September 2003

Reinventing power

NI (No.360)


9 Against the misery of power, the politics of happiness
Disillusioned with the powermongers, Katharine Ainger discovers the possibilities of a politics generated from below.

13 Junk sale
Take a walk around the junkyard of leaders past their sell by dates.

14 The power of the cooking pot
In the poor townships of South Africa, the only politics that matters is the kind that gets you fed. Local activist Ashwin Desai talks to Holly Wren Spaulding about community solidarity.

16 The web of democracy
Could the science of systems theory help us devise intelligent, self-organizing and truly networked democracies? Roy Madron and John Jopling investigate.

18 Ideas about power
From feminism to Foucault, some key concepts.

20 A flower in the hands of the people
In southern Mexico, indigenous people have remarkable ideas about how to exercise power. Gustavo Esteva explains why, for them, nation-states are irrelevant.

23 Walking our talk
From religious leaders in the rainforests of Thailand to marginalized minorities in the US, George Lakey has some lessons about transforming power-relations.

24 Bomb-catching
Priscilla Elworthy on how to defeat warmongers, authoritarians and other bullies without becoming a bully yourself.

26 Experiments in democracy
Whether it's Hutus and Tutsis with a history of massacre, the losing side in post-civil war Spain, or shell-shocked Argentineans, human beings are endlessly reinventing real democracies of infinite variety and hope.


<Regular Features>

2 Letters

4 Southern Exposure
The gangster's gun, by Mexican photographer Pablo Ortiz Monasterio.

5 View from the South
Urvashi Butalia on how Indians, rich and poor, cope with the crushing summer heat.

6 Currents
The Uzbek dictator who is America's friend; the high cost of machismo; Fortress Europe and the Kosovo Roma; Ugandan businesses smashed for Bush.
PLUS: Word Corner - Advert/Ad.
PLUS: Speechmarks and Seriously.

29 Worldbeaters
Yale boy in Babylon: the US Viceroy in Iraq, L Paul Bremer III.

30 Mixed Media

32 Big Bad World
Appeasers? Us? Polyp's latest cartoon.
PLUS: NI Prize Crossword

33 Making Waves
The staff of Al-Muajaha, Iraq's only independent newspaper, bear witness.

34 Essay - Earth Warrior
Controversial environmentalist Paul Watson interviewed in New Zealand/Aotearoa by
John F Schumaker.

36 Country Profile - Kuwait

NI-Japan (No.48)


Reinventing power
'Whoever I vote for, nothing ever changes'
The large number of unaligned voters and the low turnout at elections in Japan seem to show that this is a common sentiment. Certainly traditional political structures don't seem to be reflecting what the people want, in Japan or in other countries. But what would happen if we ignored these structures and built new ones of our own? Impossible? This month's NI reports on people around the world who are doing just this. Maybe we have more power than we thought, if only we would grab it.

<This month's article>
-Translation of "Against the misery of power, the politics of happiness" (p9-12)

<Reporting from Japan>
-Direct democracy as a supplement to indirect democracy
---by Niijima Hiroshi (Association for National and Local Referendums)

<Contact Points>
Organizations working for referendum and ombudsman system. Books on referendum.

<Country Profile>
-Translation of "Country Profile - Kuwait" (p36)

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