openDemocracy https://www.opendemocracy.net/ en Call for applications: Tunisia Facilitator, Middle East Forum https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/opendemocracy/call-for-applications-tunisia-facilitator-middle-east-forum <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl" style="text-align: right;">يبحث موقع openDemocracy عن ميسّر لمنتدى الشرق الأوسط&nbsp; في تونس.</p><p>openDemocracy is looking to hire a facilitator for the Middle East Forum in Tunisia.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>The&nbsp;<span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/middle-east-forum">Middle East Forum</a></span>&nbsp;is a project that encourages emerging young voices to express themselves, exchange views and be heard. The project provides participants with a series of workshops to develop writing skills, media presence, and digital security as well as a free discussion space where they have the capacity to debate constructively. Participants in the forum host speakers, acquire skills, share knowledge, and give feedback to one another.</p><p class="western" lang="en-GB">We are currently looking for a facilitator to coordinate a group of 7 participants from Tunisia. openDemocracy has a standard of expectation from our participants as well as from each individual facilitator.</p><p>This is a freelance role, 35 days of work spread over 11 months with a salary of $109 per day.</p><p><strong>In general, facilitators will be expected to:</strong></p><ul><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Ensure a safe space for all the participants to express themselves freely;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Host debates but allow for the creative process to take its due course;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Cultivate a good working relationship with the participants, and serve as their mentor;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Maintain a good line of communication with the participants, and be available for any questions;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Be responsible for training the participants, providing them with the tools necessary to complete the program successfully, and the ability to organise other professional trainers where needed;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Outline learning objectives for the group;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Oversee and support the participants’ work, and assist where necessary;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Provide constructive feedback and suggestions to enhance the participant’s learning experience.</p></li></ul><p><strong>Requirements</strong></p><p class="western" lang="en-GB">We are looking for people who are passionate about journalism and its potential to change the world, and have:</p><ul><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Expertise in the specific region of the program;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Experience in debate moderation;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Prior experience of digital publishing and social media;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- A background in journalism and journalistic writing;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Fluency in both Arabic and English - able to write and edit;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Knowledge of online security, computer systems and office-related software;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Possess strong interpersonal and communication skills.</p></li></ul><p><strong>Specific responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:</strong></p><ul><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Finding, screening and selecting seven candidates for the program;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Meeting the commitment of 15 sessions;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Actively developing an online space for debate;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Developing a working relationship with the participants, such that you can adequately serve as their mentor;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Actively moderating debate;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Managing communication with participants;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Ensuring that notes for each session are being taken. Share notes with all participants;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Editing articles written by the participants in both Arabic and English;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Liaising with the project coordinator and editor;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Writing progress reports;</p></li></ul><p class="western" lang="en-GB"><strong>Who can apply?</strong></p><p class="western" lang="en-GB">You can apply for the position if you fall under any of the following:</p><ul><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Previous experience as a journalist or editor</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Currently completing or recently completed post-graduate studies in related field</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Possess expertise in the specific region of the program</p></li></ul><p class="western" lang="en-GB"><strong>How to apply?</strong></p><ul><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">Send in a sample piece of&nbsp;<strong>1000 words</strong>&nbsp;in Arabic or English of why you believe you are suitable for this role and your resume</p></li></ul><p>Please send your application documents to&nbsp;<span><a href="mailto:arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net">arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net</a></span>&nbsp;by the&nbsp;<strong>28th August 2017.</strong></p><h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>دعوة إلى تقديم الطلبات لمنصب ميسّر لمنتدى الشرق الأوسط في مصر</strong></h2><p class="direction-rtl">يبحث موقع&nbsp;<strong>openDemocracy</strong>&nbsp;عن ميسّر لمنتدى الشرق الأوسط&nbsp; في تونس.</p><p class="direction-rtl">منتدى الشرق الأوسط هو مشروع يشجّع الأجيال الصاعدة الشابّة على التعبير عن نفسها وتبادل الآراء وإيصال صوتها. يقدّم المشروع للمشاركين سلسلة من ورش العمل لتطوير مهاراتهم في الكتابة والحضور الإعلامي والأمن الرقمي كما يوفّر المشروع فضاء للمناقشات ويمنح المشاركين فرصة التحاور بطريقة بنّاءة. يستضيف المشاركون في المنتدى متحدثين ويكتسبون مهارات ويتشاركون المعلومات ويعبّرون عن رأيهم بعمل زملائهم.</p><p class="direction-rtl">نسعى إلى توظيف ميسّر لتنسيق عمل مجموعة من 7 مشاركين من تونس.</p><p class="direction-rtl">ثمة معايير يتوقع موقع&nbsp;<strong>openDemocracy</strong>&nbsp;من المشاركين ومن كلّ ميسّر احترامها.</p><p class="direction-rtl">هذا منصب حرّ (<strong>freelance</strong>) يتضمّن 35 يوماً من العمل ممتدّ على فترة 11 شهراً.</p><h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>بشكل عام، تضمّ مهام الميسّر التالي:</strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong></h2><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تأمين منبر آمن لجميع المشاركين للتعبير عن آرائهم بِحرية؛&nbsp;<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; استضافة مناظرات والسماح للعملية الخلّاقة أن تأخذ مجراها المناسب؛<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; بناء علاقة عمل جيدة مع المشاركين وتأدية دور المرشد؛<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; الحرص على تأمين التواصل السليم مع المشاركين والتوفر للإجابة عن جميع أسئلتهم؛<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تحمّل مسؤولية تدريب المشاركين ومدّهم بالأدوات اللازمة لإتمام البرنامج بنجاح وبالقدرة على تأمين مدرّبين محترفين آخرين، إذا دعت الحاجة؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; وضع أهداف التعلّم للمجموعة؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; الإشراف على عمل المشاركين ودعمهم ومساعدتهم لدى الحاجة؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تقديم تعليقات واقتراحات بنّاءة لتحسين التجربة التعلّمية للمشاركين.<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>متطلّبات الوظيفة:</strong></h2><p class="direction-rtl">نبحث عن أشخاص شغوفين في مجال الصحافة ويؤمنون بقدرتها على تغيير العالم. يجب أن يتحلّوا بالمهارات التالية:</p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;إطّلاع واسع على شؤون المنطقة المحدّدة للبرنامج؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; خبرة في إدارة المناقشات؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; خبرة سابقة في النشر الرقمي والتواصل الاجتماعي؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تخصّص في الصحافة والكتابة الصحافية؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; طلاقة في اللغتين العربية والإنكليزية والقدرة على الكتابة والتنقيح في اللغتين؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; معرفة في أمن الإنترنت وأنظمة الكمبيوتر والبرمجيات المكتبية؛</p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; امتلاك مهارات متقدمة في التواصل والتعامل مع الآخرين.<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>تضمّ مسؤوليات الميسّر التالي، على سبيل المثال لا الحصر:</strong></h2><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; إيجاد 7 مرشحين للبرنامج وفحص مهاراتهم والاختيار من بينهم؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; القدرة على الالتزام بحضور 15 جلسة؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تطوير فعلي لفضاء إلكتروني للمناظرات؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تطوير علاقات عمل مع المشاركين للنجاح في دور المرشد؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; إدارة المناظرات بشكل نشط؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; القدرة على التواصل مع المشاركين؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; الحرص على تدوين الملاحظات في كلّ جلسة وتشاركها مع جميع المشاركين؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تنقيح المقالات التي يكتبها المشاركون باللغتين العربية والإنكليزية؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; التنسيق مع مدير المشروع والمحرّر؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; صياغة تقارير عن سير العمل وتقدّمه.<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>مَن&nbsp;</strong><strong>المرشّحون لهذه الوظيفة؟</strong></h2><p class="direction-rtl">يمكنك التقدّم بطلب للحصول على الوظيفة إذا:</p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; لديك خبرة سابقة كمحرّر أو صحافي؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; أتممت دراسات عليا في مجال مرتبط أو إذا كنت في طور إتمام هذه الدراسات؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; لديك إطّلاع واسع على المنطقة المحددة للبرنامج.<strong></strong></p><h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>كيف يمكن التقدّم للوظيفة؟</strong></h2><p class="direction-rtl">أرسِل نصّاً من 1000 كلمة باللغة الإنكليزية أو العربية تفسّر فيه الأسباب التي تجعلك مناسباً لهذا المنصب، بالإضافة إلى سيرتك الذاتية.<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">الرجاء إرسال جميع الطلبات والمستندات المرتبطة بها إلى موقع&nbsp;<a href="mailto:arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net"><strong>arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net</strong></a>&nbsp;والموعد النهائي للتقديم هو ٢٨ أغسطس ٢٠١٧.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tunisia </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> North-Africa West-Asia Middle East Forum North-Africa West-Asia Tunisia Opportunities at openDemocracy Mid-East Forum openDemocracy Mon, 10 Jul 2017 11:23:07 +0000 openDemocracy 112104 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Food, the UK and Brexit: an even messier reprise of Corn Laws politics? https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/tim-lang/food-uk-and-brexit-even-messier-reprise-of-corn-laws-politics <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>We see Liam Fox warming up a US-UK trade deal, while Michael Gove assures consumers that animal welfare and food quality standards are safe in his hands. This doesn’t add up.</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/500209/1846_-_Anti-Corn_Law_League_Meeting.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1846_-_Anti-Corn_Law_League_Meeting.jpg" alt="lead lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A meeting of the Anti-Corn Law League in Exeter Hall in 1846. Wikicommons. Public domain.</span></span></span>If Brexit is supposed to improve Britain, then it must do so for food.&nbsp; In astonishing arrogance or myopia, British politicians collectively ignored food in the run-up to the 2016 Referendum, other than to draw upon decades of pillorying the Common Agricultural Policy to knock the EU and, in the Tories’ case, to promise to continue CAP farm subsidies till 2020 (now extended to 2022).<span class="mag-quote-center"> If Brexit is supposed to improve Britain, then it must do so for food.&nbsp; </span></p> <p>Anyone would think farmers feed people! Actually farming is already a small, shrinking but noisy sector of the UK food system. It makes up only 8% of the value added by the whole UK food supply chain. Manufacturing, Retailing and Catering make up over <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/agriculture-in-the-united-kingdom-2016">three times more</a> each. But <em>food</em> is what the 65 million Brits eat every day, £203 bn’s worth a year. We get 31% of our food from within the EU, a fact which seemed to elude politicians as they vied for votes. And the food trade gap is massive. We import over £42bn’s worth and export £20bn. In come fresh fruit and veg. – out go soft drinks, (and whisky) and biscuits. Not a great health exchange!</p> <p>To exit the EU without any food plans or national debate could be an act of monumental stupidity, unless there is a Plan B no-one told us about or the idea was to get food from somewhere else or just leave it to the food industry to sort out. I suspect a mix of these, not least since the Tory Government and Party – like Labour – are fundamentally split about what they want. One faultline is Europeanisation vs McDonalidisation. That’s why we now see Liam Fox warming up a US-UK trade deal (the US mass agri-food industry is salivating) while Michael Gove is assuring consumers that animal welfare and food quality standards are safe in his hands. This doesn’t add up.</p> <p>As we know, the whole Brexit issue is an argument about Progress and, since it is in power, the Right’s vision for British capitalism. Alas, some of the faultlines now emerging amidst the chaos, divisions and drift have echoes with the past. A failure to consult the public. Dishonesty.&nbsp; Plus genuine political differences: mercantilism (protected food supplies), neo-imperialism (get others to feed us), nationalism (grow more here), all cut through by the new politics of ecosystems and health. The gods spare us, if the UK seeks to emulate the diet-related ill-health of US citizens on low incomes, where obesity is rampant without the healthcare. <span class="mag-quote-center">The gods spare us if the UK seeks to emulate the diet-related ill-health of US citizens on low incomes, where obesity is rampant without the healthcare.</span></p> <p>The bad news about Food Brexit is that this is all coming upon us in pressurised and dramatic ways. The food industry is more worried by a Food Brexit than it has been by anything for years. It is massively reliant on EU migrant labour for ‘British’ food. An entire system of supply, infrastructure, taste, cost, and standards is to be swept away in 19 months’ time, as colleagues and I show in our new report on <a href="http://www.sussex.ac.uk/spru/newsandevents/2017/publications/food-brexit">Food Brexit</a>, the first comprehensive overview of what’s at stake. &nbsp;</p> <p>Food is a bellwether of progress. If the supply or the quality of our food is damaged by Brexit, those responsible for those failures will deserve to pay a high price. The most immediate issue is food prices, which have direct impact on consumption, and are already rising in a time of stagnant wages. Some Tories simply want us to source from wherever is cheapest. China? India? Tory MP Jakob Rees-Mogg <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-safety-standards-workers-rights-jacob-rees-mogg-a7459336.html">has even mused</a> about the case for getting our food standards to be closer to India’s. He’ll regret he said that, I suspect. Cheap food, low standards is risky politics.</p> <h2><strong>Corn Laws revisited</strong></h2> <p>The British have become accustomed to cheap food.&nbsp; This assumption has gradually been hard-wired into British food culture since the early nineteenth century, due to a 30-year political battle over what were known as the Corn Laws. Beginning in 1815, these imposed duties on imported food, thus protecting UK farmers from external competition, and keeping food prices high. They were enacted blatantly to suit the UK landed class. </p> <p>But the UK was in the process of industrialising and democratising its Parliament. The widening of the voting franchise really began with the Great Reform Act of 1832; became more serious (but still inadequate) with the Second Reform Act of 1867; and <a href="http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/evolutionofparliament/houseofcommons/reformacts/">was only resolved</a> with full one-person-one-vote rights in the twentieth century. </p> <p>Compared to that century-long march for political democracy, the 30-year fight over the Corn Laws seems positively speedy, but its consequences are once again resurfacing. The 1846 Repeal of the Corn Laws set the seal on what is known as Britain’s desire for a ‘cheap food policy’. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, Britain’s rural population was leaving the land and becoming the urban working class. For 30 years, culminating in the 1846 Repeal of the Corn Laws, political arguments raged about cheap versus expensive foods, the role of food in setting wage levels, the political risks of what we’d now call ‘food security’. Above all, which class interest would drive British capitalism: old aristocracy or new industrialists? The people were excluded but getting noisy; demands for voting franchise were building up. <span class="mag-quote-center">Which class interest would drive British capitalism: old aristocracy or new industrialists?</span></p> <p>Fresh from naval and land victories in the Napoleonic Wars and in the process of massive colonisation and expropriation, the UK Parliament in the end took the momentous decision to repeal the tariffs. A slow process began of abandoning domestic farming, and instead importing food from within the Empire, whichever country offered it most cheaply. </p> <h2><strong>Taking back control </strong></h2> <p>It was not until the two world wars of the twentieth century shook this political complacency that governments again reviewed the UK’s food security policy. And by then there had been <a href="https://eic.rsc.org/feature/the-fight-against-food-adulteration/2020253.article">a furious battle</a> over legal restrictions on food adulteration and poor quality, not sorted till the 1890s. Reluctantly in World War 1, and then in desperation in World War 2, the UK relearned what other rich countries had not ‘unlearned’ – that it makes sense to retain a sound food production base. That’s why the UK set up its own agricultural policy in 1947, under Labour, a system of farm support which served the same purpose as what the Common Market created a decade later with the Common Agricultural Policy – security for farming to produce food at home.</p> <p>Negotiating to join the EU in 1967-73 switched subsidy systems but with shared intent. It meant abandoning the relics of Empire which had fed industrialising Britain in the nineteenth century: Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the looser historical food links such as with Latin America or the Baltic. </p> <p>Joining the Common Market coincided with a revolution in the food system: more processed foods, supermarketisation, cafés, taste changes, rises in diet-related disease (most recently obesity and diabetes) and thus huge externalised healthcare and environmental costs. Aspects of these changes have been felt everywhere, first in the western rich world and now even in low and middle income countries. This has delivered a situation the proponents of ‘cheap food’ never dreamed of, a flood of what nutritionists now call ‘ultra-processed’ foods, unnecessarily high in fat, salt and sugar – <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/obr.12107/full">the <em>opposite</em></a> of the Mediterranean diet. </p> <p>In a class-divided society such as the UK, we can be saddened but not surprised that British people on low incomes spend proportionately more of their disposable incomes on food than do the rich. The money spent on food in the UK has grown in absolute terms, while in relative terms food expenditure as a proportion of disposable incomes has fallen. This has been the success of both the EU and before that the UK’s 1947 Agriculture Act which in effect repealed the 1846 Repeal of the Corn Laws and committed the UK to taking measures to stabilise food supplies and prices.</p> <p>Those policy shifts took over a century, two world wars and a recession. Food Brexit today is being rushed upon us in less than two years, without debate, and reigniting old debates about cheapness, quality and sources.&nbsp; The Corn Laws debate lasted 30 years and split the Tory Party. The UK then had a navy to protect its supply chains. Today, we have just 77 ships, compared with the hundreds in 1939, not that anyone officially anticipates World War 3 when long routes would again be problematic, of course. </p> <p class="ParaAttribute0">Amidst its current concerns, it is essential that the UK Government is held to account. We need a clear and explicit commitment to ensuring a sufficient, sustainable, safe and equitable supply of food, with realistic plans for how this will be achieved when and if the UK is no longer in the EU. <strong></strong></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 class="MsoNormal">See SPRU report,&nbsp; <strong><a href="https://www.sussex.ac.uk/webteam/gateway/file.php?name=foodbrexitreport-langmillstonemarsden-july2017pdf.pdf&amp;site=25">A Food Brexit: time to get real</a></strong><span>&nbsp;by Tim Lang, Erik Millstone and Terry Marsden, </span><span><span>July, 2017</span>.<br /></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> uk Can Europe make it? uk United States EU UK Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Economics International politics Brexit2016 Tim Lang Wed, 26 Jul 2017 17:25:39 +0000 Tim Lang 112540 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Hay’at Tahrir al Sham’s gamble: the failure of blood https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/gregory-waters/hayattahriralsham-syria-idlib-turkey-AhraralSham-FSA <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>As HTS grows at the expense of others, opposition representatives will continue to lose negotiating power in the Astana and Geneva talks, leaving Assad and Russia only one option with which to end the war.</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/549460/PA-31098964.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="AMMAR ABDULLAH/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-31098964.jpg" alt="AMMAR ABDULLAH/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved." title="AMMAR ABDULLAH/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved." width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Smoke rises from an emergency service point after an airstrike at the rebel-held village of Maar Zita in Idlib province, Syria April 27, 2017. AMMAR ABDULLAH/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>On July 19, 2017, the rebel factions Ahrar al Sham (Ahrar) and Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS) engaged in some of the fiercest <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2017/07/syria-conflict-opposition-idlib.html">infighting</a> that Greater Idlib has experienced during the Syrian Civil War.&nbsp;</p><p>This old conflict has been brewing just beneath the surface since before the&nbsp;<a href="http://imgur.com/a/uwIsi" target="_blank">formation</a>&nbsp;of HTS, which came as a response to rebel failures and the decrease in international support for moderate rebel groups in 2016. Following it's formation, HTS pursued a two-pronged&nbsp;<a href="http://imgur.com/a/BbQC5" target="_blank">approach</a>&nbsp;towards achieving its dream of a grand merger: cooperating with Free Syrian Army groups in joint offensives and using violence and the threat of violence to pressure smaller groups into joining the fold.</p> <p>The failure of this strategy was clear following the lost <a href="https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2017/4/23/syrian-regime-forces-hama-offensive-moves-towards-khan-sheikhoun">Hama</a>, <a href="http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Voices/2017/03/27/Al-Qaida-on-the-rise-again-hits-Assad-where-it-hurts/3251490626638/">Damascus</a>, and <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/fighting-intensifies-syrian-golan-heights-170626033648183.html">Quneitra</a> offensives, along with <a href="https://www.enabbaladi.net/archives/160002">rejection</a> of HTS by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups in southern Syria.</p> <p>As HTS realized that their military actions were not successful in attracting additional factions, the group began taking an increasingly violent stance towards non-aligned rebel groups in Idlib.</p> <p>On May 12, amid fears of a Turkish-backed united FSA front, HTS <a href="https://www.enabbaladi.net/archives/149301">ordered</a> Friday’s sermons in Idlib to denounce Turkey and the FSA groups that fight in Turkey’s Euphrates Shield operation. Five days later, Ahmed bin Ghalib, a Saudi HTS commander, <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/864946673079996417">“vowed to eradicate Ahrar al Sham.”</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>On May 31, in a sign of internal dissent, former Nour al-Din al-Zenki commander and current HTS leader Hossam al-Atrash <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/869965832918532096">stated</a> that all groups should dissolve and unite under the Interim Government’s Defense Ministry.&nbsp;</p> <p>Eight days later HTS made its first major attack since January when it <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/872887156683018240">attacked</a> FSA and Faylaq al Sham units in the town of Maraat al-Numan, killing FSA Colonel Tasyeer al-Samahi.</p> <p>Violence in Idlib continued on June 13 when HTS <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/875079990043435009">kidnapped</a> two FSA commanders – Nidal Haj Ali and Ahmed al-Mousa. HTS Political Chief Zayd al-Attar <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/874962458825412612">announced</a> his resignation the following day, and on June 20 at least five former Ahrar al-Sham units <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/877252782113382400">defected</a> back to Ahrar in further indications of internal division over HTS’s aggressive actions.</p> <p>Finally, on July 8 al-Modon <a href="http://www.almodon.com/arabworld/2017/7/8/%D9%84%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B0%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B2%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A-%D9%82%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AA%D9%87-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7">reported</a> that the Turkistani Islamic Party and clerics Abdullah Muhaisini and Abu Mariyah Qahtani were mediating between HTS and Ahrar as tensions rose along the Bab al-Hawa border crossing.</p> <p>However, attempts at mediation repeatedly failed as the increasing tensions exploded on July 19. HTS General Leader Abu Jaber justified these attacks in an audio message that day, claiming that Ahrar <a href="https://twitter.com/IbnNabih1/status/887628996061663232">“refused to merge with us and sold out to foreign interests”</a> – a reference to Ahrar’s close ties with Turkey and its <a href="http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/523">participation</a> in Euphrates Shield.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ahrar appeared to hold the upper hand following the first day of fighting, capturing several towns from HTS. However, on July 20 HTS <a href="https://twitter.com/AbuSulaymanMM3/status/888002606999719937">reiterated</a> its position that it would only accept a full merger and launched a new wave of attacks, making quick work of Ahrar strongholds and <a href="http://syriadirect.org/news/hardline-islamist-coalition-control-of-idlib-province-prompts-border-closure-halts-humanitarian-aid/">seizing</a> all of the Idlib/Turkey border crossings by July 23.</p> <p><a href="https://medium.com/@_alhamra/blow-by-blow-breakdown-ahrar-al-sham-and-hayat-tahrir-al-sham-clashes-in-free-idlib-8b7f246f2ff">At</a> <a href="https://maps.southfront.org/19-armed-groups-defected-from-ahrar-al-sham-during-tensions-with-hayat-tahrir-al-sham/">least</a> nineteen armed groups have joined HTS since July 19 – <a href="https://maps.southfront.org/19-armed-groups-defected-from-ahrar-al-sham-during-tensions-with-hayat-tahrir-al-sham/">reportedly</a> including 7,000 fighters from Ahrar’s Badia Division – with many local forces defecting after HTS captured their towns.</p> <p>Despite the apparent military success of HTS, the most recent round of infighting has called into question the strength of HTS’s “coalition” label.</p> <p>On July 20, after only one day of fighting, Nour al Din al Zenki <a href="https://twitter.com/badly_xeroxed/status/888001864637325313">broke</a> from HTS, <a href="https://twitter.com/AbuSulaymanMM3/status/888002072003715072">claiming</a> that the new attacks were launched by Jolani and Abu Jaber without the approval of the Shura Council and that Zenki had only joined HTS with the promise that infighting would cease.&nbsp;</p> <p>Even the HTS-aligned cleric Abdullah Muhaisini <a href="https://twitter.com/IbnNabih1/status/887746962661007361">declared</a> that the new infighting was haram and confirmed that the Sharia Council gave no approval for it. Zenki’s and Muhaisini’s statements imply that Abu Jaber and the former leaders of Jabhat al Nusra still act with impunity within the organization, despite the fact that former Zenki leaders held the high positions of <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/878368906221674496">Deputy Political Chief</a> and <a href="http://en.eldorar.com/node/4121">President of the Consultative Council</a>.</p> <p>On July 20 another HTS group, Quwa al Markaziya, <a href="https://twitter.com/badly_xeroxed/status/887997551680659458">defected</a> to Ahrar and an unnamed Uzebek group <a href="https://mobile.twitter.com/morasul_ahrar/status/888030346180251651">announced</a> that, while remaining a part of HTS, it would not fight Ahrar. This, as well as Zenki’s defection, demonstrates that while HTS appears to have won the Idlib war, it has done so only through force and an <a href="https://twitter.com/ThomasPierret/status/888850316887805952">unwillingness</a> of many Ahrar fighters to fight HTS.&nbsp;</p> <p>Fighters and <a href="https://twitter.com/Elizrael/status/888132100347527168">civilians</a> throughout the region still adamantly <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnArterbury/status/887719636980178944">oppose</a> HTS’s ideology and policies, and any union with HTS will not be amicable.</p> <p>Thus, the recent infighting is a clear indication of the failure of HTS’s attempted middle-ground policy. Abu Jaber and Jolani have abandoned the carrot for full license of the stick and will never again be able to masquerade as a welcoming, uniting force in Idlib.</p> <p>HTS’s only chance now to achieve a complete merger with Ahrar and the dozens of FSA factions throughout the region is to violently force them into submission – a course which will cement their pariah status both within Syria and the international community.&nbsp;</p> <p>Yet this possible merger may have been aided by the United States when the Trump Administration <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-usa-syria-idUSKBN1A42KC">announced</a> the end of the CIA’s arming program on July 19.</p> <p>If the formation of HTS was a partial response to the perceived abandonment by the international community, then the actual abandonment of moderate factions by the United States will only serve to further force moderates into HTS.</p> <p>In January, choosing to unite with HTS offered a clear decision between choosing a unified domestic opposition that will aggressively pursue war, or remaining outside in order to seek stronger ties with international backers and a more diplomatic approach to resolving the overall conflict.&nbsp;</p> <p>Unfortunately, it appears that most factions no longer hold a choice in this matter, but the effects will remain the same.</p> <p>As HTS grows at the expense of others, opposition representatives will continue to lose negotiating power in the Astana and Geneva talks, leaving Assad and Russia only one option with which to end the war.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/josepha-ivanka-wessels/white-phosphorus-over-raqqa">White phosphorus over Raqqa</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/whatever-happened-peace-arms-oil-war-proxy-syria-middle-east-military-industrial">Whatever happened to peace? Arms, oil and war by proxy</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/david-morrison/red-lines-can-we-be-sure-that-assad-was-responsible">Red lines: can we be sure that Assad was responsible?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/shilpa-jindia/syria-US-war-left-revolution">To stand up for the powerless in Syria, the Left must embrace complexity</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/joseph-daher/towards-inclusive-and-pluralistic-citizenship-in-syria">Towards an inclusive and pluralistic citizenship in Syria</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/will-murray/why-strike-syria-trump">Why strike Syria, Trump?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/gregory-waters/allure-of-war-motivations-of-jordanian-foreign-fighters-in-syria">The allure of war: the motivations of Jordanian foreign fighters in Syria</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/gregory-waters/divide-and-conquer-offering-jabhat-al-nusra-access-to-syrian-peace-tal">Divide and conquer: offer Jabhat al-Nusra access to the Syrian peace talks</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> <div class="field-item even"> Turkey </div> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> <div class="field-item even"> Russia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Russia United States Turkey Syria Conflict International politics Violent transitions Arab Awakening: violent transitions Gregory Waters Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:38:38 +0000 Gregory Waters 112523 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The murder of Manuel Buendía, journalist https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/carlos-pay-n/murder-of-manuel-buend-journalist <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>What sort of a country is it that does not defend its journalists, leaves them alone on the front lines, and cannot, or does not want to find the culprits? <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/carlos-pay-n/el-asesinato-de-manuel-buend-periodista">Español</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Veladoras_por_la_libertad_de_prensa_-_3_0.JPG" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Veladoras_por_la_libertad_de_prensa_-_3_0.JPG" alt="" title="" width="460" height="308" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Demonstration "Watchers for freedom of the press", Mexico City. Photo: ProtoplasmaKid. Creative Commons.</span></span></span></p><p>He got out of bed that morning at seven-thirty, took a bath, dressed neatly in his suit, as he did every day, and adjusted his waistcoat. He was happy. He had finished an extensive investigative report on Mexico’s drug lords and their connection with authorities at all levels.</p> <p>He had discussed the matter the previous night with the Under Secretary of the Interior, with whom he apparently had some friendship built on the information that the latter shared with him from time to time, and which the journalist published exclusively. That authority was his confidant.</p> <p>When he left his house, before getting into his car, he stopped to fix his tie. A motorcycle got on the sidewalk behind him and stood there for a moment. The rider, who carried a .45 ACP, shot him in the back of the head.</p> <p>The journalist’s name was Manuel Buendía, and he collapsed on the sidewalk, his skull shattered. On the ground, a puddle of blood formed around his head. Life had already left his body.</p> <p>Before the slaying of Manuel Buendía, people thought, or believed, or invented, that such cases only happened in rural areas. It was in those areas, it was believed, where repression (beatings, jailings, deaths, closure of publications) was carried out by local authorities and, mostly, by the drug lords, who first tried to corrupt the victims and, if they failed, resorted to making those who denounced their crimes ‘disappear’.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center">I wonder if we still exist as a country, if we are not imagining the existence of a democracy that has eroded to the point of fading.</p> <p>People believed that these horrors happened only in the provinces. But that morning, we woke up to the news of Buendía's death right in the heart of the nation’s capital city. Soon after, the investigation led to the arrest of the Under Secretary to whom Buendía had confided that he intended to publish the report implicating the authorities. It was the Under Secretary himself who had designed the crime, and was now protecting his associates: the drug cartels.&nbsp;</p> <p>Today, the murder of journalists not only persists, but it has increased at an unmatched pace, while the perpetrators are never arrested. The journalists who have been killed are, have been, the first defenders of the country against the mafias of organized crime, and against the government itself. Those who denounce the gangs are killed, and they are killed even sooner if they denounce the politicians associated with them.&nbsp;</p> <p>What kind of a country is it that does not defend its journalists, and leaves them alone, unprotected, on the front lines? What kind of a country is it that cannot, or does not want to find the culprits?</p> <p>To be a journalist in Mexico is to practice a very high-risk profession, one that often involves giving your life for it.&nbsp;</p> <p>I wonder if we still exist as a country, if we are not imagining the existence of a democracy that has eroded to the point of fading. A country that leaves its journalists to their fate, and that harasses them when feeling threatened by the spreading of their reports, is a country that does not exist, and that does not deserve to appear either in History or on the maps.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/carmen-aristegui-oleguer-sarsanedas/you-must-respect-fear">You must respect fear</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano-oleguer-sarsanedas/risky-business-of-printing-what-so">The risky business of printing what someone else does not want printed</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eldad-levy/violence-and-social-disintegration-of-mexico">Violence and the social disintegration of Mexico</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> DemocraciaAbierta Journalism Mexico violence Freedom of the press Carlos Payán Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:04:54 +0000 Carlos Payán 112534 at https://www.opendemocracy.net National trade unions in a globalised world https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/cathy-feingold-penelope-kyritsis/national-trade-unions-in-globalised-world <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Transnational bargaining, corporate accountability, and a full revamp of the global labour architecture – these are the challenges facing unions as they seek to address exploitation in global supply chains.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><iframe frameborder="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mwl2Unqhftg?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" height="259" width="460"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Penelope Kyritsis (oD): Can you start by telling us your name and what you do?</strong></p> <p>I’m <strong>Cathy Feingold</strong>, the international director at the AFL-CIO, which is the largest union federation in the US.</p> <p><strong>Penelope: Can you talk to us about the biggest obstacles for addressing labour exploitation in global supply chains?</strong></p> <p><strong>Cathy:</strong> There are multiple obstacles to addressing this. I would say that first of all, it is the way that production is organised now in the global economy. It is a global fissured workplace, a term coined by David Wile, and because the workplace is so fissured the relationship between workers and their employers is made very much invisible. It is very hard for workers to have any kind of power, when they don’t really know who they are working for and what kind of power they have in negotiating with those employers. </p> <p class="mag-quote-right">It is very hard for workers to have any kind of power when they don’t really know who they are working for.</p> <p><strong>Penelope: And is there anything workers can do to become involved in seeking their own protection?</strong></p> <p><strong>Cathy:</strong> Absolutely. The first thing is that we need to change the global architecture. What I mean by that is we need new global standards, like the one <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilc/sharan-burrow/global-supply-chains-what-does-labour-want">we are hoping to work on</a> at the International Labour Organisation, and we need greater protections at the global level, for example the OECD guidelines – which exist – but right now are not that effective for workers.</p> <p>We have a whole set of global tools and global mechanisms that need to be strengthened. But they are only going to be strengthened if governments effectively implement those standards at the national level. Also, since we know that no accountability could happen unless workers have real power, collective action demanding accountability both at the national and the global level is what we need to do to transform these relationships.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p><p> <img width="100%&quot;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/14369601137_c29a02457d_k.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Annette Bernhardt/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)</span></p><p><strong>Penelope: And moving forward are there any promising initiatives for how these relationships can be transformed?</strong></p> <p><strong>Cathy:</strong> Absolutely. I think we're in a very difficult time, because global capital is incredibly powerful, but that has meant that we’ve had to become more creative as worker movements. First, we have to recognise that worker movements need to build strong, strategic alliances with migrant rights organisations and feminist organisations, and we’re doing that and we’re committed to doing that.</p> <p>Second, we absolutely need to be looking at new forms of bargaining – not just locally but also regional and transnational bargaining – and we’re experimenting with that because it is quite difficult right now. One of the pieces of the global architecture we need to address is the issue of extraterritoriality. We really need to see, when there is an issue outside of a worker’s country, whether there could be ways to address it.</p> <p>So: we need transnational bargaining, we need new forms of thinking regionally about sectoral bargaining, and I think we have the <a href="http://bangladeshaccord.org/">Bangladesh Accord</a> as a model. We also need to go towards corporate accountability that is binding. Those are the pieces that we need to be looking at in terms of the labour movement: building power from the ground up, and then shaping things from above with the global architecture. </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"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/antonia-bance/working-lives-of-under-30s-show-future-of-work-for-us-all">The working lives of the under-30s show the future of work for us all</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ANTONIA BANCE</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/abigail-hunt/back-to-future-women-s-work-and-gig-economy">Back to the future: women’s work and the gig economy</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ABIGAIL HUNT</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/jane-mansour/falling-through-gaps-insecure-work-and-social-safety-net">Falling through the gaps: insecure work and the social safety net</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">JANE MANSOUR</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sebastien-flais/new-unions-old-laws-why-flexibility-is-key-in-gig-economy">New unions, old laws: why flexibility is key in the ‘gig economy’</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">SEBASTIEN FLAIS</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/adam-fishwick/organising-against-gig-economy-lessons-from-latin-america">Organising against the gig economy: lessons from Latin America?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ADAM FISHWICK</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/becky-wright/gig/changing-world-of-work-and-trade-union-movement-s-response">The changing world of work and the trade union movement’s response</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">BECKY WRIGHT</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/greetje-gretta-f-corporaal/gig/organising-freelancers-in-platform-economy-part-two">Organising freelancers in the platform economy: part two</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">GREETJE (GRETTA) F. CORPORAAL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/janine-berg-valerio-de-stefano/gig/it-s-time-to-regulate-gig-economy">It’s time to regulate the gig economy</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">JANINE BERG<br />VALERIO DE STEFANO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/greetje-gretta-f-corporaal/gig/organising-freelancers-in-platform-economy-part-one">Organising freelancers in the platform economy: part one</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">GREETJE (GRETTA) F. CORPORAAL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alex-j-wood/trade-unions-internet-and-surviving-gig-economy">Trade unions, the internet, and surviving the gig economy</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALEX J. WOOD</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/daniel-tomlinson/it-s-not-gig-economy-stupid">It’s not the gig economy, stupid.</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">DANIEL TOMLINSON</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alice-martin/gig/crisis-of-control-what-should-on-demand-workforce-be-demanding">A crisis of control: what should the on-demand workforce be demanding?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALICE MARTIN</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/tom-hunt/gig/same-as-it-ever-was-labour-rights-and-worker-organisation-in-modern-economy">Same as it ever was? Labour rights and worker organisation in the modern economy</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">TOM HUNT</span><hr /> </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="/beyondslavery/gscpd/cathy-feingold/cathy-feingold-yes">A binding convention on decent work: the first step to workers&#039; rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/cathy-feingold/voices-from-supply-chain-interview-with-cathy-feingold">Voices from the supply chain: an interview with Cathy Feingold</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 Penelope Kyritsis Cathy Feingold Wed, 26 Jul 2017 12:17:45 +0000 Cathy Feingold and Penelope Kyritsis 112370 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Finding a cure to the resource curse https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/piers-purdy/cure-resource-curse-sam-hickey <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Ghana outstrips Uganda on most indicators of democracy, development and governance, yet Uganda is much stronger when it comes to getting a good deal for the country from natural resource extraction. It's not about what instutions you have in place, but how they function.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/13634757664_60081e1191_b.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/13634757664_60081e1191_b.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="223" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Deep Ocean Ascension off Cape Town, South Africa, awaiting transit to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The ship had been recently built in South Korea. Photo: Christopher Griner / Flickr</span></span></span></p><p><strong>This interview is part of the series 'Development in the Face of Global Inequalities'. You can find out more about the series, read its articles and explore the interactive roundtables by <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/development-in-face-of-global-inequalities">clicking here</a>.</strong></p><p>Good sense might suggest that for a country pursuing a developmental agenda the abundance of natural resources can only be a good thing. Building schools, hospitals and infrastructure costs a lot of money, and the more natural resources you have, surely the more ambitious a country can be. Yet recent history is rich with examples contrary to this logic. In fact, quite perversely, the countries displaying the highest levels of poverty, inequality and deprivation are often those thought to be ‘blessed’ with high natural resource endowments.</p> <p>In extreme cases, but all too frequently, the wealth of natural resources have been found to tear countries apart through civil conflict, as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Niger Delta and Iraq. Similarly, in Russia, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela, the rapid exploitation of oil reserves led to <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/dutchdisease.asp">‘Dutch disease’</a> – the negative consequences arising from the appreciation of an economy’s currency value, usually after a significant natural resource discovery - severely crippling their national economies. And in other cases, governments have simply not been able to effectively capture the benefits of natural resource endowments, or worse, they <em>have</em>, but they’ve failed to effectively distribute the benefits across society.</p> <p>So how does a country intent on development most effectively use its natural resources? I meet with Sam Hickey, professor of politics at Manchester University and Joint Director of Research at the&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.effective-states.org/">Effective States and Inclusive Development&nbsp;Research Centre</a></em> (ESID), who has been leading research into this question.</p> <p>He starts by telling me that possible answers to the issue of effective natural resource management are intrinsically linked to broader debates around development. For many years, development policy emphasised what types of institutions needed to be in place, advocating ‘good governance’ and public sector reform. However, after countries having spent a lot of money, with unconvincing results, over the last decade the emphasis has returned to forms of politics and the political settlements that underpin them:</p> <p><em class="blockquote-new">Political settlements are about a relationship of power, and what political settlements analysis does is it puts these relationships of power back at the centre of investigation. Other forms of analysis ask ‘what types of institutions do you need?’, but when you look at political settlements, you take a step behind these and ask ‘how feasible is it for these institutions to actually function?’</em></p> <p>You might have the best institutions on paper, with multi-party elections, or the right constitution in place, but whether they function when they come into contact with the realities of politics is another matter. And if we want to understand the possibility for natural resource economies to have positive outcomes, protecting countries from global capital and generating enough resources that can be inclusively distributed throughout society, then good institutions aren’t enough – it’s about the relationships between elites, their ideas and their incentives.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What are the power relations?</strong></p> <p>There are two levels to understanding political settlements, Sam tells me. On the upper level, we have the relationships amongst elites, who are often fighting with one another for the spoils of public institutions that can provide their political supporters with access to rents, jobs and other procurements. And then below that, we have the relationship between elites and social groups in wider society. This understanding of political power as having a social basis, and the potential consequences of inter-elite relations on a government’s capacity to distribute state resources is clear, so I ask if we can categorise these political settlements in any way?</p> <p><em class="blockquote-new">In ‘dominant’ settlements, where there is a high concentration of elite power, and the dominant group’s political position is safe from the threat of upcoming elections or political challenges, then they have the capacity to deliver with a longer-term vision. Whereas, where you’ve got weak states, and weak civil societies, but democratic competition, as is characteristic of lots of low-income countries in the Global South, it can be difficult for political parties to mediate demands that come from below. In these ‘competitive’ settlements, there is the continual struggle against challenges from elites, supported by popular factions, that are powerful enough to take power at the next election.</em></p> <p>In the context of ‘competitive’ settlements, Sam explains that political elites in power have the tendency to misuse public institutions, and usually for short-term gains such as obtaining political advantages before elections. Seen in this light, it’s also possible to see how competitive settlements can produce scenarios in which governments are ineffective in both capturing natural resource rents and distributing them inclusively throughout society, and conversely, how more dominant settlements have the potential to be far more effective. This again suggests that it’s not only about what institutions are there, but how they function. Elections and other good democratic institutions may well be in place, but it is how the political power relations fit within these institutions that determines their effectiveness.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Ghana and Uganda: Managing resources</strong></p> <p>If we are to understand how a country most effectively uses its natural resources, we first need to see how a country’s political power relations determine its ability to capture nature resource benefits as they come out of the ground. Again, good sense would suggest that a country with established democratic institutions and good governance would be more effective, but is there any evidence contrary to this? Sam draws upon his recent research into Ghana and Uganda at ESID:</p> <p><em class="blockquote-new">From an institutional perspective, we would have expected Ghana to do way better at managing its natural resources. It outstrips Uganda on almost all indicators for development, democracy and governance. But when we look at oil deals, and legislative arrangements, we’re actually finding that Uganda is able to make better deals with international oil companies, holding back until legislative arrangements are in place, as opposed to rushing in. The dominant political settlement in place meant that the President had a leading role in deal-making, and importantly he enabled technocrats to have the last say. The result was good deals, not just above the African average, but in line with the global average for the rate of return on a barrel of oil.</em></p> <p>Ghana, on the other hand, received significantly less profitable deals – despite confronting the same oil companies. How does this relate to political power sharing? In Ghana’s ‘competitive’ political environment, the government had the electoral cycle in mind and moved quickly to include offshore oil into the budgetary figures ahead of the 2012 elections. To do this, it didn’t wait for the right legislation to be introduced, and in fact overturned previous legal provisions in place intended to offset ‘Dutch disease’ effects, so that it could pursue its short-term, politically motivated objectives.&nbsp; What’s more, many of Ghana’s deals later had to be unpacked, after it was found that they were tied to party political interests.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Bolivia: Distributing resources and development</strong></p> <p>So it’s clear that we cannot depend solely on institutions to ensure effective capture of natural resource benefits, and that the political power relations that sit within them actually give us a very important indication of how a country will perform to the regard. When I ask Sam how this perspective can guide our understanding of how effectively resource benefits are distributed through society, he refers to research carried out on Latin American mining.</p> <p><em class="blockquote-new">Over the last a hundred years, the type of political settlements that have been most redistributive have tended to be more ‘dominant’, whether it’s the more Leftist-military regimes of the 1950s, such as in Peru or Bolivia, or the more recent Evo Morales-type social coalition, which is heavily reflective of small-scale artisanal miners, and makes up a significant proportion of the natural resource economy. So, the investment in that area, small-scale as well as large-scale private mining, has meant that the industry has had a more distributive effect and also ensured the earmarking of taxation revenue for social transfers.</em></p> <p>What I find interesting about Bolivia is that its ‘dominant’ political coalition has a strong popular basis from within the natural resource production community. This might be possible in countries where mining is the source of revenue, but when it comes to oil you don’t have this large number of workers on which you can build popular support. So the type of natural resource industry in place seems also to be an important factor as to how political elites capture and distribute resources.</p> <p>Another question my conversation with Sam raises is whether we should favour ‘dominant’ political settlements? Examples of concentrated power settlements suggest they are more effective at capturing and distributing of resources than competitive systems, which could support the idea that more authoritarian regimes are better equipped for pursuing growth and development. Sam is keen to point out, however, that while dominant political settlements may be more effective in certain areas, they are generally quite bad at delivering public services. He gives the example of quality education, where you need multiple actors involved, and collective action from teachers, parents and civil society organisations to work with and challenge the state. </p> <p>Natural resources, such as oil, mining, as well as others, will only become more important to developing countries in the future as sources of wealth. What I take away from my conversation with Sam is that instead of jumping to prescribe institutional reforms, the international community can support these countries by first understanding their politics. Where politics is dominated by a particular group, and the system is free from political jockeying, system-wide reforms may be worth pursuing in order ensure a more effective capture and distribution of natural resource wealth.</p> <p>But as Ghana shows us, these reforms can be less effective in a system where power is dispersed, and institutions are often co-opted by political interests. In such cases, the challenge is perhaps greater, and international developmental efforts should be more focused on building socio-political coalitions across elite and popular groupings that are capable of competing in the competitive political landscape. If we approach the resource curse like this, perhaps we won’t find our cure in good governance or engineered institutions, but rather amidst the politics than work within them.</p> <p>* * *</p><p><strong>You can read Sam's answers on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/sam-hickey/sam-hickey">the Politics of Inequality roundtable here.</a></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 Piers Purdy Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:45:41 +0000 Piers Purdy 112271 at https://www.opendemocracy.net You must respect fear https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/carmen-aristegui-oleguer-sarsanedas/you-must-respect-fear <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>"The best protection that a journalist can have is probably to keep on publishing stuff, to keep on waging a public battle." <em>Interview. </em><strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/oleguer-sarsanedas-carmen-aristegui/al-miedo-hay-que-tenerle-respeto">Español</a> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/carmen-aristegui-oleguer-sarsanedas/o-medo-deve-ser-respeitado">Português</a></em></strong><strong></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Carmen_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Carmen_1.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'>Carmen Aristegui. Photo: Josep A. Vilar.</span></span></span></p><p>Mexican journalist and TV and radio anchorwoman Carmen Aristegui is widely regarded as one of Mexico's leading journalists and&nbsp;opinion leaders, and is best known for her critical investigations of the Mexican government. She is the anchor of the news program&nbsp;<em>Aristegui</em>&nbsp;on&nbsp;<a title="CNN en Español" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CNN_en_Espa%C3%B1ol"><em>CNN en Español</em></a>, she writes regularly for the opinion section of the newspaper&nbsp;<a title="Reforma" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reforma"><em>Reforma</em></a>, and runs Aristeguinoticias.com, a news and analysis site.&nbsp;In 2012 she was named a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour in recognition of her "struggle for freedom of expression, and her commitment to the defense of those who often have no voice in the media, as well as her work for democracy and rule of law in Mexico”, in 2016 she was chosen as one of <a title="100 Women (BBC)" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_Women_(BBC)">BBC's 100 Women</a>, and in 2017 as one of 50 “World’s greatest leaders” by Fortune magazine. She has received many awards for her work, among them the National Award for Journalism (five times), the Gabriel García Márquez Prize, the PEN Mexico Prize and, recently, the 2017 Casa Amèrica Catalunya Prize for the Freedom of Expression in Latin America, which she received, to a full house, at Barcelona City Hall on July 19 - a prize extended, though her, to all the journalists in Mexico, "a high-risk country for our profession", as she herself has said.&nbsp;</p> <p>Indeed: in 2017, Mexican journalists Miroslava Breach, Ricardo Monluí, Cecilio Pineda, Maximino Rodríguez, Filiberto Álvarez and Javier Valdez have been assassinated in the states of Guerrero, Veracruz, Chihuahua, Baja California Sur and Sinaloa; and from 2000 to 2016, 105 journalists lost their lives violently in Mexico according to data from the Special Prosecutor's Office for Crimes committed against Freedom of Expression.&nbsp;</p> <p>Aristegui’s popularity in Mexico – and beyond – is huge, as she is known for giving voice to Mexicans who would otherwise not be heard or seen because they criticize the country's most powerful institutions, for explaining, celebrating, and exposing what is great and wrong in Mexico - and in the hemisphere -, and for her courage, which serves as an example for journalists, especially women.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The daughter of Basque refugees from the Spanish Civil War, Carmen Aristegui has clashed with Mexican political and judicial authorities defending her team’s rigorous and proven information on such issues as a prostitution network linked to the ruling party, a number of cases of clerical pederasty, and the so-called White House case, an investigation that pointed directly to a conflict of interests of president Enrique Peña Nieto.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Oleguer Sarsanedas: </strong>Why do they kill journalists?&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Carmen Aristegui</strong>: For a variety of reasons, depending on each place, but essentially for what they publish - for reporting on matters related to drug trafficking and the collusion of authorities, for trying to reveal some important matters for their community. The murders impact states of the republic, regions and municipalities – they happen at every level. Journalists get killed, fundamentally, for what they are publishing, or are going to publish.</p> <p><strong>OS: </strong>And who kills them?&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CA: </strong>A number of studies<strong> </strong>have been conducted on this in Mexico, by organizations that defend freedom of expression, which show that a significant percentage of the deaths are related to local authorities. Others are most probably related to organized crime. But part of the greater drama is that there are no investigations that can help us clarify this. What I am telling you is, finally, what one can suppose, or guess, but there is no consistent evidence to say why they are killed, or who killed them. Impunity throws a large veil over the matter.</p> <p><strong>OS: </strong>The aim of violence against journalists is to get them to give up, right?<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>CA: </strong>Yes.</p> <p><strong>OS: </strong>Why aren’t you giving up?<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>CA: </strong>Because we must face the situation and one of the ways of doing so – in fact, the best weapon we have, I think - is to keep on publishing stuff, to keep on saying things. The best protection that a journalist like me can possibly have, considering my contributions to national and international media, like CNN, is, I believe, to keep on publishing. It seems to me that the best protection that can be had, if that is what we are talking about, is to keep on waging a public battle. The other option would be to go home and hide.</p> <p><strong>OS: </strong>Nevertheless, despite the risks, there are people who continue to devote themselves to journalism not only in big cities, but in small towns, in municipalities. What prompts them to do so?<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>CA: </strong>What prompts us who devote ourselves to journalism is the idea, the conviction that information is essential for a country, for a community, for human beings. It is inherent to our human condition to communicate and report on what is important to others. I am convinced that what prompts journalists to do so is precisely the conviction that information is a decisive, powerful tool for any society.</p> <p><strong>OS: </strong>But if journalism could be said to be a public service, how can it be compatible with private ownership of the media and, even more so, with the concentration of media ownership?&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CA: </strong>What a huge dilemma! Of course, this is a great issue - the great issue - for the media globally, the great question that has to be raised from the point of view of democracy itself, from the point of view of public interest. In very many cases, the current design certainly does not favour freedom of expression. Clearly, in countries such as Mexico, where we have media hyper-concentration, where there is a duopoly in television, radio is concentrated in a few hands, and where corporate interests, or corporate-political interests, or extra-journalistic alliances are set above the general interest, this affects - all the time, every minute - the quality of information, editorial freedom, the possibilities of having a say. This is obviously an unresolved question and the large media conglomerates are increasingly appropriating that essential element of democracy: information.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>OS: </strong>You have just been awarded a prize for freedom of expression. What is freedom of expression for you?&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CA: </strong>Freedom of expression, when it comes to journalists, is the possibility of openly saying what one knows, what one has been researching, what one has discovered, what one thinks, without fear of being murdered, harassed, censored or hurt. It is being able to say the things that one knows, that it is one’s duty to share with the audience without fear of getting hurt for doing it.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>OS: </strong>There are several ways in which the press can be intimidated. Violence is one, of course, but there are others. Namely: you and some other journalists, lawyers and human rights advocates have been spied on. Please tell us about this.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CA: </strong>The <em>New York Times</em> has brought into the open an investigation, which was carried out by <em>Artículo 19</em>, an organization called R3D, and SocialTIC, with the scientific collaboration of a multidisciplinary lab of the University of Toronto, which reviewed cell phones - including my own and that of my son Emilio, who was a minor at that time - and found that our devices has been infected with a very powerful, very expensive malware, called Pegasus, which is developed by an Israeli company and which is so intrusive and powerful that it is sold only to governments. The Mexican government acquired it and this is a fact, because we had access to the documents that prove it: it was contracted by the Attorney General of the Republic, by the Mexican Army and by the intelligence system, the CISEN. </p><p>It was bought by the Mexican government, which used it improperly and illegally against activists, journalists and people who, like me, should never have been spied on. Peña Nieto’s government did it, and it did so with such an intrusive tool that it is not only capable of capturing your e-mails, your whatsapps, your messages, but of activating your cell phone camera and microphone, so that the spying can take place in real time – that is, all the time: when you are taking a bath, when you are having coffee, right now, when you are doing absolutely private, or public activities. It is a rather sinister tool because of its implications. Why did Peña Nieto's government use it against - even - a teenager? This is something that indicates fairly unbalanced elementary codes, including spy codes: spying on a teenager to see if anything came out that could be used to harm his mother. This is a sinister conduct on the part of the government, which comes to show that it has no scruple in using public money to acquire something that it should be using, if at all, against the big drug traffickers, or to investigate what it should investigate, but that it is using instead in this way.</p> <p><strong>OS: </strong>There is another recent study from the University of Oxford which points out that the Mexican government has been promoting troll groups to interfere with, intoxicate and manipulate online debates on public-interest issues - in order to dynamite, so to speak, the very matter journalists work on.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CA: </strong>This also comes to show what kind of government Mexico has: a government that is capable not only of spying on us with Pegasus, but of setting in motion intoxication mechanisms to interfere with the spontaneous communication of citizens. They carry out designed, directed, massive campaigns aimed at, indeed, blowing up the main asset that a journalist, or a human rights advocate, or a public figure who wants to do something that is critical for the government, has: credibility. They invent stories, they create situations and they slander for, as the saying goes, “if you slander, something always lingers on". The only option we have left is to appeal to the people's own communication, so that the people themselves, the netizens, counteract these campaigns which, by the way, are quite noticeable - they are bad campaigns, in fact, precisely because you notice them. They do have a positive effect, though, to the extent that people are denouncing them in their conversations. But it is an uneven struggle, a highly uneven one, because if people do not focus on them, they keep on running around and around, eroding that main asset of ours: credibility.</p> <p><strong>OS: </strong>To what extent do you think that mobilized people, who use electronic means and are active in publishing, spreading information, and promoting participation can counteract these campaigns?</p> <p><strong>CA: </strong>That is precisely what these campaigns are aimed at – precisely that, which is, of course, our great hope. Our great hope is that people can find strong, horizontal paths for communicating and for mobilizing. Whenever we talk about these issues, we tend to mention the Arab Spring and similar movements. Well, of course something like that could happen if people were allowed to communicate freely. I am pretty sure that if there were no such grotesque interferences, Mexico would undoubtedly be at another stage. But scientific studies of social media demonstrate – geometrically - how conversations are interfered. A consultancy by the name of Atqat Mesura, for example, conducted a study of social media in Mexico when the oil reform law was passed - an unthinkable reform in a country like ours, which fondly remembers Lázaro Cárdenas and where public ownership of oil resources was thought to be set in stone; so much so that ex-president Ernesto Zedillo went so far as to say: "not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a reform like Peña Nieto’s." This study was thus made at a time when people should have been discussing this far-reaching reform, but what actually happened was that nothing happened. It seemed as if nothing was going on, and it was quite extraordinary: a radical, privatizing reform was underway and there were no people out in the streets, not the predicted revolution, not what analysts and political scientists assumed would happen in a case such as this. </p><p>A key element to explain this is the fact that social media were interfered with in such a way, that as soon as a conversation was getting off the ground, it was immediately clamped. The only space where Mexican society could actually have blown off steam - on this issue the mainstream media were absolutely under control, no debates were aired on free TV - was precisely social media. And what they did was invade them: the geometric images in the study show how the conversations were getting dismantled – the physical behavior of spontaneous conversations is quite different from that of conversations which are being interfered -, and they show the sheer size of the operation – it was a huge intervention - which collapsed the possibility of communicating through social media. Thus, the reform was passed, with two or three critical expressions, but nothing like what one would expect in a country like Mexico. So, the problem is how do we get the government, or the powers that are interested in preventing certain things from happening, to stop carrying out these practices. I do not know if they are ever going to lay down some rules, if they will forbid them, but what I do know is that the battle is, right now, very uneven, because the spontaneity of the people is not strong enough to counteract all of this. They have hijacked this communication space too, and that greatly damages democracy.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>OS: </strong>And it damages the possibility of new movements, new political formations emerging...&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CA: </strong>Exactly. That is the main issue. Where can they emerge if not in the social media? If people lack public spaces where they can establish contact, and organize, in a country like Mexico, which does not have a strong participatory tradition, to say the least...&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>OS: </strong>You have said: "The great challenge for journalists and citizens is to prevent fear from conquering us". How do you do this?</p> <p><strong>CA: </strong>You must respect fear, because it is intrinsically human. Fear is useful, it has a cause, it comes to you to warn you that something bad could happen. And this, of course, spurs you to redouble your defenses, to raise your rigor - in the case of journalists, to raise your standards, so as not to get things wrong, or not that wrong. We must use fear to strengthen things. The great battle is to prevent fear from stopping us, from paralyzing us. How do you do this? It is up to each of us: everyone has to overcome his or her own fear and take advantage of it. Fear should not inhibit, it should invigorate.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/jose-angel-garcia-v/mexico-between-dangerous-democracy-and-democracy-at-risk">Mexico: between a dangerous democracy and a democracy at risk.</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/marco-lara-klahr/mexico-press-under-threat">Mexico: the press under threat</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/carlos-pay%C3%A1n/freedom-of-speech-for-worker">Freedom of Speech for Workers</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> DemocraciaAbierta Mexico freedom of expression violence Journalism Oleguer Sarsanedas Carmen Aristegui Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:43:24 +0000 Carmen Aristegui and Oleguer Sarsanedas 112529 at https://www.opendemocracy.net How to build trust in the Middle East https://www.opendemocracy.net/piers-purdy/trust-in-the-middle-east-timur-kuran <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Timur takes us through nearly a thousand years of history, as he traces the Middle East's persistent underdevelopment to a culture of mistrust and certain Islamic institutions.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/800px-Pearl_Roundabout_re-taken_-_Flickr_-_Al_Jazeera_English.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/800px-Pearl_Roundabout_re-taken_-_Flickr_-_Al_Jazeera_English.jpg" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Protesters at Pearl Roundabout, Bahrain, demanding the release of political prisoners and political reform. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Al Jazeera English</span></span></span></p><p><strong>This interview is part of the series 'Development in the Face of Global Inequalities'. You can find out more about the series, read its articles and explore the interactive roundtables by&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/development-in-face-of-global-inequalities">clicking here</a>.</strong></p><p>When Europe looks beyond the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean, it sees a region that is ‘lagging behind’. The Middle East stands in stark contrast to Europe in so many ways, despite their shared heritage, and the legacy of European imperialism that wove threads of interdependence between the two regions. Still today, economic, religious and racial differences are perceived to draw sharply defined boundaries between them and it is under these circumstances that the Middle East if often labeled a ‘basket case’: relentless military conflicts, weak economies and low levels of human development.</p> <p>But before we can talk about <em>how</em> to pursue a developmental agenda in the Middle East, we first need to ask <em>why</em> the region remains in this state of persistent underdevelopment. Setting up the two goalposts for this debate, Samir Amin asks (and I paraphrase):</p> <p><em class="blockquote-new">Are the inequalities between the regions the result of detrimental internal factors that have slowed the process of ‘catching up’? Or is this inequality the product of European, capitalist expansion itself and impossible to surpass within the current system?</em></p> <p>Professor Timur Kuran, at Duke Univeristy, makes a valuable contribution to this debate, identifying key historical characteristics within the Middle East that have significantly undermined the region's ability to modernise and pursue a developmental agenda. Author of <em>The Long Divergence</em>, he has traced the different social and economic trajectories of the two regions.</p> <p>I ask him what is at the core of this divergence. It is an ambitious request, considering that we’ll have to cover around 1,000 years of social and economic development to do so, but he starts by explaining the importance of ‘trust’ within any society, as a prerequisite for development. He uses an anecdote to illustrate his point:</p> <p><span class="blockquote-new">My house needs to be repainted, so I hire a paint crew. The crew trust me to pay them at the end of the job. If I don’t, they know they can take me to court. If I do pay, they also know the cheque I give them will be honoured by the bank. Here, you can see examples of two distinct forms of trust. One, interpersonal trust, and two, trust in impersonal institutions. </span></p> <p>Without these forms of trust, our markets and even our societies would not function. Within the economics profession, this idea of trust being part of the foundations for development did not gain much attention about until 1972, when Kenneth Arrow wrote “It can plausibly argued that much of the economic backwardness in the world can be explained by the lack of mutual confidence.” The argument goes that in the context of trade, low trust between traders results in higher transaction costs because the parties involved have to account for the added risk of betrayal. This in turn has a wider impact, leading to poorly functioning markets. Certainly, taking results from the World Values Survey, levels of interpersonal trust are low throughout much of the developing world and the cases of Africa, Latin America, India, Russia and the Middle East seem to support this argument.</p> <p>The level of trust, Timur explains, has a wider impact on how business in general is done in society. He contrasts Helsinki, in Finland, and Cairo, in Egypt:</p> <p><em class="blockquote-new">Finland is a high-trust society. If they need something from the state, Finns believe, they need simply to follow procedure; the relevant state agency will treat them fairly, they think, and do what’s necessary. In Cairo, it is uncommon to follow procedures; instead, one contacts an insider. And if no insider is available, one asks a friend to set up a connection. In cases such as sourcing a building permit, or solving a neighbourhood traffic problem, connections are more critical than exercising rights as citizens.</em></p> <p>This mode of conducting business through interpersonal relationships was the norm in all societies during the medieval period, but where elsewhere societies began developing impersonal trust in institutions and impersonal forms of change, the Middle East did not. As such, the description of Cairo’s emphasis on interpersonal relationships more recently is typical of the region.</p> <p>This has had wider repercussions for development in the Middle East: it created private benefit for connected individuals, but not wealth; it discouraged hard work and creativity, reduced organisational efficiency, and therefore left the region’s economies ill-equipped to complete internationally.</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A legacy of Islamic legal institutions</strong></p> <p>But surely, if other societies were able to develop trust between strangers through institutions, the Middle East could too. What held it back? Well, it was precisely the pre-industrial institutions that Middle Eastern societies had developed, founded within an environment that favoured interpersonal relationships, that prevented the region from developing impersonal trust: trust in strangers, trust in institutions, and trust in government.</p> <p>Take the scale of enterprise, for example. In the medieval Middle East, much like in Europe, individuals pooled finance to pursue commercial projects in the form of partnerships. These were typically short-term, finite and single purpose agreements – built on interpersonal trust. In the 19th century, indigenous commercial enterprises in the region were still operating by this model. This clearly contrasts with Europe, where societies had become accustomed to a sophisticated system of joint-stock companies – large, permanent entities – supported by a legal framework that recognised impersonal institutions, as well as individuals. This is where trust in institutions and government started to form, organically and over a long period of time.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Islamic courts carry a bias that further entrenched mistrust.</p> <p>The origin of this divergence is a combination that lies with the Islamic legal framework, which in its egalitarian approach to inheritance, favoured small scale, and temporary agreements between individuals and did not recognise the corporation like legal frameworks in Europe. Furthermore, individuals had an attractive investment alternative available, known as a <em>wagf</em>: a non-commercial, trust-like structure that typically provided public services, such as healthcare and education to society, in the place of the state. These factors ensured that the small scale and interpersonal commercial partnership was more favourable to elites than European-like reform.</p> <p>As for Islamic courts, they carried a bias that further entrenched mistrust. Elites, Timur explains, often had friends in the judiciary, and they were subsequently treated very differently. This favoured male Muslims, of course, within a judicial system that already treated non-Muslims and women less favourably. This also had implications on the role of interpersonal trust. Due to their less favourable treatment in court, non-Muslims were more likely to be ruled against in trade disputes involving default or betrayal. Male Muslims, on the other hand, were much harder to get reimbursement from and therefore much more likely to default. The consequence was that elite networks, in control of lending markets, tended to favour lending to non-Muslims. This fostered a trading culture in which Jews and Christians were considered much more trustworthy than their Muslim counterparts.</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Making space for civil society</strong></p> <p>Having talked me through how the scale of enterprise and bias in courts undermined development in the Middle East, the final piece of the puzzle is civil society, which Timur explains has always been notoriously weak in the region. He refers back to the <em>waqf</em>, the charitable endowment mentioned earlier, which in providing public services to citizens, relieved the state of that very function and at the same time was not legally accountable to its benefactors in any way. This meant that citizens had no channels through which they could organise themselves and act as a check to authority. This was a contrast to developments in Europe, where in providing these public services, local government became accountable to its citizens, who subsequently developed the vital organisational skills that underpin civil society, and in turn democratisation.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">After countless interventions and uprisings in the region, is it a case of&nbsp;<em>less&nbsp;</em>intervention&nbsp;in the region?</p> <p>So when we describe a weak civil society as the intended casualty of authoritarian oppression, we also need to understand the underlying reasons for why civil society is weak in the first place. And so, how does this inform the development agenda in the region?</p> <p>The Middle East is, of course, not still stuck in the medieval era – despite certain attempts in Afghanistan and the Levant to take it back there. Faced with the Western economic and colonial domination that engulfed the world, in the 19th century, the region found itself without the goods, the technologies or the training to compete. Elites responded by driving reform.</p> <p>Modelled on European-styled education and legal systems, the modernisation process began. Yet Timur emphasises that the desired social and economic transformation doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, transplanting institutions into Middle Eastern societies would quite clearly produce different result to those experienced in Europe following hundreds of years of evolution, and once again, that vital ingredient of <em>trust</em> in institutions needs time to grow. </p> <p>After countless interventions and uprisings in the region - the citizens of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen left punished and without basic services - I wonder, when it comes to international development, whether it is more a case of <em>less </em>intervention that is needed, as well as time. </p> <p>He agrees to an extent, affirming that the process of building general trust in society is very much an internal process, rather than one that can be imposed from outside, and stresses that there are no quick fixes. But this being said, that doesn’t mean that international actors should step away from the region. One of the main obstacles to overall development in the Middle East, in terms of providing services and encouraging trade, is a weak civil society. Although it is stronger where non-state actors deliver public services, such as in Lebanon, broader civil society movements that are fighting for human and civil rights are rarely tolerated. More space is needed for these non-state actors.</p> <p>This is where the region lags behind other developing countries, and where external intervention is needed. It is in this sector, through private-led innovations, that <em>real</em> development happens. He points out that foreign governments should be using their leverage to create greater space for civil society to form and operate within, instead of selling arms and giving aid to their counter-parts. In fact, interactions should be directed at non-state actors to encourage bottom-up change, rather than going through the state. This won’t produce immediate results, he adds, but it will start to address the inequalities inherent in society.</p> <p>The argument that strong civic engagement is key to <a href="https://books.google.es/books/about/Making_Democracy_Work.html?id=gKZP8_Tp27UC&amp;redir_esc=y">“Making Society Work”</a> is popular, but I see it raising two concerns. Firstly, it is based on the assumption that civil society is inherently progressive, <em>which it is not</em>. The collective citizen action in the pursuit of common societal interests can manifest itself with wide variety, and I’m sure there are many civil society organisations operating in the fractured chaos of the Levant that many of us would <em>not</em> consider conducive to progress. What’s more, there are strong arguments that high levels of citizen engagement, in the absence of strong political infrastructure, can produce results that are quite contrary to democratic principles, which <a href="https://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic793411.files/Wk%2011_Nov%2012th/Berman_1997_Weimar_Civil_Society.pdf">Sheri Berman</a> showed us in the case of the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazism.</p> <p>There is also a question of national sovereignty. To what extent is bypassing national governments, and establishing a direct channel of dialogue and aid with sub-national civil society actors, likely to produce the opposite of the desired effect, and destabilise society? Bottom-up change through civic engagement certainly offers the innovation and legitimacy needed to build their own conceptions of the good society,&nbsp; but foreign meddling in this process – however good the intentions – runs the risk for producing that small spark that is needed to light the fuse. And as we have witnessed too often in recent years, it can only take a very small spark to detonate a long, brutal and far-reaching crisis.</p><p>* * *</p><p><strong>Read Timur's answers on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/timur-kuran/timur-kuran">the Politics of Inequality Roundtables here</a>.</strong></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/conversation-with-melani-cammett-development-under-pressure">After conflict, how do people manage to survive?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/piers-purdy/north-america-is-your-future-salvatore-babones">North America is your future</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/democraciaabierta/piers-purdy/global-pressures-rural-africa">Global pressures on rural Africa</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> DemocraciaAbierta Piers Purdy Timur Kuran Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:35:11 +0000 Timur Kuran and Piers Purdy 111464 at https://www.opendemocracy.net North America is your future https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/piers-purdy/north-america-is-your-future-salvatore-babones <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Economic globalisation, as a process, ended around 2008. So what does the future global economic landscape look like?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/28159231610_0148e64dba_b.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/28159231610_0148e64dba_b.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Anti-TPP protests in Seattle, as then President Obama arrives for a fundraiser. Source: Backbone Campaign/Flickr. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p><strong>This interview is part of the series 'Development in the Face of Global Inequalities'. You can find out more about the series, read its articles and explore the interactive roundtables by&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/development-in-face-of-global-inequalities">clicking here</a>.</strong></p> <p>Before becoming the 31st&nbsp;President of the United States of America, Herbert Hoover, the son of a blacksmith and a self-made millionaire, concluded a successful election campaign with a speech on what he termed ‘rugged individualism’. It hailed entrepreneurship and the initiative of the individual, and warned of paternalism, state socialism and the domination of social groups. It was very much emblematic of the American way of thinking; a way of thinking that over the course of several centuries would position the US as the global focal point for those seeking their own maximum self-fulfilment in life.</p> <p>Alongside several periods of intense twentieth-century globalisation, this way of thinking has become the engine behing a new transnational elite and the societies they govern, with North America at its centre. Yet quite paradoxically, this preference of the individual over the group has relegated the majority to a position far below the priviledged few. So, as we witness the world's 'left behind' react, visible in events such as the UK's Brexit and the <em>Front national's </em>electoral gains in France, should we expect the arrival of a new global political and economic landscape?</p> <p>To explore this question, I meet with Salvatore Babones, an American sociologist at Sydney University, whose research tries to make sense of the global economy, with a long-term perspective. But he has also written several books on the need for progressive, well-established social policy in the US to tackle growing domestic inequalities, so he’s well positioned to guide me through the complex politics of globalisation. I start by asking him why understanding US politics is important for those working in international development. His answer is unequivocal:</p><p><em><span class="blockquote-new">“Because it’s your future.”</span></em></p> <p>This is not a case of American exceptionalism, he assures me, but rather a consequence of what he sees as the new global economic geography. To explain it, he starts by differentiating the rise of a more political interpretation of globalisation – one used to explain Brexit and Trump’s election – from the story of economic globalisation:</p> <p><em class="blockquote-new">&nbsp;“Economic globalisation, as a process, probably ended around 2008. By which I mean that the world achieved its fullest level of economic integration at around this time, and since then the world has remained to be global… but it is no longer globalising.”</em></p> <p>Why did economic globalisation end? Well, today, there are only minor trade barriers remaining, and the only thing holding economies back from integrating further is the lack of profitability. According to Salvatore, products that can be produced cheaper in another country already are, and the countries that are not deeply integrated into global trade - those victims of conflict, corruption or instability - simply aren't worth investing in.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The vast majority of trade within Europe is between European economies, likewise in North America and East Asia. The rest of the world’s economies simply feed into them.</p> <p>But despite achieving this level of global economic integration, the promise that globalisation would bring benefits to the whole world has not been fulfilled. For the majority, globalisation has not delivered a level playing field in which increased mobility, economic opportunities and greater prosperity are accessible to all. Rather, Salvatore states, economic globalisation has created a steeply hierarchal system, dominated by three core trading regions.&nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Salvatore 75 trillion.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Salvatore 75 trillion.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The changing economic landscape revolves around 3 core trade regions: North America, Europe and East Asia. Source: Salvatore Babones.</span></span></span></p> <p>Of the world’s $75 trillion in GDP, North America (29%), Europe (24%) and East Asia (23%) constitute the vast majority of the productivity and trade. This leaves the rest of the world – the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and the rest of Asia – representing only 20-25% of this figure. What’s more, BRICS enthusiasts should know that without China the bloc’s contribution is just 7% of this figure.</p> <p>This in itself isn’t particularly surprising, although it puts claims of an emerging BRIC-led, multipolar world into perspective.&nbsp; But Salvatore goes on to explain an important characteristic that these three dominant regions share: they are all closely integrated within themselves. The vast majority of trade within Europe is between European economies, likewise in North America and East Asia. The rest of the world’s economies simply feed into them.</p> <p>And it is the North American region – the most productive and the best connected to both Europe and East Asia – that sits at the top of this economic hierarchy. It is the epicentre of global trade, with Europe to its East, and East Asia in the West. And this is the reason why North America is your future…</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The West of the West</strong></p> <p>…Or at least part of the reason. These trade flows reveal the US’ undwindling position at the top of the food chain. But how can Salvatore be sure the US will continue to be the home of the world’s leaders in the tech industry, finance and education? For this, he points to the country’s greatest export: <em>individualism, </em>the idea that the interests of the individual precede those of a social group, or the state, as articulated by Herbert Hoover in 1928.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Individualism is a way of thinking that has been embraced by the US political elite, manifesting itself in years of destructive social policy.&nbsp;</p> <p>He explains how the US has always been at the forefront of global trends, earning itself the title ‘the West of the West’. Individualism has been the driving force behind this brave pioneering, as the country’s first European settlers left their homelands with the hope of building alternative societies in New World. Since then, this idea that ‘the community being nothing more than a group of individuals’ has been the foundation of US social policy and technological advancement.</p> <p>It is a way of thinking that has been embraced by the US political elite, manifesting itself in years of destructive social policy. Wealthy individuals have been responsible for crafting these policies, guided by self-interest, yet their belief that what is good for the individual is good for society simply isn’t true. And while President Trump has certainly already made some bad policy choices – his assault on Obamacare being one – he is quite simply a blip in a succession of Presidents who have taken the same ideological approach. For example, it was President Clinton, Salvatore remembers, who took away the child benefits that his own mother had benefited from when he was young.</p> <p>These bad social policies led to a particularly sharp rise in domestic inequality from 1991 onwards, a trend replicated to a similar extent in other Anglo-Saxon countries. Coupled with the most intense period of economic globalisation and productivity that came with it, this inequality is an important dynamic within the labour market. Salvatore explains that in a system where two countries share similar levels of productivity, high levels of domestic inequality in one will produce much higher salaries than in the other – and the poor will become the losers. This suggests that high levels of domestic inequality are desirable, to some extent, if you want to keep on attracting the world’s best.</p> <p>This is exactly what happened in the US, where he compares the average CEO annual salary of $12.259 million in the US, to $5.912 million in Germany or $2.354 million in Japan. Financial rewards in the US are simply much higher, and this produces certain powerful global economic forces. The US, offering the highest salaries, the best resources and newest technologies, becomes the place to invest, which puts pressure on elites from the BRICS, the Global South and Europe to invest their money in the US. This doesn’t only apply to developing countries, but also developed economies such as Japan, Germany and China. And while China may have been a net recipient of US investment for much of the globalisation period, this trend has completely reversed since 2008. North America&nbsp;<em>and</em>, he stresses, the US ways of thinking are at the top of the pyramid, but everyone else is happy so long as they can have a slice of the American pie.</p> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Meeting_1er_mai_2012_Front_National,_Paris_(46).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Meeting_1er_mai_2012_Front_National,_Paris_(46).jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>On May 1st, 2012, as every year, Front National activists march in Paris, here led by Marine Le Pen. Photo: Blandine le Cain / Wikimedia Commons</span></span></span></p> <p><strong>The left behind, remember them?</strong></p> <p>Well not everyone. While the US has become the Promised Land for the young, talented and wealthy people seeking individual self-fulfilment, for the majority of the world, such&nbsp; global mobility, access to top education, or access to graduate training programmes is simply not a reality. Today’s globalisation is not flat, it is steeply hierarchical with a transnational global elite at the top. You don’t need to live in the US to be part of this elite, you simply need to be part of the trade that flows in and out of the North American region.</p> <p>And so, what do France’s Marine Le Pen, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro have in common? They represent the frustrations of those who feel betrayed by this global elite that is benefitting disproportionately from the current system. These leaders have promised to protect their countries from the wrath of globalisation, employing communal, nationalist ways of thinking, in stark contrast to the American individualism that guides the global elite. And Donald Trump is no different: this multi-billionaire’s own constituents are America’s ‘left behind’, and he has adopted similar rhetorical and policy positions that play on these fears.</p><p>Salvatore remarks that when you've got the world's wealthiest people meeting in Davos to solve the world's inequalities, you're unlikely to find the best solutions. Nevertheless, while c<span>hallenging this new global economic order may not fit within the remit of the international development community, channelling local frustrations into coming up with constructive and innovative ways of organising society certainly is. And by doing so, perhaps we can develop more attractive alternatives to the current status quo than the enticing brand of divisive, nationalistic politics that is currently being offered.</span></p><p>* * *</p><p>Read Salvatore's answers for the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/salvatore-babones/salvatore-babones">Politics of Inequality interactive roundtables here</a>, and his new book '<a href="https://www.amazon.com/American-Tianxia-Chinese-Money-History/dp/1447336801">American Tianxia</a>' is available to buy on Amazon.</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 Piers Purdy Salvatore Babones Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:20:01 +0000 Salvatore Babones and Piers Purdy 111460 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Aristides de Sousa Mendes: a light in the dark https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/manuel-nunes-ramires-serrano/aristides-de-sousa-mendes-light-in-dark <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Aristides de Sousa Mendes chose his conscience over his orders. His altruism should be an example for all those struggling to change a world that is once again failing to protect its citizens.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Aristides_and_Angelina_de_Sousa_Mendes_with_their_first_six_children_1917.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Aristides_and_Angelina_de_Sousa_Mendes_with_their_first_six_children_1917.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="300" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Aristides and Angelina de Sousa Mendes with their first six children, 1917. Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain. </span></span></span></p><p><em>"It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result."</em></p><p>- Mahatma Gandhi</p><p>There´s always a little light shining through. Even in times of darkness. These <em>little lights</em> have saved thousands, hundreds, dozens of lives. Their reflection has shaped the lives of individuals, families and entire generations. We forget – too often – that for the darkness to recede the light must advance. That for evil to be defeated someone must oppose it. Aristides de Sousa Mendes was one of those brave men and women that did oppose it. He didn´t have to. He could had stood idly by as refugees were persecuted throughout Europe, in desperate need for help. <a href="http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/righteous/mendes.asp">But instead he extended his arm</a>. Against his government. In detriment of his family interests, his country's diplomatic ties and his professional future. He decided to put his conscience over his orders, issuing visas for approximately <a href="http://sousamendesfoundation.org/Countries">thirty thousand refugees</a>, who were able to escape persecution through Portugal.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">For evil to be defeated someone must oppose it.</p> <p>Aristides was born on July 19, 1885 to a devoutly Catholic family. After studying law, he soon joined the diplomatic corps, being appointed in 1929 as consul in Antwerp, where he lived for almost ten years. However, in 1938 his live would change forever, as he was appointed as the Portuguese consul-general in Bordeaux. Portugal lived then under the <a href="https://www.britannica.com/place/Portugal/The-First-Republic-1910-26#ref1636">dictatorship of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar</a>, and the country´s geographic position made it an escape route for those fleeing the Nazi regime. With the invasion of Poland – and as Portugal declared its neutrality – the number of refugees in transit grew exponentially, making it <em>necessary</em> for the Portuguese government to act.</p> <p>The regime issued <a href="http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/classical/la-et-cm-aristides-de-sousa-mendes-20160120-story.html">Circular Fourteen</a> –an infamous document addressed to all its diplomats – to deny safe haven to the stateless, Russian and German citizens and the Jews without an express authorization from the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The measure was not unique to Portugal and was mainly established to protect the country´s economic interests and reduce mass immigration. However, the discriminatory Circular made it <a href="http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/classical/la-et-cm-aristides-de-sousa-mendes-20160120-story.html">extremely difficult</a> for fleeing refugees to find safe harbour in Portugal. </p> <h2><strong>“</strong><strong>I disobeyed, but my disobedience does not dishonour me</strong><strong>”</strong><strong></strong></h2> <p>Aristides de Sousa Mendes choose to ignore the circular. He believed he could not act in any other way. The measure was both inhumane and unconstitutional, as the Portuguese Constitution stated that no one could be discriminated against on political or religious grounds. Aristides didn’t know that a <a href="https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005145">systematized persecution of Jews and other minorities</a> was taking place under the Nazis. But he did know – his brother was consul in Warsaw – that atrocities were occuring. </p> <p>As a faithful Christian, he felt that the only way he could act was according to his conscience. And his conscience told him that he had to help those fleeing persecution. So, he disobeyed his order and started issuing Portuguese <em>forbidden visas</em> on November 1939. </p> <p>The situation escalated in June 1940, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rabbi_Chaim_Kruger_with_Aristides_de_Sousa_Mendes,_1940.jpg">when Aristides befriended Chaim Kruger</a> – a Jewish rabbi – who escaped with his family to Bordeaux. As the Nazis advanced throughout France, Aristides offered him and his family Portuguese visas. The rabbi, however, refused, <a href="http://sousamendesfoundation.org/aristides-de-sousa-mendes-his-life-and-legacy/">unless the offer was extended to all Jewish refugees</a> wandering through the streets of Bordeaux. His decision forced Aristides to choose between his career and his principles. He chose the latter. From then on there were no more nationalities, races nor religions. He has giving everyone visas to escape.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">From then on there were no more nationalities, races nor religions. He has giving everyone visas to escape.</p> <h2><strong>The </strong><strong>“</strong><strong>Angel of Bordeaux</strong><strong>”</strong><strong></strong></h2> <p>Aristides actions <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/mar/29/portuguese-war-hero-aristides-de-sousa-mendes">were not well received in Lisbon</a>. The Spanish and German authorities complained to Salazar about his behaviour – which arguably undermined the regime´s diplomatic relationships – while several of his superiors denounced his irregular issuing of visas. Finally, Salazar recalled him home. The <em>Angel of Bordeaux</em>, as he would after be named, took his time. He arrived to Lisbon on July 8, 1940, issuing visas on his way back home. </p> <p>Upon arrival he <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/mar/29/portuguese-war-hero-aristides-de-sousa-mendes">was immediately subjected to a disciplinary proceeding</a>. He was accused of disobeying orders and infringing <a href="http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/classical/la-et-cm-aristides-de-sousa-mendes-20160120-story.html">Circular 14</a>. Despite recommendation to demote him, Salazar decided to suspend and cut by half his pay for a year. Only then was he '<em>retired'</em>. His family – fifteen children and his wife – was blacklisted. Disgraced. Most of his children emigrated. Aristides himself would die in poverty in 1954. His actions unknown in his own country.</p> <p>The regime, however capitalized on his actions. After the end of the war, Salazar tried to make Aristides bravery his own. <a href="http://www.dw.com/en/lisbon-from-refuge-to-home/a-16410819">Portugal´s image as a safe haven for refugees was then established</a>. However, it had nothing to do with the regime. On the contrary, it was established <em>despite</em> of it. At a time when many politicians and diplomats were cowards, Aristides was a true hero. However, his country failed to recognize it until 1987, when he was awarded the Order of Liberty and, one year later, symbolically reinstated to the diplomatic corps.&nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30691046.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/PA-30691046.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>View of the entrance gates to Auschwitz in Poland. Jemma Crew/PA Wire/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><h2><strong>“</strong><strong>It happened, therefore it can happen again</strong><strong>”</strong><strong></strong></h2> <p>Aristides de Sousa Mendes courage and humanity was recognized before. In 1966, <a href="http://www.yadvashem.org/righteous/stories/mendes">he was instated as a Righteous Among the Nations</a>, a recognition awarded by the State of Israel for those who risked their lives to save Jews from Nazi persecution. His actions go however, beyond any religion, race or ideology. And are carried nowadays by all of those that <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/they-were-aided-by-frances-schindler-now-these-world-war-ii-refugees-are-trying-to-help-others/2017/07/01/fbe53200-5a8a-11e7-aa69-3964a7d55207_story.html">perpetuate the struggle</a> for human rights and human dignity. </p> <p>As the <a href="https://www.unicef.org/ceecis/resources_28329.html">biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War</a> unfolds in front of our eyes, we must think of them in today´s context. We must recall the <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2015/09/23/refugee-crises-and-the-sad-legacy-of-the-1938-evian-conference/">Évian Conference</a> – where the international community failed to reach an agreement on how to accommodate thousands of refugees fleeing persecution – and remember that <em>what happened before i</em><em>s happening again</em>. As thousands are <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/29/refugee-crisis-13000-people-rescued-in-mediterranean-in-one-week">dying every year in the Mediterranean</a>, as the President of the United States himself has decided to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/24/how-trumps-muslim-travel-ban-affects-us-panel">ban people from several Muslim-majority countries</a>, as a tragedy <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-27838034">unfolds in Syria and Iraq</a>, we should do more. We must do more.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">As the&nbsp;biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War&nbsp;unfolds in front of our eyes, we must think of them in today´s context.&nbsp;</p> <p>Aristides de Sousa Mendes, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/the-risked-their-lives-to-rescue-hundreds-from-the-nazis-but-no-one-knew-their-story--until-now/2016/09/19/1d9a0d84-79b9-11e6-beac-57a4a412e93a_story.html">Marta Sharp</a>, <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129956107">Witold Pilecki</a>, <a href="http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/righteous/ulma.asp">Józef and Wiktoria Ulma</a>, <a href="http://www.oskarschindler.com/">Oskar Schindler</a>, <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30934452">Raoul Wallenberg</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQzqfsgftBo">Nicholas Winton</a> were some of the <em>lights</em> that shone through during one of the darkest periods in human history. Others are shining through right now. In rescue boats in the Mediterranean, in refugee camps in Syria and Iraq. &nbsp;</p> <p>States will end up <em>honouring</em> them, but for now, they keep forcing them to <em>disobey</em> in the name of justice.&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Portugal </div> <div class="field-item even"> Germany </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Poland </div> <div class="field-item even"> France </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? DemocraciaAbierta Can Europe make it? Spain France Poland Germany Portugal Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Ideas International politics Manuel Nunes Ramires Serrano Wed, 26 Jul 2017 11:09:31 +0000 Manuel Nunes Ramires Serrano 112516 at https://www.opendemocracy.net