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Monday, 25 September

00:24

Saints in politics: Aung San Suu Kyi and the dilemmas of political desire "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

We delude ourselves by projecting qualities onto politicians who have no intention of embodying them.

Aung San Suu Kyi gives a speech in Yangon, Myanmar, 17 January 2012. Credit: By Htoo Tay Zar (Own work), CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The recent escalation of violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar and their subsequent mass flight from the country has triggered a wave of opinion pieces demanding that the head of government, Aung San Suu Kyi, speak out to denounce the actions of the army and militant citizens against this Muslim population. Her failure to do so has resulted in escalating calls to revoke the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to her in 1991. In countless articles, radio features and online posts, an international public is shaking its figurative head over the seeming ethical decay of a figure previously imbued with unquestionable moral authority.

But there are several reasons for Aung San Suu Kyi not to speak out in the ways we expect her to. None fall into the moral order paradigm of how politicians should act if we lived in an ideal world; all of them are in line with the practicalities of real-life politics.

In the case of Myanmar, we are in danger of reducing a complicated reality to an imaginary that we try to bring into being through sheer desire. We attribute the qualities required to make change possible to a person who is then expected to be both saintly and powerful. That person is thus saddled with the impossible task of doing what is morally just, while at the same time acting strategically in order to maintain the power required for any sort of political action.

In fact Aung San Suu Kyis saintly status has become a burden to her for at least three reasons. First, her image as a saintly figure consistently intensified during her fifteen years of intermittent house arrest. During this period, all she could do was become the icon against which her political actions are now measured. After the generals released her, she worked her way out of the position of non-engagement and detachment that she had cultivated in isolation, in order to re-enter the realm of power as a successor to her fath...

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Sunday, 24 September

13:31

Reflections on Oscar Romeros Centenary "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Oscar Romero 1Yesterday I attended a commemorative evensong at Westminster Abbey marking the centenary of the birth of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, who was assassinated in 1980 while serving Mass in a hospital chapel. A relic of part of his blood stained robes was displayed on the Abbeys High Altar. It was a particularly moving occasion for me, having covered the civil war in El Salvador briefly for the BBC at a time when death squads were still targetting anti-government activists, sometimes leaving corpses by the side of the road. I interviewed some of the mothers of the disappeared in the city, as well as coming face-to-face with tanks outside San Salvadors cathedral.

...

Saturday, 23 September

15:28

G20 they colonized our future "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

G20 forecasting prolongs the infinite growth paradigm into the future, while G20 backcasting draws strategic conclusions for present action leaving the paradigm still intact.

lead German Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maiziere, visits the memorial site of the State Security Service of former East Germany with school students, to watch a film about the violence at the G20 summit in Hamburg in a seminar on left extremism, Sept.2017. Bernd von Jutrczenka/Press Association. All rights reserved.When Beethoven composed his Ode to Joy in 1824 he probably wouldnt have thought that merely 200 years later the Donald Trumps of this world would listen to it, while the masses are rioting in the streets outside. Actually, not all people became brothers during the G20 summit on July 7 8 in Hamburg this year. Three months later fiery public debates about the tremendous violence during the summit days still continue and every day more coverage of police violence against protesters crops up in social media.

Apart from that, major media outlets still seem to refuse any coverage on the realistic alternative policy approaches that were framed and discussed e.g. during the Alternative Summit on July 56. So the world has gone back to business as usual and the question what actually changed with the protests? sounds ever-increasingly ironic. But why is that so? As activists are our protests maybe failing to address a crucial aspect of the G20s power?

Colonizing our futures

The G20 states are not merely colonizing the world economically and geopolitically. They also wield a timesavvy colonization of our futures.

One issue completely missing in the agenda of protests and counter-events during the summit is a very peculiar form of colonization that renders all of us alike its subjects. The G20 states are not merely colonizing the world economically and geopolitically. They also wield a timesavvy colonization of our futures. How does that happen?

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14:09

Britain must accept ambiguity to survive Brexit "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Theresa May and Brexiteers both insist on a damaging binary view of the UK and Europe.

lead PM Theresa May's speech in Florence, Italy, setting out plans for a transitional period from the formal date of Brexit in March 2019.Jeff J Mitchell/Press Association. All rights reserved.Brexit is written in binary code. It is all zeros and ones - out of the European Union or in. In his long Telegraph essay last weekend, the British foreign secretary and totem of the Leave campaign Boris Johnson reiterated the iron imperatives of last years referendum: The choice was binary. The result was decisive. There is simply no way - or no good way - of being 52 per cent out and 48 per cent in.

This has an impeccable logic, in the way mad things often do. In her speech in Florence on Friday, Johnsons supposed boss Theresa May was trying, in her own weak way, to tweak that logic, to find some wriggle room in the relentless bind of the binary.

The concrete content of the speech may be less important than its signal of distress though whether May is waving or drowning remains an open question. She is edging towards some way to be however temporarily at least a little bit in while moving out. She is edging towards some way to be however temporarily at least a little bit in while moving out.

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13:01

Mrs Mays Florentine Tragedy "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Theresa May Florence speechYesterday, in Florence, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, set out partially how and why Britain intends to leave the European Union. She said she chose that location because Florence had played  a central role in the Renaissance, a period of history that inspired centuries of creativity and critical thought across our continent and which in many ways defined what it meant to be European. A period of history whose example shaped the modern world. A period of history that teaches us that when we come together in a spirit of ambition and innovation, we have it within ourselves to do great things. Britains current 27 EU partners, not to mention many millions of Brits, may be left wondering why, if coming together to do things is so important, the UK government is now taking Britain away.

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12:40

Labour must end Mays hostile environment for migrants in the NHS "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The Labour Partys 2017 Conference begins this weekend. Docs Not Cops highlight opportunities for attendees interested in migrant access to the NHS to intervene. 

Image: Flickr/SMA

Jeremy Corbyn has attracted support in his leadership and general election battles due in part to his firm position against privatisation in general including NHS privatisation - and also due his history of support for migrants and anti-racist organising.

Yet Labours health policy platform is currently limited as pointed out in this excellent recent article by Allyson Pollock. And the party appears to have no formal policy and little to say in public about the hostile environment the government has been creating for migrants.

The Partys conference this weekend offers members, delegates, and those outside the party, opportunities to improve this situation.

The government is trying to blame the severe and growing NHS funding crisis on migrants, but this is a distraction. The numbers dont add up: deliberate health tourism costs, at most, 300 million a year just 0.3% of the overall NHS budget. The costs that can be recouped by charging people for their care are a drop in the ocean for the NHS, but potentially ruinous for patients now being landed with multi-thousand pound bills or being put off accessing healthcare altogether.  

The Socialist Health Association has put forward a motion to conference supported by at least a dozen constituency parties that calls for the party to restore our fully-funded, comprehensive, universal, publicly-provided and owned NHS without user charges, as per the NHS Bill (2016-17). What this means is that the Labour partys aim should be to return to a publically funded NHS that doesnt charge patients. While immigration checks and charges are not mentioned specifically, the references to comprehensive and universal care, a...

10:03

Redirecting the colonial gaze "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Are we decolonising queer liberation or disciplining the Kurds? Let us attempt a careful and nuanced consideration of the historicity of different struggles.

lead It's going down: TQILA-IRPGF Speaks from Rojava. Anon.The situation of the Kurds in a drastically changing Middle East has received little attention in academia and less in the media despite their growing impact on regional and international politics. The biggest stateless people living in the Middle East are on the verge of a new status, not only in Iraqi Kurdistan, where a referendum for independence takes place on September 25, 2017, but also in Syria and Turkey. The stories of Iranian Kurds and the conditions they live in are the least known, not only by the international community but also by fellow-Kurds living in three neighbouring countries, due to an intense isolation. And then, in this closing contribution, there are 'the intersecting modalities of power.' This weeks short series looks at current political struggles of the Kurds in four neighbouring countries or in a country that does not exist on the world map but in the hearts and mind of 40 million people. Mehmet Kurt, series editor.

The establishment of The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army (TQILA) on 24 July 2017, under the International Revolutionary Peoples Guerrilla Forces (IRPGF) in Syria, has attracted considerable global interest.

This interest has become manifest in two distinct versions. One response has been the intense excitement and support elicited from some parts of the left and various LGBTI+ activists. The other has been one of critique and scepticism, especially towards the western liberal discourse surrounding TQILA. Razan Ghazzawis piece ...

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