World (Sputnik) – Introducing the ancient Athenian principle of drawing by lot is the solution to growing discontentment with modern politics, according to Belgian political theorist David Van Reybrouck. The system of modern democracy in which members of parliament are elected by the public doesn’t…
How long will it take for the European ‘crisis’ to be re-framed as the new norm, and what are the potential consequences of that shift?
Transition, not crisis
When things go wrong, we generally tend to speak of crisis. Yet, the term ‘crisis’ refers to the ‘exceptional’, to a harmful turmoil that will sooner or later diminish to a parenthesis before returning to normality. Well, this is not the case anymore. The reality we live in is not a human rights crisis. It is a new era. It is a transition: nowhere as visible as in the collective condition of vulnerability that saturates global politics from Sub-Saharan Africa and South America to the Far and Middle East, Europe and Central Asia. Seeing the juncture as a transition, as a chain of causes and consequences, implies that we should conceptualise the ‘crisis’ as a meaningful movement away from and not toward democracy.
Donald Trump’s victory is a threat to human rights, but could it also push the movement to transform and strategize with greater urgency?
Donald Trump’s victory creates serious risks and challenges for human rights globally, but this victory could have an unexpected positive effect: to push the human rights movement to carry out transformations in its architecture and changes in its strategy that were imperative even before Trump, and that are now urgent.
Before the decline of the global Anglo-American order, reflected in Brexit, Trump, and the proliferation of illiberal nationalisms across the world, the answers that many analysts and practitioners in the human rights movement offered tended to be grouped in two extremes: skepticism and defensiveness. The skeptics announced the “end times” of the international project of human rights, based on a view that human rights were imposed by Euro-America. Given this view, the end of Pax Americana will also be the end of the movement, as Stephen Hopgood writes. His work is thought provoking and inexact in equal parts, and it forgets that this regime was built in part with the ideas and the pressure of states and movements of the global South, from those who created the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man in 1948 to postcolonial nations that pushed for treaties against racial and religious discrimination in the sixties.
We are entering a new utopian age. That may seem counterintuitive to suggest as the most right wing government since Thatcher leads the UK into a bleak post Brexit future, Trump prepares to enter the White House flanked by a team of white supremacists in the US, and the far right finds itself in ascendency across Europe, but it is happening.
Signs that a new utopian era is emerging can be read in the way we encounter these events as impossible: Brexit; Trump winning the Republican candidacy, and going on to defeat Clinton in the US presidential elections; even Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership contest. These all represent realities we collectively refused to conceive of as possible, until we awoke the next morning to find ourselves living them.
Impossibility, of course, is the territory of utopia.
In a statement today from one of the eleven Supreme Court judges, Lady Brenda Hale, the Brexit vote may not be recognized as “legally binding”. This might mean that the protectionist measures and complex trade negotiations (and renegotiations) with other European countries may be defined on completely different terms than are already being proposed.
It is worth noting that any referendum, including Article 50 (aka Brexit) can be as ruled non-binding in praxis, as furthermore legally inapplicable.
The “Brexit” referendum is no different and has been challenged on several legal fronts already. The High Court has ruled in favor of campaigners opposed to the fulfillment of Brexit, against the government’s wishes. However, the Supreme Court’s evaluation would prove to be the final frontier in which any opposition to the vote can be mobilized in an uncomplicated and legally finalizing fashion. This would very likely derail current Brexit plans significantly.
Brexit has recently taken over the news and social media, with everyone focusing on their pet issue. Journalists, policy analysts, economists, and common folks stress only a one piece of the puzzle.
But Brexit is a complex problem, with multiple factors interfering simultaneously, and as happens with every vote, citizens decided on which electoral offer most attracted or repelled them.
The results of the referendum on Great Britain’s membership in the European Union represent a «step backward» for European integration – this was what German Chancellor Angela Merkel said when she spoke by telephone with US President Barack Obama. But it’s worthwhile to clarify that idea: the referendum was not a thumbs down on European integration as a whole, just on the 1950-2000 model of European integration, which entailed partially depriving European countries of their sovereignty and using the machinery of the EU to appropriate all new states (that former version of the European Union expanded eastward in tandem with the expansion of NATO).
The results of the British referendum are likely to lead to a radical revision of the principles governing the relationships within the EU and also to limit the entry of new states.
This period of uncertainty in the relationship between London and Brussels could last as long as two years, during which the parties will have to establish the political and organizational principles that will guide the British exit from the European Union as well as their future relationship. There is a wide selection of potential models to choose from, ranging from close coordination between the United Kingdom and the EU – à la Norway – to the construction of a «framework» relationship, such as what the EU has with the United States, Australia, and Canada.
A total of 52% of voters in Britain chose in a dramatic referendum to leave the European Union (EU) on June 23, 2016.
After the results were finalized, people across Africa, where various countries were colonised by Britain and are current members of the Commonwealth, an intergovernmental organisation of member states that were mostly colonies of the former British Empire, wondered if the decision to quit the EU would have any effect on them.
Examining what Brexit, as its been dubbed, means for Africa, Grieve Chelwa noted on the Africa is a Country blog that economic recession in the UK as a result of the referendum is one of the ways in which African economies could be affected. However, he concluded that Africa is more worried about recession in China: