Giant corporations have taken control of our food. In the last two years, these companies have begun the process of merging and re-arranging themselves into just four colossal corporations. The larger these companies grow, the less we can control them. And the less control we have, the harder it is for us to build the kind of food system that more and more of us want: one that recognizes the value of people, respects the planet, and provides decent, dignified work. How did this happen, and what can we do about it?
After more than a decade of processes that brought hope to the progressive world, several developments in Latin America in 2016 suggest we have reached the end of a cycle of left-wing victories in the region. This is a crisis that offers pointers and important lessons for us all, about the dynamics of social transformation and about ourselves as activists.
A surprising concern has arisen recently on Wall Street: markets are becoming socialist. The culprit is passive investing, the use of quasi-automated vehicles that provide access to broad stock indexes with minimal cost and effort. The rush into such products – and the decline in human stock-picking – recalls, to some, a form of socialism.
Movements are important because they move. Political parties, like other so-called ‘intermediate’ bodies (for example, trade unions and even more so the institutions that, taken as a whole, constitute the democratic political context) tend to become sclerotic if not completely immobile pachyderms, weighed down by their organizational obesity. Here, I have a few comments to make about ‘movementism’ – seeing movements as sacred cows, the only valid political agents – which often becomes an excuse for laziness. Because if the aim is truly to change the world, it is not enough to comprehend emerging needs, call for these to be met, go out on street protests against those who want to thwart people’s aspirations. This is not to deny their validity, but to call for a more realistic and less triumphalist analysis, in order to identify their shortcomings.
The absence of over 70 percent of international delegates, denied temporary visa by the Canadian government, overshadowed the World Social Forum. Despite this saddening fact TNI's team managed to host and participate in a broad and diverse range of discussions, workshops and activities, for instance in the convergence space of “People and Planet before Profit. Moving away from Free Trade and Extractivism to Dismantle Corporate Power”.
In much of Latin America, the state does not protect its citizens. This is particularly true for the popular sectors, indigenous peoples, people of colour and mestizos, who are exposed to the onslaught of drugs trafficking, criminal gangs, the private security guards of multinational corporations (MNCs) and, paradoxically, from state security forces, such as the police and the army.
The Transnational Institute will take part in the World Social Forum in Montreal, Canada, from 9 to 14 August 2016. Staff from TNI will be active in the space “People and the Planet Before Profit: Moving away from Free Trade and Extractivism to Dismantle Corporate Power”. Hundreds of organisations and movements will meet to discuss resistance, establish strategies to expand the many progressive alternatives activists build in their daily lives, and take action together to change the prevailing neoliberal capitalist system, which creates inequality and exclusion and destroys our environment.
Our inability to grapple with and adapt to our current ecological crisis has its roots in the world’s social and economic systems that concentrate power and authority in the hands of a few. We currently live in the “Corpocene Epoch,” due to the disproportionate role certain arthropods — directors of large corporations and Wall Street banks — play in the ecological transformations under way. Financial institutions, corporate powers and complicit governments have formed a “fateful triangle” accelerating the effects of climate change and preventing mitigation and adaptation strategies that could plug the gap between our volatile present and future planetary stability.
An official policy of giving a low law enforcement priority to small-scale possession or production of cannabis for personal use led to the emergence of Cannabis Social Clubs around Belgium. However, the attitude to cannabis can vary widely at the local level, and the future of these organised user groups is unclear. Produced as part of a the "New Approaches in Harm Reduction Policies and Practices" project, this Country Report seeks to understand the drivers of Belgian cannabis policy today, and the possibilities for its future.
The radical citizens' movement and party, Barcelona en Comú, has a goal of democratizing the relationship between civil society and city institutions by transforming the traditional structures of political parties and creating new formsof democratic political participation. Through the study of one of the city's many neighbourhood assemblies, Zelinka examines whether it is possible for a political organization to be movement and institution at the same time and what kind of challenges, conflicts and opportunities emerge through this undertaking.
Law is fundamentally limited in its potential to challenge corporations' power and their harm, because the law has been created to facilitate capitalist accumulation and therefore the rights of the property-owning class to force others to submit to its will. It cannot, therefore, be expected to have any emancipatory potential.
An ethnocratic state produces a form of fascism in which the state supports the rights and welfare of the dominant ethnic group, but not others. By contrast, a tolerant multicultural state or plural society permits all people, regardless of ethnicity, to be recognised as equal members and thus achieves social justice. This comparison suggests that narrow nationalism is a chief source of the failure of Myanmar to become a modern and successful nation-state.
This workshop report shares key outcomes and insights from a workshop which took place in Amsterdam in October 2019, where participants from a range of organisations met to discuss the history of their collaborations around Just Transition and the lessons learned so far.