Showing posts from December, 2014

PRAGNA PATEL - 'Shariafication by stealth' in the UK

Access to justice is being denied in the UK in the shadow of neoliberalism and religious fundamentalism. Minority women are being denied the right to participate in the wider political community as citizens rather than subjects. In the last five years or so in the UK, SBS ( Southall Black Sisters )   has increasingly been preoccupied with one key question above all else: how to access justice on behalf of the most vulnerable. Of course, access to justice has always been a central concern, given that we have long recognised the law as a key site of feminist resistance. We have used the  law  in a variety of ways to ensure that the most marginalised and vulnerable can  exercise their right  to equality, justice and fairness in civil and criminal proceedings. Examples include our  casework  and campaigns on  Kiranjit Aluwalia  and the  Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 .  This has involved laying bare in the law class, race and gender norms that reproduce inequality and legiti

Shobhaa De - 'PK' Gets No Support From Bollywood // Siddharth Varadarajan - It is 'PK' Protestors Who Are Mocking Hinduism

I was on a television panel discussion on Monday. Yup. Same one on which the anchor provides all the answers to questions asked by the nation. The topic was volatile (widespread vandalism of theatres screening the Aamir Khan starrer 'PK' in Ahmedabad, Bhopal and elsewhere) but the panelists were thanda. The panelists who were supposed to condemn the violence, that is. While those defending the disgraceful shenanigans belonged to right wing political/religious outfits, the three of us representing the 'voice of the people' were disappointingly muted. Well, I tried my best to be heard over the din of smug, self-appointed custodians of Hindu sentiments, but it was a frustrating and pointless exercise. I asked why the channel had not invited someone more 'tagda' to represent Bollywood. The reply didn't surprise me - nobody of any importance from the movie industry wanted to speak up  - for the principle, not an individual. For the wrongness of what took pl

Samudra Gupta Kashyap - Heart wrenching tale of migrants labourers in govt projects

Golori is from Adiguda village in Koraput district, Orissa, and speaks only broken Hindi, but it is the only way he can communicate with the workers with him — from states across India such as Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Over 3,000 labourers, 80 per cent of them migrants, are at work on a 210-km broad gauge line from Lumding in Nagaon district to Silchar in Barak Valley in Assam, through the Barail mountains, over 500 metres above sea level. Scheduled to be operational by March 31, 2015, the line will improve connectivity of Assam to Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, and will pass through 17 tunnels and over 79 major bridges and 340 minor bridges.  Golori is employed with Hyderabad-based SSNR Projects Pvt Ltd. Since 2012, he has been supervising the drilling of the rocks. Golori works inside the 1,687-metre-long Tunnel No. 7 for 12 hours a day. As mobile phones can’t be switched on inside, the first thing  he does at the end of the day is call his fam

George Monbiot (2007) - How the neoliberals stitched up the wealth of nations for themselves

For the first time the UK's consumer debt exceeds the total of its gross national product: a new report shows that we owe £1.35 trillion. Inspectors in the United States have discovered that 77,000 road bridges are in the same perilous state as the one which collapsed into the Mississippi. Two years after Hurricane Katrina struck, 120,000 people from New Orleans are still living in trailer homes and temporary lodgings. As runaway climate change approaches, governments refuse to take the necessary action. Booming inequality threatens to create the most divided societies the world has seen since before the first world war. Now a financial crisis caused by unregulated lending could turf hundreds of thousands out of their homes and trigger a cascade of economic troubles. These problems appear unrelated, but they all have something in common. They arise in large part from a meeting that took place 60 years ago in a Swiss spa resort. It laid the foundations for a philosophy of governm

Costas Lapavitsas - Greece: Syriza can transform the EU from within – if Europe will let it

The Greek parliament has failed to elect a new president and the country’s constitution dictates that  there should now be parliamentary elections.  These will be critical for Greece and also important for Europe. A victory for  Syriza , the main leftwing party,  would offer hope that Europe might, at last, begin to move away from austerity policies . But there are also grave risks for Greece and the European left. The rise of Syriza is a result of the adjustment programme imposed on Greece in 2010. The troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) provided huge bailout loans, with the cost of unprecedented cuts in public expenditure, tax increases and a collapse in wages. It was a standard, if extreme, austerity package, with one vital difference: austerity could not be softened by devaluing the currency as, for instance, had happened in the  Asian crisis  of 1997-98. Greek membership of the euro had closed all escape r

Elmar Altvater - Controlling the future: Edward Snowdon and the new era on Earth

The worldwide spying operation is about more than security and counter-terrorism; rather, it is a part of a broader strategy aimed at controlling global information In 1964, the Brazilian military established a cruel dictatorship, Pinochet's dictatorship followed in 1973 in Chile, then the military putsch in Argentina. These murderous regimes were politically and materially supported by the CIA and respected politicians such as Henry Kissinger really assisted this trade in death. The repression, persecution and murder of members of the opposition and of trade unions, as well as leftist politicians, artists and representatives of the church were also coordinated by the secret services of Latin American military dictatorships – with... the active support of the United States... the justification for the brutal repression followed the same lines: it was a defence against terrorism. In June 2013, Edward Snowden began to uncover the machinations of the US National Security Agency (N

Book review: The Radical Paradox of Martin Luther King’s Devotion to Nonviolence

  The choice today is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.. "   Martin Luther King (read the full text here:  My Pilgrimage to Non-violence, September 1958 ) Taylor Branch's three-volume, 2,500-page chronicle,  America in the King Years ,  is one of the landmark biographies in American history - Reviewed by Ron Rosenbaum “Look at the fall of the Berlin Wall, the fall of the whole Soviet Union, begun with nonviolent demonstrations in a Polish shipyard,” says Branch, sitting in the spare dining room of his modest Baltimore home. And on the afternoon we talked, there were protests in Hong Kong that echoed the Ferguson nonviolence gesture for “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.” All demonstrating the persistent power of King’s strategy of nonviolence. And yet, Branch feels, the lessons of the King legacy are still not taken seriously enough.  First there was the 50th  anniversary of the Civil Rights Act last July, one of the central achiev

DENIZ KANDIYOTI - Contesting patriarchy-as-governance: lessons from youth-led activism // BEATRIX CAMPBELL - Neoliberal neopatriarchy: the case for gender revolution

Youth-led mobilisation has mocked and exposed patriarchal power by unmasking its politics of social control. Are we on the threshold of a new politics of gender creating cross-gender alliances around struggles against autocracy ? The recent waves of citizen-led activism that swept the globe inspired numerous attempts to identify common drivers across diverse instances of public disobedience and protest.  Growing numbers of educated, unemployed, alienated youth, the humiliations  of autocracy, the authority- busting potential of the internet and social media, and the coming of age of Generation Y are among recurrent leitmotifs. These common denominators – broadly  related to the tensions between the global forces of neoliberalism seeking to expand the freedom of capital, and the forces of social resistance struggling to preserve and redefine community and solidarity - provide  an overly broad umbrella for phenomena  as diverse as the Arab uprisings, the Occupy movement, the indignados