Democratic thinking

Articles on democracy in the independent online media

September 28, 2005

The Internet Library

Corporate business and the peer-to-peer community have reached a stand-off: in a continued debate on accountability it is argued that a compromise must be reached if we wish to maintain our right to access archival material from the web.

The powerful distribution mechanisms of the networked world, particularly peer-to-peer file sharing, present a unique challenge to the rule of law. But at present no one will meet that challenge. While filesharers will not compromise on ultimate freedom, corporations cannot see past the bottom line.

Miriam Clinton argues on open Democracy.

Does Media Activism have a future?

Media activism is in its infancy. It is fragmented and has dozens of different agendas. Policy mavericks are fighting ownership concentration in the courts. Independent journalists are speaking out on the internet and airwaves. Educators are helping the next generation by teaching media literacy in their classrooms.
What can pull together these currently disparate threads? What will it take build a media movement to parallel the other great movements of our time, like environmentalism, feminism and civil rights? Larger narratives like Media Democracy, Media Justice and Mental Environmentalism will surely play a part.
What else? Read the background article here and then weigh in on the future of the media movement.

September 25, 2005

Handbook for cyber dissidents

Wanabehuman is reporting that the French government has partly funded a handbook published by Reporters sans Frontieres for bloggers, offering advice on how to write weblogs from countries such as China and Iran.
Such countries have challenging media restrictions making bloggers the only 'real' journalists, since the mainstream media is heavily censored and under pressure.

Read the full article here.

Talking democratically

Can unmediated, massive-scale debate between peers in a networked society really change democratic practice?

Blogs are an obvious recent landmark in this revolution. Their one-to-many broadcast capability appeals in a media culture that celebrates celebrity and individualism. Meanwhile, openDemocracy’s discussion forums have been learning to debate democratically since 2001. As a many-to-many broadcast system, forums lack some of the peculiar satisfactions of blogs. But they have their own delights to offer. As openDemocracy’s community has grown, so have its character, robustness and identity. At their best forums offer a genuinely challenging diversity of interests, dynamics and styles. But at their worst discussion forums can descend into an online form of bar-room brawl.

Sarah Lindon sheds the skin of her role as forum moderator and draws on her experience to attempt a theory of democratic conversation.

September 18, 2005

Fight for democracy continues

The historic public servants' strike in the south Pacific country of Tonga ended on September 3 after the government agreed to the strikers' demands for 60-80% rises in pay. A memorandum of understanding signed by representatives of the government and the Public Service Association also agreed that no disciplinary action would be taken against strikers, and that the salary review that led to the six-week strike be suspended for two years.

The PSA added a clause to the memorandum calling for a royal commission to be established immediately “to review the constitution to allow a more democratic government to be established”. While the government negotiators did not agree to the immediate establishment of a royal commission, they did accept that the issue of democracy was a serious concern to the strikers, and undertook to submit the PSA concerns to cabinet.

More here

September 10, 2005

The Indiana Jones of the Right

The problem is that Jihadism is hard-wired into Islam’s founding document, the Koran – and so is anything else you want. The Koran is the most incoherent religious text ever put down on paper. That’s because it is not a book – it is a chant. It is not meant to be pondered and thought about. It is not meant to be read at all. It is meant to be chanted in a language – Classical Arabic – un-understood by most of the world’s Moslems as is Latin by almost all Christians, in order to put believers into an unthinking, unreflective trance.

Sometimes its good to know how the far right thinks. Full article here.

September 09, 2005

Democrats Fail, America Falls?

Billions of people in countries outside the US watch and worry as the world's most powerful nation plunders itself and its helpless targets, creating laws and pandering to corporations, producing cancer-like wasting symptoms within the country as it eats its “seed” signing on to laws and treaties that suck off jobs and industries, handing them to bottom feeding poverty wage nations.

These nations know that the only possible outcomes will be the fall of the USA economically and probably the explosion or implosion of the USA militarily, as the morally bankrupt and corrupt leaders, to distract the still hypnotized people, put into trance by 9-11, from the devastation they are causing economically, ecologically, diplomatically — devastation that is stealing the future of America.

Full article here

September 05, 2005

Small step to democracy

Liberia has been independent longer than any other African country, yet the country is about to enter a truly exciting stage of democratic interplay --- Liberia is about to hold its first meaningful “free and fair” elections in its national history. A great deal of its citizens will have an opportunity to vote for the first time in their lives, going down that wondrous path many societies in the world take for granted: making free choices among genuine competitors in national political races.

The Perspective

Coca Colombia

The fusion of US corporate power and domestic militarism in Colombia is undermining human rights – and in the American homeland, students are making the connections.

Coca-Cola tries to face down a growing boycott on America's campuses: the reason? The murders of trade unionists in Colombia. Ari Paul investigates the Coca connection.

Full article here

Multimedia Subversion

Egypt's elections are imminent: Negar Azimi reports on how Egypt's young democracy activists are using technology to change a regime older than they are...

Read the full article

September 04, 2005

Iran on the US

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said on Saturday that the US Administration is using the hosting of international organizations as tools.
His criticism came after Washington refused to issue visas for an Iranian parliamentary delegation, which is to attend the world interparliamentary conference in New York on September 6.

"Parliaments are the symbols of democracy and they are to discuss the promotion and institutionalization of democracy," noted the spokesman adding "the United States' act openly contradicts their claims and is in sharp contrast with democracy."

September 01, 2005

Don't miss this - Bitter Fruit!

Since November 2003 Magnum photographer Paul Fusco has documented the funerals of American soldiers killed in the Iraq war. With information garnered from Google searches, he attended ceremonies throughout the US. At each funeral he was confronted by Pentagon officers and eventually ejected. He was never allowed to talk to the families.

Watch the slideshow here

Neo-Cons Middle East Project

It has been said that democracy is not only a form of state and administration but a philosophy of life and an outlook. And for a nation’s constitution to manifest the authority of the state and its laws, it must be based on a general agreement among all its citizens and not debated and voted under external coercion and guns of an occupying power.
In Iraq the powerful but US marginalized minority Sunnis of Iraq , spearheading the resistance to free Iraq from US led occupation ,rejected the Shia- Kurdish Constitution project, another charade like the transfer of sovereignty in secret last year ( do you remember it ) and the flawed 30 January elections , designed as if to punish the Sunnis for not welcoming the invading US forces with flowers.

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