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Legacy media and political parties are both threatened by a growing disconnect between citizens and the elites, and the emergence of new political and media actors offering fresh opportunities for members of the public to participate in political life. The objective of the World Forum for Democracy 2017 is to review novel initiatives and approaches which can enhance democratic practices and help parties and media, but also other political actors, to re-connect.

We are media partners of the World Forum for Democracy 2017: the subject this year is 'populism'. Our first week on the front page began on 21 October in the run-up to that event and asked what kind of media we need "to re-connect to citizens, make informed choices and function optimally in 21st century democracy." Our second week, in January, will focus on women and populism.

Why are women joining far-right movements, and why are we so surprised?

Women’s ‘shocking’ participation in far-right politics has received much media attention. But is this a new trend, or have we been here before?

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Marine Le Pen election campaign posters, France 2017. Photo: Winfried Rothermel/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.

The Backlash podcast episode 1: women and the far right

We talk to three women who know more about the far right than most: councillor Jolene Bunting in Northern Ireland, researcher Marilyn Mayo in the US, and Akanksha Mehta at the University of Sussex.

Divisive populists are a “main obstacle” to women’s rights

“What populists are really afraid of is pluralism” says FEMEN activist Inna Shevchenko, who argues that democracy and feminism are interlinked.

Like Erdogan, Trump is using conspiracy theory to sabotage democracy: here’s what we learn from the Turkish experience

The accusation of conspiracy within the State is not just a red herring, it is a strategy meant to turn American democracy against itself. 

Has Trump’s White House ‘resurrected’ Army of God anti-abortion extremists?

Christian extremism as a motivator for violence is often overlooked, while clinics providing abortion services are facing growing threats.

The problem with populist gender equality-by-numbers

It’s important to have more women in public and political debates. But having a seat at the table isn’t the same thing as being heard.

Why we’re Right: young women on the UK’s growing right-wing scene in their own words

Rejecting feminism and the political left that has apparently neglected them for too long, four young women explain why they turned right. RU

Golden Dawn Girls documentary gives new voice to women in Greece's far-right elite

Why would women connected to leaders of the extreme nationalist party invite documentary cameras into their homes, around their dinner tables, and inside party headquarters? RU

Why are women joining far-right movements, and why are we so surprised?

Women’s ‘shocking’ participation in far-right politics has received much media attention. But is this a new trend, or have we been here before?

What’s attracting women to Myanmar’s Buddhist nationalist movement?

Amid Myanmar’s transition towards democracy, a dangerous Buddhist nationalist movement is on the rise, and women are playing a key role.

How the Italian media have helped CasaPound ‘glamourise’ fascism

Some reporters have dangerously framed this violent movement and its female leaders as ‘beautiful,’ ‘clean-faced,’ and attractive to voters. RU

How the Women’s March defied Trump’s populism

The largest single-day protest in US history was also the first mass social movement response to Trump’s election. And it was a women’s initiative.

We need to talk about how we learn to accept our own oppression

The more women stand up against bullies and harassment in our personal lives, the less we will tolerate them in our political lives too.

Anti-feminism and anti-gender far right politics in Europe and beyond

The proclaimed support of the EU for gender equality is seen as one element in a wider programme of colonization, whereby what was once Marxism is now replaced by gender politics. Book review.

The origins of populism: bogus-democracy and capitalism

The reality of racism, hatred, anger, insecurity and inequalities is spreading irresistibly. There is no way of escaping from all these daily phenomena unless there is an alternative systemic project to challenge it. Español.

Left-transformation versus left-populism: why it matters

The perception of political justice that transforms is very different from the discursive tool of the “national will” used by populists who degrade democracy by equating it with the ballot box.

From #Resistance to #Reimagining governance: 6 shifts that can improve the way we solve public problems

For change to be meaningful and positive, the question arises: What kind of government do we really want? One that moves us beyond resistance, to begin rebuilding.

Tapping the will of the people – a route to radically better democracy?

Ireland's innovative Citizen Assembly is changing the way the country debates sensitive issues like abortion. What else could it achieve?

Is populism a problem? Reflections on the 2017 World Forum for Democracy

Is populism a problem? That was the headline question posed last month when diplomats, academics, politicians and students coalesced in Strasbourg for this year’s World Forum for Democracy

Investigative journalist Jeta Xharra: challenging politicians and patriarchy in the Balkans

Reporter Jeta Xharra talks about misogyny in journalism, and how she uses her live TV show to challenge politicians on gender inequality.

'Populism is a political logic based on negative emotions.'

A short interview on populism with Turkish MP Ayşe Gülsün Bilgehan at the 2017 World Forum for Democracy.

From Fake to Fact – and then?

Do all of us need to move outside our ‘comfort zones’ and self-imposed ‘echo chambers’, both  to come up with better diagnoses of the populist challenge, and to define constructive political action collectively ?  

Modi government and the muzzling of the Indian media

The more damaging development has been the role of the mainstream media in the face of the government attempts to muzzle it.

Towards Nazi Australia

When the militarized interests of the nation trump the rights of citizens to challenge the actions of our government towards vulnerable ‘Others’, we are moving in a Nazi direction.

Wherever people meet

"Are people right to trust themselves and others to build a better and more equal society? I came to the Forum to see how." Report-back from the World Forum for Democracy 2017.

Representative politics in an era of everyday mobilisation

" The problem is not populism. The problem is when mainstream parties adopt the ideology of populism."  A report-back from the World Forum for Democracy 2017 closing session.

Beyond fact-checking: the media, populism and post-truth politics

Why do people want to believe what they do? They want meaningful lives. Why do it this way? A report-back from the Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy 2017.

Foolish consistency: Spain’s Kosovo-Catalonia conundrum

By equating Kosovo with Catalonia, Spanish leaders reveal themselves as unable to distinguish between legitimate aspirations for self-rule and destabilizing separatism.

Ten reflections inspired by the Rohingya crisis

The educated, middleclass layman, who is interested in the world and has a sense of social justice, but doesn’t quite know what to do with it. This is about me...

Education, Islam and Criticality

Can a new kind of integrated knowledge-creation occur, that is outside as well as inside the post-Enlightenment western tradition? Book review.

'It's a sense of adventure' - How Vouliwatch is reinventing politics in Greece

Vouliwatch is a new online platform which is revolutionising politics in Greece by introducing transparency and accountability into the country's parliament. Can it work elsewhere?

'There is unity in diversity' - interview with Boriss Cilevičs MP

At the 2017 World Forum for Democracy, Latvian MP Boriss Cilevičs discusses minority rights in the EU, the war in Ukraine, the demographic crisis in eastern Europe, and the EU's response to the ongoing migration crisis.

Populism matters beyond just Europe and the US. Here’s why

Our key finding is that the international structure and the regional context are decisive in determining the exact content of populist ruptures around the world.

“Is Populism a Problem”? – a story for the World Forum for Democracy 2017

If you’ve ever shared a room with an elephant… you know what matters isn’t the presence of an unpredictable beast – what matters is the fragility of that room.

Why progressives should support wikileaks

It is a fundamental political error to casually associate Wikileaks with neoconservatism or reactionary populism. No affinity between these two worlds is possible.

Catalonia: a cry for understanding and recognition

In Catalonia, there has long been no other option: independence is the only remaining route to social justice after Spain’s dismissal of all attempts at dialogue over the years.

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