Sunday, March 27, 2011

Discussion Group: Crises in Japan

The next Bluestocking Institute for Global Peace and Justice discussion group will continue the theme of current global events, with a focus on the recent tragedies in Japan.

From earthquakes and tsunamis to the threat of nuclear meltdown, can anything more assault our Asian neighbour? How have the Japanese people coped with these crises, how has the media portrayed the issues, and what role does Climate Change play in it all?

Date: 5pm, Sunday 10 April 2011

Place: Moon Café, 323 William St, Northbridge, WA

RSVP: Bluestocking facebook event page

Here are some websites to get the discussion rolling:

New stories about the Japanese earthquake and tsunami

A map of the affected nuclear sites in Japan

A debate over the lessons for US nuclear

A positive spin story on Japan's nuclear problems

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The rise of corporate lobbying

We covered a range of topics at the discussion group on Sunday, including the possibility of a no-fly zone in Libya and its implications, and the likelihood of genuine political reform in the Middle East. This conversation led us to examining democracy as we know it, and reflecting on the rise of corporate lobbying. Vanessa Baird at the New Internationalist highlights the implications of the ever-cosier relationship between big business and politicians, such as McDonalds and PepsiCo now contributing to writing the UK National Health Policy, and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, founded by David Koch of Koch Energy Industries, training Tea Party activists.

The influence that corporate lobbyists wield in politics, largely as a result of the ‘revolving door’ which enables people to move quickly from roles in government to lobbying positions in corporations, creates compelling reasons for the formal participation of social movements in the political process. It also highlights the need for transparency, such as a mandatory register of all lobbyists that detail who they are lobbying, how much they spend on it, and details of which politicians they meet with and how often. ‘Democracy 4 Sale,’ which was founded by the Greens NSW, provides some details of the Australian situation.