Jun. 12th, 2011

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Fuck you Guardian, for that ridiculous headline!

Mob rule: Iceland crowdsources its next constitution

It is not the way the scribes of yore would have done it but Iceland is tearing up the rulebook by drawing up its new constitution through crowdsourcing.

As the country recovers from the financial crisis that saw the collapse of its banks and government, it is using social media to get its citizens to share their ideas as to what the new document should contain.

"I believe this is the first time a constitution is being drafted basically on the internet," said Thorvaldur Gylfason, member of Iceland's constitutional council.

"The public sees the constitution come into being before their eyes … This is very different from old times where constitution makers sometimes found it better to find themselves a remote spot out of sight, out of touch."

Iceland's existing constitution dates back to when it gained independence from Denmark in 1944. It simply took the Danish constitution and made a few minor adjustments, such as substituting the word "president" for "king".

In creating the new document, the council has been posting draft clauses on its website every week since the project launched in April. The public can comment underneath or join a discussion on the council's Facebook page.

The council also has a Twitter account, a YouTube page where interviews with its members are regularly posted, and a Flickr account containing pictures of the 25 members at work, all intended to maximise interaction with citizens.MORE

Iceland reviews constitution with help from online community

A thorough review of the constitution has been on the agenda ever since, but action came only after the crisis in 2008, when Iceland's main commercial banks collapsed within a week, the krona currency plummeted and protests toppled the government.

"To me, it has long been clear that a comprehensive review of the constitution would only be carried out with the direct participation of the Icelandic people," said Iceland's Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, one of the champions of the constitutional review since taking office in 2009.

She says it is a "distinct possibility" that the draft constitution will be put to the people in a referendum before Iceland's parliament debates final approval.

The 25 members of the constitutional council were elected by popular vote from a field of 522 candidates aged 18 and over. The council is basing its work on a 700-page report prepared by a committee that took into account the findings of 950 randomly selected Icelanders - the National Forum - who met for a day to discuss the division of powers, conservation and protection, foreign relations and more.MORE

via: [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political
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New evidence about Amina, the "Gay Girl in Damascus" hoax


A new post on the Gay Girl in Damascus blog includes a confession from Tom MacMaster. Andy Carvin offers independent confirmation of the confession with statements from Tom MacMaster and Britta Froelicher.

MacMaster has also separately confirmed he is behind the hoax in response to an email from The Electronic Intifada asking for confirmation. MacMaster wrote:
Yes. We will be doing a first interview with a journalist of our choice in 12-24 hours. After that, we may consider other media.

Original post

Ali Abunimah and Benjamin Doherty write:
We have gathered compelling new evidence regarding the “Gay Girl in Damascus” blogger hoax.

Those responsible for this hoax have caused a great deal of concern and anguish by posting information alleging that “Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari” the supposed “Gay Girl” blogger had been kidnapped from the streets of Damascus, possibly by Syrian authorities, and was likely in grave danger.

A measure of the concern that this story has caused is the formation of a Facebook group calling to “Free Amina Arraf” with more than 15,000 members, as well as numerous action alerts and stories in international media.



via: [personal profile] delux_vivens

via [personal profile] keeva Syrian LGBT bloogers respond to the FUCKERY that has been perpretrated by this... boil on the backside of humanity: From Damascus with Love: Blogging in a Totalitarian State

If anyone else sees responses, link them in here please?

No really, is there NOTHING that white people will hold sacred? Will refrain from appropriating? Nothing at all?
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Colombia Moves Past Reconciliation and Revives the Idea of Reparation

When unspeakable crimes have been committed, justice often falls silent, too. That’s why half a century after Colombia plunged into bloody conflict and oppression, the healing has barely begun. But a new law is trying to make victims of the violence whole in a country still fractured by brutal violence. In the process, it has revived an old debate over reparations, and how society should confront past injustices that still shape life today.
Colombia’s so-called “victims’ law” is the product of years of negotiation between the government and militia groups. The law centers on punishment as well as restitution. Many will be compelled to confess their crimes and, unlike many previous efforts at what’s been dubbed restorative justice, survivors will be allowed to petition for compensation.

One survivor’s testimony from a recent hearing in Colombia highlights how challenging this kind of conciliatory justice can be:

The modern idea of reparations as a human rights enforcement tool toes the line between accountability and mercy. In cases of genocide, ethnic cleansing or mass displacement—from Nazi Germany to Apartheid South Africa to Rwanda—there’s always tension between the desire to correct the wrongs of the past and the need for society to move forward. Sometimes it means suppressing residual animosities—and having to live next door to your brothers’ murderer, or the parents of the dissident you tortured.


A backgrounder by the advocacy group Redress, explains how Colombia’s law will work:

The law contains two main parts, the first refers to the judicial process and the conditions under which the members of illegal armed groups (either paramilitary of guerrilla) can benefit from an alternative punishment. That is among others to fully confess their crimes, depose their weapons, enter into a peace agreement, and stop their interference in public affairs, release the people they have kidnapped, contribute to finding the victims of forced disappearance.
The second part of the law refers to the rights of the victims to truth, justice and reparation.
For the first time in Colombia’s history victims came to the center of the attention as it was understood that they were they hinge between justice and peace. Beneficiaries will only be entitled to an alternative punishment if, and only if, they confessed all their crimes, were subject to a criminal procedure by independent prosecutors and judges and, most important of all, if they repaired the victims of their atrocities.
This model of restorative justice parallels similar systems in other countries devastated by conflict. But it takes an unprecedented, perhaps precarious, step toward both symbolic and material recompense.MORE

via the restorative justice online blog

via [profile] jeopardymaze X-men First Class by the "Asking the Wrong Questions blog has a critique of the film based on what we teh people are being fed re: the notion of forgievness and how we should react to being wronged.
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Via: Restorative justice online blog

Parole and restorative justice

The Restorative Justice Act, now being debated in the House of Representatives, introduces new concepts and challenges into our society, including the introduction of the parole system. In order to effectively implement the restorative justice measures, the input of everybody in society is crucial.

The discussion on the introduction of restorative justice measures in our system was first made following the publication of a White Paper by the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs in February 2009.

The basic principles of restorative justice are that when a crime is committed there are primarily three parties that are directly affected: the victim, the offender and society at large. The commission of a crime affects society at large – through fear, uncertainty and apprehension. Such apprehension may be appeased when the offender is caught and convicted. Yet, how many stop and think that, unless one is imprisoned for life, the offender will one day return to society?

The new Restorative Justice Act proposes the introduction of structures and measures that are necessary to address the victim, the offender and the community at large. The new structures include the setting up of a Victim-Offender Mediation Committee, an Offender Assessment Board, a Parole Board and a Remission Board.

The introduction of parole understandably causes a lot of apprehension among the public. Parole is implemented in a variety of ways in different judiciary systems. The proposed law addresses these three stakeholders.

The major provisions in the new law are:MORE
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Venezuela: Debates on laws and Identities

May, the month of “Afro-Venezuelan” culture, ended this year with a new law against racial discrimination and a proposal to create a ministry for African descent. The news shot up largely in the Venezuelan blogosphere, as some shared opinions regarding one of the most complex and confusing aspects of the country: identity.
In the last few years, Hugo Chávez's government and his standard for inclusion has brought back profound discussions regarding equality and social justice. Historically, the process of interracial mixing and immigration has made Venezuelan society look at itself as tolerant and egalitarian before different ethnicities, particularly in comparison to other countries, in which coexistence has resulted in significantly more unstable consequences.

Wikipedia article, “Immigration to Venezuela,” [es] presents an introduction to understand this phenomenon [es]:


La Inmigración en Venezuela, ha sido constante desde la independencia del país en 1830. Con anterioridad, al inicio de la época colonial la población predominante era de origen indígena, española y africana. Con el tiempo aumentaron los mestizos de las tres razas, los cuales se convirtieron en la población mayoritaria en el siglo XVIII. La población indígena disminuyó en el siglo XVI, el siglo de la conquista por parte de España, no solamente a consecuencia de la propia conquista sino por la introducción de enfermedades.
Venezuela recibió una gran cantidad de inmigrantes entre 1948 y 1961 cuando aún era un país de apenas 5 millones de habitantes por lo tanto el proceso de mestizaje ha sido muy intenso.

Immigration to Venezuela has been constant since the country's independence in 1830. Previously, upon the start of the colonial era, the population predominantly was of indigenous, Spanish and African origins. With time, mestizos of three races emerged, and formed a majority in the population in the 18th century. The indigenous population diminished in the 16th century, the century of Spanish conquest, not only as a result of the conquest but also due to the introduction of diseases.

Venezuela received a large quantity of immigrants between 1948 and 1961 when it was still a country of barely 5 million people and, as such, the process of interracial mixing has been quite intense.
Nevertheless, the social inequalities that separate the different ethnicities have been signaled more diligently in recent years. It remains despite the fact that many think that Venezuelan society does not suffer from these problems, there are discriminatory practices very present in the country's daily life, though they may not necessarily be openly acknowledged.Juandemaro explains it further in his post “A los negros les llegó su día” [es] (The day for blacks has arrived):MORE
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ETA, if you have to read just one article, read this. It gives context: What's next in Humala's Peru?

HUMALA INHERITS a country that is extremely polarized. The vast majority of the population struggles just to survive, sometimes literally. Accoring to Peruvian sociologist Jorge Lora Cam, only 20 percent of the country's gross domestic product comes from wages, and the informal sector has mushroomed. This year, the poverty rate "went down" to 36 percent.

In Lima, over 1 million people lived without running water as of 2008. In the city of Ayacucho, 25 percent of the population faces the same lack.

The signing of bilateral free trade agreements, not only with the U.S. but also with China, has lead to increased sweatshop exploitation in the cities and to an exponential rise in multinational and foreign investment in metal and fuel mining, which in turn displaces peasant and indigenous communities and pollutes the ecosystem, whose land the government now claims the right to sell off.

Those fighting the conglomerates have been at the forefront of struggle in recent years. As the elections took place, the border between Peru and Bolivia was being blocked by indigenous people taking on mining companies. In Cocachacra, Arequipa and the area around these two southern towns, protesters against the Tía María mining project have been shot and killed, but have refused to accept a truce until after the elections take place.


Left candidate wins election in Peru

The victory of left-populist candidate Ollanta Humala in Peru's election is a "big fucking deal", as Vice President Joe Biden famously whispered to Obama on national TV in another context. With respect to US influence in the hemisphere, this knocks out one of only two allies that Washington could count on, leaving only the rightwing government of Chile. Left governments that are more independent of the United States than Europe is now run Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru. And Colombia under President Manuel Santos is now siding with these governments more than with the United States.
This means that regional political and economic integration will proceed more smoothly, although it is still a long-term project. On 5 July, for example, heads of state from the whole hemisphere will meet in Caracas, Venezuela, to proceed with the formation of Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States). This is a regional organisation that includes all countries except the United States and Canada, and which – no matter what anyone says for diplomatic purposes – is intended to displace the Organisation of American States. The new organisation is a response to the abuse of the OAS by the United States (which controls most of the bureaucracy) for anti-democratic purposes, most recently in the cases of Honduras and Haiti.
These institutional changes, including the vastly expanded role of Unasur (Union of South American Nations) are changing the norms and customs of diplomatic relations in the hemisphere. The Obama administration, which has continued the policies of "containment" and "rollback" of its predecessor, has been slow to accept the new reality. As a result, it does not have ambassadors in Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador.MORE

Hope in the Andes: What Ollanta Humala’s Victory Means for Peru

Fried pork rinds, fish, potatoes and eggs were sold by street vendors outside polling stations on election day in Lima, Peru. By nightfall, thousands of people gathered in a central plaza waving the white flags of Ollanta Humala’s political party.

Ollanta is an Incan name meaning “the warrior everyone looks to.” Indeed, all eyes were on the leftist president-elect as he greeted the crowd just before midnight with the words, “We won the elections!”

Humala, a former military officer who led a failed military uprising in 2000, lost the elections in 2006 to Alan Garcia. On the June 5th presidential elections this year, he narrowly defeated Kieko Fujimori, the daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who was jailed in 2007 for corruption and crimes against humanity. If elected, Kieko would have likely worked to release her father from jail, and carry on his administration’s capitalist and repressive policies.

This election puts Humala among a growing number of leftist presidents in Latin America and offers hope to the poorest sectors of Peruvian society.
The poverty rate in Peru is just over 31 percent; in the countryside, two in three people live under the poverty line. In Sunday’s elections, it was the impoverished rural areas that went for Humala over Kieko Fujimori.

"You cannot speak of Peru advancing if so many Peruvians live in poverty,” Humala said in his victory speech, explaining that he would work to make sure that the government functioned “above all for the poorest people in the country.”MORE

June 2 Peru's Presidential Election: A Battle Over Memory and Justice

When Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori arrived at a plaza in the city of Cajamarca for a recent campaign speech, she was met by a barrage of eggs thrown by activists who opposed her candidacy and called her a “murderer and thief.”

The activists were referring to the legacy of her father, Alberto Fujimori, who was Peru’s president from 1990-2000 and jailed in 2007 for a quarter century sentence after being found guilty of corruption and ‘crimes against humanity’.

Read more... )

Ppl, the free market reforms that Fujimori did were not separate from the massacres and other fuckery he got up to. it was part and parcel of it, to make sure his opponents would stfu and stfd while he got on with capitalism. This thing is from The Economist and I'm linking for the info that it provides, but...jsyk k?

Victory for the Andean chameleon: Having reinvented himself as a moderate, Ollanta Humala has an extraordinary opportunity to marry economic growth with social progress

Read more... )

I mean to say there! Taxing mining companies!!! Allowing Amerindian nations to have veto power on mining on their own LANDS!!!! What IS this world coming to!!!
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The Olympian War on Brazil's Poor

EVERY DAY in the favelas, the slums that surround Brazil's major cities, these international athletic festivals are vividly recalling the ways of The Brick. Amnesty International, the United Nations and even the International Olympic Committee, fearful of the damage to its "brand," are raising concerns. It's understandable why.

In early May came a series of troubling tales of the bulldozing and cleansing of the favelas, all in the name of "making Brazil ready for the Games." Hundreds of families from Favela de Metro find themselves living on rubble with nowhere to go after a pitiless housing demolition by Brazilian authorities. By bulldozing homes before families had the chance to find new housing or be "relocated," the government is in flagrant violation of the most basic concepts of human rights.

As the Guardian reported, "Redbrick shacks have been cracked open by earth-diggers. Streets are covered in a thick carpet of rubble, litter and twisted metal. By night, crack addicts squat in abandoned shacks, filling sitting rooms with empty bottles, filthy mattresses and crack pipes improvised from plastic cups. The stench of human excrement hangs in the air." One favela resident, Eduardo Freitas, said, "It looks like you are in Iraq or Libya. I don't have any neighbors left. It's a ghost town."

Freitas doesn't need a Masters from the University of Chicago to understand what is happening. "The World Cup is on its way, and they want this area. I think it is inhumane," he said.

The Rio housing authority says that this is all in the name of "development," and by refurbishing the area, they are offering the favela dwellers "dignity."

Maybe something was lost in the translation. Or perhaps a bureaucrat's conception of "dignity" is becoming homeless so your neighborhood can became a parking lot for wealthy soccer fans. And there is more "dignity" on the way. According to Julio Cesar Condaque, an activist opposing the leveling of the favelas, "between now and the 2014 World Cup, 1.5 million families will be removed from their homes across the whole of Brazil."MORE


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