Posts Tagged

Democracy

This week, political leaders from countries all over the world are gathering for their annual meeting at the United Nations (UN) in New York. Since its creation and to this day, there have been discussions about reforming the UN. Soon after the UN was founded in 1945, public figures like Albert Einstein called for a much more powerful and democratic UN. Today, leaders such as Ukrainian President Zelensky urge fundamental reforms to strengthen the UN, while NGOs like Democracy Without Borders campaign for making the UN more democratic and representative of citizens. In an international survey in six countries worldwide (Argentina, China, India, Russia, Spain, and the United States), Mathias Koenig-Archibugi (London School of Economics and Political Science), Luis Cabrera …
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In the upcoming months, the OxPol Blog will be featuring Q&A sessions with faculty from the Department of Politics and International Relations to highlight their ongoing research. Over the last few weeks, the OxPol editorial team spoke with Professor Ezequiel González-Ocantos about his ongoing projects since winning the Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2018.  OxPol (OP): In 2018 you were awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize. Could you share what projects you have been working on over the last few years since winning the prize? Ezequiel González-Ocantos (EGO): Since 2018 I’ve been working on three different projects. First, together with my colleagues Sandra Botero and Daniel Brinks we curated a collection of essays that looks at new trends in the judicialization of politics in …

The storming of the American Capitol building on the 6th of January 2021 during a session to formalize Joe Biden’s presidential victory made headlines around the world. For many Americans, the fact that there was an armed attempt to disrupt a democratic transition of power was a worrying sign of democratic backsliding and the consequence of years of extreme partisanship. The siege suggested a grim vision of America’s political future. However, 40 years ago, the Spanish political system was able to recover from a similar event, in what could be an instructive experience for contemporary America. In February 1981, the Spanish political system, which had rapidly democratised following the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975, faced its first real …

Zbigniew Brzezinski noted that the politics of fear is an efficient means of control because it “obscures reason and intensifies emotions.” After more than 34 years in power, President Museveni of Uganda—who toppled Milton Obote’s regime in 1986 after years in the bush with the National Resistance Movement (NRM)—understood the politics of fear better than anyone else. If one still had doubts, the death of around 40 people in Kampala at a political rally organized by Bobi Wine, Museveni’s main opponent, in November came to confirm one thing: it is election season in Uganda. On 14 January 2021, Ugandans will go to the polls. Museveni will most likely win re-election, after having scrapped the presidential term and age limits in 2005 and 2017 respectively. However, this piece argues that the intense politics of fear used by his regime can be interpreted as the possible end of post-liberation politics in Uganda.   Post-liberation …

On November 17th, 2019, Iran cut out access to the internet. This meant that the Iranian government could repress protests over increased gas prices without making much news. Reportedly, 180 people were killed in the process, yet people were mostly unable to share information about the repressive acts of the government. This is only one recent case of hundreds of governmental internet blackouts that have been performed in 2019. At present, countries are facing very little consequences for shutting down their citizens’ access to the internet. In a world where the internet is playing an increasingly important role both in daily life and political contestation, very little is being done to safeguard access to the internet. What is needed is a serious shift in …

On November 17th, 2018 large crowds began blockading roads around France dressed in the high-visibility yellow jackets that all French cars must store. Their initial demands focused on stopping a new fuel levy introduced to reduce carbon emissions and raise money for investments in renewables. However, this has not been the French government’s only problem: a recent survey has suggested the French are the most pessimistic people in Europe seeing little hope in the future either for themselves or the country, hate crime has risen dramatically, and, remnants of the Yellow Vests continue to organize violent demonstrations around the country. This toxic combination has left the government of Emmanuel Macron with little room to manoeuvre and, as his most recent …

‘Basically nothing is being done to halt — or even slow — climate and ecological breakdown, despite all the beautiful words and promises’. Greta Thunberg’s damning speech before the UK parliament last month highlights that the greatest challenge to international climate agreements is inaction by governments. The Swedish climate activist’s central message was: ‘You did not act in time’. The norms within the Paris Agreement on climate change are challenged not just by climate change deniers and other open critics. Perhaps more dangerously, as Thunberg pointed out, they are also contested by states like the UK that pay lip-service to the agreement but fail to reach their emissions reduction targets. To capture these diverse forms of norm contestation, a collection of articles on ‘The dynamics of dissent’ in …

Calls for a second referendum on EU membership have been growing louder without, however, properly making the case for it. They fail to address the heart of the matter: how to show adequate respect for the democratic result of the 2016 referendum on EU membership whilst making the case for a new referendum. Ultimately, the case for a second referendum requires a compelling justification for challenging the first. The real question that the proponents of a people’s vote must confront is whether the democratic process can be suspended without undermining its legitimacy. They need to be able to square the circle, because a democracy worth the name depends on the consistent application of its rules. The risk of violating consistency …