Thursday, 30 May 2019

Hannah Ellis-Petersen - Philippines ships 69 containers of rubbish back to Canada

The Philippines has followed through on its threat to send 1,500 tonnes of illegally dumped rubbish back on a boat to Canada, ending a six-year dispute between the two countries. Wilma Eisma, administrator of Subic Bay freeport, confirmed that the 69 containers of garbage had been loaded overnight on the container ship M/V Bavaria, which left on a 20-day journey to the Canadian port city of Vancouver, via Taiwan. Eisma said the the move ended a “sordid chapter in our history”.

The dispatch of the Canadian rubbish, which had been sitting in two Philippine ports since 2013 and 2014 while Canada refused to acknowledge the issue, was a cause for celebration in the Philippines.
Environmental activists, including those from Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition, sailed around Subic Bay on a small boat carrying with a streamer reading, “Philippines: not a garbage dumping ground!” while foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin posted on Twitter: “Baaaaaaaaa bye, as we say it,” alongside images of the vessel leaving.

Canada’s environment minister Catherine McKenna welcomed the news of the waste being returned, telling reporters on Thursday: “We committed with the Philippines and we’re working closely with them.” The rubbish has been a source of contention between the two nations for years, after it was discovered the containers had been brought in falsely declared as recyclable plastic when it was in fact electrical and rotting household waste. However, in recent months the issue had escalated into a full-blown diplomatic dispute.

The Philippines won a legal case last year which ruled Canada had to take responsibility for the waste, but no further action was taken by the Canadian government. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte then took a very personal interest in the saga, demanding that Canada take back the waste or vowing to have it towed and dumped in Canadian waters... read more:

Tom Phillips : Students protest across Brazil over Jair Bolsonaro's sweeping cuts to education

Tens of thousands of students, academics and teachers have taken to the streets of Brazil for their latest mass protest against what they call far-right president Jair Bolsonaro’s assault on education.

Up and down the country – from Amazon cities to small towns in Brazil’s deep south – demonstrators turned out to condemn Bolsonaro’s highly controversial moves to slash funding for public education and science. In the capital, Brasília, student protesters were filmed burning an effigy of the Brazilian president while chanting the increasingly common refrain of his opponents: “Hey, Bolsonaro go and get fucked”.In the northeastern city of Salvador, where a reported 70,000 people marched, one dissenter carried a diabolic caricature of Bolsonaro stamped with the phrase: “Not today Satan”. Thousands of students marched through downtown Rio with placards reading: “Education isn’t an expense, it is an investment”.

“This isn’t just an attack on universities. It is going to affect all levels of education,” said Rodrigo Iacovini, an urban planner who joined a march in Brazil’s economic capital, São Paulo. “We knew it would be bad – but not this bad,” Iacovini, 33, said of Bolsonaro’s six-month-old administration. “Unfortunately, they have shown themselves to be not just a conservative government, but a completely incompetent conservative government that is utterly detached from the Brazilian reality.”

Tanisia Maria Almeida, a masters student who demonstrated in the northeastern state of Sergipe, said she was horrified by spending cuts she feared would make it harder for students from poor backgrounds to gain an education... read more:

Ultraprocessed foods are easy, cheap and could be killing you

"Ultraprocessed" describes many foods, including pre-prepared dishes found in grocery store freezers, packaged baked goods, dehydrated soups, ice cream, sugary cereals and fizzy beverages.
Two separate studies published Wednesday in The BMJ link eating the popular factory-made fare with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of early death. While a direct cause-effect relationship has yet to be established, the researchers of both studies note that previous studies have associated highly processed food consumption with higher risks of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even some cancers.

"Ultraprocessed foods already make up more than half of the total dietary energy consumed in high-income countries such as USA, Canada and the UK," Maira Bes-Rastrollo, senior author of one study and a professor of preventive medicine and public health at the Universidad de Navarra, told CNN. "In the case of Spain, consumption of ultraprocessed food almost tripled between 1990 and 2010."

Researchers gathered data from close to 20,000 participants in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) project, which monitors university graduate volunteers, ages 20 to 91 years old, every two years through questionnaires. Using a 136-item food frequency questionnaire, the researchers evaluated each participant's diet at the start of the study in 1999 and then reassessed it throughout the research period ending in 2014. The routine surveys measured how frequently people ate food in the four food categories defined by the NOVA classification system, which looks at how foods are made and not just nutrients. 

The "unprocessed or minimally processed" food category included fruits, vegetables, legumes, milk, eggs, meats, poultry, fish and seafood, yogurt, grains (white rice and pasta) and natural juice. Salt, sugar, honey, olive oil, butter and lard were listed in the category of "processed ingredients," while "processed foods" included cheeses, breads, beer, wine, cured traditional ham and bacon. The final category encompassed ultraprocessed foods such as flan, chorizo, sausages, mayonnaise, potato chips, pizza, cookies, chocolates and candies, artificially sweetened beverages and whisky, gin and rum... read more:

‘A zombie party’: the deepening crisis of conservatism. By Andy Beckett

The traditional right is clinging on to power – but its ideas are dead in the water
Conservatism is the dominant politics of the modern world. Even when rightwing parties are not in power, conservative ideas and policies set the shape of society and the economy. Ever since the transformative 1980s governments of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – with their new fusion of disruptive capitalism and social traditionalism – the assumption in Britain, the US and far beyond has been that conservatism is the default setting of democratic politics.

Even when other parties have been in office, leaders such as Tony Blair and Bill Clinton have continued with the conservative project of privatising the state and deregulating business. For decades, armies of rightwing activists – with rich financial backers and many allies in the media – have successfully spread and entrenched conservative ideas. Many of conservatism’s opponents have come to expect that, somehow, it will always prevail. Despite the spectacular failure of Theresa May’s premiership and the unpopularity of her divided party, the contest to succeed her is likely to dominate British politics this summer, as if the identity of the Tory leader is its weightiest matter. The Republican Donald Trump, despite the most consistently bad approval ratings of any modern US president, is widely thought to have a good chance of re-election. In today’s otherwise unstable, fast-changing political world, conservatism has an air of permanence.

Yet this aura has led to an overconfidence about conservatism’s underlying health. In Britain and the US, once the movement’s most fertile sources of ideas, voters, leaders and governments, a deep crisis of conservatism has been building since the end of the Reagan and Thatcher governments. It is a crisis of competence, of intellectual energy and coherence, of electoral effectiveness, and – perhaps most serious of all – of social relevance.

This crisis has often been obscured. The collapse of Soviet communism in the 80s, the apparent triumph of capitalism during the 90s, the western left’s own splits, dilemmas and failures, and the ongoing surge of rightwing populism have all helped maintain conservatism’s surface confidence. Meanwhile, the rightwing media’s fierce, enduring faith in the ever-more distant politics of Thatcher and Reagan has helped delay the moment of recognition that those politics have grown obsolete.... read more:

The Anthropocene epoch: have we entered a new phase of planetary history? By Nicola Davison

From the pragmatic stratigraphic perspective, no marker is as distinct, or more globally synchronous, than the radioactive fallout from the use of nuclear weapons that began with the US army’s Trinity test in 1945. Since the early 1950s, this memento of humankind’s darkest self-destructive impulses has settled on the Earth’s surface like icing sugar on a sponge cake. Plotted on a graph, the radioactive fallout leaps up like an explosion. Zalasiewicz has taken to calling it the “bomb spike”.

he slowly realized that the sciences were not a way to limit violence but to fuel it. He decided to hear and to feel this terrible earth shaking tremor travelling from Hiroshima, the only date in history that he takes as a real turning-point; the earth has been shaking ever since…. Thanatocraty - Serres’ word for the black triad made by scientists, politicians and industrialists. (Bruno Latour on Michel Serres - Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures (1987)

It was February 2000 and the Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen was sitting in a meeting room in Cuernavaca, Mexico, stewing quietly. Five years earlier, Crutzen and two colleagues had been awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry for proving that the ozone layer, which shields the planet from ultraviolet light, was thinning at the poles because of rising concentrations of industrial gas. Now he was attending a meeting of scientists who studied the planet’s oceans, land surfaces and atmosphere. As the scientists presented their findings, most of which described dramatic planetary changes, Crutzen shifted in his seat. “You could see he was getting agitated. He wasn’t happy,” Will Steffen, a chemist who organised the meeting, told me recently.

More articles on the Anthropocene

What finally tipped Crutzen over the edge was a presentation by a group of scientists that focused on the Holocene, the geological epoch that began around 11,700 years ago and continues to the present day. After Crutzen heard the word Holocene for the umpteenth time, he lost it. “He stopped everybody and said: ‘Stop saying the Holocene! We’re not in the Holocene any more,’”..
read more:

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Chaos, hope, change: stories from 70 years of the People's Republic of China. By Lily Kuo

Seven decades after Mao declared the beginning of a new era, Chinese people reflect on the dizzying and jolting changes that have forged the modern nation
“I have seen the true face of the teachers, government officials, trade unions, police, and the courts. They don’t care about the workers. “They don’t want to solve problems. They just want to solve the people who reflect the problem” 

This year marks 70 years since Mao Zedong stood in Tiananmen Square in Beijing and declared the beginning of the People’s Republic of China. To the outside world, China’s transformation from a poor agrarian society into one of the world’s most powerful economies is nothing short of miraculous. “If you think about what China was 70 years ago, essentially a country that had fought its way through two wars and was on its knees and battered – the idea that in 70 years it would be the second biggest economy in the world… and a major global player would have seemed very unlikely indeed,” said Rana Mitter, a professor of history and politics of modern China at Oxford University.
But for those who lived through these years, the pace of change has been dizzying and at times jolting. Almost no other country has experienced shifts as dramatic as China has – almost as if each generation has lived in an entirely different country.

The Chinese who grew up in the early days of the People’s Republic remember ration cards, mass hunger, and political campaigns like the Cultural Revolution, which upended the country between 1966 and 1976 and whose effects still linger today. Those in the 1980s remember a time of optimism and openness, amid a growing belief that economic reforms be accompanied by political ones, liberalising both the economy and the political system. That chapter of openness was slammed shut by the end of the decade when the Chinese military crushed student protests on 3-4 June, 1989. The nation will remember the Tiananmen Square protests on their 30th anniversary next week....

Geoff Mulgan: New frontiers in social innovation research

Nesta has published a new book with Palgrave which contains an introduction by me and many important chapters from leading academics around the world. I hope that many people will read it, and think about it, because it challenges, in a highly constructive way, many of the rather tired assumptions of the London media/political elite of both left and right.

The essay is by Roberto Mangabeira Unger, perhaps the world’s most creative and important contemporary intellectual. He is Professor of Law at Harvard (where he taught Obama); a philosopher and political theorist; author of one of the most interesting recent books on religion; co-author of an equally ground-breaking recent book on theoretical physics; and serves as strategy minister in the Brazilian government.

His argument is that a radically different way of thinking about politics, government and social change is emerging, which has either not been noticed by many political leaders, or misinterpreted. The essence of the argument is that practice is moving faster than theory; that systematic experimentation is a faster way to solve problems than clever authorship of pamphlets, white papers and plans; and that societies have the potential to be far more active agents of their own future than we assume.

The argument has implications for many fields. One is think-tanks. Twenty years ago I set up a think-tank, Demos. At that time the dominant model for policy making was to bring together some clever people in a capital city to write pamphlets, white papers and then laws. In the 1950s to 1970s a primary role was played by professors in universities, or royal commissions. Then it shifted to think-tanks. Sometimes teams within governments played a similar role – and I oversaw several of these, including the Strategy Unit in government. All saw policy as an essentially paper-based process, involving a linear transmission from abstract theories and analyses to practical implementation...

'Egg boy' Will Connolly donates $100,000 to Christchurch mosque attack survivors

Will Connolly, the Australian teenager who became known as “egg boy”, says he has donated almost $100,000 to help those affected by the Christchurch mosque attack. The money has come through two GoFundMe pages that were established by other people after Connolly cracked an egg on the head of far-right senator Fraser Anning.

The egging came after Fraser said the Christchurch attack highlighted “growing fear over an increasing Muslim presence” in Australian and New Zealand communities. Anning punched 17-year-old Connolly after the incident and Anning’s supporters tackled Connolly to the ground.

Connolly was taken away by police and released without charge. The GoFundMe pages had been set up to raise money for legal fees but the teenager promised to donate the money to help those affected by the attack in which 51 people were killed... read more:

Aditya Chakrabortty - Britain is in the grip of an existential crisis that reaches far beyond Brexit

But lo! Yonder comes Michael Gove, bearing “unity” and “vision”

The person who is best qualified to hold up a mirror to British politics today is neither a minister nor an academic. He is not even British. No: he is, of course, Michel Barnier, the French-born servant of Brussels. In his 1,036 days as the EU’s chief negotiator, he has sat for numbing hours opposite Theresa May, haggled with David Davis and Dominic Raab and their junior ministers and faced down countless Whitehall officials. He is the outsider who knows our system inside out. 

So when he popped up right at the end of the BBC’s fly on the wall Storyville documentaries on the Brexit negotiations, I leaned in to listen. Filmed in March, as it became clear that Britain would not be leaving Europe any time soon, Barnier is shown briefing senior European parliamentarians. This latest breakdown is “more than weariness”, he tells them. “There is a very serious crisis in the UK which … isn’t linked to the text of Brexit and even less to the Irish backstop. It’s a much deeper crisis. An existential crisis.”

Barnier doesn’t do florid, so his words leapt out. After almost three years with his eye pressed to a microscope trained on the British elite, here was one of the EU’s finest declaring that the real failure wasn’t this clause or that loophole. It wasn’t even Brexit at all. The UK is in a crisis as big as the country itself... read more:

FAROOQ TARIQ - Pakistan’s Ali Wazir: The lone Marxist to win despite Taliban killing 16 of his family

A rare Communist to survive and win, Wazir refused a seat from Imran Khan, who later didn’t put up a candidate against him.

Ali Wazir, a central committee member of The Struggle, has won a seat in the national parliament of Pakistan from NA-50 (Tribal Area–XI) with 23,530 votes and his closest rival from a religious parties alliance, MMA got 7,515. Thus winning the seat with a majority of 16,015. Ali Wazir is one of the main leaders of the Pashtun Tahafaz Movement (PTM). This year, mass meetings were organised in major cities of Pakistan to raise voices for fair compensation to the victims of the “war on terror” and to demand the release of all ‘missing’ persons or to bring them to the courts if they are guilty.

Two other leaders of the PTM also contested for the national parliament and one of them, Muhsin Dawer also won the seat after a close competition. Mohsin Javed Dawer got 16,526 votes while Aurangzeb of Imran Khan’s PTI got 10,422. However, the MMA candidate Mufti Misbahudin got a close 15,363 votes.

These two PTM leaders contested from Waziristan, an area dominated by religious fanatics. However, a strong movement for civil rights of Pashtuns had cut across the influence of the fanatics and Pashtuns voted despite all the threats to them. Two main leaders of the PTM present in parliament has given hope to many in Pakistan that at least there would be peoples voices in a parliament dominated by feudal lords, corrupt capitalists and stooges of the military and judicial establishment.

Who is Ali Wazir?
Ali Wazir is a very special person. His personal ordeal best illustrates what prompted his demands. Ali Wazir was pursuing a degree in law at the turn of the century when his hometown, Wana, the headquarters of the south Waziristan agency, became the epicenter of global terrorism after a host of Taliban-allied groups sought shelter in the communities... read more:

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Charlotte Middlehurst - How The Country Once Nicknamed ‘Garbage Island’ Cut Waste By 30%

In the ’80s and ’90s, Taiwan had one of the world’s worst urban waste problems. Its landfills overflowed and mountains of rubbish clogged street corners, earning it the unflattering moniker “Garbage Island.” Fed up with the accumulation of waste, people across the country demanded action. They burned trash in the streets and rallied at dumping sites. Over the next two decades, the government over-hauled the waste management infrastructure of the island from root to branch, investing in waste trucks and recycling plants and switching from landfills to incineration. 

New regulations compelled companies and consumers to share the physical and financial burden of recycling and garbage collection, establishing personal accountability and incentivizing people to produce less waste in the first place. Yen-Chi Chang, 26, who grew up along the east coast of Taiwan and now works in marketing, was born just as the tides of trash were beginning to turn.  

“When my parents were in school, no one paid attention to the importance of recycling,” said Chang. “[Now], we are told from an early age that we must recycle.” Today, Taiwan’s 55% recycling rate is among the highest the world, up from virtually zero three decades ago. For comparison, the U.S. recycling rate is 34.7% and the European Union’s is 46%. The average Taiwanese person produces 850 grams (1.9 pounds) of waste daily, down from 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds) 15 years ago. 

In the U.S., the average was 4.4 pounds per person per day in 2013. This year, Taiwan committed to banning all single-use plastics — including bags, disposable cups, utensils and straws — by 2030.
As activists and policymakers urgently seek solutions to stem the global tide of waste, Taiwan’s recycling revolution demonstrates the vital role of an organized civil society in forcing governments to prioritize responsible waste management. Moreover, it’s a lesson in how wealth and urbanization can contribute to waste, but also help reduce it... read more:

‘Walking over bodies’: mountaineers describe carnage on Everest

NB: A calamity caused solely by the negligence and corruption of the Nepali authorities. DS

An experienced mountaineer has described the “death, carnage and chaos” at the top of Mount Everest as climbers pushed past bodies to reach the world’s highest summit. The death toll on the mountain grew to 11 in the past day after an American doctor was killed while descending from the peak. It emerged also that an Australian climber was discovered unconscious but had survived after being transported downhill on the back of a yak.

Elia Saikaly, a film-maker, reached Hillary Step, the final stage before the summit, on the morning of 23 May, where he said the sunrise revealed the lifeless body of another climber. With little choice at that altitude but to keep moving, his team – including Joyce Azzam, the first Lebanese woman to climb the world’s “Seven Summits” – made it to the peak a short time later.

“I cannot believe what I saw up there,” Saikaly said of the last hours of his climb in a post on Instagram. “Death. Carnage. Chaos. Lineups. Dead bodies on the route and in tents at camp 4. People who I tried to turn back who ended up dying. People being dragged down. Walking over bodies. Everything you read in the sensational headlines all played out on our summit night.”

This year’s Everest climbing season is so far the fourth deadliest on record, with mountaineers blaming poor weather, inexperienced climbers and a record number of permits issued by the Nepalese government, which, along with a rule that every climber has to be accompanied by a sherpa, led to there being more than 820 people trying to reach the summit... read more:

Mario Candeias: Understanding the Rise of the Radical Right

Decisive is whether everyday experience is shaped by practical solidarity or by competition and isolation. It is not impossible that a successive practice of solidarity could be more attractive than the imagined self-empowerment of the radical right, without any solution for everyday problems. It is about a “generalized capacity to act” on the path toward a common and solidary disposition about our own conditions of life – “taking back control,” but “for the many, not the few.”

A “helpless antifascism” focusing too much on the radical right and its agenda, rushing from one counter-demonstration to another, defensively concedes the chosen terrain of struggle. We have to develop our own agenda and shift the terrain with concrete organizing around everyday social problems with connective class politics, focused not only on the antagonist from above and from the radical right, but creating its own broader basis for a lived solidarity for all

It is the time of monsters. The organic crisis of the old neoliberal project has also brought forth the rise of a new radical right. Yet these monsters are quite different from one another: we have strong men like Trump, Kurz and Macron – political entrepreneurs shaping a new authoritarianism from positions of governance. Theresa May and Boris Johnson act quite similar, with less success, but unlike the others they are established representatives of authoritarian elite right-wing conservatism.

They all share an anti-establishment discourse, although they have strong capital factions backing them. The authoritarian-nationalistic regimes in Poland and Hungary (or Turkey) are distinct, and are in turn different from the radical right like the Front National, Geert Wilders’s PVV or the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), the Austrian FPÖ and Italy’s Lega – both operating from a position of government. Very different from them, in turn, is the Five Star Movement. How can we understand these formations’ differences and commonalities? This question must be addressed to identify specific tactics and counter-strategies in the concrete countries (see Wiegel 2018).

Here, I will try to tease out a more fundamental question: how can we understand the reasons behind the rise of the radical right? Many different explanations exist, most of which are valuable in explaining certain aspects. But they exist in parallel at best, sometimes even in conflict with one another. So is there a specific relation that we could flesh out theoretically?.. read more:

see also
A whiff of evil
Interview with Enzo Traverso on post-fascism, left melancholy, and the memory of defeat
Bangladesh 1971: the forgotten template of 20th century war - by Gita Sahgal
Sigmund Freud is out of fashion. The reason? His heroic refusal to flatter humankind
Body pleasure & the origins of violence

Monday, 27 May 2019

Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta: Converting Hindus to Hindutva - Interview with D.R. Goyal (1929-2013) writer and historian

Des Raj Goyal was born in 1929 in Moga; Panjab; and joined the RSS in 1942, when he was a school student. He was disillusioned with the organisation and left it in 1947. He continued with his interest at an analytical level and published a book on it in 1979, which is considered authentic by academics.

D.R. GOYAL is known to have written the most authentic account of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), in 1978. As a school student, he joined the RSS, which projected itself as one of the organisations fighting for India’s independence, but it did not take him long to realise that the organisation’s professions were not necessarily true. Since then, he has been a chronicler of various developments in this “cultural” organisation. In 1962, when he was a Delhi University lecturer, he set up a unit of the Communist Party of India at the university. He later joined Subhadra Joshi (then Member of Parliament from Jabalpur, who also holds the distinction of having defeated Atal Bihari Vajpayee) to form the Sampradayikta Virodhi Manch..

An interview to Frontline in 2009 on the links between the RSS and BJP: 
How do you understand the present crisis in the BJP? What is the role of the RSS in influencing the BJP’s recent decisions such as the expulsion of Jaswant Singh, the sidelining of Yashwant Sinha, or the issuing of a show-cause notice to Arun Shourie?
First of all, I would say that the present situation in the BJP is like the Mahabharat. Kauravas and Pandavas fighting each other. Instead of Krishna coming and trying to solve [the conflict], the RSS jumps in. Though it has always been influencing it, for the first time the RSS chief has come and issued a public statement before the Chintan Baithak of the BJP. He made a statement on TV that older people should retire and the leadership should be given over to people in their 50s and 60s. This kind of thing has never happened earlier.

93 year old found dead in Assam after objection filed against his name in NRC

In a heartbreaking instance of man succumbing to hopelessness, Ashrab Ali, a 93 year old man, was found dead in Assam’s Kamrup district after someone filed an objection application against the inclusion of his name in the National Register of Citizens (NRC). His family alleges he committed suicide by consuming poison.

“His name was in the final draft of NRC published last year but someone put an objection against him and he had to attend a hearing on May 23 in Rangia (about 100 km away). After the hearing, his biometrics were taken and that scared him because some people in the village told him that biometric details are taken from suspected foreigners whom police might put in a detention camp,” Fazlur Rehman, a family member, told Indian Express.

The family says that he was disturbed after attending the hearing and feared he would be dragged away to a detention camp. He also feared how his family’s citizenship status would now be questioned if his citizenship could not be proved. It is noteworthy, that in May 2018, Prateek Hajela, the State Coordinator of the NRC, had directed all NRC officials to keep pending names of siblings and family members of declared foreigners from the NRC. The controversial order was upheld by the Gauhati High Court. In a version of ‘guilty by association’, it makes all family members of a declared foreigner vulnerable as their citizenship comes into question. Ali feared if he were to be declared foreigner, his entire family would suffer.

Independent journalist Rohini Mohan tweeted this heart rending threadabout meeting Ali’s family at his funeral. She also tweeted this video of purple pesticide that a local reporter shot near where Ali’s body was found. But the local police have ruled out suicide saying no poison was recovered from the location where the body was found. However, a post mortem has been ordered.

Thousands of Phantom Votes Suspected Across Lok Sabha Seats in Bihar, UP, Delhi, MP - Three former Chief Election Commissioners say EC should explain

New Delhi: In several Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, thousands of votes were recorded to have been counted in excess of the total votes cast, an investigation by Newsclick has revealed. These constituencies include at least three high-profile ones -- Patna Sahib, Jehanabad and Begusarai.

In at least one of the eight constituencies investigated, the discrepancy is more than the margin of defeat, leading to fears that the results would have been different in other uninvestigated constituencies, too. These fears come in the wake of widespread complaints and allegations of irregular and suspicious movement of electronic voting machines (EVMs) prior to the counting on May 23, across Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana among other states.

EC Should Explain, Say Former CECs

Three former Chief Election Commissioners (CEC), when contacted by Newsclick on this matter, expressed surprise and said that the Election Commission (EC) needs to explain or reconcile the numbers. "Since there are discrepancies, the Election Commission has to explain. Sometimes there are reasons and since there are none at the moment, they (the Commission) must give an explanation," said SY Quraishi, who was CEC in 2010-12. He also said that “someone should move the court.”

Another former CEC, N Gopalaswamy (2006-09), said "if the Form-17A polled figures have not been included and/or reconciled, then ask the Election Commission. Ideally, such reconciliation should have been done". HS Brahma, who headed the Election Commission in 2015, told Newsclickthat discrepancy of up to, say, a couple of thousand votes could be understood because sometimes there are issues with postal votes. “But anything more than that needs to be investigated and explained,” he added.. read more:

Henry A. Giroux - Fight the dictatorship of ignorance

The paramount role of violence in many countries today raises questions about the role of education, teachers and students in a time of tyranny. How might we imagine education as central to politics whose task is, in part, to create a new language for students, one that is crucial to reviving a radical imagination, a notion of social hope, and the courage to collective struggle? How might higher education and other cultural institutions address the deep, unchecked nihilism and despair of the current moment?..

At this point in the 21st century, the notion of the social and the public are not being erased as much as they are being reconstructed under circumstances in which public forums for serious debate, including public education, are being eroded. Reduced either to a crude instrumentalism or business culture, or defined as a purely private right rather than a public good, our major educational apparatuses are being removed from the discourse of democracy and civic culture.

Under the influence of powerful financial interests and ideological fundamentalists, we have witnessed the takeover of public and increasingly higher education as well as diverse media sites by a corporate logic that both numbs the mind and the soul, emphasizing repressive ideologies that promote winning at all costs, learning how not to question authority, and undermining the hard work of learning how to be thoughtful, critical and attentive to the power relations that shape everyday life and the larger world.

Viktor Orbán’s Hungary has become the model for this type of repression, and has been praised by Donald Trump. As learning is privatized, depoliticized, and reduced to teaching students how to be good consumers, any viable notions of society, public values, citizenship and democracy wither and die. Under the reign of neoliberalism with its antithesis for community, embrace of deregulation, privatization and consumerism, individuals can only find sanctuary in the feudal orbits of self-interest, a selfie culture, and individualistic rather than social goals.

Critical pedagogy is dangerous to many people and others because it provides the conditions for students and the wider public to exercise their intellectual capacities, embrace the ethical imagination, hold power accountable and embrace a sense of social responsibility... read more:

यह जीत अौर यह हार ० कुमार प्रशांत

यह जीत अौर यह हार 
कुमार प्रशांत 

भरोसा अौर विश्वास किसी भी राजनीतिज्ञ की सबसे बड़ी पूंजी होती है अौर वह पूंजी आज नरेंद्र मोदी के खाते में है अौर सारे देश में है. इसलिए अांकड़ों का, जीत-हार की गिनती का, वोटों के प्रतिशत का अौर गठबंधनों मेंऐसा होता कि वैसा होता ! जैसे समीकरणों का अभी कोई मतलब नहीं रह गया है. अब अगर कुछ मतलब की बात है, अौर आंख खोल कर जिसे देखते अौर दिखाते रहने की जरूरत है तो वह यह है कि बातें क्या कही जा रही हैं अौर बातें क्या की जा रही हैं. इनके बीच की खाई ही है जो अाने वाले समय में देश की कुंडली लिखेगी. मतलब कि हमें यह देखना ही होगा कि मोदी-शाह की जोड़ी अब उस तरह बरत रही है जिस तरह कभी वाजपेयी-अाडवाणी की जोड़ी बरतती थी. हमेशा ही इस पार्टी का दो चेहरा रहा है, दो बोली रही है. अौर हर निर्णायक मोड़ पर हम देखते आए हैं कि दोनों मिल कर एक हो जाते हैं. आज भी एक चालाकी अौर चाशनी की जबान है; एक धमकी अौर आगाह करती ललकार है.

अपने नवनिर्वाचित 303 सांसदों के सामने खड़े हो कर जब प्रधानमंत्री सेंट्रल हॉल में संविधान की किताब के सामने नतमस्तक हो रहे थे, उससे ठीक पहले ही मध्यप्रदेश के शिवनी में, संविधान की उसी किताब की धज्जियां उड़ा कर, संघ परिवार के गौ-रक्षक तौफीक, अंजुम शमा तथा दिलीप मालवीय की वहशी पिटाई कर रहे थे. 2014 से यह मंजर देश को लगातार घायल करता रहा है. तभी यह खबर भी आई कि 2013 में, पुणे में डॉ. नरेंद्र दाभोलकर की गोली मार कर जो हत्या की गई थी, उस मामले में सीबीअाई ने सनातन संस्था से जुड़े दो लोगों की गिरफ्तारी की है. जानने वाले सब जान रहे हैं कि यह सनातन संस्था क्या है अौर इसके तार कहां से जुड़े हैं.