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  1. State of Power 2014 cover

    State of extraction: The new scramble for Africa

    • David Fig
    06 February 2014
    Report

    In recent years Africa has experienced waves of new investment, particularly in mining, energy and agriculture, and has seen elevated commodity exports. These flows are tantamount to a new scramble, creating wealth for foreign direct investors, some local entrepreneurs and a growing comprador class. Resources are typically exploited without raising the living standards of the people and at significant environmental cost. On the ground this has engendered significant resistance. The new scramble is a modification of traditional imperialist relationships which Africa experienced with former occupying colonial powers. But how do we understand the differences between the old and new scrambles? Who ultimately holds the power?

  2. State of Power 2014 cover

    State of Europe: How the European round table of industrialists came to wage class war on Europe

    • Andrew Marshall
    06 February 2014
    Report

    The convergence of corporate, financial, intellectual, political and ideological elites interconnected through board memberships of companies, banks, policy groups, think tanks, foundations, advisory groups and forums has led to what billionaire Warren Buffet referred to as a ‘class war” in which “my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” In the European Union, it is their choices that are largely reflected in the merciless austerity measures spreading poverty and unemployment as healthcare, education, social services, welfare and social housing are dismantled; as resources and assets are privatized, workers fired, pensions and social security are cut, workers have their rights and benefits dismantled, and the population is pushed into desperation. It is why the struggle for a different Europe must start first with tackling and undermining the power of those waging this war.

  3. State of Power 2014 cover

    State of the land: Reconfiguration of the power of the state and capital in the global land rush

    • Jun Borras
    06 February 2014
    Report

    Who gets how much and what kinds of land, how, and for what purposes? These are the basic questions around the politics of land. The question of land politics has been resurrected in a big way recently, worldwide, and in ways significantly different from the past.

  4. State of Power 2014 cover

    State of the State: The state is dead! Long live the state!

    • Daniel Chavez
    06 February 2014
    Report

    The State is Dead! Long live the State! At the turn of the century, many commentators from the right and left seemed united in their analysis that the state as an economic player was dead or at least no longer relevant. The combined pressures of globalisation, liberalisation and marketisation unleashed by the market-driven dogmas of Thatcherism and Reaganomics had massively expanded the private sector and concurrently downsized the public sector. Corporate power was in the ascendancy and many state-owned companies had become little more than second-rate government departments, and the underlying assumption was that, as the economy evolved, the government would close or sell them to private investors.

  5. third-way-marijuana

    Marijuana legalization: Does Congress need to act?

    • Graham Boyd, Sarah Trumble, Lanae Erickson Hatalsky
    11 April 2014
    Report

    Despite a federal prohibition on marijuana possession, sale, and use, Colorado and Washington recently became the first states to enact laws legalizing the recreational use of this drug. Although the Obama Administration has taken steps to attempt to deal with this evolving situation, we believe the status quo is untenable and Congress must act to provide certainty and a framework for these states moving forward. This report explains the problem and offers a solution.

  6. jamaica-flag

    About drug law reform in Jamaica

    30 August 2014
    Primer
  7. Drug law reform in Guatemala

    30 August 2014
    Primer

    This page was originally published in August 2014, and last updated in June 2016.

    Overview of drug policies, drug laws and legislative trends in Guatemala

  8. About drug law reform in Mexico

    30 August 2014
    Primer

    This page was originally published in August 2014, and last updated in December 2020.

    Mexico has been at the centre of many problems associated with the illicit drugs market as the country serves as the major corridor for drug trafficking between North and South America, and is the home of several of the largest drug trafficking organisations in Latin America. High rates of drugs-related violence, chronic institutionalised corruption, a dysfunctional justice administration and the powerful presence of large drug trafficking organisations have made of Mexico one of the most violent countries in the region, a situation comparable to the one faced by Colombia during the Pablo Escobar era in the 1980s and 1990s. Although it was expected that the punitive approach towards drugs may change with the installation of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) as the country’s president, the violence associated with conflicts between drug trafficking organisations or cartels represents one of the biggest security challenges in Mexico. 
     
    This page summarises the latest developments in the debate on drug law and drug policy in Mexico.
  9. Global Food Security needs States to Ally with Family Farmers

    Sylvia Kay
    09 July 2014
    Article

    There are an estimated 500 million smallholder farms in the developing world which provide livelihoods for 2 billion people and produce about 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. It is these small farmers who truly contribute to global food security.

  10. About drug law reform in Colombia

    30 August 2014
    Primer

    This page was originally published in August 2014, and last updated in June 2016.

    Although the legislative trend in Colombia has tended towards the criminalization of possession and consumption of psychoactive substances, decriminalization prevailed when it comes to jurisprudence. In addition, while the government of former President Álvaro Uribe Vélez (2002-2010) insisted on prohibiting, persecuting and punishing drug consumption through legislative and judicial channels, the country’s health sector, influenced by more progressive trends for dealing with consumption, made important progress in the areas of risk and harm reduction.

  11. About drug law reform in Peru

    30 August 2014
    Primer

    This page was originally published in August 2014, and last updated in June 2016.

    According to, Peruvian laws consumption or possession of controlled substances for personal use is not punishable, it is estimated that 60 percent of detentions on drug charges are related to use or simple possession. Moreover, the penalties for drug related crimes are relatively high and disproportionate, and infringe upon fundamental rights such as freedom, due process and other judicial guarantees. The penalty for small scale sales of drugs is between one to eight years in prison, according to the Criminal Code.

  12. Drug Law reform in Guatemala

    01 January 2014
    Topic

    Since his election in 2012, President Otto Pérez Molina has been encouraging public debate regarding the need for national drug policy reform. The plea was mainly directed to the international community: firstly to the governments of Central America, followed by a call upon the Americas Summit, then to the Organisation of American States (OAS), and finally to the UN. Although a review of the country’s existing legal framework on drugs was announced on several occasions, law reform proposals have yet to be presented in Guatemala’s parliament.

      • About drug law reform in Costa Rica

        30 August 2014
        Primer

        This page was originally published in August 2014, and last updated in June 2016.

        In contrast to other Central American countries, the possession of drugs for immediate personal use is not a criminal offence in Costa Rica. In August 2013 the cultivation, manufacture, transport and trafficking of drugs have all been made a criminal offence under the same article, which provides for a prison sentence of between 8 and 15 years without making any distinction between the offences. The government of Costa Rica supports the launch of an open international debate on the issue, but has declared itself against decriminalisation.

      • About drug law reform in Ecuador

        29 August 2014
        Primer

        This page was originally published in August 2014, and last updated in June 2016.

        Ecuador is going through a process of reform of its legislation on drugs and the related institutional structure. The government of Rafael Correa is pushing forward this process, which began in 2008 with a new constitution that led to the declaration of an amnesty for small-scale traffickers. In February 2014 parliament approved the Organic Criminal Procedures Code. This replaces the criminal offences section of Law 108, a piece of legislation infamous for its harshly disproportionate sentences and drive to prosecute. As a result of the amnesty and the new legislation, thousands of people were freed from prison. Al the beginning of 2015 the National Congress started to debate a proposed Organic Law on the Integrated Prevention of Drugs and the Use of Controlled Substances, a bill which seeks to replace what remains of the old law.

      • The State of Land in Europe

        14 April 2014
        Infograph

        While the overall amount of agricultural land in Europe is shrinking, it is also becoming increasingly concentrated in a few large landholdings and in the hands of relatively few big private business entities.

      • Drug law reform in Colombia

        01 January 2014
        Topic

        Although the legislative trend in Colombia has tended towards the criminalization of possession and consumption of psychoactive substances, decriminalization prevailed when it comes to jurisprudence. In addition, while the government of former President Álvaro Uribe Vélez (2002-2010) insisted on prohibiting, persecuting and punishing drug consumption through legislative and judicial channels, the country’s health sector, influenced by more progressive trends for dealing with consumption, made important progress in the areas of risk and harm reduction.

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        The Victims and Land Restitution Law in Colombia in context

        • Paula Martínez Cortés
        13 January 2014
        Report

        Law 1448 has been promoted as a demonstration of ‘good will’ by Santos' government in Colombia. The law’s main objective is to provide recognition to the victims of the Colombian armed conflict. This stands in contrast to the policy of denial enacted by the previous government.

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        Harriet Friedmann: Food sovereignty A critical dialogue

        21 February 2014
        Multi-media

        Harriet Friedmann highlights the tension between consumer needs for affordable food and producer needs for sustainable livelihoods, and explores the re-embedding of markets in biosocial context and the transformation of institutions as ways out of this conflict.

      • Into the breach: Drugs, control, and violating bad laws in good ways

        Rick Lines
        27 November 2014
        Opinion

        An October statement on drug control from the US State Department has prompted much comment and speculation at home and abroad. Delivered by Ambassador William Brownfield, the ‘Brownfield Doctrine’, as it has been named by some commentators, lays out a four pillar approach the United States will follow in matters of international drug control.

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        Blain Snipstal: Food sovereignty A critical dialogue

        20 February 2014
        Multi-media

        Blain Snipstal, returning generation peasant farmer and leader in La Via Campesina North America discusses the need to engage emotionally with Food Sovereignty, as part of a movement for re-peasantization and revalorizing marginalized knowledge, not merely as an abstract intellectual concept.

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