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#73045 - 03/05/03 08:22 PM Re: political action
nanliza
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/21/01
Posts: 267

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Okay, I wasn't sure whether to post this in the non-fiction workshop forum, but I need a few suggestions quickly and I thought I might be more appropriate in a political thread...

I'm supposed to be writing an article for our Uni newspaper on politics, defining some generally misunderstood concepts, or just some things that people might have always wondered about. Kind of an 'everything you were afraid to ask' feature. It's not a long piece (probably 500-750 words) It can be quite light, I think, but the editor was really vague about what she wanted and pretty much left it up to me.

The problem is that now I've come to writing it I'm having a terrible time finding things that are relevant but not really, really obvious. I don't want to talk down to anyone, or sound patronising.

Bearing in mind it's written with a bunch of British university students in mind, can anyone think of a few things they might like to be illuminated on?

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#73046 - 03/05/03 11:24 PM Re: political action
Mara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/31/02
Posts: 157
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia

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Nanliza - I work in Government PR (in Australia) and we often receive enquiries from students. In Australia, there is a lack of understanding of what things are Federal (national) government responsibilities and what things are State and Territory responsibilities. I know next-to-nothing about UK politics so I'm not sure whether jurisdiction would be an issue for you? I suppose whether things are regulated by the EU or the UK government may be a comparable example.

I'm often surprised that people don't know the difference between left and right wing (and that there are left and right wings of major parties).

Off the top of my head, you could do a story about the different factions of the major parties (which could be particularly relevant at the moment), the functions of the House of Lords vs the House of Reps, how laws get passed, what happens when bills get defeated, and what can trigger the dissolution of the parliament.

Still brainstorming - you could look at how the Westminster parliamentary system has influenced other countries. You could also look at some of the pomp and ceremony that goes with opening parliament and some of the rules on the floor.

You could also do a story on the best ways to contact members of parliament effectively - you could get in contact with members of various lobby groups/peak organisations and see if you can find out a bit of what goes on behind the scenes with the wheelers and dealers.

They all sound a bit dry, but I'm sure you'll be able to jazz a political story up!

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#73047 - 03/06/03 03:57 AM Re: political action
nanliza
Ching Shih


Registered: 12/21/01
Posts: 267

Offline
Thanks so much, Mara. I think I'm going to use the factions in government part. Probably be interesting because of the war vote the other day, when so many Labour MPs votes against the government. I could put in something about the party whips, as well, and stuff like that. Thanks again, I knew I could count on Chickliterati for good ideas!
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#73048 - 03/06/03 05:15 PM Re: political action
Mara
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/31/02
Posts: 157
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia

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Glad to be of assistance \:\)
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#73049 - 03/09/03 09:57 AM Re: political action
marykmac
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/15/00
Posts: 440
Loc: York, UK

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Am I too late? Well, for your next trick, I dare you to find out the difference between the European Commission, the European Directorate the European Parliament and all the other bits. I'm so ashamed that I don't know all that stuff. I'd find it incredibly useful! \:\)
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#73050 - 09/13/04 10:16 AM Re: political action
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

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I'm bumping this thread because the title seems most appropriate for this article I just found on Alternet.org. I'm curious what people may think of it. The basic thesis is that mass protests a la those of the 60s no longer work, and to threaten the system we need new forms of political action.

 Quote:
This current American juggernaut is the mightiest empire the world has ever seen, and it is absolutely immune to the individual. Short of violent crime, it has assimilated the individual's every conceivable political action into mainstream commercial activity. It fears only one thing: organization.
I think the author has a point, which is too bad, because protests marches are fun.

 Quote:
Before the war, Washington and New York saw the largest protests this country has seen since the '60s and this not only did not stop the war, it didn't even motivate the opposition political party to nominate an anti-war candidate.
I was part of those protests. And they apparently did nothing. What are we to do?

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#73051 - 09/13/04 10:51 PM Re: political action
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

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I think that maybe, just maybe, what the Dean campaign did was part of a new way of action. Not just the fundraising online, but the way they formed online teams who sent out media alerts and wrote letters to the editor about egregious mistakes and laxity in reporting.

I know that having all the information from any angle available at the tips of my fingers whenever I want it makes a HUGE difference. I get opinions and stories from outside my own country, so I know what they're saying in India and South Africa and the UK and Australia (for example) instead of just hearing the unceasing hammer of party rhetoric within my country.

I don't know exactly how it works, but I do know that political blogging sites get information out faster, to more people, more efficiently, and with less error than over the phone or writing letters. And I can get more opinions and read other viewpoints. It's fascinating stuff.

I don't think The Internet Will Save The World, necessarily, but I think its existence has changed everything. So how can we use that to replace protest marches and other forms of action, and get results?

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#73052 - 09/14/04 12:21 AM Re: political action
miercoles
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 877
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI

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 Quote:
I was part of those protests. And they apparently did nothing. What are we to do?
But how many of the protestors wrote letters to the editor? Or to their senators? Or put a "Peace" sign in their front yards, or whatever? The war in Iraq might be a bad example of this, though -- the Bush administration just seemed unstoppable. It was one thing to ignore protests in the U.S., where nearly half of the population initially supported the war, but what about the protests in Spain and the UK? The war was opposed by 80-90% of the population of those countries, and from here it appeared that the protests there were likewise ignored by the administrations.

 Quote:
I think that maybe, just maybe, what the Dean campaign did was part of a new way of action. Not just the fundraising online, but the way they formed online teams who sent out media alerts and wrote letters to the editor about egregious mistakes and laxity in reporting.
Dean certainly had his big lead early on because he broke new ground with the internet. And while he didn't get the nomination, some might view his candidacy as a success because of the issues he raised. (I'm curious; do you?)

It's so frustrating, because I don't know how my voice can be heard. I'm looking to volunteer with the ACLU and/or Planned Parenthood this winter, and I hope to see how these sorts of organizations can influence public policy.

 Quote:
I don't think The Internet Will Save The World, necessarily, but I think its existence has changed everything.
For starters, I'm not sure we'd ever have heard about Abu Ghraib without the internet and related technology. I tend to be of the opinion that more information is a Good Thing, though.

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#73053 - 09/14/04 03:34 AM Re: political action
Promethea
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 957

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 Quote:
It was one thing to ignore protests in the U.S., where nearly half of the population initially supported the war, but what about the protests in Spain and the UK? The war was opposed by 80-90% of the population of those countries, and from here it appeared that the protests there were likewise ignored by the administrations.
Possibly. But then the government in Spain was heavily defeated by an anti-war party and the government in the UK is definitely struggling and facing crisis after crisis. The protests didn't stop the war, true, so in that sense they failed, but at least they put a lot of pressure on the administrations and created the possibility of a comeback against them.

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#73054 - 06/13/05 10:55 AM Re: political action
Ekaterina_dup1
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/16/01
Posts: 238
Loc: USA

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Calling all American book-lovers, please consider supporting the Freedom to Read Amendment. This link will allow you to quickly contact your Congressional representatives to show your support for the amendment. (The vote may take place as soon as tomorrow afternoon!)

"The proposed amendment [to the Patriot Act] would prohibit the Department of Justice from using any money in its budget to search a library or bookseller using the wide-sweeping powers granted under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. The amendment would restore and protect the privacy and First Amendment rights of library and bookstore patrons which were in place before the USA PATRIOT Act."

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