Articles on Democracy Futures

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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. Christiaan Triebert/Flickr

Four years after the Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine: key gains and losses

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. Tony Webster/flickr

Breaking the shackles of the national mindset in a polarised world

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.
On the streets of Petrograd on July 4, 1917, when troops of the provisional government opened fire on demonstrators. Viktor Bulla/Wikimedia Commons

Conquered city, site of revolutions from above and below

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. European Parliament/flickr

Crimes of solidarity: liberté, égalité and France’s crisis of fraternité

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

Be realistic – demand the impossible: the legacy of 1968

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. Studio Incendo/flickr

If democracy is failing, why do so many lay claim to it?

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

Is Democracy Dead or Alive? What democracy exactly are we supposed to nurture?

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 Democracy Dead or Alive? Democracy has a future, if we rethink and remake it

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. Andrew Hill/flickr

Ten things Australia can do to be a human rights hero

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. YouTube

A Robert De Niro Theory of Post-Truth: ‘Are you talking to me?’

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. AAP/ADF

War and democracy – who decides?

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. Albert Gea/Reuters

In the ‘fearless city’, Barcelona residents take charge

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

The backlash against Black Lives Matter is just more evidence of injustice

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.
White nationalists at the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017. Robert Dunning/flickr

We cannot deny the violence of White supremacy any more

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.
‘The call for Black lives to matter is fundamentally a call for peace. And peace must not be confused with the momentary quiet of submission.’ Annette Bernhardt/flickr

Black Lives Matter is a revolutionary peace movement

The peace and justice Black Lives Matter seeks require a fundamental transformation of a system that preys on and benefits from Black suffering.
Alternative for Germany (AfD) co-leader Alice Weidel campaigns in front of a banner that reads: ‘Crime by immigration: a flood of refugees leaves its mark!’ Axel Schmidt/Reuters

The pathologies of populism

Current events show that the old problem of populism is making a comeback, and that populism is indeed an autoimmune disease of our age of monitory democracy.

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