Apr. 23rd, 2011

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Its an education alright

British universities now see themselves as companies, and students are the losers.

Anyone who believes that knowledge has no price should look away now. For the past month I've been involved with an investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches that revealed just how far the market has penetrated higher education. We discovered highly paid managerial elites running universities as factories where students are little more than customers shopping for degrees.

We started with the top university bosses, who have been lobbying for a rise in tuition fees for years. Vice-chancellors take home an average salary
of £254,000, are often given free accommodation, and claim thousands in expenses.

Take Brian Cantor from York University, who last year took home nearly £255,000 even as York faced a £1.48m cut in state funding. MORE
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This is a documentary that explores the concept of democracy. One of the main features of the idea of democracy is elections. In fact, I think that I would not be wrong in saying that this is the most trumpeted way in which the masses are encouraged to participate in democracy. And of course, we protest en masse if we get pissed off enough at whatever is going on, and if we somehow manage to overthrow the offending party, we go back to elections as the way to get what we want done. But suppose there were more powerful ways for the masses to affect the directions of their lives? What if there was more to democracy than elections? This documentary profiles of these methods...

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 1- Introduction


From Venezuela's Communal Councils, to Brazil's Participatory Budgeting; from Constitutional Assemblies to grassroots movements, recuperated factories to cooperatives across the hemisphere- This documentary is a journey, which takes us across the Americas, to attempt to answer one of the most important questions of our time: What is Democracy? Directed by Sílvia Leindecker & Michael Fox. Estreito Meios Productions, 2008. Distributed by PM Press. WWW.BEYONDELECTIONS.COM



Beyond Elections Documentary Part 2 (Participatory Budgeting I)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 3 (Participatory Budgeting II)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 4 (Participatory Budgeting III)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 5 (Venezuelan Communal Councils I)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 6 (Venezuelan Communal Councils II)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 7 (Venezuelan Communal Councils III)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 8 (Cooperatives I)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 9 (Cooperatives II)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 10 (Social Movements)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 11 (Constitutional Assemblies)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 12 (In the Name of Democracy I)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 13 (In the Name of Democracy II)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 14 (International Organizations)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 15 (Democratizing Democracy I)

Beyond Elections Documentary Part 16 (Democratizing Democracy II)
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Yemen president agrees Gulf plan to resign


Aide to Ali Abdullah Saleh says leader has agreed to step down under a 30-day transition plan after weeks of protests.

Yemen's embattled president Ali Abdullah Saleh has agreed to a deal by Gulf Arab mediators that would lead to a transition of power in the country after weeks of anti-government protests.

Tariq Shami, a presidential aide, told Al Jazeera on Saturday that the president had agreed in principle to a proposal from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) for him to step down.

The GCC plan would see Saleh submit his resignation to parliament within 30 days, with a presidential vote to be held within two months.

Shami said the opposition must first agree to the deal in order for Saleh to accept the plan.

"The president has agreed and accepted the initiative of the GCC," he said.

"The transition of power in Yemen will take some time. It needs an agreement between the national powers and the opposition at the same time. This thing will happen within 60 days if we have an agreement."MORE


Women From Yemen blog has more:

The Hidden Heroes of the Revolution

Revolutions need leaders to help spark the movement. To maintain the momentum and succeed, everyone's participation is needed. The beauty of this revolution is that everyone has a role. The intellectuals challenge us to think beyond the obvious, artists inspire us with their revolutionary art, historians provide us with lessons from past revolutions, youth are passionately and courageously marching for our dignity and freedom, mothers are cooking for the protesters, human rights activists are documenting violations, researchers are writing policy briefs for the future, and doctors have stopped working in their clinics and instead are volunteering their time for a better future for all.

Not everyone is equally recognized because many are working behind the scenes. Here is a list of some groups of people that are working hard for the revolution with little recognition. There are many other hidden heroes, but this is a small attempt to highlight some.MORE



April 16th Saleh's speech on "mixing of men & women" & its implications

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh recently used another political tool to try and suppress the pro-change protests. Like many leaders worldwide, he used "women" as a tool against his opponents. His brief statement on the prohibition of mixing between women and men (English text of President's speech) along with the smear campaigns on national TV against women implies that women in pro-change square are "loose" women. This is a great insult to all women activists. It is a dishonor to all women, their families and tribes. MORE including awesome videos of women protesting at the link


April 13th The Life of Yemeni Activists

Future expectations

We receive conflicting messages on a daily basis. We cannot predict what will happen next. We are witnessing a stand-off between the will of the people and Saleh. The recent violent attacks, are hopefully a sign of Saleh's last days. Desperate governments take desperate measures.

No one doubts that Saleh will leave, but we are expecting more violence before the final exit. The question is, how will he leave? Will he succeed in instigating the military to respond violently in order to start a war? Will it continue to be peaceful resistance? Etc

More importantly, most people realize that our struggle for reform will not end when Saleh leaves. The next phase will be a very long struggle to safeguard the principles of this revolution for the formation of a civic state with equality, citizenship, and justice.MORE
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The law of Mother Earth: Behind Bolivia's Historic Bill

Indigenous and campesino (small-scale farmer) movements in the Andean nation of Bolivia are on the verge of pushing through one of the most radical environmental bills in global history. The "Mother Earth" law under debate in Bolivia's legislature will almost certainly be approved, as it has already been agreed to by the majority governing party, Movimiento Al Socialismo (MAS).

The law draws deeply on indigenous concepts that view nature as a sacred home, the Pachamama (Mother Earth) on which we intimately depend. As the law states, “Mother Earth is a living dynamic system made up of the undivided community of all living beings, who are all interconnected, interdependent and complementary, sharing a common destiny.”

The law would give nature legal rights, specifically the rights to life, regeneration, biodiversity, water, clean air, balance, and restoration.

The law would give nature legal rights, specifically the rights to life and regeneration, biodiversity, water, clean air, balance, and restoration. Bolivia's law mandates a fundamental ecological reorientation of Bolivia's economy and society, requiring all existing and future laws to adapt to the Mother Earth law and accept the ecological limits set by nature. It calls for public policy to be guided by Sumaj Kawsay (an indigenous concept meaning “living well,” or living in harmony with nature and people), rather than the current focus on producing more goods and stimulating consumption.

In practical terms, the law requires the government to transition from non-renewable to renewable energy; to develop new economic indicators that will assess the ecological impact of all economic activity; to carry out ecological audits of all private and state companies; to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; to develop policies of food and renewable energy sovereignty; to research and invest resources in energy efficiency, ecological practices, and organic agriculture; and to require all companies and individuals to be accountable for environmental contamination with a duty to restore damaged environments.

MORE



Corporate Control? Not in These Communities

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What’s So Special About Humans?

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