The 1979 Iranian revolution wasn’t purely Islamic but the clerics, led by Ayatollah Khomeini, made it so to consolidate their power.
Reformists are calling for the emancipation of religion from a state that's seen to exploit Islam for purposes of political power. This remains the most formidable challenge to Iran’s ruling clergy.
False beliefs about language and speech underlie legal precedents that allow jurors to be “assisted” by unreliable transcripts of forensic audio.
The Everett Collection/Shutterstock
Not all false beliefs arise from malicious misinformation. Some legal precedents rest on the status of everyday 'common knowledge', since shown to be false, but embedded in our law nonetheless.
Contemporary politics is no longer able to resist the pressure of economic power.
David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons
The financial oligarchies differ from other kidnappers by being silent about their power over institutions and policies – they don't want to alert anyone to what they have done.
In Kyiv in February 2014, riot police line up opposite crosses marking the deaths of protesters. More than 10,000 people have been killed since the Euromaidan protests began in late 2013.
For Ukrainians, the legacy of the Euromaidan revolution is decidedly mixed, and for the protesters who waved European Union flags EU membership now looks like a distant dream.
The nation is increasingly defined in terms of threats from outside. It’s the thinking behind Donald Trump’s vow to build a wall to increase security along the border with Mexico.
The idea that societies equal nation-states, neat containers that can be closed off from outside threats, is powerful. The nationalist paradigm even has a hold over many critics of its politics.
Donald Trump posts a link to his very own ‘Real News Update’ on Facebook.
Donald J. Trump/Facebook
The best defence against post-truth politics is not 'the truth'. Democracy should resist the political tyranny of claims to some immutable truth as a basis for governing the lives of others.
On the streets of Petrograd on July 4, 1917, when troops of the provisional government opened fire on demonstrators.
Viktor Bulla/Wikimedia Commons
The physical and political space of cities can be shaped from above or below, but few have had more revolutionary changes, first under the tsars, then the communists, than St Petersburg.
‘I am a migrant’ solidarity signs were displayed during the European Parliament debate on immigration and asylum in the Strasbourg plenary.
Fraternity is one of the three pillars of the French Republic, but social solidarity is fraying as citizens are criminalised for acting on their beliefs in the human rights of asylum seekers.
Starting out as a set of demonstrations against university reform, the French uprisings of May 1968 quickly gathered momentum.
AAP/EPA/Prefecture de Police Museum
The protesters who took to the streets of Paris didn't know what they wanted: they just knew what they were against. But they did make us think that maybe there is another, better world.
The 2014 Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong against ‘Chinese-style democracy’ laid bare democracy’s contested meanings.
Uncertainty is built into democracy, but we are seeing more talk of crisis and more attempts at redefinition. So where does this leave citizens who want to have a meaningful say in how they live?
In clinging to power, Nicolás Maduro, Hugo Chávez’s handpicked successor, is steering Venezuela’s once-rich democracy to autocracy.
Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Democracy takes many forms, some of them democracy in name only. Confusion and misappropriation complicate the public struggle for the democracy to come, but this challenge is always unending.
While some are declaring that democracy has had its day, others see this as a time to develop more truly democratic ways of living.
Gustav Klimt, Death and Life, 1910
Is it really time to eulogise democracy, or are we rather on the cusp of a new phase in its long and varied life?
Effective leadership requires leading by example, but Australia’s human rights record has drawn increasing criticism at home and abroad.
On Human Rights Day, and with Australia set to take up a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, here's a must-do list for this country to become a credible advocate for human rights.
In Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro’s character, Travis Bickle, inhabits his own crazy paradigm, yet ultimately events frame him as a hero in the eyes of others too.
As Orwell knew only too well, if the concept of objective truth is moved into the dustbin of history there can be no lies. And if there are no lies there can be no justice, no rights and no wrongs.
RAAF warplanes fly over Syria in Australia’s first airstrikes in that country in September 2015.
The wars in Syria and Iraq are products of secretive decision-making by the executive. Their disastrous consequences are evidence of the need for war powers reform.
PAH activists occupy a bank office in Barcelona in July 2013.
We rarely see residents of a city successfully push back in defence of their needs against the power of finance capital, which seeks to make money from the city. But Barcelona shows it can be done.
A mural in memory of Alton Sterling, who was shot several times at close range by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 5, 2016.
W. Clarke/Wikipedia Commons
Neither the spurious 'facts' about killings of police nor the supposedly 'colour-blind' logic of the backlash against Black Lives Matter hold up under scrutiny. Instead, they confirm its point.
South Sea Islanders working in a Townsville cane field in 1907.
Blackbirding is one of many shared Australian histories. Australian South Sea Islanders want to encourage broader community goodwill as we work towards social justice for a forgotten people.
White nationalists at the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017.
White Americans have been in denial about the fact that police go after Black men and other men of colour. But the research and statistics kept by state and federal agencies show this happens.
As a crusader for coal, Tony Abbott is an undisputed champion of the emotional logic of ‘truthiness’.
There are telltale signs when regard for the facts of the matter is sacrificed to 'truthiness' to win a political debate.