Tag Archives: authoritarianism

‘A Brazil of Hope’ as Leftist Lula Defeats Far-Right Bolsonaro in Presidential Runoff

The Workers’ Party candidate, who completed a remarkable political comeback less than three years removed from a prison cell, tweeted one word following his win: “Democracy.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 10-30-2022 by Common Dreams

Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Photo: Daya Laxmi Shrestha/Twitter

“A huge blow against fascistic politics and a huge victory for decency and sanity.”

That’s how RootsAction director Norman Solomon described Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Sunday presidential runoff victory against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, the culmination of a most remarkable political comeback for a man who was languishing behind bars just three years ago.

With 99% of votes counted via an electronic system that tallies final results in a matter of hours—and which was repeatedly aspersed by Bolsonaro in an effort to cast doubt on the election’s veracity—da Silva led the incumbent by more than two million ballots, or nearly two percentage points. Continue reading

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House Passes Bill That Would Thwart Trump Plot to Purge Federal Workers

“The former president’s attempt to remove qualified experts and replace them with political loyalists threatened our national security and our government’s ability to function the way the American people expect it to,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, the bill’s sponsor.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-15-2022 by Common Dreams

Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

U.S. House Democrats and a handful of Republicans on Thursday rejected former President Donald Trump’s plot to oust civil servants by passing the Preventing a Patronage System Act.

“The civil servants who make up our federal workforce are the engine that keeps our federal government running,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), the bill’s sponsor. “We rely on their experience and expertise to provide every basic government service—from delivering the mail to helping families in the wake of natural disasters.” Continue reading

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‘Authoritarian Crusade’: DeSantis Suspends State Attorney Over Pledges on Abortion, Gender-Affirming Care

“It’s absolutely insane that a prosecutor elected by the people of his county can just be suspended by a governor for not carrying out the governor’s pet projects of reaction,” said one critic.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-4-2022 by Common Dreams

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came under fire Thursday for suspending Andrew Warren over the state attorney’s pledges not to prosecute people for violating restrictions on abortion or gender-affirming care.

Citing the state constitution, DeSantis dismissed Warren for alleged “neglect of duty.” The governor’s suspension order references the ousted prosecutor’s support for a pair of joint statements from the national network Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP). Continue reading

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‘Authoritarianism 101’: Trump Plot to Purge Civil Servants If Reelected Draws Alarm

“Do not underestimate the destruction this will cause,” said one critic.

By Julia Conley  Published 7-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Trump White House Archives (Public domain)

Government watchdogs on Friday warned that a plan by former President Donald Trump to drastically remake the federal workforce should he win the presidency in 2024 would “utterly destroy” public service in the United States.

As Axios reported Friday, central to Trump’s plans for a second term is the reinstatement of his executive order known as “Schedule F,” which established a new category of federal employees. Continue reading

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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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