The recent accession of the right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS) to power has seen the judiciary and legal systems in Poland struck by swift and far-reaching reforms, and the trend shows no sign of slowing. With the phrase “constitutional crisis” being increasingly heard, it is time to examine what is happening to the legal system in Poland.
With legislative elections on 20th December, the end of 2015 was a turbulent period for Spain, and the same will surely apply in 2016. Thirty years on from its transition to democracy after Franco, Spain faces a new transition to another system of government, which has yet to be defined.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a coalition of Left-wing, Kurdish and progressive parties, was founded in in 2012 in order to help smaller parties amplify their voices and gain access to the Turkish Parliament, where the electoral system stacks the odds strongly against them. In both the 2014 and subsequently recalled 2015 parliamentary elections, the party succeeded in winning over 10% of the vote, the necessary threshold for entering Parliament.
In a time of ecological uncertainty in a swiftly changing society, it is important that as Greens, we lend an ear to the public mood. However, change cannot be brought about if we ourselves also do not change - from a negative tone, to a positive one...
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, the international spotlight has been on Belgium as an alleged breeding ground for radical Islam. The finger of blame was further pointed to the municipality of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek in Brussels, an area of varied class and rich cultural diversity, as a hub of radicalisation. Analysis of what is behind this finger pointing.
The events of the last couple of weeks in Poland are no peripheral abomination, and certainly no exception. They are a part of a global trend of liberal democratic models becoming weaker and weaker, a trend which can also be found in the heart of Europe.
We need to start thinking about the future and Poland after the end of the Law and Justice (PiS) rule – even though for many it may seem like a science fiction scenario right now. It may allow us to take some much-needed distance toward current affairs, and to identify the forces the social and political forces that have led to the present state of affairs, in order to create a counter-narrative.
Our highlights from the past year
Did the agreements that came out of the December 2015 COP 21 in Paris really hold any meaningful weight? A few weeks later, now that the dust has settled, it is time to critically assess what came out of the climate agreement and what it will mean for countries, civil society and the planet.
The recent elections in Poland show some startling trends. A narrowing of the political landscape has all but eliminated progressive voices from the Left, and the principles of solidarity and social justice, which once defined political struggle in Poland, seem to have been discarded in favour of strict individualism.
Member of European Parliament – Sven Giegold – looks back at 2015 and some of the key Green political fights on the European scene. He sheds light on what he thinks will be the 2016 key battlefields for the Greens and for Europe to survive nationalisms and populisms.
So, what are the implications for the EU of a new socialist-led, but communist-green and leftist-supported, and ostensibly anti-austerity government in Portugal? I keep hearing this question; less frequently, the interrogation is sometimes accompanied by 'is Portugal a new Greece'? Will there be a new conflict within the European Council, a new battle with the ECB, a new Varoufakis, and renewed talk of a Eurozone exit?
The consumption of meat and animal by-products is something we take largely for granted. Up until two years ago, I was a blind omnivore, consuming more than my fair share of factory farmed meat and dairy and never once thinking about where the food I ate came from, or the resounding impact it had upon so many levels of society and industry. In the aftermath of COP21, it is time to examine the shady nature of one of the most environmentally degrading industries in the game.
The next elections to the Spanish Parliament will change the course of politics over the last three decades in one of the most populated states in southern Europe. If the polls’ predictions are correct, this coming December 20th will mark the end of the bipartisanship that has dominated Spain since the late ‘70s to make way for new parties and new ways of doing politics.
And so, the COP 21, the Paris talks on climate change which have been on everyone’s mind for the past 15 days are over but already registered in limbo for some. Will these talks really go down in history as Hollande has repeatedly claimed?
"Ecology as a political dwarf and an organisational giant" – A book review of the “Manifeste des Écologistes atterrés"
The state of the French Greens, Europe Écologie Les Verts, is in disarray, and the paradoxical gap between a shrinking Green electorate and ecologically conscious citizens and movements grows. However, the grass is always greener on the other side, especially in the case of Italy, where Green prospects in comparison are bleak. A book review of "Manifeste des écologistes atterrés".