Category: Bye bye Democracy

In Italy’s Deserted Democracy, Far-Right Giorgia Meloni Has Emerged Victorious

Yesterday’s Italian election brought victory for Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Fratelli d’Italia — and record-low turnout. The opposition between technocrats and the far right is the symptom of a deeper decline.

Source: In Italy’s Deserted Democracy, Far-Right Giorgia Meloni Has Emerged Victorious

Australians must not ignore the Religious Right’s global warnings – » The Australian Independent Media Network

A man stands praying against a cross in front of Congress in Washington

Australians have begun to see the new face of extreme religion in our “conservative” politics.

It is not just the rights of individuals but the (flawed) democracies that have gradually made room for civil rights for more groups than just property-owning White men that is at stake in the rise of the authoritarian Religious Right. These democracies are more likely than authoritarian regimes to protect the equality of Others, preventing the persecution and even the atrocities that religion-infused extremism can foster. Without data-driven secular governments, our capacity to tackle the climate emergency is crippled. It is critical that we perceive the risk that is reflected in the speeches of Scott Morrison to his Pentecostal audiences. It is not merely a foreign faith movement uncomfortably shoe-horned into our secular state; it is a threat of incalculable scope. We must work together to keep authoritarian religious radicalism out of our government.

Nor is this limited to the West or is Christianity the only faith drawn into the nativist nationalist trend. In India, the Hindutva movement aims to subdue all Indians within a Hindu nation with one faith and language. Shinto is central to a Japanese nationalist movement. Buddhism is key to Myanmar and Sri Lanka’s nationalist movements. Israel is self defining as a Jewish nation and imposing second class status on non-Jews within its borders.

Source: Australians must not ignore the Religious Right’s global warnings – » The Australian Independent Media Network

MAGA Makes the Pilgrimage to Authoritarian Hungary – Mother Jones

The Orban approach to the Autocratic takeover of Democracy and it’s here!

But describing Orbán as an authoritarian doesn’t fully capture the threat he poses. What truly concerns political scientists and democracy advocates isn’t just that he’s established control over the state apparatus, but that his mode of governance has proven enduringly popular among many Hungarians. Indeed, his base of support in the rural countryside has driven him to four consecutive electoral victories, despite growing evidence of corruption and economic stagnation. If the American right does eventually follow Orbán’s advice, mixing redistributive economic policies, voter suppression, and all-out culture war on marginalized groups in ways that prove broadly popular, we’re in deep trouble.

In fact, there’s a good chance that we’re basically there already.

Source: MAGA Makes the Pilgrimage to Authoritarian Hungary – Mother Jones

The End of Democracy’s Fourth Wave? The New Authoritarians in the Mideast and Eastern Europe

The free media in Russia is suppressed and civil society is monitored for security by laws and regulations. In Hungary, human rights organisations are delegitimised and those following the laws and regulations are persecuted, and in Belarus, President Lukashenko dismisses university professors and public servants according to political whims because laws and regulations enable him to do so. In the Arab countries, there are choppy seas of authoritarian actions of rulers and governments whose only concern is the subjugation of citizens, managing society and controlling public space.

Source: The End of Democracy’s Fourth Wave? The New Authoritarians in the Mideast and Eastern Europe

Voter ID and dead cats – » The Australian Independent Media Network

To call Voter ID changes a “dead moggie” is very dangerous. Russian roulette was once called fun too until it wasn’t. That Idea is like the one thrown about decades ago, that the ABC was an unnecessary taxpayer burden and should be sold off. That grew to become LNP’s bullshit slogan  of “No Cuts to the ABC” in 2013 to 8 years of razor slices called by Treasurer Morrison “Efficiency Reviews”. A slip sliding of language which was a concerted effort to bring the “dead moggie” to life and “rid us of the ABC”. That LNP ideal outcome is now accepted as a normal LNP platform and practice and will continue to be forever more.

Changes to universal franchisement and compulsory voting can easily go the same way.  Yes, just another distraction, a “dead cat” that there really is no need for our Compulsory Voting system isn’t a hypothetical. Dead Cats have a habit of coming to life in the hands of the LNP,to become a normal part of our political ecosystem, labeled as “just debate” Beware!!

People that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. James McGrath is correct to a point when he suggested that politicians don’t have a good reputation. Demonstrably it has nothing to do with the election process but more to do with actions the politicians are alleged to take during the political parties’ pre-selection processes or after election. Is it too cynical to suggest that the sudden legislation requiring voters to provide identification prior to voting is Morrison’s version of Boris Johnson’s ‘dead cat strategy’ where a dramatic or sensational topic is introduced to a discussion, solely to distract attention from the inconvenient truth? What do you think?

Source: Voter ID and dead cats – » The Australian Independent Media Network

Republicans are trying to get the supreme court to overturn democracy itself | US elections 2020 | The Guardian

‘The fact that so many Republicans are going along with this authoritarian and undemocratic charade is clarifying, if depressing.’

This is extraordinary: a group of Republicans are asking the court to disenfranchise millions of Americans, just so their guy can stay put

Republicans are trying to get the supreme court to overturn democracy itself | US elections 2020 | The Guardian

Election transfixes, fuels fears over democracy around the world

French newspaper Le Monde led with "Trump-Biden : the United States is tearing itself apart, Editorial : a democracy in danger".

President Donald Trump’s premature victory claim late on Tuesday night (Wednesday AEDT) and false allegations of voter fraud were met with expressions of shock over the state of US democracy, along with disparagement on the part of adversaries.

Election transfixes, fuels fears over democracy around the world

Volatile Trump joining Putin’s strongman club a threat to global institutions

Donald Trump is enjoying a political bromance with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Digitally altered image.

Washington: Now, that’s how to run an exclusive club. At Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in Florida, there’s a ceiling on membership and newcomers get a look-over only on the recommendation of a current member.

Source: Volatile Trump joining Putin’s strongman club a threat to global institutions

The slide away from democracy – » The Australian Independent Media Network

In 2004, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that lays out seven ‘essential elements’ of democracy, including: • Separation and balance of power • Independence of the judiciary • A pluralistic system of political parties and organisations • Respect for the rule of law • Accountability and transparency • Free, independent and pluralistic media…

Source: The slide away from democracy – » The Australian Independent Media Network

What is a Jewish nation state?

Palestinians pray in front of Dome of the Rock in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

The Israeli government is dropping the pretense of balancing the state’s Jewish and democratic nature.

The “Jewish nation-state” law, already approved by the Israeli cabinet on Sunday and yet to be presented for a vote in the Knesset this Wednesday, will enshrine in statute a situation that has been palpable on the ground for decades. Its discriminatory character, turning a large Arab Israeli minority into second-class citizens and delisting Arabic as an official language, will only confirm the ongoing discrimination that members of this group have been subjected to well before the drafting of the new law.

The fallout from this piece of legislation is likely to be purely symbolic, marking a shift in the Israeli ideology hailed by some right-wing elements of the Netanyahu government as a return to the basics of Zionism.

The schizophrenic self-presentation of the State of Israel as Jewish and democratic is coming to an end in a clear choice of the polity’s Jewish and non-democratic fibre. But exactly what does a “Jewish nation-state” mean?

The ideologues of the regime are quick to point out that there is no inherent tension between France being a French and democratic state, or Germany being a German and democratic country. But neither Frenchness nor Germanness is equivalent to Jewishness. Even if the majority of citizens in France and Germany are Christian, these states are not declared to be “Christian nation-states”.

Definition of Jewishness

So what if Jewishness were not identical to Judaism, that is to say, to the Jewish religion? In fact, the official discourse in Israel has been, for a long time and purposefully, blurring the distinctions between religion, nationality, and ethnicity.

The very definition of Jewishness according to the 1950 Law of Return is ambiguous, seeing that the two possible criteria are: having a Jewish mother or converting to Judaism. The first criterion is biological, while the second is religious.

Amendment 2, passed in 1970, accentuates the religious component, bestowing the right of immigration on “a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew, except for a person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his religion”. In other words, it is not enough to have been born of a Jewish woman in order to be considered a Jew; the act of conversion from Judaism to another faith would be grounds for excluding the convert from this definition. One wonders what happens under the Law of Return to the self-professed atheists born of Jewish mothers.

It is apparent that non-Jewish citizens of a Jewish state will find themselves in a limbo, regardless of the vacuous guarantees of “equal personal rights” under the law awaiting approval. But, as I have mentioned above, their predicament has been dire well before the drafting of this bill. The question, then, is why is the Israeli government dropping the pretence of its ability to balance the state’s Jewish and democratic nature now, at this precise moment?

Beyond the politicking considerations of a coalition dominated by right-wing hardliners, there are at least two possible explanations for the timing of the proposed piece of legislation.

Major stumbling blocks

First, it attempts to codify a narrative that equates the land occupied by the State of Israel with the “historic homeland of the Jewish people”. With these words enshrined in the law, yet another obstacle will arise on the path to peace with the Palestinian people, who will be not only materially and symbolically, but also legally dispossessed of their land and their history.

The words I have cited from the draft legislation usurp the historic origin as the exclusive property of one group of citizens and turn a deaf ear to the rightful claims of another group. Moreover, they render the Jewish attachment to a distant past more important than the ongoing presence of non-Jewish inhabitants in the same territory. All these are major stumbling blocks in the peace process, which will be guaranteed to stay fruitless if future Israeli governments are bound by the “Jewish nation-state” law. For instance, in accordance with it, the right of return for Palestinian refugees will be outright denied on the grounds that the territory claimed by Israel was not their historic homeland.

Second, and more cynically: Could it be that the current rulers of Israel have made a calculated, conscious choice to weaken their emphasis on democracy? Although, in order to gain admission into the international community, it is still necessary to present one’s state as democratic, the time of this requirement’s non-negotiability might be coming to an end.

Widespread passive acceptance of technocracy and the dictates of the “Troika” in the European Union are the telltale signs of a gradual departure from democratic rhetoric and political practice. It would not be surprising that the Israeli right-wing politicians are ahead of the curve in an avowed abandonment of democratic discourse, and that the draft bill is but a symptom of this lamentable development.

Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor at the University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. His most recent books include Deconstructing Zionism: A Critique of Political Metaphysics (co-edited with Gianni Vattimo), The Philosopher’s Plant: An Intellectual Herbarium, and Pyropolitics: When the World Is Ablaze.