From Pseudo-Democracy to Real Participation

From Pseudo-Democracy to Real Participation

Imagine a country run along truly democratic lines. In such a mythical land, what would be the role of the politician, and the nature of his or her relationship with that amorphous group paraded under the banner: ‘the people’?We in pseudo-democratic countries hear a lot about politicians serving and honouring the ‘will of the people’ – in Britain this nauseating slogan of appeasement has been repeated ad infinitum since the disastrous European referendum vote – but from where does the supposed conviction of the masses arise?

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The Poison of Commercialization and Social Injustice

The Poison of Commercialization and Social Injustice

In cities and towns from New Delhi to New York the socio-political policies that led to the Grenfell Tower disaster in west London are being repeated; redevelopment and gentrification, the influx of corporate money and the expelling of the poor, including families that have lived in an area for generations. To this, add austerity, the privatization of public services and the annihilation of social housing and a cocktail of interconnected causes takes shape. Communities break up, independent businesses gradually close down, diversity disappears and another neighbourhood is absorbed within the expensive homogenized collective.

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Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

Charred, lifeless and brutal, the hollowed out remains of Grenfell Tower in west London screams of the human agony inflicted when, on 14th June, the building became an inferno.Whilst there are various theories about what triggered the fire – dodgy wiring, a faulty fridge, a gas leak – what is clear is that this disaster was not an accident, it was the consequence of a social housing policy dating back to the 1980’s, systematic neglect, social injustice and the ongoing war being waged on the poorest members of British society by the Conservative government.

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Europe’s Shameful Refugee Policy

Europe’s Shameful Refugee Policy

This time of year Mediterranean beaches are the destinations of choice for many European holidaymakers; it’s also the beginning of the busiest time of year for the people smugglers based in Libya and elsewhere along the North African coast. July to October is their peak season — during this time in 2016 around 103,000 refugees were crammed into unsafe boats, often in the dead of night, and cast off into the Mediterranean Sea.

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Nuclear Weapons: Barbaric tools of Insecurity

Nuclear Weapons: Barbaric tools of Insecurity

The existence of nuclear weapons is an ugly symbol of the violent consciousness that plagues humanity. Despite tremendous technological advancements, developments in health care and wonders of creative expression, little of note has changed in humanity’s collective consciousness: Tribalism, idealism and selfish desire persist, negative tendencies that under the pervasive socio-economic systems are exacerbated and encouraged. People and nations are set in competition with one another, separation and mistrust is fed, leading to disharmony, fear and conflict.

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Grotesque inequality and Anxiety

Grotesque inequality and Anxiety

Anxiety and depression are at unprecedented levels worldwide and the numbers are growing. The World Health Organization (WHO) describe it as an epidemic, and estimate that 615 million people are suffering from one or other of these debilitating diseases. A staggering number, that in all likelihood is an indication only of the depth of the problem; anxiety as documented by the WHO, is primarily a developed nation’s issue. The 800 million living in extreme poverty in India for example are not polled, and are too overwhelmed by the daily demand for survival to even question if they feel depressed or anxious; so too the 500 million living on the margins of life in sub-Saharan Africa, or rural China. 

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The Omnipresent Pressure to Conform

The Omnipresent Pressure to Conform

It was the school holidays and there were lots of teenagers in my local park. I sometimes spot them meandering home, but I rarely see them en masse as it were. Blind to the bluebells, peacocks and glories of nature all around us, they were glued to their palm-sized screens. What were they so engrossed in – some kind of game or trivial video, a map of the park perhaps, unnecessary given the proliferation of signs? Are they texting, e-mailing, or trawling through the Internet, or all of the above? If one did not know what these shiny seductive objects were, one might think that they controlled the person, rather than the other way round. And to a large degree they do.

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The Revolution in Work calls for an Evolution in Living

The Revolution in Work calls for an Evolution in Living

Poverty blights the lives of billions of people throughout the world: in developing countries, where it is acute, and industrialised nations, where it’s hidden but growing. It rises out of social injustice, makes exploitation and abuse inevitable, brings death and disease, robs people of opportunity and dignity, feeds anger and resentment.

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President Trump: The Final Assault on Human Kindness and the Environment

President Trump: The Final Assault on Human Kindness and the Environment

A silver lining of action and fury is bubbling inside the prevailing gloom that is the election of Donald Trump. His presidency may prove to be the final straw in the decades long assault on brotherhood, human kindness, cooperation and society inculcated during the Thatcher/Reagan era; the ultimate action that triggers an unstoppable popular uprising, uniting people in common cause against the abhorrent ideals that are causing despair and anger amongst millions of people. A global campaign, based on and calling for unity, tolerance, cooperation and social responsibility.

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Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK

Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK

Imagine you wake one fine morning and find you are living in a war zone, aerial bombardments are a weekly occurrence, family members have been killed, tortured or imprisoned and the children’s school destroyed. You love your country, but frightened and desperate you decide to leave in search of a new home, in a peaceful place, where you can study, work and have a chance to live out your days happily.

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Time for a Just Economic Model

Time for a Just Economic Model

Over and above the greed and corruption of wealthy and powerful individuals, the leaked ‘Panama Papers’ revealed the need for a worldwide, standardised tax code, as part of a radical new global economic model. Not globalisation – which is ideologically based, designed by the ruling elite and set up to serve the interests of national and multi-national corporations and banks, but a new and just system designed to meet the needs of everyone, with sharing and social justice at its heart.

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Brexit, Trump and Lots of Anger

Brexit, Trump and Lots of Anger

There can be little doubt that we are living through an extraordinary, and in many ways unprecedented era. Times of uncertainty and tremendous upheaval for sure, but also positive times, in which large numbers of people are becoming energised and politically engaged. Political parties in many countries are fracturing, as internal differences surface and the old dualities of left and right fail to respond to the needs and demands of the people.

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