WORDS THAT SAVE LIVES- BLOGGING FOR GREENPEACE.
The Clash of Civilizations
June 2nd 2014
Thinkers in the world feel that there is ‘Clash of Civilizations’ between the West and the Muslim world. (Huntington, 1993) This conception was heavily intensified after the aggressive actions by the Bush administration post 9/11.In a quote from Huntington we can see how this clash is one that will be ongoing.
“The people of different civilizations have different views on the relations between God and man, the individual and the group, the citizen and the state, parents and children, husband and wife, as well as differing views of the relative importance of rights and responsibilities, liberty and authority, equality and hierarchy. These differences are the product of centuries. They will not soon disappear.”(Huntington, 1993)
Recently in a example of a ‘clash of the civilizations’ the French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared in a speech that the veil (Islamic burqa) will not be welcome in the territory of the French republic. To support his declaration, he said “the burqa is not a sign of religion; it is a sign of subservience”. He called it a violation of women’s “dignity and freedom”.
The statement of Sarkozy can’t be rendered legitimate because his anti-burqa order seems to be directly interfering in Islamic affairs. If any Muslim woman wants to wear a burqa of her own free will,no one has a right to stop her, forget Sarkozy. Only modern education can free a man or a woman from radical thinking.
The hypocritical attempt of Sarkozy to free women from subservience is just another form of oppression and also a violation of a Muslim women’s dignity and freedom.
Another type of anti-Burqa order has come from FEMEN, an international women’s movement of topless female activists. Femen’s ideology is: Atheist, Feminist and Sextremism.
Images and sentiments of FEMEN’s anti-Islamic protest met with a fierce backlash from Muslim women using social media,who choose to wear Burqa or Hijab. Photos below are a pictorial representation of what this clash incited in both camps.
It is true as Lila Abu-Lughod (Abu-Lughod, 2006) writes that the Burqa and all various representations in images throughout history has made it hard to think about the Muslim world without thinking about the veiled women of Islam. These representations are ubiquitous and create a huge divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’. This type of divide lends itself to misconceptions and a lack of appreciation of a variety of women’s lives across Muslim or Middle Eastern worlds. Lila’s view that we should be MORE aware of individuals different paths in this world is mirrored in Huntingtons words.
“For the relevant future, there will be no universal civilization, but instead a world of different civilizations, each of which will have to learn to coexist with the others.”(Huntington, 1993)
BR1 an Italian born Artist and Lawyer, whose street art seen above named “protect your soul”, addresses situations that concern co-existence within civilizations. Perhaps this type of understanding and dialogue goes a lot further than groups repressing each others beliefs on a world stage.
Abu-Lughod, L. (2006). The Muslim Women: The power of images and the danger of pity. Eurozine, 1-10.
Mahmood, S. (2009). Religious Reason and Secular Affect: An Incommensurable Divide? Chicago Journals, 836-862.
Theories of Power. Who rules?
May 20th 2014
Perspectives on the state, power and politics.
Marx gave us a theory of society, an explanation of how society works, of how and why history has unfolded, and especially an account of the nature of capitalism. These are of great value for the task of describing what is going on in the world and for understanding the problems and directions of our society today. (Nash, 1982)
By looking at Capitalism in respect to the power of the State it is notable that Australia contains many corporate players that dominate and exploit power and use their economic influence to control and manipulate Political climates. An example of this is Australian media and who controls majority ownership. Images below show statistics
In our era Marxists stress the role of the media in reinforcing the dominant ideology, especially by not giving space to fundamental criticisms of capitalist society or giving biased support to Political parties.
In any class society there will be a dominant ideology, which will be made up of the ideas which it suits the dominant class for people to hold. The acceptance of these perspectives and values by the working class is also referred to as “hegemony”. (Gramsci, 2014). The media while being a tool for individuals for making many comparisons and come to certain understandings regarding Political parties is intrinsic in creating what Gramsci calls ‘commonsense’ This is hegemony as commonsense – quite simply, the ideas of the dominant political and economic class becomes those that are most widely accepted in society.
The media will continue to influence public opinion, social policy and governments. Perhaps media ownership would be an important issue to consider in building a pluralist society? (Nash, 1982) What would the media industry look like in a pluralist society? I beleive that the news media should provide a range of views and opinions, contradictory as well as complementary, to allow informed citizens to effectively take part in the democratic process.
Gramsci, A. (2014). Power,Politics, Resistance. In K. Nash, Globalization,Politics, and Power (pp. 1-8). UWS.
Nash, K. (1982). Contemporary Political Society. Wiley-Blackwell.
ACTION FOR CHANGE. Social Movements.
March 26th 2014
An analysis of Greenpeace AP campaigns through Francis Fox Pivens FIVE STRATEGIES of Disruptive Power.
1.BREAKING THE RULES
According to Piven rules are the basic postulate of ‘collective life’.(Piven, 2008) Our society rests upon the knowledge that these rules keep them safe. In another language, the language of social and environmental action these rules also represent instruments of power. This power usually coming from a dominant group for example: Government, Church, Law, can bring about a subordination of groups devoted to change and inhibit these groups from disrupting power.
Greenpeace Asia Pacific uses the strategy of ‘Breaking the Rules’, in almost every single campaign they undertake. An example of this is the destruction of a genetically modified CSIRO wheat crop. While the rules were broken the action was inline with core values and non-violent action resulted purely in creating Media coverage that brought public attention to GM issues within Australia.
2.CONSIDER THE PROBLEM OF INTERDEPENDENCE.
Within Greenpeace’s core values as found below we can see in the third value a direct statement of financial independence. This strategy means social and financial connections can never colour or cause exploitation of the Greenpeace Organisation or actions.
Greenpeace core values
We ‘bear witness’ to environmental destruction in a peaceful, non-violent manner;
•We use non-violent confrontation to raise the level and quality of public debate;
•In exposing threats to the environment and finding solutions we have no permanent allies or adversaries;
•We ensure our financial independence from political or commercial interests;
•We seek solutions for, and promote open, informed debate about society’s environmental choices.
In developing our campaign strategies and policies we take great care to reflect our fundamental respect for democratic principles and to seek solutions that will promote global social equity.
3.EFFECTIVE MOBILIZATION OF DISRUPTIVE POWER.
The effective co-ordination of people power from employees and volunteers is one of Greenpeace’s best strategies.
Many styles of organisation of people power can be found on the Greenpeace website. Without the organised power of campaigns which are usually run by team leaders and contractors with many skills, campaigns would suffer.
Please see pictorial montage of the mobilization of disruptive power through the eyes of Greenpeace AP.
Solidarity of the individual is an important part of Greenpeace action. Greenpeace mobilises thousands of people to protest and sign email petitions through social media. Without this family of social environmentalists the disruptive power would not gain momentum and inturn succeed.
4.ENDURING THE SUSPENSION OF RELATIONSHIPS OF WHICH THEY DEPEND.
In 2011 Erland Howden was ‘the boy in the box’. He was locked in a steel box on to train tracks owned by BHP, he was prepared to stay for 72 hrs to protest tax breaks for big polluters.
Not only is this an example of what Piven cals disruptive power but it shows an example of Erland suspending a relationship with the rules that might cause reprisals, in this case ARREST. While Greenpeace employees and volunteers agree to being a part of these repercussions it is an effective tool of this kind of disruptive power sees that others lives, time and money are also disrupted. Causing problems with Big Business and its production.
During the Russian imprisonment of the Arctic 30 each Greenpeace member had to forgo a quality of life to stand up for drilling in the Artic. The Arctic 30 could not remain anonymous, their imprisonment meant hardship for their families and loss of freedoms for 4 months.
5. MOBILIZING POLITICAL ACTION WITHIN A MATRIX OF SOCIAL RELATIONS.
Pivens last strategy is concerned with social life and social relations of those who try to mobilise disruptive power.Being an employee of Greenpeace is often said to be a lifetime commitment in which a balance is important.
On a job review sight people have mentioned the life work balance is hard to maintain:
“Incredibly fun job with lots of travel to amazing places and exciting events
Campaign Coordinator/Team Leader (Former Employee), Denver, CO – March 19, 2014
Pros: social atmosphere, travel, free events, fulfilling work, free socials, music festivals, etc
Cons: makes it hard to maintain a personal life separate from work.”
Lentin, A. (1999). Structure, Strategy,Sustainability: What future for New Social Movement Theory? Sociological research online.
Piven, F. F. (2008). Can power from below change the world? American Sociological Review, 1-14.