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.
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Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis argues that the nation-state is dead and democracy in the EU has been replaced by a toxic algorithmic depoliticisation that, if it is not confronted, will lead to depression, disintegration and possibly war.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.
In the wake of early 2010s upheavals such as the Arab Spring, Spain’s indignados, or the global Occupy movement, many commentators were quick to either invoke the presumed tech-savvy of ‘digital natives’ or the purported ‘cyber-utopianism’ of net freedom advocates who supported the protests. But what role have internet freedom activists – or ‘freedom technologists’ – played in ongoing struggles for progressive political change around the world and how can the pursuit of liberty be combined with the struggle for social justice?
India has strongly entrenched power hierarchies that have historical roots but have also been exacerbated by inequalities and injustices that have deepened with economic globalisation. However grassroots political movements are emerging in India that could signal a gradual shift to direct or radical democracy, coupled with making representative democracy more accountable and ecologically sustainable
Amongst the big companies using the Dutch evasion routes are a large number of arms manufacturers and major international defence companies. Their almost empty offices or even only mailboxes in the Netherlands gives them the legal possibility pay as little tax as possible with all available legal tricks.
Seattle to Brussels Network (S2B), Cecilia Olivet, Marc Maes, Pia Eberhardt, Natacha Cingotti, Ante Wessels, Burghard Ilge, Peter Fuchs
27 November 2015
The European Commission unveiled a draft text for a chapter on investment protection and investor to state dispute settlement – now called the Investment Court System - to be included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US. This new system would replace the existing investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism not only in TTIP but also in all ongoing and future EU investment negotiations.
Eric Holt-Giménez, Justine Williams, Caitlyn Hachmyer
14 October 2015
A look at the history of the World Bank’s approach and the crises that led up to the Agriculture for Development report. And a review and discussion of the Action Plan including examples of the challenges peasants face in the wake of World Bank Group projects.
The aggressive agenda of services corporations, with regards to TTIP and CETA, pushes for far-reaching market opening in areas such as health, cultural and postal services, and water, which would allow them to enter and dominate the markets. Those in charge of EU trade negotiations are rolling out the red carpet for the services industry, with CETA and TTIP reflecting the wishlist of corporate lobbyists.
An international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations (TNCs) has the potential to substantially promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights in the long-term and on a global scale. It can contribute to ending the impunity that TNCs routinely enjoy for their human rights violations, especially in countries of the Global South, and to ensuring access to justice for the victims of their activities.
Diana Aguiar, Joanna Cabello, Manuel Pérez-Rocha, Tamra Gilbertson, Erin Callary, Godwin Uyi Ojo, Martin Mantxo, Mónica Vargas, Marcela Vechionne, Pablo Fajardo, Richard Girard
07 July 2015
In eight articles various cases are presened that aim to serve as tools of action for activists to use in their fight for justice against the systematic violation of human rights and other crimes committed by transnational corporations.
Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries find themselves at a crossroad regarding their investment protection policies with the US. This briefing provides evidence that shows that including investment arbitration in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will worsen the capacity for CEE governments to regulate.
For personal and professional reasons my life revolves around four cardinal points that ultimately are two: the South and the North. The South of Latin America and the North of Europe; Uruguay and the Netherlands; Montevideo and Amsterdam. The South often expands into the East of Asia or the West of Africa, and the North extends to the West of the Americas or the East of the Mediterranean.
Citizens and policy makers around the world are increasingly questioning the trade agreement system, especially the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) that enables foreign investors to bypass the legal system of host states and sue governments before private tribunals for any policy, democratically passed law, or judgment of a court that adversely affects them.
Pietje Vervest, Hilde van der Pas, Roos van Os, Roeline Knottnerus
27 January 2015
Dutch investment treaties (BITs) are frequently used by foreign companies to sue governments in the North and South for policies that might harm their future profits. 75% of these cases were brought by mailbox companies with no real economic substance in the Netherlands, making use of the vast web of Dutch BITs and the rights and protection given to foreign investors.