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The Federal Alternative: Will Rodrigo Duterte clinch the presidency? Part I

Written by Erwin S. Fernandez.

Grace Poe’s citizenship and ten-year residency were legitimated in the heat of judicial bias. As a Pangasinan, I do not consider her a daughter ofPangasinan as her spindoctors would like to project her to Pangasinan voters. Mar Roxas will only continue a standard of incompetence that is the trademark of the current administration while Jejomar Binay will surpassMarcos thievery if given the chance. Miriam Defensor Santiago knows her time time has passed for the presidency and her choice of Bongbong Marcos is suspect of her political color. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, the lone candidate from Mindanao whose roots can be traced to Samar Province in a contest dominated by Ilonggos with the exception of Binay who is a Tagalog-Ibanag, seems to be the dark horse. Continue reading The Federal Alternative: Will Rodrigo Duterte clinch the presidency? Part I

What position for the labour movement on the EU referendum?

Written by Andreas Bieler.

On Thursday, 23 June, a referendum will be held to decide whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union. When Jacques Delors, then EU Commission President, announced his vision of a social dimension for European integration in the late 1980s, in the UK he won large parts of the British trade unions over into a pro-EU position. Against the background of neo-liberal restructuring by consecutive Conservative governments, social regulation at the European level offered advances, which would have been impossible in a purely domestic context. Is this situation still the case today?

In this blog, I will first assess the current state of affairs for social policies in the EU. Then I will focus on the dangers of nationalism and xenophobic reactions to migration, implied in a no-vote, before concluding in the third section that the focus of the debate should be redirected on what kind of EU we want, rather than the issue of further or less integration.   Continue reading What position for the labour movement on the EU referendum?

A Family Business: The Rise & Fall of the Roxas Dynasty

Written by Elliot Newbold

With little under a week to go until the Philippine presidential elections, the stage is set for something of a political upset. Currently, the outlandish mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, holds the lead as the candidate most likely to succeed Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III at Malacañang Palace. Despite brazenly deleterious comments that have drawn international condemnation, Duterte still looks set to upturn the established political order.

It is no secret that Filipino politics is driven by personality over political platforms. Indeed, one of the most discernible reasons for Duterte’s meteoric rise is his anti-establishment tone; he’s promised to fight crime, tackle corruption, and challenge inequality, all whilst providing a fresh-faced alternative to the dynastic political elite that dominate Filipino politics. Clearly, Duterte’s populism has captivated the electorate. Yet, the question remains: what happens to the old-guard if, and when they’re driven out of power? Continue reading A Family Business: The Rise & Fall of the Roxas Dynasty

Murder of LGBTQ+ editor highlights danger facing all rational voices in Bangladesh

Written by Ibtisam Ahmed. 

The murder of Xulhaz Mannan, the founder and editor of Bangladesh’s first and only LGBTQ+ magazine, Roopban, has drawn the world’s attention to the violence directed against the country’s outspoken supporters of equal rights. His death at the hands of six assailants sent a wave of fear through the community, and has prompted others to go into hiding.

This situation speaks to two closely connected crises. On the most obvious level, it highlights the stigma and danger faced by the LGBTQ+ community and its supporters – and at the same time, it’s part of a larger threat to rational thought and speech that has been mounting for several years. Continue reading Murder of LGBTQ+ editor highlights danger facing all rational voices in Bangladesh

Hardman Rodrigo Duterte closes in on the Philippine presidency

Written by Pauline Eadie.

As the Philippines careers towards the May 2016 presidential elections, it looks as if one of the country’s toughest politicians may be about to sweep to power. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte is currently leading in the polls despite a series of outlandish and outrageous remarks – most recently, a vow to kill his children if they take drugs – and it seems as if it may be too late for any of his challengers to pull off an upset. Continue reading Hardman Rodrigo Duterte closes in on the Philippine presidency

Why Libya’s collapse into chaos is not an argument against intervention

Written by Aidan Hehir.

Libya is mired in crisis – a “shit show” according to President Obama. Many have declared that the 2011 intervention shouldn’t have been launched , and that the Libya campaign is reason enough to put an end to the practice of “humanitarian intervention”.

These arguments are superficially convincing, but they presume a counterfactual history with little supporting evidence – and ultimately amount to an intellectual dead end. Continue reading Why Libya’s collapse into chaos is not an argument against intervention

Philippines 2016: Election Day is All Souls Day

Written by Kevin H.R. Villanueva.

Politics is performance and the Philippine presidential election is a stage. Binay, Duterte, Roxas, Poe and Defensor-Santiago will each play many parts: they will tap into our deepest desires, draw out our dissatisfactions and lay bare our discords as a people. They will have their exits and their entrances. And in three overlapping character scripts – throughout the last stretch of this campaign – they will keep us mesmerized. Continue reading Philippines 2016: Election Day is All Souls Day

Philippines 2016: Regional Party Building and for Women in Politics

Written by Rosalie Arcala Hall

Following the anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in March 2015, the matter regarding the stymied passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) bill was suddenly thrown in the Philippine Presidential campaign limelight. Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas made an appearance at Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao with a media entourage as did Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban candidate Rodrigo Dueterte. United Nationalist Alliance candidate Jejomar Binay shortly made a public pronouncement vowing to support the passage of the BBL. However, these policy pronouncements made during campaigns should not be taken seriously; they are not bellwethers of the fate of the negotiated settlment on the Bangsamoro issue. Political parties, which are mere campaign vehicles for Presidential wannabes, do not map specific policy preferences. Past Presidential candidates have historically looked at the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as areas where local power brokers can be depended upon to deliver votes. Clan dominance in local electoral outcomes and the datu system (e.g. locked-in electorate via force, intimidation or familial connections, pre-determined set of candidates) have lubricated thisnational-local bargain for decades. Autonomy issues have never been prominent among voters outside Manila. For women, the first-past-the post, winner take all scheme and the party-list system have only marginally served as empowerment vehicle. Muslim women in elected posts are overwhelmingly tied up with their clans as substitute/stand-ins for termed out male relatives; their number well below the national average of 10% of total elected posts. Continue reading Philippines 2016: Regional Party Building and for Women in Politics

Philippine Elections 2016: Much Ado About Nothing?

Written by Vladimir Guevarra.

Well that’s awkward. Some of my friends on Facebook have started attacking each other in defence of their preferred candidate for President of the Philippines. Some of the arguments are rather formal and more measured (“I choose X because of his achievements, including…”), some are moralistic (“I’m surprised some ‘Christians’ would condone a foulmouthed candidate”) while some are downright personal (“I should not be defending him from hypocrites like you!”). Note: Those brickbats are not against me.

So. Like wow. Chill. I found myself having to broker peace between two friends because it would be such a shame if their camaraderie sours on account of the elections. But so far, no peace yet.

Continue reading Philippine Elections 2016: Much Ado About Nothing?

Jeremy Corbyn could transform the Brexit debate – but does he want to?

Written by Charles Lees.

The tone of the debate ahead of the European Union referendum on June 23 has been shrill and disappointing. As with the 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign, arguments on both sides have been simplistic, focusing on voters’ fears rather than their hopes, and appealing to their worst – rather than their best – natures.

British voters are being badly served by their political elites and also by a Westminster-focused media that is largely transfixed by process rather than substance. For there is much of substance to talk about. As my University of Bath colleague Aurelien Mondon recently argued: “debating the future of Europe is essential. But when will we start?” Continue reading Jeremy Corbyn could transform the Brexit debate – but does he want to?