Worried About lies and Fake News? Start with the Mainstream Media

A week on from the earthquake of Donald Trump’s election victory attention is being drawn to the influence of “fake news” on social media amid speculation that stories such as Pope Francis endorsing the Republican candidate or opponent Hillary Clinton murdering an FBI agent might have influenced the result. Both Google and Facebook  bosses have had to make public statements on how they are tackling the phenomena and play down the influence such stories might have had on the outcome of the election. Meanwhile Trump himself has been reining in on some of his pre-election pledges, notably the building of … Continue reading

Push Back

Our current forms of democratic government are looking hollowed out and weary, to put it very mildly indeed. Of course, “democracy” isn’t an a-historical given. You get many kinds. The question is how you arrange it. The problems with what we’ve got now are legion: we might agree about what many of them are. I’d say that the radical critique of liberal democracy still has force: that its deep links to capitalism, its inequality, ideology and instability mean that we must work to transform and eventually replace with something better. Right now, some kind of action is needed to push … Continue reading

“Don’t take us for granted!” – voters give African National Congress a dose of tough love

TSHWANE, SOUTH AFRICA – Interest in countries’ local elections is usually confined within state borders, while national elections nearly always attract international attention. Not so South Africa’s municipal elections on August 3, which made headlines around the world. The elections saw the ruling African National Congress (ANC) lose its outright majorities in half of the country’s eight urban hubs, the metropolitan municipalities of Tshwane (Pretoria), Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, and Nelson Mandela Bay. The major ascendant parties are the conservative Democratic Alliance (DA) and the left-populist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). A massive 204 political parties contested the elections, 68 per cent more … Continue reading