Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 29 n° 299

Posts Tagged ‘politics’

How Germany responds to “blood and soil” politics

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 18 agosto 2017

pictures1TO VIEW the footage of crowds in Charlottesville yelling Nazi slogans and flying Swastika banners is troubling anywhere. But do so from Berlin is particularly so. America in 2017 is not Germany in 1933. But the chants about “blood and soil”, the flaming torches, the Nazi salutes, the thuggery and violence turned on objectors—the whole furious display of armed ethno-nationalism—are nonetheless chillingly evocative. Similarly so is the strenuous ambivalence about it all from Donald Trump and some of his media cheerleaders. It could hardly contrast more vividly with how things are done here: Germany today is a case study in how not to give an inch to the dark politics of “Blut und Boden”.That begins with the significance placed on remembering where this politics led in the past. Every German school child must visit a concentration camp; as essential a part of the curriculum as learning to write or count. The country’s cities are landscapes of remembrance. Streets and squares are named after resisters. Little brass squares in the pavements (Stolpersteine, or stumbling stones) contain the names and details of Holocaust victims who once lived at those addresses. Memorials dot the streets: plaques commemorating specific persecuted groups, boards listing the names of concentration camps (“places of horror which we must never forget”), a giant field of grey pillars in central Berlin attesting to the Holocaust (pictured).
The murky interstitial terrain–the Trump Zone, you might call it–between the conservative mainstream and categorically far-right movements like PEGIDA, an anti-Islam group, and the extremist NPD party is broadly off-limits. Relativisation, endorsement by hint or omission, far-right symbols as “irony”, dog-whistle prevarications and creeping extenuation are rarely tolerated. Take the Alternative for Germany [AfD], a Eurosceptic-turned-nationalist party, some of whose more moderate figures would comfortably fit into America’s Republican or Britain’s Conservative parties but which is now entirely toxic thanks to revisionist figures on its right like Björn Höcke, its leader in Thuringia who has challenged Germany’s remembrance culture.The line between the acceptable and unacceptable, in other words, is stark. Angela Merkel has said Germany’s very future depends on it continually understanding the Holocaust as “the ultimate betrayal of civilised values”. When Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem had proposed exterminating the Jewish people to Hitler, she politely but firmly corrected him: “Germany abides by its responsibility for the Holocaust.” Martin Schulz, her rival in next month’s election, often thunders: “The AfD is not an ‘alternative for Germany’ but a disgrace for Germany!”Commentators and politicians guard this boundary carefully, for example by eschewing the register and language of the far right. They tend not to brand critics and opponents “traitors”, “saboteurs” or the like. Migrants are rarely denominated in “swarms” or “floods”. The Bild Zeitung, a right-wing tabloid and Germany’s most-read newspaper, has criticised elements of the government’s handling of the refugee crisis. But it proudly stands up for the principle of welcoming foreigners in need; in 2015 its then editor-in-chief even pointedly took in refugees to his home. The result is a decidedly sober and unemotional style of public debate less prone than that of other countries to grandstanding or furious invective. The Berlin terrorist attack in December was reported factually and without panic; frothing reactions in the Anglo-Saxon press (and on Mr Trump’s Twitter feed) contrasting with the stoical mood here.
Free speech is upheld: marches by PEGIDA and sometimes even leafleting events by nationalist politicians receive police protection. But this right to expression remains firmly distinguished from a right to publicity or acceptance. When Mr Höcke unfurled a German flag on a talk show to mark “1000 years of Germany” (a phrase with Nazi associations), fellow guests from right and left branded him “disgusting”. Far-right movements are treated overwhelmingly as cultural phenomena rather than–as is sometimes the case in France, Britain and America–mere expressions of socio-economic dislocation. Finis Germania, a recently published book claiming that German identity is being dismantled, has been excised from some bestseller lists. One can believe that this hyper-cautious editorial style sometimes goes too far, as I do in that case of the bestseller lists, while admiring the underlying determination to allow no slippage or normalisation.Germany, of course, carries a unique historical burden. But every country has dark periods in its national past and far-right revisionists in its political present. The Charlottesville protests, marching under Confederate flags against plans to remove Confederate statues, are a distinctively American reminder of that (indeed, the Nazis were inspired by Jim Crow laws and studied segregation as a possible model for German society). Countries without Holocausts on their history books can also learn from Germany’s grown-up, vigilant and dutiful culture of remembrance. In America that may mean removing Confederate symbols from public spaces; Jim Grey, the mayor of Lexington, has announced plans to accelerate this in his city. It means unambiguously declaring the Charlottesville protesters beyond the pale (while defending their right to protest peacefully). And it means calling out Mr Trump’s equivocal statements for what they are: a moral abomination. (Dig deeper: Riots in Charlottesville: President Trump flunks a moral test by The Economist)

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Politics, anthropology, and nature

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 21 marzo 2017

Roma Mercoledì 22 Marzo 2017, ore 10:30 Dipartimento di Filosofia, Comunicazione e Spettacolo, Aula Matassi Via Ostiense 23: Politics, anthropology, and nature
Morning session 10:30 Riccardo Chiaradonna (Università Roma Tre): Plato and the anthropology of greed 11:30 Break 12:00 Gabriele Pedullà (Università Roma Tre): The Third Paradigm: Machiavelli between Aristotle and Hobbes.
Afternoon session 14:00 Ioannis Evrigenis (Tufts University): Natural Political Economy 15:00 Break 15:30 Mark Somos (Yale University, University of Sussex, and British School at Rome): Nature and Constitutional Design Mario De Caro (Università Roma Tre): Modernity and the naturalization of anthropology. L’ingresso è libero.

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Anti-PowerPoint-Party participates in Swiss parliamentary elections

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 3 ottobre 2015

Zurich Switzerland – The first global Anti-PowerPoint-Party (APPP) is an international movement with the goal to create an awareness of the PowerPoint issue among the world population.The APPP sees itself as the advocate of approximately 250 million citizens worldwide, who, evZurich_Cityery month, are obliged to be present at boring company presentations, and who have not been represented in politics until now.The movement regards the use of presentation-software, like PowerPoint, as the source of the problem. It fights against superiors dictating the use of PowerPoint and against pupils being forced to use PowerPoint.The APPP promotes free speech of live persons, respectively the alternative flip-chart that beats PowerPoint in 95% of the cases with regard to its effect.Goal of the movement is to decrease the number of boring presentations worldwide, and that those, who want to renounce PowerPoint, will not have to justify themselves in the future. It is not PowerPoint that should be abolished, but only the PowerPoint constraint. To draw worldwide attention to their cause the movement chose the organizational form of an international party in Switzerland.Here, every citizen in the world can become member of a party. The party has 3500 members already and will be participating in the Swiss parliamentary elections on October 18. Its goal is to render the PowerPoint issue a political issue that one talks widely and deeply worldwide.The APPP draws attention to business presentations, at which the participants consider their presence afterwards as futile. The Party calculated that hourly wages of the attendants alone result in suffering an annual economic damage of 350 billion Euros worldwide.

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G7 countries expand renewable energy too slowly

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 8 giugno 2015

hamburg2Hamburg. The seven largest western industrial countries (G7) have not expanded renewable energy fast enough to significantly reduce their CO2 emissions. The share of renewables (excluding hydropower) in the G7 countries’ electricity generation rose to 8% in 2013. However, CO2 emissions of these countries only decreased by 1.3 % by 2012 compared to 1990. The biggest problem is the burning coal for electricity, according to an analysis Greenpeace released online today, two days ahead of the G7 summit [1]. Climate protection will be part of the the Elmau discussions.Greenpeace head of international climate politics, Martin Kaiser, said: “Simply put, the G7 are laggards when they should be leaders in making the shift to renewables. It is their moral and social responsibility. If Angela Merkel wants to be Germany’s ‘Climate Chancellor’, she must bind the G7 leaders to a 100% renewable energy commitment.” The G7 countries only represent 10% of the global population, but they are responsible for more than 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, their responsibility is comparatively large for leading on the protection of the climate. Greenpeace’s analysis shows the differing speeds of renewables expansion amongst the G7 countries. While Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom are progressing quickly, the expansion of renewables in the United States, Japan, France and Canada is far less ambitious. “The resources and brainpower put towards this G7 summit is totally wasted without a game-changing agreement being reached in Elmau,” said Kaiser.Merkel’s national actions have to reflect her international commitments. While the Chancellor emphasizes the long-term reduction of climate-harming CO2 to zero on the international stage, she is not turning her words into action at home. Until today, she has not publicly supported the proposal of Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), German Minister of Economic Affairs, to ask for a fee from old and dirty coal power plants. This will harm Merkel’s credibility massively. Without directly addressing climate-harming coal power plants, Germany stands to miss its own climate target.”The next few days will show if Angela Merkel is a ‘Climate Chancellor’ or in fact a ‘Coal Chancellor’, ” added Kaiser.
Ahead of the summit, the German Government pressured the G7 members for an ambitious long-term goal for climate protection. Nevertheless, apparently Canada and Japan have rejected this goal. The United States are holding back as well. China’s latest developments are encouraging: after stagnating CO2 emissions in 2014, emissions dropped for the first time in the first months of 2015.

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Russia and the West must allow Ukraine to resolve crisis

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 23 febbraio 2014

THE CRISIS in Ukraine has entered a new and dangerous phase. Although Ukraine is still some way from outright civil war, the absence of any sign of willingness on either side to step back and compromise is worrying, writes Professor Stefan Hedlund, Research Director at the Centre of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden in World Review. moscaMoscow is bent on ensuring Kiev does not sign any form of agreement with Brussels, which would mark the end of its own ambitions of restored status as a regional great power. The West in contrast is bent on precluding precisely this from happening.‘The real paradox of this game is that neither side appears to have any desire at all of actually integrating Ukraine,’ says Professor Hedlund. ‘The Ukrainian economy is now in such a terrible state, and Ukrainian politics so ridden with corruption and infighting, that neither of the two outside powers want anything to do with it.’The impact on Ukrainian politics of this internally inconsistent tug of war has been devastating. Successive governments have realised that playing Russia and Europe against each other is a winning strategy.‘The track record of broken promises and soured relations has now reached a point where outside interest in the future of the hapless country is just the overriding desire to prevent the other side from gaining the upper hand,’ he says.Only days before the bloodshed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned of disaster and called on both sides to effectively step back and allow Kiev to sort out its own mess.‘There is wisdom in this’, says Professor Hedlund. ‘Outside involvement has been part of the problem, not the solution’.
Meanwhile, the situation in Kiev is marked by what is best viewed as the last stand of the Yanukovych regime.

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