openDemocracy https://www.opendemocracy.net/ en Editor y responsable de redes sociales y desarrollo de audiencia. América Latina https://www.opendemocracy.net/opendemocracy/editor-y-responsable-de-redes-sociales-y-desarrollo-de-audiencia-america-latina <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">DemocraciaAbierta busca contratar a un editor a tiempo parcial, enfocado en el desarrollo de redes sociales y de audiencia, y ubicado en América Latina.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><em>Si desea leer esto en inglés, pulse <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/opendemocracy/editor-and-social-mediaaudience-development-role-latin-america">aquí</a>.</em></p> <p dir="ltr">DemocraciaAbierta (DA) es una plataforma global para voces latinoamericanas que debate asuntos de la democracia, la movilización, la participación y los derechos humanos y civiles en todo el continente, y más allá.</p> <p dir="ltr">Su audiencia principal está principalmente constituida por activistas, analistas, policy-makers, y activistas de los derechos humanos, de los pueblos indígenas, de defensores de causas sociales y medioambientalistas. DA se centra también en la experimentación política, la innovación y las iniciativas de participación política en toda la región.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Actualmente, DA se concentra en aumentar su audiencia, redes e impacto, en cuatro de sus países prioritarios: México, Colombia, Brasil y Argentina.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/democracy.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/democracy.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="229" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Trabajando junto a un reducido equipo central, usted será responsable de:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">•&nbsp;<span>Escribir, comisionar y editar contenido relevante para DA que alcance nuestras audiencias a través de plataformas múltiples</span></p><p dir="ltr">• Trabajar con el Director y Editor principal para desarrollar la estrategia digital - incluyendo contenido, redes sociales y emailing</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">• Trabajar con nuestra red de socios editoriales en la región latinoamericana</p></li></ul> <p dir="ltr">• Aumentar la participación e interacción de los lectores con las redes sociales de DA (FB y Twitter), más allá de la promoción del contenido de DA: desarrollar la voz de DA en la región</p> <p dir="ltr">• Explorar oportunidades para DA en otros canales y plataformas de redes sociales, y hacer recomendaciones para el crecimiento de la audiencia</p> <p dir="ltr">• Promover el perfil de la marca y el contenido de la DA en América Latina</p> <p dir="ltr">• Identificar y construir listas de contactos relevantes e influyentes</p> <p dir="ltr">• Impulsar e implementar una estrategia para incrementar la lista de subscriptores comprometidos</p> <p dir="ltr">• Planificar e implementar estrategias para incrementar el compromiso con la audiencia del DA y llegar a nuevos públicos en América Latina, utilizando el conocimiento de las herramientas de análisis y de tendencias de la industria de los medios digitales existentes</p> <p dir="ltr">• Informar sobre el crecimiento de la audiencia y recomendar acciones y respuestas para incrementarla</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Experiencia y capacidades </strong></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Estamos buscando a alguien que cuente con:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">• Experiencia en la escritura, en la edición y en la creación de audiencias a través de redes sociales y blogs, creando contenido llamativo y atractivo</p> <p dir="ltr">• Capacidad para trabajar de forma remota y autónoma</p> <p dir="ltr">• Experiencia en la gestión de prioridades múltiples, encargos y / o proyectos</p> <p dir="ltr">• Capacidad para adaptarse a responsabilidades cambiantes y a cambios de última hora</p> <p dir="ltr">• Se requiere fluidez en español e inglés (bilingüe).</p><p dir="ltr">• Pasión por, y comprensión de, la tecnología social, y conocimiento clave de las mejores prácticas digitales</p><p dir="ltr">• Competencia demostrable de medición e informes de impacto</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Deseable:</strong></p><p dir="ltr">• Experiencia y credibilidad como activista en áreas relacionadas con el contenido DA (deseable)</p><p dir="ltr">• Conocimiento del portugués</p><p dir="ltr">• Experiencia en el uso de Content Management Systems, Mailchimp y HTML / CSS</p><p dir="ltr">Si está interesado y considera que su perfil se ajusta a esta descripción, por favor envíe una carta de motivación detallando cómo su perfil se ajusta a los criterios del puesto, junto con su CV, pulsando <a href="https://opendemocracy60862.recruiterbox.com/jobs/fk0mgyu">aquí</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong><em>Las entrevistas de los candidatos seleccionados tendrán lugar a partir del 7 de agosto.</em></strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong><em>El inicio del trabajo está previsto para el 4 de septiembre</em></strong>.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Opportunities at openDemocracy openDemocracy Fri, 16 Jun 2017 12:18:49 +0000 openDemocracy 111703 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Editor and social media/audience development role: Latin America https://www.opendemocracy.net/opendemocracy/editor-and-social-mediaaudience-development-role-latin-america <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta">DemocraciaAbierta – the ‘Latin’ section of the global website openDemocracy</a>, is seeking to hire a part-time editor with a media / audience development focus to be located in Latin America.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><em>To see this opening in Spanish, please click <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/opendemocracy/editor-y-responsable-de-redes-sociales-y-desarrollo-de-audiencia-america-latina">here.</a></em></p><p dir="ltr">DemocraciaAbierta (DA) is a global platform for Latin American voices, debating democracy, mobilisation, participation, &nbsp;human and civil rights across the continent, and beyond. Its core audiences are mainly built around activists, campaigners and policy-makers, working specifically on issues like violence, human rights, indigenous peoples and environmentalists. DA also focuses on political experimentation, innovation and participation initiatives across the region.</p><p dir="ltr">DA is currently focusing on growing its audience, networks and impact on four priority countries: Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/democracy (1).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/democracy (1).jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="229" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Working with a small core team you will be responsible for:</strong></p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Writing, commission and editing eye-catching content for DA which speaks to audiences across multiple platforms</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Working with the Lead Editor develop DA's digital strategy – including content, email and social media</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Working with the DA network of editorial partners in the region</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Sourcing content and building editorial networks</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Increasing engagement on DA social media channels (FB and Twitter) beyond just promoting DA content – developing DA’s voice in the region</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Exploring opportunities for DA on other social media channels/platforms and making recommendations for audience growth</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Raising the profile of the DA brand and content in Latin America</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Researching and building lists of relevant contacts and influencers</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Recommending and implementing a strategy to grow an engaged newsletter list</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Using analytics plus awareness of industry trends to plan and implement strategies to increase engagement with DA’s audience and reach new audiences across Latin America</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Reporting on audience growth and recommending responses</p></li></ul><p dir="ltr"><strong>Experience required:</strong></p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Experience of building audiences through social media, blogging, commissioning and creating eye-catching and engaging content</p></li></ul><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Passion and deep understanding of social technology and knowledge of key digital best practices</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Proven track record in developing meaningful engagement through online channels</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Track record of establishing metrics, developing insights and reporting on outcomes, using Google Analytics and social media analytics</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Demonstrable understanding of measuring and reporting impact</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Experience of creating engaging e-newsletters and analysing effectiveness</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Experience writing for social media, developing a social media strategy and building an online community</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Experience managing multiple, competing priorities, duties and/or project</p></li></ul><p><strong>Skills/abilities:</strong></p><p>We are looking for someone who is:</p><p>Both an excellent writer and imaginative and detail-focused editor, able to work across multiple platforms</p><p>Fluent in Spanish and English&nbsp;</p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Confident in working autonomously and remotely</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Able to accommodate evolving responsibilities and last minute changes</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Has strong communication skills, both verbal and written, and a collaborative approach to working, with the ability to liaise with internal and external stakeholders at all levels</p></li></ul><ul><li dir="ltr"><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Excellent planning and organisational skills, and the ability to work to tight deadlines</p></li></ul></li></ul><p><strong>Desirable:</strong></p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Experience and credibility as an activist in areas related to DA's editorial focus</p></li></ul><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Knowledge of Portuguese</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Experience of using Content Management Systems, Mailchimp and HTML/CSS</p></li></ul><p dir="ltr">If you are interested in this role please submit a covering letter, detailing how you meet the criteria above, plus your CV by clicking<a href="https://opendemocracy60862.recruiterbox.com/jobs/fk0mgyu"> here</a>.</p><p dir="ltr"><em><strong>Interviews of selected candidates will take place from August 7.</strong></em></p><p dir="ltr"><em><strong>Job to start on September 4.</strong></em></p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Opportunities at openDemocracy openDemocracy Fri, 16 Jun 2017 12:18:26 +0000 openDemocracy 111715 at https://www.opendemocracy.net After the fight: a skinhead’s journey towards nonviolence https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/travis-mellott/after-fight-skinhead-s-journey-towards-nonviolence <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>How one man moved from gang culture to permaculture.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/TravisMellott.png" alt="" width="460" /></p><p><span class="image-caption">Credit: Jeff Clark for the Bureau of Land Management, via&nbsp;<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/blmoregon/21449928466/in/photolist-yFsuqS-yra5xy-xLKoJJ-yra4Y7-yrbfvq-xLTCkp-yrbf1Y-yGNq21-xLTBx2-yra3wQ-yFsrW3-yJwUFp-xLKmhQ-xLKkUA-yHLPUn-yHLPJH-xcnGBr-oeydzk-oshiMp-ou2Xkr-ou2X9z-oaMsnj-os559f-osfHwu-osheNn-xLKozf-xLKoqY-yHLQ8Z-xbPurT-wUjPAc-weX2YV-xb3KRC-weNf21-xb3JFG-wUcisw-weNd9y-x9uYxo-wUcfWQ-wUceCY-x9uVcW-x9uUtG-wUcAVf-qa6XV6-pfRu1V-oaMzoS-oaMqPQ-oshdBz-ou2UoV-orZQop-oaMx6f" target="_blank">Flickr</a>. Some rights reserved</span>.<strong></strong></p> <p>I was 18, had just enlisted in the Navy and was stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia for two years of shore duty when I met him. He was a half-Samoan, half-Caucasian man in his late 20’s. His face tattoos and steel-toed boots added to his intimidating presence, one built on physical power. I’ll never forget him: He was the man who introduced me to the skinhead lifestyle.</p> <p>We were an anti-racist crew loosely associated with the S.H.A.R.P. Skins ("skinheads against racial prejudice"). The first night that I was invited to a “house party,” that same man blindside tackled me, put me in a headlock and wrestled me out the door, where we beat each other until nothing made sense. It ended with him picking my head up off the sidewalk, kissing me on the forehead and saying, “Welcome to the crew brother.” From my perspective, the great lie of crew life is that everyone is your “brother.” So many people come to a crew looking for a family, but it’s just not there.</p> <p>I wish I had known at that point what it was that was missing or broken inside of me that would have ever attracted me to start associating with that type of lifestyle. Looking back, I had a fear-based program running in my head, from the media and from the myriad of other influences in Western culture that lead us to believe we are separate and in competition with one another. Fear twisted reality so that violence appeared to be the path toward safety — a man walks around with a brick only if he is afraid of being attacked.</p> <p>The skinhead rhetoric constantly driven into my mind ordered me to be “tougher” than the other guy. According to the script, the only way to protect “our” women was to beat anyone who looked at them wrong on the street. “Keeping our neighborhood safe” meant pummeling people we saw as threats: drug dealers, racist skinheads, able-bodied men who didn’t work or contribute to society but freely took from it, men who just looked tough. We thought we could fight our way to peace.</p> <p>The blindfold of fear was so thick that I couldn’t see the fallacy of this pseudo-vigilante worldview. While I’m writing this, it is almost impossible for me to connect emotionally to the feelings that were alive inside me then. The fact that I can visit these memories now and not be burdened by them is truly a testament to finding life on the other side of emotional guilt.</p> <p>My life started changing for the better when I was 20 and had gotten into some trouble with a handgun (I went after a man who had disrespected me). My getting in trouble surprised no one beyond the fact that I had slipped through the cracks for so long without getting caught. Being an active-duty military member, I was charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I wound up spending some time locked down in a psych facility because I had chased the cop who busted me around his car while holding my gun in my mouth and telling him to pull the trigger. After that, I was discharged from service.</p> <p>Upon my release, I found my way back to my home city of York in Pennsylvannia. York has been a rather tumultuous city ever since the race riots of 1969, and the poison from that time still lingers in the air downtown. While the suburbs are modern and progressive, the inner city is known for violence and major drug problems, because York has become a major hub of the drug trade between New York City and Baltimore, Maryland.</p> <p>I couldn’t move back with my family, who were completely disgusted with me. I moved to the only neighborhood I could afford, one high in crime and poverty. While it was not an ideal place for healing one’s soul, that is where my healing began. I reached my bottom-out point by living in an abandoned crack house with a few other people who had also made some consequential life choices. It’s true: you start to look up when you hit the bottom.</p> <p>The people who know me today would have a hard time believing that this is really my story, since I no longer use anger as an excuse to further a negative cycle. Almost daily, anger about this incredibly broken system creeps into my thoughts, but I don’t find these feelings scary any more. When they arise, I view them as a reminder that there is a disconnection in my life that can be corrected. They are the reason I continue working toward a more peaceful future.</p> <p>Trying to walk a peaceful path in the world can be a daunting venture, and I would be lying if I said it is an easy path to take. Every smile I share has the power to communicate truth, even in the midst of conflict. For me, it takes daily meditation and support from my family and friends to stay balanced and continue to live in truth and love.</p> <p>I have replaced “gang culture” with permaculture in my life. I’m putting a lot of my energy into collaborating on building a gift-economy space where people will be able to unplug, detox from industrialism and learn about sustainable living and nonviolence. While this community-centered project is a tangible expression of peace work, I still strongly believe that the most powerful contribution I can make is the inner work I do, as peace grows from the inside out.</p> <p><em>This article was first published in <a href="https://nonviolencemag.org/after-the-fight-a-skinheads-journey-towards-ahimsa-4a6043fed9dc">Nonviolence</a>.</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="/transformation/kazu-haga/transformation-of-warrior-behind-bars">The transformation of a warrior behind bars</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/transformation/michael-n-nagler/love-at-barrel-of-gun">Love at the barrel of a gun</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/stephanie-van-hook/transforming-anger-into-nonviolent-power">Transforming anger into nonviolent power</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Transformation Transformation Nonviolence Magazine Travis Mellott Transformative nonviolence Activism Fri, 23 Jun 2017 00:00:00 +0000 Travis Mellott 111731 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Organising domestic workers across Africa: a regional view https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/vicky-kanyoka/organising-domestic-workers-across-africa-regional-view <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span style="font-family: Arial;">In less than 10 years domestic workers in Africa have gone from barely any organisational contact to a thriving movement, but there is still a long way to go.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Kanyoka.png" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Photo provided by author.</span></p><p>I am Vicky Medard Kanyoka and I work for the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), as the regional coordinator for Africa. My background in labour rights stems from my work in the women’s department of the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania, and later in the Conservation Hotels Domestic Workers Union (CHODAWU) as the director for women, gender, organisation, and youth.</p> <p>It was during this period that I became interested in domestic workers rights. We had a number of complaints from domestic workers, who were not part of the union, including unfair dismissals, abuses, and termination without benefits. After coordinating a project on child domestic workers for my union, I was appointed in 2009 by the <a href="http://www.iuf.org/w/">International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations</a> (IUF) to run a project on domestic workers in Africa – not an easy task. This was during the preparations for a discussion of an ILO convention for domestic workers.</p> <p>Coordinating Africa as a region was very difficult for me because I didn’t know what was going on in any other African country besides Tanzania. I didn’t know who to reach out to, the total number of domestic workers in Africa, or the challenges faced in each country. Nevertheless, I felt confident because of my experience of working on child domestic workers rights in Tanzania and because of the visible commitment of colleagues from Latin America, Asia, South Africa, and the USA when we met to strategize about how to start our movement and what to do in our respective continents.</p> <p>Domestic workers’ trade unions in Africa started becoming visible during the campaign for the ILO’s Domestic Workers Convention in 2009. That is not to say that they did not exist before, just that the voice of domestic workers and activities of the domestic workers’ movement were dormant.</p> <h2>Starting from scratch</h2> <p>In 2009, only nine domestic worker unions existed in Africa. They had names, but only had a few members or no membership at all, which made it difficult to even ask for membership numbers. Interventions like recruitment drives, seminars, and workshops to build domestic workers’ capacity so that they could claim their rights were very limited compared to other sectors or did not happen at all. Those unions that did have members did not keep records of them, and the participation of domestic workers in decision-making processes was very limited. This was especially true in unions where domestic workers were subsumed under one general union covering multiple sectors, such as KUDHEIHA in Kenya, or CHODAWU in Tanzania. In 2008, the IUF conducted a workshop in Kenya for the KUDHEIHA union through the Africa Women’s Project. Of the thirty domestic workers who attended the workshop, not one was a member of the union. </p> <p>Trade unions for domestic workers faced many challenges, including low membership due to a lack of organising skills among domestic workers, as well as many other necessary skills such as leadership, networking, communication, negotiation, advocacy, and lobbying. They also had limited knowledge of how trade unions operate and the rights of workers, women, and domestic workers, as well human rights. The absence of recognition for domestic workers as workers in legal mechanisms meant that domestic workers – and the organisations they created – were marginalised in all spheres of the world of work.</p> <p>The development of domestic worker organising in Africa has undergone four phases:<strong></strong></p> <h2><strong>Phase I, the beginning: building organisations and the campaign for an ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, 2009-2011</strong></h2> <p>This first phase included mapping out trade unions for domestic workers in the region, which was done through building alliances with other trade unions, trade union centres, and global unions. We also built alliances with civil society and human rights organisations. Furthermore, we conducted sub-regional training workshops for both French and English speakers in the few unions organising domestic workers at that time.</p> <p>Trade union leaders, domestic worker organisations (both trade union affiliates and non-affiliates), and domestic workers from different unions and supportive NGOs all attended these workshops. An important outcome of these workshops was the recommendation that an African Regional Domestic Workers Network be formed. Moreover, it was through these events that we strategized how to campaign for the adoption of the ILO convention for domestic workers (C189) in different countries and across different regions. </p> <h2><strong>Phase II, the African Regional Conference: Building a domestic workers network in Africa, 2011-2013</strong></h2> <p>After the passing of C189 we held an Africa-wide conference to discuss issues of domestic workers in the region. The first conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2012. Participants included representatives from Anglophone, Francophone, and Lusophone African countries. Representatives reported on developments towards the ratification of C189 in their respective countries, and laid out their plans for continuing their advocacy efforts. Some achievements included successful recruitment drives to increase organisational membership and the formation of new unions specifically for domestic workers, such as SYTRAD in Guinea, SATHR in Senegal, SINED in Mozambique, CIAWU in Malawi, SYNIATHA in Mali, and UHFTAWU in Uganda.</p> <p>During the conference, we declared 16 June Global Domestic Workers Day and recommended that we call for African governments to ratify and implement C189. We also revisited the recommendation to establish an African Network for Domestic Workers.</p> <h2><strong>Phase Three: Launching the Africa Domestic Workers Network, June 2013 </strong></h2> <p>Domestic workers in Africa put into practice the major recommendation of launching a regional network with the leadership and guidelines necessary for it to operate. On 16 June 2013, the Africa Domestic Workers’ Network (AfDWN) was launched in Cape Town, South Africa, exactly two years after the adoption of C189. The same year, Africa was to record the ratification of C189 by two countries: Mauritius and South Africa.</p> <p>The launch conference of the AfDWN took place between 15-16 June 2013. The South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers’ Union (SADSAWU) hosted the conference with the support of the Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (COSATU). Ninety-five domestic worker representatives from 17 organisations across 17 countries, with a total membership of 95,572, participated in the conference, and were joined by steering committee members and coordinators of the <a href="http://www.wiego.org/resources/international-domestic-workers-federation-idwf">International Domestic Workers Network</a> from Asia, the Caribbean, the USA and Latin America, as well as ally organisations from South Africa and Europe.</p> <h2><strong>Phase Four: Strengthening domestic workers trade unions</strong></h2> <p>The strategic goal of IDWF is to have a strong, democratic, and united domestic workers global organisation for protecting and advancing the rights of members by 2020.</p> <p>There are currently 20 AfDWN member organisations in the IDWF. In order to meet the IDWF’s strategic goals, the African region needs to build the capacity of domestic workers’ trade unions by addressing the following challenges<strong><em>:</em></strong></p> <p>1. Most domestic workers’ trade unions in Africa have inadequate knowledge about trade unions because they are new and have always been excluded from the benefits provided by trade unions, including education on trade unions. They have poor knowledge of the organisational systems, including organisational structures at national and international levels, that underpin good union leadership, member participation, constitution and good governance, internal decision making processes, representation, team work, planning, and membership recruitment.</p> <p>2. Domestic workers have inadequate skills in several areas, such as leadership, effective communication, lobbying and advocacy, negotiating, public speaking, record keeping, recruitment drives, due collecting, handling finances, management, networking, report writing, etc.</p> <p>3. During the current campaign to lobby for the ratification of C189 and amendments to national labour laws, one of the key challenges is putting forward and continuing demands for changes to minimum wages and protection issues, including occupational health and safety, social security, and written contracts.<strong></strong></p> <h2><strong>What are the major challenges in Africa today?</strong></h2> <p>Apart from Mauritius, South Africa, and Guinea, no African country has ratified C189, an enormous obstacle to achieving decent work for domestic workers in Africa. And for those three exceptions enforcement remains a problem.</p> <p>In addition, the issue of migrant domestic workers is escalating, as many domestic workers – especially from Ethiopia, Ghana, Mauritania, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya – leave Africa to work abroad in Middle Eastern countries due to unemployment or in search for greener pastures. There have been a number of reported incidences of death, rape, and other forms of abuse. Yet, sending countries that have signed agreements with receiving countries do not have proper mechanisms to monitor what is happening to domestic workers working abroad and existing laws and policies are not being enforced.</p> <p>With poverty at the family level still constituting an important challenge, child labour and especially child domestic work remains a big problem in Africa.</p> <p>There is still a lot of work to be done to organise domestic workers in African countries. There are currently only 20 countries with trade unions for domestic workers, and existing trade unions are still not as strong as they could be.</p> <p>Our plan for the future is to continue strengthening domestic workers through training programmes, organizing more domestic workers organisations in different countries, and campaigning for the ratification of C189.&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="/beyondslavery/dws/giulia-garofalo-geymonat-sabrina-marchetti/global-landscape-of-voices-for-labour-right">Domestic workers speak: a global landscape of voices for labour rights and social recognition</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/dws/ai-jen-poo/out-from-shadows-domestic-workers-speak-in-united-states">Out from the shadows: domestic workers speak in the United States</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/dws/marissa-begonia-penelope-kyritsis/justice-for-domestic-workers-it-s-about-rights-not-p">Justice for domestic workers: it’s about rights, not protection</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/dws/pina-brustolin-raffaella-maioni/chapter-of-our-shared-history-from-servants-to-domesti">A chapter of our shared history: from servants to domestic workers in Italy</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Vicky Kanyoka Domestic Workers Speak Thu, 22 Jun 2017 23:00:00 +0000 Vicky Kanyoka 111839 at https://www.opendemocracy.net What does ‘mainstream media bias’ mean in a digital age? https://www.opendemocracy.net/digitaliberties/mitchell-labiak/what-does-mainstream-media-bias-mean-in-digital-age <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The internet should mean that everyone has access to the same information, yet people still talk of a “mainstream media bias”.</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-Craig_Benzine_(7486834826).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/640px-Craig_Benzine_(7486834826).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'>Craig Benzine speaking at VidCon 2012 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. Wikicommons/ Gage Skidmore. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>30 years ago, it was easy to silence ideas. Not reporting on something could guarantee its obscurity. The internet changed all that by allowing almost anyone to start up a blog, vlog, or website and do their own reporting.</p> <p>By lowering the barrier to entry, would-be journalists and political commentators have emerged from every corner of the internet. As global internet access has increased, so too has our collective ability to make the media our own.</p> <p>This scares dictators. It’s why countries such as <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/09/21/north-koreas-internet-revealed-to-have-just-28-websites/">North Korea</a>, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/22/chinese-internet-censorship-uses-distraction">China</a>, and <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/whatsapp-facebook-youtube-twitter-down-turkey-internet-outage-problems-a7396856.html">Turkey</a> have a censored internet, an extension of the other kinds of media censorship in those countries. As <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/19/xi-jinping-tours-chinas-top-state-media-outlets-to-boost-loyalty">Xi Jinping put it</a>, the media must “love the party, protect the party, and closely align themselves with the party leadership in thought, politics and action.”</p><p>So far, so fascist. But what about in functioning democracies? Why is it that countries like the UK and the US talk of a <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jeremy-corbyn-media-bias-labour-mainstream-press-lse-study-misrepresentation-we-cant-ignore-bias-a7144381.html">mainstream media bias</a> when, in theory at least, the media belongs to everyone?</p> <h2><strong>Mainstream media bias in the UK</strong></h2><p> In the UK, there’s no denying that print media leans right. Of <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/246077/reach-of-selected-national-newspapers-in-the-uk/">the seven biggest selling newspapers in the UK</a>, the two most popular (The Daily Mail and The Sun) are right-wing, the Guardian and The Mirror are left-wing, and the rest are all right-wing. By sheer numbers, there are simply more right-wing newspapers being sold in the UK. For every one left-wing newspaper that gets sold, more than two right-wing newspapers get sold.</p> <p>Online, things are more complicated. When news websites are ranked by <a href="https://www.similarweb.com/blog/uk-media-publications-ranking-february-2017">the number of pageviews from the UK they received in February 2017</a>, the biggest is the BBC. It’s not even close. The BBC received over 1.7 billion pageviews that month, 35% of all the traffic for the top 100 news sites in the UK. The BBC is followed by The Guardian, The Daily Mail, MSN, and the Daily Telegraph. Those sites received 331 million, 318 million, 293 million, and 169 million views respectively. </p><p>MSN is not a publication based in the UK. However, that’s what the internet does; it erodes borders. As such, over 318 million British people clicked onto MSN to get their news in February 2017. </p><p>So at first glance, it looks as if the internet eliminates media bias in the UK. With the assumption that the BBC is a neutral publication, the left-wing and right-wing publications for the top 100 biggest news sites in the UK get around 600 million pageviews each for the month of February 2017. The rest of the views go to business, tech, and local news publications which don’t lean one way or the other. </p><p>Except that local news <em>does</em> have a tendency to lean one way or the other depending on the politics of the city. What is more, you could argue that all those tech publications tend to lean left, espousing a pro-science, pro-equality <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/05/10/facebook-executive-admits-silicon-valley-has-left-wing-bias/">Silicon Valley rhetoric</a>. You could just as easily argue that all those business publications tend to lean right, espousing a pro-capitalist, pro-business <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-abrams/right-wing-politics-business_b_5341926.html">economically liberal rhetoric</a>. </p><p>Still, most of that cancels itself out with pageviews for those local, business, and tech publications shifting and changing month by month. What’s more, the issue pales in comparison to the elephant in the room: the BBC’s widely disputed neutrality.</p> <h2><strong>The BBC leans...</strong></h2><p> For as long as there has been a BBC, there have been worries about BBC bias. More often than not, these accusations come from the government, with <a href="https://www.transdiffusion.org/2005/04/01/bbcthatcher">every Prime Minister since the BBC’s inception</a> grumbling about its anti-government bias. This worrying reached fever pitch during Thatcher’s reign when the Tories did much more than grumble. They claimed, publicly and repeatedly, that the organisation had <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2001/sep/23/business.broadcasting">a left-wing anti-government bias</a>. Conversely, there are those who claim that — during the Wilson era — <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/9876437/Harold-Wilson-Night-the-PM-who-lived-and-died-by-television.html">the BBC had a pro-government bias</a>. </p><p>Jump ahead to the modern day and the question of which way the BBC leans depends on who you ask. If you ask the left-wing Owen Jones of the left-leaning Guardian, he’ll tell you that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/17/bbc-leftwing-bias-non-existent-myth">the BBC leans right</a>. If you ask Tory MP and current Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, he’ll tell you that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/sep/24/bbc-news-tories-jeremy-hunt">the BBC leans left</a>. The left-leaning New Statesman refers to a study claiming that <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/broadcast/2013/08/hard-evidence-how-biased-bbc">the Tories get more coverage than Labour</a>. The right-leaning Telegraph refers to <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/10235967/BBC-is-biased-toward-the-left-study-finds.html">a study claiming that left-wing policies get more coverage than conservative ones</a>.</p> <p>The problem with talking about political bias is that you inevitably run into political bias. With publications like the Guardian or the Telegraph, this isn’t a problem. Both publications are openly left-wing and right-wing respectively. As such, there is no debate. With regards to the BBC, this is a problem as the organisation claims to be neutral. And there is a debate.</p><h2> <strong>Mainstream media bias in the US</strong></h2><p><strong> </strong>Print media in the US has the opposite problem to the UK. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times are <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/272790/circulation-of-the-biggest-daily-newspapers-in-the-us/">the four biggest selling newspapers in the US</a>. The Wall Street Journal is right-leaning, but <a href="http://www.journalism.org/interactives/media-polarization/table/consume/">the Washington Post and the New York Times lean left</a>. So too does <a href="https://www.allsides.com/news-source/los-angeles-times">the Los Angeles Times</a>. As such, it’s fair to say that more left-leaning newspapers get sold in the US than right-leaning ones. </p><p>Online, the four biggest news websites in <a href="https://www.similarweb.com/blog/us-media-publications-ranking-april-2017">the US according to pageviews in April 2017</a> were MSN, ESPN, Drudge Report, and Google News. Three of those are news aggregator sites which link out to other news sources and one of them is a sports news site. Discounting those, the next biggest website is CNN. This is followed by Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sport (which can be discounted as well), Fox News, and then the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed. </p><p>The only openly conservative news site on that list is Fox News. The others are either aggregators, sports news websites, neutral, or liberal. None of this should be surprising considering that since 1971 journalists in the US have <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/05/06/just-7-percent-of-journalists-are-republicans-thats-far-less-than-even-a-decade-ago/?utm_term=.26e68c5d3c43">more often identified as liberal than conservative</a>. In 2013, just seven per cent of journalists identified as Republican compared to over a quarter of journalists identifying as Democrat. </p><h2> <strong>Are news aggregators neutral?</strong></h2><p><strong> </strong>In the US and the UK, news aggregators receive huge numbers of pageviews. Unlike the BBC, these sites don’t produce their own content. All they do is link to other news sources. Still, it’s perfectly possible for a news aggregator website to express bias through the news it chooses to link to and how it presents this news.<br /> This further complicates the question of online media bias in the US. <a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/on-media/2016/08/more-than-two-decades-old-the-drudge-report-hits-a-new-traffic-high-227008">Drudge Report</a> has a clear pro-Trump bias, being run by the <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/326849-matt-drudge-congress-deliberately-sabotaging-trump">openly pro-Trump Matt Drudge</a>. Yet, with Google News it’s not as black and white and, just as with the BBC, it depends on who you ask. </p><p>The left-leaning Guardian has accused the search engine of having <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/16/google-autocomplete-rightwing-bias-algorithm-political-propaganda">a right-leaning bias with its autocomplete function</a>. The right-leaning Wall Street Journal has accused the search engine of <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-search-results-can-lean-liberal-study-finds-1479760691">a left-leaning bias with its results</a>. The left-leaning Independent argues that <a href="https://www.indy100.com/article/what-happens-when-you-google-three-black-teenagers-and-why-its-a-problem--WJN9D1V1EZ">Google’s image search has a race bias</a>. The right-leaning Washington Times argues that <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/13/facebook-reddit-censorship-reignites-conservative-/">Google is run by a bunch of liberals</a>.</p> <h2><strong>The new news</strong></h2> <p>If rigorous analysis of online news media and news aggregators reveals anything it’s that digital news is fractured. What’s more, besides some enormous organisations, there isn’t really any such thing as a ‘mainstream news media’ online. </p> <p>Though just because news media is free from an overall bias it doesn’t mean that social media is. And just because there isn’t political ideology bias doesn’t mean that there isn’t bias. For social media, it’s not so much a matter of left and right but a matter of what is ‘acceptable’ and what is not. Google does have a bias. Though, as with all of the other social media giants, it may be a different breed of bias. </p><p>In 2016, a survey revealed that <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2016/05/26/most-people-get-their-news-from-social-media-says-report/">62% of Americans get their news from social media sites</a>. Online news is important, but it’s evidently not where the vast majority of web users spend their time and less and fewer people are getting their information directly from news sites.</p> <p>YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, Google: these are <a href="http://www.alexa.com/topsites">some of the biggest websites in the world</a>. News websites don’t even come close in terms of usage and influence. And, while there is no one person or political group who controls these sites, if there is one thing that none of them like, it’s “controversial” or “offensive” content.</p><p>This dislike of ideas which upset the status quo has helped to <a href="https://www.cjr.org/analysis/censorship_in_the_social_media_age.php">censor people from all over the political spectrum</a>. So whether it’s because you are <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38165435">pro-Trump</a>, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/20/lgbt-community-anger-over-youtube-restrictions-which-make-their-videos-invisible">pro-LGBT</a>, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/instagram-deletes-womans-period-photos-but-her-response-is-amazing/">pro-menstruation</a>, or even <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/02/19/facebook-removes-breast-cancer-survivors-double-mastectomy-tattoo-picture_n_2716057.html">pro-breast cancer awareness</a>, your ideas are going to be suppressed by huge organisations who would rather that your ideas were a little less disruptive. None of this is done in the name of pushing a particular political agenda. It’s done in the name of pleasing advertisers, who like it when things are vanilla, and keeping as many people on their websites as possible. </p><p>This is censorship, and it is worrying, and it is something that those who value freedom of speech should protest against. However, it would be too simplistic to call it a right-wing or a left-wing bias. While it’s true that both conservatives and radicals have reason to be critical of <a href="http://gizmodo.com/former-facebook-workers-we-routinely-suppressed-conser-1775461006">Facebook’s neutrality</a>, the real issue is the way in which all <a href="https://www.wired.com/2016/11/filter-bubble-destroying-democracy/">social media algorithms</a> try to feed us information which is uncontroversial and already confirms our existing biases.&nbsp; </p><p>Across all social media sites, news feeds are personalised. As such, if you lean politically one way or the other then your experience on that site will lean with you. Prominent American YouTuber Craig Benzine noted the true extent of this after the 2016 US election. Despite his massive social media reach, he recalls how <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haTlHHJh3oE">almost every post he saw in relation to Trump’s victory</a> was negative.</p> <h2><strong>Never let the truth get in the way of a good story</strong></h2><p><strong> </strong>There is a media bias online, but it’s not a media bias which fits into the narrative of the left or the right. According to openly right-wing Fox News, alliances such as the “Deep State” are <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/05/17/sean-hannity-trump-faces-alliance-haters.html">fueling an anti-Trump media conspiracy</a>. The story is half-correct. The media is overwhelmingly critical of Trump, but it’s also half-incorrect. After all, the British left just as easily argues that there is <a href="http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.mx/2016/07/the-mainstream-media-propaganda-war.html">an anti-Corbyn media conspiracy</a>.</p><p>It’s true that ‘the establishment’ is often against both men. But the idea that the ‘establishment’ is one entity is wrong. Different countries are filled with different establishments, each with their own interests. Moreover universities, banks, medical research bodies, international trade associations are made up of a range of experts with a range of ideas. When <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/22/science/march-for-science.html?_r=0">scientists unite against Trump</a> or <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11840928/Jeremy-Corbyns-economic-policies-could-be-highly-damaging-economists-warn.html">economists unite against Corbyn</a>, that’s not a conspiracy: it’s a difference of opinion.</p> <p>The bad news is that, while the people are more than willing to call out the political biases of others, they are terrible at recognising their own political biases. Reactionist right and reactionist left are <a href="https://web.stanford.edu/~gentzkow/research/PolarizationIn2016.pdf">becoming increasingly polarised</a> by their own social media bubbles. The good news is that the increase of free and open internet access across the world has handed the media to the people. The result is a change in grammar. The old media was singular; the new media are plural.</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 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"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> 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 NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> digitaLiberties digitaLiberties United States UK Conflict Culture Democracy and government Internet Mitchell Labiak Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:50:57 +0000 Mitchell Labiak 111846 at https://www.opendemocracy.net “Our subaltern position is determined by the law!”: the struggle for visibility in Spain https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ana-carolina-el-as-espinoza/our-subaltern-position-is-determined-by-law-struggle-for-v <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Recent developments in Spanish law have put domestic workers on a firmer footing, but there’s a long way to go before they are treated at equal to workers in other sectors.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/6209035969_c7fbe57c81_o.jpg" alt="" width="100%&quot;" /><span class="image-caption">"La familia del emigrante",&nbsp;Elentir/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)</span></p><p>In the last three decades, the number of women migrating to Spain for work in the domestic care sector has increased. Migrant women involved in this sector attend to the pressing reproductive and care necessities of Spanish families within the framework of a dying welfare state. Many of us entered Spanish households as undocumented workers and, in most cases, as live-in employees (or <em>internas</em> in Spanish). The working conditions for domestic workers, and especially for <em>internas</em>, are often exploitative and include:</p><ul><li><span> </span>• A lack of a formal labour contract and an absence of employer contributions to social security;</li><li><span> </span>• The inclusion of the in-kind income (comprising food and lodging) within the monetary wage, resulting in drastic and arbitrary <span> </span>salaries;</li><li><span> </span>• Wages ranging from €400 to €800 a month with extensive working hours, characterised by a demand for the almost total <span> </span>availability of the worker and endorsed under the ambiguous legal figure of "time of presence" , which has institutionalised live-in <span> </span>work. Time of presence is the time in which the worker is present in the employer’s household, outside working hours and <span> </span>without performing effective work, but available on demand. According to the legislation, time of presence must be agreed <span> </span>between the employee and the employer and must be paid in money or in kind, but results in arbitrariness;</li><li><span> </span>• A lack of social protections;</li><li><span> </span>• Arbitrary payment of dismissal settlements.</li></ul> <p>While workers in Spain should theoretically be protected from the labour abuses listed above under the Workers’ Statute, this is not always the case in reality.</p><h2>The Active Domestic Service in Spain</h2> <p>Domestic worker activism in Spain has a decades-long history, but the active participation of migrants in these movements since the mid-2000s has revitalised struggles for extending domestic workers’ rights, while also giving visibility to the subordinate status or devalued citizenship of the migrants within the sector.</p><p>In 2005, there was a historical milestone regarding the general regularisation of undocumented foreigners, which led to more awareness around the conditions of migrant workers. Not only did this alert us to the essential value of formal employment status, but it also increased our interest in learning more about migrant workers’ rights. In short, we became aware of the subaltern position of migrant workers under Spanish law. Although almost 32% of documented migrants in regularisation processes were domestic workers, a large number could not be legalised because they had no proof of their employment status.</p> <p>In 2008, our sense of powerlessness and awareness of our treatment as second class citizens led us to formally establish the Active Domestic Service (Servicio Doméstico Activo, SEDOAC), an association consisting of both undocumented and documented migrant women that aimed to inform, advise, and attend to the needs of migrant domestic workers in Spain. Over time, we have worked with and supported lobbying and advocacy efforts that push for changes in the laws that affect migrant domestic workers. Our organisation does not have public funding. We support our actions through voluntary work, membership fees, and occasionally receive some funding from feminist groups.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Our sense of powerlessness and awareness of our treatment as second class citizens led us to formally establish the Active Domestic Service.</p><p>SEDOAC’s first steps overlapped with the beginning of the Spanish economic crisis, which generally worsened the working conditions of domestic workers. Many workers who had acquired legal residence were not able to meet the social security contribution payments required to renew their status. Although social insurance is to be paid by employers, many migrant employees ended up paying for it out of pocket for fear of losing their legal status.</p> <h2>Progress, but still a long way to go</h2> <p>Given this context, migrant domestic workers’ claims became stronger and were integrated into the political debate for domestic labour law reform. Although an improved regulation was approved in 2011 (Royal Decree Law 1620/2011), it left aside important issues, such as the right to unemployment benefits; the abolishment of in-kind income; and the creation of an effective labour inspectorate. It also opened the way for private recruitment agencies to commodify the sector and reduce our capacity to negotiate our conditions. Additionally, the law does not fully guarantee protection against abuse and sexual harassment, and it was not accompanied by any attendant occupational risks prevention regulations for this sector.</p> <p>The Royal Decree Law 1620/2011 on domestic work in Spain revokes 26-year-old legal regulation and was approved five months after the adoption of the ILO Convention 189 for Decent Work for Domestic Workers. The Spanish government has yet to ratify this convention.</p><p><span class="mag-quote-left">Our struggle is ongoing and the migrant women's movement has been gaining strength and visibility.</span></p> <p><span>Currently, it is estimated that there are around 600,000 domestic workers in Spain; approximately 90% are women and 50% are migrants. Despite the Royal Decree Law 1620/2011, the sector is still characterised by temporary employment, labour fragility, social devaluation and, at times, irregularity and exploitation. Around 30% of the workforce is not registered and therefore does not have access social security benefits. Because of this, our struggle is ongoing and the migrant women's movement has been gaining strength and visibility.</span></p><p><span></span>Aware of the importance of networking for advocacy, SEDOAC joined 16 other organisations across the country in order to create the Turin Group in 2012. In this context, the organisation demands the immediate ratification of ILO Convention 189 and equality between domestic labour and other sectors of the workforce, thus overcoming the gaps established by the current legislation in the country.</p> <p>In October 2016, the Turin Group led the National Congress on Domestic and Care Work in Spain in Madrid, which was attended by around 150 participants. The congress brought together a large number of organisations in support of the struggle for domestic worker rights, which agreed on a political agenda for the coming years. There is much to be done, but the conditions are right for successful advocacy and political mobilisation on this issue.</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="/beyondslavery/dws/giulia-garofalo-geymonat-sabrina-marchetti/global-landscape-of-voices-for-labour-right">Domestic workers speak: a global landscape of voices for labour rights and social recognition</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/dws/pina-brustolin-raffaella-maioni/chapter-of-our-shared-history-from-servants-to-domesti">A chapter of our shared history: from servants to domestic workers in Italy</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/dws/charito-basa-rosalud-dela-rosa-dona-rose-dela-cruz-aubrey-abarintos/from-personal-to-p">From personal to political, and back: the story of the Filipino Women’s Council</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Ana Carolina Elías Espinoza Domestic Workers Speak Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:24:30 +0000 Ana Carolina Elías Espinoza 111746 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Have we reached the end of international development? https://www.opendemocracy.net/andrew-brooks/have-we-reached-end-of-international-development <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>As Trump’s administration looks set to slash the budget of USAID and May’s Conservative party debate the future of British donor support, what is the relevance of international development in a globalised world?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/3002807725_2e62e2ca46_o.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/3002807725_2e62e2ca46_o.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>KFC in Beijing. Emile B/Flickr. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>One of the widely shared and discussed images from last year’s presidential election campaign was of Donald Trump sitting down for a dinner of a bucket of KFC with a golden knife and fork, and a copy of the Wall Street Journal when travelling aboard his private jet. The reading material and cutlery reminded audiences he was a successful tycoon, while his choice of chow showed a popular touch.</p><p dir="ltr">As well as being among America’s favourite fast food KFC is one of the winners of globalisation. Kentucky Fried Chicken is sold in 125 countries and China recently surpassed the US in the number of KFCs – 5,003 versus 4,270 outlets – representing both a growing desire for western fare in the east and the rising economic power of Chinese consumers. The owners of KFC have benefitted from the removal of barriers to trade and invested in new territories generating low-paid jobs and rewarding executives and shareholders in parent company Yum! Brands. &nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Aid comes with strings attached and the UK, US and others use their influence to pull government policy in different directions.</p><p dir="ltr">Globalisation has not spread prosperity evenly, and especially has not brought wealth to Africa. For instance, in Malawi, where there is only one KFC, 70.9% of people live on less $1.90 a day, a standard international poverty line – or the cost of a Coke at KFC. Like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Malawi is heavily dependent on donor support. Britain is the largest donor. Aid comes with strings attached and the UK, US and others use their influence to pull government policy in different directions.</p><p dir="ltr">One of the main outcomes and conditions of development grants, loans and debt relief has been to encourage economic liberalisation – the removal of barriers to trade and investment – to enable further integration into the world economy. An effect of globalisation has been increased Chinese investment in Malawi and other African nations. This new Asian superpower is becoming influential across the world’s poorest continent. China leads the way in extracting African natural resources and is now an increasingly important aid donor.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 5.11.53 PM.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/Screen Shot 2017-06-22 at 5.11.53 PM.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="575" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Trump sits down to dinner: "The reading material and cutlery reminded audiences he was a successful tycoon, while his choice of chow showed a popular touch." Twitter. Fair use.</span></span></span>China’s own achievements in economic and social progress constitute the great global success story of the last four decades, notwithstanding the many political and environmental problems that persist. Dramatic growth came without the help of significant development aid; China did not trade money for control of economic policy. Rather than unbridled globalisation, Chinese leaders gradually and cautiously opened their economy to international competition, which set them on the road to prosperity.</p><p dir="ltr">The US, China and Malawi represent three tiers of affluent, emerging, and impoverished nations. Yet, the geography of global wealth is more complicated than crude divides between rich and poor countries. Malawi has some people who can afford KFC, and, in&nbsp;China, there are a growing number of billionaires with private jets of their own. Within each society, there is impoverishment and patterns of inequality. Many Americans have been let down by globalisation. They saw their jobs relocate to China and other low-cost manufacturing centres. At the same time, Malawians have struggled to compete in a globalised economy as they are unable to protect and nurture factories from competition with low-cost imports from China.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-center">One path Trump seems sure to follow is in slashing the foreign aid budget.</span></p><p dir="ltr">To return to Trump, it has been well documented that his popularity stemmed from tapping into many Americans’ discontent with globalisation. On the surface, the US remains affluent, but the economic structure of society increasingly resembles the dual economies of Africa: stagnating income for casual workers, migrants, and those without college education and growth only at the top. <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/26/investing/donald-trump-wall-street/">Trump will serve Wall Street</a> rather than the electorate of Main Street middle America that supported him. The first 100 days in office have been chaotic and many policy directions are still uncertain, but one path he seems sure to follow is in slashing the foreign aid budget.</p><p dir="ltr">In Britain, as the election campaign rumbles on, Theresa May has come under pressure from the right of her party to drop Britain’s commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on development aid. Her International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, has even argued that <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37758164">aid should be cut unless it works in the national interest</a>. Despite this, it looks likely that this budget line will remain intact as a sop to internationalists and those sensitive to poverty, because the coming disaster of Brexit has satisfied the economic nationalist at home. However, under the Conservatives, future aid money will be funnelled towards dual purposes programmes such as national security and development, climate&nbsp;change and development, and commerce and development, so it can be double-counted and support defence, environment and international trade budgets.</p><p dir="ltr">This is bad news as some social development projects&nbsp;have had successful outputs. Most notably in the fields of global health, where funding has helped address major problems including in sanitation, maternal health, and through campaigns to combat childhood diseases. In general, what has been wrong with development interventions is the way they are used to enforce uneven neo-colonial relationships. The west has deployed financial leverage in the past to push through policies that stifle economic independence at the same time as distributing aid.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">What has been wrong with development interventions is the way they are used to enforce uneven neo-colonial relationships.</p><p dir="ltr">Neither the Trump administration nor a future Conservative government is going to promote alternatives to globalisation in Africa. If those on the economic right change policy they will likely cut the carrot of financial assistance and turn to the stick, e.g. proposing tariffs on imports from Africa to the US and UK, to force pro-market policies on the poor. Decades of neoliberalism in Africa have intensified inequality and failed to lift people out of poverty. Moreover, China and other emerging powers are now cutting new loan deals that have conditions attached that further pry open African economies.</p><p dir="ltr">Malawians along with the millions of other impoverished Africans and poor people elsewhere need to own their own development. This means protecting their economies, and nurturing sectors that provide meaningful jobs with living wages in industry and service sectors. In tandem, there is an urgent need for financial support to address the social and environmental concerns of everyone. Isolationism is not the answer, but ensuring economic independence can provide the foundation for prosperity. The growth of economic nationalism in the US and the UK poses a threat to the future financing of the International Development sector. It is unlikely that economic liberalism will be reversed in the developing world. Leaders in Africa need to resist bad deals and be allowed to re-negotiate terms of trade and relieve some of the pressures of globalisation. Giving them the freedom to act in the interest of their citizens rather than maintaining and expanding relationships of dependency could provide a solution for global poverty.</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><a href="https://www.zedbooks.net/shop/book/the-end-of-development/">'The End of Development: A Global History of Poverty and Prosperity'</a>&nbsp;by Andrew Brooks is available now from Zed Books.</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="/openglobalrights/gretchen-gordon/development-banks-and-silencing-of-dissent">Development banks and the silencing of dissent</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/amber-huff/ebola-exposing-failure-of-international-development">Ebola: exposing the failure of international development</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Andrew Brooks Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:21:49 +0000 Andrew Brooks 111841 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Build it and they will come: Scotland and independence after the election https://www.opendemocracy.net/gerry-hassan/build-it-and-they-will-come-scotland-and-independence-after-election <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>To survive, the SNP needs to focus on the politics of the long-term and develop a truly ambitious strategy, which so far it has neglected to do.</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/562710/15826113181_322b5a657b_z.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562710/15826113181_322b5a657b_z.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="298" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Nicola Sturgeon by Ninian Reid. Flickr. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>The 2017 election marks the end of an era of Scottish politics.</p><p>The immediate shadow of the 2014 indyref dominating everything is over. As is the age of the big tent, omnipotent SNP carrying all before it. The re-emergence of the Scottish Tories and the stalling of the retreat of Scottish Labour has confounded many nationalists.</p> <p>Not only is the post-2014 indyref environment over, so too is politics defined by the constant invoking of Thatcher and Blair. No matter the depths Blair fell to, firstly, the two aren’t completely comparable, and second, Blair was once massively popular in Scotland – the 1997-99 period being one such example. Plus the Blair Government’s for all their faults did do a host of positive things: such as legislate for a Scottish Parliament (not that he really believed in it, but that’s another story).</p> <p>The SNP ‘won’ this election in that they got the most seats and votes – the criteria for judging success. But the party lost 476,867 votes, 13.1% of their vote, and 21 seats out of 56 – which cannot be called by any standards much of a success. The SNP imperial age is over and in some places there is denial and refusal to accept reality, and even anger and wanting to kick out at the usual culprits (BBC, MSM, etc, everybody basically but the SNP).</p> <h2><strong>The context of 2017</strong></h2> <p>The SNP ran an awful campaign. It lacked any clear message, spine or purpose. It seemed to fall back in the last few days on the ridiculous line: ‘If you agree with Jeremy Corbyn vote SNP’.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">This is a bad tactic and bad strategy.&nbsp;</p> <p>This is a bad tactic and bad strategy. The tactics were terrible. Derek Mackay has now run several inept campaigns running the 2012 and 2017 local elections and doesn’t inspire with his political touch and intelligence. But much more is wrong than how to run an effective campaign ergo the steadfast belief in the brilliance of the SNP ‘machine’ – a myth which isn’t based on any facts.</p> <p>The chimera of the SNP assuming it occupies the centre-left and social democratic ground of Scotland while disparaging its main opponents with disdain is over.</p> <p>In reality the SNP isn’t that much of a centre-left, social democratic party. Instead, it has at best been a defensive progressive party, holding off the worst aspects of the tearing apart of the social contract we have witnessed down south.</p> <p>But often that hasn’t actually been that progressive here. For example, defending the entitlements of health, education and law professions, and never daring to invoke ‘public sector reform’, isn’t that radical. It is actually quite conservative and going with the grain of the vested interests who have historically defined civil society.</p> <p>Instead, the mantra has been that for ten years the SNP has tried to be all things to all men, women and citizens of Scotland. A nod to social democracy here, a wink at the landed interests there, and at all times keep the business community on board. This has been a mélange of social democratic sentiment and neo-liberalism – rather like New Labour before the scandals and wars – but with much less detail in the former. The deception was that we weren’t meant to notice, mind and criticise this until last Thursday.</p> <p>Salmond was explicitly this mixture. Sturgeon was meant to talk left, be more about detail and more straight dealing. All we have got has been the practice of the latter, and little else.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The myths of the SNP have to be held up for the threadbare stories many of them are.</p> <p>The myths of the SNP have to be held up for the threadbare stories many of them are. Thus, we have the line punted by some SNP media sympathisers that the Corbyn manifesto was a tribute to the SNP in its plagiarism and copying of universal benefits.</p> <p>But this isn’t the case. Corbyn’s manifesto – which wasn’t perfect and articulated a Labour radical nostalgia – put back on the political agenda a host of popular left-wing policies. Some of these such as nationalisation and standing up to corporate capitalism, are policies the SNP has never ever gone remotely near.</p> <p>The SNP in their decade in office have been silent on the macro-issues of crony capitalism – apart from Salmond’s eulogies to Fred Goodwin and RBS pre-crash – which were as embarrassing and wrong-headed as Gordon Brown’s. Indeed, there is one kind of nationalism the SNP have barely ever touched in the last decade and that is economic nationalism: talking about ownership, control and takeovers. The only exception over the last decade was Salmond’s populist campaigning on Diageo’s decision to close their Kilmarnock plant.</p> <p>The myopia of centrist ministers like Humza Yousaf calling the recent SNP manifesto ‘left-wing’ indicates a political class which has no real understanding of what the term left-wing means, and who don’t do substantive policies – instead being content to be managers and administrators of the embryonic Scottish state – nothing more and nothing less.</p> <p>It is this big picture which matters most. Tellingly, Nicola Sturgeon seems to have burned through much of the goodwill and energy of the two and a half year indyref campaign; and in two and a half years as First Minister, has little tangible achievements. That is a tragedy because Sturgeon has many qualities as a campaigner and communicator, but so far she has shown herself as missing critical elements of leadership, and lacking a sense of strategic direction.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">There is the issue of the SNP’s swollen membership of 120,000. This was meant to provide the party with a huge advantage over its opponents. It hasn’t so far delivered.&nbsp;</p> <p>There is the issue of the SNP’s swollen membership of 120,000. This was meant to provide the party with a huge advantage over its opponents. It hasn’t so far delivered. It has proven across large swathes of the country in the recent campaign to be an elusive and almost invisible army. There were across numerous Glasgow and West of Scotland constituencies, little obvious door-to-door canvassing and campaigning. This pattern has been developing for a while. It was evident in the recent local elections. And in last year’s SNP depute leadership contest which had a derisory 34% turnout.</p> <p>It is this which provides a backdrop to public concerns about the style of Sturgeon’s leadership. This isn’t a sudden issue which has just emerged, but has been building for a long time. For example, late last year, myself and James Mitchell’s book, ‘SNP Leaders’ contained Mike Russell’s concerns about the culture of groupthink at the top of the party, as well as Mandy Rhodes’ portrait of Sturgeon which painted a picture of an isolated leadership – with major decisions often made only by herself with her husband, Peter Murrell, Chief Executive of the SNP.</p> <p>Sturgeon’s leadership is a mix of command and control and uber-caution. The first element has seen the slow atrophying of the political intelligence of the party that first got it into a dominant position. The party leadership have swallowed the stories of their own wisdom and hype which is always a bad sign. This has been combined with a caution and even inaction in government which hasn’t helped matters. This has slowly allowed the SNP to lose the initiative it had, and find itself in the unusual place of being defined by its opponents, and in particular, Ruth Davidson’s abrasive and energetic campaigning – which has been the sort of robust challenge the SNP haven’t been used to and Scottish Labour have not given them for many a year.</p> <p>All of this has to be seen in the light of a party which has willfully refused to engage in a major appraisal of the reasons why the 2014 indyref was lost. Or indeed spent any time putting together a new vision. Instead, the SNP leadership and official line became that the combination of the power and reach of the 56, Brexit, the footsoldiers of the swollen membership, and the power of the abstract idea of independence would be enough. These factors would take independence over the winning line – by a mixture of charm, cajoling, hectoring and impatience. It wasn’t a great strategy. Indeed, it was a win ugly approach and it has now been discredited. It was never a good approach or good politics.</p> <h2><strong>The limits of the SNP victory on 37%</strong></h2> <p>For those who say stay calm as the SNP won, a little closer examination of the results is needed. The SNP won 37% of the vote. This was the biggest share by far, but in two years across two Westminster elections, Scotland has shifted from a dominant one party system to multi-party politics. It is also telling that some SNP and indy supporters are complaining about the three pro-union parties engaging in tactical voting to defeat the SNP. That’s what happens under FPTP; is something Scotland has seen many times such as against the Tories in the 1980s and 1990s; and is what occurs to incumbent parties.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Beneath the SNP’s 37% of the vote and 35 seats there is fragility.</p> <p>Beneath the SNP’s 37% of the vote and 35 seats there is fragility. Nine of the SNP’s 35 seats have majorities under 1,000: four with majorities under 100 - Fife North East (2), Perth and North Perthshire (21), Glasgow South West (60), Glasgow East (75). A total of eighteen – more than half the party’s seats have majorities under 2,500. Not one of the six SNP Glasgow seats looks impregnable. The only formidable SNP majorities look like Dundee West and East, Kilmarnock and Loudoun and Ross, Skye and Lochaber - the only seats with majorities over 5,000. In not one of the SNP’s 35 seats did the party win over half the vote, making the party very vulnerable to continued tactical voting.</p> <p>The party support has shifted westward. It has lost huge swathes of support in the North East and Perthshire – areas where it has long been dug in but which have now returned to their traditional Tory allegiance. This was always the implication of the shift from the Salmond to Sturgeon leadership – but the party hasn’t gained any radical edge as a result, and doesn’t look that secure in large parts of the west. Another worry must be that the much vaunted democratic spirit and engagement of the indyref seems already to have exhausted itself: with turnout of 66.4% down 4.7% on two years ago and below the UK figure. Turnout in many Glasgow and West of Scotland constituencies was back to the shocking levels of pre-indyref.</p> <p>Where does this leave us? The politics of just blindly following everything the SNP does and says because they believe in independence was always a bad option. Effectively it just gave the SNP leadership a free pass and has produced poor government and politics.</p> <p>Secondly, the SNP and independence aren’t synonymous. To treat as such – as some true believers and fanatical unionists do – has not been very helpful to either cause. Thirdly, there is a problem in the SNP with leadership. It has engaged in micro-control without being prepared post-indyref to openly talk about hard decisions on independence, the choices explicit in government, or act in a mature, long term way talking to the nation. Instead, everything has been tactical and about positioning.</p> <p>Fourth, the rise of the SNP in recent years and all its related excitement has distracted from the narrow range of politicians who have come to the fore. Despite the SNP 56 and large Holyrood group there isn’t a surfeit of talent at the top. There is an absence of campaigning politicians prepared to graft and do the hard work on an issue – Alison Thewliss on the rape clause being a rare exception. The party needs a culture of encouraging politicians to nurture and champion issues and causes, and have less of the TV pundit Nationalists of the likes of the now departed John Nicolson and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.</p> <p>Fifth, there is the wider culture and psychology of independence supporters. There are many shades and gradations of opinions, but one which has done the SNP and independence no good has been the over the top partisanship, blinkeredness and intolerance of its most fanatical supporters. The worst examples of this have done lasting damage to the SNP and independence – allowing them to be painted in the most derogatory styles. They have to be stood up to and told to stand down and find some other vent for their misanthropic sentiments.</p> <p>Sixth, show more interest in policy and after ten years in office encourage and aid some alternative centres of power. The SNP and independence desperately needs at least one and preferably more than one independent, self-government supporting think tank which can compliment the work of the likes of Common Weal and others.</p> <p>Finally, this was the fifth Westminster post-devolution election. The mainstream media didn’t have a good election in informing voters. The two BBC and STV leader debates, for example, were both dominated by devolved issues and the record of the SNP at Holyrood, to the exclusion of Westminster issues. Is it beyond broadcasters to structure discussions with explicit sections on devolved and reserved issues? This wasn’t a conspiracy as this is how they covered elections under Labour too, but it probably hurts the SNP more who already suffer in such elections from a Westminster squeeze. One SNP voter said to me during the campaign: ‘This is a contest just between Labour and Tories isn’t it? Am I allowed to vote SNP?’.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The SNP have only been in office for ten years. The Labour Party dominated Scottish politics for fifty years.&nbsp;</p> <p>Critically, there is the question of whether the SNP can change in office, or need to lose power at Holyrood to change. Funnily enough this is an argument Scottish Labour used to have with itself when it was in office – with senior ministers believing they could renew while being in office in perpetuity.</p> <p>The SNP have only been in office for ten years. The Labour Party dominated Scottish politics for fifty years. It hasn’t taken long for the sheen to go off the SNP. How it responds will tell whether this becomes a major crisis and retreat, or one which it can manage and bounce back from.</p> <p>Underlying all of the above is the missing ingredient in the SNP’s politics and independence offer. There is no coherent national project about Scotland’s future. The party has invited us to just trust them and believe everything will be alright the other side of independence. It was never good enough. This is transparent now.</p> <p>An independence referendum looks extremely unlikely for the next few years. That gives the SNP and Scottish politics a breathing space to develop a different course. It should be one which is based on the principle of ‘Build it and they will come’. Mark out the territory, policies and detail of a self-governing and independent Scotland and start out in its direction of travel. But that requires a different SNP and leadership which has until now shown no interest in a politics of the long-term or of developing a truly ambitious strategy.</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="/ourkingdom/2007/08/14/snp-set-out-referendum-plan">SNP set out referendum plan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/ourkingdom/david-rickard/scottish-independence-would-open-way-for-constitutional-reform">Scottish independence would open the way for constitutional reform</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ourkingdom/gerry-hassan/scotland-and-britain-have-changed-%E2%80%98big-bang%E2%80%99-of-indy-ref-and-after">Scotland and Britain have changed: the ‘big bang’ of the indy ref and after</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> uk uk Gerry Hassan Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:14:48 +0000 Gerry Hassan 111823 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Theresa May did not win a majority for her Brexit of deregulation. We can’t allow her to take it forward https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/brexitinc/nick-dearden/theresa-may-did-not-win-majority-for-her-brexit-of-deregulation-we-can-t-a <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>May may have failed to secure a mandate for her extreme version of Brexit, low-tax, low regulation Britain, but yesterday she set out a programme to take it forwards nonetheless.</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/558532/35064937971_be5652079f_k.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/558532/35064937971_be5652079f_k.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>'Brexit means Brexit'. Avaaz/Flickr. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>The Grenfell Tower fire has come to symbolise everything rotten in modern Britain. Deregulation and privatisation have turned the class divide into a gaping chasm. The government exists for the richest, while the rest are thrown on the mercy of the market. &nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-left">Deregulation and privatisation have turned the class divide into a gaping chasm.</p><p>Theresa May may have failed to secure a mandate for her extreme version of Brexit, low-tax, low regulation Britain, but yesterday she set out a programme to take it forwards nonetheless. At the heart of the two-year programme is the Great Repeal Bill. On the surface, the bill is straightforward – transferring EU law into UK law so we don’t have a legal vacuum on the day of Brexit.&nbsp;</p><p>In practice, the Great Repeal Bill is designed to give sweeping powers to a government with the slimmest of majorities, allowing it to deregulate by stealth. Under so-called Henry VIII powers, May’s ministers will get unprecedented powers to rewrite laws without normal parliamentary scrutiny. They promise these changes will only be technical in nature. But there’s every reason to be sceptical.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.globaljustice.org.uk/sites/default/files/files/resources/decimating_rights_-_grb_briefing.pdf">Our new briefing</a>&nbsp;with Another Europe is Possible shows just how big an effect these ‘technical changes’ could have on everyone in Britain. For instance, laws ensuring agency workers are treated the same as direct employees have always been resisted by the British government, and have been implemented in the weakest way possible. The Great Repeal Bill gives the government the chance to weaken them further. They will also have the chance – as they’ve long intended – to cap damages on employer discrimination rules, thus rendering this legislation ineffective.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-right">May’s ministers will get unprecedented powers to rewrite laws without normal parliamentary scrutiny.</p><p>What’s more, EU&nbsp;<em>principles</em>&nbsp;won’t necessarily be transferred. Think about the precautionary principle, which ensures that products must be proven to be safe –&nbsp;to the health of the user for instance – before they can be deployed. Or the polluter pays principle which ensures that the burden of paying for environmental damage falls on those responsible for that damage. Conservative MPs have expressed hostility to both – and both could easily be dispensed with.&nbsp;</p><p>The UK has already breached the EU’s torture directive on several occasions, which prohibits member states from supplying the means to carry out torture. Under pressure from Gulf states or Trump’s US, with whom May is desperate to sign trade deals, what’s the likelihood of that prohibition remaining in place? &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>May might also be interested in dropping the EU’s ‘privacy shield’ which places restrictions on the ability of companies like Amazon and Facebook to collect and retain our private data. As Home Secretary, May fought against this regulation when trying to enable the state to collect private data on citizens not suspected of crime.&nbsp;</p><p>There are many more examples of protections which will arise in the course of the Great Repeal Bill – consumer regulation which protect the public from dangerous chemicals, food safety protection, financial regulation, air quality and water standards rules. Many have been opposed by Conservative ministers. Rendering these laws ineffective doesn’t simply mean scrapping them. It could mean simply removing the implementation or updating mechanisms which make them effective.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-left">The UK has already breached the EU’s torture directive on several occasions.</p><p>Once we exit the EU, we leave the institutions which keep laws up to date and the sanctions which made them enforceable. For a Prime Minister given the powers of Henry VIII, it will be frighteningly easy to render regulations and protections she dislikes ineffective.&nbsp;</p><p>Any MP who wants to begin healing the stark divisions in our society needs to ensure the Great Repeal Bill is amended or defeated. Theresa May did not win a majority for her Brexit of deregulation. We can’t allow her to take it forward.</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/christine-berry/after-grenfell-ending-murderous-war-on-our-protections">After Grenfell: ending the murderous war on our protections</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/uk/caroline-lucas/its-time-to-make-progressive-case-for-staying-in-eu">It&#039;s time to make the progressive case for staying in the EU</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/transformation/angela-mcrobbie/fire-in-neo-liberal-london"> Fire in neo-liberal London</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> uk uk Nick Dearden Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:50:19 +0000 Nick Dearden 111837 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Andrei Zvyagintsev: not your token Russian https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/natalia-antonova/andrei-zvyagintsev-not-your-token-russian <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">In an age of disinformation, sincerity is political. The films of Andrei Zvyagintsev are powerful precisely because of this.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/555493/Still 2.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>May 2017: Andrei Zvyagintsev's new film Loveless wins the Cannes Jury Prize Award. Image: Wild Bunch. </span></span></span>When a top-down political system adopts fake news and general disinformation as policy, sincere sentiment can be automatically politicised — simply because it has a way of cutting through the bullshit. The same goes for humour, especially the really good and really pointed kind of humor.</p><p dir="ltr">This politicisation isn’t just performed by the state itself. It’s performed by everyone who gets a speaking part in public discourse. The films of Andrei Zvyagintsev are a good example of that, particularly the way in which they’re discussed within his native Russia.</p><p dir="ltr">We’re already used to self-proclaimed Russian patriots, be they officials, random internet trolls, or people genuinely insecure about Russia’s image and role in the world, accusing Zvyagintsev of deliberately making bleak films about Russia for the sake of “impressing russophobic western film festival judges” or whatever. Their arguments are old and stale, but, in a country that <a href="https://codastory.com/disinformation-crisis/traditional-values/kremlin-nationalists-face-off-over-romanov-romance-mathilda">loves a good moral panic around a film or a work of art</a>, they are also expedient.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">What’s more interesting to me is the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/od-russia/maria-kuvshinova/rise-of-andrei-zvyagintsev">argument</a> that “Zvyagintsev is kind of blah, and people abroad still respond to him because he’s an exotic, balalaika-toting Russian. Oh, and if you defend him, you’re probably also insecure about Russia’s role and image in the world.” &nbsp;This argument hasn’t just popped up in the press, as per Maria Kuvshinova’s <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/od-russia/maria-kuvshinova/rise-of-andrei-zvyagintsev">article</a> which I’ve linked to above. I’ve heard it a lot in Moscow and beyond in the days since Zvyagintsev’s latest film Loveless <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/may/17/loveless-review-leviathan-director-andrei-zvyagintsev-cannes-2017">came out in Russia</a>. A critic friend of mine in St Petersburg (definitely not the chest-beating patriot type) complained that “people talk about Zvyagintsev as if he actually matters, when they should be talking about the fact that he’s just the designated Russian at most film festivals and among most critics.”</p><p dir="ltr">Now, I firmly believe that the arts in Russia should be vigorously defended. Even if you don’t like something, please go ahead and defend it — <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/24/world/europe/moscow-theater-raid-kirill-serebrennikov.html?_r=0">there is a crackdown going on</a>, and it’s likely to get worse. It’s not the time to be smirkingly apolitical, and it’s certainly not the time to go: “Oh, I’ll actually only speak out in favor of someone if I’m into their stuff.”</p><p dir="ltr">Kuvshinova argues that Zvyagintsev is “doing OK,” and hence doesn’t need any impassioned defence. But as recent history has demonstrated, an artist or filmmaker in Russia can be “doing OK” in one minute and in deep trouble the next. This affects all artists, including those that are seen (sometimes arbitrarily) as “pro-Kremlin” instead of “anti-Kremlin”. Whether the issue is censorship, or harassment, or a criminal probe, or all of the above, everyone’s entered in the great Who Will Get Screwed Next lottery. It’s pointless to pretend otherwise&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Of course, nobody is required to like Zvyagintsev’s films. Some might describe them as too humourless. Some think this particular director takes himself too seriously</p><p dir="ltr">Of course, nobody is required to like Zvyagintsev’s films. Some might describe them as too humourless. Some think this particular director takes himself too seriously. A producer friend of mine in Russia sees Zvyagintsev as someone who “judges his characters too harshly.” I personally was even yelled at once in Dubai (of all places to get yelled at about highbrow cinema!) by a very intelligent someone who suggested that Zvyagintsev’s films are “pretentious crap for depressives”.</p><p dir="ltr">But there are also plenty of reasons as to why Zvyagintsev inspires a passionate following — and they go broader and deeper than any political context. Unlike my producer friend, for example, I see this particular director as painfully compassionate. Loveless, a film about a divorcing couple whose son goes missing, clicked for me because it made me suffer right alongside its heroes — sure, they’re stupid, and selfish, and insincere, and that’s the drama of their existence right there, in their casual lack of awareness as they hurtle towards disaster.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/555493/eed19d6e57f549878a08e381ad86228d.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="296" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The final scene of Loveless ends on a poignant note, set firmly in the post-Crimea Russia of today. </span></span></span>I’ve known myself to be stupid, and selfish, and insincere, and I’ve cheerfully hurtled toward plenty of disasters in my life at breakneck speed (who knows how many more I can look forward to), and I was humbled and touched, as opposed to repelled or offended, by what I saw on screen. For me, the horror at the heart of Loveless has nothing to do with Zvyagintsev trying to punish his characters, or to make some grand political statement, for that matter — even though this director obviously has plenty to say about the state of hearts and minds in Russia.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead, the horror has everything to do with how the sadness of their situation is made casually relatable. It’s in the way that in her leading role as a hapless mother, Marina Spivak looks like a Renaissance Madonna. It’s in how Alexei Rozin’s inattentive dad can drop a child into playpen with a small thud. The character is revealed to be too rigid to learn from terrible past experience with this single thoughtless gesture, even as the audience remains aware of the real pain and loss this man suffers from.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Modern day Russia has offered the world far too little, particularly as far as new ideas go</p><p dir="ltr">Kuvshinova is right to point out that modern day Russia has offered the world far too little, particularly as far as new ideas go (the pleasures of retrograde conservatism that Russia tries to export are certainly nothing new). Yet I think she’s wrong to suggest that Zvyagintsev has gained international attention simply for being a token Russian, in the right place at the right time. Certainly, Russia being in the news a lot has helped him. But there is also the fact that many people respond to his films emotionally, their hearts are cracked open, their thinking begins to shift. A social worker friend of mine in California, for example, once told me that “the sense of awful futility” on display in Zvyagintsev’s previous film, the Oscar-nominated “Leviathan” resonated deeply for her because she faces that same kind of futility as part of her job.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">There is something oppressively Biblical about fighting a battle that cannot be won, though there are also battles that must be fought regardless of the outcome. A director like Zvyagintsev gets that, and this is why people get him.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The profound crisis of thought in Russia, a crisis greater than politics, though certainly hastened by political opportunists, has meant that the sincerity of a filmmaker like Zvyagintsev can filed away under “he betrayed his country, in which everything is OK - hear that? It’s totally OK! WE’RE ALL FINE HERE” (which is what government trolls do) or else simply played for laughs.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">But as a viewer and a writer who became attracted to Zvyagintsev’s work without giving a crap about “what it all means for Russia” — simply because his work punched me in the heart and then re-started it and re-set its rhythm — I do hope we can all one day either love or hate or ignore Zvyagintsev for our own, perhaps imperfect, but genuine reasons.</p><p dir="ltr">&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="/od-russia/maria-kuvshinova/rise-of-andrei-zvyagintsev">The rise of Andrei Zvyagintsev</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/od-russia/marina-mikhneva/five-forbidden-russian-words-on-stage-and-screen">The five forbidden Russian words on stage and screen</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/od-russia/kirill-kobrin/eternally-wonderful-present-or-russia-s-need-for-new-culture">The Eternally Wonderful Present, or Russia’s need for a new culture</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> oD Russia oD Russia Natalia Antonova Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:08:15 +0000 Natalia Antonova 111829 at https://www.opendemocracy.net