May democracy and freedom reign

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May democracy and freedom reign

toukokuu 17, 2022, 10:42 pm

For the first time in my life, I'm feeling concerned about the continuance of democracy in my nation and in the world at large. So with greater respect for the difficulty of democracy, and less belief in its inevitability, I will start mentioning peaceful democratic transitions of power as they occur.

On May 15th, 2022, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected President of Somalia. May he lead his people in peace and prosperity until it is his turn to stand down and let another take the position.

kesäkuu 4, 2022, 1:37 am

The ‘new right’ is Trump’s toxic legacy – and it could shape the future of British politics (Guardian)

In British politics, the term “new right” conjures memories of the philosophy of the Thatcher years: individualism, free-market economics and a small state. In today’s US, it conjures a radical break with such views. Broadly speaking, denizens of the American new right advocate an industrial strategy, welfare programmes consistent with the traditional family unit, a crackdown on immigration and using the power of the state to enforce rightwing moral values. Its most worrying common strand is an apocalyptic fury at “woke” leftists and their supposed totalitarian hold over corporations, colleges and culture – with some proponents even believing that doing away with democracy would be a price worth paying to stop them...

kesäkuu 21, 2022, 1:16 pm

On June 19th, 2022, Gustavo Petro was elected President of Colombia. May he lead the people of Colombia in peace and prosperity until it is his turn to stand down and let another take the position.

heinäkuu 20, 2022, 1:07 pm

On July 20th 2022, Ranil Wickremesinghe was elected president of Sri Lanka by Parliament. May he lead the people of Sri Lanka in peace and prosperity until it is his turn to stand down and let another take the position.

heinäkuu 21, 2022, 8:46 am

>2 John5918: What does "welfare programmes consistent with the traditional family unit" mean? I'm a little at a loss at whether that is widely inaccurate (as this "new right" is trying to destroy most welfare programs that don't directly benefit businesses) or has a different meaning than my interpretation.

heinäkuu 21, 2022, 9:41 am

>5 aspirit:

I don't know for sure. I think I interpreted it to mean general right wing support for the "traditional family unit" of heterosexual husband and wife (the latter preferably staying at home as a "housewife") and children, and opposition to different family units such as single parents, unmarried couples, LGBTQ families, open relationships, etc.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 21, 2022, 4:13 pm

>5 aspirit: Okay, but... that's neither consistent with the general use of the phrase "welfare program(mes)" nor what's consistently supported. The people being discussed are actively undermining government support of all families as well as family autonomy. That the "good Christian" family unit is less often the target of attacks doesn't mean its political advocates want social aid to preserve it....

I'm going to assume that line was somehow badly edited from what the author wrote.

Also, for my sanity, I'll assume Brits who read actual journalism can see the hypocrisy is in the so-called support for families by people who take away parental rights in healthcare, education, and the workforce; force their queer children out of the home into homeless shelters or hospitals; who become estranged from their parents, siblings, and children because of different political views; and who cheer for a twice-divorced, unapologetically adulterous, famously lousy father at rallies where he talks about women as things to be used more than as essential members of their own families.

Though the UK seems to have further to fall from some of its social institutions, I agree that the influence of US conservatives should be a concern there.

heinäkuu 22, 2022, 12:07 am

>7 aspirit: I'll assume Brits who read actual journalism can see the hypocrisy

Yes, remember this is from the Guardian, a left of centre newspaper which has been very critical of the rightwards swing in UK politics and the sheer hypocrisy and lies of the Conservative party.

heinäkuu 22, 2022, 6:32 am

IMO when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister she drove a wedge between the two sides of the British electorate every bit as much as Trump did here in his 4 years. She never staged a coup though. Her own Tories eventually staged a coup against her. Still she was out to destroy the working class on down of British society. She waged a war of extermination against labor unions remarking in a speech for instance that the people in them (specifically those in the NMU for that speech) were 'the enemy within' of British society meanwhile at the same time the sons of these enemies were off fighting her war in the Falklands.....a war that really wasn't necessary apart from ramping up support to get her elected again and she absolutely made the situation in Northern Ireland much worse than it was. Her way of dealing with the hunger strikes was to throw more gasoline on a smoldering fire.

elokuu 19, 2022, 11:45 pm

On August 9th 2022, William Ruto was elected president of Kenya. May he lead the people of Kenya in peace and prosperity until it is his turn to stand down and let another take the position.

elokuu 20, 2022, 2:24 am

>10 prosfilaes:

Yes, here in Kenya we also hope and pray for a peaceful transition. But it's still very tense and uncertain here. There are widespread allegations of vote-rigging, four out of the seven members of the independent election commission declined to certify the result, and the losing candidate is taking it to court - the recent experience of the USA has worldwide repercussions. The new president-elect was taken to the International Criminal Court charged with crimes against humanity after he was widely believed to have orchestrated the violence following the 2007 elections, in which more than 1,100 people were killed, but the case was dismissed in 2016 after all the witnesses mysteriously died, disappeared or changed their testimony, with one judge declaring it a "troubling incidence of witness interference and intolerable political meddling" (BBC). So Kenyans are still on tenterhooks.

elokuu 20, 2022, 5:38 am

The fight that true red, white and blue Americans are waging against the modern-day GOP is very similar to the war that had to be waged against the tobacco industry when cigarette smoking was waging war on the health of America's citizens. The health of America's democracy is at stake today.

elokuu 20, 2022, 8:29 am

>11 John5918: Thank you for sharing your perspective. I haven't seen anything about Kenya'a fight for free and fair elections in the news (as I'm rarely on, so your posts are enlightening.

>12 Molly3028: The health of democracy everywhere, apparently.

elokuu 20, 2022, 11:38 pm

>13 aspirit: Yes, I'm reading similar reports in the Times of New York as well.

elokuu 21, 2022, 12:15 am

Angola’s young voters prepare to call for change in ‘existential’ election (Guardian)

Millions of Angolans will vote this week in a landmark election described as an “existential moment” for the key oil-rich central African state, and a test for democracy across a swath of the continent. The poll on Wednesday pits veteran politicians against a generation of young voters just beginning to grasp that they can bring about a radical change and escape from the shadow of the cold war...

elokuu 23, 2022, 12:07 am

Kenya elections 2022: Win or lose, why Raila Odinga's election challenge matters (BBC)

For the third time in a row, Raila Odinga has challenged the result of Kenya's presidential elections. The 77-year-old long-time opposition leader has been ridiculed by some as a bad loser, but analysts say his petitions have been crucial in shaping and strengthening the conduct of elections in Kenya, so whatever the Supreme Court decides, this case will help improve subsequent polls...

syyskuu 1, 2022, 6:35 pm

On August 24th 2022, João Lourenço was re-elected president of Angola. May he lead the people of Angola in peace and prosperity until it is his turn to stand down and let another take the position

syyskuu 8, 2022, 11:59 am

A Triumph for Kenya’s Democracy (International Crisis Group)

On 5 September, Kenya’s Supreme Court upheld Deputy President William Ruto’s victory in the 9 August presidential election. The decision concludes a hard-fought electoral campaign that, despite high stakes, was peaceful and transparent, showing the strength of the country’s institutions.

After weeks of uncertainty, Kenya’s Supreme Court has unanimously upheld Deputy President William Ruto’s win in the 9 August presidential election. On 5 September, the judges rejected allegations of irregularities presented by lawyers for Raila Odinga, the long-time opposition figure who was runner-up to Ruto. They said Odinga had failed to support his claims of ballot stuffing and external interference with the tally, concluding that Ruto’s election was valid. The highly anticipated judgment capped a peaceful and transparent campaign that, despite shortcomings, represents a significant achievement in a country where violence has marred previous polls and where public trust in electoral institutions has historically been low. The decision also cemented the Kenyan judiciary’s role as an arbiter of electoral disputes and underscored its independence. Kenya should now build on this election’s high standard to further strengthen the electoral commission and bolster its credibility, so that electoral turmoil may become nothing but a distant memory...

huhtikuu 17, 12:54 pm

This is what John5918 believes in. I'm a little more skeptical about the ultimate results of nonviolent protest here, but I certainly hope him success.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 17, 1:25 pm

>19 prosfilaes:

A brave man, and we need more like him to set an example. But a nonviolent struggle generally only succeeds when it becomes a mass movement involving a significant percentage of the population, often reckoned to be 3.5% (link). Whereas in most armed struggles the active participants are drawn from a small sample of the population (mostly fit young men, some young women too), participants in a nonviolent struggle can be drawn from the entire population - men, women, children, the elderly, the infirm, etc. There is a huge range of nonviolent tools and activities to choose from, traditionally numbered at 198, but I believe new ones are constantly being added. Not everybody can pick up a gun and go into combat, but potentially anybody can march in the street, or stay at home, or join a boycott, or post on social media, or go on strike, or withdraw (or limit) cooperation with the oppressor, or bang pots and pans or dustbin (trash can) lids (see the Irish rebel song The Lid of Me Granny's Bin!)

But the main message that has to be got over to a sceptical public is that nonviolent struggle works. It's not always successful, but then neither is violent struggle, and it has been shown to be twice as effective as violence. There will be casualties, but there are (usually greater) casualties in a violent struggle. It needs commitment, self-sacrifice, organisation, discipline, training, resouces, but then so does a violent military struggle. Worth a try!

huhtikuu 17, 4:08 pm

>20 John5918: But a nonviolent struggle generally only succeeds when it becomes a mass movement involving a significant percentage of the population, often reckoned to be 3.5%

There has to be a spark, though. Enough people believing in the idea to ignite all those who would never start a movement by themselves.

3.5% of China is 35 million people. That would be one of the largest movements in human history, and I certainly can believe that that would change China. Unlike Northern Ireland or Israel, I don't think a popular countermovement would exist in China, but that's quite possibly ignorance speaking.

huhtikuu 29, 12:10 am

What Socrates’ ‘know nothing’ wisdom can teach a polarized America (The Conversation)

But each dilemma usually comes down to polarized deadlock between two competing visions and everyone’s conviction that theirs is the right one. Perhaps this white-knuckled insistence on being right is the root cause of the societal fissure – why everything seems so irreparably wrong. As religion and philosophy scholars, we would argue that our apparent national impasse points to a lack of “epistemic humility,” or intellectual humility – that is, an inability to acknowledge, empathize with and ultimately compromise with opinions and perspectives different from one’s own. In other words, Americans have stopped listening. So why is intellectual humility in such scarce supply? Of course, the quickest answer might be the right one: that humility runs against most people’s fear of being mistaken, and the zero-sum view that being right means someone else has to be totally wrong. But we think that the problem is more complex and perhaps more interesting. We believe epistemic humility presents something of a twofold danger that makes being humble frightening – and has, ever since Socrates first put it at the heart of Western philosophy... This is the birth of “epistemic humility” in Western philosophy: the acknowledgment that one’s blind spots and shortcomings are an invitation for ongoing intellectual investigation and growth. But this mindset can feel dangerous to other people – especially if they feel absolutely certain in their convictions. In ancient Athens, as much as in the U.S. today, being perceived as right translated into money and power...

toukokuu 17, 1:12 pm Thai Election: Will the Military Launch a Coup?

Basically the people of Thailand have elected their choice again, and they think that the military will launch a coup yet again.