Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump And The Emergence Of New Right-Wing Movements

Brexit, the rise of Donald Trump and the emergence of a new right-wing radicalism in both Europe and the United States signify fundamental developments in the political and ideological landscape of Western societies, while at the same time, there is a resurgence of extreme nationalism and authoritarian politics virtually all around the world. For an understanding and explanation of some of these disturbing developments and the alternatives available, we spoke to political economist C.J. Polychroniou, editor of a forthcoming book consisting of interviews with Noam Chomsky, titled Optimism Over Despair: On Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change (Haymarket Books, 2017).

Marcus Rolle and Alexandra Boutri: Today’s political landscape in many advanced capitalist societies is marked by the rise of a new right-wing populism centered around anti-immigrant sentiment, xenophobia and extreme nationalism fueled mainly by the antiglobalization rhetoric of authoritarian political leaders. We’d like to start by asking you to put in context the contradictions of global capitalism and the emergence of what has come to be known as the “alt-right.”

C.J. Polychroniou: For quite some time now, there have been clear and strong indications across the entire political and socioeconomic spectrum in advanced Western societies that the contradictions of capitalist globalization and the neoliberal policies associated with them have reached an explosive level, as they have unleashed powerful forces with the capacity to produce highly destructive outcomes not only for growth, equality and prosperity, justice and social peace, but concomitant consequences for democracy,  universal rights and the environment itself. Indeed, not long after the collapse of the former Soviet Union and its “communist” satellites in Eastern Europe — a development which led to such unbounded enthusiasm among supporters of global neoliberal capitalism that they embarked on an  audacious but highly dubious course of (pseudo) intellectual theorization to pronounce the “end of history” — it became quite obvious to astute observers that the forces unleashed by capitalism’s inner dynamism and the dominant capitalist states, with the US imperial state at the helm, were more attuned to the brutalities of societal regression, economic exploitation, war and violence than to the subtleties of socioeconomic progress, geopolitical stability and environmental sustainability.

To be sure, we now live in a world of unparalleled economic inequality coupled with massive economic insecurity and dangerously high levels of unemployment (especially among the youth), all while the depletion of  natural resources has reached highly alarming rates and climate change threatens the future of civilization as we know it. All these developments are interconnected as they are fuelled by globalization’s imminent contradictions, but ultimately sustained by actual government policies and measures that cater almost exclusively to the needs of the wealthy and the concerns of the corporate and financial world. In the meantime, authoritarianism is reestablishing a foothold in many Western nations just as the social state is being reduced to the bare bone under the pretext of fiscal discipline.

Yet, despite poll results showing rising support for socialism in the US, especially among millennials, growing discontent with the current economic order has thus far resulted not in a new socialist era but in the rise of ultranationalist leaders like Donald Trump who deploy rhetoric shrouded in racism and anti-immigration sentiment.

In France, Marine Le Pen is playing on similar strains of xenophobia and ultranationalism, arguing that “division is no longer between left and right … but between patriots and believers in globalization.”

What is called the “alt-right” is in some ways a new phenomenon in the sense that, unlike conservatives and neoconservatives, the new right-wing radicalism belongs expressly in the “antiglobalization” camp. But the “alt-right’s” grievance is not with capitalism itself. Instead its adherents blame economic globalization and immigration for their woes. The strengthening of this right-wing antiglobalization movement was behind Brexit and Trump’s presidential victory and can explain the resurgence of authoritarian, xenophobic political leaders in countries like France, Austria, Hungary, Italy and Germany, to name just a few.
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Quinet Obed Niykiza ~ Learner Centred Education In Universities ~ A Contribution To Quality Teaching In Sub-Saharan Africa

184 pag.
16,5 x 24 cm
ISBN 978 90 5170 985 8
Euro 24,50

Effective university teaching and learning is an intellectually demanding task (Brown & Atkins 1988; Freire 2006; Escobar, Fernandez & Guevara-Niebla 1994 Susan & Wijeyesinghe 2011). The lecturer is not only expected to be versed with the course, but also to develop teaching strategies based on the contexts of education (Brown & Atkins 1988: 1-2). Knowledge, to believe the words of McLaren, has no intrinsic value per se but depends on the context in which it is produced as well as its purpose (Escobar, M., Fernandez & Guevara-Niebla, 1994). This leads me to quote Meirieu’s book (2010), titled “Apprendre … oui, mais comment?” “To learn … yes, but how?”

One of the major difficulties in higher education (HE) occurs when students leave the university with a very low growth of skills. The motivation for this research is the lack of quality education characterized not only by the insufficiency of its content, but also by a teaching method that is mostly magisterial.

Students are neither expected to actively participate in class nor to work independently. The development of critical thinking, intrinsic motivation and self-responsibility are hardly encouraged and sometimes are destroyed. The improvement of education is of a major and important concern. Thus, this study is a contribution to the ongoing debate on quality university education and a study on the awareness and perception of LCE in the teaching-learning process in Higher Learning Institutions.

To order the book: http://rozenbergps.com/learner-centred-education-in-universities-a-contribution-to-quality-teaching-in-sub-saharan-africa

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Didas Muganga Kayihura ~ Corporate Governance And The Liability Of Corporate Directors: The Case Of Rwanda

280 pag.
16,5 x 24 cm
ISBN 978 90 3610 481 4
Euro 34,50

This study tries to investigate from the Rwandan perspective, whether there are any circumstances that would lead to personal or joint liability of a director when performing his/her duties as a company director. It also investigates when and when not Rwandan Corporate directors would benefit from the insulation of the corporate veil. The study also tries to look at what the legal (express and implied) duties of company directors are and what the legal consequences would be in case of breach or ultra vires these duties.

The findings of this study indicate however that, the knowledge and awareness of directors’ duties and obligations have always been presumed based on what exists in law, but that it does not necessarily and actually tally with what is known and practiced.
For company directors, the findings of this study offers a basis upon which they can best evaluate their role in the running of their respective company’s business and social life. It as well puts together all the express and implied duties and the possible liabilities thereof under Rwandan law, in case of breach or ultra vires these duties. The provisions from different scattered Rwandan laws relevant to directors’ duties as well as inspirations from other developed systems have informed this study’s findings, aiming at ensuring for a better performance of Rwandan Corporate sector.

To order the book: http://rozenbergps.com/corporate-governance-and-the-liability-of-corporate-directors-the-case-of-rwanda

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How To Generate Job Growth: Robert Pollin On Alternatives To Trump’s Smoke-And-Mirrors Economic Plan

Prof.dr. Robert Pollin

Trump made specific promises to many of the voters who were instrumental in getting him elected — some of whom are people living in poverty, thanks in part to the impacts of globalization. Yet, his economic plan will do nothing for most Americans, argues Robert Pollin, distinguished professor of economics and codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, in an exclusive interview for Truthout. Instead, Pollin says, Trump’s plans will make the rich richer. What should we be doing instead? Pollin lays out the reality, explaining that an economic plan that will increase employment, provide higher wages and protect the environment requires, among other things, an industrial policy, increasing the minimum wage, strengthening unions and implementing a Green New Deal agenda.

C.J. Polychroniou: Trump’s economic plan is supposedly about “making America great again.” We know that his tax cuts and deregulation proposals will be an extra bonus for the big corporations and the super-rich, but what’s in it for the average American worker who has been experiencing stagnant wages for the past 40 years, economic insecurity, and a declining standard of living?

Robert Pollin: Trump won the election in large part because he spoke to the visceral anger within the US [white] working class over the conditions you describe — two generations in which average working-class incomes have stagnated while inequality has soared, millions of good manufacturing jobs have been lost and strong communities have been brought down. But it wasn’t just that Trump recognized this anger. It was equally that, for a generation, the Clinton Democrats have been the party of Wall Street and free trade, while their support for the US working class has been tepid and back-handed.

Of course, the fact that Trump spoke to this [white] working class anger doesn’t mean that he actually cares about the US working class, or, more importantly, that he has a program that will deliver rising well-being for them. Some of Trump’s key proposals are to: 1) bring back manufacturing jobs by eliminating burdensome regulations on business and fight against unfair foreign competition, especially from China; 2) stimulate jobs, especially in construction, through a huge infrastructure investment program; and 3) deport undocumented workers, who Trump says are stealing US-born workers’ jobs. Read more

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Vlaggen & vaandels, lappen stof met een bijzondere lading

De Ridderzaal, 1651. collectie Rijksmuseum

Het veroveren van een vlag, vaandel of standaard op de vijand is al een eeuwenoude oorlogshandeling. Zo hadden de Romeinen hun legioenstandaarden met in top de aquila, de samoerai droegen de mon oftewel familiewapen op hun vlag en de VOC had het bekende monogram verwerkt in de witte baan van de Nederlandse vlag. In Europa, Midden-Oosten en Azië hadden vlaggen gelijkwaardige functies en gebruiken, zowel in vestingen, als op schepen en slagvelden. Vaak waren ze voorzien van een wapen of symbool in felle kleuren. Eigenlijk was het niets anders dan een simpel communicatiemiddel waarmee men op afstand kon aangeven wie men was en wat men wilde. Vlaggen konden daarbij ook een grote symbolische waarde krijgen. Bijvoorbeeld als zij een wapen van een heerser mochten voeren of een symbool van een speciale eenheid. Vlaggen met een rijke historie werden gekoesterd en met groot respect behandeld. Deze werden doorgaans dan ook verdedigd tot de dood erop volgde. Het neerhalen van een vlag door de vijand betekende dat zij waren doorgedrongen tot in het hart van de verdediging en dat de strijd grotendeels gestreden was. Het buitmaken van een vlag op de vijand werd gezien als een daad van moed. Vele vlaggen werden na hun verovering vaak opgehangen als trofee. Zo hing de ridderzaal in het Binnenhof vol met veroverde vlaggen en vaandels.

Het verdedigen en beschermen van de vlag, waarmee een persoon of eenheid was verbonden, werd ook gezien als een daad van moed en trouw. Dat het geen oud en stoffig gebeuren was, bewijst luitenant-kolonel W.F. Hennink, hij werd benoemd tot Ridder in de Militaire Willems-Orde 4e klasse voor zijn daden in de meidagen van 1940. Een van deze daden was het behouden van de regimentsvlag.

Vanaf 1815 tot aan de tweede wereldoorlog werden 39 personen benoemd tot Ridder in de Militaire Willems-Orde voor verrichtingen waarbij een vaandel, standaard of vlag een rol speelde.
– 18 gevallen voor het plaatsen van een vaandel, standaard of vlag.
– 16 gevallen werd een vaandel, standaard of vlag veroverd van de vijand.
– 5 gevallen werd het eigen vaandel gered.

Het betreffen 19 officieren, 2 adelborsten en de overige zijn onderofficier, 13 van deze benoemingen behoren tot het onderdeel marine.
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The Economist ~ The Shackles Of Scientific Journals

SCIENCE advances fastest when data and conclusions are shared as quickly as possible. Yet it is common practice for medical researchers to hoard results for months or years until research is published in an academic journal. Even then, the data underpinning a study are often not made public.

The incentive to withhold findings is powerful. Journal papers are the de facto measure of a scientist’s productivity. To win research money and get promoted, scientists need to accrue an impressive list of publications. Yet the delays in disseminating knowledge have the capacity to do real harm: during the Zika crisis, sponsors of research had to persuade publishers to declare that scientists would not be penalised for releasing their findings early. Nor are elite journals the guardians of quality that they often claim to be. The number of papers so flawed that they need to be retracted has risen sharply in the past two decades. Studies in elite journals (such as Nature andScience) are no more statistically robust than those in lesser journals.

Read more: http://www.economist.com/shackles-scientific-journals

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