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Author archive for: vladimir

The EDSA revolution at 30: what does it mean for the poor Philippines 2016?

Written by Pauline Eadie.

It has been 30 years since the EDSA People Power Revolution in the Philippines. Filipinos unified across the class spectrum to rid the Philippines of the Marcos family. Sectors of society that were traditionally at odds with each other such as the military, the church and the left overcame their differences to bring about a peaceful revolution. President Marcos and his remaining loyalists fled to Hawaii on a United States supplied plane once it became clear that his position was no longer tenable and that his ally Ronald Reagan was not going to ride to his rescue.  Continue reading The EDSA revolution at 30: what does it mean for the poor Philippines 2016?

How Macedonia found itself at the centre of Europe’s refugee crisis

Written by Ljubica Spaskovska.

Distressing scenes have been unfolding on Macedonia’s border with Greece, where police have been using tear gas on refugees attempting to break through a razor wire fence designed to keep them out.

Given the recent tone of the debate about the migrant crisis, it is all too easy to dismiss this response as heavy handed. But Macedonia is a small state caught up in a domestic crisis of its own. It aspires to join Europe but has seen many of its would-be partners turn their backs on this shared burden. Continue reading How Macedonia found itself at the centre of Europe’s refugee crisis

India has never had a single dominant nationalism – and it won’t any time soon

Written by Amalendu Misra.

Ever since Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party came to power, plenty of ink and pixels have been spent trying to explain the ascendancy of Hindu nationalism in India. But while the BJP’s concept of “Hindutva” has sparked angry protests across the country, most recently at Jawaharlal Nehru University, there are plenty of other Indian nationalisms out there – and none has ever had a monopoly on national identity.

Bengali poet and thinker Rabindranath Tagore once said that “India has never had a real sense of nationalism”. True, there was a very successful anti-colonial movement, but it didn’t necessarily create a unifying sense of nationalism amongst its citizenry. Continue reading India has never had a single dominant nationalism – and it won’t any time soon

Dangerous Freedoms: Some thoughts on Gender, Caste and Development in India

Written by Kalpana Karunakaran.

Gender violence cannot exist on the scale it does in India unless there is endorsement and social sanction for it or at least for the conditions that breed violence against women. To understand better the idea of social sanction, I suggest we see gender violence, not only as the horrific acts of sexual assault, rape and torture that seize public attention and evoke visible protests and outrage, but as a spectrum, a continuum of everyday practices that are part of the ‘normal’, the ‘routine’ and the ‘taken-for-granted’ as we experience it. Take, for instance, the pervasive tolerance for street sexual harassment or ‘eve teasing’, its rationalization or indulgence as a form of masculine sport associated with the young, an upsurge of ‘young hot blood’ or a legitimate exercise of manhood. Or take the condoning of ‘domestic’ violence or violence within households. In a Tamil movie released in 1959, a popular song ‘adikkira kai thaan anaikkum’ (the hand that hits also embraces) has a drunkard alternatively beat and embrace his wife who weeps her way through the song even as she supports her staggering husband! The notion that women are fully human autonomous actors is a radical idea that still does not find purchase in many parts of India. But how do we account for the failure of this idea to take root and flourish in India more than sixty years into the life of the Indian republic? Perhaps some of the answers might be sought in the nature of development and capitalist modernity in India and the paradoxes and contradictions they have spawned for Indian women. Continue reading Dangerous Freedoms: Some thoughts on Gender, Caste and Development in India

Super Tuesday: Clinton and Trump lift off as rivals straggle behind

Written by Todd Landman.

The results of “Super Tuesday”, when a clutch of US states voted to choose the two parties’ nominees, have seriously ironed out both the Republican and Democratic primary campaigns. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton scored major gains, and their rivals are now fully on the ropes. It may be that the campaigns are finally stabilising after a truly wild start to the primaries.

Donald Trump has bounced back remarkably from his loss in Iowa. He went into Super Tuesday having won New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina; he’s also seen off experienced Republican candidates including onetime frontrunner Jeb Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie – who has made the shocking move of endorsing Trump, to widespread disgust. Continue reading Super Tuesday: Clinton and Trump lift off as rivals straggle behind

Philippines 2016: The Crises of Representation in the Philippines and the Role of Charter Change

Written by Aries A. Arugay.

The Aquino Administration would like to believe that it has made strides in improving transparency and accountability. While there is empirical support for this, corruption is not the only gripping problem of Philippine democracy. There is also a need to improve government responsiveness, political inclusion, and popular participation. There is reason to believe that current political leadership has not paid attention to these dimensions of democracy. With this in mind, the 2016 elections should be an opportunity for the new administration to explore instituting political reforms by amending the 1987 Constitution.

Existing assessments of Philippine democracy reveal a current state of stagnation. Democratization, a process that was rebooted in 1986, seemed to be trapped in suspended animation. One study attributed this to the inability of the democratic regime to integrate different groups within society to the electoral process as well as policy-making. The long-list of identified challenges relate to dynastic politics, costly elections, clientelism, weak political parties, and the absence of meaningful public participation. The deficits, if not addressed, could worsen into a full-blown crisis of representation as seen in other countries, some of which descended into a downward spiral of polarization and instability. Continue reading Philippines 2016: The Crises of Representation in the Philippines and the Role of Charter Change

Democratic Dysfunction in the Philippines: “Pateros ” as a Microcosm

Written by Ernie R. Gonzales.

Democracy run by patriotic democrats empowers the masses whom they represent, and facilitates the attainment of genuine justice, freedom, peace and progress.  But kept in the hands of Kleptocrats, democracy becomes dysfunctional and pushes society into the depths of poverty, hunger and modern slavery. Social life becomes locked into systemic graft and corruption. This undermines both the polity and the integrity of human habitats and ecological systems.  The system of representative democracy is damaged and the system of statesmanship is killed literally.  In this dysfunctional democracy the government itself becomes the oppressor of the very people that it  should serve and govern. Continue reading Democratic Dysfunction in the Philippines: “Pateros ” as a Microcosm

Caste protests in Delhi spring from deep economic distress

Written by Diego Maiorano.

After days of stalemate, the Indian army has taken control of the water supply to the capital New Delhi. The canal had been damaged by protesters from the Jat caste, who are demanding they be added to the list of castes eligible for reserved government jobs.

So far, 19 people are confirmed to have died in the protests. Freight trains and buses were set on fire, as were at least seven railway stations, and hundreds of people had to flee their homes.

These shocking protests have come from a seemingly unlikely source. The Jats of north India are traditionally a farming community. In the state of Haryana, where the protests are concentrated, Jats are the dominant landowning caste. Since independence, they have been able to use their dominance over the ownership of land to wield influence in politics and other sectors of the economy; today, they are without doubt the single most powerful community in the state. Continue reading Caste protests in Delhi spring from deep economic distress

Sovereignty is Illusory! The UK should embrace its power-sharing experience at home to engage with the EU

Written by Simon Toubeau and Jo Eric Khushal Murkens.

A fascination with control

David Cameron returned from Brussels last Friday with the most politically feasible deal for the re-negotiation of Britain’s terms of membership in the EU. The outcome is a far cry from the ambitious set of reforms he laid out in his Bloomberg speech of 2013. But, nevertheless, having secured a special status in the economic governance of the EU, an “emergency brake” and a temporary four year suspension on the in-work benefits of EU migrant, he feels confident that the UK now has the best of both worlds: the access, affluence and security of membership are now balanced by greater national control. Control over borders, control over policy, control over the future evolution of the EU. And this allows him to recommend to the British people that they should vote to remain ‘in’. Continue reading Sovereignty is Illusory! The UK should embrace its power-sharing experience at home to engage with the EU

Voters are sceptical about Europe, but that doesn’t mean they’ll vote for Brexit

Written by John Curtice.

After all the haggling around the dinner table in Brussels, voters in Britain will now have to make their big choice. In a referendum to be held on June 23, they will either have to say they want to stay in the European Union on David Cameron’s renegotiated terms or indicate that they would prefer to leave.

For many voters this will not be an easy choice. New research based on NatCen’s latest British Social Attitudes survey reveals that scepticism about the EU is widespread. Yet at the same time, many are not sure about the wisdom of actually pulling out. Continue reading Voters are sceptical about Europe, but that doesn’t mean they’ll vote for Brexit