American comedian Hari Kondabolu has a Bachelor degree in Comparative Politics and a Masters degree in Human Rights from the London School of Economics. His thesis focused on Mexican migrants and their rights under the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. He was also a human rights activist in Seattle. His comedy offers hilarious and biting social commentary. He recently appeared on Conan. He began by saying: “I would like you all to know that the theme of my set tonight will be colonialism. Which is why I’m speaking only in English.” He ends with a funny and clever chess allegory!

crisisgroup:

The Wrong Message: U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela | Javier Ciurlizza (@Javierciurlizza)
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s decision to seek sanctions against Venezuelan officials allegedly involved in violence or human rights violations is problematic and may prove counterproductive. Sanctions will only reinforce the claims of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government that it is the victim of an imperialist plot. The sanctions are opposed not only by the two respected senators who sensibly voted “no”, but also by the principal Venezuelan opposition coalition, the Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD), and many independent Venezuelan leaders.
Venezuela is certainly suffering a grave crisis. It’s true too that outside help is needed – polarisation between the two sides runs so deep that they are unlikely to resolve their differences alone, as International Crisis Group has highlighted in its new report. A dialogue begun in mid-April between the government and the opposition, with facilitation by the regional Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Vatican, still lacks credibility – particularly for the opposition, which has virtually frozen its participation. A major push from Venezuela’s international partners – both in the region and beyond – is essential. But this must be built upon clear goals and a consistent strategy to achieve them.
Javier Ciurlizza is Crisis Group’s Program Director for Latin America.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT CRISIS GROUP’S BLOG "LATIN AMERICA: CRIME AND POLITICS"
Photo: Joka Madruga/flickr
High-res

crisisgroup:

The Wrong Message: U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela | Javier Ciurlizza (@Javierciurlizza)

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s decision to seek sanctions against Venezuelan officials allegedly involved in violence or human rights violations is problematic and may prove counterproductive. Sanctions will only reinforce the claims of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government that it is the victim of an imperialist plot. The sanctions are opposed not only by the two respected senators who sensibly voted “no”, but also by the principal Venezuelan opposition coalition, the Mesa de Unidad Democrática (MUD), and many independent Venezuelan leaders.

Venezuela is certainly suffering a grave crisis. It’s true too that outside help is needed – polarisation between the two sides runs so deep that they are unlikely to resolve their differences alone, as International Crisis Group has highlighted in its new report. A dialogue begun in mid-April between the government and the opposition, with facilitation by the regional Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Vatican, still lacks credibility – particularly for the opposition, which has virtually frozen its participation. A major push from Venezuela’s international partners – both in the region and beyond – is essential. But this must be built upon clear goals and a consistent strategy to achieve them.

Javier Ciurlizza is Crisis Group’s Program Director for Latin America.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT CRISIS GROUP’S BLOG "LATIN AMERICA: CRIME AND POLITICS"

Photo: Joka Madruga/flickr

buxombibliophile:

kissedthystones:

tadelesmith:

[[“there she is miss america” plays softly in the distance]]

she done it again

THE BEST PART IS THE EYE MAKEUP:

"From your Ideological Bias Palette choose a matte, light-colored eye shadow and apply it all over your eyelid—I’m using White Wash.

Next, use a shimmering gold taken straight from the pocket of a K Street lobbyist and reward yourself with generous amounts all over your lid.

Throw in the minimum amount of diversity with a matte, brown eye shadow. Apply a small amount to the outer corner of your eye and the crease, where it’s barely noticeable.

Line your waterline with an eyeliner as dark as the secrets you incessantly attempt to withhold from the public.

Next, using a liquid eyeliner in Change blue, carefully line your upper lid. If you are afraid of Change, you can always cover it up up with the same policies you’ve been using for the last 200 years. For this, I’m using Misinterpretation eyeliner and Redacted Black eye shadow.”

OH MY GOD.

(via 40h4error)

coolchicksfromhistory:

coolchicksfromhistory:

Women vote in Japan
When these women were voting and what they were voting for is hard to figure out.  Japanese women were not given the right to vote until 1946.  Not only does this image look like it is from significantly earlier, the photographer stopped working in the 1930s.  From 1921 onwards, Japanese women were allowed to attend political meetings so possible this image is from an internal party vote.  The mix of Western and Japanese dress also fits with this image being from the 1920s.
Of course, since I can’t read Japanese I could be totally wrong. 

Reblogging an early Cool Chicks from History post because apparently there are a lot of Japanese history buffs online right now.  Maybe someone can figure out this photo.
High-res

coolchicksfromhistory:

coolchicksfromhistory:

Women vote in Japan

When these women were voting and what they were voting for is hard to figure out.  Japanese women were not given the right to vote until 1946.  Not only does this image look like it is from significantly earlier, the photographer stopped working in the 1930s.  From 1921 onwards, Japanese women were allowed to attend political meetings so possible this image is from an internal party vote.  The mix of Western and Japanese dress also fits with this image being from the 1920s.

Of course, since I can’t read Japanese I could be totally wrong. 

Reblogging an early Cool Chicks from History post because apparently there are a lot of Japanese history buffs online right now.  Maybe someone can figure out this photo.

Students from Sydney’s Newtown High School of the Performing Arts give Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott a tough question time that he was evidently poorly prepared to answer with grace. The clip begins with Abbott giving weak environmental advice (“plant a tree… but don’t raise taxes”). He then faces questions about why he opposes gay marriage and his inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. Flustered and annoyed, he resorts to his infamous sexism: “Let’s have a bloke’s question, OK?”

Working off the cuff and under estimating Australia’s youth, the Prime Minister is clearly out of his depth.

A series of protests have been held around Australia today. The #MarchInMarch demonstrations are calling attention to a various policy issues that the Abbott Government is mishandling. Abbott is a climate change denier who is privileging the greed of Australia’s mining giants over environmental sustainability. He dismantled the Climate Commission within the first 24 hours of being elected. He’s a misogynist who is against pro-choice; who has made several sexist remarks about women’s public role in society; whose cabinet only has one woman, and yet he crowned himself Minister for Women’s Affairs. His election campaign focused on a platform denouncing Australia’s human rights obligations to asylum seekers (the so-called “stop the boats” campaign actually targets the most vulnerable minority of unauthorised entrants and which sociology research shows will not work). 

This great speech by Victoria Rollison hits on the common thread between these issues: fear. She calls for a return to community, defined as protecting the human rights of all Australians, not just our elites.

Australia turned inward when the majority of us voted for Tony Abbott. We rejected kind and compassionate when we chose to ‘stop the boats.’ We rejected common sense when we decided the money spent saving our economy, our livelihoods from the Global Financial Crisis, was wasteful. And we rejected science when we put our fear of an increase in electricity prices ahead of our determination to slow climate change.

Abbott promised these scared, threatened and oh so gullible people that he would fix everything. That it was a good idea to be selfish and mean and greedy. To forget that they lived in a community. Dog eat dog is back in vogue. So we need to fix this.

We need to show people that when they turn their backs on their communities, they lose out, every time…

The path to prosperity for the nation and the path to healthy communities is not individual success. It’s success for all of us. It’s really that simple. Once you understand this, once you use this idea to frame how you see the world, suddenly Abbott looks like a horrible option.

Suddenly progressive policies aren’t scary, because they represent the common good. We should be helping our fellow Australians up the ladder of social mobility. Not kicking it down and burning it as Abbott is doing now. A stronger you makes our team stronger. And our team is all of us. We’re all part of the same team.

Read the speech script on Rollinson’s website.

Sociology of Class & Australian Politics

I’ve been reflecting on some of Australia’s political uproars from last year. This one comes to mind because it makes explicit Australia’s enduring class struggle for power. The Palmer United Party became embroiled in a derogatory exchange about Australian voters who are supposedly “bogans.” An email was leaked where Dr Alex Douglas (former MD), a Queensland MP in the Palmer United Party, calls Australian voters “bogans” who live “empty lives” and survive on a “diet of grease.” He also says of bogans: this is a “world we see daily and quietly hope will disappear.” These words exemplify class derision. Bogan is a colloquial term used on working class and rural Australians who are seen to be uncouth or poorly educated.

After the media backlash to the email, Douglas and Palmer, both wealthy Queenslanders, have attempted to paint themselves as “bogans” - as average Australians. Palmer says of Douglas: ”He’s a bogan for voting for Campbell Newman.” Douglas says:

There’s a little bit [of bogan] in all of us… If we all realised there was a little bit of bogan in us and we weren’t so derogatory about them, we’d probably all just have a better life… [Referencing his love for the film The Castle] You like those people because they have a humanity, they’re real, they’re not fake.

Clive Palmer, a mining magnate and “self-proclaimed billionaire” also says he’s “spent most of [his] life as a bogan.” He says he loves eating chips, and that he used to eat McDonalds. Plus he wears ugg boots and goes four-wheel driving. That’s the most striking evidence of bogan credentials you’ll ever see right there.

Palmer also evokes his party’s alliance with the Motoring Enthusiasts Party (MEP) as further proof of his bogan kudos. He even jokes about the MEP’s infamous video where he throws kangarro poo. He says: “what’s so insulting about that? It’s a lot of fun.” What a larrikin! Palmer just like Real People who Fling Faeces for Fun!

Palmer was elected as the member for Fairfax after a drawn out voting count. He has run into ongoing criticism for his lack of knowledge of Australian policies and his seeming disinterest in political processes. He sent a staff member instead of showing up to his first Parliament House induction briefing.

Australia is uncomfortable with class discussions. Everyone thinks they belong to the middle class, but there is still a cultural soft sport for the “Aussie battler;” a working-class ideal of the hard-working, struggling farmer or struggling family who just wants a “fair go.” Palmer has evoked these ideas by appealing to the “bogan” persona. 

Australian sociologists are also uncomfortable with diverging from neo-Marxist analyses of the economy. We collectively prefer to largely critique economic rationalism, but we give little empirical attention to the ways in which markets are a “cultural creation.”

Palmer’s party runs on a platform of redistribution of wealth that appealed to working class Australians in rural regions. In fact, his party opposes carbon tax that would impact on the mining industry in which he is personally invested. 

Source of quotes: The Age.

Electricity use

In late August, a Senate inquiry found that many Australian households are struggling to keep up with the rising price of electricity, particularly young families, who have difficulties bringing down their power use during peak times. The inquiry notes that this forces families to choose between paying for their utlities versus their housing bills and groceries.

Over the past three years, electricity prices have risen by 40 percent. While the overwhelming majority of electricity customers are residential (88%), over 70 percent of the electricity use comes from businesses. The cost is being fed back to residential clients. The four major factors affecting the hiking prices include: ‘industry labour costs and executive salaries, dividend payments to state government utility owners, unnecessary infrastructure spending or “gold plating” and “opportunistic” profit-taking by operators.’

Link via SBS News.

This video by The Feed raises several important issues about how traditional media outlets are paying for and seeking out certain types of opinion writers. It’s about “writing noise.” It’s about filling air time while appearing to offer diverse views. As these freelance writers say, some of them will “spam” editors with blog post ideas until someone takes bait. Others will tailor their opinions according to the publication or news outlet, which suggests there is little genuine opinion or critical analysis. Some of these writers also talk about how their opinions are solicited but go unpaid.

Mark Fletcher, writing on The Feed’s parent news site, SBS, says that this idea of the “everyday” pundit offering opinions without expertise waters down political discussion. It’s not just about offering different voices a role in the democratic process. It reduces policy debates to a cacophony of uninformed personal views. In particular, it provides politicians fuel to evade proper policy discussion.

A recent political exchange about the Gonski education reforms was reduced to a series of soundbites about financial costs, rather than the social benefits. Reflecting on The Feed’s video above, Fletcher writes:

At no point did anybody try to identify the point of opinion writing, which must surely be to give people the language they need to explore and express social, political, and cultural ideas.  But if the point of opinion writing is to improve discussion about political issues and if the SBS can run a piece where it’s suggested that there are too many opinion writers, it should follow that we live in a lousy world with excellent political discussion. 

I’m yet to find anybody who would describe our political conversations as excellent.

More than that, Australia’s opinion writers and commentators are showing that they don’t have the chops to be good policy analysts.  There’s a difference between making policy discussions accessible and making policy discussions asinine.  When policy discussions are stripped of nearly everything but the dollars, something’s gone wrong.

Source: SBS News

Fudan University’s student members of the Chinese Communist Party stand in formation to create the party’s emblem, a hammer and sickle, to mark the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in Shanghai November 6, 2012. REUTER/Aly Song

Workers watch a screen showing Chinese President Hu Jintao delivering a speech during the opening ceremony of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in Huangshan, Anhui province, November 8, 2012. 

REUTERS/Stringer

Delegates sit at the stage before the opening ceremony of 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 8, 2012. 

REUTERS/Jason Lee

Members of the Xinjiang provincial delegation listen to representatives from the National People’s Congress (NPC) during their meeting in the Xinjiang Room inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing November 9, 2012. 

REUTERS/David Gray

People watch a TV showing of a huge screen shows a news broadcast of China’s Vice President Xi Jinping at the 18th Communist Party Congress at a crossroads in Shanghai November 8, 2012. REUTER/Aly Song

Via: Reuters. Further information: The Guardian.

On the 17th of November, Chile voted in the national election. Michelle Bachelet has won twice as many votes as her major opponent (47% of votes) but this may not be enough for a win.

In this great feature,Al Jazeera English explore the importance of student activist movement on the election. Students protested for free education and improvement of services. Bachelet was popular amongst low income and among younger voters, but not everyone was convinced that social change can happen.

Political systems in #sociology: We study four types of legal authority: 1) #Totalitarianism: the #government regulates every facet of people’s daily lives. Schools, the media and other public institutions only reflect the official view of the Goverment and there is heavy censorship. North Korea, China and Nazi Germany are examples. 2) #Authoritarianism: The state has absolute power and cannot be removed easily. The law is highly conservative with strict sentences for crime and heavy fines for transgressions such as littering and smoking. There are heavy restrictions on human rights, such as freedom of religion,  dress, and sexuality. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the military factions in Congo are typical examples. 3) #Monarchy: A system run by a single family from one generation to the next and legitimated by tradition. Many monarchies today are largely symbolic and operate alongside a democratic system. This includes the UK, Sweden, Spain and Denmark. 4)  #Democracy: Government is elected by the public and #authority is overseen by the #law. As with the other three types there are different variations. Scandinavian democracies support a robust social welfare system through heavy taxes. The state intervenes in public life by ensuring a relatively higher redistribution of wealth. Liberal democracies such as in the USA and Australia are governed by principles of a free market. The government is less likely to restrict economic competition between businesses, on public goods and infrastructure. #SocialWelfare has less scope to address social inequality. #politics #socialscience #economy #power #education #society #socialstudies #socialinequality #visualsociology High-res

Political systems in #sociology: We study four types of legal authority: 1) #Totalitarianism: the #government regulates every facet of people’s daily lives. Schools, the media and other public institutions only reflect the official view of the Goverment and there is heavy censorship. North Korea, China and Nazi Germany are examples. 2) #Authoritarianism: The state has absolute power and cannot be removed easily. The law is highly conservative with strict sentences for crime and heavy fines for transgressions such as littering and smoking. There are heavy restrictions on human rights, such as freedom of religion, dress, and sexuality. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the military factions in Congo are typical examples. 3) #Monarchy: A system run by a single family from one generation to the next and legitimated by tradition. Many monarchies today are largely symbolic and operate alongside a democratic system. This includes the UK, Sweden, Spain and Denmark. 4) #Democracy: Government is elected by the public and #authority is overseen by the #law. As with the other three types there are different variations. Scandinavian democracies support a robust social welfare system through heavy taxes. The state intervenes in public life by ensuring a relatively higher redistribution of wealth. Liberal democracies such as in the USA and Australia are governed by principles of a free market. The government is less likely to restrict economic competition between businesses, on public goods and infrastructure. #SocialWelfare has less scope to address social inequality. #politics #socialscience #economy #power #education #society #socialstudies #socialinequality #visualsociology

Bedouin warrior by Cultural Collections, University of Newcastle on Flickr.

This photograph is from an album created by Lt Thomas Gerald George Fahey who served in the Australian Light Horse in the Middle East during World War 1.

The Bedouin are comprised of various Arabic tribes who were forced into a precarious nomadic lifestyle in the late 19th Century under Ottoman rule. Some Bedouin tribes fought alongside the Turks during the First World War. During the early 1960s, severe drought forced many Bedouin away from a herding lifestyle, and most now live in large cities such as Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria. 
 

Bedouin warrior by Cultural Collections, University of Newcastle on Flickr.

This photograph is from an album created by Lt Thomas Gerald George Fahey who served in the Australian Light Horse in the Middle East during World War 1.

The Bedouin are comprised of various Arabic tribes who were forced into a precarious nomadic lifestyle in the late 19th Century under Ottoman rule. Some Bedouin tribes fought alongside the Turks during the First World War. During the early 1960s, severe drought forced many Bedouin away from a herding lifestyle, and most now live in large cities such as Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria.