After the Tazreen Fashions factory fire (2012) and the Rana Plaza collapse (2013), which killed 119 and 1,136 workers, respectively, the garment sector of Bangladesh has seen the coming of two new regimes of regulatory bodies, namely, “the Accord” (Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh) and “the Alliance” (Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety). Both bodies are said to be legally binding agreements between global brands/retailers and trade unions designed to build a safe and healthy ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh. Some transnational activists regard these developments as great achievements. In fact, an attempt to have a legally binding document that would hold brands and retailers responsible for their shoddy practices in the global supply chain has been a long-standing demand by some international trade unions, the Clean Clothes Campaign, and other global campaign groups for workers’ rights. The Tazreen factory fire and the Rana Plaza collapse expedited the process.
With the constant, confusing, and often misinformed media noise around Russia, you would be forgiven for believing a number of unhelpfully distorting half-truths: that Russia has been a pariah state for a while (connected to sanctions after the occupation of Crimea and intervention in East Ukraine); that Russia is on a kind of lockdown with no outlet for protests and careful management of dissent by the state; or that Putin is so popular that protests are pointless or restricted to a small educated minority. Lastly, you might get the impression that oil money continues to keep the Russians reasonably quiescent—after all, the government spent heavily on social programs before and after the initial shocks associated with the global financial crisis.
“Behind the Indian Boom: Inequality and Resistance at the heart of economic growth” is an exhibition curated by Simon Chambers and Alpa Shah.[i] The exhibition draws on research undertaken across India as part of an ESRC- and ERC-funded Programme of Research on Inequality and Poverty based in the Department of Anthropology at LSE led by Alpa Shah and Jens Lerche.[ii] The exhibition also includes contributions from a number of scholars, journalists, and activists.
In the future, people will say, “On the 16th of October, it happened again.” The Kurds were once again betrayed by the international community. Afraid of losing their territory to the Kurdish self-governance authorities after the independence referendum, the Iraqi state responded with overwhelming military force, compelling the Peshmerga to lay down their arms. In the following days, the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) lost approximately 40 percent of their territory and withdrew into the pre-ISIS 2003 borders at the behest of the regional powers. The hopes and dreams for Kurdish independence were dashed again, and “the Kurds’ only friends are the mountains.” Shock and disbelief at these recent developments, however, belie a certain naïveté.