Tag Archives: authoritarianism

Turkey funds women’s groups to counter ‘feminist threat’

Government-operated women’s organisations are drowning out genuine feminist voices in Turkey, my research reveals

By Anna Ehrhart  Published 5-20-2022 by openDemocracy

“Kıyafetime karışma” protest in Kadıköy, Istanbul on July 29, 2017. Photo: Neslihan_Turan/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Government-controlled women’s organisations in Turkey are undermining genuine feminist organisations in the country, according to research I have undertaken over the past three years.

I have been studying how the Turkish leadership under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strategically uses women’s organisations that it funds and controls – so-called ‘women-GONGOs’ – in order to mimic and undermine feminist groups. My qualitative research is based on interviews and meetings with more than 20 feminist women’s organisations across Turkey and explores their experiences of the country’s changing civic space. Continue reading

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Did the Kremlin launch an invasion to guarantee Putin’s succession?

Independent Russia has yet to come up with a way of transferring power other than war

By Dmytro Babachanakh  Published 5-4-2022 by openDemocracy

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in power since 2000 | Image: Kremlin.ru

Much has been written about Russia’s war against Ukraine and yet for many, one fundamental question remains unanswered: why did Vladimir Putin decide to launch a full-scale invasion in the first place?

When the Kremlin annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and occupied the Ukrainian Donbas region in 2014, the explanation for its actions seemed straightforward. In response to Ukraine’s revolution that removed a pro-Russian president, Russia had sought to gain complete control of Crimea and turn it into a military base, weakening Ukraine and stalling the country’s integration with NATO and the EU. Continue reading

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‘Fox News Model’ Fomenting Divisions Within Democratic Societies, Global Watchdog Warns

“The ‘Fox News-ization’ of the media poses a fatal danger for democracies because it undermines the basis of civil harmony and tolerant public debate,” said the leader of Reporters Without Borders.

By Kenny Stancil   Published 5-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Members of Truth Tuesdays and Rise and Resist gathered at the first weekly “Fox Lies Democracy Dies” protest outside the NewsCorp Building in New York City on November 23, 2021. Photo: Diane Greene Lent/flickr/CC

A global press freedom watchdog group warned Tuesday in its annual report that media polarization within and between countries—driven by the rapid spread of right-wing disinformation on social media and the proliferation of pro-authoritarian propaganda—is “fueling increased tension” and escalating the likelihood of violence.

The 20th World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) assesses the state of journalism around the globe. The 2022 edition details the “disastrous effects of news and information chaos”—the product of “a globalized and unregulated online information space that encourages fake news and propaganda.” Continue reading

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How Zelenskyy emerged as the antithesis of Putin and proved you don’t need to be a strongman to be a great leader

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been lauded for his resistance to the Russian invasion.
Photo by Laurent Van der Stockt for Le Monde/Getty Images

Michael Blake, University of Washington

Whatever happens in the coming weeks, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will go down as the face of Ukrainian resilience during the Russian invasion of his country.

His response to the Russian invasion of his country has been widely praised, both at home and abroad. His speech to the European Parliament in early March received a standing ovation. Western press outlets have referred to him as a “hero,” as the “voice” of his nation, and as a “focal point” for democratic resistance to tyranny. Continue reading

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A crisis of democracy in the US – what to watch for in 2022

The future is gloomy, with abortion rights threatened, rampant voter suppression and radical Republicans undermining democracy at every turn

By Chrissy Stroop  Published 12-30-2021 by openDemocracy

The March to Save America rally on January 6 2021 that preceded the US Capitol ‘insurrection. Photo: Blink O’fanaye/flickr/CC

Sad to say, when it comes to political life and civil society in the United States, 2021 has not given proponents of democracy and human rights much to celebrate.

The year was dominated by three negative trends: the authoritarian Right’s ‘Big Lie’ that the 2020 presidential election was ‘stolen’ from former president Donald Trump; the impact of Republican stacking of the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, with far-Right extremists; and the relative impotence of President Joe Biden’s administration to pursue necessary reforms in the face of Republican obstruction, even with a nominal legislative majority. Continue reading

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Incarceration of Journalists Hits All-Time High Amid ‘Growing Intolerance of Independent Reporting’

“This is the sixth year in a row that CPJ has documented record numbers of journalists imprisoned around the world.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-9-2021 by Common Dreams

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an imprisoned journalist, a native of Philadelphia, and author of ten books penned in prison. He’s been in prison for 39 years. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

Nearly 300 journalists are currently languishing behind bars around the globe—an all-time high in recorded history—according to a new report published Thursday by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which described 2021 as “an especially bleak year for defenders of press freedom.”

The U.S.-based nonprofit’s annual prison census found that 293 reporters were incarcerated worldwide as of December 1, up from the previous record-high of 280 last year. Continue reading

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Poll: Majority of Young Americans Say US Democracy ‘in Trouble’ or Already ‘Failed’

“After turning out in record numbers in 2020, young Americans are sounding the alarm.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 12-1-2021 by Common Dreams

Photp: Ted Eytan/CC

In the lead-up to U.S. President Joe Biden’s “Summit for Democracy,” polling results released Wednesday show that a majority of young adults nationwide are concerned about the state of American democracy.

The Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School surveyed adults aged 18 to 29 across the political spectrum from October 26 to November 8—amid ongoing GOP attacks on U.S. democracy in the form of gerrymandering and blocking various federal voting rights legislation. Continue reading

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In First, US Labeled ‘Backsliding’ Democracy as Global Authoritarianism Grows

A new report calls the rejection of the 2020 election results by many in the Republican Party as an “historic turning point” for the United States.

By Julia Conley. Published 11-22-2021 by Common Dreams

The Capitol riot. Photo: Blink O’fanaye/flickr/CC

For the first time in its four years of compiling annual data on the state of democracy around the world, an international think tank added the United States to its list of “backsliding” democracies in the report it released Monday, pointing to factors including politicians’ continued false claims that the 2020 presidential election results were illegitimate as one of the key elements weakening the country’s democratic system.

The Global State of Democracy report, released by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), called former President Donald Trump’s public questioning of the election results in November 2020 “a historic turning point” both for U.S. democracy and the world, pointing to a knock-on effect in several countries. Continue reading

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As Fascist GOP Threat Grows, Dems Verge on Historic Failure to Secure Voting Rights

“Mark my words,” warned former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. “If we don’t pass the For the People Act, the GOP is going to gerrymander their way to a House majority—and they may never give it up.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-6-2021

Moral March on Manchin & McConnell by Poor Peoples Campaign, Washington, D.C. Phpto: Frypie/CC

The window for action to protect voting rights from the GOP’s nationwide assault is rapidly closing as Democrats—despite controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House—fail to take the steps necessary to pass federal legislation that would expand ballot access, restore the gutted Voting Rights Act of 1965, and end partisan gerrymandering.

Progressive warnings about the implications of continued inaction on voting rights have grown increasingly dire in recent weeks as state governments—nearly two dozen of which are completely dominated by Republicans—prepare to redraw their 10-year congressional maps for upcoming elections and implement new ballot restrictions. Continue reading

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‘Major Political Crisis’ in Brazil as Military Chiefs Quit Amid Bolsonaro Purge of Top Ministers

A leading opposition figure said the country “can’t overcome” Covid-19 with Bolsonaro, because “he is the crisis incarnate.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-30-2021

Brazil’s political stability was in doubt Tuesday after the heads of all three military branches resigned following President Jair Bolsonaro’s dismissal of his defense minister, one of six Cabinet officials who have recently left or been forced out of an administration whose popularity has plummeted amid soaring Covid-19 deaths in South America’s largest nation.

Folha de São Paulo reports Gen. Edson Leal Pujol, Adm. Ilques Barbosa, and Lt.-Brig. Antônio Carlos Bermudez—respectively commanders of the army, navy, and air force—resigned a day after Bolsonaro fired Defense Minister Gen. Fernando Azevedo e Silva. Continue reading

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