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  1. Reinventing the World Social Forum: how powerful an idea can be

    The collective in Salvador has succeeded in bringing together thousands of organisations for preparing the Forum: the slogan is ‘to resist is to create, to resist is to transform’.

    open Movements
    The openMovements series invites leading social scientists to share their research results and perspectives on contemporary social struggles.

    It was in 2001. Almost a generation ago now! The first World Social Forum (WSF) was organised in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the city of the Workers’ Party of future president Lula da Silva and the city of the participatory budget. There was hope, much hope, and a belief that ‘another world’ was possible and that we could shape it. This became the slogan of all future WSFs.

    There were not that many people at this first meeting, though the fact that almost 15,000 people from all over the world gathered at short notice was a real surprise. Those who had taken the initiative included people from the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT), intellectuals from Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia, such as François Houtart, people from the French monthly Le Monde Diplomatique… It was a real success and one year later there were 50,000 making the trip to Brazil, with more than 1000 journalists! The World Social Forum was the reply to the World Economic Forum in Davos and wanted to propose an alternative to neoliberal globalisation.

    An ‘International Council’ was created in order to strengthen the process and a ‘Charter of Principles’ was written containing the main rules for the events.

    Not in the name of the Forum

    One of the most important of these principles is that no one can ever speak ‘in the name of’ the Forum. Participants can speak for their organisations, possibly together with others, but not ‘as Forum’. Organisations involved in the armed struggle are not welcome. The Forum wants to be an ‘open space’, something that can be interpreted in different ways and at the same time needs to be seen as a guarantee for ‘horizontality’ – no hierarchies, self-management and the democratic participation of all.

    lead Opening march of the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela in January 2006. Flickr/Brooke Anderson. Some rights reserved.

    Initially, the international council was a closed gathering of intellectuals who jealously guarded their privilege, tried to control the Forum process and discussed world political matters.[i]

    Big crowds

    After three very successful forums in Brazil, the event left for Mumbai, India, with as much success. Nevertheless, the first small cracks came to light when the anti-capitalists, refusing to envisage even the slightest compromise, organised their own anti-imperialist forum, parallel to the official WSF.

    Afterwards, we had a ‘polycentric’ Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, Bamako, Mali and Karachi, Pakistan. One year later we moved to Nairobi, Kenya, which was not a success because of failing organisation and a lack of resources. We went back to Brazil with a gigantic Forum (150,000 people!) in Belem and the focus on the Amazon region and its indigenous people. We tried Africa once more but again the organisation was below zero.

    The rules which were set up to guarantee democracy and horizontality were not as solid as expected. At each meeting of the international council – twice a year – a new commission, a new working-party or another liaison committee was necessary to mend the cracks.

    But the cracks kept emerging and the global left appeared to be as weak as its national counterparts: bickering egos, divergent philosophies … the European forums did not survive the endless squabbling.

    The belief in ‘another world’ came under threat after the events of 11 September 2001, and almost disappeared with the financial crisis of 2007-2008. The WSF continued to gather, but became less dynamic.

    The Arab spring gave new hope and we organised an excellent Forum in Tunis in 2013 and another one in 2015.

    The Canadians proposed a new formula for the WSF and organised one in Montreal in the summer of 2016. It was fine, but there were hardly any organisations involved. As is the case for many young people today, its philosophy was focused on individuals, with little vision of the global world.

    Bursting cracks

    The Brazilians were fed up. They were no longer keen to organise international council meetings and had doubts on future world social forums. A couple of times, there were real clashes at meetings and one had to be an expert with lots of empathy to understand what was being said during the debates. What was meant was hidden under several layers of newspeak and empty concepts.[ii]

    It has often been said that the main problem of the WSF is the opposition between NGOs and social movements. NGOs are said to be reformist with little or no contact with their social base, whereas social movements are supposed to be revolutionary and very popular. I do not believe this. Some NGOs are very revolutionary and some social movements know perfectly well how to keep their members in line.

    So what’s up?

    A first real problem is the failing and vague definition of the ‘open space’, including its intrinsic ‘horizontality’. These are attractive principles but they do need a concrete meaning. In any place where people are gathering, in small or less small groups, power relations will exist and these have to be monitored in a democratic way.

    If the ‘horizontality’ means that the really existing hierarchy remains hidden behind a non-defined principle, problems with accountability and transparency will necessarily arise. If structures are so complex that no one knows who has to do what, misunderstandings are inevitable. A small group within the international council continued to request a light structure with clear responsibilities and transparency, to no avail. Those who have power, especially if it remains invisible, will not accept any changes. In Europe as well as in Latin America, Asia and Africa, democracy is threatened. The differences are often smaller than they seem to be at first sight.

    A second problem is that some of the Brazilian ‘fathers’ of the Forum fear political positions.[iii] Even if the first Forum was organised just before the elections that made Lula president of the country – and promoting his candidacy – today, there is a tremendous fear of touching anything political. This obviously is very absurd when one wants to shape ‘another world’, but it does lead to a permanent struggle between a small club of ‘fathers’ and the many dynamic and younger members of the international council. The former do not want to organise general forums any more and instead focus on thematic forums, such as on water, migration or nuclear matters. They keep focusing on diversity and the idea of ‘convergence’ makes them shiver.

    Opening walk of the World Social Forum, 2002. Wikicommons/Passeata de Abertura. Some rights reserved.

    The third problem, finally, is purely material: a lack of resources. A meeting of the international council will easily cost around 100,000 euros, except if all pay their own ticket. The budget for the forum in Salvador is around 2.5 million Euro, a very modest amount compared to previous forums. The fact that the international council paid tickets for many of its members made it very easy to make alliances. Now that this has stopped, it is only the more autonomous members who remain and can put the ‘old guard’ in a minority position.

    Financial constraints, all over the world, make it very difficult for many movements to make long trips. It explains why the last forums may have been a success but were not really ‘global’ forums any more. The participation of Africa has dwindled, Asian participation has almost disappeared.

    A new beginning

    The international council meeting in Porto Alegre in January 2017 was a real turning point. Two and a half days long, discussions were serious and calm, everyone fearing to repeat the clash of Montreal, where even in spite of a consensus, it was not possible to condemn the ‘coup’ in Brazil. But the last half day, the old guard flatly refused to envisage a next Forum in Salvador in spring 2018. They were defeated …

    Now, in October 2017, another meeting of the international council took place in Salvador in order to concretely prepare the Forum. It was a very positive and constructive meeting, without any conflicts. The movements in Salvador are very dynamic, all are very optimistic about the chances for the next Forum. We have to act as adults, forget all egocentricity and learn to search for what we have in common.

    A very interesting cooperation with the Federal University of Bahia, a public establishment with more than 200,000 students, is very promising. After the international council meeting, we had an international conference with activists and academics, with very good results. For the rector of the University, this is a unique opportunity for reaching out to society. The opening ceremony was particularly moving, with, obviously, many discourses, but also lots of music, theatre and poetry, and lots, lots of politics.

    These are politically difficult times for Brazil, the memory of the military dictatorship remains vivid and moreover, in the same way as in other parts of the world, a struggle needs to be organised against budgetary cuts in education and research.

    The collective in Salvador has succeeded in bringing together thousands of organisations for preparing the Forum, trade unions will be massively participating, the slogan is ‘to resist is to create, to resist is to transform’. In the same way as in the past, the Forums offered an opportunity to directly listen to Chavez, Lula, Correa and Morales, the proposal now is to invite Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders.

    All are very optimistic about the chances of the next Forum. The movements are very dynamic and the international council can also take a new start. From the one hundred and fifty movements on the list, fifty have confirmed they believe in its future.

    A global transversal gathering

    The WSF is not the only global Forum. Thanks to the many initiatives that were taken from the 1990s onwards, many thematic networks have been created and they continue their very useful work. But the WSF is the only global transversal gathering where different groups can discuss their objectives, their strategies and their campaigns. There is now a general understanding that climate justice is not possible without social justice, that peace is not possible without climate and social justice and that media play a very important role in all these sectors. It therefore is urgent to sit and plan together. In Mexico, a major Forum on migration will be organised in November 2018 and we all know that labour law, climate change and peace will have to be discussed there. In Mexico, a major Forum on migration will be organised in November 2018 and we all know that labour law, climate change and peace will have to be discussed there.

    Too many movements have now withdrawn to the local level and have forgotten that local and global levels are not opposed or hierarchical. They need to go hand in hand. Moreover, in Europe a new tendency to put up more barriers is growing, whereas we need the opposite. The WSF can make an important contribution to this.

    This Forum can be a new start. The old guard of the opponents has certainly not disappeared and one may expect it will make itself heard once again after March 2018. That is why major mobilisations in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia are very important, because yes, another world is possible. Does anyone believe the world today is in a better shape than fifteen years ago? That the demands of the alter-globalist movement are now irrelevant? We should not be afraid of politics, on the contrary. But we have to act as adults, forget all egocentricity and learn to search for what we have in common.

    Today, some global initiatives are worth defending, such as the social protection ‘floors’ of the ILO, or the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. But these certainly deserve a boost from social movements in order to make them really transformative. We have to act as adults, forget all egocentricity and learn to search for what we have in common.

    Hopefully, many movements and people will participate in the Forum, directly, in Salvador, or at a distance, thanks to the new technologies. The very interesting local initiatives, in Europe, Africa or Asia can learn from what is happening in Latin America, and vice versa. Working together, movements are strengthened and better able to tackle the dominant system. If the World Social Forum succeeds in giving a voice to many different voices, in helping movements search for their commonalities, respecting their diversity, this Forum can play a major role.

    In Europe as well as in Latin America, Asia and Africa, democracy is threatened. The differences are often smaller than they seem to be at first sight. By working together, we are stronger and have more chances to win. We do not need new borders but have to build new bridges.

    The fathers of the World Social Forum have created a very powerful idea!

     

    [i] An extensive literature now exists on the World Social Forum. Here are mentioned some of the first and most important books : Fisher, W.F. & Poniah, T., Another World is Possible, London, Zed Books, 2003; Polet, F. (ed.), Globalizing Resistance, London, Pluto Press, 2004; Pleyers, G., Alter-Globalization. Becoming Actors in the Global Age, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2010.

    [ii] For a kind of overview, see Boaventura de Sousa Santos, ‘Indispensável Reinvençao’ in Carta Capital, 18 Outubro de 2017, p. 40.

    [iii] To better understand the origins of the WSF, read Milcíades Pena, A. & Davies, T.R., ‘Globalisation from Above? Corporate Social Responsibility, the Workers’ Party and the Origins of the World Social Forum’ in New Political Economy, 2013.

    How to cite:
    Mestrum F.(2017) Reinventing the World Social Forum: how powerful an idea can be, Open Democracy / ISA RC-47: Open Movements, 18 November. https://opendemocracy.net/francine-mestrum/reinventing-world-social-forum-how-powerful-idea-can-be

     

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  2. Why progressives should support wikileaks

    It is a fundamental political error to casually associate Wikileaks with neoconservatism or reactionary populism. No affinity between these two worlds is possible.

    lead Wikileaks Julian Assange. Flickr/ Surian Soosay. Some rights reserved.History is replete with disquieting figures, it is often difficult to know whether they deserve our support or mistrust. Julian Assange seems increasingly to be one of these figures. When I started writing about whistleblowers a few years ago, there was genuine sympathy for whistleblowers across international public opinion, and one sensed a common feeling of indignation at the repression whistleblowers suffered. But during the last few months, something seems to have changed. There now seems to be a real mistrust  – if not outright hostility – with regard to Assange. The same cannot be said for Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning: they each continue to receive widespread support from journalists, academics, and various advocates for human rights and freedom of the press. But what little support remains for Assange is now much more distanced and qualified.

    Indeed, I get the impression that a kind of “WikiLeaks bashing” has taken hold: journalists, academics, and intellectuals have not only begun to distance themselves from Assange; they now question, attack, and discredit him on the slightest pretext.

    This shift in Assange’s reputation has been punctuated by several important moments. But nothing seems to have been more damaging for his reputation than the 2016 US presidential election campaign. Assange’s well-known dislike of Hillary Clinton, combined with Wikileaks’ publication of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), has lead to the perception that Assange is becoming increasingly neoconservative, that he is moving away from progressive politics and democratic struggles, and moving closer to the political circles around Donald Trump and even authoritarian regimes such as Russia. Wikileaks is an institution based on generalizable principles...  it is precisely these principles that we need in politics today. 

    One can, of course, disagree with one or many of Assange’s actions or choices. But what we mustn’t overlook is the fact that important historical figures, like Assange, always embody or represent certain principles or values that transcend the particular actions of the historical figure itself. Wikileaks is an institution based on generalizable principles. And I argue it is precisely these principles that we need in politics today. It would be a major strategic error for progressives to distance themselves from Wikileaks.

    This is because Wikileak’s principles are in direct opposition to the reactionary sentiments and impulses fueling today’s populist backlash and the entire political system that made Donald Trump’s electoral victory possible.

    In other words, it’s a fundamental political error to casually associate Wikileaks with neoconservatism or reactionary populism. No affinity between these two worlds is possible; the political ideals brought to life by Wikileaks are a crucial form of resistance to Trumpism and the larger political culture in which Trumpism thrives.

    1. Wikileaks is based on the value of knowledge. The organization functions almost like a group of historians of the present. Its institutional mission is to reveal the secret activities of political leaders and, in the process, show the public how states actually function and what they actually do. From this point of view, Assange inaugurated a new culture of truth, a politics of the archive and of knowledge, that is diametrically opposed to the logic of opinion, fake news, and the echo-chamber ideology of contemporary populism.

     

    2. Wikileaks is anti-authoritarian. Its struggle for transparency is dedicated to opening the black box of government so that the public may no longer live in ignorance of the logics that guide the governments they routinely elect or live under. This opposition to all forms of authoritarianism places Wikileaks in a long and vigilant democratic tradition that opposes the centralized powers of the strong state.

     

    3. Wikileaks is firmly committed to fighting censorship and the feelings of alienation a culture of censorship produces. And it is precisely this kind of culture of alienation that gives rise to reactionary populism in the first place. Today’s reactionary populism is largely anchored in a not unreasonable mistrust of the media, and the disproportionate power the media exerts over the selection and circulation of information. Wikileaks has consistently attacked the power that traditional media gate-keepers exert over the kinds of information or stories journalists are allowed to pursue and publish. Assange’s statements about the publication of the Panama Papers are a perfect example of this. Wikileaks is an advocate of total transparency. Wikileaks’ standard practice is to publish everything: they prefer to release the raw information they receive and let the public conduct their own analyses and come up with their own interpretations. Their opposition to media censorship and their refusal to see the public as merely passive spectators aligns with their belief in a vibrant public space, and this conviction has given rise to practices that concretely combat the widespread feeling of alienation that is too often channeled in populist directions. 

     

    4. Wikileaks nurtures an ethic of unconditionality.  Julian Assange has been relentlessly criticized for publishing leaked DNC emails during the 2016 US presidential election, and then for weakening Hillary Clinton’s chances of electoral success. But shouldn’t we turn this criticism around? Our democracy is in decline today precisely because of our repeated tendency to suspend and defer democratic principles in the interest of achieving short-term practical objectives (such as in the “War on Terror”). Doesn’t this suspension of democratic principles ultimately damage democracy by undermining its basic unconditional character? And isn’t this tendency to play fast and loose with democratic principles eroding our faith in the rule of law? Assange and Wikileaks publish the documents they receive when they receive them – no matter where they come from or what the short-term political fallout may be. This ethic of unconditionality is especially important today for reviving our faith in the democratic ideal.

     

    5. Wikileaks believes in a non-submissive culture. The culture of leaking and anonymous denunciation encourages people to distance themselves from the institutions to which they belong, to question their institutional identification, and to maintain an attitude of perpetual institutional skepticism so that they may denounce any potential wrongdoings or crimes. This culture of non-submissiveness, of non-allegiance, is in radical opposition to authoritarian forms of government and forms of nationalistic identification.

     

    6. Lastly, Wikileaks amounts to a practical critique of all of forms of nationalism, insofar as its concrete practice actively promotes an international conception of politics and belonging. Wikileaks assembles people from all over the world who are fighting for a shared ideal that extends beyond national boundaries and affiliations. Wikileaks, in other words, is a project that transcends the idea of nations, and it works to dissolves the nationalistic basis at the root of all conservatisms.

    But more importantly, Assange is one of those rare contemporary political figures to adopt a truly global perception of the world. In all my public discussions with Assange, I was always struck by his ability to take a global perspective on the world, and his consistent capacity to think that whatever is happening in Great Britain is no more important than events in South Africa, Ecuador, Yemen, or Russia. Someone once told me that if Snowden enjoys greater sympathy than Assange in Western Europe or the United States, it’s because Snowden’s leaks involved predominantly white Westerners, while much of the information WikiLeaks publishes involves Yemenites, Afghans, or Iraqis. I think there is much truth to this. These systems of power and ideologies can only be fought by new practices and new subjectivities created within new political systems.

    Populism, nationalism, conservatism, and authoritarianism can’t be fought with ready-made speeches. These systems of power and ideologies can only be fought by new practices and new subjectivities created within new political systems. The rise of contemporary reactionary populism isn’t an accident or an aberration, nor is it simply a case of manipulated public opinion: it is the product of our dominant political and media systems. Yet we are somehow expected to critique Trump, and the culture of populism that produced Trump, from within the confines of the very system that made him possible. This is the singular impasse facing progressive politics today, and this is precisely why we should be cautious about our critiques of Wikileaks.

    We need to defend and support Wikileaks’ project today more than ever. The principles upon which Wikileaks is based are the very same principles that are needed today to create a new political culture: principles of transparency, anti-authoritarianism, internationalism, non-submission, and unconditionality.

    Of course, the lives of political actors, much like our own lives, are always complicated. But the principles through which Wikileaks acts inscribe the organization in a long history of struggle committed to enlarging the democratic horizon. At a moment in history when the CIA has explicit plans to terminate Wikileaks, both Julian Assange and Wikileaks deserve support from progressives. If progressives want to defeat populism, they should stand with WikiLeaks. 

    Thanks for the translation go to Matthew MacLellan.

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  3. One more time with feeling, in Athens

    Nick Cave's fearlessness in visiting darkness makes the light shine brighter.

    lead Nick Cave with Bad Seeds, Ogden Theatre, 2013. Flickr/ Julio Enriquez. All rights reserved.There is no one place to start on Nick Cave in concert, in Athens or anywhere else. The man, together with his Bad Seeds, is a comet, he screams through our atmosphere and you simply choose to which of his glorious trails you will grab a hold. In truth, to review the concert seems little more than to record that which is self-evident, a higher brow version of the – I have to say it but – insufferable, people lifting up their phones in front of you. To record is the most overrated, distracting, masturbatory act of our self-involved age and really the only reason to record Nick Cave live is to implore others to see Nick Cave live.

    For the man, like his comet, is on fire, ablaze. Subtly too, he is on a quiet, artistic mission to save the world. Or perhaps only to reach newer heights of his art, and in so doing have the same effect all the same. Cave finished his gig in Athens with a hundred of the nearest audience up on the stage and dancing with him, dressed as ever in a black jacket and unbuttoned white shirt. You could describe it as a man who started punk in crowded, piss-stinking venues but who still, taken to the biggest of stages, understands that same truth that he is his crowd and his crowd is he. He is his crowd and his crowd is he.

    To politicise such an act, needlessly but again I must, the most ambitious artist of our age, crowned in any individual glory he’d wish for, thrives in the collective act of sharing his stage.

    After two hours, he plays out that crowd, just as the last time I saw him, in 2013, with ‘Push the Sky Away’, the final song from the album of the same name. In 2013 I saw him in Hammersmith, London, Lou Reed had died that day, and Cave dedicated the song to him, in a way that seemed fitting as we left the venue. Tonight, whether it’s in a change of his delivery or simply of four more years, the words strike somehow harder:

    “And if you feel you’ve got everything that you came for,

    if you’ve got everything and you don’t want no more

    you’ve gotta just keep on pushing,

    Push the sky away.”

    Explicitly, Nick Cave is doing here what he does all throughout his set – demanding more. He demands more of himself and of his listeners. Push the sky away; hear those words not as a lyrical construct but as a practical instruction, and that is the crux of Cave’s journey. If you have enough, do more, for it is the only compulsion that will alleviate the burden of our difficult times.

    In that goal he collapses boundaries. When you watch Nick Cave you see him, unbuttoned to the top of his stomach, flanked by a half dozen men who are so unashamedly male not one will remove his jacket. And yet, and yet, when he sings, ‘Into my Arms’, all the bearded males around me in the audience do sing loud, soft as babies each one

    “I don’t believe in an interventionist God

    But I know, darling, that you do

    But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him

    Not to intervene when it came to you.”

    He makes us all Human, such is the beauty of Cave. The man who can have the heart-rending operatic hoops of ‘Distant sky’, is alongside he who has Stagger Lee and “I’ll crawl over fifty good pussies to get one fat boy’s asshole”. He will give you utmost depravity but also the most tender, gorgeous understanding of what it is to be human, simply human, and his fearlessness in visiting darkness makes the light shine brighter. He collapses boundaries.

    In the old world of Europe, with an Athens outside that is ravaged by its debt crisis and yet still sharing – with Turkey – far more than a fair share of the Middle East’s refugee population, it is deeply precious to have music willing to go after the outer limits of what it is to be alive.

    To state as much clearly is a burden no artist should shoulder, lest it inhibit them, or perhaps – we can only hope –  have them rise still higher. Next, Cave is due to go to Tel Aviv, Israel, a country that denies Palestinians and Arab Israelis even the most basic versions of the human experience Cave chronicles so perfectly. It is there that we will truly see, if he goes to that land so full of walls, just how many he is able tear apart.

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  4. Recognising and resisting militarisation; Demilitarise King’s at DSEi

    It’s time we reflect on the militarisation of our education, of our society as a whole, to confront our complicity and our responsibilities, stand up, and put an end to the business of war.

    lead Detail from installation by artist Banksy, entitled Civilian Drone Strike, on display at the Arms Fair art exhibition set up in opposition to the Defence Security Equipment International 2017 (DSEI) - at Capstan House in east London. Yui Mok/Press Association. All rights reserved. This September, “one of the world’s largest arms fair”, DSEi (Defence & Security Equipment International) took place in the ExCel Centre in London. States with horrific records of human right abuses, violation of international law and support for ethnic cleansing and genocide were invited to “shop” for the latest weapons.

    For many years now, activists have protested this biennial DSEi arms fair. This year, as part of Stop the Arms Fair, a rare coalition of campaigners, academics, faith groups, poets, musicians, artists and supporters came together using creative and educational means to protest the literal showcasing and selling of arms.

    This productive, collaborative protest adopted a different campaign focus on different days of the fair; each time shedding light on a key issue such as the sale of arms to Israel or the sale of arms and technology for use against migrants.

    On Friday, September 8, academics, students and activists came together to hold ‘Conference at the Gates: Academics against the Arms Trade’. Workshops and activities were held around topics such as ‘The Criminalisation of Refugees in the Mediterranean’, ‘Popular Culture and Militarism’, ‘Feminism and Queer theory’, and ‘Radical Theory in Action through Theatre’. As part of this conference, Demilitarise King’s held a joint workshop alongside Unis Resist Border Controls titled ‘Recognising and Resisting Border Surveillance and Militarisation within British Higher Education’. I want to outline the campaign, our aims and why we’re passionate about demilitarising higher education.

    Demilitarise King’s

    Demilitarise King’s is a student-led campaign that was inspired by the work of both the Fossil Free divestment campaign and the BDS campaign within the Palestine solidarity movement. It differs in scope, however. When setting up the campaign, we wanted to target all states and companies committing human right abuses, and we wanted our university community to do more than divest from arms companies. Demilitarisation would require reflecting on all aspects of militarisation within and beyond the walls of our university.

    From our various experiences as students, activists, university community members and supporters at KCL, we came to discover that our university’s complicity in the business of murder was not limited to its investments in arms companies like BAE Systems, Elbit Systems, and General Electric. Connections to the arms trade extended way beyond the millions of pounds in investments, to sectors like research, fundraising and procurement. We learnt that some university staff members are being paid wages by companies like BAE Systems; and that one department was currently seeking funding from the Saudi defence ministry.

    Even in the day to day running of our university, it is clear how deeply enthralled, invested and dependant we are on the tradesmen of war. A great number of our printers and electronics at university are supplied by HP, an arms company supplying technology such as biometrics and ID cards, in an expanding settler-colonial project whilst upholding a state of apartheid.

    We know, from meetings with senior staff, that King’s has already recognised and organised its investments in arms. This was no shameful secret about how much is being spent and on what type of arms – we quickly found out for example, that King’s is investing in specific types of firearms, something we were unaware of. Then there were the investments of staff pension funds, particularly USS, in landmines and cluster munitions. Not to mention millions of pounds connecting our very university’s Defence Department and Serco; a company known for running detention centres such as Yarl’s Wood, where countless assaults against migrants have taken place; where treatment of migrants, as one woman put it, was like that of animals.

    Demilitarise King’s has tackled militarisation in recruitment and careers, not only at university fairs, and in college spaces, but in our student union spaces too. Why is it for example, that at every freshers’ fair, the Army Corps and defence sector are the first stalls you see upon entering? Militarisation is extended to union society events, where military speakers who have been known to boast about the number of Arabs they have killed, or refer to Palestinians as “ratbags” and Arabs as “the biggest failure in the history of the human race”, were invited and welcomed under the banner of free speech. That free speech is not however, available to all, with students being “randomly” selected to enter some events, and with support from the Principal himself, who in one case, suggested informing students that ‘looked’ to have pro-Palestinian views, that they weren’t allowed to ask questions; in one stroke undermining any argument for free speech, encouraging racial profiling and allowing militarised voices to go unquestioned.

    Then there are the subtler ways in which our university links to the arms fair, for example the connection between the Church of England and the university, and the Church House’s role in hosting arms fairs. When In 2016, I asked at an open meeting why it was that KCL was investing in arms companies, one response was: because “the most moral institution in the world”, the Church of England had connections with arms companies, therefore it was OK for us as a university to have these connections too.

    I raised this issue again in a meeting with senior staff, only to be told to remember that KCL’s connection with the Church was not to be questioned. What if we were to tweak the case so that it was another place of worship, like a mosque or a synagogue or a religious organisation, for example the Muslim Council of Britain hosting arms fairs selling weapons to places like Saudi Arabia, how justifiably outraged would everyone be?

    Militarising discourses

    Beyond the financial investment, recruitment and connections, crucial to our campaign is the focus on militarisation in discourse around campus and within our curriculums.

    As a student in the War Studies Department, I’ve seen countless examples of this. One lecturer of mine (an ex-IDF general) encouraged our class not to call Palestinians Arabs, but to refer to them as “the non-Jewish community” – a direct erasure of identity. A highly esteemed guest lecturer who had served in the private sector in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, when asked why he’d personally been invested in working in these three countries, shrugged and stated it was for the money.

    The issue around these cases from problematic lectures to the curriculum and reading lists, is that most of the time these militaristic voices are amplified, glorified and put on a pedestal. Opposing opinions can be found at the bottom of additional readings, if they can be found at all; and if voiced in class, they are far too often ridiculed and silenced. The issue with a militarised voice is not its existence, but its dominance.

    More frustrating than King’s’ militarisation of our education is the hypocrisy it hides behind, something that unfortunately isn’t unique to KCL. Whilst having connections with Serco, KCL boasts about two “sanctuary scholarships” it has provided for refugees, though they seem to simply have taken the place of “conflict zone scholarships” that students fought for years ago. The 2029 Strategic Vision that King’s has outlined is apparently about “making the world a better place”, but how can this be the case when King’s is also investing millions in companies that sell weapons to states like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel?

    As our campaign group wrote in our open letter: "If the purpose and values of King's College are to educate and promote skills and research to make the world a better place, why does our institution continue to invest millions of pounds in the companies which make the greatest contribution to the displacement, murder and destruction of human lives? If King's College is to represent itself as providing answers to 'world questions', we must work to actually address the systemic causes of global suffering and examine our own complicity in these practices."

    Tokenism and hypocrisy

    We are sick and tired as people of colour in particular, of being used as tokens for publicity and education-consumerism, with no respect for the very values these institutions claim to embody. A painting of Nelson Mandela hangs in the Principal’s office wall; the Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s name is used for university rooms, his picture on the side of the Strand Campus. Other universities like Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester boast about men like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X/ el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz debating at their universities or speaking at graduation ceremonies. Why are these names and faces used to sell education at these institutions while the principles that they stood for continue to go ignored?

    Did the University of Newcastle forget that MLK in his speech, called the ills of society “war, poverty, and racism”, as they continue to fuel all three ills with their investments? And did King’s forget that Mandela claimed that the freedom of South Africans would not be achieved without the freedom of the Palestinians? Or the comparison that their beloved alumni Desmond Tutu made between the apartheid that black South Africans faced and that which the Palestinians face today, while they support the technology and arms supplied to this very same apartheid state?

    Anti-Racist campaigning

    Within the four months or so since we started our campaign, we’ve achieved a lot. We’ve raised awareness, we’ve staged a die-in at the 2029 vision launch party, we’ve questioned the principal on the spot, we’ve voiced student opinions on the Socially Responsible Review Committee.

    Most of our success came out of collective efforts from political campaigning societies such as the People of Colour Association, Action Palestine Society, Fossil Free campaign, Intersectional Feminist society, Student Action for Refugees society, under the banner of a KCL Anti-Racism Campaigning network.

    This was crucial because the militarisation of our university is a concern for all of the political campaigning groups within the Anti-Racism block. Working as a collective meant that we were much stronger, our message could be more wide-reaching, more people were involved, and that our approach was creative, united and multifaceted. Also very important was the fact that we took into consideration different approaches, and elements. For example, the effect that militarisation has specifically on people of colour was something we considered, not only in our main campaign aims, but also in the way we campaigned – for instance the role that white allies could take on in direct actions.

    Militarisation needs to be recognised and resisted in whatever spaces we occupy in our daily lives. A call for demilitarisation goes hand in hand with calls for greater transparency and democracy in allegedly progressive spaces like universities. After all, I never remember signing up or ticking boxes stating that I agree for the university to spend my tuition fee on killing innocent people across the world, fuelling war and apartheid, supporting human right abuses and violating international law? Where was that in the terms & conditions? Where was that in the "what King's offers" section?

    DSEi 2019

    During the Stop the Arms Fair, over 100 people were arrested, some for obstructing roads, ironically because they were apparently “endangering the safety of civilians”. Whose safety have these protesters risked? Whose lives were the police ‘protecting’? And to return to DSEi, it’s time to question whose defence and whose security DSEi is concerned about?  This week, court cases will be held for those arrested, and we have the opportunity to turn up and show our support.

    Be warned, DSEI has already started planning for the next arms fair in 2019 – the business of killing is one that never ends; a world where dead bodies count as profit is one where ‘profits’ can always be reaped. There is not even the shame of pretending that there is some concern surrounding the selling of these weapons between these unethical states, nor is there any active, or even passive, effort to stop war. It’s time we reflect on the militarisation of our education, of our society as a whole, to confront our complicity and our responsibilities, stand up, and put an end to the business of war. Conference programme 2017.

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    See Stop The Arms Fair website.

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  5. Bodies at the gates

    Bodies are not just simply tools or targets in practices of state violence but also crucial in the resistance of the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms trade fair.

    Some of the collages created by participants at the workshop. On the morning of Friday, September 8, we assembled outside one of the main entrances to the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms trade fair at the ExCel centre in London to talk about the body politics of the arms trade.

    As part of a wider Week of Action to Stop the Arms Trade, organized by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), we were invited to deliver a workshop exploring bodies, feminism, queerness and militarism for Conference at the Gates, an open air conference-action that aims to build solidarity between academics, students, activists and artists.

    The following are some of our reflections on the conversations we had at the conference. While the views expressed in this article are those of the convenors, they are informed by the thought- provoking and generous contributions of the participants who took part in the workshop. 

    Why the body?

    Depending on where you are coming from the body might seem to some an odd place to start a discussion about the politics of the arms trade. But as feminist scholars strongly committed to thinking through ideas of the body and embodiment, it came on the back of important political and theoretical commitments.

    Long ignored and much maligned within western thought as an unruly messy feminine object, the body has much to teach us about the slick running of the global arms trade industry that profits from the death and destruction of human beings. But even prior to the specificities of the arms trade and its role in injuring bodies, the workshop built from an idea that centering bodies in our work teaches us about the ways in which power operates and functions. 

    Numerous feminist philosophers have worked to challenge and destabilize our common-sense understandings of the body, sex and gender, and show us that these all relate to questions of politics, power and resistance. This workshop drew inspiration from specific applications of a broad school of body theory to questions of militarism and violence, work which has found a space in critical and feminist international relations literature – such as Swati Parashar's work on war bodies, Laura Brigg's writings on the production of the Arab body, and Tina Vaittinen's work on the power of the vulnerable body. The wealth of work that feminist international relations in particular has to offer on this topic is too vast to summarise neatly here.

    While feminist scholarship suggests that the body has much to teach us about the contours and consequences of the global arms trade, feminist activists have also long drawn attention to the significance of bodies for challenging practices of war and militarisation.

    From members of Meira Paibi Women’s Movement who stripped naked outside the historic Kangla Fort to protest the brutal rape of Thangjam Manorama by the Indian Army to Sisters Against the Arms Trade who chained themselves to MDBA’s missile factory in Henlow Bedfordshire to protest their deadly use in Syria, feminist activists have repeatedly shown that bodies are sites where the personal and international most painfully come into contact. They have shown that bodies are crucial in both the production and resistance of war and militarism.

    Closing your eyes and imagining the DSEI arms fair immediately sums up how powerful bodies are in the organization of the global arms trade. From the masculinized soldiering bodies who interface with weapons technology; the hypersexualized bodies of female sales assistants; the latent eroticism of (mainly male) trade delegations touching new weapons or 'playing' in war simulations; to the racialized and absent wounded and dead bodies (of both civilians and bodies labelled as 'troublesome' or dangerous by military forces) that, whilst absent within the halls of DSEI, haunt the spectacle of the arms exhibition – the invisible bodies who are the very target, subject and object of organised violence.

    To respond to this variety of bodies, we chose to explore these questions through the making of zines, rather than replicating an academic panel discussion.  Zines, small self-published magazines, have a long history in activist traditions. Drawing from numerous radical traditions of self-publishing they provide a different way to grapple with the politics of DSEI. In particular the use of collage gave us an opportunity to engage differently with the movements and deployments of differentiated bodies that support and oppose militarism.

    What do bodies do at the DSEI arms fair?

    Participants reflected on how modalities of sight worked to structure which bodies were visible at the DSEI arms fair, drawing attention to those who were absent from the floor of the centre although potentially present in other ways.

    Reflecting the absence of female and trans bodies from DSEI, as well as recent efforts by the DSEI organizers to diversify recruitment into the industry, several contributors wrestled with the issue of how to respond to governments, militaries, security agencies and industry players that take up the embodied struggles of marginalized groups and gut them of their radical politics in order to make them profitable.

    Participants also brought up the issue of touch, in relation specifically to the practices of massage booths where attendees can receive back massages from female masseuses. There were suggestions that a gendered economy of touch and sensation was important in understanding global arms fairs, and the ways in which the labour of women’s bodies played a vital role in (re)producing the arms fair and rendering it an enjoyable sensual experience.

    The discussion of touch also brought us to issues of bodily textures and interiors, as we struggled to make sense of the surprisingly gory and bloody demonstrations of medical technology. The presence of white soldiering bodies, mocked up as bleedy/dying/missing limbs etc. was, for us, a surprising display of violence, slipperiness and leakiness in an environment we had (evidently wrongly) expected to be devoid of such representations. This raised questions around which wounds, and whose wounds, were allowed to be seen at DSEI.

    How do bodies resist the DSEI arms fair?

    lead A protestor lifted away by police officers during a march against the Defence Systems & Equipment International (DSEi) event at the ExCel Centre, London, September 2017. All rights reserved.Oddly what did not come up in conversation was how bodies are not just simply tools or targets in practices of state violence but also crucial in the resistance of DSEI. This seemed strange given our location. Outside the packed corridors and neatly organised zones of the arms fair, bodies were equally hard at work resisting militarism; locking themselves into concrete tubes in the middle of the road, dancing in front of delivery lorries, abseiling from bridges to block access, attempting in a multitude of ways to prevent the arms fair from taking place.

    Yet perhaps one of the reasons for this strange absence of resisting bodies was because it felt so obvious. The constant police presence encircling the temporary shelter we were using to conduct our workshop, listening into our conversations about state violence, made it hard to ignore our own collective bodily presence at DSEI.

    Little things like remembering not to use each other’s names in front of the police made us conscious of how we acted around each other. This sense of embodied relationality however did not just stop at those gathered to protest DSEI. The reason we had collectively assembled outside the arms fair was to enact solidarity with those people most directly affected by weapons being traded in the UK. Our coming together in this form of embodied solidarity was therefore an acknowledgement of our proximity and complicity in the arms trade that profits from the destruction of life and an effort to try to assert another kind of politics that disrupts its smooth and efficient running.

    Looking back at the workshop we as conveners were reminded of the slipperiness of bodies. While some bodies we encountered felt sadly familiar, such as the largely male trade delegations playing and posing with the latest military technologies, others took us by surprise. Specifically the injured and bleeding bodies on display in the 'Medical Engagement Zone' was for us an important reminder of the ability of the industry to embody multiple contradictions and to profit from the destruction of flesh.

    Reflecting on our efforts to centre bodies in our discussion of the DSEI arms fair we were reminded, however, that to think about bodies is not just to think about them as objects but also to think about our own embodiment. Gathered together outside the entrance to the fair we were reminded of our embodied connection to others who are directly affected by the global arms trade across the world. Our choice to gather in this way was both an acknowledgement that war starts here with us and that it is something we can take a stand against. 

    Conference programme 2017.

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    See also Academics Against the Arms Fair: An Open Letter, September 18, 2017.

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    See Stop The Arms Fair website.

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  6. Challenging elections in Chile

    History will remember some of Bachelet's reforms in Chile as significant changes, yet the President will leave her second term in government with only a 25% public approval. Español

    Followers of Sebastián Piñera await his arrival in Osorno, Chile on November 9, 2017. The presidential candidate and former president of Chile Sebastián Piñera met with his followers in the city of Osorno only a few days before the elections. (Photo by Fernando Lavoz/NurPhoto/Sipa USA). All rights reserved.

    Presidential elections will be held this Sunday, November 19, in Chile. All the polls agree that former President Sebastián Piñera is most likely the candidate to earn the majority of the votes, although not enough to win in the first round. Yet the question that intrigues the experts today is not so much who the runner-up will be, or the percentages of participation, but how many people will actually vote. In 2012, Chile passed a bill changing the vote from compulsory to voluntary, and it has since become the Latin American country with the lowest electoral participation. The picture becomes liquid when you do not know what the likely turn up of voters will be.

    The process leading to Piñera’s probable return to the presidency has some explanations that are worth remembering. During Michele Bachelet’s first term (2006-2010) the parties in her coalition had significant clout, the program of initiatives continued to refine the political model of agreements, implemented with the return to democracy. And finally, it had substantial citizen support. But the coalition failed to define a clear electoral strategy, chose a bad candidate, and so Sebastián Piñera won. Bachelet left La Moneda’s presidential palace with more than 80% public approval, knowing that she was very likely to be good contender to take the elections four years later. 

    Once the (Piñera's) administration was over, and with the ghost of Bachelet haunting over the following electoral process, the right-wing coalition underwent a generalized crisis process

    Piñera’s government (2010-2014) was marked by problems with the parties in his coalition and the impetus of being “the government of the best" – mainly composed by former managers of private companies who knew little or nothing about the State. In a second stage, important political actors joined the government, which gave the coalition some structural order, although the parties recognized both in public and in private that the President often did not communicate with them. Piñera had to manage the consequences of the biggest earthquake in decades, its reconstruction, the student demands, and the development of a reform agenda coming form the left. During his term, the economic and social indicators, in general, improved. Once the administration was over, and with the ghost of Bachelet haunting over the following electoral process, the right-wing coalition underwent a generalized crisis process, which led directly to its electoral defeat.

    Certainly, Bachelet returned to the government as an indisputable and basically incombustible candidate. This time, she took advantage of her political strength to create a team composed by people of her personal entourage. She also distanced herself from the parties and the party leadership, and defined a program of important social reforms (free university education, abortion on three grounds, reform tax, labor reform, constitutional reform). However, shortly after assuming the presidency, the corruption scandals linked to her son and daughter-in-law broke out, which combined with the apparent lack of coordination between the economic and the political teams in her government, the daily struggle with problems that got in the way of implementing the reformist agenda, and doubts among the parties, weakened the President, her government, and her center-left coalition. Undoubtedly, history will remember some of the installed reforms in Chile as substantial changes, but this time, Michele Bachelet will leave the government with just a 25% public approval and a center-left coalition destroyed from the inside. 

    Thus the electoral process of 2017 has 2 candidates, both considered center-left, and who are members of the coalition of the outgoing government. The Christian Democracy sought its own way with Carolina Goic and surely that will cost the party some seats in the Legislative on Sunday, but it will open up the discussion for a clearer programmatic future. The candidate representing the other party in the government coalition, current senator Alejandro Guillier, could very likely be the one going to the second round in December 2017.

     (Guillier) will need to reinvent himself, or his chances of winning in the second round are remote

    Guillier, an independent candidate supported by one of the smaller parties of the coalition, has been erratic in some decisions, has been publicly discreet, and was able to charm the popular center-left electorate, which means those voters may refrain from participating in the elections this Sunday. Therefore, he will need to reinvent himself, or his chances of winning in the second round are remote.

    Piñera, meanwhile, understood that governing includes ordering the party coalition, reducing public and private confrontations, consolidating an ambition of power and government, not just management, and putting together a government agenda based on ideology rather than administrative functionality. A candidate from a harder right wing has emerged, but apparently he will not consolidate a relevant percentage of votes. 

    The election this Sunday is key to the political development of one of the countries considered most institutional and orderly in the region. Possibly, the greatest challenges ahead relate to citizen disaffection of political participation, the urgent need for a change in the leadership of traditional parties, and the need for consolidation of new serious references and true alternative proposals.

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  7. Frontpage 18th November
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    The 23rd Council of Parties (COP23) has been held this week in Bonn, Germany at the headquarters of the UN Climate Commission. But tthis year's UN climate change talks host country is Fiji, and there is where CIVICUS will gather civil society from around the world next month. Español

    openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world
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    Given the complex attitudes towards foreign interventions in Libya, we need a clear strategy that stands up to scrutiny. 

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  8. This week, Russian citizens have been arrested for intolerance towards Cossacks

    Our partners at OVD-Info give us the latest on freedom of assembly and political detentions in Russia. 

    OVD-Info report makes it to the top of Yandex's news aggregator, Russia's most popular search engine.

    We continue our partnership with OVD-Info, an NGO that monitors politically-motivated arrests in Russia. Every Friday, we bring you the latest information on freedom of assembly. 

    This week we report on how OVD-Info found its way to the top of the Yandex search engine, what’s wrong with the charges against a defendant in the 26 March case, and how Russian police gather information from people who have been arrested.

    We begin with the news

    The FSB has opened a criminal investigation against Vyacheslav Maltsev, the leader of the Artpodgotovka movement, for organising a terrorist group. Despite this, Maltsev apparently has “no problems at all.” He recently stated that he has been given political asylum in an EU country.

    Vyacheslav Maltsev. Source: Youtube. Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for preparing (non-existent) acts of terrorism in Crimea, has spent the past two weeks in solitary confinement. Sentsov had been moved to the White Bear prison colony in the Labytnangi settlement (in Yamalo-Nenetsky autonomous district) where he was immediately placed in solitary confinement. This is how the prison carried out a decision by the pre-trial detention centre in Irkutsk, where Sentsov had formerly been held, who had decided the prisoner had been in serious violation of regulations, but had not had time to punish him.

    In Chelyabinsk, environmental activist Irina Mochanova is under criminal investigation for using violence against a representative of the authorities while holding a one-person protest in front of president Putin’s car as it drove past.  The activist was protesting against the construction of the Tomino copper mining plant.

    lead A picket against a new copper plant outside the city during president Putin's recent visit to Chelyabinsk. Source: Chelyabinsk74.ru.Russian law enforcement haven’t forgotten about the dangerous criminals who exploit the internet for their nefarious purposes. Krasnodar blogger Leonid Kudinov has again been jailed for posting a video containing a swastika. In the video, Kudinov urges the police to stop using Article 20.3 of the Administrative Law Code against activists, and to take into account the context in which Nazi symbols may be used.

    In Kaluga, a business manager, Ivan Lyubshin, has been found guilty of extremism and of rehabilitation of Nazism on account of posts he made on the VKontakte social media site. Lyubshin was fined 400,000 roubles; prosecutors had asked for him to be jailed for four years. The prosecution was brought on the basis of posts on social media which included film of the joint military parade of the forces of the Third Reich and the Red Army in Brest in 1939, and a song from the Soviet-Polish war of 1920.

    Meanwhile, in Crimea an activist has been charged with “embracing the ideas of intolerance towards the social group of the Terek Cossacks and defaming the given social group.” In this case, the investigators also established the alleged crime by reviewing social media. During a police search of the activist’s apartment, he was beaten.

    In the regions the authorities are gradually moving to ban rallies in cities (especially in downtown areas). In Murmansk, during an inspection by prosecutors, a document dating from 2011 was discovered stating that the local “Hyde Park” (the name given to areas where protests of less than 100 people are permitted without special authorisation by the authorities) had the status of an “object of cultural heritage” and therefore events could be held there only with the permission of the Committee for Culture and Art. The first decision the Committee took was to ban a rally against corruption. In Petrozavodsk a more straightforward approach was adopted: the main street was simply removed from the list of local “Hyde Parks.”

    Our publications

    We have written about how during the “revolution” on 5 November we suddenly became one of the top ten resources cited on Yandex-News (where in fact we don’t belong at all, since we are not licensed as a media outlet). It is interesting that the figures we published relating to the detentions that took place at that time were in contest with figures provided by the police: sometimes the police figures had the most citations, sometimes ours were predominant. But the main thing is that in our article we explain why we (and, in fact, you) need this information.

    In Russia the notion of a “criminal misdemeanour” may be introduced. We explain what this is, and the different views as to whether it is necessary.

    7 November: Presnensky district court, Moscow. Source: Protest Moscow.If you have been arrested, it is worth being cautious in what you say to other people in the police van, despite a natural sense of solidarity you may have with them. We relate how police gather information among detainees.

    Dmitry Borisov, a defendant in the 26 March Case, has been charged with kicking the helmet of one of the five police officers who were carrying him to the police van. As a result, Borisov faces a prison term of up to five years. Three police officers, who are witnesses in Borisov’s case, have said they did not see the accused strike the police officer. We have investigated the video of Borisov’s arrest in an attempt to understand whether it might indeed have been possible for Borisov to kick the officer on the helmet. Our conclusion is very unexpected, but men will probably understand.

    Volunteers

    OVD-Info needs volunteers. We need volunteers to staff our telephone hotline, we need young lawyers, people to work with databases, IT experts, illustrators, and many others. Persecution on political grounds is very widespread in Russia at present, so we have much work to do. We cannot manage without volunteers. Join our team, we’ll be delighted!

    Thanks!

    Our thanks to everyone who continues to support our work. Find out how you can help us here.

    For more information on OVD-Info, read this article from the organisation's founder on how OVD is breaking the civil society mould here.

     

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  9. Frontpage 17th November
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    Muammar Gaddafi. YouTube/NBC News. All rights reserved
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    How anonymous testimony can help survivors of sexual abuse
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  10. Call for submissions: Listening to Libya - Intervention and its aftermath

    NAWA seeks to provide a deeper look into Libya by inviting Libyan writers, and readers to submit their thoughts, articles and pitches but also their reading recommendations to us.

    Explosive Remnants of War in post revolution Libya. Picture by United Nations Development Programme / Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Some rights reserved. During the month of September, North Africa West Asia (NAWA) is calling for submissions and pitches on Libya.

    Since the beginning of the Libyan uprising and especially with the military intervention that led to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has become a ghost haunting any discussion of internationalism in Syria, and as primary evidence of western conspiracies for regime change. While much is discussed about Syria, very little has been heard from Libyans and Libya outside of the simplified dichotomy that we see in mainstream media. While indeed part of the story of Syria is located in Libya, the latter’s story is crucial to be told for its own sake.  

    NAWA seeks to provide a deeper look into Libya by inviting Libyan writers, and readers to submit their thoughts, articles and pitches but also their reading recommendations to us. Though many foreigners have studied and written on Libya, we aim to bolster the voice and experience of Libyans for this series.

    Our focus will be on the call for and the aftermath of intervention. How has the Libyan uprising altered internationalism and what is happening in Libya in the aftermath of the intervention?

    You can submit your pitches or texts (50 to 100 words) and / or reading suggestions to NAWA@opendemocracy.net

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