Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- George Monbiot offers his suggestion for a new political narrative to build a better world than the one currently dominated by neoliberalism:
(B)y coming together to revive community life we, the heroes of this story, can break the vicious circle. Through invoking our capacity for togetherness and belonging, we can rediscover the central facts of our humanity: our altruism and mutual aid. By reviving community, built around the places in which we live, and by anchoring ourselves, our politics and parts of our economy in the life of this community, we can restore the best aspects of our nature.

Where there is atomisation, we will create a thriving civic life. Where there is alienation, we will forge a new sense of belonging: to neighbours, neighbourhood and society. Community projects will proliferate into a vibrant participatory culture. New social enterprises will strengthen our sense of attachment and ownership.

Where we find ourselves crushed between market and state, we will develop a new economics that treats both people and planet with respect. We will build it around a great, neglected economic sphere: the commons. Local resources will be owned and managed by communities, ensuring that wealth is widely shared. Using common riches to fund universal benefits will supplement state provision, granting everyone security and resilience.

Where we are ignored and exploited, we will revive democracy and retrieve politics from those who have captured it. New methods and rules for elections will ensure that every vote counts and financial power can never vanquish political power. Representative democracy will be reinforced by participatory democracy that allows us to refine our political choices. Decision-making will be returned to the smallest political units that can discharge it.

The strong, embedded cultures we develop will be robust enough to accommodate social diversity of all kinds: a diversity of people, of origins, of life experiences, of ideas and ways of living. We will no longer need to fear people who differ from ourselves; we will have the strength and confidence to reject attempts to channel hatred towards them.

Through restoring community, renewing civic life and claiming our place in the world, we build a society in which our extraordinary nature – our altruism, empathy and deep connection – is released. A kinder world stimulates and normalises our kinder values. I propose a name for this story: the Politics of Belonging.
- Nazrin Mehdiyeva reviews Sonja Zmerli and Tom W G van der Meer's Handbook on Political Trust as an important contribution to the questions of how citizens see their governments - and what can be done to rebuild the trust which once allowed for necessary collective action.

- Gerard Di Trollo discusses the importance of basing opposition to free trade deals on their favouritism toward corporations on both sides, rather than on discrimination against the citizens of other countries. And Scott Sinclair comments on the prospect that NAFTA could bad "right to work" anti-labour laws, while Steven Greenhouse offers a U.S. perspective on Canada's request to that effect.

- Finally, Shree Paradkar talks to Robyn Maynard about her book shining a light on Canada's history of racial violence (and highlighting the emptiness in trying to claim virtue in not being as bad as the U.S.).

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