential and driving force to restore hope and trust in progressive politics.</p><p class="normal"><strong> Third:</strong> Shielding the opposition, critical academics, journalists and the intellectuals. While we should continue tirelessly advocating for Lula's freedom, arbitrarily detained, he is not the only one under threat. There are several targets for the Bolsonaro administration, including, but not limited to, the landless movement activists or the Workers Party (PT).&nbsp; </p><p class="normal">Those under threat include each and every person whose voice or even views represent a threat to the elected government and its anti-rights agenda.&nbsp; </p><p class="normal">The attempts of lawfare will continue and the Congress will continue its efforts to criminalise the opposition, with anti-terrorist laws, with direct and announced threats to freedom of expression and academic freedom, closure of entire institutions, massive dismissals, budget cuts, weaponisation of justice and imminent exile for many.<br /> <br /> Political violence and impunity will also continue. The extrajudicial execution of Marielle Franco is still unsolved, almost a year after her brutal murder, in spite of all the advocacy and press coverage that political crime deserved. </p><p class="normal">Peasants are being murdered, indigenous and landless communities are under threat of violent evictions from their homes. The vigilantism and attempts to relax firearms laws, encouraging its use non 'legitimate defence', combined with hate speech, will only worsen the scenario.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">We must test our real commitment and offer our institutions as a refuge to those who might be forced to leave Brazil.</p><p class="normal"> As internationalists, we must be prepared for a form of solidarity that transcends the letter of support, gathering signatures from the usual suspects. We must test our real commitment and offer our institutions as a refuge to those who might be forced to leave Brazil. </p><p class="normal">A chain of concrete solidarity gestures could offer a cushion for those facing political persecution. From our modest guest room or sofa to scholarships, research spaces and research residences for Brazilians. We need to offer them the possibility to continue the resistance from exile, without risking prison or their lives. </p> <p class="normal"><strong>Fourth</strong>: International Watchdogs of Bolsonaro´s policies and their effects on the economy and society. The newly elected administration should face strict scrutiny from researchers, journalists and think tanks. </p><p class="normal">Key areas to observe are military purchases and cooperation agreements, privatizations, megaprojects and policies to offer tax benefits. Producing data to counter attempts to normalize the aggressive economic policies that the new President of Brazil will impose on the poor are much needed. </p><p class="normal">It is highly likely that the establishment press will try to normalise Bolsonaro if the beneficiaries of his policies are large corporations and global financial groups, the 1%. Another area to monitor and measure will be austerity measures, cuts to crucial budgets, such as environmental, research and development, and reproductive health and the potentially harmful long-term effects.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal"><strong>Fifth</strong>: Zero Tolerance to regressive policies undermining human rights. The Administration of Donald Trump is welcoming Jair with open arms, along with the 'nationalist international' in full. </p><p class="normal">The possible immediate counterweight, considering the weakness of progressive forces in Latin America, is Europe. Europe must play a crucial role in counterbalancing and holding the new administration accountable in Brazil, be willing to sanction without hesitation if it embraces fascist policies and practices.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">We need a combination of intellectual and journalistic commitment against the advance of fascism, strict citizen scrutiny, international observation, solidarity and unity.</p> <p class="normal">Likewise, Latin American civil society needs to play a crucial role in preventing the countries of the region from following Bolsonarismo's tide. The local and global stakes are too high, from abandoning the Palestine struggle for liberation to possible military intervention in Venezuela. </p><p class="normal">While his capacities are limited, Bolsonaro ambitions to play a role as Latin American leader. He can be tricked into a useful idiot role and unleash a military intervention that no one had dared to, with terrible consequences and only one beneficiary, certainly not him.</p> <p class="normal">That is why I am launching a broad call of action and suggesting some starting points. A combination of intellectual and journalistic commitment against the advance of fascism, strict citizen scrutiny, international observation, solidarity and unity can show that those of us who believe in democracy and human rights are more.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases/brasil-day-after">Brazil: the day after</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/mat-as-bianchi-cristian-le-n/from-political-innovation-to-democratic-resilience-in">Now what? From political innovation to democratic resilience in Latin America</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/bernardo-guti-rrez/how-to-defeat-far-right-without-mentioning-fascism">To defeat the far right means to differentiate it from historical fascism</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Brazil </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Brazil Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Ideas International politics Renata Avila Thu, 03 Jan 2019 11:39:07 +0000 Renata Avila 121173 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Cómo neutralizar a Bolsonaro en sus primeros 100 días de Gobierno: 5 acciones https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/renata-avila/c-mo-neutralizar-bolsonaro-en-sus-primeros-100-d-as-de-gobierno-5-acc <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>La pasividad internacional no es opción frente a Bolsonaro: debemos actuar para contrarrestar y evitar la regresión de derechos en la democracia más grande de Latinoamérica. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/renata-avila/how-to-neutralize-bolsonaro-in-his-first-100-days-of-government">English</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/800px-Encontro_do_Assessor_de_Segurança_Nacional_dos_EUA_John_Bolton_com_Presidente_Eleito_do_Brasil_Jair_Bolsonaro_2.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/800px-Encontro_do_Assessor_de_Segurança_Nacional_dos_EUA_John_Bolton_com_Presidente_Eleito_do_Brasil_Jair_Bolsonaro_2.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="369" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Bolsonaro with Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton in Rio de Janeiro, 29 November 2019. By U.S. Consulate in Rio - https://www.flickr.com/photos/embaixadaeua-brasil/45381679454/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74899892</span></span></span></p><p class="normal">La&nbsp; toma de posesión de Jair Bolsonaro marca un antes y un después para Latinoamérica, quizá para el mundo. Es dar marcha acelerada hacia la consolidación de un eje destructivo que va mucho más allá de Erdogan y Donald Trump. Cubre desde el Asia de Duterte hasta&nbsp; Oriente Medio liderado por Arabia Saudí,&nbsp; y toca la Europa de Orbán y Salvini.&nbsp; </p><p class="normal">Se esparce como incendio forestal en medio del verano. Con este gobierno electo, el país más poderoso de Latinoamérica se suma a una agenda que está acelerando la destrucción del planeta, destruyendo el consenso del multilateralismo duramente alcanzado entre los países del mundo, debilitando instituciones internacionales. </p><p class="normal">Una agenda que está desmantelando grandes avances en materia de derechos económicos, sociales y culturales, disparando el gasto militar y aceleradamente privatizando todo lo que puede, mientras utiliza al Estado mismo para neutralizar y hasta destruir a la oposición.<br /> <br /> La pasividad internacional no es opción. Un amplio apoyo de la gente progresista alrededor del mundo será necesario para mitigar los daños, atrasar la ejecución de sus planes y en general ayudar al pueblo brasileño a resistir los ataques hacia los más vulnerables.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Lanzamos una invitación para iniciar el año actuando para evitar la regresión de derechos en la democracia más grande y más amenazada de Latinoamérica.</p><p class="normal">Esta lista de acciones es una invitación para iniciar el año actuando en prioridades exploratorias para poder evitar la regresión de derechos en la democracia más grande y más amenazada de Latinoamérica:</p><p class="normal"><strong> Primera</strong>: Elevar internacionalmente la voz y perfiles de las nuevas autoridades progresistas en el Congreso y Senado de Brasil, que da la bienvenida por primera vez a una nueva generación de líderes políticos, especialmente mujeres negras. </p><p class="normal">Es importante que el mundo se entere de su ardua lucha por la democracia en espacios que han sido tradicionalmente excluyentes y ahora son hasta amenazadores para las posiciones y personas distintas.&nbsp; Es importante tener voces reconocidas internacionalmente que puedan relatar en primera persona y denunciar con legitimidad los abusos del nuevo Gobierno. </p><p class="normal">Podemos apoyar a sus equipos y coordinar agendas con el Parlamento Europeo, establecer vínculos con los progresistas recién electos&nbsp; en el Congreso de EEUU. Ayudarles a que sean entrevistadas&nbsp; y que tengan un perfil de peso en la prensa internacional para que sean reconocidas y puedan elevar sus demandas a la comunidad internacional de forma más efectiva.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal"> También podemos activar un acompañamiento constante de una plataforma progresista internacional, que ofrezca apoyo, solidaridad y difusión a sus luchas.</p><p class="normal"><strong> Segunda</strong>: Replantearse a las municipalidades y gobiernos locales como espacios de resistencia. Es importante reforzar el rol de las municipalidades como espacios de renovación política, innovación y protección de los vulnerables, ante medidas de austeridad extrema y escaladas de violencia gubernamental. </p><p class="normal">Cabe recordar que ciertas ciudades en Brasil son tan grandes como naciones enteras en Europa. Una acción inmediata posible es apoyar el municipalismo progresista y conectarlo con redes internacionales que están haciendo frente a la agenda de la 'internacional nacionalista'.</p> <p class="normal">Las elecciones municipales de Brasil en 2020 son una oportunidad de oro para devolver el poder a las fuerzas progresistas, produciendo un efecto semejante a las midterms de Estados Unidos. </p><p class="normal">Es, además, una oportunidad real de renovación política para los partidos. Se está a tiempo para formar a toda una nueva generación de candidatos a concejales municipales jóvenes, que tengan la capacidad y el empuje desde lo local para devolver la fe en la política.</p> <p class="normal"><strong>Tercera</strong>: Es importante proteger a la oposición política, la academia, la prensa y los intelectuales. Aunque debemos continuar apoyando la libertad de Lula, quien se encuentra detenido arbitrariamente y despojado de sus derechos políticos, no es la única persona bajo amenaza.&nbsp; </p><p class="normal">Existen muchos más amenazados y en la mira de la administración de Bolsonaro, incluyendo, pero no limitándose a militantes del Partido de los Trabajadores (PT) y a miembros del Movimiento Sin Tierra (MST). Las personas en riesgo incluyen a todo aquel alzando la voz o perteneciendo a tendencias políticas contrarias al gobierno y su política antiderechos. </p><p class="normal">Los intentos de <em>lawfare</em> (guerra jurídica) seguirán, y el congreso hará todo lo posible por criminalizar a la oposición con leyes antiterroristas, con amenazas directas ya formuladas a la libertad de expresión y a la libertad de cátedra, cierre de instituciones enteras, despidos masivos e inminente exilio para muchos.</p><p class="normal">También continuará la violencia política y la impunidad de ésta. No podemos olvidar que la ejecución extrajudicial de Marielle Franco sigue sin esclarecerse casi un año después, que los asesinatos de líderes campesinos han aumentado, y hay claros planes de atentar contra la oposición.&nbsp; </p><p class="normal">El vigilantismo, la relajación de las leyes de portación de armas, y la apología de la 'legítima defensa' únicamente empeorarán el panorama.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Debemos poner a prueba nuestro compromiso real y ofrecer nuestras instituciones como refugio a aquellas personas que deban abandonar Brasil.&nbsp;</p><p class="normal"> Como comunidad internacional debemos estar preparados para una solidaridad que trascienda la típica carta de apoyo con firmas de los mismos de siempre. Debemos poner a prueba nuestro compromiso real y ofrecer nuestras instituciones como refugio a aquellas personas que deban abandonar Brasil.&nbsp; </p><p class="normal">Una cadena de gestos solidarios concretos puede ofrecer una plataforma de soporte a aquellos sufriendo persecución política.&nbsp; Desde ofrecer nuestro modesto cuarto de visitas o el sofá a aquellos que lo necesiten, hasta crear cátedras, becas, espacios de investigación y ofrecer residencias académicas. Debemos ofrecerles la posibilidad de continuar la resistencia desde el exilio, sin tener que arriesgar su libertad o la vida misma.</p><p class="normal"><strong>Cuarta</strong>: Observatorio de las Políticas de Bolsonaro y sus efectos en la economía y la sociedad. La nueva administración debe enfrentarse a un rígido escruitinio de investigadores, periodistas y centros de pensamiento. </p><p class="normal">Áreas claves en la mira son las compras y alianzas militares, privatizaciones, megaproyectos y beneficios fiscales. Tener datos contundentes para contrarrestar los intentos de normalización de las agresivas políticas económicas que el nuevo presidente de Brasil ha anunciado, y que afectaran a los pobres, es muy necesario. </p><p class="normal">Es muy probable que estas medidas se reportarán desde script conveniente para sus principales beneficiarios: las grandes corporaciones y grupos financieros mundiales, el 1%.&nbsp; </p><p class="normal">Otra área de observar y medir son las medias de austeridad, los recortes a presupuestos cruciales, como los ambientales, de investigación y desarrollo, y de salud reproductiva y los daños a la sociedad en el largo plazo.</p><p class="normal"><strong> Quinta</strong>: Tolerancia Cero a retrocesos en materia de DDHH. La Administración de Donald Trump recibe a Jair con los brazos abiertos, junto con la 'internacional nacionalista' en pleno. </p><p class="normal">El contrapeso inmediato posible, ante una Latinoamérica bastante desintegrada, es Europa. Europa debe jugar un rol crucial de contrapeso y tolerancia cero con la nueva administración en Brasil, estar dispuesta a sancionar sin titubeos políticas y prácticas represivas y fascistas.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Necesitamos una combinación de compromiso intelectual y periodístico contra el avance del fascismo, escrutinio ciudadano, observación internacional, solidaridad y unidad.</p> <p class="normal">Así también, la sociedad civil latinoamericana jugará un rol crucial para evitar que los países de la región sigan el Bolsonarismo. Lo que está en juego es demasiado, desde abandonar el apoyo ofrecido a la lucha por la liberación de Palestina hasta posibles intervenciones militares en Venezuela.&nbsp; </p><p class="normal">Aunque su capacidad es limitada, Bolsonaro ambiciona ejercer un rol de líder en Latinoamérica y puede ser un tonto útil, facilitando una intervención militar que todos los anteriores líderes resistieron, y desatando terribles consecuencias regionales, con un beneficiario: ciertamente no será él.</p> <p class="normal">Una combinación de compromiso intelectual y periodístico contra el avance del fascismo, escrutinio ciudadano, observación internacional, solidaridad y unidad puede demostrar que aquellos que creemos en la democracia y los derechos humanos somos más.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases/brasil-el-d-despu-s">Brasil, el día después</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/federico-finchelstein-jos-zepeda/del-fascismo-al-populismo-aclaraciones-indispensa">Del fascismo al populismo. Aclaraciones indispensables</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/mat-as-bianchi-cristian-le-n/de-la-innovaci-n-pol-tica-la-resiliencia-democr-tica-">¿Y ahora qué? De la innovación política a la resiliencia democrática en América Latina</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases/empieza-el-2019-soplan-vientos-contrarios-para-la-democr">Empieza el 2019, y soplan vientos contrarios a la democracia</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Brazil </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Brazil Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Ideas International politics Renata Avila Thu, 03 Jan 2019 10:53:56 +0000 Renata Avila 121172 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Los evangelistas en Guatemala, a punto de “legalizar la homofobia” https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/diana-cariboni/los-evangelistas-en-guatemala-al-borde-de-legalizar-la-homofobia <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Un “perverso” proyecto de ley sobre “vida y familia”, el primero jamás esbozado por las Iglesias evangelistas del país, es reflejo de su crecimiento (y de sus ambiciones). <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/diana-cariboni/evangelicals-guatemala-legalising-homophobia">English</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Evangelicals i n Gjuatemala.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Evangelicals i n Gjuatemala.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Oración de un grupo de evangélicos en Guatemala, en el 2014. Foto: Flickr/amslerPIX. CC BY-NC 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>La primera propuesta legislativa de los grupos evangelistas en Guatemala puede legalizar la homofobia, amenazar con cárcel a las mujeres que han tenido abortos naturales y permitir la persecución criminal a los activistas por el derecho al aborto.</p> <p>El Proyecto 5272, presentado para “proteger la vida y la familia”, “es la primera propuesta esbozada por las Iglesias evangélicas de Guatemala” declaró su redactor, Elvis Molina, un abogado y pastor de la Iglesia Cristiana Visión de Fe.</p> <p>Fue introducida en el Congreso el año pasado como iniciativa popular con el apoyo de 30.000 firmas y fue inmediatamente respaldada por 22 legisladores, encabezados por Aníbal Rojas, miembro del partido evangelista VIVA (Visión con Valores).</p> <p>El proyecto de ley fue entonces aprobado por un comité constitucional en el Congreso y ratificado en dos de las sesiones de la cámara legislativa. Está ahora a un solo voto del plenario de entrar en la legislación oficial.</p> <p>“El Congreso tiene otros compromisos más apremiantes… como el de aprobar la ley de los presupuestos para 2019”, declaró Rojas a 50.50 el pasado otoño. Pero ahora parece que el proyecto podría someterse a votación el mes que viene. Rojas afirmó que se incluiría en enero en la agenda de la Cámara.</p> <p>Sin embargo, la legisladora Sandra Morán celebró la postergación de la votación final como una victoria. La feminista y activista describe el proyecto de ley como una amenaza a los movimientos progresistas y a su propio programa legislativo.</p> <p>“Hemos estado luchando por convencer a los legisladores de que esta es una ley perversa de terribles consecuencias para las mujeres, las niñas y la comunidad LGTBI” explicó Morán a 50.50.</p> <p>Morán, primera mujer feminista y abiertamente lesbiana en ganar un escaño en el Congreso, anunció en 2017 los planes para legislar los crímenes de odio, la identidad sexual, las uniones civiles entre personas del mismo sexo y los derechos al aborto de las niñas y adolescentes que hayan sido violadas.</p> <p>Fue entonces, declaró Morán,&nbsp; cuando los grupos evangelistas “se apresuraron a introducir el [proyecto] 5272, organizaron un enorme grupo de presión público y me llevaron ante los tribunales”.</p> <p>Presentaron tres casos legales contra ella, en los que la acusaban de promover los abortos para las niñas de nueve a catorce años de edad. Dos de esos casos fueron rechazados por el Tribunal Supremo el año pasado. Uno continúa abierto.</p> <p>Morán afirmó que “hubo un movimiento nacional” contra su programa progresista. Molina, el diseñador de la propuesta conservadora de “vida y familia”, cuenta una historia similar.</p> <p>“Nos anticipamos a las iniciativas de Morán, organizamos dos mítines y todo tipo de actividades sociales y políticas antes de presentar nuestro proyecto de ley”, afirmó, el cual “protegerá nuestro país así como la fe cristiana que profesa el 90 % de nuestra gente”.</p> <p><span class="mag-quote-center">Los evangelistas en Guatemala apuntan contra la “ideología de género” : contra los activistas por los derechos de las mujeres y los movimientos LGTBI, los cuales, dicen, amenazan la “familia tradicional".</span></p><p>Con su proyecto, los evangelistas en Guatemala apuntan contra lo que los religiosos conservadores llaman internacionalmente “ideología de género” (los activistas por los derechos de las mujeres y los movimientos LGTBI, los cuales, dicen, amenazan la “familia tradicional”).</p> <p>“Promueven esa idea de que la sexualidad de las personas y la familia tradicional son construcciones sociales obsoletas”, dijo Molina, y describió la idea como “una tendencia filosófica posmoderna que pretende invadir nuestro país y modificar los valores fundamentales de nuestra cultura”.</p> <p>El proyecto de ley de los evangelistas establecería penas de dos a cuatro años de prisión para las mujeres declaradas culpables de lo que el proyecto denomina “aborto culposo” (cuando se produce un aborto natural por negligencia o comportamiento imprudente, a manos de un médico o de una tercera persona).</p> <p>Bajo esta disposición, cualquier mujer que haya tenido un aborto natural puede ser obligada “a demostrar en los tribunales que no se ha debido a una negligencia”, advirtió Aprofam, prestador sin ánimo de lucro de servicios de salud sexual y reproductiva.</p> <p>Molina explicó a 50.50 que los abortos naturales no serían criminalizados pero que “los abortos culposos [a día de hoy] quedan sin castigo”, de manera que el proyecto de ley permitiría “al menos investigarlos”.</p> <p>El Proyecto 5272 también endurece las penas existentes sobre el aborto, con sentencias de cinco a diez años de prisión, e introduce más obstáculos a la terminación legal del embarazo.</p> <p>En la actualidad el aborto en Guatemala es legal solo cuando la vida de la mujer está en riesgo, pero las estimaciones no oficiales sugieren que en el país se dan 65.000 abortos al año.</p> <p>Los activistas que pongan en cuestión este régimen prohibicionista podrían también recibir sentencias de seis a diez años de prisión y multas bajo la nueva ofensa de “promover el aborto”.</p> <p>El borrador de ley también prohíbe explícitamente las uniones de hecho (que actualmente no están reconocidas ante los tribunales en Guatemala) y los matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo, y en efecto legaliza la homofobia al estipular que “ninguna persona podrá ser perseguida penalmente por no aceptar como normal la diversidad sexual o la ideología de género”.</p> <p>El derecho de los individuos a la libertad de conciencia, dice el proyecto, conlleva que no deben “estar obligados a aceptar como normales las conductas y las prácticas no heterosexuales”.</p> <p>Esta disposición “simplemente protege nuestro derecho a la objeción de conciencia… pues la ideología de género pretende etiquetar como discriminatoria cualquier manifestación que la refute”, dice Molina, quien da ejemplo predicando en la iglesia contra la homosexualidad.</p> <p>El borrador de ley va más allá y prohíbe a las entidades educativas, tanto públicas como privadas, “promover políticas o programas relativos a la diversidad sexual y la ideología de género” (lo que incluye “el enseñar como normales las conductas sexuales distintas a la heterosexualidad o incompatibles con las características genéticas y biológicas del ser humano”).</p> <p>Si se llega a aprobar, esta legislación requerirá también que el Gobierno de la nación y sus representantes diplomáticos sigan sus directrices como la posición oficial de Guatemala en estos asuntos ante la ONU y las demás organizaciones internacionales.</p> <p>“Estamos evitando que Guatemala se implique en ningún acuerdo sobre identidad sexual” declaró Molina en referencia a los acuerdos tratados en la Organización de los Estados Americanos, que se ocupa de toda forma de discriminación e intolerancia.</p> <p>Molina quiere que esta ley evite que el país entre a negociar cualquier tipo de acuerdo que, una vez en vigor, Guatemala deba acatar.</p> <p>El Proyecto 5272 es el primer borrador de ley ideado por el Movimiento Evangélico Nacional de Acción Pastoral (Menap).</p> <p>Esta coalición incluye a pastores de 33 organizaciones, cada una representando a decenas o cientos de Iglesias a lo largo de Guatemala. Uno de los miembros, la Iglesia del Príncipe de la Paz, representa a más de 1.400 congregaciones.</p> <p>Menap es una organización que ofrece apoyo legal a Iglesias y pastores. Litiga ante los tribunales en casos de impuestos, asuntos civiles, municipales, criminales y de medioambiente. También defiende a los pastores en dificultades legales y aboga por los intereses de la Alianza Evangélica de Guatemala.</p> <p>Molina explicó a 50.50 que Menap está fundada por sus miembros. La coalición tiene también lazos con grupos internacionales, incluyendo la Christian and Missionary Alliance (Alianza Cristiana y Misionera) fundada en Estados Unidos y ahora con sede en Brasil.</p> <p>El presidente de Menap, Marco Antonio Rodríguez, ejerce también de representante de la Christian and Missionary Alliance en Guatemala.</p> <p>Rodríguez declaró que Menap tiene el “apoyo absoluto” de la alianza, incluyendo entre otras cosas “el edificio para sus oficinas, mobiliario y equipos, secretario, conserje y cocinero, el pago de la electricidad, el agua y los servicios de telefonía, la comida, etcétera”.</p> <p>Morán, la legisladora y activista, introdujo en 2016 una propuesta de ley para proteger a las niñas y adolescentes de la violencia sexual, el abuso y la explotación, con medidas que incluían el derecho al aborto en los casos de violación.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">19 personas de la comunidad LGTBI fueron asesinadas en los seis meses que van de mayo a noviembre de 2018, incluyendo ocho mujeres transexuales.</p><p>En los seis primeros meses del 2018 más de 50.000 niñas y adolescentes de entre 10 y 19 años quedaron embarazadas, 6.000 de ellas tenían entre 10 y 15 años, según un informe de el Observatorio en Salud Sexual y Reproductiva de Guatemala (OSAR).</p> <p>OSAR advierte que cada año miles de mujeres jóvenes y niñas son violadas y no reciben atención médica urgente para prevenir embarazos y enfermedades de transmisión sexual. De hecho sucede más bien lo opuesto, se ven a menudo “obligadas a dar a luz” y frecuentemente son dadas en matrimonio a sus violadores.</p> <p>Molina admitió que “si una niña es violada, eso es un crimen”. Pero, continuó, “no podemos resolver un crimen con otro crimen”, refiriéndose al aborto.</p> <p>Morán, cuyo programa progresista quedó destruido tras las exitosas campañas contrapuestas por los evangelistas, advirtió que no va a ser difícil que el borrador de la propuesta de ley de estos consiga los votos necesarios para ser aprobada en el Congreso.</p> <p>“Es una amenaza”, dijo a 50.50. Aunque la ley, si es aprobada, pueda ser cuestionada por el Tribunal Constitucional, Morán la describió como una “terrible” evidencia de cómo “el pensamiento religioso está cada vez más encastrado en las instituciones públicas”.</p> <p>“Creímos que la propuesta estaba tan mal hecha que no podía ser aprobada, pero ahora estamos cada vez más preocupados”, añadió Carlos Romero Prieto, secretario ejecutivo de la Red Nacional de la Diversidad Sexual y VIH (REDNADS).</p> <p>"La ley afectaría a nuestra organización y legitimaría la intolerancia”, advirtió, en un país en el que la violencia forma ya parte de las vidas de muchas personas de la comunidad LGTBI.</p> <p>Según REDNADS, 19 personas de la comunidad LGTBI fueron asesinadas en los seis meses que van de mayo a noviembre de este año, incluyendo ocho mujeres transexuales.</p> <p>&nbsp;****</p> <p><em>Traducción de Gala Sicart-Olavide, miembro del Programa de Voluntariado de democraciaAbierta </em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/anna-catherine-brigida/c-mo-los-evang-licos-se-unieron-la-reacci-n-contra-los-dere"> El Salvador: los evangélicos se suman a la batalla contra los derechos reproductivos de las mujeres</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/matilda-gonz-lez-gil/mentiras-y-coincidencias-de-la-ideolog-de-g-nero-en-pocas-ele">Mentiras y coincidencias de la “ideología de género” en épocas electorales</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/ana-chac-n-mora/la-democracia-en-peligro-tambi-n-en-costa-rica">La ola evangélica y la democracia en Costa Rica</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/diana-cariboni/c-mo-los-objetores-de-conciencia-amenazan-los-derechos-sobre-el-abo">Cómo los objetores de conciencia amenazan los derechos sobre el aborto recién conseguidos en Latinoamérica</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Guatemala </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Guatemala Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Ideas Diana Cariboni Wed, 02 Jan 2019 12:18:49 +0000 Diana Cariboni 121162 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Empieza el 2019, y soplan vientos contrarios a la democracia https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases/empieza-el-2019-soplan-vientos-contrarios-para-la-democr <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>La toma de posesión de Jair Bolsonaro como presidente de Brasil marca el inicio del año político internacional. La recomposición del orden mundial en marcha no se presenta favorable a las democracias. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases/democracy-is-facing-strong-headwinds-in-2019">English</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/DsCMD1bXcAInIHe.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/DsCMD1bXcAInIHe.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="316" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><p>El 2018 ha confirmado la tendencia: las democracias liberales se están debilitando en todo el mundo. Y América Latina no es una excepción. </p> <p>La fuerte corriente de deterioro y retrocesos que hemos visto acentuarse a lo largo del año que terminó, se produce en un contexto internacional y geopolítico que ha sufrido una gran transformación, que se ha visto acelerada, en buena parte, por la gran recesión que se inició en 2008. Sus consecuencias sociales y políticas no plantean un escenario favorable a la profundización y fortalecimiento de las democracias occidentales. Más bien todo lo contrario.</p> <p>Populismos de distinto signo han proliferado. La oferta de un discurso simplificador, que se caracteriza por abonarse al desprestigio de las instituciones y de las elites a cargo, y que tiene tintes siniestros por su sesgo autoritario, resulta atractiva para muchos ciudadanos que se sienten vulnerables y tienen miedo de un futuro incierto y volátil, donde sus identidades nacionales se disuelven y el trabajo desaparece. </p><p>Contra esto, el nacionalismo autoritario parece ser la receta preferida. Lo hemos visto en China, en Rusia, en Turquía, incluso en India, con un Narendra Modi que, habiendo sufrido un revés electoral en las elecciones regionales, se prepara para la reelección con medidas populistas.</p> <h3><strong>Fuerte deterioro de la democracia americana</strong></h3> <p>Pero lo más preocupante para el orden internacional sigue siendo la figura de Donald Trump. Durante décadas, los EE.UU ejercieron de garantes del multilateralismo y campeones de las libertades. A pesar de su comportamiento sesgado, a veces arrogante y hasta violento en defensa de sus intereses nacionales, que le lleva a apoyar a dictaduras sin escrúpulos, la <em>pax americana</em> impuso un orden liberal mundial que, en muchos casos, ha propiciado la proliferación de democracias en un mundo globalizado y una economía abierta.</p> <p>Pero la fase actual de excepcionalismo y liderazgo irreflexivo ha desencadenado un fuerte deterioro de su propia democracia, y a la vez ha desatado guerras comerciales cuyas consecuencias hacen prever un año 2019 económicamente difícil (con previsiones de crecimiento débil) y políticamente muy inestable, con desacuerdos profundos en temas fundamentales sobre la seguridad mundial, las migraciones o el cambio climático.</p> <p>Sobre Trump pesa la sombra de la trama rusa que contribuyó a auparlo al poder. Esto, que en sí es gravísimo, lo deslegitima, y lo pone a la defensiva. La inaudita volatilidad de los cargos de confianza de la Casa Blanca es una de las consecuencias. Su doctrina de “America first” ha desencadenado tensiones comerciales con rivales y aliados, indistintamente.</p> <p>El abandono de importantes puntos del consenso en la acción conjunta de la agenda internacional está resultando catastrófico. Véanse por ejemplo las denuncias de los acuerdos de París sobre Cambio Climático y del acuerdo nuclear con Irán. </p><p>El desprecio por los aliados tradicionales, la vuelta a la carrera armamentística, el alineamiento con la política israelí en Oriente Medio, o la connivencia con la monarquía Saudí a pesar del caso Khashoggi o de la guerra del Yemen. Además, una salida abrupta de Siria deja la región en manos de Rusia y sus aliados, Irán y Turquía. Un panorama sombrío y desconcertante que la sorprendente (y positiva) distensión con Corea del Norte no consigue compensar.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">El deterioro interior de la democracia americana también es muy evidente.</p> <p>Pero el deterioro interior de la democracia americana también es muy evidente. Como consecuencia de una polarización más intensa que nunca, hemos asistido a una ausencia casi total de consensos en cuestiones de Estado y a una captura sin concesiones de los reguladores, empezando por la corte suprema.</p> <p>La utilización sistemática e irresponsable de una cuenta de Twitter, fuera del control de la diplomacia o del Pentágono, a menudo plagada de mentiras y reacciones viscerales, sólo profundiza las fuertes tensiones existentes. Mientras tanto, los ataques a la prensa libre no cesan y ahondan el colapso de la verdad, fragmentada y arruinada en las redes sociales, dinamitando un pilar fundamental de cualquier sociedad democrática.</p> <p>Y es probable que la situación se agrave en 2019, antes de mejorar.</p> <p>El presidente está acorralado por las investigaciones de sexo, mentiras y grabaciones que van más allá de la intervención del Kremlin, y la Cámara de Representantes está ahora controlada por la oposición. Lo demócratas, muy probablemente, empezarán los procedimientos de un impeachment que, aunque será finalmente frenado en el Senado, probablemente pondrá en serias dificultades a la actual administración.</p> <p>Además, a la inestabilidad y la imprevisibilidad en Washington se sumará un deterioro del ámbito económico. Tras un ciclo fuertemente alcista propiciado por la bajada de impuestos y las concesiones a los grandes lobbies, incluido el desmantelamiento de algunas de las (tímidas) regulaciones de los mercados impuestas tras el crash del 2007-2008, se anticipa una continuada subida de los tipos de interés y una desestabilización financiera de consecuencias imprevisibles.</p> <h3><strong>La incierta situación en Europa, y el contexto geopolítico</strong></h3> <p>Pero si América ha dejado de ser un modelo de democracia, en Europa la preocupación es evidente. La crisis del Brexit (aunque a última hora los británicos evitarán tirarse por el precipicio, según mi opinión) representa un golpe muy duro al proyecto común europeo, que a pesar de todo se mantiene en pie.</p> <p>Es esta quizás la mejor noticia, y aunque las elecciones al parlamento europeo de mayo vayan a incrementar significativamente la presencia de populistas y nacionalistas, sobre todo en el espectro de la emergente derecha extrema (podría alcanzar el 25% de los 705 escaños), el bloque centrista continuará siendo mayoritario y trabajará para fortalecer la ciudadanía europea y asegurarle paz y prosperidad. </p><p>Pero la entrada de la extrema derecha en muchos gobiernos europeos, o la coalición de populistas anti-inmigración con populistas anti-europeístas en Italia, se produce en un contexto geopolítico que no ayuda.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Europa, sin el amparo americano y la reticencia británica, debe encontrar su propio camino con mayor determinación en 2019.</p> <p>Y es que los otros bloques del poder global, hoy ya decididamente multipolar, EE.UU., China y, en menor medida, Rusia (aunque es notable su interés por desestabilizar la Unión Europea y abrazar a imitadores de su democracia iliberal –Hungría, Polonia...), ya no ofrecen las garantías de estabilidad del orden multilateral, heredado de la Segunda Guerra Mundial y de la Guerra Fría. Europa, sin el amparo americano y la reticencia británica, debe encontrar su propio camino con mayor determinación en 2019.</p> <p>Enfrentados a una crisis potencialmente grave en el año que comienza, es una incógnita qué capacidad de aportar soluciones consensuadas tendrían los líderes de China y EE.UU., hoy atrapados en una guerra comercial, y con algunos miembros destacados del G20 como Brasil, México o Italia gobernados por populistas.</p> <p>La actitud de Trump en el último G7 fue insultante, y tras los muy mediocres resultados de la reunión del 2018, organizada por una Argentina otra vez arruinada e intervenida por el FMI, las perspectivas de arbitrar buenos acuerdos en el próximo G20, que organizará Japón en 2019, son escasas.</p> <h3>&nbsp;<strong>¿Y América Latina?</strong></h3> <p>En este escenario tan poco halagüeño, pero en una situación periférica que podría ahorrarle algún disgusto, ¿qué perspectivas 2019 para América Latina?</p> <p>El intenso ciclo electoral del 2018 ha traído a la región cambios sustanciales. Los resultados en Colombia produjeron un giro más a la derecha, que debilita la implementación de los históricos acuerdos de paz con las FARC del 2016. Y en México y, sobre todo, en Brasil, se abrieron perspectivas inciertas, aunque de signo opuesto.</p> <p>En mayo, la ratificación en las urnas de Nicolás Maduro se produjo en un contexto muy difícil en el que la profundización de la crisis económica y política se tradujo en una crisis humanitaria y migratoria de dimensiones desconocidas en la región hasta el momento.</p><p> Con una inflación que llegó al 1.000.000 % y la fuerte caída de los precios del petróleo de los últimos meses, el 2019 se presenta más sombrío si cabe. Las preguntas parecen ser: ¿Cuánto más sufrimiento está dispuesto el régimen chavista a infringir a la población por mor de mantenerse en el poder? ¿Cuánto más apoyo ruso, crédito chino y solidaridad cubana podrán recabar?</p> <p>Al enquistamiento de la situación catastrófica en Venezuela le ha seguido una profunda crisis en Nicaragua, algo relativamente inesperado. Ortega ha mostrado la cara más horrenda de un régimen que parece interesado en liquidar cualquier vestigio de democracia, y en ejercer la represión como única respuesta política al malestar de la población, una parte de la cual ha tomado ya la decisión de huir hacia el norte, antes de que sea demasiado tarde. </p><p>La crisis migratoria se hizo notar también en las caravanas que salieron de Honduras, El Salvador y, en menor medida, de la misma Guatemala, y que levantaron a su paso una solidaridad única en el mundo.</p> <p>Por su parte, López Obrador, con una victoria tan abrumadora como esperanzadora para muchísimos mexicanos, ha entrado con fuerza populista en algunas de sus medidas (con plebiscitos dudosos y una rebaja sustantiva de los altos salarios de los funcionarios, empezando por el suyo mismo, por ejemplo), pero se ha mostrado cauto con el gran vecino del norte, con quien prefiere evitar la confrontación, tanto en inmigración y como en economía.</p> <p>El presidente mexicano es consciente de su gran dependencia económica del gigante del norte y de la cual depende, en una parte importante, su salud financiera. Junto a una política fiscal prudente, la firma del nuevo tratado de libre comercio le proporcionará una estabilidad imprescindible para llevar a cabo las ambiciosas reformas que prometió. </p><p>Si AMLO, fiel a su extracción de izquierda popular, es capaz de mejorar algunos aspectos clave de la vida pública mexicana (la corrupción, la seguridad) y gobernar para el conjunto de los ciudadanos y no para la clase privilegiada como ocurrió en las últimas décadas, su ambiciosa <em>Cuarta Transformación</em> habrá echado a andar en 2019.</p><p>Pero el mayor terremoto lo ha producido la imprevista llegada al poder del nacional-populista y ultraderechista Jair Bolsonaro, que toma posesión este uno de enero y cuyos primeros pasos como gobernante marcarán definitivamente la orientación de un Brasil altamente polarizado entre un rechazo frontal a su agresiva figura, y la adoración incondicional a quien muchos brasileños llaman “o mito”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Lo que preocupa en Brasil no es tanto la economía, sino cómo se va a traducir la política divisiva del “nosotros frente a ellos”, y si las alarmantes promesas de campaña se van a traducir en medidas de gobierno.</p> <p>Entre los diversos factores que produjeron esta victoria inesperada está un intenso ciclo recesivo de la economía como nunca había conocido Brasil, y que, junto a una epidemia de violencia sin precedentes (64.000 muertes violentas en 2017), una corrupción generalizada y los fuertes recortes sociales de los últimos gobiernos, golpeó a buena parte de la población.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Pero el ciclo económico se apresta a la recuperación. La ortodoxia liberalizadora y la intención privatizadora, fiel a las doctrinas de la Universidad de Chicago, han creado grandes expectativas entre los inversores nacionales y extranjeros. Si esas medidas logran la aprobación de un Congreso estructuralmente fragmentado, podrían impulsar un ciclo económico alcista, que será celebrado por los mercados, sobre todo si viene acompañado de una reforma de las pensiones, largamente reclamada por la derecha económica y los reguladores financieros internacionales.</p> <p>Lo que preocupa en Brasil no es tanto la economía, sino cómo se va a traducir la política divisiva del “nosotros frente a ellos”, y si las alarmantes promesas de campaña se van a traducir en medidas de gobierno. </p> <p>Las consecuencias sobre los derechos humanos y civiles, sobre las minorías negra e indígena, sobre la protección del medioambiente y la preservación de las demarcaciones en la vasta región de la Amazonia, y sobre las garantías ante la actuación de la justicia y de la policía hacen temer la degradación de las condiciones democráticas que un ciclo económico alcista no va a frenar. Pero como presidente electo democráticamente, ¿merece Bolsonaro sus 100 días de gracia? Veremos si el pragmatismo se impone a la rabia y al <em>furore</em> ultra, y los daños son controlables.</p> <h3><strong>¿A las puertas del fascismo?</strong></h3> <p>Pero si el gobierno Bolsonaro actúa con violencia, como quieren algunos, entonces estaremos cerca de que su populismo de derecha extrema cruce la raya roja que lo separa del fascismo. Al fin y al cabo, tiene todos los componentes que señala el libro reciente de <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/15/how-fascism-works-jason-stanley-review-trump">Jason Stanley <em>Cómo funciona el fascismo</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Asistimos a la recreación de un pasado mítico (el Brasil feliz del "orden y progreso" que trajo la dictadura) y a la apropiación de la bandera y de la patria. Avanzan la propaganda y el anti-intelectualismo. Se ataca a las escuelas y las universidades que no comulguen con las ideas del gobernante, lo que se une al colapso de la realidad y del debate razonado fruto de ataques a la prensa, circulación de noticias falsas por medio de redes sociales, y validación de teorías de la conspiración de todo tipo.</p> <p>A todo esto se suma la naturalización de la diferencia grupal que, alimentada por el racismo enraizado en buena parte de la sociedad brasileña, establece como “normal” una jerarquía que defiende diferencias entre el valor de la vida de unos y de otros, y contiene una ansiedad sexual que impone el patriarcalismo y ataca la diversidad como “ideología de género”. La preeminencia, en fin, de una política de “ley y orden” criminaliza a los que no están con el “nosotros” dominante, explota el victimismo y justifica el uso de la violencia contra la violencia. A la sombra del trumpismo, y bendecido por el evangelismo de la iglesia Universal del Reino de Dios, Brasil podría encarnar la mayor amenaza a la democracia en la región.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">No son buenas noticias. Pero ni la situación en Europa se parece a los años 30, ni hay ruido de sables en América Latina, como sí lo hubo en los 60 y 70.</p> <p>No son buenas noticias. Pero ni la situación en Europa se parece a los años 30, ni hay ruido de sables en América Latina, como sí lo hubo en los 60 y 70.</p> <p>El año 2019 se presenta lleno de incertidumbres, o más bien con la certeza de que el fin del ciclo progresista va a traer más tensión social y regresión democrática. Pero el orden democrático y liberal deberá defenderse combatiendo la polarización extrema, valorizando la centralidad de la verdad y del debate informado y honesto, y denunciando, con protesta y contundencia, pero constructivamente, cada vez que se crucen las líneas rojas de las libertades y las garantías democráticas que tanto han costado conseguir.</p> <p>El gran reto consiste en construir una narrativa ilusionante, capaz de romper esta espiral de negatividad. A ello nos aplicaremos en democraciaAbierta. ¡Feliz año!</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/renata-avila/c-mo-neutralizar-bolsonaro-en-sus-primeros-100-d-as-de-gobierno-5-acc">Cómo neutralizar a Bolsonaro en sus primeros 100 días de Gobierno: 5 acciones</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/bernardo-guti-rrez/c-mo-derrotar-la-ultraderecha-sin-pronunciar-la-palabra-fascism">Para derrotar a la ultraderecha hay que distinguirla del fascismo histórico</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/mat-as-bianchi-cristian-le-n/de-la-innovaci-n-pol-tica-la-resiliencia-democr-tica-">¿Y ahora qué? De la innovación política a la resiliencia democrática en América Latina</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/federico-finchelstein-jos-zepeda/del-fascismo-al-populismo-aclaraciones-indispensa">Del fascismo al populismo. Aclaraciones indispensables</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Economics International politics Francesc Badia i Dalmases Tue, 01 Jan 2019 19:26:13 +0000 Francesc Badia i Dalmases 121156 at https://www.opendemocracy.net A clear step backwards: New firearms regulations and police use of lethal force in Argentina https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/clear-step-backwards-new-firearms-regulations-and-police-use-of-lethal-force-in-ar <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Some of the new provisions fail to meet international use of force standards. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/omega/un-claro-retroceso-armas-de-fuego-y-uso-de-la-fuerza-letal-en-argentina">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/1935004412-image.png_1018743086_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/1935004412-image.png_1018743086_0.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="359" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A policeman shoots during an intervention in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2018. Photo.- NA, via FiloMews. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Off-duty police officer Luis Chocobar shot and killed18-year-old Pablo Kukoc in December 2017, several blocks from the scene of a robbery where a tourist had been stabbed in Buenos Aires. Kukoc had participated in the crime and was fleeing at the time, and he posed no imminent danger to anyone. </p><p>Argentina’s president and the security minister received <a href="https://www.apnews.com/983fc05e080a4024892dfaea985647cf">Chocobar as a hero</a> and held his actions up as exemplary – despite a judicial investigation that questioned their proportionality and that will soon go to trial.</p> <p>On the 3rd of December, Argentina’s government published Resolution 956/2018, which alters regulations on the <a href="https://www.cels.org.ar/web/en/2018/12/uso-fuerza-letal/">use of firearms</a> by the federal security forces. The Resolution expands the grounds for using lethal force generally and legitimizes firing at fleeing suspects, as Chocobar did. </p><p>Through our work monitoring police use of force around the world, we have already identified a pattern of excessive use of firearms, <a href="https://omegaresearchfoundation.org/publications/tools-torture-and-repression-south-america-use-manufacture-and-trade-july-2016">particularly shotguns</a>, in Argentina. Under the new rules, which go against international human rights and policing standards and good practices, police killings and extrajudicial executions could be set to rise.</p> <p>The new regulations not only permit the use of firearms when there is an imminent danger of death or serious injuries; they also provide other examples of what would be considered “imminent danger”, lowering what should be a high threshold for the use of firearms. </p><p>The examples given include instances when it is “credibly presumed that the suspect could have a lethal weapon”, such as when they are part of a group and another member either has a firearm, has fired shots or has injured third parties. It also covers instances where a suspect appeared to be armed but actually was carrying a replica gun.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Firearms should only be used where there is an imminent threat of death or serious injury – not just because one member of a group had a weapon.</p> <p>The provision stating that it is likely that a suspect is armed because another person is armed could feasibly provide vigilante police officers with <em>carte blanche</em> to carry out extrajudicial executions against certain groups, such as suspected gang members. Firearms should only be used where there is an imminent threat of death or serious injury – not just because one member of a group had a weapon.</p> <p>The provision on replica firearms is similarly problematic. It is one thing to discuss in a specific case if a police officer who shoots someone in the mistaken belief that they were armed with a firearm should be absolved after an independent and rigorous investigation is carried out, because it is proven that their mistaken belief was reasonably held. </p><p>For example, a police officer may believe there is an imminent threat to life due to the replica firearm appearing indistinguishable to a real firearm and the threatening manner in which it is aimed. It is quite another to establish in advance and in general terms the lawfulness of every instance when a suspect is shot when carrying a replica firearm or when their alleged accomplice is armed, effectively preventing any judicial oversight. </p> <p>Particularly relevant in light of the Chocobar case, the new regulations stipulate that security forces can use lethal force against a suspect who flees after causing or trying to cause death or serious injury, regardless of whether the suspect is armed or poses an imminent threat to the officer or others. This could allow unscrupulous officers to use the excuse that the suspect was fleeing, to open fire indiscriminately.</p> <p>“Imminent danger” is also stated to include instances where the “unpredictability of the attack, the number of aggressors or the weapons they carry, materially impede the performance of law enforcement duties...” This overly broad and ambiguous clause could potentially be used to justify the use of lethal force against protesters, in a context of <a href="https://www.cels.org.ar/web/en/opiniones/pressure-increasing-on-argentine-civil-society-a-vital-force-for-change/">increasing repression</a> and criminalization of demonstrators in Argentina. </p><p>In response to such concerns, the Security Ministry issued a press release specifying that the new regulations “do not modify the use of weapons during demonstrations or public protests, since the norm that establishes the use of non-lethal weapons in these cases remains in force”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Additional human rights safeguards, including precautionary measures such as training in de-escalation techniques, that might reduce the need to use any force at all, are missing.</p> <p>These are some of the new provisions that fail to meet international use of force standards, particularly the requirement that “intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life”. </p><p>Additional human rights safeguards, including precautionary measures such as training in de-escalation techniques, that might reduce the need to use any force at all, are missing completely from Argentina’s new regulations.<strong></strong></p> <p>International standards also require police to use the minimum amount of force necessary to achieve a legitimate law enforcement objective. However, the new regulations allow firearms to be used when other “non-violent” means prove ineffective. </p><p>This fails to take into account other means of force that are less harmful than lethal firearms – so-called ‘less lethal weapons’ (e.g. batons, pepper spray, etc.) – and this omission could lead to the rapid escalation of violence. </p><p>Analysing the new regulations from a human rights perspective and in light of developing good practice in policing internationally, it is clear that they are a backward step. Underpinning them, there seems to be an attempt to avoid judicial oversight of law enforcement activities and broaden the scope for the use of firearms beyond what is acceptable under international law.</p> <p>While it is essential to train law enforcement officers on a wide range of realistic scenarios, such as what to do when a dangerous suspect flees or when another member of a group of suspects is armed, the legitimacy of police action should be judged on a case-by-case basis rather than justified across the board in law.</p><p> It would be far more effective to provide police with sufficient training and appropriate equipment, base the law on established principles such as necessity, proportionality and accountability, and ensure the resources and mandate for each case to be investigated and judged according to these principles.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Argentina </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Argentina Conflict Democracy and government International politics Omega Research Foundation Thu, 27 Dec 2018 10:45:00 +0000 Omega Research Foundation 121140 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Un claro retroceso: Armas de fuego y uso de la fuerza letal en Argentina https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/omega/un-claro-retroceso-armas-de-fuego-y-uso-de-la-fuerza-letal-en-argentina <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Desde una perspectiva de derechos humanos y a la luz de la elaboración de buenas prácticas de actuación policial a nivel internacional, la nueva normativa sobre uso de&nbsp; armas representa un grave retroceso. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/clear-step-backwards-new-firearms-regulations-and-police-use-of-lethal-force-in-ar">English</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/1935004412-image.png_1018743086.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/1935004412-image.png_1018743086.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="359" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Un policía argentino dispara durante un despliegue en Buenos Aires, en 2018. Foto.- NA, vía FiloMews. Todos los derechos reservados.</span></span></span></p><p>Luis Chocobar, un policía fuera de servicio, disparó y mató a Pablo Kukoc de 18 años en diciembre de 2017, a varias cuadras del lugar donde habían robado y acuchillado a un turista en Buenos Aires. Kukoc había participado en el hecho y estaba huyendo. No representaba ningún peligro inminente para nadie. </p><p>El presidente argentino y la ministra de Seguridad recibieron al policía, <a href="https://www.cels.org.ar/web/2018/02/el-caso-del-policia-chocobar/">lo calificaron como un héroe</a> y describieron su conducta como ejemplar, a pesar de la existencia de una investigación judicial que cuestionaba su accionar y que prontamente llegará a juicio.</p> <p>El 3 de diciembre último, el gobierno nacional argentino publicó la resolución 956/2018que modifica la reglamentación del <a href="https://www.cels.org.ar/web/2018/12/uso-fuerza-letal/">uso de armas de fuego</a> por parte de las fuerzas de seguridad federales. Amplía los supuestos de uso de la fuerza letal en general y habilita la práctica de disparar a personas mientras huyen, como hizo Chocobar. </p><p>En nuestro trabajo de monitoreo del uso de fuerza policial en el mundo, ya habíamos identificado un patrón de uso excesivo de armas de fuego, <a href="https://omegaresearchfoundation.org/publications/tools-torture-and-repression-south-america-use-manufacture-and-trade-july-2016">en particular</a> de escopetas, en la Argentina. Esta nueva normativa va en contra de los estándares y las buenas prácticas internacionales de derechos humanos y de actuación policial y podría aumentar los asesinatos policiales y las ejecuciones extrajudiciales.</p> <p>Además de permitir el uso de armas de fuego cuando hay un peligro inminente de muerte o de lesiones graves, la nueva normativa específica lo que debe ser considerado como un “peligro inminente”. Mientras que las condiciones para el uso de armas de fuego deben ser restrictivas, los ejemplos que presenta la normativa son notablemente amplios. </p><p>Se incluyen situaciones en las que “se presuma verosímilmente que el sospechoso pueda poseer un arma letal”, como cuando otra persona supuestamente de un mismo grupo tiene un arma de fuego o ha disparado o ha lesionado a terceros. También se refiere a situaciones en las que un presunto delincuente porta un arma, aunque finalmente resulte que se trataba de un símil de un arma letal.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Las armas de fuego sólo deben utilizarse cuando existe una amenaza inminente de muerte o de lesiones graves, y no solamente porque otro integrante de un grupo porta un arma.</p> <p>El supuesto de que es probable que una persona este armada sólo porque otra que se considera parte de un mismo grupo lo está, podría funcionar como un cheque en blanco para que los policías&nbsp; ejecuten a integrantes de ciertos grupos, como a personas señaladas por supuestamente pertenecer a una banda o pandilla. </p><p>Las armas de fuego sólo deben utilizarse cuando existe una amenaza inminente de muerte o de lesiones graves, y no solamente porque otro integrante de un grupo porta un arma.</p> <p>La disposición referida a las réplicas de armas presenta una problemática similar. Una cosa es que un policía sea absuelto por haber disparado a alguien bajo la creencia equivocada de que esa persona tenía un arma de fuego, después de que una investigación independiente y rigurosa pruebe en particular que su evaluación equivocada era razonable. </p><p>Por ejemplo, si se prueba que un policía creyó que había una amenaza inminente a la vida por la apariencia indistinguible entre una réplica de un arma y una verdadera y por el modo en que la réplica fue utilizada para amenazar. </p><p>Pero otra cosa diferente es establecer de antemano la legalidad de toda situación en la que se dispara contra una persona por portar la réplica de un arma –u otro tipo de objeto– o cuando un supuesto cómplice este armado. En el fondo, este tipo de habilitación genérica para el uso de armas de fuego parece pretender evitar el control judicial sobre la actuación policial.</p> <p>Replicando la estructura del caso Chocobar, las nuevas regulaciones estipulan que las fuerzas de seguridad pueden usar la fuerza letal contra una persona que huye supuestamente tras causar o intentar causar lesiones graves o la muerte, más allá de si la persona está armada o presenta una amenaza inminente para el policía u otras personas. Esto puede habilitar a que los agentes policiales que hacen un uso abusivo de la fuerza utilicen como excusa que un sospechoso había intentado huir para justificar su accionar violento e indiscriminado.</p> <p>Según la nueva normativa, el “peligro inminente” abarca también situaciones en las que por “la imprevisibilidad del ataque esgrimido, o el número de los agresores, o las armas que éstos utilizaren, impidan materialmente el debido cumplimiento del deber”. Esta cláusula resulta excesivamente amplia y ambigua y puede ser utilizada para justificar el uso de la fuerza letal contra las y los manifestantes, en el contexto actual de <a href="https://www.cels.org.ar/web/publicaciones/argentina-el-derecho-a-la-protesta-en-riesgo-2/">creciente represión y criminalización</a> de las protestas en la Argentina. </p><p>Ante planteos por este tipo de preocupaciones, el Ministerio de Seguridad emitió un comunicado aclaratorio y especificó que el nuevo reglamento “no modifica el empleo de armas ante manifestaciones o&nbsp;protestas&nbsp;públicas, ya que continúa vigente la normativa que establece el uso de armas no letales para estos casos”.</p> <p>Estas son algunas de las disposiciones nuevas que no cumplen con los estándares internacionales de uso de la fuerza y, en particular con el requisito de que “en cualquier caso, sólo se podrá hacer uso intencional de armas letales cuando sea estrictamente inevitable para proteger una vida”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Los&nbsp; estándares de derechos humanos aportan otro tipo de medidas de prevención como el entrenamiento en técnicas para des-escalar situaciones de &nbsp;violencia.</p><p>El desarrollo de estándares de derechos humanos en esta materia también aporta otro tipo de medidas de prevención como el entrenamiento en técnicas para des-escalar situaciones de &nbsp;violencia, que reducen o anulan la necesidad de hacer uso de la fuerza. Este tipo de intervenciones orientadas a la reducción de la violencia están completamente ausentes de las nuevas regulaciones argentinas.</p> <p>Los estándares internacionales requieren que la policía utilice la fuerza en el grado mínimo necesario para lograr un objetivo legítimo de aplicación de la ley. Sin embargo, la nueva normativa permite que la policía utilice armas de fuego cuando otros medios “no violentos” resulten ineficaces. </p><p>Esto ignora la existencia de otros instrumentos menos lesivos que las armas de fuego: las llamadas “armas menos letales”. Esta omisión podría derivar en una rápida escalada de violencia.</p> <p>Desde una perspectiva de derechos humanos y a la luz de la elaboración de buenas prácticas de actuación policial a nivel internacional, queda claro que esta normativa representa un grave retroceso. En el fondo, parece representar un intento de evitar el control judicial de las fuerzas de seguridad y de ampliar el uso de armas de fuego más allá de lo que se considera aceptable según el derecho internacional.</p> <p>Si bien es fundamental entrenar a los policías respecto de un rango amplio de escenarios posibles y concretos, como qué hacer cuando una persona que se considera peligrosa huye o cuando otro supuesto integrante de una banda está armado, la legalidad del accionar policial debe juzgarse caso por caso y no se puede establecer la legalidad del uso letal de la fuerza de forma genérica en una norma de alcance general. </p><p>Sería mucho más eficaz proveer a la policía de entrenamiento adecuado y el equipamiento apropiado, basar la ley y las normativas en principios ya establecidos como la necesidad, la proporcionalidad y la rendición de cuentas, y asegurar los recursos para que se investigue y se juzgue cada caso según estos principios.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Argentina </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta DemocraciaAbierta Argentina Democracy and government Conflict International politics Omega Research Foundation Thu, 27 Dec 2018 10:27:34 +0000 Omega Research Foundation 121139 at https://www.opendemocracy.net #EleccionesAbiertas2018: Earthquake in Brazil and Mexico, tremors in Colombia https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/democraciaabierta/eleccionesabiertas2018-earthquake-in-brazil-and-mexico-tremors-i <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The presidential elections in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil were carried out in a context of polarisation and misinformation, alerting us to potential democratic setbacks in the region. <em><strong><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/democraciaabierta/eleccionesabiertas-terremoto-en-m-xico-y-brasil-temblor-en-colom">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-32959576 Mexico Earthquake_2.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-32959576 Mexico Earthquake_2.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="313" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><p>Fake news, hate speech, and the consolidation of ‘outsider’ type candidates that pit themselves against traditional ways of doing politics were the elements that came together to produce the populist tendencies that have recently taken centre stage in Latin America.&nbsp;</p> <p>The strong presidential character of Latin American political systems ensures that the personality of the candidate weighs in more than their respective parties, favouring a dynamic where a connection between a candidate and the people can weaken democratic institutions seen to be against the personable leader. &nbsp;</p> <p>Throughout 2018 we’ve seen 3 new presidents win elections in Latin America that are building a path towards a change in the political cycle in the region. </p><p>The hopefuls of the pink tide are being left behind, and the uncertainty of the times ahead plague the majority of democracies around the world due to authoritarian tendencies that have recently arisen.</p> <p>In Colombia, the victory of Duque has consolidated the tradition of the right-wing elite that has been governing the country for decades. </p><p>In contrast, the recently inaugurated government of López Obrador in Mexico has one of the most progressive political agendas seen in decades and ends a long cycle of conservative politics in the country, however his demagogy is a worry for democratic institutions. Finally, the worrying victory of Bolsonaro in Brazil represents a hard blow for the left, democracy, and the PT in particular.</p> <p>It’s in this post-electoral context full of contrasts that we present a brief evaluation of each of the 3 new presidents that will come to define the coming years in Latin America:</p> <h3>Duque: from inefficiency to unpopular&nbsp;</h3> <p>President Duque completed his first 100 days with an extremely low approval rating. His victory is unquestionable, even though it consolidated the left as a legitimate political opposition in the country for the very first time. He has attempted to face up to the issue of the brutal murders of social leaders, new corruption scandals, and the continuation of the peace agreements for the FARC with little success.&nbsp;</p> <p>His leadership has been weakened by the 22 murders of social leaders since he has taken office, an issue which continues to call human rights into question in Colombia. </p><p>This context of extreme violence arises in the midst of uncertainty over the lack of political will to implement adequate post conflict policies that can deliver.</p> <p>Profound corruption scandals such as that of Odebrecht continue to sweep across a government in which even the general prosecutor of the nation may be implicated. </p><p class="mag-quote-center">This monumental scandal has already derailed presidents in Brazil, Peru and Panama, and in Colombia it appears the elites continue to be swamped in a problem that corrodes democratic institutions and encourages impunity.&nbsp;</p><p>This monumental scandal has already derailed presidents in Brazil, Peru and Panama, and in Colombia it appears the elites continue to be swamped in a problem that corrodes democratic institutions and encourages impunity.&nbsp;</p> <p>Iván Duque hasn’t been able to capitalise on the window of opportunity that the peace agreements have offered, nor the implementation of the post-conflict settlements. </p><p>Questioning transitional justice, interrupting dialogue with the ELN, the failure of the reinsertion of ex-guerrillas and the abandoning of territory which has lead to the proliferation of illegal crops, and violence at the hands of criminal groups are a few of the issues that have worsened under his leadership.</p> <p>Finally, the Colombian president faces a growing opposition that has taken to the streets to decry Duque and whose voices extend to senators and deputies within the government. Everything indicates that we will continue to experience tremors in Colombia in the coming years.</p> <h3>López Obrador, hope, resistance and uncertainty&nbsp;</h3> <p>The recently inaugurated Mexican president AMLO faces many challenges if he wishes to carry out his campaign promises. The disproportionate expectations that his campaign created, which he refers to as the ‘fourth transformation’, are so high that now he must face growing scepticism.</p> <p>The pacification of the war on drugs is one of the most urgent and difficult issues of his mandate. The objective to change conditions on the ground with programs such as legalisation of the cultivation of marihuana, or begin a process of amnesty for those imprisoned during the war if they collaborate in the defeat of larger criminal networks contrasts with the militarisation of the security forces also currently under way. This will no doubt put democratic standards at risk.</p> <p>His ambitious plan intends to put an end to corruption and to move forward with his republican austerity goals. Eliminating all governmental luxuries starting with turning the official residence of the president into a museum open to the public, cutting salaries by 60%, travelling in economy class and selling the presidential plane, are all highly symbolic gestures but are opposed by his political adversaries.</p> <p>His proposal to reduce public salaries has found resistance among the judges and the judiciary power of the country who have recently challenged this measure in the courts.&nbsp;</p> <p>These promises alongside AMLO’s tendency to convoke popular referendums which are questionable in democratic terms show that the obstacles that must be faced are significant. The hope of real change beyond populist gestures remains high, but the AMLO earthquake will experience many counteractions.</p> <h3>Bolsonaro earthquake hits Brazil</h3><p> With the election of Bolsonaro, referred to as “the myth” by his followers, Brazil fell into a state of shock. The country now left completely polarised and fragmented has seen its main left-wing force crash and burn.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The unexpected eruption of Bolsonaro represents an earthquake of collosal dimensions and it remains to be seen if the democratic institutions of Brazil are strong enough to contain him.&nbsp;</p> <p>The promise to end violence was one of Bolsonaro’s main objectives during his campaign and the terrifying record of 63,880 murders in 2017 is intolerable for obvious reasons. However, it’s not entirely clear that Bolsonaro’s strategy will in fact achieve this through worrying militarisation and arms liberation proposals.&nbsp;</p> <p>The figure of Bolsonaro has generated fear among many. In the midst of an open international rejection of racist, homophobic and anti-democratic postures, the eyes of the world are on the president who will be inaugurated in January next year. We must remain alert so that the democratic limits are not crossed and that human rights are respected.&nbsp;</p> <p>The declarations of ministers up until now don’t provide many reassurances. We must wait and remain attentive to what could occur next. The unexpected eruption of Bolsonaro represents an earthquake of collosal dimensions and it remains to be seen if the democratic institutions of Brazil are strong enough to contain him.&nbsp;</p> <p>This year has left many open questions regarding democracy in the region. In the midst of a growing lack of confidence in democratic institutions, parties and governments, 2018 has shown that the political paradigms in the region are changing, and these new tendencies are reminders of a very dark past that is yet to be forgotten.</p> <p>Despite these processes of democratic decline, we have also witnessed great displays of resistance and solidarity. We remember the tremendous earthquake that hit Mexico in 2017 that brought the local population together to rescue victims from under the rubble. </p><p>Another example of solidarity can be round in the reaction to the great Venezuelan migrant crisis and the growing phenomenon of migrant caravans that show that despite the change in tendencies of 2018, there is still hope for Latin America.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/pedro-henrique-leal/bolsonaro-and-brazilian-far-right">Bolsonaro and the Brazilian far right</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/guillermo-trejo/mexico-2018-will-regime-change-be-possible">Mexico 2018: end of an era and regime change?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/francesc-badia-i-dalmases-jonatan-rodr-guez/colombia-and-possibility-of-modernisin">Colombia and the possibility of modernising democracy</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Brazil </div> <div class="field-item even"> Colombia </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Mexico </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Brazil Colombia Mexico Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Equality DemocraciaAbierta Sun, 23 Dec 2018 14:14:03 +0000 DemocraciaAbierta 121133 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Austerity is stupid, and why the powerful don’t like to admit it https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/davide-castro/austerity-is-stupid-and-why-powerful-don-t-like-to-admit-it <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>We need a&nbsp;Progressive International<a rel="noopener" href="http://progressive-international.org/" target="_blank"> </a>whose narrative deeply penetrates this warped version of reality.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-38398714.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-38398714.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>September 7, 2018. Thessaloniki, Greece. Public health workers expressing their anger against Greek govt. public health cuts scuffle with riot police as they try to enter parliament. Giannis Papanikos/ Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>The poet Fernando Pessoa taught us that no stupid idea can gain general acceptance unless some intelligence is mixed in with it. So how can it be that austerity appears to have been generally accepted? Objectively it is a bankrupt policy –&nbsp;<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/economy/2018/10/austerity-how-ideological-project-failed-its-own-terms" target="_blank">the data is clear on this</a>&nbsp;– and yet it continues to be part and parcel of our daily lives.</p><p>It happens that we now know what was already obvious for a while: that austerity is not only inadequate as a policy method to exit economic crises but that its continuation depends almost entirely on the inability of politicians to abandon the political capital thus far invested in advocating for it. It was true in Greece, in Portugal and it is true today everywhere in Europe. While the International Monetary Fund [IMF]&nbsp;<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/jun/05/imf-underestimated-damage-austerity-would-do-to-greece" target="_blank">now publicly condemns</a>&nbsp;the austerity policies that the Troika of lenders – which incidentally included the IMF – forced down the throat of peripheral Eurozone economies, almost nothing has been done to turn away from them. Instead, we hear our leaders proclaim the end of the crisis as if we live in a black and white world which offers us simple binary options like: crisis/no crisis as if we were able to turn it on and off as we pleased.</p><p>Isn’t today’s tragedy precisely that we are all very well aware of the cost of austerity, but nonetheless cannot bring our liberal establishments to admit that it was plain wrong? The Greek case shows that the political capital spent on pursuing austerity policies is – at least in part – the reason why such political investment&nbsp;<em>cannot</em> be renounced so easily. It would be like admitting that all the work that you’ve done was in fact a lie. And with elections around the corner, we all know that no political figure will admit to such blunders when power is up for grabs.</p><p>We seem to be living in Guy Debord’s ‘society of the spectacle’ – except that in this case it is not that we are slaves to technological advancements alone and therefore act like we are doing – but also to our own political system whose functionaries operate within a framework of power struggles.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40239957.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40239957.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Panhellenic anti-austerity march by thousands of Greek pensioners in Athens on December 15, 2018. NurPhoto/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>We could talk about the real issues of our time, like lack of investment, poverty, climate change and so on, but the ruling liberal establishment prefers instead to extend and pretend the lie of austerity in order to convince voters that it was indeed a correct policy to pursue – no matter what the evidence actually says. The outcome of such extend and pretend politics is what we are seeing emerge everywhere in the world today: a widespread resentment towards the ruling liberal establishment embodied by populist monsters whose racist, authoritarian and xenophobic politics are finding a voice in our communities.</p><p>So what is the answer amidst this failed politics? The answer can only be a&nbsp;<a rel="noopener" href="http://progressive-international.org/" target="_blank">Progressive International </a>whose narrative deeply penetrates this warped version of reality. We must talk about this, endlessly. We must repeat it ad nauseum to dismantle the layers of propaganda that we are fed day in – day out. If we don’t do this we will fail miserably in our quest to change Europe and the world. There’s no time to lose.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/uk/laurie-macfarlane/how-media-amnesia-has-trapped-us-in-neoliberal-groundhog-day">How media amnesia has trapped us in a neoliberal groundhog day</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/ashoka-mody/imf-abetted-european-union-s-subversion-of-greek-democracy">The IMF abetted the European Union’s subversion of Greek democracy</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/james-galbraith/straight-talk-on-trade-international-institutions-greek-austerity">Straight talk on trade, international institutions, Greek austerity and inequality</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Greece </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? EU Greece Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Economics International politics Davide Castro DiEM25 Sun, 23 Dec 2018 12:28:29 +0000 Davide Castro 121131 at https://www.opendemocracy.net What the ‘Drone Wolf’ tries to teach us https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/marijn-nieuwenhuis/what-drone-wolf-tries-to-teach-us <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The event at Gatwick airport, surely orchestrated by a resentful philosopher, demystifies the workings of our everyday.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40305106.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40305106.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>FILE PHOTO dated 25/2/2017 of a drone and an aircraft. John Stillwell/Press Association. All rights reserved. </span></span></span></p><p>As I am writing, we are entering day 3 of the drone’s occupation of Gatwick Airport in London (or thereabouts). Events surrounding the drone are reported in the live-feeds of several, if not all, major press outlets in Britain; hundreds of flights have been rescheduled or cancelled; the army is called in to ‘take down’ the unmanned object; and patrols are taking place across many other UK airport to prevent a further escalation on a national scale. </p> <p>Brexit is forgotten, even Corbyn’s allegedly misogynistic mumbling no longer matters. A single drone has led an entire country on lockdown to look up at the air, while its government decides to securitise the national airspace. One unmanned aerial vehicle with an unclear purpose. It is the stuff of sardonic albeit suggestive Kafkaesque novels.</p> <p>The event, surely orchestrated by a resentful philosopher of sorts, demystifies the assumed stability and fixity of the workings of our everyday. It exposes the organisational fragility of the aerial infrastructures that we take for granted when getting from point A to B. It teaches us humility against an arrogant faith in the infallibility of imaginary superior technologies that can master nature. (If one drone can challenge the gargantuan force of mass tourism, what chance does geoengineering have against global climate change?). </p> <p>It shows how something so seemingly peripheral and local can challenge the political, economic and legal architectures of the wealthiest of countries. An executive of Gatwick Airport <a href="https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/gatwick-airport-issues-live-airlines-say-runway-reopens-but-continued-disruption-expected-a4023316.html">explains</a> that “This is an unprecedented issue. This isn’t a Gatwick Airport issue. It’s not even a UK issue. It’s an international issue.” The sad truth is that he might be right.</p> <p>This reality, one that centres on the governance of air, or, rather, the belief therein, has already long been known and felt in places where atmospheric violence is not the exception but the norm. That is to say that what is happening in London is global and deeply disconcerting, legally, geographically, philosophically, but it also must be understood as a local and political event. Context, I mean to say, almost always matters:</p> <p>One drone striking Gatwick; 0 deaths (fortunately)</p> <p>430 minimum confirmed strikes in Pakistan: 2,515-4,026 deaths</p> <p>328 minimum confirmed strikes in Yemen: 1,019-1,383 deaths</p> <p>4,978 minimum confirmed strikes in Afghanistan: 3,916-5,346 deaths</p> <p>125 minimum confirmed strikes in Somalia: 839-1,037 deaths</p> <p>(all data from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, <a href="https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/">https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/</a>)</p> <p>Yes, of course, I wish travellers all the best in getting to their destinations safely and smoothly to be with family, friends and loved ones. In short, to experience life and happiness in a trouble-free fashion. The drone and its pilot, however, also give us, ie. those for whom infrastructure works are enabling, a chance to reflect on the privilege of enjoying safe air in a world where other atmospheres are turning increasingly hostile and lethal.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> uk uk UK Civil society Conflict International politics Marijn Nieuwenhuis Fri, 21 Dec 2018 14:49:54 +0000 Marijn Nieuwenhuis 121116 at https://www.opendemocracy.net A People’s Vote without a People’s Debate won’t bring about Another Europe https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/andrea-pisauro-rosemary-bechler/people-s-vote-without-people-s-debate-won-t-bring <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>An open letter to Another Europe Is Possible on the democratic component fatally lacking from the Brexit process hitherto.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 09.35.52.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 09.35.52.png" alt="lead lead lead " title="" width="460" height="265" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot:Citizens Assembly on Brexit, Manchester, September 2017.YouTube. Fair Use.</span></span></span></p><p><em>Dear friends of Another Europe Is Possible,</em></p> <p>When some time ago Michael Chessum, registering my skepticism about a second referendum, asked me a very fair next question “So what is DiEM25’s position on Brexit”?  –  we may not have been as clear as we are today. So I’m writing in the hope that my answer may be of interest to you and to those who follow us.</p> <p>Prior to the Brexit referendum,&nbsp;we campaigned together to Remain in Europe to change it: a principled, articulate position which brought together the British Left and progressives throughout Europe, from John McDonnell and Caroline Lucas to Yanis Varoufakis, yourselves and ourselves.</p> <p>The outcome of the Brexit referendum&nbsp;and the dramatic political developments which followed it,&nbsp;have instead created huge divisions among progressives, despite having to face in Britain the transformation of the UK Conservatives into the “Brexit means Brexit” party (a self-serving delusion presiding over a democracy-free zone process) and in the wider world, Trump and the rise of the “national international” (a coalition of dangerously anti-democratic forces).</p> <p>Strategic disagreements are natural in the face of a historical strategic defeat&nbsp;like the referendum outcome, and the tasks of moving forwards under these conditions necessarily much more uphill. But an empowering democratic debate taking into full consideration not only the causes of the defeat, but also the opportunities that arise for a new, and maybe more profound form of political transformation, should bring us together again.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 09.33.38.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 09.33.38.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="260" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot. Citizens Assembly on Brexit, Manchester, September 2017.</span></span></span>I must applaud your decision to transform Another Europe is possible into a member-led democratic organisation&nbsp;and the timing of your decision. Never before has the task to democratize every level of British politics been more urgent or the challenge to create inclusive dialogue around the country more pressing. So I would like to wish you an excellent launch for this exciting new journey that you are on. </p><p>I need also to congratulate you on your brilliant work to expose the contradictions of Brexit&nbsp;within the British Left. DiEM25 dedicated every sinew we possessed at the time of the referendum to campaigning with you against Brexit but you have been able to transform what was once the fairly complex argument of a vocal fringe (“stay in Europe to change it” or as Yanis Varoufakis used to put it “in the EU against this EU”) into a hegemonising message at the 2018 Labour conference, with the ubiquitous “Love Corbyn, hate Brexit” placards shifting the internal narrative by a visible margin.</p> <p>I also have to concede how important it was for you, Caroline Lucas and many others in the Left to shape from a progressive standpoint the developing debate on the ‘People’s Vote’, focusing on the backstage dealing of the government negotiating strategy and on a progressive critique of what it has so far achieved. You deserve a lot of credit<strong> </strong>for moving<strong> </strong>remainers so far on from the disastrous official remain campaign of 2016.</p> <p>We all believe that the deal negotiated by Theresa May is terrible, in method and motive, in the dangers it poses to workers’ rights, environmental protections, human rights and freedom to move and for the damage it can produce to our social model. We all agree that we must work together to exert the maximum pressure towards its defeat, whenever it finally comes to Parliament.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 09.37.26_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 09.37.26_0.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="262" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot: Citizens Assembly, Manchester, September 2017.</span></span></span>But&nbsp;we need to be equally clear about our disagreement&nbsp;at this critical juncture of the roller-coaster that is the Brexit process. For us the mode of delivery of a ‘People’s Vote’ cannot work from a progressive perspective. </p><p>Jeremy Corbyn insists that “a People’s vote is not an option for the present”. We think he is right. To have a meaningful effect a People’s Vote, that is, any referendum on the deal with an option to remain, needs to happen well ahead of 29 March 2019, when the article 50 current deadline is bound to conclude the Brexit saga.</p> <p>Considering the necessary obligations for implementing a referendum, allowing for an electoral campaign of at least one month and before that presumably organising the electoral machine, this should be announced not later than mid-January for the referendum to be held in mid March. But before such an announcement can be made, legislation must be passed both at the House of Commons and at the House of Lords and a referendum bill not yet drafted must be approved in both houses. Unfortunate as it might be, with Parliament shut down for Christmas and in the face of a looming constitutional crisis, is there any possibility that this process could be completed in less than one month?</p> <p>Time of course is of the essence, and not just time to follow the rules which govern our voting system.&nbsp;Democracy is also about taking the time to take complex decisions without a gun to our heads. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 09.29.53.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 09.29.53.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="257" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot: Citizens Assembly, Manchester, September 2017. YouTube. </span></span></span>Above all it is about <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&amp;v=HSYRBmZRTnY">a meaningful debate,</a> which gives every citizen a chance to gather all the information they need about all the viable major options currently available — <span>at least four at the last count</span>. It requires time for citizens to listen to each other and to persuade each other if they can. And we should give people that time. We have heard a lot about the preparations needed for businesses to adapt and for trade deals to occur, but almost nothing about the time for citizens, leavers and remainers alike to explore ‘the deal’ and all its possible alternatives.&nbsp;We must allow democracy the time it deserves, but time is running out very fast for a proper democratic debate, with more facts and much clearer options. Nor can we trust the government to take the break from Brexit that we need to stand back together, and choose our common future carefully.</p> <p>More than this, a democratic decision concerning the fundamental constitutional questions raised by Brexit, requires citizens not only to choose the best answer to the question, but also to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/20/the-guardian-view-on-a-brexit-citizens-assembly-the-peoples-voice-is-needed">shape the debate</a> by framing the questions themselves or, as political theorist and democracy activist Stuart White put it, in 2015:<em>&nbsp;“Democratic theory says that this is a time when ‘We the people’ have a right to settle what happens precisely because what is at stake is a set of very basic questions about how we are ruled.”</em></p> <p>A People’s Debate, properly informed and accessible, inclusive and empowering, must precede a People’s Vote if it is to be a meaningful choice.&nbsp;Neal Lawson and more recently Gordon Brown, recognising the limits of parliamentary decision-making, have called for a “unique consultation”, a multi-faceted process of exchange that “by opening a dialogue across the country and engaging in a constructive, outward-looking conversation about our future” might help us discover “a road back to a more cohesive country, reuniting around shared values and rediscovered common interests” (“<span>To calm the Brexit storm, we must listen to the UK’s views again</span>”, Financial Times,16 November, also <a href="https://www.insider.co.uk/news/gordon-brown-brexit-institute-government-13578393">Gordon Brown on Brexit</a>.)</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 09.31.03.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screenshot 2018-12-21 at 09.31.03.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="267" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot: Citizens Assembly, Manchester, September 2017.</span></span></span>Without a People’s debate, a People’s vote is bound to be a rerun of the referendum binary narrative, hopefully framed in better terms (but how, while the government is run by Theresa May?), whose best possible outcome is to impose on a significant minority the 2016 status quo which was already then untenable to a significant majority. </p><p>Do we really want to offer the British people the choice to restore our old EU membership perhaps even including the detrimental changes that David Cameron negotiated in 2016, in his desperate attempt to win enough votes in June: a draconian form of “free” movement with strong limitations on access to welfare and stronger deportation powers for the UK government? Shouldn’t we be arguing for precisely the opposite line of march so that we can influence in a positive direction the Europe we want to see? Without a proper <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&amp;v=HSYRBmZRTnY">People’s Debate</a> on immigration and all the other key issues,<strong>&nbsp;</strong>a People’s Vote will never bring about another Europe.</p> <p>This is why DiEM25 has not signed up to a People’s Vote. We at DiEM25 believe instead that the way forward is to delay and democratise Brexit.</p><p><em>An original version of this article <a href="https://medium.com/@andrea.pisauro/a-peoples-vote-without-a-people-s-debate-won-t-bring-about-another-europe-c46452b40501">was published </a>on Medium on December 6, 2018.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/uk/neal-lawson/brexit-citizens-assembly-rising-to-crisis-in-democracy">Brexit Citizens Assembly: rising to the United Kingdom&#039;s crisis in democracy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/oliver-norgrove/interesting-brexit-experiment-worthy-of-analysis">An interesting Brexit experiment worthy of analysis</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/rosemary-bechler/rest-and-west-thoughts-on-brexit-and-migration-part-two">A People’s Vote won’t heal Brexit divisions – we need a People’s Debate</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? uk EU UK Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Ideas Rosemary Bechler Andrea Pisauro DiEM25 Fri, 21 Dec 2018 09:17:14 +0000 Andrea Pisauro and Rosemary Bechler 121104 at https://www.opendemocracy.net ‘Gilets jaunes’: the meaning of the confrontation https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/etienne-balibar/gilets-jaunes-meaning-of-confrontation <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>As the ‘gilets jaunes’ movement continues after President Macron’s speech, the French philosopher examines its origins and some of its political implications for all of us.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40291544.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40291544.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>This protest was organized by yellow vests and movements against G7 in Biarritz, December 18, 2018, where France hosts the next G7 Summit in August. Photomobile/ Press Association. All rights reserved</span></span></span></p><p>So the President has spoken. But to whom? That is the first question to be asked. Without ever trying or daring to name those who forced him into this – the famous&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes</em>&nbsp;– he spoke words of contrition in homoeopathic doses, and, as the press immediately pointed out, ‘granted’ measures to reduce the financial burden on the poorest part of the population but ‘without conceding’ anything that would have marked a change of course, or satisfied the movement of revolt that has so deeply shaken the country over the last four weeks.</p> <p>It will become clear in the coming days who has gained exactly what, both immediately and in the longer term, and who can be satisfied with it. Once again, Macron promised that citizens would have their say in a ‘consultation’ of national scope, in which he would contact local elected officials himself. And he seasoned his speech with two elements that should cause great concern to all democrats. First, a long proclamation of severity against ‘disorder and anarchy’ – ‘I have given the government the most rigorous instructions’ – meaning that demonstrations are placed under a kind of preventive state of emergency and that police brutality will not be subject to any restrictions. Then a strong return of the theme of national identity, of nauseating memory, immediately translated into the ‘question of immigration’, a ‘question’ that has played no role in the recent movement, but whose resonances on the right and far right of the political spectrum are well known. <span class="mag-quote-center">Then a strong return of the theme of national identity… immediately translated into the ‘question of immigration’, a ‘question’ that has played no role in the recent movement.</span></p> <p>I do not believe that this speech, and the orchestration it will receive, despite some international warning and chuckling, will help the president out of the absolute impasse he has locked himself into after eighteen months of exercising power. This opens up both interesting possibilities and formidable unknowns. But to try to decipher these, we must first review, schematically, the conditions under which he came to power and the most salient features of the policy he has followed, which perhaps not everyone had imagined in this form.</p> <h2><strong>Macron’s election and the pitfall of power</strong></h2> <p>On the first point, I will simply recall that Emmanuel Macron was elected, not as has sometimes been said ‘by default’, but in opposition to a candidate that the majority of the country, regardless of opinion, did not want, and that her television performance had eventually discredited (though this may change sooner or later). </p> <p>His candidacy had been prepared a good way back by a network of influence which stretched from the top echelons of finance and the civil service to some intellectual and trade-union representatives of social liberalism, but in which the former immediately had a decisive influence. This is why the famous ‘at the same time’ of his electoral discourse, vaguely Hegelian, was immediately tipped in favour of neoliberal economic and social policies, in a very aggressive form justified by the watchword (not very original) of a long-delayed ‘modernization’, combined with a ‘refoundation of Europe’.</p> <p>While his predecessor very quickly caved in to the injunctions (and probably blackmail) of the French and foreign business community, as well as to lessons of budgetary rigour from Germany and Brussels, Emmanuel Macron anticipated these, with the avowed claim of joining in their management. But perhaps the most serious consequence for today’s situation was the way in which, lacking a real political party or movement of his own, he had a fictitious parliamentary majority elected in the wake of his victory, on the usual grounds of governmental effectiveness, recruited by managerial methods on the basis of their CVs, with no autonomy or implantation on the ground, thus completing the discrediting of representative democracy, already very badly affected by the authoritarian institutions of the Fifth Republic.</p> <p>On the second point, I think we should mention at least four overlapping aspects, each of which obviously deserves a more in-depth analysis. The first is the decisive European dimension, given the current economic situation and the interdependence of national economic and political systems. It is certain that the situation is very difficult, since the EU has entered an existential crisis, probably irreversible, marked by a deep disaffection of public opinion and the successive collapse of states into ungovernable situations, by a gigantic widening of the gaps between the various regions of the continent, and by the ossification of conflict between ‘sovereigntyist’ and ‘Europeanist’ discourses, which tends to merge together with social antagonism, but adds to this nationalist connotations going as far as xenophobia. <span class="mag-quote-center">It is certain that the situation is very difficult, since the EU has entered an existential crisis.</span></p> <p>However, the need for the unity of nations on a continental scale is so great, both to cope with global financial hazards and to initiate the transition to an economy of solidarity in the fields of energy, consumption and climate, as well as to reduce inequalities and facilitate the movement of people (especially young people) across borders, that we could have been pleased to see Macron at the head of the second camp. </p> <p>Except that he did so in a totally unrealistic and conservative way, raising neither the question of the European budget, nor that of the accounting ‘rules’ of economic orthodoxy, nor that of transnational common goods, nor that of the in-depth democratization of European Community institutions. </p> <p>In the end, therefore, he reinforced the status quo that is leading to fragmentation, when it was necessary to aim at a genuinely new creation of a Europe in the service of its populations, running against the direction of France’s partners if necessary. In some areas, such as the crisis in the reception of refugees and migrants, he has continued and even aggravated the unscrupulous double standards of his predecessors, which is not without its consequence on the public mentality.</p> <p>European policy is clearly inseparable from the bloc of economic and financial policies forming the heart of what must be called Macronism. This is a politics of reinforced austerity that does not speak its name (it actually does, but in an esoteric jargon based on a certain dominant economic ideology, which has remained unchanged since the great crisis of the 2010s, and despite its lessons: ‘supply-side policy’ and ‘competitiveness’, ‘control of public expenditure’, ‘encouragement to the investment of wealth’, ‘reduction of labour costs’, ‘flexicurity’,<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftn1">[1]</a>&nbsp;‘digital champions’, etc.). <span class="mag-quote-center">The only ‘effective demand’ that really matters for this politics is export demand, or the demand of the privileged classes who can afford high prices for basic consumer goods.</span></p> <p>The only ‘effective demand’ that really matters for this politics is export demand, or the demand of the privileged classes who can afford high prices for basic consumer goods and even add extras, ‘German-style’, to the detriment of the living standard and purchasing power of the vast majority of the population. This orientation is ultimately suicidal for the national economy itself. We are still further removed from the vigorous neo-Keynesianism that is necessary to lead collective activities and individual skills in the direction of transforming the growth regime, the mass training of individuals and the improvement of local amenities that the crisis of the old industrialist model requires.</p> <p>Stock market indices and shareholder value reign supreme, and the income gap is continually widening, steadily creating a kind of dual society. Public services are trimmed to adjust the national budget, and the government sees the civil service as a declared enemy. The tax system, with any progressive character abandoned, is ever more clearly becoming a system of subsidy for the possessing classes by the dispossessed (not to mention the refloating of banks by taxpayers in time of crisis, and complacency towards tax evasion).</p> <p>This touches on the third aspect, which is undoubtedly the most sensitive, being closest to daily life. It is this that the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>revolt, precipitated by a new tax that boldly declared itself ‘ecological’ (despite not affecting any of the heavy carbon-guzzling activities or supporting any alternative policy), has exploded in the face of our governments and their advisors. Social policy – in this case essentially repressive and destructive, and therefore anti-social – is only the other side of economic policy. Perhaps a capitalist regime is never egalitarian. But at least it can remain for a while within the limits of liveable inequality if social ‘conflictuality’ – formerly known as ‘struggles’ – along with policies of national interest and cohesion (which now need to be rethought at a continental level and beyond) curbs impoverishment and imposes a certain degree of redistribution, whether through taxation or public services.</p> <p>On the contrary, everything happened as if Emmanuel Macron had seen his election as a mandate to accelerate the ‘scrapping’: a scrapping of labour legislation, of progressive taxation, of arbitration and occupational representation, of public service and social assistance. Perhaps the underlying idea was that the devastation of ‘civil’ society, with its potentially demoralizing consequences and the effects of ‘disaffiliation’ or ‘social insecurity’ (<a href="http://www.seuil.com/ouvrage/l-insecurite-sociale-qu-est-ce-qu-etre-protege-robert-castel/9782020623490">Robert Castel)</a>, would be offset by a mixture of ‘entrepreneurial’ propaganda and well-meaning moralism, without suspecting that there could be a backlash.</p> <p>I will dwell on this point for a moment and make it my fourth aspect. We should not just speak, in the old-fashioned way, of the ideological dimension of Macronism, but rather of a symbolic charge that eventually exploded with extreme violence, because it encountered and merged with a material situation that had become intolerable for a very large number of people. It is right to emphasize the character traits revealed by the president’s behaviour: his aggressiveness, his proclaimed contempt for ‘losers’, the ‘illiterate’ and the poor who can no longer make ends meet, to the point that his entourage eventually had to explain to him the negative effects on his ability to govern. <span class="mag-quote-center">We should not just speak… of the ideological dimension of Macronism, but rather of a symbolic charge that eventually exploded with extreme violence. </span></p><p>But I believe this is only the surface of a larger problem, as reflected in the ubiquitous formula at&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>gatherings: ‘they take us for fools’. ‘They’, i.e. the entire dominant technocracy in this country (which is also often a plutocracy), ranging from a President who fantasizes about being a ‘master of the clocks’<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftn2">[2]</a>&nbsp;and algebras to those who try to reform school curriculums with a magic wand (or even an axe), and the ‘Toulouse’ economists<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftn3">[3]</a>&nbsp;who explain without laughing in their op-ed columns that France’s difficulty of ‘staying in the race’ come from the absence of a ‘basic economic culture’ on the part of its citizens.</p> <p>It would be wrong to believe that this has not been noticed, and especially that the mass of citizens have forgotten the difference between the democratic postulate, which is the competence of the people once provided with necessary, sincere and intelligible information, and the oligarchic postulate of their ignorance and stupidity. Bring this resentment together with a distress that puts people’s backs to the wall, add a flagrant pretence about ecology (the very day after the resignation of the minister who had been noisily charged with defending ecological values, and who did not hide his sense of betrayal), and you get a real popular revolt, perhaps uncertain of its perspectives but perfectly aware of its purpose, and for this very reason immune to coercion, as long as its causes have not been clearly taken into account.</p> <h2><strong>Confrontation</strong></h2> <p>We now come to the confrontation that the President, once again playing on his ‘stature’ and ‘function’, evaded rather than acknowledged in his speech. Despite his denial, this exists none the less, and on a double level: between, on the one hand, his person, his speech (scant, prepared, circumvented), his presidential posture, and on the other hand, ranged against him, the democratic gesture of the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes</em>, strategically occupying the roundabouts and motorway tollbooths of France, from time to time also its squares and main avenues, demanding a change rather than a catalogue of additions and subtractions. Between the two, there is also the perception of public opinion: is the government playing fair or only pretending to do so, is it seeking negotiations or to benefit from and even favour a deterioration. This public opinion is measured by the polls and by the words exchanged on the square; these reflect its meaning and development, and it is what everything will ultimately depend on. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40259881.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40259881.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Impression of the yellow vests protests versus President Macron on the Champs Elysees, December 15, 2018. Christoph Hardt/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p><span class="mag-quote-center">This public opinion is measured by the polls and by the words exchanged on the square; these reflect its meaning and development, and it is what everything will ultimately depend on.</span></p> <p>There is clearly a powerful emotional dimension. The hatred that the President inspires among a large number of citizens (not just in François Ruffin’s proclamations),<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftn4">[4]</a>&nbsp;his way of exercising power and the style of ‘governance’ he embodies, has rightly been mentioned. There is nothing irrational in this, whatever is said about it, rather the materialization here and now, in twenty-first century France, of a political truth known since Machiavelli (an author whom Emmanuel Macron seems to have studied): the fear inspired by rulers is manageable, it can even be useful, but hatred is harder to manage, unless the ‘prince’ undertakes a conversion, an ostentatious change of personality (as we have sometimes seen in exceptional situations, most often linked to the requirements of ‘public safety’).</p> <p>I very much doubt that this conversion is possible, not only for psychological reasons, but because it would require that our President – as exhorted by some of his helpless supporters – somehow exchange one political family for another, ‘betraying’ those who ‘made’ him what he is and brought him to the vestibule of power, in favour of those he had fooled in his electoral campaign (conducted, it must be admitted, with effectiveness and talent). He is surely not Machiavellian enough for that.</p> <p>But above all, the emotional dimension is part of an objective situation that leaves no escape. In another famous formula, Lenin described it as a characteristic of ‘revolutionary situations’ (though we should not jump the gun) that a crisis is irreversible when those at the top can no longer govern as before, and those at the bottom no longer want to be governed as before. <span class="mag-quote-center">A crisis is irreversible when those at the top can no longer govern as before, and those at the bottom no longer want to be governed as before.</span></p> <p>This is indeed the case today, and is what was played out behind the scenes of Macron’s 10 December speech, between consultations and canny advice (including, as we have just learned, that of former President Sarkozy) about the sensitive issue of the threshold, both financial and symbolic, to be crossed or not in seeking to resolve the conflict, or at least trying to postpone its dénouement.</p> <p>Everything has visibly crystallized around a single measure that focused the antagonism and will continue to do so. Either the wealth tax will be re-established, under that name or an equivalent, and even extended to cover both the increased budgetary costs of a somewhat more equitable social policy and the needs of a real energy transition, or else we are witnessing the confirmation of its abolition, sealing the alliance of Bercy and the CAC 40<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftn5">[5]</a>(and Wall Street), even of Neuilly,<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftn6">[6]</a>&nbsp;which means that sooner or later what has just been given by one hand will be taken back by the other. </p> <p>The answer is now certain: the President will not give in, otherwise he would lose his prestige, his government and his advisers, not to mention what remains of his parliamentary majority. He will therefore sink ever deeper into a blind alley, with the risk of having to declare a real state of emergency (for the time being described as ‘social and economic’, but already correlated with a ‘rigorous’ discourse of public order). It is not from him that we should expect a solution, except for the worst.</p> <p>The situation can therefore only evolve, unblock, or move forward, as we would like, on the side of the ‘movement’ itself. It depends closely on what this is and what it will become. Like everyone else (except those with an innate revolutionary science), I am from this point of view both passionate and expectant, ready to participate in initiatives of solidarity and the defence of democratic rights (above all the right to demonstrate freely and safely, without being subject to indiscriminate attack with military weapons), and to formulate opinions, necessarily revisable, which may help public debate.</p> <p>I will clearly not claim for myself an increase in living standard that I do not need. I perceive the absolute and decisive urgency for this, and I can see other equally fundamental interests appearing in counterpoint, and I try imaginatively to take the point of view of the whole movement, which increasingly involves the whole of society and will now play an essential part in its future. Indeed, those French people who do not have any interest in the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>obtaining satisfaction, forcing a halt to neoliberal logic and thereby initiating a democratic and social transition, are a minority, and we all have a duty to understand and a right to express ourselves, or rather a right to hypothesize. This may change, but it is the massive, unavoidable fact of the moment.</p> <p>Who are the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes</em>, in the richness and multiplicity of their gatherings? Their statements, the descriptions they give of themselves, corroborated by some remarkable surveys carried out in real time (which does much to restore the civic function of the social sciences), show that they constitute a representative sample (and for this reason widely supported), not of the French population in the static sense of the term (that recorded in censuses by occupational category, age, gender, place of residence, etc.), but of what it is becoming, owing to the massive trends of contemporary capitalism, which the policies mentioned above have had the effect of aggravating and making more perceptible.</p> <p>Without unnecessarily complicating matters, I would say that they embody and denounce the generalized precariousness of activity and livelihoods that today affects millions of French people and immigrants of every educational level and geographical location (with the obvious exception of the&nbsp;<em>beaux quartiers</em>&nbsp;and certain ‘<em>bobo</em>’<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftn7">[7]</a>&nbsp;habitats), because they are caught between two major trends characteristic of neo-liberalism, both based on the application of ‘free and undistorted competition’. </p> <p>On the one hand, the new iron law of wage compression, both direct and indirect (including pensions, of course), to which globalization and deregulated technological change contribute, as well as the weakening of trade-union organizations; on the other hand, the accelerated uberization of ‘manual’ or ‘intellectual’ jobs that do not depend on companies with a fixed location but rather on digital platforms, creating a competition ‘to the death’ between individuals (called ‘self-entrepreneurs’) whom their masters control by intermittent demand and by debt. </p> <p>The two tendencies converge, and workers or employees from cities, suburbs and countryside who have not yet reached the bottom see that they cannot stop it, even if official language proclaims that we are entering the individualistic skilled paradise of a ‘start-up nation’.</p> <p>But this socio-economic representation is also coupled with a political representation that makes the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>movement so original and has inevitably generated a flood of interpretations, even exploitations. Observing the bankruptcy of representative politics or its disqualification, to which several long-term institutional and sociological factors have contributed, not to mention the methods of government of the current administration that I mentioned above, the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>have in brief proposed a contemporary alternative to the decline of politics, based on the self-representation (and therefore the presence in person) of ‘indignant’ citizens in the public square, with the support of their localities and the technical assistance of ‘network’ communication. <span class="mag-quote-center">The&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>have proposed a contemporary alternative to the decline of politics, based on the self-representation (and therefore the presence in person) of ‘indignant’ citizens in the public square.</span></p> <p>This alternative is remarkable in that it invents a new form of articulation between local solidarity, gatherings, and national convergence, even if it also generates tensions (viz. the episode of ‘threats’ against the delegation that proposed to meet the prime minister). Between these two modes of representation: that of current trends that are socially developing, and the political representation of direct action and uncoded speech (which particularly implies keeping electoral apparatuses, or even just organized activists, at bay, even when they could serve as supporters or spokespersons), there is obviously a resonance, a parallelism, but this should not be hastily transformed into a new ‘essence’ of collective subjectivity, whether in the name of ‘multitude’ or ‘plebs’. I believe that it should be seen as the symptom and potential agent of an exceptional, rapidly evolving and perhaps creative conjuncture, provided that certain conditions are met.</p> <h2><strong>Three conditions</strong></h2> <p>Several conditions, actually. Because the movement is both powerful, by the support it generates, by its despair, by its novelty, by the strategic dimension of the double ‘problem’ that caused and triggered it: tax injustice, the economic and ecological contradiction; and at the same time fragile, like any revolt that depends on the endurance of the individuals who bear it, without the backing of any organization, and against whom the privileged classes, a good part of the media, and especially the machinery of the state, will gradually unite. </p> <p>Under what conditions can it last, which means, win, since its very existence has become the issue at stake? In a non-exhaustive way, I would suggest three: convergence with other movements, less original but not less representative; civility, or the ability to resist the spiral of mimetic violence in relation to the state; finally, and above all, the emergence of a political idea, which extends the conjunctural invention by anchoring it in institutions, and thus confers on it the capacity of a ‘counter-power’.</p> <p>The issue of convergence is clearly crucial, in terms of both duration and effectiveness. It must be distinguished not only from the simple phenomenon of public opinion (what the pollsters call sympathy, even solidarity), though it can inflect the orientation of this, but also from a historical fusion of resistance movements and aspirations to another society, whether in the form of an emerging organization or, on the contrary, of a ‘coming insurrection’,<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftn8">[8]</a> anarchically crystallized around a generic power of refusal or dismissal. </p> <p>But on the other hand, we should recognize that its possibility holds the keys to a profound change in the balance of power and power relations within our society. Without this, however strong the motivation of the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>movement may be and however resilient the causes that generated it, it risks finding itself caught between two probable effects of isolation: discouragement and radicalization, which would mean a collapse of its political capacity. <span class="mag-quote-center">The&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>movement… risks finding itself caught between two probable effects of isolation: discouragement and radicalization, which would mean a collapse of its political capacity.</span></p> <p>But considering the possibility of a convergence, even if still virtual, requires caution in formulations at the same time as openness towards the novel event and the surprises it might bring. On the one hand, I would say that there must be compatibility between heterogeneous demands and expressions, which is not guaranteed, since there is nothing like a spontaneous ‘commonality’ of social demands (in the face of the ‘sole adversary’ of the neo-liberal monster), and above all, there are potentially all kinds of very real conjunctural contradictions between the various logics of change (of which a good example is the clash between projects to combat global warming and the urgency of cheap energy for mass consumption). </p> <p>And on the other hand, there should be an acknowledged and recognized diversity of the components of the ‘popular’ aspiration to social and political democratization, allowing discussions or even negotiations between these, but preserving at all costs the uniqueness of their origins and their own voices.</p> <p>This is why we can indeed speak, in Gramscian terminology, of the constitution of a ‘historic bloc’ and the ‘reversal of hegemony’. But we should not get into the conception of ‘chains of equivalence’ imagined by the champions of a ‘left-wing populism’ inspired by Ernesto Laclau, who would like to translate all demands into a single language, suitably idealized (and whose counterpart, as Chantal Mouffe has recently <a href="https://www.albin-michel.fr/ouvrages/pour-un-populisme-de-gauche-9782226435293">made very clear</a>, is the emphasis placed on the power of emotions to the detriment of reasoning, and the need for a personalized leadership, which today shows how little it matches the movement’s aspirations).</p> <p>I will risk once again <a href="http://palimpsestes.fr/textes_divers/b/balibar/populisme-europe.pdf">the expression I used </a>a few years ago, when Greek citizens revolted against the diktat of the European troika: what is needed is rather a counter-populism, equally distant both from anti-popular oligarchical politics and from the ideological populisms of left or right. Quite a conundrum! What we see in the current situation seems to be, on the one hand, the tremendous driving force of a movement of demands and revolt that puts the idea of active citizenship back on the agenda, and on the other hand, the extreme unevenness of the effects it has on the expression of other demands for justice, equality and empowerment. <span class="mag-quote-center">What is needed is rather a counter-populism, equally distant both from anti-popular oligarchical politics and from the ideological populisms of left or right. </span></p> <p>In terms of positive effects, I would include right away the fact that the ‘climate marches’ of 8 December were not only not minimized or discouraged by the simultaneous demonstration of the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes</em>, but even profited from this to make the idea more strongly heard that there could be no ecological transition without a huge effort in terms of social justice and cost sharing. Hence the encounters that actually took place here and there between different groups of marchers. Far more cautiously, I would also include here the possible convergences with opposition trade unionists and farmers’ organizations, since I do not take for granted that the historical crisis of these is synonymous with an inevitable disappearance, and the heat of a crisis situation may well be favourable to regenerating their militant capacities. There are signs that this is the case. </p> <p>On the other side, however, I would note that the Day to Combat Violence against Women (25 November) clearly suffered, in its attendance and visibility, from competition with the booming&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>movement. This does not mean that there is incompatibility, but that we are in very heterogeneous registers, discursively and emotionally, ideologically and socially – if not necessarily permanently so, especially since all observers emphasize as a real sign of changing times the active presence of women in the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>movement, but along other lines of mobilization and division. <span class="mag-quote-center">The Day to Combat Violence against Women (25 November) clearly suffered, in its attendance and visibility, from competition with the booming&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>movement.</span></p> <p>And I will reserve as the great unknown, perhaps decisive, the question of whether and how convergence can take place between the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>movement and the potential revolt of young people in the banlieues whose existence is dominated by mass unemployment, urban and educational segregation, the abandonment of public services and the ravages of state racism. The ‘political anti-racism’ movement that denounces this institutional racism (particularly discrimination in housing and employment, and police violence against ‘non-white’ youth) has divided tactically in its relationship to the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes</em>: <a href="https://www.liberation.fr/debats/2018/11/25/avec-les-rosa-parks-contre-le-racisme-d-etat_1694192">one section </a>(the Rosa Parks collective) seeking to maintain its independence so as to assert the irreducibility of racial oppression, the other (the Adama committee) preferring to call right away for a merger or interpenetration.</p> <p>Naturally I do not know how things will end up. The government may decide to aggravate matters by increasing brutality and humiliation towards young people in the banlieue (as we saw, ignobly, at Mantes-la-Jolie),<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftn9">[9]</a>&nbsp;in order to shift the main focus of conflict in this direction and give it more violent forms, at the risk of being uncontrollable. A desirable (should we say utopian?) evolution would consist in initiating a conversation, perhaps at a distance, perhaps intermittently, between those citizens who articulate social violence, and those who articulate racial violence; it is clear that the two overlap very widely, but their voices and emotions are not the same.</p> <p>This also means that the ‘identity’ issues that the President is now trying to play on cannot be indefinitely neutralized, and everyone knows the damage they can lead to. They must be formulated as such. Perhaps the school and university students who have begun to strike over demands ranging from the rejection of mechanisms of exclusion and segregation by school catchment area through to asserting equal rights for students of all nationalities and colours, will play in this case, as at other times, a role of mediators and catalysts. Convergence is a problem, which means both a horizon of possibilities and a knot of contradictions, each of which can be used to disintegrate support for the movement. <span class="mag-quote-center">Convergence is a problem, which means both a horizon of possibilities and a knot of contradictions, each of which can be used to disintegrate support for the movement.</span></p> <p>And so we have to address the question of violence. As I write, the terrorist attack in Strasbourg has just occurred, creating an easily understandable emotion and tension. And as in other circumstances, the government (followed by part of the press) seems unable to resist the temptation to instrumentalize this, combining a call for national unity, as if it wanted to conceal everything, with a security deployment that can serve several purposes. The main, permanent, omnipresent violence, to which we must hope our fellow citizens will not get accustomed, is police and judicial violence. This has a long history: think of the brutal treatment of students protesting the El Khomri law under the previous presidency, the ‘legalized’ murder of young Rémi Fraisse,<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftn10">[10]</a>&nbsp;the forcible dismantling of the ZAD at Notre-Dame des Landes,<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftn11">[11]</a>&nbsp;the multiple actions of the police against individual and collective freedoms, the unfair or disproportionate sentences. It relies on or encourages the quasi-fascist elements in the police (Benalla...).<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftn12">[12]</a>&nbsp;At this very moment, it is trying to create an atmosphere of fear around the next planned demonstration of the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes</em>, and a kind of expectation of confrontation and destruction.</p> <p>This poses a fundamental problem, both strategic and tactical. Let me be blunt: I believe that the symmetry of state violence and ‘popular’ counter-violence is a death trap from which we must collectively find the means to escape at all costs. Not all keys to this are in the hands of the movement, but it must make a choice, just as each of its participants must choose. <span class="mag-quote-center">I believe that the symmetry of state violence and ‘popular’ counter-violence is a death trap from which we must collectively find the means to escape at all costs.</span></p> <p>I hear and even understand the argument that, without an outbreak of violence, the government would not have taken notice of the confrontation. But I would point out that the decisive factor was not the violence itself, but the fact that it did not lead to a decline in public support, as measured by the polls. This is a strictly conjunctural phenomenon, there is nothing permanent or established about it. </p> <p>Similarly, I hear and understand the concrete analysis that shows that attacks on police officers and the looting of shops are by no means just the work of organized ‘<em>casseurs</em>’ (black block or otherwise). They involve demonstrators and an accumulation of humiliations and blows that has turned into ‘just’ anger against the representatives and symbols of a society of injustice. It is they whom, by inclination and calculation, Macron stigmatized in his speech by seeking to dissociate them from right-minded people. Nevertheless, the theory that poses an equivalence, or a symmetry, between economic or ‘structural’ violence suffered and political or ‘insurrectional’ violence preached and premeditated, as if the latter were not only a revenge against the former, but a way of bringing it to an end, is as historically false as it is politically dangerous. Bertolt Brecht may have written, in a nice line often quoted: ‘What is robbing a bank compared with founding one?’but this is nonsense all the same, at least in the current situation. Banks can laugh about damage to one of their branches, and all citizens have a bank account or even an overdraft.</p> <p>Physical violence as counter-violence, anti-state or anti-capitalist, does not create any favourable balance of power, let alone a ‘revolutionary consciousness’. On the contrary, it makes the final decision depend on flashballs, grenades, perhaps tanks. It has been able to create movements of sympathy in the past (I am not talking about colonial situations and wars of liberation): this needs only one dead person (as in 1986), or a mass bludgeoning (as in May 1968), provided it is not planned for this purpose. But in the current place and time I see three absolutely crippling disadvantages: it will very quickly constitute a factor of public disaffection exploitable by the authorities, especially if there are also economic difficulties attributable to the movement; it will tend to frame the conflict in terms of acceptance or rejection of the ‘state’, which is not at all what is at stake; finally it will encourage a convergence between extremists of right and left, under the pretext that ‘the enemy of my enemy cannot be my enemy’ (if I understand correctly this risky expression <a href="https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/culture-idees/071218/eric-hazan-paris-n-est-pas-un-acteur-mais-un-champ-de-bataille">used by Éric Hazan</a>). </p> <p>It seems to me that the deeply civic&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes</em>&nbsp;movement must also retain the privilege of civility, or anti-violence, however hard this may sometimes seem to some of its participants or supporters, and however perverse the provocative strategies used to undermine it. It is not a question of giving in to the blackmail of chaos, of cultivating fear within the movement, but of demonstrating a strength and intelligence superior to government manoeuvres, which is essential today to open up major strategic opportunities.</p> <h2><strong>In search of a political idea</strong></h2> <p>But this also requires the rapid emergence of credible prospects for collective action, debate and even confrontation between the various sensitivities and even ideologies at work in the movement, as well as for meeting other social demands and for building a power base within the institutions. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40238038.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-40238038.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Call for the RIC (Référendum d’Initiative Citoyenne, or Citizens’ Initiative Referendum) at the Place de la Comedie, Montpellier, France, on December 15, 2018. Beracassat Eric/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Such prospects, as many people have said and I agree, do not lie in the forthcoming elections (which will inevitably see the advance of the far right, especially in the ‘European’ elections); they are a function of the radical democratic impetus that is clearly central to the novelty of the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes</em>: what I called above their alternative to the decline of politics. But an impulse is not enough, it needs continuous development, and therefore it needs a political idea, this time in the sense of understanding situations, seizing opportunities, grasping levers. So let us look for this idea, or rather listen to whether, in some of the words that are circulating, on the Internet or otherwise, it has not already announced itself. <span class="mag-quote-center">But an impulse is not enough, it needs continuous development, and therefore it needs a political idea.</span></p> <p>One slogan hits the nail on the head in this respect: the call for an États Généraux, which evokes for everyone (the virtues of French national education!) the great historical moment of the constitution of the ‘political people’ in the face of the privileged strata, and which is clearly also called for by the insistent comparison, which Macron himself brought about, of the current presidential power with the monarchical tradition. </p><p>We are not here in the famous ‘antique guise’ described by Marx in well-known texts, with mass movements serving as an imaginary screen on which to project a desire for revolution. Rather, we are in a confrontation that is emerging between the two extremes of the great cycle that the institutions of liberalism have undergone in our country in modern times, and which is signalled each time by the widening of demands and the very form of participation in public affairs.</p> <p>What I find particularly interesting in this idea is that it has been formulated in a special connection with the question of tax justice (and consequently the standard of living and social benefits), both at the ‘centre’ and on the ‘periphery’, by intellectuals and even politicians, and by the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes&nbsp;</em>of Brittany who came together to formulate this in Carhaix on 8 December, and are soon having to return there again. It is the fact that, in the tradition of the ‘registers of grievances’ that preceded the Revolution, it combines the idea of a collective drafting from below with the demand for a national outlet, a new governmentality of economic choices and taxation, which no longer restricts citizens to the alternative of submission or revolt. </p> <p>But other equally constructive initiatives use a different language, such as the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes</em>&nbsp;of Commercy in the Meuse, who talk about assemblies or people’s committees, and consequently focus not on an ‘ascent’ of demands or on governmentality, but on direct local democracy and the lived experiment of equality. Or the ‘Maison du peuple’ of Saint-Nazaire, located in a former job centre marked for demolition, where the movement’s initiatives are organized on a daily basis by self-management, reflecting a long and heroic history of workers’ struggles and autonomy. Are these contradictory? It is not for me to decide this prematurely and presumptuously, although I tend to see the two approaches as complementary rather than clashing. Time will tell, if the movement continues.</p> <p>But I believe that all these ways in which collective ‘speaking out’ (Michel de Certeau’s phrase in May 1968) and the desire to escape from a ‘subaltern’ position in society and public life are powerfully expressed, need institutional anchorage if they are to effectively build a counter-power in the face of a technocratic monopoly equipped with economic expertise, public power and legal legitimacy. This idea seems to me to be broadly similar to that put forward by <a href="http://www.euronomade.info/?p=11351">Antonio Negri,</a> except that I am talking not about ‘dual power’ but counter-power. It is not 1917, and most likely will never be again.</p> <p>Finding an institutional anchorage does not mean that we ‘return’ to the fold of existing institutions, under the yoke of administrative and representative frameworks, delegations and concessions. On the contrary, it can mean seizing an opportunity presented and turning this against its top-down and condescending instrumentalization. I therefore suggest that all this could be given concrete form, opening up a dialectic of self-representation and governmentality, if municipalities (starting with some of them that set an example: those most sensitive to the urgency of the situation or most open to democratic invention) now decided to open their doors to the local organization of the movement, and declared themselves ready to pass on its demands or proposals to the government. <span class="mag-quote-center">It can mean seizing an opportunity presented and turning this against its top-down and condescending instrumentalization.</span></p> <p>The legitimacy of the communes in France is absolutely unassailable as long as we are in the Republic, and the strategic function they perform in communication between the government and the citizens (and therefore between the citizens and the government), given that Parliament is no more than a registration chamber and a place of jousting between government and opposition, has just been explicitly acknowledged by the President. </p> <p>Indeed, the communes are potentially at the heart of the confrontation under way, since the only democratic concession he mentioned was to announce that he would go ‘region by region’ to the mayors of France who ‘represent the Republic on the ground’, to gather, through them, the ‘requests’ of the citizens. </p> <p>But the mayors are, precisely, the people that citizens want, or what they ask them to be. And there is no reason, in the midst of a social crisis in which the responsibility of a political leader appears overwhelming, to wait for him to dictate the modalities, timing and limits of the consultation needed to relegitimize himself. What we need, on the contrary, is for the ‘natural’ site of active citizenship, where, from the outset and in principle, constituent power (the people) and constituted powers (the basic elected representatives) are able to exchange places and means, to take their autonomy and assert their prerogatives.</p> <p>In this way, the confrontation that the President sought at all costs to avoid last Monday would be forced into being. That is how democracy is invented and perhaps, at the end of the day, how a regime can change. It is not a long road from the roundabout to the town hall, via the public square, which does not mean it is easy to travel. Demonstrations, popular assemblies, municipal counter-power, États Généraux or their modern equivalent, such is perhaps the squaring of the circle; it must be resolved on a daily basis and over the coming weeks, probably quite quickly, so that a political idea that everyone now needs can emerge from a revolt that no one had expected. A race is under way, and we must find ways to win it. This is the hypothesis that I modestly want to put forward for discussion.</p> <p><em>Published in the original French by&nbsp;</em><a href="https://blogs.mediapart.fr/ebalibar/blog/131218/gilets-jaunes-le-sens-du-face-face">Mediapart</a><em>&nbsp;on December 13. Thanks go to David Fernbach for t<a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation">he English translation prepared for Verso.</a></em></p> <hr size="0" /> <p><a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftnref1">[1]</a> The term coined by Danish prime minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen in the 1990s to refer to a combination of labour-market flexibility in a dynamic economic and security for workers – the latter often more conspicuous by its absence.</p> <p><a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftnref2">[2]</a> Emmanuel Macron claimed in his election campaign to be ‘master of the clocks’, in apparent reference to the 1991 book by Philippe Delmas,&nbsp;<em>Le Maître des horloges, modernité de l’action publique</em>, though the metaphor goes back to the Voltaire’s ‘great clockmaker’.</p> <p><a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftnref3">[3]</a> The Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), presided by Nobel-prize economist Jean Tirole.</p> <p><a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftnref4">[4]</a> The journalist and filmmaker François Ruffin was a moving spirit of the Nuit Debout protests in spring 2016; he was elected to the National Assembly in June 2017, and is a prominent supporter of the&nbsp;<em>gilets jaunes</em>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftnref5">[5]</a> Bercy is the seat of the ministry of finance, the CAC 40 the benchmark index of French share prices.</p> <p><a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftnref6">[6]</a> The commune just west of Paris, with the headquarters of several large corporations as well as wealthy residential quarters.</p> <p><a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftnref7">[7]</a> = bourgeois bohemian, i.e. yuppie</p> <p><a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftnref8">[8]</a> A reference to the manifesto of the Invisible Committee,&nbsp;<em>The Coming Insurrection</em>, Semiotex(e), 2007.</p> <p><a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftnref9">[9]</a> On 6 December, 150 students were arrested and forced to kneel with their hands behind their heads for hours by police following a demonstration at a secondary school in the Paris suburb of Mantes-la-Jolie.</p> <p><a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftnref10">[10]</a> The botanist Rémi Fraisse was killed by a flashbang grenade on 26 October 2014, while protesting the construction of the Sivens Dam in the department of Tarn.</p> <p><a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftnref11">[11]</a> ‘<em>Zone d’aménagement differé</em>’, i.e. ‘deferred development site’. The pioneering&nbsp;<em>Zadistes&nbsp;</em>were militants who occupied the projected airport site at Notre-Dame-des-Landes.</p> <p><a href="https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4191-gilets-jaunes-the-meaning-of-the-confrontation#_ftnref12">[12]</a> The security officer Alexandre Benalla was deputy chief of staff to President Macron. On 18 July 2018, he was identified beating up a young protester. Macron, who seems to have been personally close to Benalla, defended his chief of staff, who escaped with a two-week suspension. An investigation by the Senate is still under way.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/philippe-marli-re/yellow-vests-or-discrediting-of-representative-democracy">The yellow vests, or the discrediting of representative democracy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/bernard-dreano/yellow-fever-in-france">Yellow fever in France</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/pierre-bance/message-from-commercy-time-of-communes-still-rings-out">Message from Commercy: the time of the communes still rings out! </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> France </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? EU France Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Economics Ideas International politics Internet Etienne Balibar Thu, 20 Dec 2018 23:22:54 +0000 Etienne Balibar 121102 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The right not to tolerate the intolerant https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/right-not-to-tolerate-intolerant <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>As the memory of the Holocaust fades and the support for far-right parties surges across Europe, we must prepare our children to resist charlatans that place political gains over human lives. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/intoler-ncia-ao-intoler-vel">Português</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Photo_I.jpeg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Photo_I.jpeg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="330" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Child survivors of Auschwitz, wearing adult-size prisoner jackets, stand behind a barbed wire fence. Public domain. </span></span></span></p><p>“A country is not only what it does but what it tolerates”. </p> <p>― Kurt Tucholsky</p> <p>I first came across the Holocaust when I was fourteen years old. I misidentified <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2016/08/11/why-maus-remains-the-greatest-graphic-novel-ever-written-30-years-later/?noredirect=on&amp;utm_term=.22ba342aebce"><em>Maus</em></a> for a common graphic novel, and I bought it during one of my weekend trips to the bookshop downtown. It was a difficult read, oblivious as I was to what motivated the war and the atrocities committed by the Third Reich. It took me some time to realise what the author was getting at by depicting the Nazis as cats, the Jews as mice and the Polish as pigs. The whole root of the trouble was that they looked like animals, <a href="https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/04/13/drawing-is-always-a-struggle-an-interview-with-art-spiegelman/">but they were people</a>. The victims, the perpetrators, and the bystanders were complex and unpredictable, capable of the best and the worst, of sacrifice and betrayal. </p> <p>The whole concept of the Holocaust didn’t sink in until I read <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/nyregion/recalling-anne-frank-as-icon-and-human-being.html">Anne´s Frank diary</a>. Whereas <em>Maus</em> challenged how I understood the world, her diary changed how I perceived my place in it. If a little girl could be sent to die in a terrible place, away from her family and friends, I wasn’t sure fascism couldn’t arrive at my country and claim my life. </p> <p>At an unspecified moment, the issue was lost in one of the many regions in my mind. But it was never forgotten. My last high school paper was about the Holocaust. And before finishing college, I was determined to know more. I suppose my curiosity as a novice political writer, tempered by my still insipid sense of political responsibility, made it impossible for me to postpone the visit any longer. Reading Primo Levi's <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/22/primo-levi-auschwitz-if-this-is-a-man-memoir-70-years"><em>If This is a Man</em></a> confirmed my commitment, and I made up my mind to visit Auschwitz the following year.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The memory of the Holocaust is fading, and our&nbsp;conscience&nbsp;is becoming dormant once more.</p> <p>It was a chilly winter day. I exited the bus without a word. There was nothing I could say. There was nothing my friends wanted to hear. More than 1,1 million people were starved, tortured, and murdered in that dark, windy region of southern Poland, near Oświęcim. We left behind the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign and made our way into the camp. The silence was unbearable. And as we approached the end of the block’s yard, where thousands of <a href="http://auschwitz.org/en/visiting/permanent-exhibition/death-wall">prisoners were shot dead</a>, we were reminded of what intolerance can lead to. </p> <p>The visit lasted several hours. It included the main campsite, blocks two and three, the barracks at the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp, the <a href="http://auschwitz.org/en/visiting/permanent-exhibition/gas-chamber-i">crematorium</a>, and the gas chambers. The camp forces visitors to acknowledge that <em>this </em>happened, and this is <em>how</em>. Every building has <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/26/tales-from-auschwitz-survivor-stories">thousands of stories to tell</a>. Every inch speaks of indescribable loss and <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/remembering-kolbe-who-stood-up-to-nazis-at-auschwitz/a-19474219">terrible sacrifice</a>. There´s no forgetting that human madness and indifference made it possible. From the barbed wire to the barracks. From the main gate to the yard. From the gas chambers to the crematorium. You know why you are there.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The camp forces visitors to acknowledge that&nbsp;<em>this&nbsp;</em>happened, and this is&nbsp;<em>how</em>.&nbsp;</p> <p>The photographs <a href="http://auschwitz.org/en/gallery/exhibits/">represent real people</a>, with real names and real families. Rudolf Brumlík, Rosette Wolczak, Lea Deutsch, Benjamin, and Lina Fondane. Men, women, and <a href="https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/children-during-the-holocaust">children</a> separated from each other. People who died for no reason. People who cannot be forgotten.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>An inevitable defeat?</strong></p> <p>Seventy years after one of the worst atrocities this world has ever witnessed, we want to believe that what happened in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka can´t happen again. We are told that the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/28/books/review-enlightenment-now-steven-pinker.html">world is becoming ever more peaceful</a>, and that reason will prevent us from targeting people because of their ideas, believes and birthplace. </p> <p>Most people might prefer this narrative. However, the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/22/populism-concept-defines-our-age">rise of populism</a> and the <a href="https://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/2018/05/collapse-europe-s-mainstream-centre-left">collapse of the centre-left</a> are a stern warning that the world is not getting safer for everyone. Inequality <a href="https://www.euronews.com/2018/06/12/europe-s-ticking-time-bomb-wage-inequality">is rising</a>, our societies are becoming more polarised, and we behold the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/59a37a38-7857-11e8-8e67-1e1a0846c475">global revival of nationalism</a>. Our politicians <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/10/orban-election-hungary-europe-future-past">might have other priorities</a> but as the support for far-right parties and the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/01/european-union-migration-crisis-survey-on-attitudes-to-migrants">hostility towards immigrants</a> rises, to look the other way is an insult to the memory of those who perished seven decades ago. &nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The&nbsp;rise of populism&nbsp;and the&nbsp;collapse of the centre-left&nbsp;are a stern warning that the world is not getting safer for everyone.</p> <p>In Italy, the government has <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/aug/09/how-matteo-salvini-pulled-italy-to-the-far-right">pledged to deport</a> five hundred thousand illegal immigrants, manipulating grievances and using human beings as bargaining chips. In Germany, the far-right <a href="https://www.npr.org/2018/09/30/652284976/germanys-far-right-afd-party-now-polls-second?t=1543544567834">has grown from a fringe party</a> to an important actor in national and federal politics. In Austria, the Freedom Party has entered a coalition with the government, despite a wave of <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/03/austria-fpo-losing-support-nazi-scandals-180331101800263.html">anti-Semitic scandals</a>, while the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats won eighteen per cent of the vote in the last general election, despite links to <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/neo-nazi-background-hounds-sweden-democrats/a-45344978">neo-Nazi movement</a>s. Things don’t look any better in France, where Marine Le Pen <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/05/france-muslims-fear-frustration-runoff-vote-marine-le-pen">compared the sight of Muslims</a> praying in the street to the Nazi occupation during World War Two. In Hungary, the president has said that he does <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-hungary-un/u-n-human-rights-chief-calls-hungarian-pm-orban-a-racist-idUKKCN1GI272">not want his country to be multi-coloured</a> and promised to <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/hungary-general-election-viktor-orban-latest-christianity-nationalism-muslims-migrants-europe-racism-a8293836.html"><em>protect</em> it from Muslim migrants</a>. And in Spain, a far-right party won twelve parliament seats in a regional election for the first time in decades, being congratulated for doing so <a href="https://elpais.com/politica/2018/12/04/actualidad/1543928361_948093.html">by a former Ku Klux Klan leader</a>. </p> <p>Many believe that disaster is still far away from <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/14/books/review/benjamin-carter-hett-death-of-democracy.html">Europe´s doors</a>. However, according to a <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2018/11/europe/antisemitism-poll-2018-intl/">CNN poll</a> published in November, the memory of the Holocaust is fading, and our <a href="///C:/Users/Manel/Desktop/is%20becoming%20dormant%20once%20more">conscience</a> is becoming dormant once more. A third of Europeans say they knew little about what happened in Auschwitz. In France, one out of five people between eighteen and thirty-four years old claim to have <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2018/11/europe/antisemitism-poll-2018-intl/">never heard of</a> the Holocaust. And according to the same poll, ten per cent of Europeans admitted <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2018/11/europe/antisemitism-poll-2018-intl/">having unfavourable views</a> of Jews. Thirty-seven per cent said the same about Muslims. Thirty-six per cent admitted having unfavourable views of immigrants. </p> <p>As Camus predicted, the end of the war was not a definitive victory against madness, tribalism, and fascism. The struggle will have to be <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2001/nov/17/albertcamus">waged over and over again</a>.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Photo_II.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Photo_II.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="340" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>German children reading “The Poisonous Mushroom”, a book intended as anti-Semitic propaganda. Photo Tractatus/Flickr. Some rights reserved. </span></span></span></p><p><strong>An endless lesson?</strong></p> <p>It should be obvious that no one hides in the heart of occupied city unless they have an alternative, just as <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/refugees-mediterranean-sea-deaths-crossing-unhcr-a8520696.html">no one decides to cross the Mediterranean</a> with their children unless they are desperate. Anne Frank died because her family was unable to get visas to leave for America; she died because the west <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jul/08/anne-frank-family-escape-us-visa-thwarted">was indifferent</a> to her <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/07/world/canada/trudeau-apology-jews-st-louis.html">suffering</a>. </p> <p>In Europe, indifference to suffering become a sensitive subject after the war. Politicians and scholars realised that young people <a href="https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/gallery/holocaust-memorials-and-monuments">had to know what happened</a> in concentration camps, who was persecuted and the dangers of exclusionary policies. Symbolic places and memorials were built to honour the dead. And to remind the living that we are never far away enough from the next disaster.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Visiting the camp should be a mandatory stop for every European citizen, reminding us that moral courage requires empathy, conviction, and bravery.</p> <p>Schools have a responsibility to further their students’ knowledge and help them develop a moral compass that allows them to navigate the contaminated waters of public discourse. Colleges shouldn’t be only four-year intelligence tests; education is also about personal growth and social responsibility. Visiting concentration camps and symbolic places may help students acknowledge <a href="http://auschwitz.org/gfx/auschwitz/userfiles/auschwitz/inne/european_pack_for_visiting_auschwitz.pdf">the risks and consequences</a> of the lack of tolerance, the value of pluralism and the dangers of remaining indifferent in a democracy. </p> <p>Because democratic institutions depend on values, and values can only endure if they are defended, cultivated, and taught. If we expect our children to lend a hand to people in need, instead of turning away, we can´t forget our history. Nor can <a href="https://www.osce.org/odihr/80059?download=true">we allow others to rewrite it</a>.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Colleges shouldn’t be only four-year intelligence tests. Education is also about personal growth and social responsibility.</p> <p>The Holocaust and the targeting of millions of people during the war was not an accident in history. It was not an isolated episode of human madness and cruelty. It started with words and hate. It was fuelled by division and intolerance. It was allowed by fear and indifference. And it will happen again if we don’t prepare our children to resist the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/15/hungarian-leader-says-europe-is-now-under-invasion-by-migrants">rhetoric of charlatans</a> that place their interests over human lives. &nbsp;</p> <p>It was by reading about the life and times of <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/books/review/the-making-of-maus.html">Vladek Spiegelman</a> in <em>Maus</em>, a life-changing book, that I first realised that human beings are capable of <em>anything</em>. It was thanks to the silent despair of Primo Levi, who slept in a bed too narrow for him to be afraid, that I made up my mind to learn more about the Holocaust. And it is because of people like <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/16/japan-asylum-applications-2017-accepted-20">Chiune Sugihara</a> and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/13/world/europe/13sendler.html">Irena Sendler</a>, who refused to ignore the suffering of others, that I keep believing that this is not an inevitable defeat, but an endless lesson.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Democratic institutions depend on values, and values can only endure if they are defended and cultivated.</p> <p>There are no words to describe what is like to enter the camp. To visit the barracks and the gas chambers. Nothing prepares you to see tons of human hair, decaying in a vitrine and turning to dust. To learn that between <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/16/arts/international/at-auschwitz-birkenau-preserving-a-site-and-a-ghastly-inventory.html">150.000 and 200.000 children</a> died in Auschwitz from 1940 to 1945. But visiting the camp tells us more about ourselves than we could ever suspect. And should be a mandatory stop for every European citizen, reminding us that moral courage requires empathy, conviction, and bravery. </p> <p>It was in the middle of empty canisters of Zyklon B poison and hundreds of hairbrushes and toothbrushes that I finally understood what Anne Frank meant when she wrote that a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.</p> <p>Hopefully, we will never allow that candle to be <em>put out</em>.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/n-jayaram/universal-declaration-of-human-rights-at-70">The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/anthony-barnett/to-beat-hard-right-we-ll-need-to-change-too-response-to-edmund-fawcett">To beat the hard right we’ll need to change too – a response to Edmund Fawcett</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/nanor-kebranian/poland-s-holocaust-law-redefines-hate-speech">Poland’s ‘holocaust law’ redefines hate speech</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/aristides-de-sousa-mendes-light-in-dark">Aristides de Sousa Mendes: a light in the dark</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/conflict-yugoslavia/srebrenica_2651.jsp">Srebrenica: genocide and memory</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/edmund-fawcett/hard-right-and-its-threats-to-democratic-liberalism">The hard right and its threats to democratic liberalism</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/tom-shillam/why-gandhi-s-ideas-continue-to-thrive-even-in-post-truth-era">Why Gandhi’s ideas continue to thrive, even in the post-truth era</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/bernardo-guti-rrez/how-to-defeat-far-right-without-mentioning-fascism">To defeat the far right means to differentiate it from historical fascism</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Ideas International politics Manuel Nunes Ramires Serrano Thu, 20 Dec 2018 16:44:48 +0000 Manuel Nunes Ramires Serrano 121093 at https://www.opendemocracy.net