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20 The Evolution of Kurdish Politics in Syria

Edited by David McMurray and Amanda Ufhe Indiana University Press ePub

CHRISTIAN SINCLAIR AND SIRWAN KAJJO

Over the weekend of July 16-17, 2011 representatives of the opposition to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad met in Istanbul to choose a “National Salvation Council.” Among the diverse attendees were delegates speaking for Syria’s Kurds, the largest ethnic minority in the country at more than two million people, some 10 percent of the population. All of the multiple Kurdish parties in Syria envision a pluralistic state in which their cultural and linguistic rights are recognized. Those at the Istanbul gathering wanted the name of the country changed from the Syrian Arab Republic to the “Republic of Syria.” When the other delegates at the conference refused this request, these Kurds walked out in protest.

Some may have been surprised to learn that there are Kurdish parties in Syria at all. Pending promised revisions, or the collapse of the present regime, Article 8 of the Syrian constitution outlaws all political parties but the ruling Baath and its coalition partners. But opposition parties do exist, and Kurdish parties have been around since 1957. In the fifty-five years since the founding of the first one, the Kurdish political landscape has evolved and matured—albeit on the sidelines, since much of the activity has been covert. Parties have split, and split again, with amoeba-like efficiency; they have died just as quickly. Today there is no accurate count of the parties or their members. Membership is a closely guarded secret, in fact, with only 2-3 percent of the members known outside party circles.1 Most observers, however, believe there are fifteen parties, with estimates of total membership ranging from sixty to two hundred thousand. The higher numbers come from Kurdish party officials. If they do not exaggerate, then the party members all together would make up about 10 percent of the Kurdish population.

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8 At New Era Windows, “We Work with Passion”

van Gelder, Sarah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Leaving Chicago, I decided to drop in for a visit with a relatively new worker-owned manufacturing cooperative. My phone GPS guided me as I dodged trucks and potholes through the Brighton Park warehouse district. A hand-lettered sign above the loading dock said, “New Era Windows Cooperative.” I asked at the office, and Armando Robles, one of the worker-owners, took time away from his work to talk.

Before it was a cooperative, the workers at what was then Republic Windows and Doors were simply told what to do, Robles told me. He had been a maintenance worker at Republic and president of United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers Local 1110. The workers there might have seen ways to improve the production process, but their supervisors weren’t interested, he said.

“Whatever the bosses want, we do it. We’d say, ‘Look, this is a better way,’ and they’d say, ‘No, we say you have to do it this way,’ ” explained Robles. “Even when they made a mistake, they just continued.”

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Medium 9781605093307

CHAPTER 3

Boyd, John Kirk Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

President Franklin Roosevelt giving his Four Freedoms speech before the U.S. Congress in 1941

One of the most pernicious myths is that peace and prosperity are hopelessly complicated and unattainable. 2048 dispels myths. This is untrue. Peace and prosperity can be attained through the realization of five basic fundamental freedoms, for all people, everywhere in the world. They are: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, freedom for the environment, and freedom from fear. Of course, other rights are needed too, but these five fundamental freedoms establish a framework within which other rights can flourish. If our international community remembers these Five Freedoms, and if they become a regular part of our daily lives, then collectively we will carry the core of 2048 in our minds and they will become our way of life.

Please look at your hand for a moment. Hold it up, palm facing you. We all have five fingers, but the first we call a thumb. In appearance it looks different. It stands out. And it is strong. It represents freedom of speech, the idea that stands out, that stands up to dishonesty and corruption. Next, look at your index finger. We point with this one. It gives us direction. It represents freedom of religion. Each of us is free to choose our own direction, with or without God, and for those who decide that God is their guide, then they are free to have their own relationship with God without the state telling them what that relationship must be. Interference by the state pollutes the relationship with God. Third is the middle finger, the longest of all. It represents freedom from want, the long road of existence, and the certainty that there will be food, water, shelter, education, and health care for every one of us no matter where we may be on that road. Next, for many of us, is the marriage ring finger, either the right or the left hand, and for all of us, a finger with a direct link to our nervous system. It represents freedom for the environment. Life. We all have a direct link to the Earth and the ecosystem of which we are a part. When the life of the Earth is spoiled, our lives are spoiled. Finally, there is our “little finger,” shorter and smaller than the rest. It represents freedom from fear. It’s the “finale” of our hand, our reward. All the others lead to this one.

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Medium 9781576754429

2: BREAKING OUT

Halpern, Charles Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

SHORTLY AFTER the Rouse case was decided, Paul Porter, one of the senior partners in the firm, stopped me in the hall. “Congratulations,” he said, draping a long arm over my shoulder. “I read about your victory in your effort to bring law and order to the dank back wards of Bedlam. I hope this means that you’ll be able to bill some hours next month.”

Porter’s remark brought to a head the dilemma I had been worrying about for some time. The Rouse case had given me a taste of running my own show, dealing with big issues that I really cared about. Now I was back in my old slot as a junior associate in a big firm whose business was representing large corporations. After the public policy challenges and emotional highs and lows of the Rouse case, I was immersed once again in the routine business of the firm: the junior person advising a bank in New York City that wanted to open a branch on Long Island, working for Coca-Cola before the Federal Trade Commission to avoid a requirement that it list its caffeine content on the bottle.

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21. Dramas of the Authoritarian State

Edited by David McMurray and Amanda Ufhe Indiana University Press ePub

DONATELLA DELLA RATTA

During August of 2011, which corresponded with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, viewers of the state-run satellite channel Syrian TV might have stumbled upon quite a strange scene: A man watches as a crowd chants “Hurriyya, hurriyya!” This slogan— “Freedom, freedom!”—was a familiar rallying cry of the various Arab uprisings. It was heard in Syrian cities, including Damascus, when protesters first hit the streets there on March 15, 2011. But it was odd, to say the least, to hear the phrase in a Syrian government-sponsored broadcast. Until that moment, state TV had not screened any such evidence of peaceful demonstrations in Syria.

The scene went on to show the same bystander ordering policemen to shoot at the protesters. Immediately afterwards, he seems to regret his order, muttering: “Maybe I should have…” At this point it becomes clear that this scene was no news bulletin or user-generated YouTube clip documenting an actual protest. Rather, it came from a musalsal (pl. musalsalat), as the thirty-episode miniseries that accompany Ramadan in Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere are known. The grand finale of this musalsal, Fawq al-Saqf (Above the Ceiling), featured the two main characters overlooking a desolate landscape. “What happened to this country?” asks one. “I am responsible for this. I knew it was going to happen…but, in the end, precaution cannot stave off destiny.” The other character replies by repeating the phrase: “Thank God, around us and not on top of us.”

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Medium 9781626566583

1. Reinventing Citizenship

Gerzon, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

REINVENTING CITIZENSHIP

From Confirming to Learning

Confirming what we already believe so unquestioningly that we become prisoners of our own points of view

Learning more about issues from those who differ with us so that we can expand and enrich our point of view.

Reuniting America is about learning. We can’t “know” the answer just by applying our ideology. Instead, we can learn how to harness the best ideas and practices from across the political spectrum to keep America on track. To reunite America, citizens are seeking opportunities to challenge their own assumptions, deepen their understanding, and expand their perspective on the issues that concern them.

Instead of confirming what they already believe, they are learning beyond partisanship.

Mabel McKinney-Browning, John Gable, Eric Liu, Michael Ostrolenk, Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, University Network for Collaborative Governance, and the participants of the “Climate Change and Energy Security” retreat.

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Medium 9780253019271

Part IV: We Wanted Workers, We Got People

Faranak Miraftab Indiana University Press ePub

AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE CARGILL PLANT IN BEARDSTOWN, TWO smiling pig-head planters welcome visitors to the slaughterhouse (see figure 7.1). How is one slaughtered with a smiling face? And why of all images and objects that a planter at this slaughter house could represent, the choice of a pig head?

Unlike the company towns of the early twentieth century, contemporary company towns in the meat and food industry move to sites that had already been developed with private investments and, most importantly, with public tax money. The corporations no longer build houses, schools, or daycare facilities for their workforce, yet they operate what are de facto company towns. The power of the company in these towns does not involve brick and mortar but institutional and financial arrangements justified through certain discursive and bureaucratic means. Furthermore, unlike company towns of the previous era, contemporary meatpacking towns like Beardstown rely on public and private funds to house a diverse cohort drawn from various ethnic, racial, linguistic and national backgrounds. Cargill’s Beardstown operation represents this new company town model in many ways.

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Medium 9780253018250

Nelson Mandela’s Two Bodies

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

What becomes a legend most? Nelson Mandela.

—LISA JONES, “Mandela Diary” (1990)

FOR MILLIONS OF people worldwide, Nelson Mandela’s passing in 2013 marked the death of an icon, one who expressed, more than any other, the twentieth century’s struggles for freedom and equality that changed the lives of people worldwide. When Mandela died, as is the case with the loss of any world leader or celebrity, to express our grief and process our loss, we talked, we wrote, we tweeted, and we updated our Facebook statuses. In addition, seemingly countless Internet memes featuring Mandela’s face paired with one of his best-known quotes—or at least one attributed to or equated with him—spontaneously appeared. These ephemeral, sometimes bizarre, infinitely reproducible objects, unlike the tweet or the Facebook status, mark a kind of affiliation around both Mandela and those ideals we hold to be self-evident from his charismatic character. However, these pictures are only the latest iterations of the innumerable images of Mandela, including photographs, paintings, drawings, statues, public murals, buttons, t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, and more, that have proliferated since the late 1980s (his image was banned in South Africa until then), and attest not only to the enduring iconic status of his person, but also to the tremendous power his myth exudes in the visual world.

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Medium 9781576754634

Chapter 14 The Illegal Employer Problem

Hartmann, Thom Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Working Americans have always known how to create a middle class. It’s a simple equation: more workers, lower wages; fewer workers, higher wages.

Today wages are low in America because there are too many workers. Facilitating a rapid increase in the workforce by encouraging companies to hire noncitizens is one of the three most potent tools conservatives since Ronald Reagan have used to convert the American middle class into the American working poor. (The other two are ending tariffs [chapter 13] and destroying government protections for unions [chapter 15]).

Do the math. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are more than 7 million unemployed Americans right now. Another 1.3 million Americans are no longer counted because they’ve become “long-term” or “discouraged” unemployed workers (the BLS calls them “marginally attached”). And although various groups have different ways of measuring, most agree that at least another 5 million to 10 million Americans are either working part-time when they want to work full-time or are “under-employed,” doing jobs below their level of training, education, or experience. That’s between 8 million and 20 million unemployed and underemployed Americans, many unable to find above-poverty-level work.

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Medium 9781626566743

15 The Saudi Arabian Money-Laundering Affair

Perkins, John Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

In 1974, a diplomat from Saudi Arabia showed me photos of Riyadh, the capital of his country. Included in these photos was a herd of goats rummaging among piles of refuse outside a government building. When I asked the diplomat about them, his response shocked me. He told me that they were the city’s main garbage disposal system.

“No self-respecting Saudi would ever collect trash,” he said. “We leave it to the beasts.”

Goats! In the capital of the world’s greatest oil kingdom. It seemed unbelievable.

At the time, I was one of a group of consultants just beginning to try to piece together a solution to the oil crisis. Those goats led me to an understanding of how that solution might evolve, especially given the country’s pattern of development over the previous three centuries.

In the eighteenth century, Muhammad ibn Saud, a local warlord, joined forces with fundamentalists from the ultraconservative Wahhabi sect. It was a powerful union, and during the next two hundred years the Saud family and their Wahhabi allies conquered most of the Arabian Peninsula, including Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca and Medina.

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Medium 9780253019264

6 Empire in Crisis, 1905–1907

Charles R. Steinwedel Indiana University Press ePub

6

EMPIRE IN CRISIS

1905–1907

THE ZLATOUST STRIKE, the killing of workers, and the assassination of Governor Bogdanovich made Ufa one of the most conflicted provinces in the empire before 1905.1 That year brought a much more disruptive politics to the empire as a whole and to Ufa Province in particular. Shortly after Nicholas II issued his Manifesto of October 17, 1905—granting his subjects freedom of speech, assembly, and conscience and promising them personal inviolability and a new state Duma—Ufa governor Boleslav Tsekhanovetskii authorized a public demonstration.2 The crowd on October 19, 1905, made a striking impression. Eight to ten thousand of the city’s 75,000 residents—what Tsekhanovetskii called “nearly the entire city”—came to Ufa’s Ushakovskii Park out of curiosity at this “extraordinary, exceptional spectacle of a new character.” The crowd’s diversity was as impressive as its size. Containing members of the intelligentsia, “simple people,” students, women, workers, petty bureaucrats, officers, and soldiers, the crowd made clear the meaning of the manifesto to a wide variety of city residents. For the first time, Tsekhanovetskii wrote, freedom of speech and assembly were “brought to life.”3

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Medium 9781626566743

12. Soldiers and Prostitutes

Perkins, John Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

After a juicy steak and a cold beer, we left the restaurant and drove down a dark street. Fidel advised me never to walk in this area. “When you come here, take a cab right to the front door.” He pointed. “Just there, beyond the fence, is the Canal Zone.”

He drove on until we arrived at a vacant lot filled with cars. He found an empty spot and parked. An old man hobbled up to us. Fidel got out and patted him on the back. Then he ran his hand lovingly across the fender of his car.

“Take good care of her. She’s my lady.” He handed the man a bill.

We took a short footpath out of the parking lot and suddenly found ourselves on a street flooded with flashing neon lights. Two boys raced past. The one behind, the larger of the two, was pointing a stick at the other and making the sounds of a man shooting a gun. The smaller one slammed into Fidel’s legs, his head reaching barely as high as Fidel’s thigh. He stepped back.

“I’m sorry, sir,” he gasped in Spanish.

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Medium 9781609948054

Chapter 9. Enough Miscalculation

Dietz, Rob Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Changing the Way We Measure Progress

[T]he gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY (1968) 1

“Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River …” I was in a backwoods bar late one evening with three friends, when one of them dropped a quarter in the jukebox and selected John Denver’s “Country Roads.” The four of us, already on our third round of beer, began singing along. Soon enough, the other five or six patrons in the bar had joined our chorus. It would have been a typical scene in this particular bar, located in rural Virginia alongside the very Blue Ridge Mountains referenced in the song, except for one oddity. My three friends, Sonam, Tchewang, and Jigme, hailed from the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. It was quite a sight to see the solemn, bearded faces of the locals across the bar singing their hearts out with the three Himalayan visitors. When the song was over, all of us, Bhutanese and Americans, raised our beer bottles in a salute to happy times and the universal appeal of music.

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Medium 9780253011404

3. Performing Democracy: State-Making through Patronage in Kyrgyzstan

MADELEINE REEVES Indiana University Press ePub

Based on fieldwork in a northern Kyrgyz village in 2007 and 2008, this chapter focuses on the interplay of localized democracy and patronage. Specifically, I draw on ethnographic materials to explore how the state was performed locally during the 2007 parliamentary electoral campaign, culminating in election day in December of that year. I discuss how an indigenized understanding of democracy was fostered through the activation of patronage networks and how, through the performance of the election, the democratic state came to be enacted. By learning the rules of the new electoral system—distributing merchandise such as calendars and hats with party logos, clarifying which documents were needed for the elections, and “dressing up” for the occasion—the villagers took an active part in the electoral process and thus in performing the state. But they also exercised their agency in performing democracy by circumventing and even violating the state’s procedural norms. Realizing that the officials in charge of the election were not impartial, those villagers who wanted to vote against the ruling party bribed the officials to ensure they would not manipulate the vote. The candidate of the opposition party was not only the favorite politician of the villagers; he was also a fellow villager and a local “big man” to whom most constituents were linked through patronage relations. While villagers acknowledged that the election itself was thus flawed, it was their active participation and moral investment in the event as such that constituted their sense of being part of a larger collective project of making the state.

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Medium 9780253012234

8 Islamic Transnationalism and Anti-Slavery Movements: The Malê Rebellion as Debated by Brazil’s Press, 1835–1838

PAUL AMAR Indiana University Press ePub

The slave rebellion staged by African Muslims in 1835 in Salvador, Bahia, had an enormous impact on Brazilian society. Cairus looks specifically at the coverage of the uprising in the Brazilian press. The national debate that followed the rebellion occurred against a background of internal political turmoil and increasing pressure from the British to end the transatlantic slave trade. The debate reveals the Brazilian elites’ concerns about the future of the new nation, which was at the time economically dependent on slave labor. It also unveiled the tragic vicissitudes of the slave trade through the lens of captive Africans’ struggle for freedom as well as their connections to Muslim political enlightenment and militancy in West Africa.

In 1835, in the city of Salvador, the capital of the province of Bahia, a few hundred Africans challenged paradigms established by centuries of slavery in Brazil. Their leaders were clerics affiliated with revivalist Islam in West Africa, as confirmed by Salvador’s chief of police after the rebellion, who stated, “There are [West African] scholars among them teaching and masterminding the rebellion” (“Relato” 1835). What the police chief was partially acknowledging was the fact that these Muslim leaders of the slave uprising were culturally sophisticated individuals and polyglots who had had experience as adults leading political change and social uprisings on their home continent before being captured and forced into slavery in Brazil. These realities contradicted Brazilian racist images of “beasts of burden” brought to perform hard work in European colonies. Moreover, they further challenged the system by refusing to be assimilated or become “ladino,” as Europeanized slaves were called in the jargon of the slave trade (Klein 2010, 13). Assimilation into the master’s milieu could sometimes mitigate the severity of the ordeal endured by Africans who were kept at the lowest rank of colonial society. But the Muslims in Bahia rejected what Orlando Patterson calls “slave social death” and enthusiastically preached the Islamic gospel among their brethren (Patterson 1982, passim). In the trial that followed the rebellion, the dialogue between the leader Licutan, also known by his Christian name Pacífico (the peaceful), and the Brazilian judge best illustrates the resilience of Muslim identity. After being ordered by the judge to state his name, Licutan replied: “My name is Bilal.” The judge became angry because he thought Licutan was lying. The Muslim leader then defiantly answered, “It is true that my name is Licutan, but I can take whatever name I want” (“Devassa” 1968, 84). In fact, Licutan subtly declared his identity by giving a quintessentially Muslim name in a country where Catholicism was the official religion and Africans were forcibly baptized through the adoption of Christian names.

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