Sovereignty Through Decentralization
- Released January 24, 2008
The claim that decentralizing decision-making power to local communities can strengthen national governments may seem like a contradiction. After all, the common assumption is that power concentrated at the national level strengthens a country’s autonomy. Therefore, how could national sovereignty possibly be reinforced if the responsibilities for planning and managing development programs are distributed among local people?
When national governments assist initiatives that help communities determine and implement priority development projects – such as job creation, education, health, and environment – they create in the process diverse administrative partnerships at all levels within their country. Consequently, local organizations and communities seek to maintain these partnerships with the national level because they help satisfy their human needs and better enable people to shape the institutions that govern them. Central governments benefit by creating overall targets and inter-regional balance and competition that can foster performance, affect remote areas far from the national capital, and enhance their legitimacy.
Nonviolent Action and Pro-Democracy Struggles
- Released January 24, 2008
The United States has done for the cause of democracy what the Soviet Union did for the cause of socialism. Not only has the Bush administration given democracy a bad name in much of the world, but its high-profile and highly suspect “democracy promotion” agenda has provided repressive regimes and their apologists an excuse to label any popular pro-democracy movement that challenges them as foreign agents, even when led by independent grassroots nonviolent activists.
In recent months, the governments of Zimbabwe, Iran, Belarus, and Burma, among others, have disingenuously claimed that popular nonviolent civil insurrections of the kind that toppled the corrupt and autocratic regimes in Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine in recent years – and that could eventually threaten them as well – are somehow part of an effort by the Bush administration and its allies to instigate “soft coups” against governments deemed hostile to American interests and replace them by more compliant regimes.
Dancing in the Earthquake
- Released November 7, 2007
Every religious community in the world is now living through a profound crisis, an eruption of God, a world-wide earthquake brought on by modernity in every life-dimension: political, economic, sexual, ecological, military, cultural, biological. In traditional communities, new religious outlooks are being born. Believers are coming to new understandings of what the world came from and is moving toward, what aspects of the world are holy and what are either ordinary or demonic, what symbols and metaphors and practices are sacred.