position:political scientist

  • Egypt’s hand appears in play behind scenes in Sudan
    https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/06/egypt-sudan-military-council-protests-role.html

    “I think the Egyptian regime is advising the military council to stall, as stalling guarantees more tension among the revolution forces," the political scientist said, adding, “It seems work is underway to foil the popular revolution in Sudan and empower a military rule with no Brotherhood presence.”

    #Soudan

  • The Power Elite
    https://www1.udel.edu/htr/Psc105/Texts/power.html

    Thomas Dye, a political scientist, and his students have been studying the upper echelons of leadership in America since 1972. These “top positions” encompassed the posts with the authority to run programs and activities of major political, economic, legal, educational, cultural, scientific, and civic institutions. The occupants of these offices, Dye’s investigators found, control half of the nation’s industrial, communications, transportation, and banking assets, and two-thirds of all insurance assets. In addition, they direct about 40 percent of the resources of private foundations and 50 percent of university endowments. Furthermore, less than 250 people hold the most influential posts in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government, while approximately 200 men and women run the three major television networks and most of the national newspaper chains.

    Facts like these, which have been duplicated in countless other studies, suggest to many observers that power in the United States is concentrated in the hands of a single power elite. Scores of versions of this idea exist, probably one for each person who holds it, but they all interpret government and politics very differently than pluralists. Instead of seeing hundreds of competing groups hammering out policy, the elite model perceives a pyramid of power. At the top, a tiny elite makes all of the most important decisions for everyone below. A relatively small middle level consists of the types of individuals one normally thinks of when discussing American government: senators, representatives, mayors, governors, judges, lobbyists, and party leaders. The masses occupy the bottom. They are the average men and women in the country who are powerless to hold the top level accountable.

    The power elite theory, in short, claims that a single elite, not a multiplicity of competing groups, decides the life-and-death issues for the nation as a whole, leaving relatively minor matters for the middle level and almost nothing for the common person. It thus paints a dark picture. Whereas pluralists are somewhat content with what they believe is a fair, if admittedly imperfect, system, the power elite school decries the grossly unequal and unjust distribution of power it finds everywhere.

    People living in a country that prides itself on democracy, that is surrounded by the trappings of free government, and that constantly witnesses the comings and goings of elected officials may find the idea of a power elite farfetched. Yet many very intelligent social scientists accept it and present compelling reasons for believing it to be true. Thus, before dismissing it out of hand, one ought to listen to their arguments.

    #politique #théorie_politique #USA #États_Unis #gouvernement #idéologie #impérialisme

  • The “Tragedy of the Commons” was invented by a white supremacist based on a false history, and it’s toxic bullshit / Boing Boing
    https://boingboing.net/2019/03/07/scientific-fraud.html

    In a brilliant Twitter thread, UCSB political scientist Matto Mildenberger recounts the sordid history of Garrett Hardin’s classic, widely cited 1968 article “The Tragedy of the Commons,” whose ideas are taught to millions of undergrads, and whose precepts are used to justify the privatization of public goods as the only efficient way to manage them.

    Hardin’s paper starts with a history of the English Commons — publicly held lands that were collectively owned and managed — and the claim that commons routinely fell prey to the selfish human impulse to overgraze your livestock on public land (and that even non-selfish people would overgraze their animals because they knew that their more-selfish neighbors would do so even if they didn’t).

    But this isn’t what actually happened to the Commons: they were stable and well-managed until other factors (e.g. rich people trying to acquire even more land) destabilized them.

    Hardin wasn’t just inventing false histories out of a vacuum. He was, personally, a nasty piece of work: a white supremacist and eugenicist, and the Tragedy of the Commons paper is shot through with this vile ideology, arguing that poor people should not be given charity lest they breed beyond their means (Hardin also campaigned against food aid). Hardin was a director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the white nationalist Social Contract Press, and co-founded anti-immigrant groups like Californians for Population Stabilization and The Environmental Fund.

    Mildenberger argues that Hardin was a trumpist before Trump: He served on the board of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), whose talking points often emerge from Trump’s mouth.

    (Hardin quotes that didn’t make it into his seminal paper: “Diversity is the opposite of unity, and unity is a prime requirement for national survival” and “My position is that this idea of a multiethnic society is a disaster...we should restrict immigration for that reason.”)

    As Mildenberger points out, this isn’t a case where a terrible person had some great ideas that outlived them: Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons was a piece of intellectual fraud committed in service to his racist, eugenicist ideology.

    What’s worse: the environmental movement elevates Hardin to sainthood, whitewashing his racism and celebrating “The Tragedy of the Commons” as a seminal work of environmental literature. But Hardin is no friend of the environment: his noxious cocktail of racism and false history are used to move public lands into private ownership or stewardship, (literally) paving the way for devastating exploitation of those lands.

    By contrast, consider Nobelist Elinor Ostrom’s Governing the Commons, whose groundbreaking insights on the management of common resources are a prescription for a better, more prosperous, more egalitarian future.

    Update: If this kind of thing interests you, check out Tim Harford’s (previously) 2013 column on Hardin and Ostrom’s brilliant response to him.

    #Communs #Garrett_Harding #Idéologie_scientiste

  • BBC - Future - Are we on the road to civilisation collapse?
    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190218-are-we-on-the-road-to-civilisation-collapse

    Collapse can be defined as a rapid and enduring loss of population, identity and socio-economic complexity. Public services crumble and disorder ensues as government loses control of its monopoly on violence.

    [...]

    We may be more technologically advanced now. But this gives little ground to believe that we are immune to the threats that undid our ancestors. Our newfound technological abilities even bring new, unprecedented challenges to the mix.

    And while our scale may now be global, collapse appears to happen to both sprawling empires and fledgling kingdoms alike. There is no reason to believe that greater size is armour against societal dissolution. Our tightly-coupled, globalised economic system is, if anything, more likely to make crisis spread
    If the fate of previous civilisations can be a roadmap to our future, what does it say? One method is to examine the trends that preceded historic collapses and see how they are unfolding today.

    While there is no single accepted theory for why collapses happen, historians, anthropologists and others have proposed various explanations, including:
    CLIMATIC CHANGE: When climatic stability changes, the results can be disastrous, resulting in crop failure, starvation and desertification. The collapse of the Anasazi, the Tiwanaku civilisation, the Akkadians, the Mayan, the Roman Empire, and many others have all coincided with abrupt climatic changes, usually droughts.

    ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION: Collapse can occur when societies overshoot the carrying capacity of their environment. This ecological collapse theory, which has been the subject of bestselling books, points to excessive deforestation, water pollution, soil degradation and the loss of biodiversity as precipitating causes.

    INEQUALITY AND OLIGARCHY: Wealth and political inequality can be central drivers of social disintegration, as can oligarchy and centralisation of power among leaders. This not only causes social distress, but handicaps a society’s ability to respond to ecological, social and economic problems.
    The field of cliodynamics models how factors such as equality and demography correlate with political violence. Statistical analysis of previous societies suggests that this happens in cycles. As population increases, the supply of labour outstrips demand, workers become cheap and society becomes top-heavy. This inequality undermines collective solidarity and political turbulence follows.

    COMPLEXITY: Collapse expert and historian Joseph Tainter has proposed that societies eventually collapse under the weight of their own accumulated complexity and bureaucracy. Societies are problem-solving collectives that grow in complexity in order to overcome new issues. However, the returns from complexity eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. After this point, collapse will eventually ensue.
    Another measure of increasing complexity is called Energy Return on Investment (EROI). This refers to the ratio between the amount of energy produced by a resource relative to the energy needed to obtain it. Like complexity, EROI appears to have a point of diminishing returns. In his book The Upside of Down, the political scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon observed that environmental degradation throughout the Roman Empire led to falling EROI from their staple energy source: crops of wheat and alfalfa. The empire fell alongside their EROI. Tainter also blames it as a chief culprit of collapse, including for the Mayan. 

    EXTERNAL SHOCKS: In other words, the “four horsemen”: war, natural disasters, famine and plagues. The Aztec Empire, for example, was brought to an end by Spanish invaders. Most early agrarian states were fleeting due to deadly epidemics. The concentration of humans and cattle in walled settlements with poor hygiene made disease outbreaks unavoidable and catastrophic. Sometimes disasters combined, as was the case with the Spanish introducing salmonella to the Americas.

    RANDOMNESS/BAD LUCK: Statistical analysis on empires suggests that collapse is random and independent of age. Evolutionary biologist and data scientist Indre Zliobaite and her colleagues have observed a similar pattern in the evolutionary record of species. A common explanation of this apparent randomness is the “Red Queen Effect”: if species are constantly fighting for survival in a changing environment with numerous competitors, extinction is a consistent possibility.

    #collapsologie #civilisations #complexité #climat #inegalités #pauvreté #oligarchie

  • The Rise and Fall of the Latin American Left | The Nation
    https://www.thenation.com/article/the-ebb-and-flow-of-latin-americas-pink-tide

    Conservatives now control Latin America’s leading economies, but the region’s leftists can still look to Uruguay for direction.
    By Omar G. Encarnación, May 9, 2018

    Last December’s election of Sebastián Piñera, of the National Renewal party, to the Chilean presidency was doubly significant for Latin American politics. Coming on the heels of the rise of right-wing governments in Argentina in 2015 and Brazil in 2016, Piñera’s victory signaled an unmistakable right-wing turn for the region. For the first time since the 1980s, when much of South America was governed by military dictatorship, the continent’s three leading economies are in the hands of right-wing leaders.

    Piñera’s election also dealt a blow to the resurrection of the Latin American left in the post–Cold War era. In the mid-2000s, at the peak of the so-called Pink Tide (a phrase meant to suggest the surge of leftist, noncommunist governments), Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Bolivia, or three-quarters of South America’s population (some 350 million people), were under left-wing rule. By the time the Pink Tide reached the mini-state of Mexico City, in 2006, and Nicaragua, a year later (culminating in the election of Daniel Ortega as president there), it was a region-wide phenomenon.

    It’s no mystery why the Pink Tide ran out of steam; even before the Chilean election, Mexican political scientist Jorge Castañeda had already declared it dead in The New York Times. Left-wing fatigue is an obvious factor. It has been two decades since the late Hugo Chávez launched the Pink Tide by toppling the political establishment in the 1998 Venezuelan presidential election. His Bolivarian revolution lives on in the hands of his handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro, but few Latin American governments regard Venezuela’s ravaged economy and diminished democratic institutions as an inspiring model. In Brazil, the Workers’ Party, or PT, was in power for 14 years, from 2002 through 2016, first under its founder, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, between 2003 and 2011, and then under his successor and protégée, Dilma Rousseff, from 2011 to 2016. The husband-and-wife team of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of the Peronist Party governed Argentina from 2003 to 2015. Socialist Michelle Bachelet had two nonconsecutive terms in office in Chile, from 2006 to 2010 and from 2014 to 2018.

    Economic turmoil and discontent is another culprit. As fate would have it, the Pink Tide coincided with one of the biggest economic expansions in Latin American history. Its engine was one of the largest commodities booms in modern times. Once the boom ended, in 2012—largely a consequence of a slowdown in China’s economy—economic growth in Latin America screeched to a halt. According to the International Monetary Fund, since 2012 every major Latin American economy has underperformed relative to the previous 10 years, with some economies, including that of Brazil, the region’s powerhouse, experiencing their worst recession in decades. The downturn reined in public spending and sent the masses into the streets, making it very difficult for governments to hang on to power.

    Meanwhile, as the commodity boom filled states’ coffers, leftist politicians became enmeshed in the same sorts of corrupt practices as their conservative predecessors. In April, Lula began serving a 12-year prison sentence for having accepted bribes in exchange for government contracts while in office. His prosecution, which in principle guarantees that he will not be a candidate in this year’s presidential race, was the high point of Operation Car Wash, the biggest anti-corruption dragnet in Brazilian history. Just after leaving office, in 2015, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was indicted for fraud for conspiring with her former public-works secretary, José López, to steal millions of federal dollars intended for roadwork in Argentina. The “nuns and guns” scandal riveted the country, with the arrest of a gun-toting López as he hurled bags stuffed with millions of dollars over the walls of a Catholic convent in a suburb of Buenos Aires. In Chile, Bachelet left office under a cloud of suspicion. Her family, and by extension Bachelet herself, is accused of illegal real-estate transactions that netted millions of dollars.

    All this said, largely overlooked in obituaries of the Pink Tide is the right-wing backlash that it provoked. This backlash aimed to reverse the shift in power brought on by the Pink Tide—a shift away from the power brokers that have historically controlled Latin America, such as the military, the Catholic Church, and the oligarchy, and toward those sectors of society that have been marginalized: women, the poor, sexual minorities, and indigenous peoples. Rousseff’s impeachment in 2016 perfectly exemplifies the retaliation organized by the country’s traditional elites. Engineered by members of the Brazilian Congress, a body that is only 11 percent female and has deep ties to industrial barons, rural oligarchs, and powerful evangelical pastors, the impeachment process was nothing short of a patriarchal coup.

    In a 2017 interview, Rousseff made note of the “very misogynist element in the coup against me.… They accused me of being overly tough and harsh, while a man would have been considered firm, strong. Or they would say I was too emotional and fragile, when a man would have been considered sensitive.” In support of her case, Rousseff pointed out that previous Brazilian presidents committed the same “crime” she was accused of (fudging the national budget to hide deficits at reelection time), without any political consequence. As if to underscore the misogyny, Rousseff’s successor, Michel Temer, came into office with an all-male cabinet.

    In assessing the impact of the Pink Tide, there is a tendency to bemoan its failure to generate an alternative to neoliberalism. After all, the Pink Tide rose out of the discontent generated by the economic policies championed by the United States and international financial institutions during the 1990s, such as privatizations of state enterprises, austerity measures, and ending economic protectionism. Yet capitalism never retreated in most of Latin America, and US economic influence remains for the most part unabated. The only significant dent on the neoliberal international order made by the Pink Tide came in 2005, when a massive wave of political protests derailed the George W. Bush administration’s plan for a Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA. If enacted, this new trade pact would have extended the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to all countries in the Americas save for Cuba, or 34 nations in total.

    But one shouldn’t look at the legacy of the Pink Tide only through the lens of what might have been with respect to replacing neoliberalism and defeating US imperialism. For one thing, a good share of the Pink Tide was never anti-neoliberal or anti-imperialist. Left-wing rule in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile (what Castañeda called the “good left”) had more in common with the social-democratic governments of Western Europe, with its blend of free-market economics and commitment to the welfare state, than with Cuba’s Communist regime.

    Indeed, only in the radical fringe of the Pink Tide, especially the triumvirate of Chávez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Rafael Correa of Ecuador (the “bad left,” according to Castañeda), was the main thrust of governance anti-neoliberal and anti-imperialist. Taking Cuba as a model, these self-termed revolutionaries nationalized large sectors of the economy, reinvigorated the role of the state in redistributing wealth, promoted social services to the poor, and created interstate institutions, such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, or ALBA, to promote inter-American collaboration and to challenge US hegemony.

    Second, the focus on neoliberalism and US imperialism obscures the Pink Tide’s biggest accomplishments. To be sure, the picture is far from being uniformly pretty, especially when it comes to democracy. The strong strand of populism that runs through the Pink Tide accounts for why some of its leaders have been so willing to break democratic norms. Claiming to be looking after the little guy, the likes of Chávez and Maduro have circumvented term limits and curtailed the independence of the courts and the press. But there is little doubt that the Pink Tide made Latin America more inclusive, equitable, and democratic, by, among other things, ushering in an unprecedented era of social progressivism.

    Because of the Pink Tide, women in power are no longer a novelty in Latin American politics; in 2014, female presidents ruled in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Their policies leave little doubt about the transformative nature of their leadership. In 2010, Fernández boldly took on the Argentine Catholic Church (then headed by present-day Pope Francis) to enact Latin America’s first ever same-sex marriage law; this was five years before same-sex marriage became the law of the land in the United States. A gender-identity law, one of the world’s most liberal, followed. It allows individuals to change their sex assigned at birth without permission from either a doctor or a judge. Yet another law banned the use of “conversion therapy” to cure same-sex attraction. Argentina’s gay-rights advances were quickly emulated by neighboring Uruguay and Brazil, kick-starting a “gay-rights revolution” in Latin America.

    Rousseff, who famously referred to herself with the gender-specific title of a presidenta, instead of the gender-neutral “president,” did much to advance the status of women in Brazilian society. She appointed women to the three most powerful cabinet positions, including chief of staff, and named the first female head of Petrobras, Brazil’s largest business corporation; during her tenure in office, a woman became chief justice of the Federal Supreme Court. Brutally tortured by the military during the 1970s, as a university student, Rousseff put human rights at the center of Brazilian politics by enacting a law that created Brazil’s first ever truth commission to investigate the abuses by the military between 1964 and 1985. She also signed laws that opened the Brazilian Army to women and that set into motion the corruption campaign that is currently roiling the Brazilian political class. These laws earned Rousseff the enmity of the military and conservatives.

    Bachelet, the last woman standing, made news when she entered office, in 2006, by naming the same number of men and women to her cabinet. After being term-limited, she became the first head of the newly established UN Women (formally known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), before returning to Chile to win a second term at the presidency in 2014. During her second term, she created the Ministry of Gender Equality to address gender disparities and discrimination, and passed a law that legalized abortion in cases of rape, when there is a threat to the life of the mother, or when the fetus has a terminal condition. Less known is Bachelet’s advocacy for the environment. She weaned Chile off its dependence on hydrocarbons by building a vast network of solar- and wind-powered grids that made electricity cheaper and cleaner. She also created a vast system of national parks to protect much of the country’s forestland and coastline from development.

    Latin America’s socioeconomic transformation under the Pink Tide is no less impressive. Just before the economic downturn of 2012, Latin America came tantalizingly close to becoming a middle-class region. According to the World Bank, from 2002 to 2012, the middle class in Latin America grew every year by at least 1 percent to reach 35 percent of the population by 2013. This means that during that time frame, some 10 million Latin Americans joined the middle class every year. A consequence of this dramatic expansion of the middle class is a significant shrinking of the poor. Between 2000 and 2014, the percentage of Latin Americans living in poverty (under $4 per day) shrank from 45 to 25 percent.

    Economic growth alone does not explain this extraordinary expansion of the Latin American middle class and the massive reduction in poverty: Deliberate efforts by the government to redistribute wealth were also a key factor. Among these, none has garnered more praise than those implemented by the Lula administration, especially Bolsa Família, or Family Purse. The program channeled direct cash payments to poor families, as long as they agreed to keep their children in school and to attend regular health checkups. By 2013, the program had reached some 12 million households (50 million people), helping cut extreme poverty in Brazil from 9.7 to 4.3 percent of the population.

    Last but not least are the political achievements of the Pink Tide. It made Latin America the epicenter of left-wing politics in the Global South; it also did much to normalize democratic politics in the region. With its revolutionary movements crushed by military dictatorship, it is not surprising that the Latin American left was left for dead after the end of the Cold War. But since embracing democracy, the left in Latin America has moderated its tactics and beliefs while remaining committed to the idea that deliberate state action powered by the popular will is critical to correcting injustice and alleviating human suffering. Its achievements are a welcome antidote to the cynicism about democratic politics afflicting the American left.

    How the epoch-making legacy of the Pink Tide will fare in the hands of incoming right-wing governments is an open question. Some of the early signs are not encouraging. The Temer administration in Brazil has shown a decidedly retro-macho attitude, as suggested by its abolishment of the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality, and Human Rights (its functions were collapsed into the Ministry of Justice) and its close ties to a politically powerful evangelical movement with a penchant for homophobia. In Argentina, President Mauricio Macri has launched a “Trumpian” assault on undocumented immigrants from Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru, blaming them for bringing crime and drugs into the country. Some political observers expect that Piñera will abridge or overturn Chile’s new abortion law.

    But there is reason for optimism. Temer and Macri have been slow to dismantle anti-poverty programs, realizing that doing so would be political suicide. This is hardly surprising, given the success of those programs. Right-wing governments have even seen fit to create anti-poverty programs of their own, such as Mexico’s Prospera. Moreover, unlike with prior ascents by the right in Latin America, the left is not being vanished to the political wilderness. Left-wing parties remain a formidable force in the legislatures of most major Latin American countries. This year alone, voters in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia will have presidential elections, raising the prospect that a new Pink Tide might be rising. Should this new tide come in, the Latin American left would do well to reform its act and show what it has learned from its mistakes.

    Latin American leftists need not look far to find a model to emulate: Uruguay. It exemplifies the best of the Pink Tide without its excesses. Frente Amplio, or Broad Front, a coalition of left-wing parties in power since 2005, has put the country at the vanguard of social change by legalizing abortion, same-sex marriage, and, most famously, recreational marijuana. For these reasons alone, in 2013 The Economist chose “liberal and fun-loving” Uruguay for its first ever “country of the year” award.

    Less known accomplishments include being one of only two countries in Latin America that enjoy the status of “high income” (alongside Chile), reducing poverty from around 40 percent to less than 12 percent from 2005 to 2014, and steering clear of corruption scandals. According to Transparency International, Uruguay is the least corrupt country in Latin America, and ranks among the world’s 25 least corrupt nations. The country also scored a near perfect 100 in Freedom House’s 2018 ranking of civil and political freedoms, virtually tied with Canada, and far ahead of the United States and neighboring Argentina and Brazil. The payoff for this much virtue is hard to ignore. Among Latin American nations, no other country shows more satisfaction with its democracy.

    Omar G. EncarnaciónOmar G. Encarnación is a professor of political studies at Bard College and author of Out in the Periphery: Latin America’s Gay Rights Revolution.

    #politique #amérique_latine #impérialisme

  • “Hate Speech” Does Not Incite Hatred - Quillette
    http://quillette.com/2018/01/18/hate-speech-not-induce-hatred

    The United States Supreme Court has recently reaffirmed that “[s]peech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground” is protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. However, the protections of the First Amendment extend only to government efforts to punish or censor speech. Private entities remain free to take action against people who engage in speech which ostensibly demeans others, and private actors from Harvard University to Facebook and Twitter have punished or censored individuals whose speech they have found to be “hateful.”

    Those who advocate the censorship of so-called “hate speech” claim that it causes various ills, but perhaps the most common claim is that “hate speech” engenders hatred towards particular groups, and thereby causes violence against members of those groups. Such claims have been particularly common in recent years, and have included allegations that “anti-police hate speech” on the part of Black Lives Matters supporters has led to violence against police officers; that Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric has led to an increase in hate crimes; and that anti-Muslim hate speech on the Internet can motivate some people to commit acts of violence against Muslims.

    The claim that “hate speech” causes hatred, and thereby causes violence, is superficially appealing, but the more one thinks about it, the less sense it makes. Is it really likely that otherwise reasonable people will be driven to hate others, and to violently attack those others, simply because they were exposed to hate speech? The proponents of that view rarely, if ever, offer direct evidence for that claim. There is a simple explanation for that failure: such evidence does not exist.

    At first blush, that would seem to be an outlandish claim. What about the infamous “hate radio” in Rwanda? Doesn’t everyone know that those broadcasts caused people who had peacefully coexisted with their neighbors to engage in genocide? Well, in fact, there is no evidence that that is true. This common understanding of the role of “hate radio” overlooks basic facts of Rwandan history, including the fact that the genocide took place in the midst of a Tutsi-dominated insurgency that had begun in 1990, and which had resulted in hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Rwandans as insurgent forces approached the capital in 1993, just a year before the beginning of the genocide. Thus, the myth that Rwanda was an Arcadia of ethnic harmony before the “hate radio” broadcasts began is just that: a myth.

    A father in Rwanda searches for his lost child. ©ICRC/Benno Neeleman

    Perhaps more importantly, the popular narrative regarding the role of “hate radio” ignores twenty years of scholarship which finds little evidence that the radio broadcasts caused people to engage in genocide. For example, a 2017 study published in Criminology found no statistically significant relationship between radio exposure and killing.1 Moreover, the anthropologist Charles Mironko interviewed one hundred convicted perpetrators and found that many either did not hear the “hate radio” broadcasts or misinterpreted them, and University of Wisconsin political scientist Scott Straus found that peer pressure and personal appeals, not hate radio, is what motivated most perpetrators.2 Similarly, political scientist Lee Ann Fujii’s book-length study of the Rwandan genocide found that those who participated in the genocide did not show unusual levels of fear or hatred of Tutsis. Instead, they participated through personal relationships with local elites, often because they feared repercussions if they did not participate. Hate had nothing to do with it.

    Professor Fujii’s findings are consistent with a recent study that was published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, which found that villages with better radio reception had higher levels of participation in the genocide, but which credited that effect not to the creation of hatred, but rather to the fact that the broadcasts told those who were already willing to participate how to coordinate with others, and assured them that the government supported the killing and hence that they would not be punished.

    At this point, an alert reader might object that several “hate radio” executives were convicted of genocide-related offenses, and might also point to the well-known claim that some of the killers “had a radio in one hand and a machete in the other[.]” That is true, but it is also true that immediately after the assassination of the Rwandan president, the “hate radio” broadcasts shifted from general propaganda to broadcasting specific advice and instructions to those already participating in the genocide regarding who to kill and where to find them.3 It was for only those post-assassination broadcasts that radio executives were convicted, rather than for the pre-genocide, more generalized “hate speech.”

    Finally, these findings regarding the role of “hate radio” in the Rwandan genocide is consistent with what we know about the effects of propaganda in general. Contrary to popular belief, there is little evidence that propaganda is able to change minds; rather, it is generally effective only among those who already agree with it, and counter-productive among those who disagree.4 That was true even of Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda, which decreased denunciations of Jews by ordinary people in areas which had not historically been anti-Semitic.5

    Therefore, the scholarly consensus is clear: “Hate speech” does not engender hatred. Rather, to the extent that is has any effect on violence at all, it makes it somewhat easier for those already inclined towards violence to act, largely by placing an imprimatur of official approval on acts of violence, and thereby making people who are already hateful and prone to violence believe that they can get away with acting violently.

    This implies that censoring “hate speech” by ordinary persons is pointless – it is only “hate speech” by elites that can be dangerous (and even then not by creating hatred). There is no evidence that “hate speech” by ordinary persons has any effect on violence whatsoever. Thus, the efforts of such private actors as Facebook and Twitter to scrub the internet of what they deem to be “hate speech” by ordinary persons are, at best, misguided. But such efforts can also be dangerous because they help create excuses for governments to use allegations of “hate speech” to silence ideas that they dislike. Indeed, Freedom House has noted that that has already occurred in Russia, French courts have upheld “hate speech” convictions of advocates of the BDS movement to boycott of Israel, and in Spain, Catalan separatists who burned photographs of the Spanish monarch were fined on the grounds that they had incited violence and promoted hate speech.

    Finally, efforts to censor extremists can backfire by causing them to see themselves as a persecuted minority who are justified in using violent means to be heard. Therefore, as painful as American law’s protection of “hate speech” can be, the alternative is almost certainly worse. In addition, given that even the Supreme Court recognizes that, in the contemporary world, “the most important places … for the exchange of views … is cyberspace …, and social media in particular[,]” Twitter, Facebook, and other private actors should resist calls to censor hateful speech; they might believe that doing so serves the public interest, but in fact it does quite the opposite.

    Gordon Danning is History Research Fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). He has published a law review article on the free speech rights of high school students and conducted research on political violence.

    References:

    1 Hollie Nyseh Brehm. 2017. Subnational Determinants of Killing in Rwanda. Criminology, 55(1): 5-31. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1745-9125.12126/full
    2 Scott Straus, 2007. What is the relationship between hate radio and violence? Rethinking Rwanda’s “Radio Machete”. Politics & Society, 35(4): 609-637. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0032329207308181
    3 Richard Carver. 2000. Broadcasting and Political Transition: Rwanda and Beyond. African Broadcast Cultures: Radio in Transition, edited by Richard Farndon and Graham Furniss, 188-197. Oxford: James Currey 190.
    4 Hugo Mercier. 2017. How Gullible Are We? A Review of the Evidence from Psychology and Social Science. Review of General Psychology, 21(2): 103-122. http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/gpr/21/2/103
    5 Maja Adena, Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova, Veronica Santarosa, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya. 2015. Radio and the Rise of The Nazis in Prewar Germany. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 130(4): 1885–1939. https://academic.oup.com/qje/article-abstract/130/4/1885/1916582?redirectedFrom=PDF

  • Colonial authorities invested in infrastructure - railroads, bridges, roads and buildings - but history shows that these investments weren’t particularly beneficial to the colonised peoples.

    The infrastructure was either largely for the benefit of the extraction of local resources - such as the railways for the Anglo-Persian oil company in Iraq - and were designed with colonial needs in mind; or colonial taxation intended to fund advancement was actually a burden on local populations, whose payments funded the colonial government, as detailed by political scientist Crawford Young in “The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective”.

    Between 1919 and 1920 in Mesopotamia, those who could not - or chose not to - pay taxes were punished by the British colonial authorities with aerial bombardment.

    Sure, colonialism wasn’t all bad. Hell, let’s bring back colonial legislation in Britain and watch as our local MPs bomb anyone who doesn’t pay their council tax.

    Today, discussions of the merits of colonialism are ongoing. Singapore is periodically dragged out in a model example of a flourishing former colony, much like the other, more successful, brown girl in my school was paraded in front of me as some kind of aspirational tokenism.

    Countries that embraced their colonialism, Gilley tells us, were much more successful than the colonies that did not.

    Is this what counts for academia today? Countries that did not resist colonialism, survived it better?

    More fool me, I thought we were in the 21st century, where the enlightened consensus is that people have a right to elect their own leaders.

    Arabs 100 years ago were not obliged to sit back as Britain conquered Mesopotamia, and, today, we are not obliged to listen to woolly white men telling us not to resist if you want the struggle to be less painful.

    Nobody is suggesting that colonialism cannot be discussed academically. But to debate its perceived advantages while disregarding the devastating ignorance in academia and wider society of colonial crimes, amounts to a whitewashing of the routinely violent, aggressive and racist colonial modus operandi.
    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2018/1/5/reintroducing-colonialism-wont-rewrite-history

  • Histoire de l’urbanisation mondiale en trois minutes | méridianes géo
    https://meridianes.org/2017/02/01/histoire-de-lurbanisation-mondiale-en-trois-minutes

    YALE UNIVERSITY / CITYLAB

    How did cities emerge? Where were they located? How did they change over the course of human civilization? How did they change their surroundings?

    The answers to these questions are available, but hard to access. The United Nations World Urbanization Prospects, for example, only tracks urban populations and their locations from 1950 on, and so offers only a small, relatively recent snapshot of urbanization. The work of the historian Tertius Chandler and the political scientist George Modelski is much more extensive. The two painstakingly gathered population and archeological records from as far back as 2250 B.C. The problem, however, is that their data exist in the form of tables that are stuffed with hard-to-decipher numbers and notes.

    #urban_matter

  • Why Are America’s Suburbs Becoming Poorer?
    https://www.thenation.com/article/why-are-americas-suburbs-becoming-poorer

    “Though the reasons for the suburban crisis aren’t necessarily different from the problems facing cities—a lack of good jobs and weakening social programs—an historical cultural and political neglect of the suburban poor means that new frontiers of inequality are exploding invisibly where we least expect them. Urban poverty, measured by Census tract, has grown from about 18 to 20 percent between 1990 and 2014, but risen more drastically in the suburbs, from about 8 percent to over 12 percent of tracts. And in the last decade, a “tipping point” has been reached in which “the number of poor people living in suburban areas has increased more quickly.”

    According to a study by political scientist Scott Allard of the University of Washington, the hidden inequality festering in suburbia reveals that, although many associate suburban lifestyles with middle-class comfort, in many depressed regions, “migration to the suburbs isn’t an automatic guarantee of upward mobility.”

    Contrary to stereotype, the suburbs aren’t getting poorer just because poor people are moving in. Rather, suburban towns are eroding from within, and are often structurally less resilient than many metropolitan hubs in adapting to economic recession, deindustrialization, and budget cuts.”

  • Why #Iran approaches #Qatar crisis with caution | Middle East | DW | 14.06.2017
    http://www.dw.com/en/why-iran-approaches-qatar-crisis-with-caution/a-39255825

    Despite their supposed rapprochement, there is still little trust between Qatar and Iran. The two countries share a 250-kilometer-long sea border, where they share the world’s largest natural gas field, South Pars. This has already led to conflict. When Iran was under wide-reaching sanctions over its controversial nuclear program, making it unable to act as an exporter, Qatar alone profited from the gas field.

    Both states have different ideas about gas transport: Qatar wants a pipeline running through Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria into Turkey, where the gas could be delivered to Europe. Iran however, has plans for a pipeline from Iran through Iraq and Syria leading to the Mediterranean Sea. Five years ago, Iran had such an agreement with Syrian leader Assad, but the war in Syria put an end to that billion-dollar project.

    Further involvement by Iran in the current Qatar crisis could prove to be counterproductive - which is why the leadership in Doha would rather go without support from Tehran.

    “Qatar will not turn to Iran in this crisis,” said political scientist Sadegh Zibakalam of the University of Tehran. “They do not want to further provoke Saudi Arabia. Qatar is trying to manage this crisis with the help of Turkey and Pakistan.”

    The Iranian leadership will likely also gladly take a back seat for domestic reasons; otherwise, powerful conservative circles in Iran - such as the Revolutionary Guard - who would like to go head to head with Saudi Arabia could receive fresh support.

  • Can the Science of Lying Explain Trump’s Support ? | Alternet
    http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/science-lying-explains-trump

    But Trump’s political path presents a paradox. Far from slowing his momentum, his deceit seemed only to strengthen his support through the primary and national election. Now, every time a new lie is exposed, his approval rating doesn’t seem to waver very much. How does the former reality-TV star get away with it? How can he tell so many lies and still win support from millions of Americans?

    Journalists and researchers have suggested many answers, from simple ignorance to an aging electorate addicted to fear-mongering cable news. But there is another explanation that no one seems to have entertained: It is that Trump is telling “blue” lies—a psychologist’s term for falsehoods, told on behalf of a group, that can actually strengthen the bonds among the members of that group.

    This research—and those stories—highlight a difficult truth about our species: We are intensely social creatures, but we’re prone to divide ourselves into competitive groups, largely for the purpose of allocating resources. People can be “prosocial”—compassionate, empathic, generous, honest—in their groups, and aggressively antisocial toward outside groups. When we divide people into groups, we open the door to competition, dehumanization, violence—and socially sanctioned deceit.

    Most scholars point to political and cultural polarization as the biggest cause. Research by Alexander George Theodoridis, a political scientist at the University of California, Merced, shows that “partisanship for many Americans today takes the form of a visceral, even subconscious, attachment to a party group.” According to his studies, Democrats and Republicans have become not merely political parties but tribes, whose affiliations shape the language, dress, hairstyles, purchasing decisions, friendships, and even love lives of their members.

    Scientists call this kind of reasoning “directionally motivated,” meaning that conclusions are driven by feelings, not facts—and studies find that this is our default mode. As right-wing radio talk host Rush Limbaugh implied in the wake of a lie-riddled presidential press conference, facts don’t matter. What matters is what’s “in your heart.”

    That’s why, when the truth threatens our identity, that truth gets dismissed. For millions and millions of Americans, climate change is a hoax, Hillary Clinton ran a sex ring out of a pizza parlor, and immigrants cause crime. Whether they truly believe those falsehoods or not is debatable—and possibly irrelevant. The research to date suggests that they see those lies as useful weapons in a tribal us-against-them competition that pits the “real America” against those who would destroy it.

    It’s important to note that Democrats have shown themselves to be susceptible to the effects of polarization and anger as well. During the antagonistic Democratic primary, lies proliferated within the party about Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and their supporters. Many Democrats fell for those lies for the same reason people fall for all blue lies: because they helped their cause, providing ammunition for their battle against the other side.

    Who tells the story matters. Study after study suggests that people are much more likely to be convinced of a fact when it “originates from ideologically sympathetic sources,” as the paper says—and it helps a lot if those sources look and sound like them.

    #post-truth #mensonge #psychologie

  • What Do Settler Women and Female Suicide Attackers Have in Common? - Books - Haaretz -
    Israeli and Palestinian women will ‘transgress’ by suspending religious beliefs if it serves a political cause, discovers political scientist Lihi Ben Shitrit.

    Dahlia Scheindlin Feb 02,

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/books/1.700711

    “Righteous Transgressions: Women’s Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right,” by Lihi Ben Shitrit, Princeton University Press, 304 pp., $22.95
    In late January, Israeli settlers tussled with Israel Defense Forces soldiers charged with evicting them from two homes in Hebron. In a familiar sight on the Israeli news, settler women balanced small children on their hips as they berated and harangued the soldiers. The very next day, a 13-year-old Palestinian girl attempted to stab a security guard in the West Bank and was shot dead – joining numerous Palestinian women and youngsters who have participated in such attacks since October.
    Israelis tend to seek personal explanations for female Palestinian violence, as if political extremism is understood when it comes to men, but contradicts typically “feminine” qualities. Activism among women in conservative Jewish religious movements may seem counterintuitive as well, since traditional “feminine” behavior is not thought to include political activism or leadership.
    In “Righteous Transgressions: Women’s Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right,” Lihi Ben Shitrit, an assistant professor at the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia in Athens, probes women’s activism in four conservative religious or religious-nationalist movements in Israel and its environs – Jewish settlers, the ultra-Orthodox Israeli political party Shas, the Islamic Movement in Israel and Hamas – in a search for shared ways of thinking. It’s unlikely that her research subjects would appreciate being categorized together, but social scientists who question gender, religious extremism, nationalism or social movements will.
    While Ben Shitrit’s academic discourse of contestation, intentionality, performatives, diagnostic and prognostic frames will at times alienate the average reader, it would be unfortunate to forgo the book by this Israeli-born author for that reason. Interested observers could learn much from the rare, up-close look at hugely influential political movements, beyond the subject of women’s roles within them.
    The political scientist and women’s studies expert conducted a formidable amount of research and displayed substantial tenacity in reaching her subjects. She spent several years winning the personal trust of leaders and members of the first three groups, who represent tight-knit and often highly suspicious social communities. She built relationships, attended events, transcribed extensive conversations and pored over media sources – especially in the case of Hamas where, as an Israeli, she could not forge personal ties. She read both Hebrew and Arabic texts, and when researching Shas, her Moroccan background prompted openness among some of the party’s figures.
    Ben Shitrit observes that gender and feminist researchers typically presume that women naturally seek greater empowerment and liberation. That leads such academics to puzzle over why some women work to advance conservative political movements that constrain them within gender roles. She believes these questions reflect a Western liberal feminist bias and mislead the inquiry.
    Instead, Ben Shitrit accepts as a given that women take part prominently and often enthusiastically in religiously conservative or religious-nationalist movements. In all four movements she examines, women have become active as participants, organizers or sometimes leaders. The question for the author is: How do these women justify activism and participation sometimes in front-line struggles that contradict traditional gender norms of Orthodox Judaism or conservative Islam? And could these justifications ultimately, or unwittingly, aid in shifting traditional roles?
    Thus, Jewish women settlers sometimes physically struggle with male IDF soldiers, although Orthodox Jewish law strictly proscribes touching a male stranger. On the Palestinian side, a woman suicide bomber abandons her role as mother (or future mother) and becomes a supporter of male fighters to advance a political-religious goal.

  • The climate of war: violence, warfare, and climatic reductionism
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.352/abstract

    The fashion for reducing war to climate has had a remarkable resurgence in recent years stimulated in part by the proclivities of funding agencies and the priorities of national governments. Not least is this the case with national security agencies. As the British Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, put it in 2007 in her presentation to the UN Security Council first-ever debate on the impact of climate change: the consequences of climate change “reach to the very heart of the security agenda.” A few years earlier in their report to the United States Department of Defense, on abrupt climate change and “Its implications for United States National Security,” Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall insisted that in the near future “disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life.” Once the preserve of classical thinkers, Enlightenment philosophers, and turn-of-the-century geo-historians, “the allure of a naïve climatic determinism is now seducing” − in Mike Hulme’s words − “those hard-nosed and most unsentimental of people… the military and their advisors.” And it is seducing other publicists too. Drawing on the neo-Malthusian analyses of Thomas Homer-Dixon, whom he credited with officiating at the marriage of “military-conflict studies and the study of the physical environment”, Robert Kaplan announced that “We all must learn to think like Victorians… Geographical determinists must be seated at the same honored table as liberal humanists.” This reductionist impulse, however, has not met with universal approval.

    A team of research ecologists based mostly at Colorado State University, for example, has challenged the suggestion that warming has increased the risk of civil war in Africa. They argue that attributing such causal powers to climate “oversimplifies systems affected by many geopolitical and social factors.” And they point out that “unrelated geopolitical trends” − most notably decolonization and the legacy of the Cold War − which “perturbed the political and social landscape of the African continent” tend to be ignored in climate reductionist agendas. Halvard Buhaug, a political scientist at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, together with colleagues also have serious reservations about what might be called climatic supremacism. Reworking a range of models used by advocates of climate’s determining role in civil wars, Buhaug contends that “Climate variability is a poor predictor of armed conflict” and that civil wars in Africa are far better explained by such conditions as “prevalent ethnopolitical exclusion, poor national economy, and the collapse of the Cold War system.” The prehistory of a particular violent episode is relevant too for, as he puts it, “recent violence may affect the likelihood of a new conflict breaking out”.

    Empirical inquiries like these, which challenge the assumption that climate and climate change are prime causes of violence, raise troubling concerns about the ease with which an ideology of climate reductionism has infiltrated its way into national security consciousness. Critics of this determinist turn, and particularly of the Malthusian assumption that increased environmental scarcity and migration “weaken states” and “cause conflicts and violence”, express grave concerns about the lack of attention devoted to ascertaining “the ways that environmental violence reflects or masks other forms of social struggle” and about the too comfortable means by which “forms of technological engineering… reduce “solutions” to matters of purely technical concern.” For one thing such scenarios take outbreaks of violence as merely the natural consequence of social evolutionary adaptation. Climate reductionism thus facilitates the sense that war can be readily “naturalized and depoliticized” in markedly similar ways to earlier climatic readings of the American Civil War. As one group of researchers observe: “Some studies in environmental security are in danger of promulgating a modern form of environmental determinism by suggesting that climate conditions directly and dominantly influence the propensity for violence among individuals, communities and states.” When analysts “neglect the complex political calculus of governance” and the remarkable ways in which human societies actually do cope with challenging environments, they reach “conclusions that are little different from those ascribing poverty to latitudinal location or lessened individual productivity to hot climates, as was common in European and American scholarship about a century ago.”

    #climat #réductionnisme_climatique

  • Du moment qu’elle se fait dans le sens des intérêts des #élites_délinquantes, y compris occidentales, la #kleptocratie dans les pays pauvres est un #métier_très_sûr.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e8fe02d4-c2b1-11e4-a59c-00144feab7de.html

    In fact, argues the Oxford political scientist Ricardo Soares de Oliveira in his marvellous new book, “Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola Since the Civil War,” we live in “an oligarch’s ideal world”. Western countries barely even pretend to disapprove of kleptocrats any more.

    « #nos_valeurs »

  • Putting Cuban human rights violations in some context - The Washington Post
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/12/18/putting-cuban-human-rights-violations-in-some-context/?postshare=4431418916239497

    In a recent article in the American Political Science Review, Penn State political scientist Christopher J. Fariss develops a smart measurement model that captures the common component among different measures of physical integrity rights. Moreover, this model generates measures that are comparable over time.

    The graph above uses this #data.

    #visualisation #droits_humains

  • Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/10/18/vote-all-you-want-the-secret-government-won-change/jVSkXrENQlu8vNcBfMn9sL/story.html?s_campaign=8315

    But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried.

    Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.

    […]

    Glennon’s critique sounds like an outsider’s take, even a radical one. In fact, he is the quintessential insider: He was legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a consultant to various congressional committees, as well as to the State Department. “National Security and Double Government” comes favorably blurbed by former members of the Defense Department, State Department, White House, and even the CIA. And he’s not a conspiracy theorist: Rather, he sees the problem as one of “smart, hard-working, public-spirited people acting in good faith who are responding to systemic incentives”—without any meaningful oversight to rein them in.

    How exactly has double government taken hold? And what can be done about it? Glennon spoke with Ideas from his office at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. This interview has been condensed and edited.

    Review of ‘National Security and Double Government’ by Michael J. Glennon
    http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2014/10/18/review-national-security-and-double-government-michael-glennon/tUhBBdSj8s0WW1HoWUf20M/story.html

    The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of US national security policy.” The result, he writes, is a system of dual institutions that have evolved “toward greater centralization, less accountability, and emergent autocracy.”

    If this were a movie, it would soon become clear that some evil force, bent on consolidating power and undermining democratic governance, has surreptitiously tunneled into the under-structure of the nation. Not so. In fact, Glennon observes, this hyper-secret and difficult-to-control network arose in part as an attempt to head off just such an outcome. In the aftermath of World War II, with the Soviet Union a serious threat from abroad and a growing domestic concern about weakened civilian control over the military (in 1949, the Hoover Commission had warned that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had become “virtually a law unto themselves”), President Truman set out to create a separate national security structure.

    By 2011, according to The Washington Post, there were 46 separate federal departments and agencies and 2,000 private companies engaged in classified national security operations with millions of employees and spending of roughly a trillion dollars a year. As Glennon points out, presidents get to name fewer than 250 political appointees among the Defense Department’s nearly 700,000 civilian employees, with hundreds more drawn from a national security bureaucracy that comprise “America’s Trumanite network” — in effect, on matters of national security, a second government.

    (Signalé par Glenn Greenwald.)

  • #Chris_Hani’s political legacy
    http://africasacountry.com/the-late-chris-hanis-political-legacy

    The American political scientist Adolph Reed Jnr. once said of Malcolm X: “… He was just like the rest of us—a regular person saddled with imperfect knowledge, human frailties, and conflicting imperatives, but nonetheless trying to make sense of his very specific history, trying unsuccessfully to transcend it, and struggling to push it in a humane direction.” Because in the political present, most of Chris Hani’s comrades in the ruling ANC, the Communist Party and the main trade federation, COSATU, are such disappointments, the tendency is to set him up as some kind of ideal type (even opposition parties, who had time for Hani’s ideas and struggle while he was alive, are doing so opportunistically). At the same time, Hani represented the energies that people inside and outside South (...)

    #POLITICS

  • The Washington Post predicts a year full of #coups in Africa
    http://africasacountry.com/the-washington-posts-foreign-policy-blogger-predicts-a-year-full-of

    The Washington Post’s foreign affairs blogger #Max_Fisher (about whose infatuation with coloured maps we blogged before here and here) posted an entry earlier this week entitled: ’A worrying map of countries most likely to have a coup in 2014’. It is based on the work of political scientist #Jay_Ulfelder. The post includes a coloured map of the globe with countries coloured from light yellow to dark brown. And as you might guess, the darker the country, the more likely it will see a violent overthrow of the government some time this year.

    #JOURNALISM #POLITICS #cartography #color-coded_maps #political_science

  • Emad Shahin, universitaire réputé, accusé d’espionnage en Egypte - NYTimes.com
    Il répond.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/23/world/middleeast/egypt.html?_r=0

    Mobilisation sur Twitter de journalistes et sources sérieuses qui affirment que Emad Shahin est irréprochable. Comme Amr Hamzawy - lui aussi poursuivi- , il a dénoncé la brutale répression à l’égard des Frères musulmans.

    An internationally respected Egyptian political scientist said Wednesday that prosecutors had filed espionage charges against him, making him the second such scholar targeted this month in a widening crackdown on dissent against last summer’s military takeover.

    Emad Shahin, a scholar of political Islam who has taught at Harvard, Notre Dame and the American University in Cairo and edited the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics, was charged along with several senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood with conspiring with foreign organizations to undermine Egypt’s national security. He is listed as Defendant 33 in a lengthy criminal complaint that also names former President Mohamed Morsi, who was deposed in the takeover.

    The charges against Mr. Shahin were filed more than two weeks ago, but they have come to light just as prosecutors have also charged Amr Hamzawy, a liberal political scientist and former lawmaker, with the crime of insulting the judiciary because he questioned a ruling against a group of Western nonprofit organizations.

    Both men were among the few public critics of the bloody crackdown on Mr. Morsi’s Islamist supporters after the military takeover.

    Le journaliste Borzou Daragahi publie un communiqué de l’universitaire (Facebook)

    Statement to my Students, Family and Friends
    January 23, 2014

    It was with severe shock that I received news that I have been named in a case known as the “Grand Espionage,” which also included former President Mohamed Morsi and senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. These claims are baseless and politically motivated.

    The indictment listed far-fetched charges that my friends and associates would regard not merely as improbable but as beyond preposterous. The charges include: espionage, leading an illegal organization, providing a banned organization with information and financial support, calling for the suspension of the constitution, preventing state institutions and authorities from performing their functions, harming national unity and social harmony, and causing to change the government by force.

    I categorically and emphatically deny all the charges, and I challenge the State Security Prosecutor to present real evidence to substantiate these fabricated charges. I am an academic and have been independent throughout my life. I am an advocate for democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and a fervent supporter of the main objectives of the January 25 Revolution in Egypt, namely freedom, dignity, and social justice.

    For the record, I definitively state that I have never been a member of the Society of the Muslim Brothers at any point in my life, and I have never provided it with any financial or material support as alleged in the so-called indictment.

    Furthermore, the indictment stated that I was “at large”. This could not have been farther from the truth, as I have never been subpoenaed by any prosecutor even though I have been living in Egypt since 2011. I have openly traveled abroad many times during this period to participate in conferences and attend academic events without ever being stopped or prohibited from leaving or entering the country, especially over the past few months. My workplace, the American University in Cairo, is well known to the authorities. I have never left or changed my place of residence, which is also well known to the government, and I have never been banned from travel or placed on a watch list as I left and entered the country several times during the past month. I appeared on television interviews as an analyst and a commentator to discuss the delicate political situation in Egypt and have always maintained a public presence. I am neither at large nor was I unwilling to appear before any interrogator had I received a formal subpoena and guarantees for fair proceedings, due-process of law, and a fair trial.

    Though I have always been a fervent critic of authoritarian rule in Egypt, I have always expressed strong support for peaceful protests to restore democracy and express popular opposition against government repression.

    Needless to say I am a well-known academic and intellectual with a long record of teaching and scholarly achievements. I received my PhD from the Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) and have been a faculty member at prominent universities in the US, Egypt, and the Middle East, including the American University in Cairo, Harvard, Georgetown, Notre Dame, George Washington, and Boston Universities. I have produced major scholarly works including being the editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics.

    I have been critical of the course of political events in Egypt since last summer and can only conclude that such criticism—entirely restricted to word and utterly unconnected to any organized group, faction, or party—is my true offense. Like many fellow Egyptians, I am supportive of peaceful mobilization in defense of democracy, freedom, equal rights, and inclusion. I will continue to advocate such values, exercising a right to protest that is enshrined in Egyptian law and, in recent years, deeply engrained in Egyptian practice.

    Emad Shahin, Ph.D.

    Professor of Public Policy, The American University in Cairo
    Henry R. Luce Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame (2009-2012)
    Visiting Associate Professor, Harvard University (2006-2009)
    Faculty Affiliate, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Belfer Center (2007-2008)
    Editor in Chief, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics
    Member of the Academic Advisory Board, Center for Christian-Muslim Understanding, Georgetown University
    Member of the Editorial Advisory Board, Oxford Research Directions (Since 2011)
    Advisory editor, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World (Oxford University Press, 2009)
    Member of the Academic Board, Al-Hadara Center, Cairo, Egypt
    Member of Alexandria Library Scientific Board for the Production of “Selections of Modern Islamic Heritage” (Since 2012)
    Foreign Reference Member, University of Oslo (since 2007)
    Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council (2008)

  • Egypt Charges Renowned Scholar With Espionage

    – NYTimes.com @ddknyt
    By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICKJAN. 22, 2014

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/23/world/middleeast/egypt.html?_r=0

    CAIRO — An internationally respected Egyptian political scientist said Wednesday that prosecutors had filed espionage charges against him, making him the second such scholar targeted this month in a widening crackdown on dissent against last summer’s military takeover.

    Emad Shahin, a scholar of political Islam who has taught at Harvard, Notre Dame and the American University in Cairo and edited the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics, was charged along with several senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood with conspiring with foreign organizations to undermine Egypt’s national security. He is listed as defendant 33 in a lengthy criminal complaint that also names former President Mohamed Morsi, who was deposed in the takeover.

    The charges against Mr. Shahin were filed more than two weeks ago, but they have come to light just as prosecutors have also charged Amr Hamzawy, a liberal political scientist and former lawmaker, with the crime of “insulting the judiciary” because he questioned a ruling against a group of Western nonprofit organizations.

    Both men were among the few public critics of the bloody crackdown on Mr. Morsi’s Islamist supporters after the military takeover. Both were also fiercely critical of Mr. Morsi and the Brotherhood while they were in power, although previously Mr. Shahin had been relatively more sympathetic to the idea that the Brotherhood might play a constructive role in building a new democracy.

  • When the New York Times went to bat for the one-state solution -

    Haaretz, By Sara Hirschhorn | Oct. 15, 2013

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.552574

    Loath or lust after his ideas, University of Pennsylvania political scientist Ian Lustick created a tempest in a teapot — pardon the idiom, I’m new to Britain — with a recent polemical New York Times op-ed entitled “The Two State Illusion.” In it he heaped opprobrium and a last mound on dirt on the grave of the two-state paradigm and called for consideration of, if not resignation to, the reality of the one-state solution.

    Subsequently, academicians and practitioners across the political spectrum have debated the piece. (The responses include provocative essays by leftist cultural icon Yitzhak Laor in Haaretz, right-leaning Middle East Studies scholar Martin Kramer in Commentary, Arab-American advocate Hussein Ibish and academic Saliba Sarsar of the American Task Force on Palestine in The Daily Beast, left-leaning Jewish intellectual Bernard Avishai in the New Yorker as well as letters to the editor of the Times by Kenneth Jacobson of the Anti-Defamation League and Alan Elsner of JStreet, among others.)

    Seemingly the only “Washington consensus” they can concur with is how wrong Lustick is. Yet while the merits of his argument certainly require further examination, the larger questions about the agenda of the publishers and the audience for this discussion have been largely overlooked — why has Western journalism seemingly been so intent on a campaign to “mainstream” the one-state discourse, and who is really listening?

    Reading Lustick’s editorial myself, I was deeply impressed by his description of the current state of affairs in Israel/Palestine: grim realities, blissful ignorances, misguided optimisms, ingrained inequalities, dangerous fantasies and violent cataclysms. (Full disclosure: I am indebted to his scholarship and assistance in my own research on the Israeli settler movement.) Few have written with such piercing yet empathetic clarity of the dilemmas and delusions of both nations under siege and how (as he wrote in a rebuttal in The Daily Beast) “the illusion” of ultimately achieving two states for two peoples has helped to justify and normalize an interim state of “systematic coercion” and “permanent oppression.”

    Lustick’s is a searing cry to mobilize action that will wrest the “peace process industry” from its collective apathy and acquiescence with the two-state solution. (It should be noted that his vigorous attacks on this “industry” come more from the standpoint of an insider, bearing in mind his role in Middle East policy planning in the State Department and consulting to subsequent administrations, than the putative outsider position he takes.) He seems to be seeking “redemption” for the (retrospective) wisdom ignored by himself and others in the 1980s.

    Yet, while illustrating the vastly different conclusions that political scientists and historians reach, often working with the same raw material of conflict, I consider his conclusions somewhat too “parsimonious” (as the disciplinary lingo would have it); I see the correlation but not the causation in his case study. While undoubtedly the passage of time has failed the two-state solution, this is as much a problem of praxis by politicians as with the theory of nationalist ideology.

    I have yet to see a better solution — complicated by the thin descriptions of workable alternatives in a climate where the only salient scenarios are usually “one nation pushes the other nation into the sea.” Lustick himself is too facile in his willingness to be “untethered” from “Statist Zionism” and “narrow Israeli nationalism,” even if the means to do so will necessarily unleash violence.

    The looming (if not current) expiry for the viability of the “land for peace” rubric and the attractions of power-sharing arrangements notwithstanding, as a Zionist, I’m still not quite ready to be an early adopter in abandoning the state system. Yet, I unabashedly admit that I am what Lustick disparagingly calls the two-state “true believer.” If, as he later suggested, the disciples of the two-state rubric are a group of messianic, faith-based, deus-ex-machina-dependent, self-deluding zealots, in contrast with those converts to the timely, rational, human-agency-enlightened evangelists of the one-state solution, than I suppose I am one of the last doomed members of that fundamentalist cult.

    Yet, the fierce debate over Lustick’s high profile and pull-no-punches argument aside (which are unlikely to be resolved), the larger questions surrounding its agenda and audience remain. Lustick’s piece joins several others in The Times and other major Western media outlets from various perspectives that have sought to mainstream the one-state discourse in journalistic practice. Whether this has backfired or not in reinforcing two-state advocacy remains to be seen, yet there is no doubt that it has achieved a heightened profile and polemic surrounding this paradigm.

    It is not clear, however, whether this agenda is a veritable chicken-and-egg between publishers and politicians to promote one-state alternatives of late, as evidenced by Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon’s own contribution to The Times a few weeks ago. Further, it remains to be seen whether journalists can (and should?) control the message in the months and years to come, in a hyper-competitive media landscape where the op-ed has become the new global public square.

    Yet, the most important aspect of this agenda is the audience it may — or may not — be reaching. If recent items are representative of broader trends, the debate over Lustick’s piece has largely been confined to the English-language media for the politically aware (on both left and right, including the peace industry that he attacks), leaving out the apolitical indifferent and, most significantly, those actually in the region itself.

    From a brief review of the Hebrew press it seems Lustick’s op-ed barely raised an eyebrow, with a rare column in the center-right daily Maariv dismissing the professor as “no lover of Israel,” one “who doesn’t get the way things are here” (a familiar brush-off that many Americans interested in Israel are subject to), and concluding that “practical Zionism, both in its classic and pragmatic [forms] is still what most Israelis are clinging to,” even if the “broad and tired” problem of the two-state solution requires “hard questions.”

    Haaretz also translated Lustick’s piece into Hebrew, although it appears that some of the most inflammatory passages (the frolicking coalition of Orthodox Jews and Jihadis, Tel Aviv entrepreneurs and fellahin, Mizrahi Jews and their Arab brothers) was redacted for its apparently unprepared Israeli audience. There was scant coverage in the Arabic-language press as well, whether or not because the standard editorial line attacking Israel precluded more substantive discussion.

    For all of the fuss from afar on the one-state idea, from the point of view of the relevant parties they aren’t ready for it (yet). As Lisa Goldman wrote so poignantly of the misguided turn of the discussion about the very issues Lustick so acutely illuminated: “While the debate itself was interesting and sometimes provocative, it seemed to circumvent the real elephant in the room – which was the urgency of the situation on the ground.” Perhaps there is more in heaven and earth than dreamt of in Lustick’s philosophy.

    While I remain a true believer in the two-state solution and hope for its fulfillment, the time has come to at least explore other options for an open, constructive and visionary discussion of the one-state solution. An exploration of both policies, especially given current realities, is not and cannot be mutually exclusive. We must heed Lustick’s call, yet I hope for a conversation that more earnestly honors both Zionist and Palestinian national aspirations and is led by parties to the conflict — and its solution — themselves.

    Dr. Sara Yael Hirschhorn is the new University Research Lecturer and Sidney Brichto Fellow in Israel Studies at Oxford University. Her research, teaching and public engagement activities focus on the Israeli settler movement, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the relationship between the U.S./American Jewry and Israel. She is writing a forthcoming book about American Jews and the Israeli settler movement since 1967.

  • The South African Compromise
    http://africasacountry.com/the-south-african-compromise

    At this week’s #Open_Book_Festival in Cape Town, one of South Africa’s many literary events, one of the most anticipated non-fiction writers was #Adam_Habib. A veteran political scientist, erstwhile Trotskyist, and as of recently, vice chancellor (equal to an American college president) at the #University_of_the_Witwatersrand, Habib just released his new book South Africa’s Suspended (...)

    #POLITICS #ANC #COSATU #DA

  • How NRA lobbied for ’Stand Your Ground’ law that let Trayvon Martin killer George Zimmerman free - Americas - World - The Independent
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/how-nra-lobbied-for-stand-your-ground-law-that-let-trayvon-martin-kil

    Professor Robert Spitzer, a political scientist and author of several books on the NRA, says: “The real culprit in the Trayvon Martin case was not Zimmerman but Stand Your Ground. It’s why the police did not investigate aggressively, it’s why it took six weeks to bring charges against Zimmerman, and it’s why his self-defence claim was extremely difficult to overcome. Stand Your Ground makes not only prosecution, but even mere investigation, very difficult.”

    The original Stand Your Ground legislation was crafted by state lawmakers who stuck closely to guidelines set by Marion Hammer, a Florida-based former president of the NRA. After it was signed into law by the then Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, in April 2005, the NRA’s chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, described it as the “first step of a multi-state strategy”. Its passage was smoothed by ALEC, a conservative network whose backers include the NRA, Walmart and organisations linked to the right-wing billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch.

    Stand Your Ground offers immunity not only to homeowners, but to people who open fire in public places, and those pleading self-defence need not retreat from anyone they perceive as a threat before shooting. As in the Trayvon Martin case, the burden is on police and prosecutors to prove that a self-defence claim is false.