It’s hard sometimes to get the balance right.
At the New Internationalist we strive to tell the unvarnished truth which can be dauntingly negative. But we try to leaven it with positive news. When it comes to the subject of December’s Big Story on the authoritarian assault on democratic rights around the world, one is in danger of being swamped by negativity.
To balance, we sought out an example of a fertile political space with a record of creative alternative-building. Catalonia seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Then all of a sudden the determined but usually gentle Catalans became ground zero in the assault on democratic rights with bleeding senior citizens being dragged out of polling booths by Spanish police. Whatever the ultimate results of the current independence struggle, Catalans have a proud record of building radical democratic alternatives especially in their economic lives.
In this issue we make common, if informal, cause with the international NGO Civicus, which is leading the way in the fight to defend democratic space around the world. As the number of examples of state and corporate assault on the right to dissent mount it becomes crucial to build effective coalitions to defend our basic rights. This issue of the magazine is a contribution to the effort to do just that.
Elsewhere in this edition, we catch up with Pablo Beltrán, the guerrilla leader from the ELN at a critical point in the peace talks with the Colombian government; and we take a look at Port Augusta, the town in Australia that gave up coal for solar.
Richard Swift for the New Internationalist co-operative.
With the Great Barrier Reef and climate targets under threat, Tom Anderson and Eliza Egret explain why this mega mine matters to all of us.
The clock is ticking for peace in Colombia. Next month a ceasefire with the ELN, the last remaining leftwing guerrilla organization in the country, is due to run out. Guerrilla leader Pablo Beltrán of Colombia’s ELN talks to Mónica del Pilar Uribe Marín.
Bangladesh is home to almost five million garment workers, making it the second largest manufacturer of garments in the world. Its factory workers make the clothes we wear every day. Meet the humans behind the big clothing brand labels.