A country turned upside down

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An upside down flag? It sure is the sign of times, 2012

Since the “Carnation Revolution” of 1974, which overthrew a 48-year long dictatorship, there have not been many moments in the political history of Portugal as exciting and filled with possibilities as the present one. After 4 years of intense austerity measures that followed an IMF bailout, leaving large segments of the population unsatisfied and many on the verge of poverty, this year’s legislative elections were much awaited. On the one hand, the conservative coalition headed by current Prime-Minister Pedro Passos Coelho (PAF, meaning “Portugal Ahead”) reaffirmed its commitment to international responsibilities and praised the achievements of austerity, criticising what was described as irresponsible political experimentation on the part of the left-wing opposition. On the other hand, the Socialist Party (PS) stood firmly against austerity and promised to fight soaring unemployment (12%) and mass Continue reading “A country turned upside down”

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Amed

AmedI am not Turkish, nor am I Kurdish. To be honest, I know relatively little about the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. Nevertheless, I am particularly sad about the recent developments, about the growing tensions, and of course about the Suruç and Ankara bombings. Actually, I am rather angry than sad.

I am angry to read that the streets of Diyarbakır are being militarized. I am angry to hear that Erdoğan’s AK Party is using the Kurdish question to polarize the country just weeks before the elections. And I am sad to observe that the electoral exploit of the left-wing Kurdish party (HDP) has so far led to more tensions than solutions. Continue reading “Amed”

Decrypting the Polish elections

Prime minister Ewa Kopacz and Beata Szydło
Prime minister Ewa Kopacz and Beata Szydło

On Sunday, Poland will have its parliamentary elections. The international press rarely comments on the political scene of this country with 40 million inhabitants. However, the Polish elections offer an interesting case. It is expected that the results will bring a major change, and for the left, it will probably not be one in the good direction.

For starters it’s important to understand some basics of Poland’s politics. It’s a parliamentary system, where most important executive powers are held by the Prime Minister who is elected by the lower chamber of the Parliament (Sejm). The Polish President has also some influence but less. The Prime Minister depends for his position on the Sejm, and can be dismissed by a vote of non-confidence. The upper chamber of the Parliament (Senat) is of far less importance. Continue reading “Decrypting the Polish elections”

The fall of Social Democracy: Two different perspectives

3538369964_afe3f647e7The first article was drafted by Luís Carvalho
Everyone has heard of Social Democracy, the political Ideology that advocates for State regulation and intervention in the Economy along with gradual reforms for a more fair and equal Society/Economy inside the framework of the Capitalist system, or as one of the Social Democracy “fathers” used to say: “Markets whenever it’s possible, State whenever it’s necessary”, Eduard Bernstein.

It seems like a reasonable thought and something that some people can relate with, and in fact it was one of the predominant Political Ideologies in 40’s. When EU was founded there were two main political Ideologies, Christian Democracy and Social Democracy, some of the Continue reading “The fall of Social Democracy: Two different perspectives”

About Right & Wrong (Part I)

p16vcu3ohl6as2f01qp01jmg1mvd0_46140In the light of current events, Graduates of Democracy focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As many people know, it is a violent and complex clash. This has been the case for almost 70 years and maybe even longer. Today it is not any different, violence rules the streets with many victims. Experts are nowadays even talking about a Third Intifada.

This conflict is also very much debated and discussed in Europe. Everyone has an opinion about it or tries to formulate one. This often leads to confusion and frustration. Many Palestinians and Israeli’s don’t feel understood by Europeans. Graduates of Democracy therefore invited two speakers, one Israeli and one Palestinian, to share their perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They get free space to share their opinion and what they think are the real causes.

The first author is Tom Wexler, a 25years old dentistry student from Tel Aviv.

Continue reading “About Right & Wrong (Part I)”

The Clash of Civilizations in the 21st Century

The American Political Scientist Samuel P. Huntington wrote his book ‘The Clash of Civilizations’ in 1993. He argued that future conflicts would not be caused by economic or ideological factors but by cultural and religious identities. The different civilizations around the world, wherever their borders interact, would clash more and more.

Huntington published his theory just after the fall of the Soviet-Union. It was a time of Western optimism. Many scholars believed that big internationals conflicts would be something of the past. Market mechanisms and liberal ideas were supposed to dictate the world. American political scientist Francis Fukuyama even wrote about ‘the end of history’ and the undeniable victory of Western liberal democracy. Times have changed. Big conflicts have resurfaced, the Western system is questioned all over the world, and even Fukuyama withdrew his theory. Does this mean Huntington was right after all? Continue reading “The Clash of Civilizations in the 21st Century”

Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister?

The far left MP has confounded expectations so far
The far left MP has confounded expectations so far

It feels like an exciting time to be involved in the British Labour Party. We are seeing something that none of the old parties of social democracy have experienced in recent times: A left wing revolt from the inside. In Britain, the radical left has taken over the party while other European countries saw the emergence of new radical leftwing parties, like SYRIZA in Greece and PODEMOS in Spain. Jeremy Corbyn, an MP from the hard left of the party who was not expected to win when he stood for the leadership, is now leader of the Labour Party.

I have been to many European countries over the summer on political endeavours. Everywhere where I went I was asked about Jeremy Corbyn. There seems to be a great deal of excitement over Continue reading “Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister?”

Brecht das Schweigen!

Emir Sulejmanovic, Geschäftsführer der Jusos im Landkreis Verden teilt seine Meinung und die seiner Jusos. Dieser Text bearbeitet die Problematik vom Aufstieg des Rechtspopulismus.

Rose
Rose

Noch im Jahr 2006 warb Deutschland im Zuge der Fussball-Weltmeisterschaft mit dem Slogan „Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden“. Heute, neun Jahre später und ausgerechnet siebzig Jahre nach dem Sturz des NS-Regimes, scheinen sich die damaligen Versprechen in Luft aufgelöst zu haben. Täglich erreichen uns neue Nachrichten von rechtsextremistischen Terroranschlägen auf die Flüchtlingsheime.

Sie werden angezündet und die gewalttätigen Übergriffen auf Flüchtlinge mehren sich. Zeitgleich kommt es im Internet regelmäßig zu Hasstiraden und Aufrufen zur Gewalt. Rechtspopulismus ist inzwischen salonfähig geworden und gerade das Internet wird von diesen bildungsresistenten „besorgten-Bürgern“ instrumentalisiert um „vermeintliche Sorgen“ in Hassbotschaften zum Continue reading “Brecht das Schweigen!”

Meanwhile in Berlin

Germany Anti-Semitism-3After a tiny bit of summer laziness we, Graduates of Democracy, are back on track. The flow of events in the last two months left dumbfound the whole world, from the exacerbation of the Syrian crisis and the consequent landing of 300,000[1] refugees at the frontiers of the European Union to the shameful bombing of Médecins Sans Frontières Hospital in Afhghanistan few hours ago.

While some actors on the international chessboards were struggling to find a common voice or a common governance to counteract the flow Continue reading “Meanwhile in Berlin”