Category Archives: democracy

“The re-election of Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister disproves everything we thought we knew about democracy.”

“Until recently, many political scientists believed that there was a certain set of countries in which democracy was safe. … The recent election in Hungary is the latest piece of evidence that this theory has always been dangerously naïve.”

Tithi Bhattacharya: “Women are leading the wave of strikes in America”

“These strikes are for wages and benefits, but they arise from a social landscape scoured by gender and racial inequalities.”

Yavor Tarinski: “City, Municipality, Commons: Rebel Cities in the Neoliberal Age”

“Concepts like libertarian municipalism, which are essentially direct-democratic, could be of great use in our efforts at regaining our right to the city. I.e. notions that are rooted in the historic clash over power between the municipality and the nation state. Unlike statecraft, predisposed to bureaucratic centralization and hierarchy, cities tend to empower local populaces, creating citizens, actively involved in public affairs.”

Haleh Esfandiari: “Reform or Revolution? Iran’s Path to Democracy”

“Iran has often seemed to be on the brink of democracy. During the twentieth century, the country experienced three major political upheavals: … [They] all constituted a reaction to corruption, misrule, and autocracy. They all reflected the spread of literacy, the rising expectations of a growing middle class, and the impatience of a wealthy business community with official mismanagement. They were all characterized by an aspiration for some form of democratic government. Yet each time, that aspiration was disappointed. … In Democracy in Iran, Misagh Parsa examines why the forces of repression have always gained the upper hand over Iran’s democratic impulses and how democracy might eventually emerge in Iran. “

Lakhdar Ghettas: “The Tunisian revolution seven years on”

“Political transitions following bottom up upheavals are very difficult to navigate in that they bring to the surface all the contradictions that were suppressed by the authoritarian regime.”

Mohammad Ali Kadivar & Neil Ketchley: “Sticks, Stones and Molotov Cocktails: Unarmed Collective Violence and Democratization”

“The literature on civil resistance finds that nonviolent campaigns are more likely to succeed than violent insurgencies. A parallel literature on democratization poses mass mobilization as exogenous to political liberalization. Contributing to both literatures, we propose the category of unarmed collective violence to capture an empirically recurring form of unruly collective action.”

“Barrage to Catalonia”

“The Catalan crisis is indicative of the general collapse of democratic politics in Europe. … Historic party bases are dying, in favour of more confused webs of identity. Yet this takes place in a fragmented and superficial fashion, no longer based in class blocs or even the politics of national unity. The temporary coalitions of referendums are an agent of this process, helping to destroy the old collective forms while replacing them with nothing.”

“Myanmar, once a Hope for Democracy, is now a Study in how it Fails”

“Nearly a decade into Myanmar’s transition out of military rule, the country’s once-celebrated transition toward democracy is hardening into something very different from what activists and world leaders had hoped for.  Citizens select their leaders, but without the robust institutions or norms like pluralism, universal rights or tolerance necessary for democracy to function.  They express, in surveys and social media, desire for a strongman-style leader and raw majority rule. Democracy, many say, should be guided by religious strictures and nationalism.”

Lluc Salellas interviewed on “Catalonia: From Referendum to Republic?”

“The next step is the declaration by the Catalan parliament. We still don’t know exactly what it will entail but we hope it will be a proclamation of a republic.”

Paul Mason: “‘We are with you Catalunya’ – the revolt in Spain is bigger than flags and language”

“Two million Catalans braved the threat of a police boot in the face to demand independence. As with Scotland and Greece, this was a modern, cosmopolitan form of nationalism.”