A Memorandum of Understanding to establish the China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) was signed by the governments of Myanmar and China in September 2018. The CMEC forms part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a 21st century reimagining of the ancient Silk Road, the network of land and sea trade routes that once linked Imperial China with markets in the west.
For around 13 years, on the Dutch Trade and Investment Board (a body that is not familiar to most of the Dutch public) top civil servants and company lobbyists have been discussing how the government can support the country’s international trade. Minutes reveal how lobbyists and ministers collaborated in reforming fiscal and development policies in favour of private interests. It’s an example of the power of ‘quiet politics’ of company lobbyists in the Netherlands, calling into question the country’s image as an exemplar of liberal, consensual corporatism.
What are the implications of the rise of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) for agrarian and environmental transformations, worldwide and in the BRICS countries in particular? This is the main issue with which the BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS) has been concerned since 2013, when it was launched in Beijing by a collective of largely BRICS-based research institutions1.
The recently-released “Myanmar Opium Survey 2018” by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) entails specific accusations against several of the conflict actors. This commentary explains how this further distorts, rather than reflects, the complex realities in Myanmar.
Forced to leave their homes to flee violence, war or poverty and invisible because they are vulnerable, large numbers of migrants disappear while travelling. This analysis of border control looks at the power and impunity of transnational corporations, militarisation, the externalisation of borders, Israel’s role as a laboratory for the wall industry and the criminalisation of international solidarity, among other issues.
In 2012, citizens from Highland Park, Michigan came together to form Soulardarity in response to the repossession of over 1,000 streetlights from their city. Their goal is to organise for community-owned solar street lights, energy production and equitable development. Since its formation, Soulardarity has installed seven solar streetlights and deployed over US$ 30,000 worth of solar technology in Highland Park and the surrounding communities through the PowerUP bulk purchasing programme. The group has also organised advocacy at the city and state levels for regulation, policy and local political leadership to support community ownership, transparency and environmental responsibility.
Soulardarity also advocates for a Community Ownership Power Administration (COPA) as part of the growing call in the United States for a Green New Deal to tackle climate change, economic inequality and racial injustice.
Recent events have exposed how Northern Ireland hasn’t experienced peace as much as a cold war. The structural violence, legacy of conflict and democratic deficit can’t be left to dangerously smoulder any longer.
Controversy continues over a suspended mega-dam project, backed by China, on the Irrawaddy River in Kachin State. The social and environmental consequences of the proposed project cast a shadow not only over the local Kachin population but over all the nationalities of Myanmar. Public awareness is growing why protecting the Irrawaddy is of national importance.
The construction of an Aung San statue has caused deep controversy in Kayah State during the past year. Dee De is a member of the Karenni State Farmers Union and Union of Karenni State Youth. He was arrested on 21 June, Karenni National Day, for his involvement in protests. In his commentary, Dee De argues why the construction of the statue is premature and a sensitive issue for the Karenni and other ethnic nationality peoples at this time.
Political impasse continues in Myanmar. Peace talks and general elections have failed to achieve national breakthroughs. All parties — both domestic and international — need to reflect on this failure. Civil society networks and representative governance must be strengthened at the community level if peace and democracy are to be built.
The hills of the Sperrins in County Tyrone are criss-crossed with natural springs that flow off the western slopes towards the River Foyle, while to the east they meander down to Lough Neagh. This endless trickle of water recalls the natural order – water belongs here. But the people of this remote area are struggling to protect it from an impending and devastating gold rush.
“Power inferno”, this is the title Jean Baudrillard gave to one of his essays in the aftermath of the attack on the Twin Towers, paraphrasing the title of a catastrophic film that hit the billboards years earlier: A “Tower Inferno”. A hell of power. This we might say today, as in past occasions, of the Amazon, an image of fire, destruction and resistance, that has been cyclically appearing and reappearing in the media, and that periodically unleashes indignation and helplessness, as if the Amazon were some sort of symbol of past and future apocalypse.