Feature Editorials

Wednesday, 24 August 2016 19:09 Francis Odupute Feature Editorials
BACKGROUND TO THIS DOCUMENTARY PHOTO REPORT: In September, 2012, FRANCIS  UMENDU ODUPUTE, an artist cum journalist with The NIGERIAN OBSERVER, a government-owned newspaper in Benin City, Edo State of Nigeria, began an investigation into an over-populated, poorly maintained and yearly-flooded primary school in a fast developing community he resides with his wife, three children and a ward. He had enrolled his ward in the densely populated public primary school - that was how he got to know more about the school’s problems and became bothered that for the 12th year running, children in this primary school had been suffering from flooding and poor sanitation, water-related diseases, over-crowding and psychological traumas, as the school and indeed their community, Evbuotubu/Iguedaiye, in Egor LGA of Edo State, was alleged to have been neglected and marginalized by successive governments of the State. 
 
Mr. Odupute courageously published a serialized, pro-poor investigative story on the demographic, environmental and WASH situation in Evbuotubu Primary School and the community roads in The Nigerian Observer Newspapers, between 2014 and 2015. The journalist also embarked on few strategic media interfaces and dialogue with Evbuotubu community leaders and youths on the need to increase their cry to the State government.
 
Sunday, 29 November 2015 00:00 Jeff Noonan Feature Editorials
1. At the basis of all concrete identities: “Muslim,” “Sunni,” “French citizen,” etc., lies a core human being, a capacity for self-making within the objective contexts of natural and social life. Selves are made, identities forged, reproduced, modified, and developed through processes of work and affective-symbolic interaction with other people within and across societies.

Work relations and social interactions are contradictory – they are both creative and alienating, mutualistic and antagonistic, peaceful and violent. When politics loses sight of or ignores for partisan advantage the underlying human capacity for self-making and re-making it fixates on the abstractions. A fixation on the abstract markers of particular identities leads to their reification, and their reification leads in turn to false, quasi-natural explanations of conflict (the problems in the Middle east are the consequence of a ‘clash of civilizations,’ racism is a result of the ‘natural’ inferiority of the demonized race, etc).

Digging beneath the surface identity to the core human activity of identity formation, reveals it as the result (always modifiable) of a process of practical and symbolic labour that unfolds in dynamic interaction with other selves and the objective world. Other selves, the natural world, and the social institutions that mediate the relationship between individuals and nature are themselves dynamic and change in response to changed activities.

Foregrounding this dynamic process and using it as a wedge against the stereotypes of reified thinking is the constructive political role that philosophical thinking can play. While philosophers will also be motivated by concrete political evaluations of the relative legitimacy of conflicting positions, if they are to be active as philosophers, they must ground their political assessments in the deeper understanding of human self-making activity explained above.


 
Friday, 05 June 2015 23:02 Mario Candeias Feature Editorials
What should we call the current era? Post-everything? Or perhaps, the interregnum? Whatever the name it should be given, the current period is characterized by neoliberal trans-nationalization. In addition, U.S. hegemony has been under question since the beginning of this period. In fact, the Empire is no longer U.S.-American and a change in hegemony is in full swing.  Despite what world-systems theorists such as Giovanni Arrighi suggest, the balance does not seem to be tipping toward China. Nevertheless, as Niall Ferguson points out, it is moving toward Chimerica. Furthermore, since the beginning of the global financial crisis, no project has been in sight that could reorganize the active consensus of the subalterns, move perspectives on accumulation one step up the ladder, and provide a position capable of establishing a new world order.

Attempts to secure neoliberal positions through authoritarianism are now facing a new transnational cycle of movements (Candeias 2013). Alongside numerous attempts by Islamist movements, the remaining great powers are sparring for spheres of influence, whether in Eastern Europe or through the appropriation of African resources.  At the same time, the United States is endeavouring to prevent further losses of its room to manoeuvre; Russia is striving to expand its influence through energy and resource policies, and arms trafficking, whereas China has linked its imperial ambitions to the provision of foreign aid.

 
Thursday, 29 January 2015 16:20 Sid Shniad Feature Editorials
When I was invited to speak at today's forum, the attacks in Paris against the magazine Charlie Hebdo and the kosher super market had not taken place. In light of the media coverage of what happened in Paris, I feel the need to situate my comments against the backdrop of those events. I hope you will indulge me.
 
Over the past 500 years, rampaging capitalism has expanded ruthlessly across the world, eliminating all impediments to the accumulation of wealth in the hands of those who own and run the system. We are familiar with the attendant results: rising standards of living for a few, accompanied by growing insecurity, impoverishment and degradation of the many.

The contemporary world, run as it is by the forces of capitalism, is characterized by grotesque, ever-increasing levels of inequality and instability.
 
Imperialism and colonialism, which involve the forcible subjugation of the peoples of the global south to the demands of this system, have played an essential part in its growth and sustenance.
  
 
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:22 Dimitris Fasfalis Feature Editorials
Protests, riots and police violence in Ferguson (a suburb of St. Louis), Missouri, last August have laid bare “America's racial rift” says The Guardian Weekly.[1] Mainstream opinion-makers have tended to interpret the Michael Brown case and the protests that followed his death in terms of police brutality, racial tensions, and legal responsibility (of the shooting of unarmed 18-year-old African American, Michael Brown), showing these events as specific to American society.

Their significance is however much broader. To capture this broader picture, one has to adopt a method of thinking which does not view Ferguson only empirically. Thinking these events as constituent parts, or outcomes, of a social and economic system is a necessary undertaking to those committed to social justice and emancipation. Such method of thought makes Malcolm X a contemporary of our problems even though his life and work were those of a Black nationalist of the 1960s.

Segregation is a key fact of the racial rift in St. Louis. Reports in the press have underlined that the relations of mistrust and hatred between the police and the local Black community were imbedded in the segregated geography of the city. Vickie Place – where the family of Michael Brown occupies one of these single-family homes built in the 1950s – doesn't look different of the rest of suburbia. But it has a specific place in the social relations and the geography of the city. To the predominantly white police officers who patrol it, Vickie Place “appears to be a forbidding, alien, territory. A land of the other. It might as well be Falluja”, say Observer reporters Rory Carroll and Jon Swaine.[2]


 
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:59 Richard Greeman Feature Editorials
The Ukraine is no longer ‘in flames.’ With the hurried flight of the detested Viktor Yanukovych, peace and order have descended on Kiev (except for some fistfights in the Parliament!) There is no looting. Self-organized popular militias protect the luxurious Presidential Palace (privatized by Yanukovych) as crowds of citizen file through to gape at his collections of antique and modern automobiles.

These orderly crowds have lived through the experience of months of revolutionary activity in support of the constantly renewed Kiev occupations. They are conscious and disciplined. All through the cold winter they have organized a continuous mass occupation, including the provision of food, hygiene, safety, and self-defense under the discipline of units of one hundred (‘Hundreds’). They have improvised nation-wide network of smaller occupations and support groups providing the Kiev occupiers with food, medical assistance, rotating reinforcements, and recently the weapons (‘liberated’ from the Army in Lviv) which, although never fired, turned the tide in favour of the revolution.

 

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