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November 28 2013

"The Arab Spring Three Years On" by Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky, Arab Spring

Noam Chomsky

Three years since the start of the Arab revolutions, the region has witnessed a kaleidoscope of dramatic developments ranging from free elections to the violent suppression of change. How would you describe the Arab Spring today?

In the past I’ve described it as a “work in progress.” Now, regrettably, the phrase “work in regress” would be more appropriate. The oil dictatorships have been able to repress most efforts at even mild reform, Syria is hurtling to suicide and likely partition, Yemen is subjected to Obama’s global drone terror campaign, Tunisia is in a kind of limbo, Libya lacks a government that can control the militias, and in Egypt, the major country of the Arab world, the military have acted with extreme brutality – and popular support that they should not have in my opinion – in what seems to be an effort to restore their harsh political control and maintain their economic empire, while reversing some of the most significant gains of the earlier period, such as press freedom and independence. The signs do not look good.

In addition, the Sunni-Shi’i conflict instigated by US-UK aggression in Iraq is tearing the country to shreds and spreading ominously over the whole region. There are two parts of the Arab world that remain effectively colonies: Western Sahara, where the democracy demonstrations of late 2010 were harshly repressed and the struggle of Sahrawis for freedom has been almost forgotten, and of course Palestine, where negotiations are underway conforming to the two essential US-Israeli preconditions: that there be no barrier to expansion of the illegal settlements, and that the negotiations be run by the US, which is a participant in the conflict (on the side of Israel) and has been blocking the overwhelming international consensus on a diplomatic settlement since 1976, when it vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for its basic terms, with rare and temporary exceptions.

Under those preconditions, negotiations are likely to be hardly more than a cover for Israel to carry forward its programs of integrating into Israel what it regards as valuable in the West Bank, including few Arabs so as to avoid the “demographic problem,” with continuing US support, and to separate the West Bank from Gaza in violation of the Oslo Accords, while maintaining the brutal siege. Not a bright moment, but the sparks lit by the Arab spring are likely to burst into flames again.

Initial hopes for a linear trajectory towards empowerment and democracy have long disappeared. Was the euphoria misplaced? Where and when did things go wrong?

There never should have been hopes for a linear trajectory. The Arab Spring was a development of historic importance, threatening many powerful interests. Power does not say “thank you for dismantling us,” then walking quietly away.

Western reactions have ranged from military intervention to a hands-off approach as seen in the Gulf States. Do you see an underlying pattern here?

The underlying pattern is familiar: support your favorite dictator as long as possible. If it becomes impossible because the military or business classes turn against him or for some other reason, then send him off somewhere, issue ringing declarations about your love of democracy, and try to restore the old order as fully as possible. It happens over and over. To mention just a few: Somoza, Marcos, Duvalier, Suharto, Mobutu,…

It’s a natural policy for an imperial power, hence completely familiar. It’s also natural for the picture to be ignored or suppressed. The task of the intellectual community is to support power and justify it, not undermine it – though some break the rules.

One of several regional fault lines seems to be the clash between secular and religious forces. Do you see a way this dichotomy can be dealt with constructively? What role should Western governments play?

Neither history, nor logic, nor policy analysis, nor any other source apart from propaganda gives us any reason to expect power systems to play a constructive role, unless it happens to be in their interest. That’s true of western systems, as a special case. In the MENA region, the major powers – Britain, then the US – have fairly consistently supported radical Islam as a counter to secular nationalism. The favorite has been Saudi Arabia, the most extreme radical Islamist state, and a missionary state, spreading its Wahabbist-Salafist doctrines throughout the region.

There are excellent and careful scholarly studies of US “democracy promotion” by their most prominent advocates, who concede, reluctantly, that the government supports democracy if and only if it conforms to economic and strategic interests – just as any rational person would expect.

What role should they play? That’s easy. They should support freedom, justice, human rights, Democracy. We can say the same about Russia and China. To some extent organized popular forces can impel governments in this direction, but there is little sign of that today, for many reasons.

On another level, tensions between religious denominations appear to be on the rise. Already in 2004, Jordan’s King Abdullah spoke of a “Shia Crescent”. Is this notion of a Sunni-Shia proxy war the appropriate lens for understanding current conflicts in the region?

One of the grim consequences of US-UK aggression in Iraq was igniting Sunni-Shia conflicts that had been subdued previously, leading to a horror story that is tearing Iraq apart and has spread over the region, with awful and ominous effects.

And honesty would impel us to recall the judgment of Nuremberg, one of the foundations of modern international law. Aggression was determined to be “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” – in this case, including the sectarian conflicts among many other crimes. Honesty would also impel us to recall the injunction that Justice Robert Jackson delivered to the Tribunal: we are handing these defendants a “poisoned chalice,” and if we carry out similar crimes we must suffer the same consequences, or else this Tribunal is a farce, merely victor’s justice. One measure of the gap between Western moral-intellectual culture and civilization is how well these words have been heeded.

This interview was first published in German on IPG-Journal. The questions were asked by Michael Bröning

August 02 2013

"How Technology Can Enable Everyday Democracy" by NewsWatch

Watch Ben Knight talk about technology, democracy and decision-making at a TEDx event held in Wellington, New Zealand. Knight is part of a cooperative social enterprise building Loomio, an online tool for collaborative decision-making being used by thousands of people in more than 20 countries. He starts his talk with a brief overview over recent global protests such as the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement and local protests in Turkey and Brazil. He then shows how online tools can be used to help organise the next step: from protest to joined new decision-making.

July 12 2013

"Democracy In Dangerous Places: Egypt – What Went Wrong?" by Paul Collier

paul collier Democracy In Dangerous Places: Egypt   What Went Wrong?

Paul Collier

The tragedy of Egypt is to have held a premature election: its people have just been promised another one.

Superficially, Egypt is back where it started before the Arab Spring: military rule. But in fact it is in a far more dangerous situation. Then, a large majority of the population was united in despising the ruling regime and the military was able to play the role of deus ex machine, ushering in an election.

Today, Egyptian society is revealed as deeply polarized between rival and incompatible narratives, while the army has forfeited its credentials as an arbiter. Piling on the agony, fate has driven the rival narratives into internal incoherence. One is based on the concept of democratic rights, the other on Islamic government. As far as can be ascertained, a rural-based majority adheres to the Islamic model, while an urban-based minority adheres to democratic rights.

The election held in the wake of the Arab Spring duly produced a democratically elected government that did not believe in democracy. It used its victory to consolidate its own power and exclude others. The alternative would have been little better: a democratically elected government opposed by a mobilized opposition that did not regard it as legitimate. The pro-democracy minority has now used its privileged street power in Cairo to authorize a military coup. In response, the ousted Islamists are appealing to democratic principles to which they do not subscribe, while the democrats are wriggling to reconcile their principles with a non-democratic outcome of which they approve. The most reasonable inference is that following the Arab Spring the society was too deeply divided for an election.

Elections inevitably produce winners and losers. In societies where the parameters of disagreement are reasonably narrow, and where power is heavily circumscribed by checks and balances, this works well. It generates a healthy alternation of power between political teams. In societies characterized by the opposite – weak checks and balances and polarized disagreements – the range of likely outcomes from an election is dire. Groups will cheat to win; once in power they will abuse it; and if out of power they resort to mass tactics of destabilization. Elections have become the sanctifying oil that legitimates power because they are standard accoutrements of the developed societies. They have consequently become an ostentatious symbol of the modernity to which most societies aspire. But viable elections are a consequence of deeper and slower revolutions in how people see each other. The parameters of political disagreement become manageable only once they are underpinned by a degree of mutual regard among members of the society. In Europe the spread of mutual regard – empathy – preceded universal suffrage by several decades. For example, Steven Pinker dates the key decline of violence within European societies to the nineteenth century; the demise of duelling and public executions being symptomatic of a deep change in sensibilities. In Egypt, the spectacle of religious leaders successfully inciting their followers to murder those of their fellow citizens with other beliefs reveals that it is not yet such a society.

Given this, a further election is more likely to exacerbate mutual hatreds than to resolve political differences. Until adequate mutual regard has been built, the least damaging structure of political power is likely to be a grand coalition. Grand coalitions are unlikely to produce good government, but by imposing strong checks and balances within the heart of government, they limit the scope for further aggravation of divisions. Grand coalitions also provide a metaphor for the larger task of building mutual regard. In the language of Robert Putnam, divided societies are in need of ‘bridging’ social capital – associations within which people from opposing groups learn to cooperate. Public policies can foster bridging social capital, for example through requiring integrated schooling. At a minimum, they can clamp down on hate language.

Such social healing cannot be done quickly and it cannot be done by outsiders. An implication is that divided societies need coalition governments not just for a period of transition but for decades. Most probably, this will bring in its wake other serious problems. But societies may need to develop in sequence, resolving issues of identity before the more mundane issues of good governance.

The promise of another election gets the new government out of a hole today, but it may land the society in yet deeper problems.

March 15 2013

"The Iraq War Ten Years Later" by Joseph S. Nye

joseph nyeThis month marks the tenth anniversary of the controversial American-led invasion of Iraq. What has that decision wrought over the last decade? More important, was the decision to invade rightly made?

On the positive side, analysts point to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the creation of an elected government, and an economy growing at nearly 9% per year, with oil exports surpassing their pre-war level. Some, such as Nadim Shehadi of Chatham House, go further, arguing that, while “the US certainly bit off more than it could chew in Iraq,” America’s intervention “may have shaken the region out of [a] stagnation that has dominated the lives of at least two generations.”

Skeptics reply that it would be wrong to link the Iraq War to the “Arab Spring,” because events in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011 had their own origins, while President George W. Bush’s actions and rhetoric discredited, rather than advanced, the cause of democracy in the region. Removing Saddam was important, but Iraq is now a violent place governed by a sectarian group, with one corruption index ranking it 169th out of 174 countries.

Whatever the benefits of the war, skeptics argue, they are too meager to justify the costs: more than 150,000 Iraqis and 4,488 American service members killed, and an estimated cost of nearly $1 trillion (not including long-term health and disability costs for some 32,000 wounded US soldiers.)

Perhaps this balance sheet will look different a decade from now, but at this point most Americans have concluded that the skeptics are right, and that thinking has influenced current US foreign policy. In the next decade, it is very unlikely that the US will try another prolonged occupation and transformation of another country. As former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates put it shortly before stepping down, any adviser recommending such action “should have his head examined.”

Some call this isolationism, but it might better be called prudence or pragmatism. After all, President Dwight D. Eisenhower refused in 1954 to send US troops to save the French at Dien Bien Phu because he feared that they would be “swallowed up by the divisions” in Vietnam. And Ike was hardly an isolationist.

While a decade may be too soon to render a definitive verdict on the long-term consequences of the Iraq War, it is not too soon to judge the process by which the Bush administration made its decisions.

Bush and his officials used three main arguments to justify invading Iraq. The first tied Saddam to Al Qaeda. Public-opinion polls show that many Americans accepted the administration’s word on the connection, but the evidence has not sustained it. Indeed, the evidence that was presented publicly was thin and exaggerated.

The second argument was that replacing Saddam with a democratic regime was a way to transform Middle East politics. A number of neoconservative members of the administration had urged regime change in Iraq well before taking office, but were unable to turn it into policy during the first eight months of the administration. After September 11, 2001, they quickly moved their policy through the window of opportunity that the terrorist attacks had opened.

Bush spoke often of regime change and a “freedom agenda,” with supporters citing the role of American military occupation in the democratization of Germany and Japan after World War II. But the Bush administration was careless in its use of historical analogies and reckless in its inadequate preparation for an effective occupation.

The third argument focused on preventing Saddam from possessing weapons of mass destruction. Most countries agreed that Saddam had defied United Nations Security Council resolutions for a dozen years. Moreover, Resolution 1441 unanimously put the burden of proof on Saddam.

While Bush was later faulted when inspectors failed to find WMDs, the view that Saddam possessed them was widely shared by other countries. Prudence might have bought more time for the inspectors, but Bush was not alone in this mistake.

Bush has said that history will redeem him, and compares himself to President Harry S. Truman, who left office with low poll ratings because of the Korean War, yet is well regarded today. Will history really be so kind to Bush?

Truman biographer David McCullough warns that about 50 years must pass before historians can really appraise a presidency. But one decade after Truman left office, the Marshall Plan and the NATO alliance were already seen as solid accomplishments. Bush lacks comparable successes to compensate for his mismanagement of Iraq.

History tends to be unkind to the unlucky, but historians also judge leaders in terms of the causes of their luck. Good coaches analyze their game and their opponent’s game, so that they can capitalize on errors and benefit from “good luck.” By contrast, reckless reality-testing and unnecessary risk-taking are often part of “bad luck.” Future historians are likely to fault Bush for these shortcomings.

Even if fortuitous events lead to a better Middle East in another ten years, future historians will criticize the way Bush made his decisions and distributed the risks and costs of his actions. It is one thing to guide people up a mountain; it is another to lead them to the edge of a cliff.

© Project Syndicate

February 28 2013

"The Arab Revolutions’ Reality Check" by Joschka Fischer

joschkaTwo years after popular uprisings began to convulse the Middle East, few people speak of an “Arab Spring” anymore. Given Syria’s bloody civil war, the rise to power of Islamist forces through free elections, the ever-deepening political and economic crises in Egypt and Tunisia, increasing instability in Iraq, uncertainty about the future of Jordan and Lebanon, and the threat of war over Iran’s nuclear program, the bright hope of a new Middle East has vanished.

Add the region’s eastern and western peripheries – Afghanistan and North Africa (including the Sahel and South Sudan) – and the picture becomes even grimmer. Indeed, Libya is increasingly unstable, al-Qaeda is actively engaged in the Sahel (as the fighting in Mali shows), and no one can foresee what will happen in Afghanistan after the US and its NATO allies withdraw in 2014.

All of us tend to make the same mistake repeatedly: we think at the beginning of a revolution that freedom and justice have prevailed over dictatorship and cruelty. But history teaches us that what follows is usually nothing good.

A revolution not only overthrows a repressive regime; it also destroys the old order, paving the way for a mostly brutal, if not bloody, fight for power to establish a new one – a process that affects foreign and domestic policy alike. Normally, revolutions are followed by dangerous times.

Indeed, exceptions to this pattern are rare: South Africa is one, owing to the genius of one of the century’s most outstanding statesmen, Nelson Mandela. The alternative option can be observed in Zimbabwe.

Central and Eastern Europe after 1989, though a very interesting reference point for analysts of the Arab revolutions, is not an appropriate reference point, because the region’s new domestic and foreign order resulted from the change in external conditions stemming from the collapse of Soviet power. Internally, nearly all of these countries had a very clear idea about what they wanted: democracy, freedom, a market economy, and protection from the return of the Russian empire. They wanted the West, and their accession to NATO and the European Union was logical.

Nothing of the sort applies to the crisis belt of the Middle East. No power anywhere, within the region or without, is willing and able to implement the barest vision of a new regional order – or even a vision for parts of it. Chaos is a constant threat, with all of its accompanying risks and threats to world peace.

In addition to poverty, backwardness, repression, rapid population growth, religious and ethnic hatred, and stateless peoples (such as the Kurds and the Palestinians), the region has unstable borders. Many were drawn by the colonial powers, Great Britain and France, after World War I, and most, with the exception of Iran’s and Egypt’s, have little legitimacy.

As if this were not enough, some countries – including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and even tiny (but very rich) Qatar – have ambitions to be regional powers. All of this worsens an already tense situation.

All of these contradictions are currently exploding in Syria, whose population is suffering a humanitarian catastrophe, while the world stands by, up to now unwilling to intervene. (If chemical weapons are deployed, intervention will become inevitable.) Although intervention would be temporary and technically limited, everyone seems to be avoiding it, because the stakes are very high: not only a devastating civil war and massive human suffering, but also a new order for the whole of the Middle East.

Any military intervention would entail a confrontation not only with the Syrian military (supported by Russia and China), but also with Shia Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah. Moreover, no one can guarantee that intervention would not quickly lead to another war with Israel. The dangers of both action and inaction are very high.

The most likely outcome in Syria is that the human catastrophe will continue until President Bashar al-Assad’s regime collapses, after which the country very likely could be divided along ethnic and religious lines. And Syria’s disintegration could further balkanize the Middle East, potentially unleashing new violence. Frontline states like Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan will not manage to remain aloof from a disintegrating Syria. What will happen with Syria’s Kurds and Palestinians, or its Christians, Druze, and smaller Muslim minorities? And what about the Alawites (the backbone of Assad’s regime), who could face a terrible destiny, regardless of whether the country splits up?

Unanswered questions abound. Of course, even in the face of this misery, we should not lose hope in agreements reached by diplomatic means; but, realistically, the chances are dwindling every day.

The whole of the Middle East is in motion, and a new and stable order will take a long time to establish. Until then, the region will remain very dangerous, not only internally, but also for its neighbors (including Europe) and the world.

© Project Syndicate

February 11 2013

Cyberunions Podcast Episode 66 Why should I tip you 18% when I tip god 10

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:30 English vs English

  • Stephen broke his bike but now it is fixed…this is his marxist bike
  • Bye bye gome-shell and hello OpenBox … Stephen tries to crunchbanganize his debian
  • Walton breaks his contract and remains miserable post January
  • Stephen and Walton have never met!…Walton thinks Stephen is software
  • Netizen Federation for independent podcasts…an organization will be an umbrella 501c3 to support by being the legal organization for donations to be tax deductible
  • If we got donations we will do something sensible…like buying beer and wine and maybe equipment ¬¬
  • Cyberunions will be a starting member of the organization
  • We might actually put together a donation page.

9:54 Labor section entering labor section

  • US National Labor Relations Board takes steps backwards
  • Stephen describes the chaotic process of how the NLRB is structured and how the US Senate and President mess everything up and what the hell is recess appointments….notes the verbal error District of Virginia but meant District of Columbia
  • US labor density is at its historic low…but workers are doing things different not in a union but outside of the union with collective action.
  • A waitress from Applebees takes things to reddit over a customer who complained about a company policy…she gets fired and then writes for the guardian
  • Stephen rants about the restaurant industry and explains the way minimum wage works for restaurant serving staff
  • General strike in Tunisia Building on the movements in the region that are impacting movements around the world

30:12 Tech sector….which for you is com—puters

  • Reminisce about Little Brother and Pinoccio Mesh networking
  • Stephen describes what mesh networking is…but as Walton says it is essential
  • In the Arab Spring the government tried to control the choke points of access to the internet
  • Raytheon the company that makes the “patriot missle” and  other weapons is developing a way to track people from social networks to other information about activists or whomever…big brother
  • Stephen describes the free software used at the Comunidades Tecnicas de Asistencia Muta (CTAM conference of tech workers from NGOs in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico)
  • The was Icecasting both audio and video with the use of firewire video streaming
  • Collaborative work using infinote and gobby
  • Photo sharing using galleria and javascripting to display photos immediately from the conference for people away from it in  a stream with no interaction beside sending an email with the photo to a specified address
  • Stephen will write a blog post about how he set up the infrastructure at the CTAM
  • We are planning ahead now!! might create a resource section for people to do what we talk about

Feedback

  • Some nice support from John saying that the show is needed
  • Michael sent in a correction for a link to the guardian article about the strike that the UK government is trying to silence
  • Cheryl wrote in with a link to the article discussing the Occupy Oakland and the ILWU
  • We have now feedback@cyberunions and grievance@cyberunions.org that gets sent to both of us

 

 

July 26 2012

Cyberunions Podcast – Episode 56 Things are rumbling in the Summer …. of Strikes from Egypt to Madrid?

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Rumbles in the sky

Labor activism on the rise in Egypt

  • Walton describes the strikes occuring in Egypt from Textile factories to other industries
  • The Islamic Brotherhood is about charity and not in support of workers coming together to improve their conditions
  • The Arab Spring though popular from twitter, has a longer history than the last year and much originates with union strikes
  • Tear gas (possibly Made in the USA) is being used on the strikes across the country
  • There is a historical echo to the labor movement in South Africa reignited the movement against Apartheid
  • The left in Egpt has not come forward with a political plan and the two major candidates are not supporters of the movement

Things are beginning to stir in Spain

  • Though we have heard a lot about Greece the next place is Spain
  • Spain has a much larger economy and it is likely that the banks will get bailed out
  • Protests and marches are occuring across the country to fight the austerity measures
  • Movements are afoot, but we are still closer to the beginning than the middle of the movements

**We try tech update but fail…this is in part cause Stephen was in a rush to get out and the thunderstorm disrrupted the connection (can you figure out where?)**

July 16 2012

Cyberunions Podcast: Episode 55 Quit Your Mumble*ing

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0:30 the Good the Bad and…

  • Rainy Scotland vs Rainy/Sunny Mexico City
  • Walton chooses the bad first…Stephen was mugged at knife point and received cuts from the fight and lost his awesome Nokia N900
  • The good…Stephen’s activism with Mayfirst has led to the organization asking him to attend the World Social Forum on Palestine in Brazil
  • The important thing is Stephen has to learn Drupal, quickly…it’s a good project to work on

9:54 the Interesting

  • Walton goes to two conferences Unite political school and to Global Labor Institute summer school
  • Northern College a leftwing college with an interesting tour
  • Interaction with activists was a great experience and interesting stories about the Arab Spring and Greece uprising and future of activism
  • Walton was with people with similar perspective to Cyberunions
  • The economic game has changed…Porche highly profitable in auto manufacturing but they make more by gambling in the financial markets
  • Stephen wants capitalists to listen so they can understand their own fucking system….Walton is sick of explaining the capitalist system to capitalists….it’s a short term gain not long term
  • Stephen comrades from Labornotes attended as well as Cornel Labor program that Stephen read the books of but not taught by

22:24 Walton Sounds Reallly Good Despite the Mumble ;)

  • We are using Mumble and Stephen quickly had Walton install it right before the show
  • We have nice people that listen to the show?
  • The sound quality at time of recording was really good
  • Stephen gives <sad face> cause the N900 had mumble support
  • Walton didn’t listen to Stephen and just setup the application by following the startup audio wizard
  • Best built in recording ability in comparison to skype and jitsi

26:24 For The Win is For The Real

  • Diablo 3: The Blizzard sweatshop describes a similar economy to For The Win (The Hard Cover or the Free digital copy)
  • Blizzard has made a market out of buying and selling weapons online with a direct link to paypal accounts
  • If you sell something in the game you can cash out but you have to pay a 15% tax to Blizzard.net which means they make money off of your sale.
  • This lessens the dependency on selling the software and instead creates a market that Blizzard makes even more money off
  • This is exactly what For The Win was talking about building an economy that people who don’t play can make money off of it.
  • Walton ask will Stephen dive into the game and try to organize the players into a union
  • Stephen won’t buy the game now but might try it if it becomes free
  • Mumble is a way to organize since it is used to communicate with players in multi-player games
  • Crazy when fiction becomes reality…but it is usually the depressing stuff wins in reality
  • It’d be great to see in the end the players get paid instead of players paying Blizzard

January 09 2012

"Status Quo on Way Out" by John Quiggin

At the peak of his power as Lord Protector of England, Oliver Cromwell marched north from London to fight the rebellious Scots. One of his lieutenants commented on the enthusiastic support they were...

December 23 2011

"A Year of Revolution" by Thomas McDermott

In a year of revolution, causes have been easier to identify than consequences. In 1989, following the end of the Cold War, the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote in The End of...

December 21 2011

"Europe, prepare for a riotous 2012" by Henning Meyer

As 2011 draws to a close, it is fair to say that this year has been one of the most disastrous for the European Union in its history. The eurozone crisis has spread from the periphery to the core and...

November 07 2011

"The Globalization of Protest" by Joseph Stiglitz

The protest movement that began in Tunisia in January, subsequently spreading to Egypt, and then to Spain, has now become global, with the protests engulfing Wall Street and cities across America....

November 03 2011

"How We Learned to Fight Wars at a Distance" by Bradley Evans

The recent NATO-led victory in Libya has exercised many of the ghosts which haunted the political landscape of the past decade. It has certainly moved us on from the evident strategic failures of...

October 19 2011

"The ‘Why’s’ and ‘What for’s’ of People taking to the Streets" by Zygmunt Bauman

“The Arab Spring triggers popular rebellions against autocrats across the Arab world. The Israeli Summer brings 250,000 Israelis into the streets, protesting the lack of affordable housing and the...

September 27 2011

"The Arab Spring is an Opportunity… For Europe" by Steven Hill

The Arab Spring is a historic moment of opportunity for the Middle East — as well as Europe — that must not be wasted. Who could have imagined even a year ago that the Arab Spring would...

August 29 2011

"On Glocalization coming of Age" by Zygmunt Bauman

One is tempted to say: social inventions or re-inventions (as the newly invented/discovered possibility of restoring to the city square the ancient role of the agora on which rules and rulers were...
Reposted by02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

June 13 2011

"Reset Turkey/EU Relations" by Javier Solana

Just five months ago, Osama bin Laden was alive, Hosni Mubarak was firmly in control in Egypt, and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali ruled Tunisia with an iron hand. Today, popular rebellion and political...

May 17 2011

"The World Order in 2050: Global Convergence toward the Middle Class Society" by Steven Hill

Since World War II, it is plain to see that a high degree of convergence has occurred all over the world around the institutions and practices of political democracy and economy. Country after...

May 12 2011

"Voice after Exit: Revolution and Migration in the Arab World" by Philippe Fargues

On December 17, 2010, a 26-year-old street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in a small town in central Tunisia, unwittingly triggering a revolution that would ultimately overthrow a...
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