Sonia Sodha: The hounding of author Kate Clanchy has been a witch-hunt without mercy

Publishers and other institutions are turning cowardly and brittle when faced with social media frenzies   Clanchy appears to have been cast beyond the pale, where there is no room for nuance. But it is evident from the testimony of those who know her that she has done a huge amount of good, championing young people whom society too often ignores. Her students have gone on to  address the UN , been commissioned to  write poetry for the BBC  and had their  poetry set to music  by acclaimed composers. How to make sense of her ostracism? Some people are desperate to see the world cast in black and white. Clanchy’s worst crime is not to fit this mould. Of course she doesn’t: none of us can rise above the imperfectly human. Look at her in the round and it’s obvious she’s done more good than most. This is why the strand of anti-racist thinking that is obsessed with the blame and shame all white people should bear for structural discrimination is so corrosive to common cause and understandi

Jonathan Freedland: This scandal reveals a Conservative party corrupted by Boris Johnson – and by Brexit / Rory Stewart: Britain needs a new era of serious leaders

The origin of all this – a Conservative party happily trampling on the union, the monarchy and the cultural organisation that binds these islands together like no other – is not hard to fathom, though it has become impolite to mention it. It’s  Brexit  that transformed the Conservative party. Where once Tories revered tradition, Brexit filled them with revolutionary zeal. Suddenly, and in a reversal of the teaching of the  conservative theorist Michael Oakeshott , they preferred the unknown to the familiar, the untried to the tried, the possible to the actual, utopian bliss to present laughter. Brexit saw the Tories succumb to the lure of abstract nouns – Freedom! Sovereignty! – and supposedly creative destruction. One minister can’t shake the image of Dominic Cummings, minutes after the referendum result came through, leaping on a table at Vote Leave headquarters, giving a speech and then  punching a hole  in the ceiling: “Destructive fervour in his moment of triumph.” Vandalism b

Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don't Understand by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – review

Nassim Taleb divides the world and all that's in it (people, things, institutions, ways of life) into three categories: the fragile, the robust and the antifragile. You are fragile if you avoid disorder and disruption for fear of the mess they might make of your life: you think you are keeping safe, but really you are making yourself vulnerable to the shock that will tear everything apart. You are robust if you can stand up to shocks without flinching and without changing who you are. But you are antifragile if shocks and disruptions make you stronger and more creative, better able to adapt to each new challenge you face. Taleb thinks we should all try to be antifragile. Antifragile : by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – reviewed by David Runciman If the idea is nice and neat, however, the book that houses it is just the opposite. It is a big, baggy, sprawling mess. Taleb seems to have decided not just to explain his idea but also to try to exemplify it. One of his bugbears is the fragility

Killing the Truth: the case of Gauri Lankesh

Gauri Lankesh , a high-profile journalist and activist who spoke out against the rise of right-wing extremism and stood up for India’s marginalised people, was shot to death on 5 September 2017. Gauri was posthumously awarded the Anna Politkovskaya Award for her work. The trial of the 17 people being held in remand for her murder has yet to start. In partnership with A Safer World for the Truth, openDemocracy examines Gauri’s death – and commemorates her life... Gauri Lankesh: ‘Abnormality is becoming the new normal in Karnataka’ // ‘Murder of democracy, climate of hate, intolerance complicit’ A mighty heart - The death and life of Gauri Lankesh // Virago, not martyr Over 10,000 at protest rally in Bengaluru, declare: I am Gauri // BJP Sends Legal Notice To Ramachandra Guha “How dare they celebrate, this is our India, we will not allow this to happen.” People of Bengal

Junaid Kathju: Lockdown of Kashmir Press Club

On 15 January an unprecedented scene was witnessed in the Kashmir Press Club (KPC) when a few journalists accompanied by government forces entered into the premises and appointed themselves as the new “interim body” to look after the club affairs. Many journalists termed the incident a “coup” and condemned the arbitrary takeover of the club and accused the new interim body for working at the behest of the government. However, the new interim body led by senior journalist Salim Pandit denied the accusation.  The sudden takeover drew severe criticism from journalist associations across India and abroad. Reputed organizations like Editors Guild of India (EGI), Press Club of India (PCI), Mumbai Press Club (MPC), Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ), Chennai Press Club (CPC) condemned the “forcible takeover” of the KPC…. Bharat Bhushan - Pegasus impact: Loss to Indian Republic an

Mainstream, Jan 22, 2022

Letter to the readers, Mainstream, Jan 22, 2022 ·  Public Sector in India Faces a Three-Sided Assault  | Arun Kumar ·  The Lamp  | S.G.Vombatkere ·  Foundations of Indian Republic De-based: The Case of Federalism  | D Raja ·  Veil is anti-Quran  | S. Faizi ·  Telangana Rastra Samiti & Political Dynamics in Telangana  | Karli Srinivasulu ·  A Welcome Book of Assertive History  | TJS George ·  Pandit Birju Maharaj Was Indeed The Maharaja of Kathak!  | Humra Quraishi ·  Tagore’s Version of Atmanirvar and Atmashakti  | Sreedeep ·  Revolution, Law, and Self-Determination  | Shubham Sharma ·  How Dalits Were Separated from Shudras?  | Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd ·  Patriarchal capitalism and marriage in 21st century  | Bhabani Shankar Nayak ·  Making Sense of Time  | Arup Kumar Sen ·  Rising Hate: Polarization and Defense of Indian Constitution  | Ram Puniyani ·  RSS is in a bind over Dalits shiting loyalty  | Arun Srivastava ·  Reckless pursuit of linking rivers

Chemical pollution exceeds safe planetary limit

The production and release of plastics, pesticides, industrial compounds, antibiotics and other pollutants is now happening so fast and on such a large scale that it has exceeded the planetary boundary for chemical pollution, the safe limit for humanity, a new study claims. We asked Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez, a PhD candidate at Stockholm University and one of the authors of the study, to explain what this means. What are planetary boundaries?: In 2009, an international team of researchers identified nine planetary boundaries that maintain the remarkably stable state Earth has remained within for 10,000 years – since the dawn of civilisation. These boundaries include greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, the ozone layer, an intact biosphere and freshwater. The researchers quantified the boundaries that influence Earth’s stability and concluded in 2015 that human activity has breached four of them. Greenhouse gas emissions are pushing the global climate into a new, hotter sta