Category: Democracy

Forgotten Ideas: Robert Owen’s ‘A New View of Society’

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By Peter Marshall

In our academic lives we will undoubtedly find new and exciting ideas that open our minds. I had this in reading Herculine Barbin, the diaries of a 19th century French intersex person by the same name, with the introduction written by Foucault. Foucault, however, is par for the course in political theory. Whilst being relatively theoretically radical, after this year I will have been taught about him for three years in a row. There are, of course, key thinkers to study in politics (Plato, Wollstonecraft, and Marx, to mention but a few), but what of the voices of those rarely heard? That is the idea of this article (and hopefully subsequent articles), to briefly explore the ideas of non-conventional thinkers and hopefully inspire you to read some of these texts once you have the time (as my 50+ unread books can attest to my not having time), as I hope they will broaden your intellectual horizons.

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Feminism and Necessary Antagonism

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By Vladimir Ivlev

 

“I want to look at politics with an eye unclouded by philosophy.”

Hannah Arendt, “Zur Person

 

It is way too easy for people swept in the typhoon of cultural change to keep themselves occupied by the surface level contradictions found within said paradigm shifts. Those who consider themselves to be in the trenches of the culture war often amass previously heard arguments into their political arsenal to avert themselves from experiencing the excruciating stigmata of self-doubt that losing an online argument often leads to. Either that or succumb to a self-destructive ideological leap of faith. But rarely do you find someone trying to embrace political ideologies that directly scare them or break their trance of idle conformity, for the sake of greater knowledge and self-actualization. I am however not putting myself on a pedestal by proclaiming that I fully comprehend the far-reaches of modern feminism, as it is just as ridden with sectarianism and surreal escapism as left-wing authoritarian philosophies (which is why more often than not they go hand in hand). But, by engaging with its advocates, I have pinpointed a certain underlying trend that not only justifies but necessitates their tactics of antagonism. This is not a conversion moment, I have not become a born-again intersectional feminist. In no way am I defending their tactics. But understanding the necessity of them provides insight into dealing with modern political discourse.

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The Paradise Papers: Central to Society

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By Sarah Jasem

The Paradise Papers are 13.4 million leaked documents spanning the period between 1950 to 2016, which reveal the extent to which the assets of corporations like Facebook, and wealthy public figures from the Queen to Harvey Weinstein, are held offshore where they can be unregulated and untaxed. Almost 7 million of these documents are related to a law firm called ‘Appleby’, filled with lawyers who specialise in registering trusts and companies in overseas jurisdictions with little to no tax rates such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and Mauritius. The leaks were passed on from German Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, ICIJ. Similarly, in 2016, the same newspaper leaked 11 million documents to the ICIJ where the tax avoidance was orchestrated not be Appleby but by Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in Panama, hence the 2016 leak being marked, ‘The Panama Papers’. Continue reading “The Paradise Papers: Central to Society”

European Withdrawal Bill: What Role Should Parliament Play in Brexit?

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By Thomas Sherlock

Currently passing through the Committee Stage is the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which is proving, somewhat unsurprisingly, controversial. Alongside the actual contents of what will be one of the most important components of Brexit, the Bill has provoked a wider debate on what exactly Parliament’s role should be in Brexit. Should Parliament be actively trying to shape Brexit and holding the Government accountable, or should it be taking a backseat and allowing the Government a freer hand?

 

As with everything to do with Brexit, this is not a clear-cut debate. Fundamentally this division relies on a problem inherent with referendums, what is the role of representatives in implementing a decision made by direct democracy?

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News In Colour

News in Colour

By Sarah Jasem

I sat with a room full of strangers, listening to the formal and consoling hum of the news in the background of a surgery waiting room in rural Australia. Small talk radiated like warmth throughout the room due to the close-knit nature of people in small rural towns. Many of them had lived in the same town throughout their lives; a travel time of two hours to get necessities meant they never had a need to leave. I felt little alienation because we were all listening to a popular news channel in Australia, so the fact that I was merely a visitor and not part of the community did not affect me. When the news is on, there is an assumption that we all feel quietly sympathetic, outraged, confused and worried by the same things uniting us in the quiet knowledge that we are all members of the same public body.   Continue reading “News In Colour”

The New Right: Fictitious Yesterdays and Fabricated Tomorrows

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By Ovais Malik

In contemporary political discourse, doctrine and reality tend to be radically divorced from each other. We often hear from the New Right about the alleged glories of private enterprise; the wonders of the “free market”; and the incompetence of government intervention. When it comes to reality, however, sinister hypocrisies pervade this rhetoric. Continue reading “The New Right: Fictitious Yesterdays and Fabricated Tomorrows”