Articles on Democracy Futures

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Elite retreat. World Economic Forum

Davos delegates don’t care about inequality or your debt

The world’s rich and powerful are gathering for the World Economic Forum at the Swiss ski resort of Davos to discuss, and hopefully find solutions to, the world’s economic and social problems. The 45th…
Amid clouds of teargas, the Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Man’ defies police attempts to end the protest. Wikimedia Commons/Pasu Au Yeung

Umbrella Man: a unique threat to China or symbol of wider change?

The haunting image of a masked protester defiantly hoisting two black umbrellas amid a cloud of tear gas flickered across global social media platforms in the seconds and minutes after the Umbrella uprising…
HK protests. Stringer China/Reuters

Is Hong Kong China’s future?

The media spotlight has shifted away from Hong Kong and toward President Obama’s visit to Beijing, but students and activists remain in Admiralty and Mong Kok, and their demands for political change have…
Jane Goodall is one of many scientists who have revealed how much there is to learn from animals about social organisation and communication. AAP/Julian Smith

If we could talk to the animals, what might they tell us about politics?

To endow animals with human emotions has long been a scientific taboo. But if we do not, we risk missing something fundamental about both animals and us. – Frans De Waal Some time ago I began reading scientific…
“Who do you trust?” has become a common mantra in Australian politics. Our political leaders should do much more to stop the answer being “no one”. AAP Image/Julian Smith

How to restore trust in politics after the Victorian election

A fundamental lack of trust is at the heart of Australian politicians’ extremely poor reputation. It is the main reason why people’s opinions about their elected representatives have mutated from healthy…
Salafi mosques are among the few to reach out to local converts in Europe. EPA/Julian Stratenschulte

European governments play their part in driving young Muslims to extremism

Governments in Europe have been horrified to see their young nationals turning to extremist groups and committing terrible acts in their name, but few have stopped to think about how their own policies…
Bundilla elder Aunty Barbara Raymond with schoolchildren in Darwin last year, supporting the cause of Indigenous constitutional recognition. AAP Image/Supplied by Richard Oppusunggu

Explainer: what Indigenous constitutional recognition means

Constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australia has been on the national agenda for a long time, but is back in the headlines with the news that the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader hope to release…
There’s a long-term shift underway in Australia that all politicians should be watching. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Indigenous Australia’s rapid rise is shifting money and votes

Tony Abbott is spending this week in North-East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. We asked our experts: what stories…

Carnival China

The following remarks were presented at a recent public forum in Sydney to celebrate the launch of Kerry Brown’s _Carnival China: The People’s Republic in the era of Hu Jintao; Essays on Politics, Society…
Our relationship with non-human animals must be understood as a question of morality. Patrick Bouquet/Flickr

Morality and our lives with animals

The traditional point of view in western intellectual thought – and one which is reflected in our own day-to–day views – is that of human exceptionalism, or anthropocentrism: the belief that humans are…
Indigenous groups are concerned about proposed changes to the process for determining heritage sites in Western Australia, including the location of the Nyoongar Tent embassy. Allen Stewart/Newspix

Frustration rises over changes to the WA Aboriginal Heritage Act

In June, the Western Australian Government released draft amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. This is the legislation that determines what qualifies for heritage protection in the state – and…
Former Liberal leader John Hewson, Australian Youth climate Coalition co-director Lucy Mann and the Climate Institute’s chief executive John Connor greet a dinosaur outside Parliament House. AAP/Katina Curtis

Climate concern grows – but little faith in leaders on the issue

Australians are deeply cynical about both sides’ approach to climate change but especially mistrust Tony Abbott’s attitude, according to polling released by the Climate Institute on the eve of the reintroduction…
Reflecting rising resentment of European austerity policies, people from Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece protested in 2011 at the European Central Bank. EPA/Frank Rumpenhorst

End of the dream: how Europe lost its way between Rome and Kiev

European integration has been an enormous success since its inception in the Treaty of Rome in 1957. For the next five decades European Union (EU) member states enjoyed unprecedented peace and prosperity…
Chinese artist Chen Guang, a former soldier who served during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, has painted a series of works based on his experience. Chen Guang/Internet Exhibition

Tiananmen 25 years on: CCP now fears the masses gathering online

June 4, 2014, marks the 25th anniversary of the bloody military crackdown to end student protests in Tiananmen Square. For weeks, global media coverage had highlighted the protesters’ concerns and greatly…
Higher-income Americans are much more likely to vote than the poor, which reduces political parties’ incentive to tackle inequality. EPA/Michael Reynolds

Failing union of capitalism and democracy fuels rise in inequality

Recent weeks have been all about elections and broken promises: from early April to mid-May, half-a-billion Indians went to the polls in what many described an astonishing display of democratic prowess…

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