The Problematic of Modern Violence

The critique of violence is linked to a critique of totality, i.e. ‘pure’ modernity. In his theory of deliberative democracy, Dewey asserted that complete democracy entails not merely voting rights but also the creation of a fully formed public dialogical space grounded in effective communication and participation among citizens, experts, and politicians through multiple institutional formations.

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Engendering Democracy: Women and the Mass Social Protests in the Middle East and North Africa

Engendering Democracy: Women and the Mass Social Protests in the Middle East and North Africa

The era of globalization favors the expansion of democracy, but global-level and national discourses of democracy often are inattentive to the gendered nature of democratization processes (and it cannot be assumed that neoliberal capitalism is compatible with substantive democracy). A gender analysis is needed for a deeper understanding of democracy and of democratic transitions.

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International Women’s Day: Time to Make the Promise of Equality a Reality

We undermine the quality of our democracy, the strength of our economies, the health of our societies and the sustainability of peace.
This year’s focus of International Women’s Day on women’s equal access to education, training, science and technology underscores the need to tap
this potential.

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What Egypt can learn from Ukraine

If the leaders of the new regime are serious about promoting competitive democracy in Egypt, they could do well by fulfilling this promise and writing a new constitution that devolves a substantial share of power to separately elected provincial governments. Supporters of democracy in Egypt should watch carefully what they do on this dimension.

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Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution

Based on studies of revolutionaries like Gandhi, nonviolent uprisings, civil rights struggles, economic boycotts and the like, he has concluded that advancing freedom takes careful strategy and meticulous planning, advice that Ms. Ziada said resonated among youth leaders in Egypt. Peaceful protest is best, he says — not for any moral reason, but because violence provokes autocrats to crack down. “If you fight with violence,” Mr. Sharp said, “you are fighting with your enemy’s best weapon, and you may be a brave but dead hero.”

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Reading Gandhi in Cairo

Reading Gandhi in Cairo

The nonviolent campaigns erupting across the Muslim world today, largely based among the middle class, clearly indicate the practical success of an ethical commitment to norms of transparency, negotiation, compromise and mutual respect. Their links to the networks of global civil society, tied together by information technologies from Facebook to YouTube, reinforce a universal ethic, as Gandhi preached, which transcends religious and cultural particularities even as it is channeled through local grassroots movements.

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Martin Luther King: An American Gandhi

Martin Luther King: An American Gandhi

Both Gandhi and King present us with attractive proposals for thinking the two concepts of “emancipation” and “reconciliation” in postmodern times. Ultimately, for both of them, the path toward emancipation and reconciliation in a global world must embrace the radicality of “fellowship” and “neighborliness” as the window that makes reconciliation possible. By taking Gandhi beyond India, King hoped to achieve a fundamental change in the structures of American society.

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“I Have a Dream”

“I Have a Dream”

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

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Iran and Peace Activists: Clarifying the Confusion

We’re pleased to have received several thoughtful responses to our recent blog post “Why Peace Activists Should Take an Active Interest in the Green Movement in Iran”. One reader asked what we meant by our claim that there is considerable…

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Politics of Reconciliation: Secularism and Tolerance

Any essentialist ideology, including secularism, taken as universal beyond all context-specific conditions, or absolute good in itself, endangers hopes for the non-violent democratic organization of society on pluralist lines. This is a problem of the modern state and its unique capacity for organized violence. All such traditions take on their moral character within a specific context, pointing to the need to privilege the ethical and practical implications of ideas.

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