Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Monday, June 27, 2016
Monday, June 20, 2016
Friday, June 17, 2016
My friend Marco Cremona, who is now active in the newly formed Democratic Party, posted this on Facebook today:
"The only political party that you may agree with on everything is the one you set up for yourself. But even then, you may find that you sometimes disagree (and good that you do)."
I fully agree.
In this regard, I note that some activists and opinionists who are not involved in political parties like to tell political parties (big and small) what to do and also to criticize various aspects of decision and non-decision making. The social media is an ideal forum for this purpose. In itself, this is a healthy exercise.
I think that the basic premise of such critique should be to recognize that politics is not only based on beliefs, but also on loyalties, networks, character traits, persuasion, the art of compromise, tactics and the social science of strategy building.
Parties are made up of their members, and of the interaction between democratic processes and dominant forces/discourses.
Armchair nihilists and/or political absolutists do not enhance dialogic democracy and the construction of hegemonic formations. They simply refuse to play by the rules which recognize the other.
Monday, June 13, 2016
Thursday, June 09, 2016
The environment is a political issue as much as it is an technical and scientific issue. Hence I support proposals that add another layer of democratic scrutiny in addition to Planning Authority approval, as is the current PN proposal to have an additional 2/3 parliamentary majority apart from PA approval when it comes to ODZ, so as to make it as difficult as possible to have such development.
The PN is not the first party to use such a logic. In its 2013 general election manifesto, Alternattiva Demokratika The Green Party used a similar logic when it proposed the introduction of local referenda on projects deemed controversial by local councils or residents, with parliament assuming responsibility for decisions taken.
Front Harsien ODZ, Flimkien ghall-Ambjent Ahjar, Din l-Art Helwa and Civil Society Network are also using this logic in their position on ODZ. The Nationalist Party's proposal on the matter is a big step in the right direction and through fine tuning it can be totally in synch with what NGOs are saying. I hope progressive political parties will co-own this proposal so that there may be a national consensus.
Of course, it is then up to the public to elect politicians and parties which are really in favour of environmental protection.
Monday, June 06, 2016
A hegemonic formation - whether on a macro or micro level - can be replaced by another, formed by a relatively stable fixing of plural discourses. Sectarianism and absolutism hinder this.
· Howarth, D. (2000): Discourse. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
· Howarth, D. (2004): ‘Hegemony, political subjectivity and radical democracy’, in Critchley S. and Marchart O. (Eds.): Laclau: A critical reader, pp.256-276. Routledge: London.
· Howarth, D. and Stavrakakis, Y. (2000): ‘Introducing discourse theory and political analysis’, in Howarth, D., Norval, A.J., and Stavrakakis, Y. (eds.):Discourse Theory and Political Analysis: Identities, Hegemonies and Social Change, pp.1-23. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
· Laclau, E. (2005) On Populist Reason. London: Verso.
· Laclau, E. (2014): The Rhetorical Foundations of Society. London: Verso
· Laclau E. and Mouffe C. (1985): Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards A Radical Democratic Politics. London: Verso.
· Mouffe, C. (2005): On the Political. London: Routledge.
· Mouffe, C. (2013): Antagonistics. London: Verso