THE MYTH OF ASIAN DEMOCRACY

by Faizal Nor Izham

Although Asia as a whole will always be making great strides economically, much more remains to be seen in the way of democracy and human rights. There has always been the myth that Asian values and democracy are incompatible — a well-known fact in Asia, especially in the more developing countries — but in the Internet and social media age, there appears to be a renewed demand for freedom, especially when people’s livelihood and most basic rights are in jeopardy.

However, despite these assumptions, a more thorough analysis shows that Asian history is actually rich in philosophies and traditions that are well-steeped in democratic ideals.Continue Reading

RENT CONTROLS, CHEAPER TRAINS, AND CLEANER AIR: SIAN BERRY’S VISION FOR A RADICAL LONDON

Sven Klinge

In May 2016, London will go to the polls to decide who will replace Boris Johnson as their new mayor. A number of progressive parties from across the political spectrum are standing candidates in that election. We’ve got in touch with all those who are seeking nomination from their parties, asking why London should elect them, what their key policy priorities are and how London will be changed if they are elected. We’ll be publishing their responses over the next few weeks.

by Sian Berry

Along with a group of truly excellent colleagues, I’ve put myself forward to be the Green Party candidate for Mayor of London in 2016.

I’ve stood before, taking us up to 4th place in 2008 from 7th the time before, and in 2012 Jenny Jones took us to 3rd place. This makes next year a crucial election for Greens in London. It will take a really focused effort to improve on that, and in this encounter, experience will count for more than usual. I have that experience and am very grateful to receive Caroline Lucas’ backing to take the challenge on again.

We really are seeing incredible things across Europe. In Barcelona and Madrid, and most recently and significantly in Greece, the people are overwhelmingly rejecting top-down, imposed and ever-deeper austerity. When you look at what Barcelona’s Mayor is doing to halt evictions since being elected on the crest of a wave of citizen activism, it’s clear that we have accepted a rough deal for too long in London but that we can make different choices.Continue Reading

THE ‘SHARING ECONOMY’: HOW ABOUT DOING SOME SHARING?

by Colin Hynson

Uber and Airbnb, the two poster–children of the ‘sharing economy’, have found themselves in the public spotlight for several months. One reason for this is their rapid growth. Uber, an on–demand taxi service, is now operating in 290 cities worldwide, over one million Uber trips are taken daily and the number of new drivers registering with Uber is growing by 50,000 a month. Airbnb, the room–rental service, now has vacancies in over 190 countries and has been used over 35 million times since it started in 2008.

This growth has led to both companies being described as ‘disruptive’. They have come in and shaken up taxi and hotel businesses across the globe. This has led to a backlash. In London and Paris taxi drivers have held rallies protesting that their livelihoods are being threatened. There are also legal challenges as cities from Delhi to Montreal and Brussels have clamped down on both companies.Continue Reading

ALL ABOARD! THE POLITICAL TRAIN IS HERE!

by Josh Wilson

Everyone has their favourite mode of transport right? No? Oh, well I do and it is the train! Some people think it is weird that I enjoy travelling on tracks, but for some reason I do. Don’t worry this is not going to be a love letter to my dear choo choo-ing and chug chug-ing transportation machines. Trains are political too.

From ownership, to cargo, to projects like HS2 and Crossrail that cost billions of pounds whilst northern cities remain barely connected to each other but just really well connected to London.  Trains have always been political and with rising fares, multiple ego projects, and continued inequality between the South-East of England and the rest of the UK,  it is time we start really having a conversation about our rail network.Continue Reading

A GAMBLE ON GREECE

by Natasha Senior

In the beginning of this year, the people of Greece voted in the radical left-wing party, Syriza — lead by Alexis Tsipras. They did this to send a message to Europe, a message that Greece cannot bear the weight of austerity anymore. But this is a message to which no one listened; instead, the Troika — consisting of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank — continued to reel out Angela Merkel’s increasingly redundant party line that Greece has to meet its obligation.

This was how the people of Greece were to view it: as an obligation. An obligation to be treated by the rest of Europe like petulant children who need to be disciplined, an obligation to let their economy shrink to devastating levels, an obligation to stand by as poverty engulfs them.Continue Reading

THE STRENGTH OF THE VULNERABLE

by Jack Brindelli

“I was taken aback at how brutal the police were,” begins Marion Fallon, a local anti-cuts activist from Norwich, and eye-witness to the events of Wednesday June 24th. “To attack such physically less able people, to protect the elite, really showed how democracy isn’t working. I don’t suppose it occurred to [the police], that disabled people are feeling they have to take more and more drastic measures, as we’re not being listened to and not being treated fairly and equally. I feel very, very worried and scared going forward as the Tories have taken us back decades in what was fought very hard for.”

She was speaking to me after a number of disabled protesters had attempted to gain access to Prime Ministers Questions in demonstration against the government’s ending of the Independent Living Fund. Marion, who is in constant pain and unable to walk without the aid of a stick, is also a first-hand witness of the government’s shameless remodelling of social security, as a recipient of disability benefits, and is extremely concerned for the future.Continue Reading

EARTH FIRST! GATHERING!

by Indra Francesco – Earth First!

Walking into the field of my first Earth First! gathering was like coming home. At last, here were people passionate about the planet not only with a plan for how to stop its destruction but also for how to put into practice the world we want to live in.

There were around 200 people from all different backgrounds and ages, in a family friendly, low impact camping field for a week. There were workshops on everything you wanted to know about campaigning: gender politics, ecology, legal and security issues, tree climbing, using direct action as a tool, political theory – all run by intelligent, compassionate and experienced activists.Continue Reading