On Turks marching for justice and freedom

Standard

“ Our walk indicates our determination to defend freedom of expression and our right to peaceful demonstration in Turkey. We are walking to remind those who choose to rule by decree and intimidation that ours is a social contract: we, as citizens, submit to the authority of the state in exchange for the protection of our rights. We are walking to restore that contract; we are walking to restore democracy, justice and our hard-earned fundamental freedoms. We are walking to lift the deceptive veil of democracy from what is in fact a harsh authoritarian regime ”

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, ‘We are marching to halt Turkey’s slide into authoritarianism’, The Guardian

On what a democracy should and shouldn’t protect

Standard

“ The Constitution protects uncivil speech – hate speech, even. But it does so not because our democracy approves of such speech, but because we believe that truth will expose lies and the evil of government censorship is greater than the perils posed by untoward speakers (…) While a democracy can afford to tolerate some uncivil speech, it cannot withstand the sweeping cultivation of contempt directed against the institutions designed to keep government honest and elections safe.  This should be obvious to all public servants. And yet the present occupant of the White House has become the strident mouthpiece of uncivil speech that libels these very institutions ”

Lawrence Douglas, ‘The biggest threat to American democracy isn’t Trump’s uncivil speech’, The Guardian

On ecology, democracy and the ‘French Third Way’

Standard

“ Ecology, namely the question of the compatibility between human life and the sustainability of the ecosystem, itself brings us back to the democratic question. For ecology reveals, scientifically, the equality of all humans faced with a problem that is going to affect them. Of course, the rich have a lot more means for self-preservation than the poor do. But rarely is there a general problem that threatens human life as a whole. If this life disappears, then even the children of the rich will not have a planet left. There we have a problem. So this is a task for society, and we call for a democratic means of action to deal with it. Obviously we want very serious measures for that, and the worrying thing is that we now have a government packed with lobbyists (…) All the partisans of so-called social-liberalism or the Third Way, all the people who said there is no alternative, now have their own party, and it is Macron’s party. The party of no alternative. We think that this is a point of strength for us, because now at least it is clear where people stand. All those people are going off to govern together ”

Hadrien Clouet, ‘Resisting the Macron Surge’, Jacobin Magazine

On Brexit being a ‘free and fair’ choice

Standard

“ Should the EU referendum result be annulled? For the past year I’ve been arguing that this would mean defying a democratic decision – even if it was informed by lies. Democracy is not negotiable. But what if this was not a democratic decision? What if it failed to meet the accepted criteria for a free and fair choice? If that were the case, should the result still stand? Surely it should not ”

George Monbiot, ‘Who paid for the leave vote? Brexit should be halted until we know’, The Guardian

On democratizing the economy through ownership

Standard

“ And democratizing the economy means challenging the most important fundamental of capitalist economics: the primacy of private ownership. In particular, private ownership of capital, of all the things — the buildings, the machines, the tools, the hardware, and the software — that we use to make other things. Without a say in how tools are used, workers themselves become passive tools. Being able to actively participate in decision-making and ownership go hand in hand. Democratizing means taking ownership ”

Michal Rozworski, ‘Democratize This’, Jacobin Magazine

On the huge ‘Car Wash’ corruption investigation

Standard

“ Brazil certainly needed to tackle corruption, which has exacerbated inequality and held back economic growth. But was Operation Car Wash worth the pain? It helped to lever the Workers’ Party out of office, and ushered in an administration that appears just as tainted, but far less willing to promote transparency and judicial independence. So many allegations are now stacked up against Temer and his allies that he will struggle to hold on to his presidency until the end of his term in 2018. Petrobras – the national champion of the Lula era – has been brought to its knees, with foreign companies allowed to control production from the new oil fields. Major companies and mainstream politicians have been utterly discredited. Voters struggle to find anyone to believe in. It is not just the establishment that is reeling, but the entire republic. In the long term, many still hope Car Wash will ultimately make Brazil a fairer, more efficient nation, run by cleaner, law-abiding politicians. But there is also a risk that the operation will shake the country’s fragile democracy to the ground and clear the way for a rightwing evangelical theocracy or a return to rule by dictators ”

The Guardian, ‘Is this the biggest corruption scandal in history?’, The Guardian

On Iran peculiar institutional system

Standard

“ So, what is Iran? It is not easy to answer this question. Simplifying one can say that Iran is a mixture of two different institutional systems, democratic and dictatorial. Since the 1979 revolution, when the US allied was expelled in Iran and the government of religious leaders led by Rohullah Khomeini, these two institutional systems clashed, trying to win over each other. So far, the more radical conservatives have prevailed, but there are some more democratic thinkers there. Iran’s two major offices today are not part of the same division: Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, is an ultra-conservative, while Hassan Rouhani, the president of the Republic, is a moderate. Even the new president will be elected on Friday with a vote that can be called democratic, although with many limitations ”

Translated from Italian.

Elena Zacchetti, ‘Is Iran a democracy or a dictatorship?’, Il Post