Articles on Democracy Futures

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Protestants hold a Sunday service in the open air in Jakarta. Their efforts to erect their own church buildings have been blocked by hardline Muslim groups. Cherian George

The curious power of hate propaganda in open societies

Truth’s victory over hate propaganda is neither automatic nor preordained. It requires a commitment to equal rights and norms of tolerance.
What do you call a democracy that depends on the exclusion of whole groups from political participation? Gaia/Wikipedia Commons

What’s in a name? How a democracy becomes an aristocracy

Democracy today contains within itself impulses towards both inclusion and exclusion. Spinoza's thinking on aristocracy should alert us to how democratic rule by the people can be hollowed out.
Shifts in our communication infrastructures have reshaped the very possibilities of social order driven by markets and commercial exploitation. Marc Smith/flickr

The price of connection: ‘surveillance capitalism’

Capitalism has become focused on expanding the proportion of social life that is open to data collection and processing – as if the social itself has become the new target of capitalism’s expansion.
Insulting Barack Obama made the headlines, but Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks referred to a long and dark history of US interference in the Philippines. Narendra Shresthma, Mast Irham/EPA

He may have insulted Obama, but Duterte held up a long-hidden looking glass to the US

The people of the Philippines and their president know all too well the hypocrisy of being lectured by the United States about violence, human rights and democracy.
Tea Party supporters have been demanding to be heard for a long time. Valerie Hinjosa/flickr

Face the facts: populism is here to stay

We are witnessing the global rise of populism. Once seen as a fringe phenomenon from another era or only certain parts of the world, populism is a mainstay of politics today across the globe.
Others might be more inspired by American democracy if the US were widely seen to be a just and tolerant society and its leading politicians were not loudmouthed xenophobes. Justin Lane/EPA

Western democracy needs humility to step beyond its own shadow

The value of democracy needs to be restated and defended, rather than presumed. In doing so, there is value in adopting a more tempered stance, one that understands its worth but also its flaws.
Do outdated fantasies of anarchism simply play into the agendas of the rich and privileged? Nuit debout in Paris, 2016. Nicolas Vigier/flickr

Whither anarchy: the fantasy of natural law

Today’s anarchists should give up the fantasy of 'abolishing the state'. That simply plays into the agenda of the rich and privileged.
‘Ownness’ is a form of freedom that profanes institutions and acts as though power no longer exists. The Berlin Wall, November 1989. Reuters

Whither anarchy: ownness as a form of freedom

Between institutional collapse and false promises of utopia, people seek to define their own lives and their relations with others by thinking and acting as though power no longer existed.
Anarchism’s opposition to arbitrary power is often militant, but liberty is no simple thing. Transmetropolitan Review

Whither anarchy: perspectives on anarchism and liberty

Liberty is a political matter bound up with institutionalised struggles for equality among individuals, groups, networks and organisations. This is where the cult of the free individual falls down.
Anarchists once took constitutionalism very seriously and might well do so again to develop radical decision-making practices. Kim Davis/flickr

Whither anarchy: freedom as non-domination

If anarchists reject private property and the state, they need to devise alternative, radical practices of power-sharing. Republican constitutionalism offers one way to think about this.
Without democratic reform, the time ahead for both Britain and the EU looks bleak indeed. Gary Knight/flickr

UK and EU both need major democratic reform to survive Brexit fallout

The Brexit vote was the outcome of the disillusionment and disengagement that have permeated the UK. Many Europeans share that mood, which is why both the UK and EU need radical democratic surgery.

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