Tag Archives: Elections

Alessandro Zagato: “Spokesperson for the people and candidate for the media”: An indigenous woman for the 2018 presidential elections in Mexico

María de Jesús Patricio, known as Marichuy, is an indigenous Nahuatl woman born on 23 December 1963 in Tuxpan (“land of rabbits”), a small town located in the south of the state of Jalisco, where she grew up in a condition of extreme poverty. She is mother of three. As a child, she spent time observing older women from her family practicing traditional medicine. They were performing rituals and preparing oils and medicaments to heal people in their community. Over the years, she became a practitioner. In an interview of some years ago, (Tukari 2010: 12) she recalls that a mentor once warned her not to profit from her ancestral knowledge, because “the light protecting you would extinguish,” he argued, and she would no longer be effective as a healer. Her wisdom increased significantly as she started giving workshops around the region. Since 1995, María directs a health center in the Calli neighborhood of Tuxpam, where indigenous medicine is practiced and researched. Since then, she has received several public recognitions for her work, which focuses, she argues, in healing the community rather than just individual diseases. “Through the health center we defend traditional medicine, indigenous territories, and the mother earth based on an anti-capitalist approach and the libertarian struggle of the indigenous people” (University of Guadalajara 2015).

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Patrick Neveling: “Vote like humans”: Elections in a posthuman political economy

This post is part of a feature on the 2017 UK elections, moderated and edited by Patrick Neveling (SOAS, University of London).

As I left Bournemouth train station this afternoon, a homeless man approached me and asked for some change. Shelters in Bournemouth and elsewhere in the United Kingdom charge money to rough sleepers on a per night basis. The going rate is currently four British pounds in Bournemouth, and it is certainly a common experience for commuters returning from Southampton and London to this southwestern English seaside town to be asked to for a contribution to those fees at the train station. In fact, the local council adds further pressure to an anyhow pressurized population of homeless in Bournemouth. As the current Tory government has cut several welfare packages, the number of homeless has risen dramatically across the United Kingdom in recent years.

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Michael Jennings: UK Election 2017 manifestos and international development: Common ground and clear water

This post is part of a feature on the 2017 UK elections, moderated and edited by Patrick Neveling (SOAS, University of London).

With the election coming up today, I thought it would be interesting to look at the commitments to international development in the manifestos of the Labour PartyConservatives, and Liberal Democrats.

The day-to-day realities of election campaigns tend to soon undermine the carefully calibrated and plotted plans of campaign managers. So this election that was intended (by the Conservatives) to be the Brexit election has moved in new directions as the policies put forward in the manifestos came under scrutiny and attack.

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John Gledhill: It’s Corbyn’s critics who need the history lesson

This post is part of a feature on the 2017 UK elections, moderated and edited by Patrick Neveling (SOAS, University of London).

In his very carefully argued speech of 26 May 2017 on the relationship between contemporary terrorism and foreign policy, Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn observed: “Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.” Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians immediately accused him of bad timing and muddled and dangerous thinking. Some critics, exemplified by Conservative Security Minister Ben Wallace, argued that Corbyn needed a history lesson, since it was obvious that the roots of “Islamic” terrorism predated 9/11 and then US President George W. Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan. “These people hate our values, not our foreign policy,” Wallace insisted in a radio interview that I listened to this morning.

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Alan Bradshaw: On the prospect of a Tory majority!

This post is part of a feature on the 2017 UK elections, moderated and edited by Patrick Neveling (SOAS, University of London).

As an Irishman living in England, I am struck by the total difference between how Brexit is discussed in both countries. In Ireland, it is clear that Brexit will bring economic disaster, but this can be mitigated against by significant planning and coordinated response by government and business. That even at this late stage, the form of Brexit is unknown is a source of great anxiety in Ireland. By contrast, in Britain to have any discourse of Brexit as impending economic ruination is simply unacceptable. Those who dare to utter prophecies of economic trouble are bullied into silence by a raging right-wing media. Brexit can only be allowed to be framed in the positive.

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Lesley Gill and Norbert Ross: What’s class got to do with it?

trump

Unsettled by Donald Trump’s bigotry and xenophobia, liberal pundits have struggled to understand his improbable anointment as the nominee of the Republican party. Many have sought answers in the experience and behavior of the white-working class, the bedrock of Trump support. Why, asks the New Yorker’s James Surolecki, would any working class person support Trump. Surolecki believes that part of the answer lies in the appeal of Trump’s nativist rhetoric. For William Galston, writing in Newsweek, working class whites vote for Trump because they “seek protection against all the forces that they perceive as hostile to their way of life—foreign people, foreign goods, foreign ideas.” And wary of Trump backers and their potential for violence if the Republicans lose the presidency, Salon’s Michael Bourne locates white working class anger in “1960s-era legislation for promoting the interests of immigrants and minorities over their own, just as they blame free-trade policies of both parties for sending their jobs offshore.” According to Bourne, they are either the hapless “victims of American progress or a bunch of over privileged bigots.”
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Chris Hann: On Saxony-Anhalt bashing

Regional elections in Germany have seldom if ever attracted as much attention as they did on Sunday, 13 March 2016. This was the first opportunity for the electorate to express its opinion about the “refugee policy” pursued by Chancellor Angela Merkel since early September 2015. Not only her own Christian Democratic Union but also the Social Democrats, her coalition partner in Berlin, lost votes to a new protest party, the Alternative for Germany. These “Rechtspopulisten” did especially well in Saxony-Anhalt, where I live. Rather than simply join the chorus of condemnation of this vile movement and celebrate the humanitarian altruism shown by the mainstream parties toward deserving foreigners, it behooves social scientists to analyze the deeper causes and consequences of both the voting and the migration patterns.
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Sian Lazar: “The happiness revolution”: Argentina and the end of post-neoliberalism?

This post is part of a series on the Latin American pink tide, moderated and edited by Massimiliano Mollona (Goldsmiths, University of London). 

In mid-October 2015, it appeared as though Daniel Scioli, candidate for the Frente para la Victoria (Front for Victory, FPV) would win the Argentine presidential elections relatively easily.[1] He was comfortably ahead in the opinion polls and had won the open primary elections of the previous August by a margin of 8 percentage points. Some of my friends thought he might even scrape through in the first round alone, for which he needed to gain a lead of more than 10 percentage points over his nearest rival, Mauricio Macri, businessman and governor of the city of Buenos Aires. In the event, in a result that shocked many if not most observers, Scioli won the first round with a lead of only 2.9 percent, meaning he would face Macri in a second round runoff vote, the first in Argentina’s democratic history. In response to this news of the run-off, Macri tweeted that “the happiness revolution” had begun (Macri 2015), and despite considerable anti-Macri mobilization in the weeks between the first and second round votes, Macri had clearly gained momentum and eventually won by 51 percent to 49 percent.
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Justyna Kajta & Adam Mrozowicki: The new Polish parliament: Between the Right and the radical Right

The new parliament in Poland resembles in its makeup the one in Hungary, almost completely dominated by right-wing political parties. The Law and Justice party beat the Civic Platform party, with 37.8 percent of the vote, against 24.9 percent. The victory of Law and Justice was not surprising. It shows again that good economic growth is not enough if it goes together with sustained inequalities, regional unevenness, and stagnation for many. For young people, blue-collar workers, and low-paid service employees, the benefits of growth remain overshadowed by the reproduction of underpaid and unregistered employment, sharp increases in temporary “junk” contracts, and the feeling of economic exclusion.
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Mallika Shakya: Ethnicity in Nepal’s new constitution

From politics of culture to politics of justice

Nepal promulgated its constitution on 20 September—the first after ending the monarchy, and one replacing the interim constitution in place since 2007. That interim constitution had been put in place to mark the peace agreement with the Nepali Maoists, mainstreaming them into democratic politics and unarming them under the UN mediation. While there were other obstacles in finalizing the constitution, the hardest nut to crack has been the issue of federalism because it involved finding a way to work Nepal’s multiple ethnic and regional identities into the mono-ethnic nationalism institutionalized by the state thus far.
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