May 2011

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Does the Internet Encourage or Inhibit Democracy?

Video Does the internet actually inhibit, not encourage democracy? This new RSA Animate presentation is adapted from a talk given by Evgeny Morozov, author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. Morozov presents an alternative take on 'cyber-utopianism' - the seductive idea that the internet plays a largely emancipatory role in global politics. Exposing some idealistic myths about freedom and technology, Evgeny argues for some realism about the actual uses and abuses of the...

The New Sputnik

Picture: C.G.P. Grey and www.chinese-flag.org Juan Cole - In 1957, a United States shocked by the Soviet launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite bounced into action to compete on the world stage. More than 50 years later, in May of 2011, the U.S. is facing a new challenge. The Chinese Communist Party has decided to launch a crash program to produce green energy, a field where it already has a commanding lead over the U.S. The difference between 1957 and 2011 is that American politics in the meantime have been captured by parasitic or corrupt industries...

Democratic? Alliance?

Picture: Democratic Alliance Glenn Ashton - The Democratic Alliance (DA) claims the title of official opposition and governs the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape. Yet questions are emerging about how the DA governs. Just how democratic is local governance by the DA? Does the party communicate with its electorate? More importantly, does it listen to them? Does it accurately represent community interests? Despite claims of non-partisan leadership, the DA should shoulder a significant proportion of the responsibility for the...

On State Violence

Picture: Halden Krog Richard Pithouse - The sickening detail of how Andries Tatane was steadily murdered by the police in Ficksburg, shirtless, bleeding and bewildered, blow after blow after blow, has become a national memory. The television image from the next night’s news, showing Julius Malema striding into the High Court in Johannesburg with a suited private militia carrying M14 assault rifles, has also become part of the national consciousness.  Malema’s carefully choreographed performance was designed as a...

A Better Life for the Few: The Ministerial Handbook Uncovered

Picture: SACSIS adapted from Lildue Dale T. McKinley - Most of us can surely well remember those times during childhood when we were caught eating something that we knew we shouldn’t and our immediate defence was to claim that mom or dad said we could. Well, that about sums up the contemporary behaviour of many of our highest political office bearers, only in their case it’s not the sweets meant for the guests but public monies and it’s not parents who are the rationalising crutch but the ministerial handbook. Yes, the little...

Rising Sectarian Tension in Egypt After Deadly Attack on Coptic Christian Church

Video In Egypt over the weekend, 12 people died and more than 180 were wounded during clashes between Muslims and Christians in Cairo. Egypt’s army has said that 190 people were detained after the fatal clashes and that they will face military trials. Saturday’s violence started after several hundred conservative Salafist Muslims gathered outside the Coptic Saint Mena Church in Cairo’s Imbaba district. They were reportedly protesting over a months-old allegation that a Christian...