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5 Electoral Politics, Power, and Prospects for Reform

Daniel Brumberg Indiana University Press ePub


Electoral Politics, Power, and Prospects for Reform

Yasmin Alem

IN THE YEAR commemorating its thirtieth anniversary, the Islamic Republic faced its most imperiling political crisis. Elections, often referred to as one of the pillars of the system by its leadership, nearly became the cause of its undoing with the disputed reelection of incumbent president Mahmud Ahmadinejad bringing about eight months of protests. Turmoil on the streets spilled over into the political arena, further exacerbating the level of polarization among an increasingly fractured revolutionary elite. Above all, the inherent contradictions in Iran’s hybrid political system, which blends the democratic notion of popular sovereignty with the Islamic principle of velayat-e faqih—guardianship of the jurisprudent—came to surface during the tumultuous months that followed the disputed 2009 election. Consequently, Iran’s leadership was confronted with two equally unpalatable options: address the electoral demands of a disgruntled segment of the population or pursue a crackdown on dissent. It chose repression and weathered the storm. But the fate of the electoral system was left uncertain. The 2012 parliamentary election, a contest limited to a group of conservative loyalists, suggested that moving forward the exclusionary function of electoral politics in the Islamic Republic would dwarf its ability to serve as a medium to aggregate interests and bring about legitimacy. The surprise election of Hassan Rouhani, an outspoken critic of the status quo, in the 2013 presidential election, however, demonstrated a shift in the opposite direction. Thus, the pendulum continues to swing between diverse functions of elections in a complex system, which itself is in constant flux.

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Medium 9780253012890

9 The Particular

Foreword by Saskia Sassen Edited by Hil Indiana University Press ePub


MOST DEFINITIONS OFGLOBALIZATIONREFER TO THE GROWING ecological, social, institutional, and cultural connectedness of the world. Beyond this basic consensus, analyses of the core characteristics and implications of this increased interdependency diverge. Hyperglobalists proclaim the power of global processes to undermine local and national economies, polities, and culture. Others contend that such sweeping propositions are strong overstatements. One line of argument focuses on the resilience and continued distinctiveness of local and national sociocultural processes in the face of globalization. Building on this point, a third framework contends that the global is produced by the very processes and formations it is thought to overrun.1 Together these three perspectives result in globalization being simultaneously identified as a contemporary condition, an unfolding process, an eventual endpoint, a universalizing trend, and multidimensional phenomena (Van Der Bly 2005). The existence of these strongly contrasting viewpoints, and the difficulty in resolving their differences, is not solely attributed to divergent theoretical points of departure, objects of study, methods, and data. Rather it is grounded in a critical dimension and dynamic—the particular.

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Medium 9781609941055

5 Did Corporate Power Destroy the Working American Economy?

Clements, Jeffrey D. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Crony capitalism is usually thought of as a system in which those close to the political authorities who make and enforce policies receive favors that have large economic value….

[In such a system] the intermingling of economic and political elites means that it is extremely difficult to break the implicit contract between government and the privileged asset holders.

—Stephen Haber, “The Political Economy
of Crony Capitalism”1

Since the Citizens United decision in 2010, hundreds of business leaders have condemned the decision and have joined the work for a constitutional amendment to overturn expanded corporate rights. These include entrepreneurs such as Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia; Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream; Amy Domini, founder of Domini Social Investments; Gary Hirschberg, founder of Stonyfield Farm; Nell Newman, founder of Newman’s Own Organics; Wayne Silby, founder of Calvert Social Investment Fund, and many more.2 These business leaders are doing this because they believe that democracy, freedom, and a sustainable world depend on a bill of rights for people, not corporations. They know that Citizens United and corporate domination of government are terrible for American innovation and business.

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Medium 9781626562905

8 A New Economics for a New Economy

Korten, David C. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The only valid purpose of an economy is to serve life. To align the human economy with this purpose, we must learn to live as nature lives, organize as nature organizes, and learn as nature learns guided by a reality-based, life-centered, intellectually sound economics that embraces the values and insights of the Sacred Life and Living Earth story.

The quest for a new economics begins with a simple question for which the answer should be obvious: Is the purpose of the economy to maximize the profits of money-seeking corporate robots or the health and well-being of living households?

One of the most important single contributions to my understanding of where mainstream economics went wrong came from Sixto Roxas, an economist and former international bank executive. We became close friends and colleagues when I lived in the Philippines in the 1980s. I once asked him, “Why do economists so often come up with the wrong answers?”

Without a moment’s hesitation, he responded, “Because they chose the firm rather than the household as the basic unit of analysis. Economists view the economy as an aggregation of profit-seeking firms rather than an aggregation of living households.”1

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Medium 9780253220707

Part II Emergence and History of the Conflict to 1948

Mark Tessler Indiana University Press ePub

BY THE END of the nineteenth century, Zionists and Arabs had come into contact, and the results included instances of both cooperation and conflict. On the one hand, Jews were visible as they passed in increasing numbers through Beirut and other Arab cities on their way to the Holy Land, and inside Palestine the small but growing Zionist presence could hardly escape the notice of the indigenous Arab population. Indeed, many Jewish settlers took the initiative in establishing relations with Palestinian Arabs, making themselves known not only to the peasants who lived near their new communities but also to local merchants and landowners. On the other hand, on a political level, Zionist and Arab leaders took cognizance of one another, pondered the matter of the relationship between their respective movements, and in some cases established a dialogue. There were early warnings, especially from some Arabs, that Zionism and Arab nationalism were incompatible in Palestine. Moreover, the intensity of Arab complaints about Zionism increased as World War I approached. At the same time, there was also a belief in the potential for cooperation. Contacts were initiated by Arab organizations and Zionist representatives alike. They were based on a recognition that Jews and Arabs had similar aspirations and reflected a hope that the two peoples might therefore fashion an alliance of mutual benefit. There were even instances in which the symmetry of Jewish and Arab history was acknowledged.

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Medium 9781626560321

Seven The Power of Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Bryant, John Hope Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub


Beginning in 2011, Gallup and Operation HOPE partnered on the first national poll of young people’s behavioral economics, examining the interests of thirty million young people in fifth through twelfth grades. Among other things, the poll found that 77 percent of youth want to be their own boss, 45 percent want to own their own business, and 42 percent believe they will create something that changes the world. Ninety-one percent said they are not afraid to take risks and 91 percent said their minds never stopped. But only 5 percent of young people in the largest economy in the world are engaged in a business internship, and only about one-third of respondents had a parent or guardian who had ever started a business.1

In addition to economic literacy and access to credit and banking, America needs good jobs to foster a stable economic system, and we need to get on about the business of creating those. But these jobs are not going to come from traditional sources. Instead, we need a massive nationwide focus on entrepreneurship and small business creation, and a focus on the active development of what I call self-employment projects. Even when this focus does not in fact create entrepreneurs, it might succeed in creating something even more valuable in poor communities: an entrepreneurial, can-do, glass-is-half-full, let’s-figure-out-what-we-are-for mind-set. Such a focus on empowerment rather than entitlement would be transformational in and of itself.

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Medium 9781576754634

Chapter 5 Thomas Paine against the Freeloaders

Hartmann, Thom Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Most Americans these days don’t remember why (or when) we instituted a progressive income tax or why taxes even matter in society beyond the obvious issue of paying the cost of government functions like police and fire departments. They don’t realize that the Founders of our republic had a visceral and intense concern about multigenerational accumulated wealth and the ability of great wealth to corrupt democracy itself.

Americans today know that none of the supposedly “rich” founders left great fortunes. The foundations that bear the names of people who lived in the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries are the likes of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation. There is no Jefferson Foundation or Madison Foundation. Americans know this—but they don’t know why.

Most Americans also don’t realize that a middle class is created and maintained by direct intervention in the marketplace by a democratic government, including laws protecting labor, defining minimum wage, and taxing great wealth.

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Medium 9781576752920


Derber, Charles Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

On November 5, 2003, Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean got into hot water when he said on the campaign trail, “I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks.”1 The words about the flag were insensitive and poorly chosen, but Dean had an important message: the Democrats cannot win until those guys and gals in the South abandon Bush. Democrats cannot win without a lot of other Independents and conservatives too, nor can they hope for regime change without major realignment.

Political scientists use the term “realignment” to refer to a sweeping shift in the politics and party identification of large groups of Americans.2 I argued in Chapter 3 that political realignment has historically been key to regime change. President Roosevelt created regime change in the 1930s by building a coalition of conservative Southern Democrats, urban Northern Catholic workers, and East Coast liberals and intellectuals. In 1980, Ronald Reagan and the New Right rode to power by putting together a new coalition of Southern conservatives defecting from the New Deal coalition, as well as corporate elites, Christian fundamentalists, and small business proprietors.245

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Medium 9781576758892

Keeping the Team Together

Sinema, Kyrsten Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Keeping the team together during a campaign can be hard. We’re all working eighty hours per week, living off caffeine and chocolate, and everyone gets grumpy and nervous in the weeks leading up to “D-day.” Plus, Johnny’s mad at Maria for that comment she made in the paper last week, Tracy is worried that Carl’s going to use the coalition’s e-mail list for his own group’s fund-raiser next month, and Kenny doesn’t understand why Amber still has a job since she can’t manage to make it to more than one coalition meeting in three, and she doesn’t do a thing when she does manage to show up. How do you keep everyone on track? I’ve found that a few key tools can keep the team together and ensure no one ends up on the wrong end of a voodoo pin.

One of the best ways to keep everyone together is through accountability. Building in accountability at the beginning of a coalition’s formation is key for a few reasons. First, it starts the group off with a shared commitment to mutual responsibility—everyone is accountable to everyone else, and everyone knows it. Second, it creates a standard for all of you to abide by and measure your activities by, which reduces the fighting later. Third, it allows you to better hold each other accountable down the line because you’ve all agreed to it in front of each other in a formal way. And finally, it works at the beginning of your coalition’s formation because that’s when everyone still likes each other and is super excited to be working on this most important project together. (Later, we’ll all be a bit less enamored with each other, and we’ll be sick and tired of the project, no matter how compelling or exciting it used to be.)

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Medium 9780253017314

4 U.S. Foreign Policy and the Snowden Leaks

David P Fidler Indiana University Press ePub


The proposition that Edward Snowden’s disclosures of information about the National Security Agency have damaged U.S. national security and foreign policy is not controversial.1 Since June 2013, the U.S. government has been reeling at home and abroad from Snowden’s disclosures. These revelations harmed U.S. relations with allies and friendly nations, hurt U.S. technology companies globally, and helped U.S. adversaries.

The impact has been so significant that the leaks undermined the strategic U.S. foreign policy approach on cyberspace developed before Snowden entered history. This approach—captured by the “Internet freedom” idea—emphasizes protecting individual rights in cyberspace, promoting democracy through cyber means, accessing the economic benefits and technological innovations a global Internet generates, and strengthening multistakeholder Internet governance. The Snowden disclosures, by contrast, created the perception that the United States prioritizes national security over individual rights, spies on democracies and dictatorships alike, subjects technological innovation to its interests, and exploits the Internet without restraint to protect its security and project its power.

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Medium 9781609948054

Chapter 11. Enough Business as Usual

Dietz, Rob Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Rethinking Commerce

Business is the economic engine of our Western culture, and if it could be transformed to truly serve nature as well as ourselves, it could become essential to our rescue.


What’s the most influential book that takes a critical view of the environmental excesses of business? There’s an argument to be made for Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and E. F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful, but our award goes to The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Seuss created a fanciful landscape and populated it with a technicolor forest of Truffula Trees, a menagerie of curious critters, and two main characters—a clever entrepreneur named the Once-ler and a tenacious environmentalist called the Lorax.2 In part, the book’s influence is due to Dr. Seuss’s legendary rapport with children (and adults who stubbornly cling to a childlike sense of wonder). His eccentric illustrations, lyrical rhymes, and inventive language give the book staying power, but its influence also stems from its universal storyline—a storyline that resonates with readers who have observed the downsides of modern business practices.

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Medium 9780253016430

Conclusion: What We Know and What Comes Next

Mark Tessler Indiana University Press ePub

AMONG THE VARIOUS traditions in scholarship about Islam is the view that the religion imposes a common ideological imprint on Muslim societies, or at least on those where Muslims are the majority, and that, as a result, it is possible to talk in broad terms about an “Islamic personality” and a collective predisposition that “Islam” produces among Muslim publics. This approach assumes that there is a widely shared understanding of Islamic doctrine, that this in turn fosters uniformity through the institutions and symbols that it embeds in Muslim society, and that for this reason religion is the principal determinant of the way that Muslims think and act. Scholarship in this essentialist tradition has become somewhat less common, and more frequently challenged, in recent years, but is reflected in studies by prominent analysts who have been and frequently continue to be influential. Thus, for example, in seeking to explain historical trends and differences between the Muslim world and the West, various scholars have looked to Islam and argued that the religion is hostile to capitalism and to democracy.

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Medium 9781574414363

3. We Need Power to Protect What We Value

Mary Beth Rogers The University of Chicago Press ePub


We Need Power to Protect What We Value

Austin, 1988

Charles “Lefty” Morris and I spot Ernie Cortes walking ahead of us into the Texas French Bread Bakery and Deli. We are going to meet him for a late lunch. Morris is a successful attorney and former president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association who has recently grown disenchanted with the gritty little skirmishes of political combat and has been seeking ideas about how to change the structure of the war itself. He had heard about Cortes and wanted to know more about him.

Cortes has just come from a doctor’s appointment, where he was warned one more time to shed a few pounds. Only about 5 feet 7 inches tall, Cortes’ genetic tendency to be overweight worries his wife Oralia, but his obvious comfort with his teddy-bear body belies worry and lends a surprisingly sensual air to him. It is hard not to be drawn to his dark eyes, which compete with a bushy, graying mustache to dominate his face. Physically, he is almost oblivious of himself. His attire is conservative, but he is as mindful of his clothes as a 3-year-old. During the day, his shirttail might work its way out of his trousers, his tie might be witness to his meals, or the unnoticed string of a price tag might dangle from his sleeve. No matter—to him or to anyone else. Cortes clearly does not dress to be the center of attention. In fact, throughout his career, he has tried to deflect the spotlight from himself to the people who hold his organizations together. With each of his successes, however, that has been harder to do.

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Medium 9780253001931

4 - A World Awash in Weapons

John T. Shaw Indiana University Press ePub

In May 2009, Richard Lugar attended a conference on Islam hosted by the Aspen Institute in Dubrovnik, Croatia. After the initial session concluded, Lugar left and headed for the airport, where he boarded a U.S. military plane for a 5-hour flight to Chelyabinsk, Russia, on the western edge of Siberia. The senator interrupted the comfort of the Aspen conference to attend the opening ceremonies of the Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility in Shchuchye. Lugar arrived at Chelyabinsk a little before midnight, checked into a Holiday Inn, and was on the road by 7 the next morning for the 2.5-hour drive to Shchuchye. This trip, Lugar’s fourth visit to Shchuchye, represented the culmination of a long struggle to help build this chemical weapons destruction facility in Russia.

Lugar’s more than decade-long battle to support Russia’s construction of this facility included tense congressional tussles with those who opposed helping Russia until it behaved better in the world and fully adhered to its obligations under treaties it signed regarding the elimination of biological and chemical weapons. The Shchuchye project ran into serious cost overruns, disputes with contractors, misunderstandings with Russian officials, and bewildering certification requirements in American law. On at least a dozen occasions over the past decade, Lugar interceded to keep the project on track. He made calls to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and personal pleas to President George W. Bush, sent letters to congressional colleagues, and maneuvered to push America’s funding commitments through Congress and the complex Pentagon bureaucracy.1 Lugar viewed the building of a state-of-the-art chemical weapons destruction facility in Russia as hugely important for practical and symbolic reasons. To help get it built, he took on multiple roles: senior statesman, legislative dealmaker, international diplomat, and bureaucratic operative.

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Medium 9781576758892

Making Friends

Sinema, Kyrsten Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

In the middle of the 2008 campaign season, I called a meeting of lobbyists, activists, and representatives from various groups to see if they were interested in forming a coordinated “No on Everything” campaign. Arizona had eight initiatives on the ballot, and they were all stinkers. Some were just plain stupid, others were repeats of bad ideas from prior years, and a few were flat-out dangerous. I’d been hearing people talk about how Arizonans should just vote no on everything, and I wondered if there was some real energy around the idea. I called a bunch of people who I knew were working on the various “No” campaigns, and I asked them to attend the meeting. Pretty much everyone I called came, including a couple of very conservative Republican lobbyists and politicos. You should have seen the looks on my liberal activist friends’ faces when they saw each of these guys walk into the meeting and take a seat. I could feel their gaze slide from the conservative guy’s tie over to my face, with a quiet look that said “What the heck are you doing, Sinema?” I just smiled at everyone and began introductions around the room.

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