Can social movements democratise democracy?

Lessons from the Yellow Vests movement in France by Maxime Combes “Extraordinary events are beyond the scope of ordinary explanations” Edgard Morin “Democracy is not about Saturday afternoons”, French president Emmanuel Macron said, speaking about the Yellow Vests movement (YVM) that have been protesting every Saturday afternoon since November 17, 2018. Such a statement aimed to close the door to […]

What mark have the Yellow Vests left on French democracy?

by Ethan Earle Almost two years after the first protests and shortly after the 2020 Bastille Day: What to make out of the Yellow Vests and the state of French democracy? What to take away from the recently Macron-initiated citizens’ assemblies? Have the Yellow Vests and other protest shaken the French political establishment? Initially launched as a protest against rising […]

“For the democratic production of democratic societies” – Lessons from the transition from social-movement-driven to state-legislated consultations on extractive projects in Peru

by Raphael Hoetmer Over the last two decades, various consultation practices regarding extractive activities have emerged and been implemented throughout Latin America. Some practices adopt a completely autonomous and communitarian approach, some are based on alliances between civil society and local government, while others are also increasingly centred around national governments in connection with new legislation as per international standards […]

Overcoming crises of representation? Arts in anti-coal struggles in Colombia and California

by Beatriz Rodríguez Labajos Raw material extraction, transportation and waste disposal are triggering environmental conflicts worldwide. All types of material throughput in the global economy bear consequences for social justice and sustainability. Yet very few materials better represent the economic, social and moral tensions intertwined in societal metabolism, i.e. material and energy use of human societies, than coal. Data collection […]

Guendalizaá: The reconstruction of the “We”

by Arturo Guerrero Osorio The Zapotec word Guendalizá or Guelaguetza means “familiarity”, “friendship” or “neighborhood”; It is mutual help and is expressed when an person is with the others in the crucial moments of life, the happy and the sad. It is a cultural pattern that comes from the deepest roots from the towns of Oaxaca, Mexico (let’s think about […]

Challenges to intercultural democracy in the Plurinational State of Bolivia: case study of the Monkoxɨ peoples of Lomerío

by Iokiñe Rodriguez and Mirna Inturias Introduction The adoption of Bolivia’s new political Constitution in 2009 marked the birth of a new plurinational state. One of the most important constitutional changes was a new state system of territorial division that recognises departmental, municipal, regional and indigenous autonomies as new plural forms of political organisation seeking to decentralise decision-making power and […]

On the Cusp: Reframing Democracy and Well-Being in Korchi, India

by Neema Pathak Broome, Shrishtee Bajpai and Mukesh Shende Introduction Mainstream governance and development models – characterised by seemingly democratic but inherently centralised and top-down governance systems and extractive, commercially motivated, capitalist economic policies – have failed to achieve minimum levels of well-being for a very large part of humanity. They have in fact caused large-scale human and environmental injustice. […]

Introduction to the Democracy debate

Is democracy a stronghold of social struggles or is it rather an institutional framework imposed by capitalism? Why are fascism and different kinds of authoritarianism coming back through elections? How can the scandalous inequality that structures contemporary capitalism and obviously limits democratic decision making strongly be dealt with?

Democracy and transformation in the time of pandemic politics

by Mary Ann Manahan and Miriam Lang As the world reels from historically unprecedented socio-economic and political impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19), many governments are rolling out emergency measures and guidelines for physical distancing, lockdowns, and quarantines, closing of borders, and restrictions of people’s movements in an effort to flatten the curve. Of great concern among social and labor movements, […]

Community resistance to a Power Plant in Senegal

by Ibrahima Thiam A fisher community leaving in Bargny at 15km from the city of Dakar is facing the consequences of an industrialization program of the Senegalese state praised to be the way for economic emergence. The socioeconomic change and mutations resulting from the series of projects have deep impacts on the community’s livelihoods. The economy of Bargny employing more […]

Resistance and devotedness: learning democracy under pressure

by Kitti Baracsi If we imagine democratic education as entire school communities practising participation, to what extent can schools escape the current approach taken in the public education system? What if they encounter hostility and restrictions? Can we learn democracy through transgressions and resistance? This article tells the story of three school communities where participation and solidarity are growing under […]

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