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Parties of God: The Bush Doctrine and the rise of Islamic Democracy

"While the West debates whether the Islamic world is ready for democracy, an equally appropriate question is whether the West is ready for Islamic democracy." Parties of God, by Ken Silverstein, is an interesting read on democracy in the Middle East.
posted by chunking express on Apr 11, 2007 - 50 comments

autogestion

When the fascists embargo, when the boss pollutes, when the economy collapses, when the club plans to close, heck, when you're too high-tech for hierarchy, perhaps it's time you considered launching a worker-owned cooperative (pdfs). Or at least getting to know one near you.
posted by ioesf on Mar 26, 2007 - 20 comments

The Must-Do List

The Must-Do List. The NY Times lists the administration policies that congress must reverse if it intends to undo the damage done to America by the Bush Administration.
posted by empath on Mar 4, 2007 - 17 comments

It appears...that the people of the United States prefer the Roman approach

Chalmers Johnson whose Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic is out today, provides something the CIA won't: a National Intelligence Estimate for the United States.
posted by inoculatedcities on Feb 6, 2007 - 44 comments

Madisonian Democracy without Madison Avenue

Deliberative Polling®, developed by Professor James S. Fishkin, is a technique which combines deliberation in small group discussions with scientific random sampling to provide public consultation for public policy and for electoral issues. Since deliberation is good for civic health, this model has also been floated as a fourth branch of government: Deliberation Day. This proposal has met with some criticism. (Many links are pdf.)
posted by anotherpanacea on Jan 22, 2007 - 13 comments

The Economist: The World in 2007

In 2007 there will be lots of anniversaries, the web will keep killing the television star, the popcorn will taste familiar, humankind will come closer still to achieving immortality, and text messaging will conquer Africa. And although the spread of democracy is stalling (don't worry however - the Swedes still win (pdf)), it's still down to George Bush.

The Economist: The World in 2007.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Dec 2, 2006 - 38 comments

beirut dispatch

Murder Update: "Syria's Lebanese allies are trying to undermine the Hariri investigation from within, and are expected to escalate their efforts very soon, maybe even this week."
posted by kliuless on Nov 21, 2006 - 8 comments

Hacking Democracy

Hacking Democracy. A frightening and well-made full-length HBO documentary.
posted by Espoo2 on Nov 5, 2006 - 40 comments

We're coming to your town, we'll drag your budget down

On November 7th, Americans have much to decide. While the two major parties joust for control of the Senate and House, many a ballot initiative does not recieve the scutiny required. Consider Oregon's Rainy Day Amendment, Arizona's HOPE Amendment, California's Protect Our Homes Initiative or Idaho's Proposition 2. Examine the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in Maine and Proposal 6 in Michigan - weigh them against three bills in Montana. [more inside]
posted by EatTheWeak on Nov 5, 2006 - 20 comments

Polling Place Photo Project

The Polling Place Photo Project is an experiment in citizen journalism that intends to collect photographs of every polling place in America next Tuesday.
posted by coudal on Nov 2, 2006 - 19 comments

Anna Politkovskaya 1958 - 7 October 2006

Newsfilter: Chechen war reporter found dead - Anna Politkovskaya. Courageous reporting from the "forgotten" conflicts in Caucasus. I guess she found out the truth too often.
posted by hoskala on Oct 7, 2006 - 26 comments

"Nonparticipation in the election process is more of a problem in this country than noncitizens trying to vote."

Some people call it a poll-tax: "The House yesterday passed legislation that would require voters to show a valid photo identification in federal elections over the overwhelming objections of Democrats who compared the bill to segregation-era measures aimed at disenfranchising Southern blacks." [previously]
posted by chunking express on Sep 21, 2006 - 192 comments

The Euston Manifesto.

The Euston Manifesto. We are democrats and progressives. We propose here a fresh political alignment. Many of us belong to the Left, but the principles that we set out are not exclusive. We reach out, rather, beyond the socialist Left towards egalitarian liberals and others of unambiguous democratic commitment. Indeed, the reconfiguration of progressive opinion that we aim for involves drawing a line between the forces of the Left that remain true to its authentic values, and currents that have lately shown themselves rather too flexible about these values. It involves making common cause with genuine democrats, whether socialist or not. via
posted by semmi on Sep 1, 2006 - 28 comments

At least the Cold War made sense.

Now we're faced with a supposedly democratic Russia where the opposition parties are established, crushed, united, their leadership changed, all at the behest of the president. China, now clearly a capitalist state, albeit one without the democratic trimmings, still calls itself communist. Vietnam has gone much the same way.

Some things remain the same, though. America's still meddling in Latin America, just like it did during the Cold War. The US Army is also fighting a guerilla resistance in Iraq, its leaders apparently ignorant of the lessons of history, yet accusing others of exactly that. It's just like the 60s, when it was just as obvious who had learnt lessons and who hadn't.
posted by imperium on Aug 30, 2006 - 48 comments

Pirates' Rule

The Golden Age of Piracy [video/audio] in the Atlantic peaked as the War of Spanish Succession ended. Piracy was a natural progression for the privateers [2] and buccaneers who had lost their sanctioned prey, and faced little resistance due to a lack of strong government in the majority of the American Colonies. Meanwhile captured naval seamen and slaves often willingly joined with pirates, or fled brutal treatment for the egalitarianism of piracy. This motley crew of motives were united in pirate democracy, laid down in a pirate code, preparing the way for democracy in the United States. But as the popularity of pirate life and pirate utopias grew strong, they became a pest to be mercilessly crushed by colonial opposition and the British navy.
posted by MetaMonkey on Aug 6, 2006 - 11 comments

From Dictatorship to Democracy

From Dictatorship to Democracy. This guide to non-violent revolution by Gene Sharp was the handbook for turning over dictatorial regimes in Serbia, Georgia and the Ukraine. you know... just for future reference.
posted by empath on May 16, 2006 - 19 comments

The Bolivarian Revolution just got interesting

Newsfilter: Chavez announces he may call a referendum asking voters to allow him to rule without further elections until 2031, well past the 2012 limit currently imposed by the Venezuelan constitution. Bluff? Naked power grab? Fatal mistake? Either way, watch what you say about it if you're in Caracas.
posted by loquax on May 8, 2006 - 248 comments

Click here to edit this law.

Wikocracy. Don't like the law? Write it yourself.
posted by monju_bosatsu on May 5, 2006 - 29 comments

Think things better before Bush?

Forty men and one woman went to prison for sedition in Montana Seems that we make faulty assumptions about how we have protection and rights in our democracy, and that things used to be much better than they now are...not so. A big difference, though, is that now our Big Brothers have technology to help snare misbehaving citizens.
posted by Postroad on May 3, 2006 - 38 comments

Breathing room...

For those following the situation in Nepal (previously mentioned here, here, and here), the King has relented and reinstated parliament, though it's not clear whether the new Prime Minister has long for this world. The Maoists have declared a ceasefire, though they aren't happy about the development. Everything is still awaiting a constituent assembly...
posted by graymouser on Apr 27, 2006 - 3 comments

Chaos in Nepal

Nepal is known as the birthplace Buddha, however, it's also a place in which the ruling government has decided a "shoot to kill" policy is the best way to deal with anti-monarchy protesters.
posted by Guerilla on Apr 19, 2006 - 20 comments

The Tank Man

The Tank Man (via Frontline). An iconic image of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
posted by bardic on Apr 14, 2006 - 45 comments

The city is ours!

Город наш! The city is ours! Belarussians are using weblogs, online communities, and text messaging to organize, share news and numerous photos, and oppose their corrupt government's fraudulent election. Patriotism, flags, and dark blue is in fashion, whether the government likes it or not.
posted by insomnia_lj on Mar 23, 2006 - 32 comments

Law and Order

Shari'a law vs. the US Constitution. In the matter of the establishing in the US Muslim enclaves practicing, imposing, and enforcing Islamic law, Shari'a.
posted by semmi on Mar 22, 2006 - 47 comments

Despotism

Despotism. In 1946, Encyclopedia Britannica and Harold Lasswell produced an educational film about the nature of Despotism. Calls to mind contemporary examples of despotism, and (in view of Lasswell's own views on the subject) raises some interesting questions about the uses and misuses of persuasion and propaganda. Film link via the Prelinger Archive, previously discussed here).
posted by washburn on Mar 16, 2006 - 8 comments

Liberal Capitalism and Evil

On Evil: An Interview with Alain Badiou
posted by kuatto on Mar 12, 2006 - 19 comments

The last feudal government in Europe

Democracy comes to the English Channel as the island of Sark, the last feudal government in Europe, is switching to a semi-democratic system. Previously, only the 40 landowners, out of a population of 500, could vote, and the island was ultimately ruled by a lord, the Seigneur. Though the "serfs" were quite happy with the arrangement, the winds of change arrived in the form of the enigmatic billionaire Barclay twins and the European Court of Human Rights. One old Norman law that still remains, however, is the "Clameur de Haro" where any person can demand the immediate end of any action that infringes their rights by yelling "Haro, Haro, Haro" and reciting the Lord's Prayer in French.
posted by blahblahblah on Mar 10, 2006 - 58 comments

The Rebirth of SDS

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win: SDS is reborn. Founded in 1959 and imploded ten tumultous years later, the Students for Democratic Society was one of the most dynamic and controversial forces at work in organizing a mass movement against the Vietnam war, particularly among draft-age kids. The group's original manifesto, Tom Hayden's Port Huron statement, still rings prophetic in Bush's America. Now SDS is relaunching and planning its first national convention since 1969, with a new crew of young radicals issuing calls to action to their own supposedly apathetic generation: "We seek liberation from the dominant business interests that have degraded our cities, paved over our communities, drowned out small business, and commodified our culture... Cooperative self-reliance is the only moral and material salvation of our nation, and the only release from a system that demands each of us be an accomplice to its heinous crimes."
posted by digaman on Jan 27, 2006 - 45 comments

Meet the Bloggers

Meet the Bloggers is a group of Ohio citizen journalists who have been interviewing state political candidates, podcasting the interviews and taking questions from anyone who is interested in the candidate's policies. [more inside]
posted by sciurus on Jan 10, 2006 - 3 comments

Prone to Violence

Prone to Violence FROM THE French Revolution to contemporary Iraq, the beginning phase of democratization in unsettled circumstances has often spurred a rise in militant nationalism. Democracy means rule by the people, but when territorial control and popular loyalties are in flux, a prior question has to be settled: Which people will form the nation? Nationalist politicians vie for popular support to answer that question in a way that suits their purposes. When groups are at loggerheads and the rules guiding domestic politics are unclear, the answer is more often based on a test of force and political manipulation than on democratic procedures.
posted by Postroad on Jan 7, 2006 - 17 comments

On Policy Discussions in a Never-Ending War

"I learned this week that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story..." President Bush really did not want journalists to reveal his NSA spying program against Americans [discussed here.] And in yesterday's rare press conference, the President said: "An open debate about law would say to the enemy, 'Here's what we're going to do.' And this is an enemy which adjusts... Any public hearings on programs will say to the enemy, 'Here's what they do. Adjust.' This is a war." Neocon guru William Kristol argues that talk of Bush being an "imperial" president" is "demagogic" and "irresponsible" since "Congress has the right and the ability to judge whether President Bush has in fact used his executive discretion soundly." What is the role of "open debate" in a war against terror that may last for decades?
posted by digaman on Dec 20, 2005 - 222 comments

An end to apathy

UK politics filter: WriteToThem.com tells you who your MP, MEPs, MSPs, and Welsh and London Assembly members are, and will send letters to them on your behalf. All you need is your postcode. It's a service of MySociety.org, the charity behind PledgeBank, where you can promise to do something worthwhile if other people join in (last seen here in June — please sign up to save Christopher Robbin). The charity's latest project, HearFromYourMP.com, lobbies MPs to provide regular email updates to their constituents, like this one.
posted by londonmark on Dec 15, 2005 - 10 comments

Diebold

Diebold boss resigns pending fraud investigation
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome on Dec 13, 2005 - 164 comments

Tiny democracies vote this week

Vote, damn you! Residents of Ascension Island have been taking part in their second ever general election, but they have been so apathetic that the returning officer gave up trying to enrol voters and just signed up all 697 of them herself.

Meanwhile, further South, it’s also election day in the Falkland Islands, complete with flying ballot boxes and a campaign in which, (rightly or wrongly), even 23 years after the conflict, many of the candidates manifestos juggle the usual municipal chit-chat that occupies a population of under 3,000 with matters of international diplomacy, such as councillors’ visits to the UN,and whether Argentina should be ignored, resisted or befriended.
posted by penguin pie on Nov 17, 2005 - 20 comments

Taking the insurgency to the ballot box

Iraqi insurgents are rejecting al-Qaida in favour of the political process. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad spent 5 days with an Iraqi resistance group during the constitutional vote, and found that al-Qaida involvement in the insurgency-particularly their tactic of targetting Iraqi police and soldiers-is both unwelcome and unwanted. Instead many Sunni are looking toward using the democratic process to achieve their ends.
posted by MadOwl on Oct 27, 2005 - 42 comments

Harold Pinter at 75: "Voices"

Harold Pinter at 75. In One for the Road, the protagonist is Nicolas, a whisky-sodden interrogator who has brought in a family for questioning (and, it is implied, raping and torturing). In the short, sharp shock of The New World Order, we eavesdrop on a conversation between two torturers, held over the top of their mute, blindfolded victim's head ("We haven't even finished with him. We haven't begun."). In Ashes to Ashes, the interrogation of Rebecca by Devlin takes a sinister turn as we learn that her ex-lover participated in state-sponsored violence. In Mountain Language, a sadistic guard plays power games with a group of mountain dwellers, who are forbidden from speaking in anything but the language of the state. In Party Time, Pinter lampoons the smug security of the middle classes, portraying an insufferably élite party which carries on regardless of the violence and terror on the streets outside.
Now, for Pinter's 75th birthday, some of the tormentors and the tormented so potently etched in his later plays are assembled together in a new dramatic work with a musical setting by the composer James Clarke.
posted by matteo on Oct 7, 2005 - 12 comments

This is what demockery looks like!

Project Censored places "Distorted Election Coverage" at number 3 on their list of ignored news stories of the last year. In more recent ignored news a Diebold insider speaks out (which security guru Bruce Schneier considers "sensationalist" but "good information") - just as Diebold shares plunge and top executives flee. In July Diebold's voting machines were rejected by the state of California after "possibly the most extensive testing ever on a voting system" revealed a high incidence of crashes and paper jams. Not to mention the undocumented backdoor in Diebold's GEMS vote tabulator. Meanwhile, in Ohio, two officials of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections have been indicted by a grand jury on charges that they "did not permit a random selection of precincts for the recount and it did not let witnesses oversee the opening of the sealed ballot cases and the first recount of the votes." And John Conyers is urging Americans to oppose a proposed national ID voting requirement, which he calls a "21st Century poll tax". Is this what democracy looks like?
posted by dinsdale on Sep 24, 2005 - 25 comments

Someone steal a Diebold and reverse engineer pls tia

At this challenging time for President Bush, let us reminisce about the system that elected him. Will the next election be different? Do you want it to be? What are you going to do about it?
posted by Pretty_Generic on Sep 12, 2005 - 61 comments

The Chinese are coming

China's non-interventionist approach to Africa. They recently lifted 200 million of their own people out of poverty. Unlike the G8, they aren't concerned about corruption, aid, debt relief, social impact, human rights, the environment, or spreading democratic ideology. They build governments, hotels and industrial plants in Sierra Leone, export 60% of oil from the 'genocidal' Sudanese, sell weapons to both sides in war zones and deal arms to embargoed dictators like Mugabe. They'll be the third largest investor in Africa at the end of this year. The People's Republic of China: threatening - or Jeffersonian?
posted by Bletch on Jul 5, 2005 - 37 comments

Democracy's benefits?

With "freedom" as a goal of US policy, what are the real benefits of democracy? In the developing world, no democracy has ever had a famine as Nobel-winner Amartya Sen demonstrated, and citizens of democratic nations have equivalent economies, longer lifespans and better educations than autocracies. Unfortunately, it appears that democracies do go to war with each other (although less, statistically). On the other hand, high levels of political freedom decrease terrorism and prevent genocides. Obviously, democracies also do bad things, but is there a better form of government?
posted by blahblahblah on May 30, 2005 - 29 comments

teh hill.

Hillary Clinton? The progressive side of the blogsphere is a twitter with news that 53% of the public would vote for Hillary. What do you think?
posted by delmoi on May 28, 2005 - 86 comments

Adam suggested the X

eXtreme Democracy : While at the Rocking Personal Democracy Forum last Monday ( what is Personal Democracy ? scroll down ), I ran into none other than Adam Greenfield, at a PDF breakout session on "Extreme Democracy". The conference was notable but the book is a really great read on - well - the future of democracy. Edited by Jon Lebkowsky and Mitch Ratcliffe.
posted by troutfishing on May 21, 2005 - 8 comments

How Rich is Too Rich For Democracy?

How Rich is Too Rich For Democracy? At what point does great wealth held in a few hands actually harm democracy, threatening to turn a democratic republic into an oligarchy? It's a debate we haven't had freely and openly in this nation for nearly a century, and last week, by voting to end the Estate Tax, House Republicans tried to ensure that it wouldn't be had again in this generation. But it's a debate that's vital to the survival of democracy in America. In a letter to Joseph Milligan on April 6, 1816, Thomas Jefferson explicitly suggested that if individuals became so rich that their wealth could influence or challenge government, then their wealth should be decreased upon their death. He wrote, "If the overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all in equal degree..."
posted by mk1gti on Apr 20, 2005 - 65 comments

Democracy is against Islam.

Democracy is kufr. (A 26-page PDF.) "The democracy which the Kaafir West promotes in the Muslim countries is a system of Kufr. It has no connection whatsoever with Islam. It completely contradicts the rules of Islam..." Lots of interesting reading at 1924.org. (Look for the "PDF Version" links, they're a dim light gray in my browser.)
posted by davy on Mar 23, 2005 - 23 comments

The Fight for Immigrant Rights

Suburban sweatshops. Jorge Bonilla is hospitalized with pneumonia from sleeping at the restaurant where he works, unable to afford rent on wages of thirty cents an hour. Domestic worker Yanira Juarez discovers she has labored for six months with no wages at all; her employer lied about establishing a savings account for her.
In 1992, Fordham law professor Jennifer Gordon founded the Workplace Project to help immigrant workers in the underground suburban economy of Long Island, New York. She has written a book ,"Suburban Sweatshops", to describe the experiences of these immigrants. More inside.
posted by matteo on Mar 15, 2005 - 14 comments

Faure Gnassingbe

Some good news! The greatest problem Africa faces is bad government. When the President of Togo died earlier this month, the constitution dictated that power should go to the head of Parliament, until democratic elections could take place. The army expressed their regret that this couldn't happen, since the head of Parliament was out of the country. This was due to the army closing all the borders. They instead gave power to the ex-President's son, and altered the constitution to remove any reference to presidential elections. Now, it looks like progress is being made through protest and peer-pressure.
posted by Pretty_Generic on Feb 22, 2005 - 9 comments

Disenfranchisement

Elections on the US model? Now that the voting is done, questions are starting to arise . . . Sunni Moslems in Kirkuk had an exemption from the boycott of the vote. But of 38 designated polling centres in the Hawija district, only 19 actually opened, and the electoral commission had only sent 50,000 ballots to the district, even though more than 100,000 voters were on the rolls. Of course, things like that happen often in places new to voting, like Ohio. But wait, there's more! Kurdish Christians were not able to vote when balloting materials arrived inexplicably late, and Iraq's interim president said a shortage of ballots at some polling places may have kept tens of thousands from voting. There's been a lot of news about suspicious elections all over the world during the last few years. How can we restore our faith in the democratic process?
posted by kyrademon on Feb 3, 2005 - 81 comments

Shame on you all

Nothing is more damning than silence.
posted by Mick on Jan 30, 2005 - 81 comments

And They're Off!

Get to votin'. In Sydney, the first votes were cast in the Iraqi elections, 48 hours before it starts in Iraq itself. I went down to the nearest polling booth to get a feel for the turnout. It's being organised by the best in the business, but will it make a difference if nobody comes to the party?
posted by cosmonik on Jan 27, 2005 - 16 comments

The Democratic Ideal

While Abu Musab al-Zarqawi declares a "bitter war" against democracy, Josh Muravchik suggests that Realists—"those who are skeptical of injecting issues of freedom, democracy and human rights into the conduct of foreign policy"—have historically been less in-step than pro-democracy Idealists. Responding to Bush's Inauguration Day comments about confronting tyranny in the coming years, many Iranians cheered.
posted by jenleigh on Jan 26, 2005 - 56 comments

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