The recent political and economic liberalization in Burma/Myanmar, while indicative of some positive steps toward democratisation, has increased foreign and domestic investments and geared the economy toward industrialisation and large-scale agriculture. Land governance procedures and implementation tend to favour the more powerful and well-connected, with little protection mechanism for the majority smallholding farmers in the country.
Governments are facing an existential crisis with respect to food security. What is their role in ensuring local food security and supporting domestic agricultural sectors, and particularly small- scale farmers, while the world is increasingly looking to market-based solutions to meet global food security needs?
In light of the April 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS), a change of the global order on drug policy should be made. Any outcome of UNGASS will have essential developmental impacts on Afghanistan’s economy and especially on those involved in the agricultural production side of the opium economy that is farmers and farm-workers.
Zoe Brent, Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Gonzalo Colque, Sérgio Sauer
04 February 2016
The approval of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security in 2012 marked a historic victory. The high level of participation of civil society organizations and social movements in the negotiation of every word of this text sets this global policy document apart from the majority of other initiatives of this nature, to date.
Joan Martinez‐Alier, Leah Temper, Daniela Del Bene, Arnim Scheidel
04 February 2016
Changes in the economy economy in terms of growing flows of energy and materials are leading to the existence of a rural and urban global movement for environmental justice. And not only complaints, there are also many successful examples of stopping projects and developing alternatives.
The desperate search for ways to combat climate change gives rise to new mitigation policies and projects, such as the support of large-scale ‘sustainable ’ forestry plantations. However, climate justice and climate mitigation cannot be met as long as large-scale industrial plantations continue to marginalise small-scale indigenous forest users who actively protect biodiverse forests.
An eco-efficient bioeconomy, combining environmental sustainability and economic advantage, has been promoted to alleviate resource constraints of rising global demand. For political forces resisting environmental degradation and people’s dispossession, several means are necessary to contest this global agenda and counterpose alternatives.
Jennifer Franco, Hannah Twomey, Khu Khu Ju, Pietje Vervest, Tom Kramer
28 January 2016
“Land is like our vein; it is vital for our living. After our land was confiscated, we don’t know what to do for our livelihood,” says a farmer from Kachin State in Myanmar. Today many inhabitants of rural communities in Myanmar live under threat of losing their lands in a battle for resources spurred by ethnic conflict, exploitative land laws, and powerful economic actors. The existence of a legal right to the land does not translate into that right being respected in practice, and people across the country are now working to protect their right to the land.
Corporate executives and climate skeptics that mobilise against strong international climate change agreements have rightly been the focus of attention of many people concerned about the climate crisis. But another group of elites—those who actually believe in climate change —may paradoxically have done more to block effective solutions to the crisis.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Redesign Initiative is perhaps the best reflection of how corporations and other elites envision the future of governance. It calls for marginalising intergovernmental decision-making with a system of multi-stakeholder governance, but what does this mean for democracy, accountability and the rule of law?
Against all expectations, financial capital has emerged even stronger after the financial crisis having staved off regulation and putting the blame on public spending. But its victory is likely a pyrrhic one as a new crisis looms, one in which the global public could learn from victories such as reforms in Iceland and finally reassert its control over money.
Economics often appears boring, but this narrow, mostly male dominated profession decides on matters intimately bound up with questions of power, democracy and vital matters of health, education, social welfare and the environment. Meaningful democracy requires the participation of ordinary people in economic debates, so that they can shape their own lives in solidarity with others.
In the era of globalisation, the steady removal of decision-making from democratic chambers by EU elites is serving as a blueprint for post-democratic governance around the world. Progressives must be ambitious and start putting forward ideas for a democratic world government as a viable alternative.
Building a real democracy in the face of corporate and financial power will require a rethinking of power and agency, unleashing the creative, experimental, knowledge-sharing and emancipatory approaches of social movements.
TNI's fifth annual State of Power 2016 report explores the intersect of power and democracy. Featuring prominent activists and academics, its essays feature the long battle between economic power and popular democracy, expose the different powers seeking to undermine democracy today, and tell the stories of radical popular democratic alternatives emerging worldwide.
The increasingly precarious nature of work and life poses a serious threat to democracy as it undermines our social fabric, atomizes individuals and seeks to personalize blame for economic insecurity. What potential is there for ‘the precariat’ to become a new kind of social movement with a collective vision to reimagine contemporary life?
Experiences and experiments in Spain, Brazil, Istanbul and other cities suggest that a transnational municipalism, based on concepts of an open source city (free online tools and active citizen participation), has the potential to regenerate democracy and build a geopolitics of the commons against neoliberalism.
Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis argues that the nation-state is dead and democracy in the EU has been replaced by a toxic algorithmic depoliticisation that, if it is not confronted, will lead to depression, disintegration and possibly war. He calls for a launch of a pan-European movement to democratise Europe, to save it before it is too late.