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YEAR IN REVIEW 2019 - 2020

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CONTENTS | 2019-2020

6 DEMOGRAPHICS MIR by the numbers throughout this past year.

8 EDITOR’S PICK Looking back on the selected articles.

31 CANADIAN ELECTIONS A portfolio of content leading up to the Canadian Federal Elections.

32 PODCASTS Tune-in to our vast list of podcast series.

33 CLIMATE MARCH IN PHOTOS “Fridays for Future” —marching on the streets of Montreal.

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INTRODUCTION EDITOR’S NOTE MASTHEAD

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INTRODUCTION

Foreword

Making MIRacles happen since 2000. THE MCGI L L I N TER NAT IONAL R E VI E W is a non-partisan, online daily student publication based in Montreal, Quebec and operated by the International Relations Student Association of McGill (IRSAM). From its roots as a bi-annual university journal in 2000, the MIR now hosts a variety of content on international relations and cultural affairs on its website on a regular basis. The MIR operates year-round, providing a platform for impartial analysis on global issues regularly. Open-mindedness and tolerance are particularly paramount for MIR, as our staff is composed of McGill University students hailing from across the globe and regular contributors from universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. We’ve been awarded Publication of the Year by the Students’ Society of McGill University in 2019, an accolade we were also nominated for in 2017 and 2018. We cover presidential elections, immigration policy, climate change, opinion editorials, and just about every pressing international issue from A to Z. We publish thoroughly researched and trustworthy student journalism.

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2000

First print issue is published under the theme Canada in the World, and would continue to publish bi-annually until 2004.

2010

Following a temporary hiatus, MIR is relaunched in 2010 with a new mandate to better cater to the needs of the publication’s biggest readership.

2017

MIR assumes a seat on the IRSAM Board of Directors for the first time in the publication’s history.

2019

MIR wins its first SSMU Publication of the Year award.

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EDITOR’S NOTE

Journ a li sm on t ri a l

ON J U LY 2 3 , a cyber libel

trial against Rappler Chief Executive Maria Ressa began in a regional court in Manila. Ressa is on trial to face charges concerning a May 2012 Rappler article which reported that a businessman was under surveillance due to associations with human trafficking and drug smuggling. The businessman in question, Wilfredo Keng, filed a complaint against Ressa and Rappler. The charge, which falls under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, has moved forward despite the fact that the law was not signed until September, four months after the article was published. This was one allegation among a string of many that have been placed on Rappler and its staff since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016. His government has repeatedly threatened to shut down the website, which has been critical of Duterte over the past few years. Duterte claims that Rappler is “fake

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news,” had the website investigated for tax evasion, linked the organization to the American Central Intelligence Agency, and banned one of its political reporters from press briefings in the Presidential Palace. The trials against Ressa and Rappler is a display of the capacity that Duterte’s administration controls in censoring and eliminating dissidence. If convicted of the criminal and civil cases brought against her, Ressa could face 63 years in prison. These trials are an all-too-familiar clash between the growing space of journalism in the digital age and media-bashing populists. We’re seeing this

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confrontation play out globally in real-time, from the Philippines, to Brazil, to India, to Russia, to the United States. In an effort to consolidate control of the state, world leaders have taken aim at the fourth estate, attempting to delegitimize journalists’ authority to speak truth to power. In an online space oversaturated with disinformation and atrocious ideologies, the need to keep journalism honest is as important as ever. When I moved from my home in the Philippines to Montreal in 2016, the significance of the press and the power of “fake news” lingered heavily in the back of my mind. A few months before I left, the nation went to the polls and elected a new president, Rodrigo Duterte, to the tune of 16 million votes, 39% of the popular vote. While his election didn’t surprise me, the lack of veracity in election coverage left me dumbfounded. In one Facebook post, Pope Francis had reportedly endorsed Duterte for president. Another popularly circulated statement claimed that NASA hailed


Duterte the “best president in the entire solar system.” But not all fake news is flattering. Leila De Lima, a senator who opposes Duterte’s brutal War on Drugs, is the subject of an online campaign of misogynistic attacks and character assassination, through the circulation of viral posts such as ‘Leila de Lima is the patron saint of drug lords” and a doctored photo of De Lima petitioning the Supreme Court to allow a former partner to visit her while she is detained for (undoubtedly politically motivated) drug charges. In another fabricated post, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros allegedly promised to pay protestors to rally against Duterte. The list goes on and on. While addressing disinformation on the web is admittedly a nonpartisan issue, Duterte’s team did admit to spending $200,000 US to pay social media users to promote and defend him online, at least during the 2016 elections. Most of the time, the difference between fact and fiction is obvious. But when you’re faced with a dizzying amount of online posts stating a variety of claims, it’s hard to keep track. Put that together with Facebook providing free access to their platform on smartphones in developing countries like the Philippines, but withholding internet access to fact-check, and you have yourself a disinformation crisis. The spread of intentionally inaccurate information is a threat to democracies all over the world. When a government uses this issue to its own advantage and manipulates state processes to silence dissi-

dents, it’s up to all of us to pick up the slack. This is what I see as the McGill International Review’s purpose heading into the next year. Where institutions fail, the press has a special obligation to protect the truth. As journalists like Maria Ressa stand trial for the work that they do, we ought to stand beside them. The goal from our staff here at MIR is a relatively simple one: done properly, journalism has the ability to equip people with the conceptual tools to wade through misinformation and better understand the world around them. With a staff that hails from all across the globe, the MIR is a microcosm of varied perspectives; a digital space where international politics is truly international. MIR opened my eyes and pushed me to challenge my own viewpoints by bringing new ideas into focus. As you spend some time in our little corner of the world, I hope MIR does the same for you.

DEMOCRACY, AUTHORITARIANISM, AND DUTERTE Subscribe and listen to our special edition episode of Review Radio where Alec Regino speaks with Dr. Nicole Curato about the Philippines authoritarian turn and the results of the 2019 midterms.

Welcome to MIR 2019 – 2020.

ALEC REGINO EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

mironline.ca/category/media/podcasts/

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Editor in Chief Alec Regino Senior Editor Allegra Mendelson Creative and Media Director Camille Point French Section Editor Salomé Moatti Editor Albert Gunnison French Editor Anja Helliot French Editor Apolline Bousquet Editor Brian McGinn Editor Christopher Ciafro Editor Emma Frattasio Editor Juliana Riverin Editor Natalie Gastevich Editor Rebecka Eriksdotter Pieder Editor Valeria Lau Editor Hannah Judelson-Kelly

Media Editor Bilal Virji Podcast Editor Côme Cabrère Podcaster Ahrum Joy Kwak Podcaster Mateo Daza Podcaster Naomi Shi Photographer Dominik Maczik Graphic Designer Ella Roy Graphic Designer Tilila Bakrim Social Media Reporters Lauren Hill Social Media Reporters Emily Jones

Managing Editor Shirley Wang Senior Editor Helena Martin French Section Editor Charles Lepage Editor Angello Alcazar Editor Anthony Kuan Editor Asma Saad Editor Chanel MacDiarmid Editor Elizabeth Hurley Editor Gracie Webb French Editor Lucille Fradin Editor Nikita Buchko Editor Selene Coiffard-D’Amico Editor Shaista Asmi Editor Clariza Isabel-Castro

Social Media Director Evelyne Goulet Podcaster Rebecca Sideras Podcaster Ashwin Nair Podcaster Risann Wright Podcaster Victoria Aponte Graphic Designer Charlotte Reed Social Media Reporters Natasha Forsythe Social Media Reporters Elissa Dresdner Social Media Reporters Mehak Balwani

WRITERS Adam Steiner, Agathe Wolf, Alex Karasick, Aleza Waheed, Alua Kulenova, Amine Kanoun, Andrew Fawaz, Anna Beebe, Cesar Ramirez, Dana Malapit, Danae Derou, David Duan, Devanshi Bhangle, Diane Robert, Driss Zeghari, Elizabeth Franceschini, Enora Lauvau, Erling Rolseth, Fikret Oktay, Gideon Salutin, Giordano Baratta, Hiba Chihab, Hayah Amin, Jacob Lokash, Jordan Royt, Justine Coutu, Kayla Rolland, Killian Abellon, Lauren Naniche, Léa Cerdán, Léna Fary, Lila Mooney, Lorenzo Béatrix, Louise Toutee, Maëna Raoux, Maria Laura Chobadindegui, Max Clark, Maya Barkin, Mohit Mann, Naomi Shi, Nathalie Redick, Nour Mohsen, Olivia Hallett, Ophélie Mayoux, Ornella Teta, Paloma Baumgartner, Robin Vochelet, Sajneet Mangat, Sara Parker, Sarah Farb, Teresa Tolo, Thierry Prud’homme, Ximena Ramirez Villanueva

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DEMOGRAPHICS

by the numbers

TOP VIEWS BY COUNTRY

17,898

Views per month (from March 1st 2019 - March 1st 2020)

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CANADA

2.

UNITED STATES

3.

UNITED KINGDOM

4.

PHILIPPINES

5.

FRANCE

6.

INDIA

7.

HONG KONG

8.

AUSTRALIA

9.

MALAYSIA

10.

GERMANY

ORGANIC SEARCH

TO P CHANNELS

63.4%

SOCIAL

18.1%

DIRECT

14.7%

REFERRAL

3.8%

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EDITORS’ PICK A COLLECTION OF THIS YEAR’S SELECTED ARTICLES.

POLITICS

Bridging the Divide: The Joint List’s Re-engagement In Israeli Politics BY JACOB LOKASH

ON SEP T E M BE R 17, Israelis took to the polls to participate in the second legislative election of 2019. After April’s election produced a political stalemate, the incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved the Knesset in order to prevent Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz from being appointed Prime Minister-designate. In spite of Netanyahu’s manoeuvrings, the September election results have once again produced a divided Knesset, with no party having enough seats to form a governing coalition. President Rivlin has given Netanyahu the mandate to attempt to form government. However, this will pose a challenge as he lacks support from many Members of the Knesset (MK). Netanyahu is also hindered by a significant unpopularity among the Israeli population, a result of his abrasive style of politics. Further hindering 7

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the Prime Minister have been a series of corruption charges that have led him to attack the legitimacy of the courts, the police, the media, the Arab minority, and his political opponents. Perhaps the most significant development amid the political impasse produced by the elections is the Joint List’s decision to support Netanyahu’s greatest challenger for Prime Minister, former Israeli Defence Force head Benny Gantz. The Joint List, a coalition of Arab parties headed by Ayman Odeh, has historically refrained from supporting governing coalitions in protest of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian Territories, a violation of international law. Notably, the last time Arab parties offered support to an Israeli Prime Minister was during Yitzhak Rabin’s time in power. The past 25 years, however, have seen political tension and attrition warfare between Israel and the Palestinian territories create a mutual distrust among Jewish

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and Arab parties in the Knesset. What has caused this drastic turnaround and the Joint List’s decision to recommend Benny Gantz for Prime Minister? The answer lies in a combination of exasperation, political expedience, and perhaps common human decency. For Arab Citizens of Israel, Netanyahu represents the antithesis to peace and rapprochement. Under his leadership, rising levels of poverty and violence in Arab communities were largely ignored. Moreover, Netanyahu’s institution of the infamous Nation-State Law was seen by many in the international community to

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be an attempt to officially reduce Arabs to second class citizens in Israel. The Nation-State Law, implemented in the summer of 2019, establishes Israel as the historic homeland of the Jewish people and declares that the Jewish people “have an exclusive right to national self-determination” in Israel. Contrary to Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the Nation-State Law makes no mention of the protection of either equality or minority rights. Furthermore, the law downgrades Arabic as an official language to a language with “specialty status.” While the Nation-State Law can be read as a symbolic piece of legislation with little tangible effect, the Arab population views it as a denial of their right to citizenship and equality. Arab Citizens of Israel, as a result of Netanyahu’s actions, consider his removal

from power to be a number-one priority. Though Benny Gantz remains voters’ most realistic next-best option, his campaign’s calls to annex the Jordan Valley and strengthen settlement blocks does not make him the optimal representative to fight for Arab rights. Ayman Odeh, the elected leader of the Joint List, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times confirming Arab uneasiness with Gantz; nonetheless, Odeh presents a willingness to renew Arab-Jewish cooperation in a post-Netanyahu Israel. In exchange for their support of a potential Gantz government, the Joint List maintains a series of demands that must be met. Most importantly, the Joint List wishes to see a reversal of last year’s Nation-State Law. Gantz has floated the possibility of amending the bill on behalf of the Druze community and perhaps the wider Arab communi-

ty, although the reversal could be politically imprudent given that more than half of Israel’s population supports the law. Despite this pessimistic outlook, Odeh and the Joint List argue that they will be better able to negotiate their interests concerning the Nation-State law with Gantz than with Netanyahu. The Joint List’s political backing is dependent upon increased support for Arab communities in addition to the reversal of the Nation-State Law. Support would include resources to grant Arab municipalities greater access to hospitals, address the prevalence of violent crimes plaguing Arab cities, and challenge planning laws that discriminate against Arab neighbourhoods. While these reforms may exist purely as a pipe dream for the Joint List, Gantz remains the best path forward to achieving these goals. In recent years, many outsiders have come to question the authenticity of Israel’s democratic institutions amid Netanyahu’s authoritative leadership and his suppression of Arab communities in Israel, the occupied Golan Heights, and the Palestinian territories. Daniel Gordis, in a recent article for the New York Times, explains an outsider point of view from an American lens. Gordis asserts that Americans have become disillusioned with Israel due to their misunderstanding of the country’s fundamental values. While America’s devotion to preserve the rights and freedoms of all citizens regardless of ethnicity or religion has allowed for a greater embrace of liberal democracy, Gordis argues that Israel’s primary commitment to protect the rights and freedoms of the Jew-

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derstanding of the country’s fundamental values. While America’s devotion to preserve the rights and freedoms of all citizens regardless of ethnicity or religion has allowed for a greater embrace of liberal democracy, Gordis argues that Israel’s primary commitment to protect the rights and freedoms of the Jewish people instead positions the country as an ethnic democracy. How can Israel maintain its status as a democracy while existing to protect one specific ethnic group? Without delving deep into an existential questioning of Israel as a Jewish state, Jewish-Arab cooperation and coexistence is one viable answer to this dilemma. Cooperation with Arabs Citizens of Israel has the potential to improve the living conditions and livelihoods of all those living in the country without threatening the state’s ‘Jewish character’. Even in an ethnic democracy, the sociologist Sammy Smooha contends that minorities can “avail themselves of democratic means to struggle for and negotiate better terms of coexistence,” suggesting that Israeli society, while continuing to be based on the principal of a Jewish state, can still ensure all citizens retain the same basic rights and freedoms. Odeh’s endorsement of a Jewish political party to form government marks a step forward in the legitimization of this process and a future of peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Israel. The coming weeks will provide us with a glimpse of what lies ahead for Israel. A reinvigorated Netanyahu-led government could spell the end of the Israel envisioned by the authors of its

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Declaration of Independence, a country that guarantees “equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” A weakening of ties between Israel and its Western allies is only likely to increase as Netanyahu continues to rub shoulders with dictators and subjugate the Arab population of Israel. Putting Netanyahu to the side, perhaps the Joint List’s decision to reengage in the

political process offers an example to be followed by others. As a former military commander complicit in the conflict, Gantz would bring his own baggage to the office of the Prime Minister. Can he be trusted to renew Jewish-Arab cooperation? Maybe not. But after a decade of Netanyahu’s unwillingness to meet Palestinian leaders at the table, he might be the only option left.

C U LT U R E

What We Can Learn from Tekashi69’s Trial About Gang Culture in America BY ELIZABETH FRANCESCHINI

R AP P ER TEK ASHI6 9 (6ix9ine) made headlines last November when he was arrested on federal racketeering and armed robbery charges. These charges were related to his involvement with the Nine Trey Bloods, an East Coast street gang originating from New York City. Born Daniel Hernandez, the young rapper pleaded guilty to nine crimes upon his initial arrest and faced a mandatory maximum sentence of at least 47 years. Tekashi69 shot to popularity upon the release of his hit tracks “Gummo” and “Kooda,” in which the artist displayed his aggressive, scream-rap flow, accompanied with music videos that gave fans a look into his gang lifestyle. Nearly a year later, the lyrics to both songs would be explained in Hernandez’s court testimony, and used to expose

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the criminal activities of several Bloods gang members (some of which were featured in the music videos) as part of a plea deal with the federal courts in the hopes of a reduced sentence. Unanimously mocked as a snitch by the hip-hop community, Tekashi69’s re-acceptence into the music scene by his peers is now unlikely. In the age of social media, Tekashi69 leveraged likes and followers to create his persona and boost popularity. The exposure of his case consequently went viral, and while his arrest has been the subject of several online memes, few have been inclined to analyze Tekashi69’s case from a cultural and political lens. What makes Tekashi69’s case so intriguing is primarily the impact that he has on youth popular culture, coupled with Tekashi69’s story of how he became involved with the Bloods


sect. While many gang members in modern day America typically cite feelings of disenfranchisement and poor social conditions as reasons for gang membership, Tekashi69’s involvement with the Nine Trey Bloods is largely perceived as a case of willful membership for credibility purposes. In America’s most notorious cities for heavy street gang involvement — New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, among others — reasons for gang affiliation are seemingly universal. Many individuals join seeking identity, protection or brotherhood, while others are subject to risks that exacerbate propensity for gang involvement, such as heavy drug/alcohol abuse or lack of educational/ employment opportunities. In an NPR interview with former Chicago gang members, one individual mentioned how gang involvement can typically affect “young people who are just kind of hopeless.” It appears that many issues stem from a lack of institutional support, often accelerated by a cycle of generational violence and/or poor living conditions. Unlike Tekashi69, many implicated in gang culture do not willingly and actively seek participation, but are rather surrounded by a culture where gang affiliations are encouraged or deemed as necessary for financial or social survival. A lack of concrete action at the institutional and governmental level is a key factor in the increasing incidents of violence plaguing gang-affiliated communities today. The glamorization of this gang lifestyle, perpetuated by artists like Tekashi69, can

further contribute to the disservice of communities suffering from gang violence and perpetuation of stereotypes against those who find themselves implicated in such activities. It is, undoubtedly, the allure and hype factor of gang involvement that is pervasive among popular artists in our culture today. These individuals are bestowed praise and popularity for lyrics regarding robbing, looting, and living

a wealthy lifestyle as a result of engaging in these types of acts. The politically conservative argument would frame the glamorization of this lifestyle, and Tekashi69’s success, as evidence of a culture obsessed and accepting of violence, drugs, and destruction. Despite the several social factors influencing gang membership, Tekashi69’s willingness to affiliate himself with the Bloods in order to boost his popularity and gain street credibility can be said to indicate a violence-accept-

ing and promoting culture. Furthermore, in spite of the backlash against Tekashi69 by the hip-hop community, his ability to secure a 10 million dollar record deal from prison enforces the notion that chaos and controversy is rewarded in current American culture. With that being said, Tekashi69’s popularity is also the product of several other factors, which do not necessarily relate to his perpetuation of a gang lifestyle. Many individuals who listen to his music are attracted to his loud personality and the punk-rap music style he helped popularize in mainstream culture. Similar to the objection that violent video games produce violent behaviour, Tekashi69’s popularity is not direct evidence of an American youth increasingly accepting of the lifestyle he perpetuates, but perhaps an American youth with greater curiosity for what he appears to represent. What does ring true to the conservative argument regarding America and violence is the fact that violence is prevalent in American society. However, the widespread presence of violence is not just in the media through T.V., film, and music, but in copious real life incidents throughout the country. From increasing cases of gun violence, to the alarming number of violent deaths in comparison to similar democracies, there is something to be noted about the prevalence of violence within American society. Jill Leovy, in her international bestseller book Ghettoside, states how “we have grown far too accepting of our high rate of homicide” in reference to the homicide epidemic across America and specifically

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within urban areas in Los Angeles which are oftentimes gang ridden. Leovy ascribes the lack of institutional change in these communities to a series of broken systems of criminal justice and punishment, coupled with misdirected media information, and unconcerned law enforcement. The hip-hop genre has regularly seen topics regarding gang lifestyle and culture analyzed in several of its lyrics. Artists like 2Pac, Public Enemy and N.W.A. helped the genre explore several social issues that intertwined with a gang lifestyle mentality and paved the way for marginalized voices to discuss critical topics such as police brutality, poverty, and race relations. Modern artists like Kendrick Lamar and Run the Jewels continue to shed light on these concerns. It is certain that music and overall popular culture exposes fans to new political perspectives, and therefore to a certain extent, different forms of media influence consumers in one way or another. In exploring the Tekashi69 case from a political and cultural lens, we have come to observe the artist’s utilization of his gang membership status for reasons of pure self-interest. In essence, Tekashi69’s relationship with the Nine Trey Bloods was entitled and exhibits ignorance of what a gang lifestyle and affiliation actually meant. Tekashi69 is certainly not the only artist to have used street credibility for personal gain and “clout.” His rise and fall with the Bloods sect is thus indicative of the gang mesmerized mindset present in popular culture and ill-addressed, will only perpetuate violence.

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POLITICS

Les femmes pour la première fois dans les gradins: petite victoire ou «opération de communication cynique» du régime Iranien? BY AG AT H E WO L F

LE 10 OC TOBR E dernier, 4000 femmes Iraniennes ont pu assister à un match de football dans le stade Azadi de Téhéran. Si aucune loi n’interdit leur présence dans les gradins, les Iraniennes étaient, dans les faits, privées de ce droit depuis la révolution islamique de 1979. Cet événement historique représente le succès du mouvement protestataire de la “Fille en bleu” qui a émergé en hommage à Sahar Khodary, une supportrice décédée en Septembre dernier après avoir tenté de s’immoler par le feu devant le Tribunal de Téhéran. La jeune femme risquait 6 mois d’emprisonnement pour avoir voulu supporter les joueurs au maillot bleu de son équipe préférée. Si le régime a fini par plier sur cette question, la place des femmes dans le sport en Iran reste encore très limitée. Que peuvent espérer les Iraniennes après cette petite victoire face au régime ? Bien que marginale et hautement symbolique, cette avancée pourrait entériner un nouveau rôle des femmes iraniennes dans les milieux sportifs. Le 9 Septembre 2019, Sahar Khodary fait le trajet QomTéhéran, se déguise en homme et tente de franchir les portes du stade pour venir encourager son

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équipe fétiche, l’Esteghlal. Elle est finalement arrêtée à l’entrée du stade “Azadi”, qui signifie ironiquement “liberté” en Farci. Le jour de son procès, la jeune femme apprend qu’elle risque une peine de 6 mois de prison et décide alors de s’immoler par le feu. Le décès de Sahar quelques jours plus tard a profondément choqué l’opinion publique locale et internationale et a suscité une vague de protestation sur les réseaux sociaux soutenue aussi bien par les femmes que les hommes, et les joueurs de foot iraniens. Le capitaine de l’équipe de Persepolis, Hossein Mahini, a par exemple posté sur twitter un message de solidarité pour la supportrice : “J’espère qu’un jour la moitié d’Azadi sera à vous (Hope one day half Azadi will be yours) ”. L’arrestation de Sahar n’avait pourtant rien d’hors du commun : plus de 40 femmes avaient déjà été arrêtées par la Garde Révolutionnaire pour avoir voulu assister à un match au cours de ces deux dernières années. La FIFA et son président Gianni Infantino ont également eu un rôle déterminant dans la campagne qui a mené au match historique du 10 octobre. Depuis plusieurs années, la FIFA fait en effet pression sur le régime de Khouani à ce sujet, sans grand


succès jusqu’alors. Eux mêmes sous pression des supporters internationales depuis le suicide de “la Femme en Bleu”, les hauts responsables de la FIFA ont envoyé en Septembre dernier une délégation à Téhéran pour assurer que des changements seraient rapidement mis en place. Quarante ans après la révolution islamique, le régime iranien ne semble ne rien avoir perdu de son inflexibilité quant aux droits des femmes. Le leader de la Garde Révolutionnaire Abdullah Hajj Sadeqi, qualifie par exemple la présence des femmes dans les stades de “comportement dangereux” et “péché”. Il demande aussi au peuple iranien de veiller sur leurs “comportements sociaux” de façon à ne pas s’écarter de la foi. Le ministre des affaires étrangères, Mohammed Javad Zarif, justifie quant à lui l’interdiction par sa volonté d’épargner les femmes des comportement peu civilisés des supporters masculins pendant les événements sportifs. Ainsi, après le match du 10 octobre, nombreux sont ceux à avoir salué cette victoire inattendue du mouvement de la “Fille en Bleu” et de la FIFA. Cependant, il est sûrement trop tôt pour applaudir le régime iranien pour ce geste progressiste. Il représente bien sûr un pas dans la bonne direction, mais le chemin à parcourir reste très long et le régime ne semble avancer que très lentement. Deux autres matchs avaient déjà été partiellement ouverts à des femmes choisies à l’avance par le régimes (20 femmes en 2001 et 100 en 2015 = à vérifier pour les dates) mais n’avait provoqué aucunes conséquences sur le long terme. De plus, le 10 octobre, la sec-

tion du stade réservée aux 4000 femmes ayant réussi à acheter leurs billets en ligne ne représentaient que 5% des sièges, et bien que de nombreuses places pour homme n’avaient pas été pourvues, le régime a refusé de laisser plus de femmes participer. Beaucoup d’entre elles se sont présentées à l’entrée du stade sans parvenir à y rentrer. Ainsi, les femmes journalistes et photographes n’ont également pas été autorisées à passer les portes de l’Azadi et à couvrir l’événement. Le président du club Esteghlal (l’équipe encouragée par la Fille en Bleu), Winfried Schäfer, a lui même exprimé son pessimisme face à cette avancée qu’il juge peu déterminante: “Un nombre de dirigeants de la fédération de football iranien et un petit nombre de femmes ont été escortés dans une section spéciale. Cela ne change rien.” L’équipe a même tweeté : “Elle (Sahar Khodary) nous a supporté bien que les politiques le lui avait interdit, mais que pouvons nous faire pour l’aider? ABSOLUMENT RIEN. Nous sommes lâches.” Shäfer considère que le régime a uniquement cherché à satisfaire les dirigeants de la Fifa pour calmer les protestations sur les réseaux sociaux mais ne souhaite en aucun cas réformer profondément la place des femmes dans le football en Iran. En effet, rien n’indique que le match du 10 octobre marque le début d’une nouvelle ère pour le football iranien. Aucune promesse n’a été faite par le régime concernant les prochains matchs nationaux. Il est possible que les femmes doivent attendre plusieurs mois, lors du prochain match international en mars

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2022, pour à nouveau pouvoir franchir les portes du stade Azadi. Bien que le droit d’assister à des matchs de football n’apporte aucun changement fondamental dans la vie des femmes, il est hautement symbolique et impliquerait un changement plus global des mentalités. Avoir le droit de participer aux événements sportifs est un moyen pour les femmes de lutter contre leur exclusion de l’espace publique. Ce serait aussi, et surtout, une victoire pour le mouvement populaire face au régime, des réformistes face aux radicaux. Si le régime est aujourd’hui si résistant à ouvrir complètement les portes des stades, c’est parce que les dirigeants sont conscients de l’effet domino qui pourrait suivre. Bien que peu significative en elle-même, une réforme permettant aux femmes d’assister aux matchs remettrait en question les mentalités enracinées dans le régime et pourrait ainsi déclencher un élan réformateur de plus grand ampleur. Ainsi, l’espoir de voir la moitié de femmes dans les gradins reste lointain et le 10 Octobre dernier s’apparente plus à “une cynique opération de publicité” qu’à une réelle avancée des droits des femmes en Iran.

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POLITICS

Duterte and the South China Sea: A Carousel of Partnerships BY CESAR RAMIREZ

E ARLI ER TH IS YE AR , I outlined the roots of the ongoing dispute over the South China Sea and the upending of traditional Philippine foreign policy by incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, wherein he spurned the country’s long-time pro-American stance in favour of improving relations with Beijing. However, despite the apparent warming of relations with China, it would appear that circumstances have prevented Duterte from completely entrenching himself within Beijing’s sphere of influence. COZ Y I N G U P TO C H I N A

In spite of the tensions surrounding the disputed South China Sea

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(or as it was re-named by Duterte’s predecessor, the West Philippine Sea), 2018 saw the presidents of the two countries agree to a preliminary deal that would seek possibilities for joint resource exploration in the region. Moreover, China remains the Philippines’ primary trading partner and has become a significant sponsor of a number of Duterte’s economic policies, such as committing to finance and construct several of his infrastructure projects. From the outset of his presidency, Duterte couched himself with Beijing without much hesitation on the back of a strong anti-West and anti-imperial rhetoric. However, Duterte’s embrace of China is not shared by

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his constituents. The president maintains strong approval ratings from the Philippine citizenry, but the people remain at odds with their leader regarding the South China Sea. Considering the 2016 Hague Tribunal that invalidated China’s claim to the disputed waters, Filipinos have been resentful of Beijing’s expansionism. In a recent poll, 87% of Filipinos expressed dissatisfaction with Duterte and supported more assertive action that would affirm the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Moreover, despite China’s verbal commitments to funding and investing in government projects and the Philippine economy, little of these funds have materialized. In light of this context, Duterte publicly stated that he would mention the tribunal’s ruling during his August 2019 visit to China. However, skepticism over this claim lingered, and ultimately Duterte’s bravado failed to manifest any improvements in the Philippine’s sovereign claims to the disputed waters. Upon his return from China, Duterte announced that his administration would be “ignoring” the Hague Tribunal’s ruling after Chinese President Xi Jinping would not “budge” on the matter. Instead, the two presidents compromised on an agreement that would allow Chinese exploration in the disputed waters in exchange for the Philippines receiving 60% of its revenues. This 60-40 proportional split between the Philippines and China, respectively, meets the standards of the Philippine constitution, which is “clear about its duty to protect its EEZ ‘exclusively‘ for Filipinos.” While this prima facie appears to


satisfy the base level of recognition of Philippine sovereign rights by meeting the constitution’s requirements, the deal still retains the feel of Beijing superiority. A N OT H E R P I VOT ?

Continuing his turn away from the Philippines’ traditional Western-alignment, Duterte embarked on a 5-day visit to Russia and met with Vladimir Putin earlier this month. In pursuing improved Philippine-Russian relations, which past administrations have ignored to avoid upsetting Washington, Duterte has reversed a position that his country has maintained since the Cold War. The outspoken leader minced no words when rebuffing the country’s former stance, stating that the Philippines’ pro-American foreign policy that relegated Russia to “the margins” of the country’s foreign relations was “an oversight of strategic proportion.” Perhaps in response to the population’s disapproval of his concessions to Beijing, Duterte discussed and agreed to future joint resource exploration in the disputed waters during a meeting with Igor Sechin, CEO of the Russian company Rosneft, which has connections to the Russian government. Vietnam has already begun collaboration with the Russian firm in an attempt to assert their claim to their area of the disputed Sea. Beijing has responded by cautioning against these new partnerships as they themselves attempt to monopolize the waters. For the Philippines, Russia has no claims in the dispute and the contracts recognize the areas as Philippine territory, enabling the country to maintain its sovereignty while enabling the pos-

sible exploitation of the waters’ resources. The Philippines, for its part, has already begun to allow foreign firms into the region: permitting the Israeli company Ratio Petroleum Ltd to begin resource exploration in October 2018. Officially, such foreign companies act “as mere service contractors,” enabling the Duterte administration to convey sentiments that they retain control over the situation and new partnerships. It must be noted, however, that Philippine-Russian relations have expanded beyond resource exploration. The two countries have begun c ol l ab orat ion s in defence and security, including a number of major arms deals, as well as increased bilateral trades and investments. I N T E R N AT I O N A L I Z I N G A DOMESTIC TRADITION

Despite increased Philippine-Russian collaboration, the Philippine government has continued to pursue its “memorandum of understanding” for agreements with China regarding resource exploration in the Sea. While such arrangements are not legally-binding, they do serve to signal parties’ readiness to follow through with a contract. Although some preliminary contracts have been drawn up by committees of the two countries, experts remain skeptical of the deals due to China’s refusal to recognize the Philippines’ sovereign claims in the disputed waters.

Adding another wrinkle and complication to the story, Duterte recently asked for the resignation of Pedro Aquino Jr., CEO of the Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corporation. Although presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo states that the request was a result of a “loss of confidence,” allegations have been made that Aquino prematurely approved an agreement with an unnamed Russian

company. In the aftermath of Duterte’s recent Russia trip and meeting with Rosneft executives, perhaps Beijing has continued to retain its influence on Duterte. Meanwhile, the United States has maintained its military presence in the South China Sea throughout the dispute via their freedom of navigation missions. Moreover, the Trump presidency has improved Philippine-American relations, which Duterte threatened to cut off completely during the Obama administration. Just recently, amidst the revelations of Trump’s many conversations, a phone call between the two presidents has emerged wherein the American executive told his Philippine counterpart that he is doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.” In finding another bull-headed and outspoken personality in the White House, Duterte

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has returned to having a relatively stable relationship with the United States. At the same time, however, the Philippine president has retained relations with all the powers invested in the issue. Failing to commit to any sphere of influence and refusing to independently assert his country’s sovereign rights, it appears that Duterte has hedged his bets and brought a form of the common domestic practice of political ‘turncoatism‘ to the international stage. Duterte “has pursued a multi-country foreign relations strategy” since being elected to office, in line with his domestic strategy wherein he has maintained relations across the political and social spectrum, including the Philippines’ Muslim rebels. Consequently, Duterte, throughout the dispute, has failed to root his actions in ideology or principle. Rather, he has remained practical and pragmatic in a personalistic search for the supposed best possible outcome for his country. LO O K I N G A H E A D

Incentives remain for the Americans to retain the Philippines as a foothold in Asia Pacific while the United States continues to be a major trading partner of the Philippines. Furthermore, it has been claimed that improved relations with China were merely a strategic, rather than ideological, act caused by the United States’ lack of serious action against China’s construction of artificial islands, their criticisms of Duterte’s war on drugs, and to ensure “that the US does not take its former colony for granted.” Still, Duterte’s anti-Western and anti-imperial rhetoric is hard to overstate and likely played a major role in his

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shift towards China and Russia. With Chinese deals failing to provide what was promised, Duterte’s pivot to Russia may be rooted in realizing the shortcomings of constant concessions to Beijing and need to protect Philippine sovereign rights in the disputed waters. Moreover, Manila may believe that Russia can act as a “counterweight” and inhibit any escalation in tensions if, or when, resource exploration begins. Russia, in turn, may be counter-acting the long-standing, substantial US influence in the Philippines while also providing Russian ships access to valuable waterways (the Sea and the Pacific) as well as a friendly port. Duterte is well aware of the need to be well-connected and supported in this quarrel. The Philippine president has been adamant that any direct military confrontation with China would lead to “a ‘massacre‘ of Philippine troops, but Russia’s pro-Beijing stance throughout the dispute provides little assurance that they would at the very least prevent escalation or discourage Beijing expansionist policies. Realistically, the Philippine’s most reliable military allies in the dispute are likely fellow aggrieved nations, such

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as Vietnam, or the United States. At the same time, however, the entry of foreign firms into the region may have consequences that are not immediately recognizable. The Philippines, therefore, must insulate itself from any potential disasters and ensure that their contracts do not undermine the country’s future bargaining power. Well aware of the inevitable result of a direct solo military confrontation with China, Duterte has attempted to explore all directions that would inhibit any escalation of the South China Sea dispute while also providing the country potential outlets of support as insurance against military action. Still, the upcoming American elections may weigh heavy on the issue. Considering Duterte’s mixed relations with the United States, the mutual admiration between Trump and Duterte has been key in improving the countries’ long-time relationship. However, a change in presidency, and thus in personality, may re-ignite Duterte’s anti-American nationalist rhetoric and firmly push the brash president to align the Philippines with China and Russia, as he once proudly stated, robbing the United States of its longtime ally and stronghold in the Pacific.

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POLITICS

Au Liban, la colère rassemble les communautés religieuses BY I LO N A M É TA I S

D E PU I S LE 1 7 octobre, un soulèvement populaire inédit fait tanguer le système politique libanais. Si la vague de contestation a été déclenchée par l’annonce d’une nouvelle taxe sur les appels effectués via WhatsApp, elle cache un malaise économique bien plus profond. Le Liban croule sous ses dettes. Derrière le Japon et la Grèce, il détient la troisième dette mondiale qui s’élève à 86 milliards d’euros, soit 150% de son PIB. Alors que la corruption ronge le pays, les Libanais souffrent de pauvreté et pâtissent des services publics médiocres. Une pénurie d’eau potable, d’infrastructures et d’électricité détériorent les conditions de vie de la population depuis la guerre civile (1975-1990). La crise des déchets est aussi au coeur du débat public. En somme, l’annonce de la taxe WhatsApp était de trop. De Beyrouth à Tripoli, jusque dans le sud du pays, à Tyr et à Nabatiyeh, des centaines de milliers de Libanais sont descendus dans

la rue pour se révolter contre la classe politique corrompue. La diaspora libanaise s’est elle aussi mobilisée devant les ambassades ou consulats dans plusieurs pays du monde pour soutenir ses compatriotes. Au Liban, les musulmans chiites, sunnites, et les chrétiens maronites, réclament ensemble la démission du gouvernement. Longtemps divisées par le système politique libanais multi-confessionnel, le moment semble être venu pour les trois grandes communautés religieuses de se rassembler enfin. Le Liban compte 18 communautés religieuses différentes reconnues par le gouvernement. L’accord intercommunautaire de 1943, connu sous le nom de “Pacte National”, a renforcé la répartition inter-confessionnelle des fonctions officielles et administratives. Ainsi, au Liban, alors que le président de la République est toujours choisi parmi les chrétiens maronites, le Premier ministre, lui, est sunnite et le président

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du Parlement doit provenir de la communauté chiite. Les 128 sièges de députés sont ensuite répartis entre musulmans et chrétiens de manière égale. Aujourd’hui, ce partage est disputé car la démographie du Liban a changé et le nombre de chrétiens a fortement diminué depuis le dernier recensement en 1932. Selon le gouvernement français, le pays du Cèdre compte actuellement environ 60% de musulmans contre 20% de chrétiens maronites, mais ces chiffres ne peuvent être vérifiés car le gouvernement libanais refuse d’entreprendre un nouveau recensement. Si ce système multi-confessionnel était nécessaire à l’époque, car le communautarisme était très puissant, les jeunes Libanais d’aujourd’hui tiennent moins compte de ces clivages. “Du côté des religions, la jeune génération est beaucoup plus ouverte d’esprit” témoigne Laura, une Beyrouthine de 21 ans. C’est seulement dans les hautes sphères politiques et à des fins électorales, que le communautarisme est maintenant cultivé. Plutôt que de s’attacher à la création d’un sentiment d’appartenance nationale, les chefs des diverses composantes de l’État entretiennent ces divisions afin de consolider la base de leur électorat. Plusieurs lois institutionnalisent ainsi la séparation religieuse: par exemple, le mariage civil n’existe pas, seuls les tribunaux religieux de chaque communauté sont en mesure d’officialiser un mariage. Deux Libanais de confession différente ne peuvent donc pas se marier au Liban. Aujourd’hui, la mer de drapeaux arborant le cèdre, s’étendant à perte de vue

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à travers le pays, est donc rendue inédite, de par sa symbolique de rassemblement des communautés. La crédibilité du gouvernement est au plus bas. Le plan “révolutionnaire” que le Premier ministre, Saad Hariri, a dévoilé le 21 octobre, quatre jours après le début des manifestations, est raillé par une population désillusionnée. « Avec ces gens, plus rien ne marche. Ils accouchent en trois jours d’un plan que l’on attendait depuis trois ans. C’est honteux. » rapporte Karim, un avocat de 25 ans, au journal Le Monde. Le plan Hariri était pourtant prometteur. Parmi les réformes phares, on y trouvait une baisse de 50% des salaires des ministres, la création d’une autorité de lutte contre la corruption, une accélération de la réforme de l’électricité ainsi que le déblocage de 20 milliards de livres libanais pour les plus démunis. Mais, auprès du peuple, ces réformes n’ont fait que rouvrir la plaie des promesses non tenues des politiciens libanais. Loin de s’essouffler, l’élan d’unité des Libanais se renforce. Au onzième jour de manifestations, près de 100 000 Libanais ont créé une chaîne humaine, traversant le pays du nord au sud sur 170 kilomètres, pour marquer leur solidarité et leur détermination à repousser la classe politique. L’hymne national était chanté avec ferveur tout au long de la corniche de Beyrouth. “L’idée est de montrer que, de Tripoli à Tyr, nous sommes et resterons unis” explique une des organisatrice de cette chaîne humaine, “Nous ne sommes qu’un peuple et nous nous aimons.” Les manifestations sont restées, dans l’ensemble, pacifistes et festives.

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Dans cette profonde instabilité politique, des mouvements indépendants essaient de trouver un système alternatif de gouvernance au Liban. Le directeur de l’association “Citoyens et citoyennes dans un Etat”, Charbel Nahas, envisage un “État laïque, démocratique, juste et efficace”. Ce groupe de gauche entend rediriger le communautarisme vers un soutien national de l’État: “L’Etat ne peut plus être constitué par une association de communautés dont la légitimité préexiste à celle de l’Etat” soutient Charles Nahas. Le Premier ministre Saad Hariri s’est montré réticent à l’idée de dissoudre son gouvernement. Au sein de la coalition au pouvoir – la formation chrétienne de Gibran Bassil et le mouvement chiite Hezbollah dirigé par Hassan Nasrallah – l’hypothèse d’une démission est inimaginable. Coup de théâtre, au treizième jour des manifestations, le Premier ministre a annoncé sa démission. Cette décision n’entraîne pas la tenue d’élections anticipées car, selon la Constitution libanaise, le Président Michel Aoun peut charger une autre figure sunnite de constituer un nouveau gouvernement. Le 3 novembre, des milliers de manifestants se sont rassemblés pour soutenir le Président Aoun dans la ville de Baaba, au sud-est de la capitale. Les Libanais hésitent. Doivent-ils reculer et garder le système actuel ou bien poursuiv-

re les manifestations pour écarter définitivement la classe politique ? Si le démantèlement de l’Etat multi-confessionnel est fortement considéré, il pourrait néanmoins entraîner une grande instabilité dans le pays du Cèdre. Les minorités chrétiennes et druzes en seraient les premières victimes. Faute de représentation politique, ces communautés pourraient ressentir de l’amertume vis-à-vis du gouvernement, ce qui affect-

erait sa légitimité. Une alternative moins radicale pour une transition politique plus progressive serait la légalisation du mariage civile interconfessionnel. En affaiblissant le clivage des communautés entretenu par l’Etat, cette solution pourrait permettre de donner plus de pouvoir aux partis politiques interconfessionnels. Ces derniers existent déjà au Liban mais ne sont jamais parvenus à monter en puissance à cause de l’écrasante influence des partis communautaristes. Au vue de l’ampleur des manifestations, les Libanais ont enfin l’opportunité de sortir du communautarisme imposé par ce système défaillant et obsolète. Construire une identité nationale libanaise pourrait peut-être sortir le pays du cercle vicieux de la corruption et du malaise économique.

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TECHNOLOGY

Unmasking the Alt-Right: the Psychology Behind Online Radicalism From vulnerability can come violence. How can we understand and react to this progression? BY LILA MOONEY

MOS T PEOPLE USE the Internet daily for perfectly innocuous purposes. But mainstream Internet users have been increasingly separated by a single click from violent discussion, virulent attacks against particular groups, and a push for social revolt. This is the voice of the Alt-Right, a voice that is becoming louder with the Internet as its ideal breeding ground. In the face of a reality where an everyday tool is also the perfect weapon for hate-mongers to radicalize and recruit new members, how does extremism manifest online, who is most vulnerable to hateful indoctrination, and why is it so easy to radicalize people via the Internet? T H E A LT - R I G H T O N L I N E

The Alt-Right movement is made

up of distinct subcultures. “Incels” are involuntarily celibate males who identify as social and sexual rejects. They congregate online in communities where they can express feelings of frustration, depression, and “intense isolation”. However, amidst the activities of the largely support-oriented and non-radical incel community, a certain unsettling discourse comes into play which reveals a “raw hatred” of both women and sexually-active males. Incel forums are inundated with discussions about punishing women for denying incels sex, praise for perpetrators of violent attacks with connections to the online incel community, and talk which “normalize[es] rape and encourage[es] mass shootings”.

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While incels represent one part of the Alt-Right movement, the Alt-Right’s ideological and political radicals are neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and “white genocide” conspiracy theorists. These extremists use the Internet to gather new recruits and stir up hatred and resentment for various social groups. They rail against immigrants, ethnic and racial minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, and Jews as being responsible for undermining their economic and sociopolitical power as white members of society. Alt-right attitudes begin to bleed into one another, particularly when transmitted to wider audiences on sites that aren’t specifically designated to radicalism. This is especially apparent on anonymous imageboards such as 4chan, where users can discuss anything from anime and culture to their admiration for mass shooters and disgust for certain parts of the population. 4chan itself is not a political or radical site, rather it is home to countless threads that discuss ideologies and politics with varying levels of normalcy and radicalism. Such sites are used by extremist recruiters as “testbeds” for informal recruitment. A great deal of alt-right content, including memes, is first born and popularized on anonymous imageboards like 4chan, or travels from alt-right sites to these imageboards, before migrating to more mainstream sites with less charged discourse. Such imageboards and anonymous-poster sites are particularly problematic because of their “gateway content”—with a single click, users on 4chan for example, can be taken from neutral, everyday content, to a thread containing

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extremist discourse, all on the very same site. Additionally, alt-right threads on these imageboards tend to be full of dark, humorous content, making it easy for recruiters to exploit the dangerous power of having one’s “most hateful thoughts” validated in the same space, or even by the very same content, that makes them laugh. WHO ARE THEY?

With the “double-cloak of anonymity and invisibility,” is it possible to simply sketch a profile common to most members of the Alt-Right online? Dr. Ghayda Hassan, director of the Canada Practitioners Network for the Prevention of Radicalization and Extremist Violence (CPN-PREV) and a UNESCO co-chair on Prevention of Violence Radicalization and Extremist Violence, has done extensive research on this. She emphasizes that while “there is no causal link between exposure to [online radical content] and becoming a violent, radical person”, there are clear “risk factors” which, if present in an individual, suggest a greater vulnerability to radicalization. Dr. Hassan mentions “three [interacting] spheres” within the radicalization process. The first sphere involves fears and psycho-social distress in a person’s life, ranging from a search for purpose in life to more severe mental issues. Second is the toxic interaction of anger and despair—despair about isolation, loneliness, meaninglessness, or failure, combined with some form of anger and a desire to blame someone for one’s suffering. The third sphere involves “contact with external and

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internal violence”; an individual can be propelled by violent inclinations internally or can become desensitized to violence by witnessing external representations of it. The interaction of these three spheres makes an individual more likely to be open to the idea of committing violence themselves, or at least of praising violence committed by others. Radicalization begins with a conversation” says Hassan. Individuals who feel isolated and misunderstood often seek connection, community, and brotherhood in the virtual world. Former incels describe the appeal of a community that lets users know they aren’t alone. Even more enticing is the invitation to take part in a “heroic struggle”: to be remembered and celebrated as a warrior for the noble cause of avenging perceived societal wrongs. Such collective fantasies not only offer a sense of purpose to individuals who lack a sense of meaning in their lives, but also “[validate] their manhood”. The more an individual despairs about their own life, the more willing they are to follow certain radical threads of conversation in search of understanding and connection. Despair in particular can thus be a potent ingredient in the radicalization process, just as Hassan explains. Y O U N G , F R U S T R AT E D , WHITE, AND MALE

Carrie Rentschler, an Associate

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Professor of Communications Studies at McGill University, studies social movements and media activism, with a particular emphasis on feminism and movements against sexual violence. She explains why the Alt-Right’s online representation is so overwhelmingly young, white, and male.

A common trait among many online radicals is a sense that the world owes them something. Many are plagued by a sense of social insecurity, which can foster a sense of toxic despair bound to the reinterpretation of their own perceived failure and rejection as being the direct result of societal restructuring. Their’s is a powerful sense of being undermined by new social discourse that is reshaping and equalizing power structures; altright recruiters also manipulate recruits by convincing them that their own suffering is the result of “anti-white discrimination”. Rentschler explains that since it has historically been white men at the top of social hierarchy, it makes sense that it is also white men who will react the most to a restructuring of society that equalizes and redistributes their power. As positions of power and privilege once exclusive to white males become increasingly shared by a diverse population, certain disillusioned individuals will react against societal restructuring.


These individuals will also seek to blame their own perceived disenfranchisement on the very groups which now benefit from equal recognition and status in society. Rentschler explains how negative experiences, including frustration, rejection, and failure, come to be reinterpreted as the result of societal movements towards equality: economic and employment woes are blamed on immigrants and racial minorities, while sexual and romantic failures are seen as the result of the power of the feminist movement, for example. Their actions and opinions are justified by a discourse that says “we are victims, but are not recognized as such” Rentschler states. What can result is a perception of society as unfair and unsympathetic to the needs of certain groups that once enjoyed special powers and privileges.

Rentschler goes on to describe subsequent reactive impulses that can arise: the radical impulse to rebel against a society that has been corrupted and the desire to right perceived social wrongs committed against those who once enjoyed the greatest power. W H E R E TO K N OW ?

What we appear to observe quasi-universally in those who transition to radicalism is serious vulnerability and insecurity. Despair, rejection, isolation, loss of social advantages, a search for meaning or purpose; all these experiences drive a deep emotional feeling of revolt within a person. As Dr. Hassan outlines, this internal revolt can evolve into the desire for an external one, as vulnerable individuals simultaneously seek community with one another,

H E A LT H

Le Québec devrait-il décriminaliser toutes les drogues? BY MARIA LAURA CHOBADINDEGUI

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and fuel their resentment of society and desire for reactive action. It is worthwhile to ask whether shutting down the controversial pre-radical discourse in our daily lives is truly the best way to protect ourselves from extremism. If already-disillusioned people are made to feel even less accepted, even reviled, where can they go but further into the misunderstood brotherhood of extremist reactionaries online? Perhaps, even in the face of hateful vitriol and horrific violence, compassion is the best course of action; accepting the individual but rejecting the ideology. Compassion, discussion, and an attempt at mutual understanding – these may be the most effective guiding principles for standing up to hate speech and radicalism in our everyday midst.

L E 1 ER NOV EMBR E 2019 , par sa Loi resserrant l’encadrement du cannabis, le gouvernement Legault a modifié les restrictions sur la marijuana au Québec. D’une part, cette loi interdit dès maintenant la consommation dans les lieux publics, laissant toutefois les municipalités décider en ce qui a trait à leurs parcs. D’autre part, dès janvier 2020, l’âge légal pour se procurer, posséder ou consommer cette substance, présentement fixé à 18 ans, sera hissé à 21 ans. Le ministre délégué à la Santé et aux Services sociaux Lionel Carmant, responsable du dossier, affirme que le gouvernement souhaite ainsi garantir « la protection de la santé des jeunes, en retardant la première consommation le plus possible, » les jeunes constituant une population vulnérable aux effets négatifs de cette drogue. Malheureusement, les mesures proposées par cette nouvelle loi ne risquent pas d’avoir l’effet escompté, mais plutôt d’augmenter l’afflux de clientèle jeune vers le marché noir. Et si on faisait autrement? Le Portugal a décriminalisé toutes les

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drogues, de la plus douce à la plus dure, en 2001. Une idée qui peut ébranler les mœurs et inquiéter, mais qui porte ses fruits. POURQUOI RESSERRER LA LO I S U R L E C A N N A B I S AU QUÉBEC?

Était-il nécessaire de modifier la loi sur le cannabis? La fin de la prohibition par le gouvernement fédéral en octobre 2018 a-t-elle depuis généré des problèmes? C’est certainement ce que craignaient plusieurs acteurs à l’aube de la législation. Entre autres, les membres du Parti conservateur s’étaient vêtus de noir pour « souligner la période sombre dans laquelle allait entrer le Canada. » Différents corps médicaux étaient également inquiets. Par exemple, la rédactrice en chef du Journal de l’Association médicale canadienne jugeait que la légalisation par le Parti libéral était une « expérience incontrôlée » qui mettait à risque la santé des Canadiens. S’est-il donc produit de telles catastrophes qui justifieraient la réaction caquiste un an plus tard? Aucunement. Serge Brochu, spécialiste en dépendances et professeur au département de criminologie de l’Université de Montréal, compare les peurs quant à la légalisation de la marijuana à la panique du bogue de l’an 2000. « Nous avons collectivement craint le pire et ce pire ne s’est jamais produit », indique-t-il. Effectivement, les chiffres sont favorables. Une hausse légère de la consommation, jugée normale, a eu lieu dans les semaines suivant la légalisation, avant de retomber

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dans les taux habituels. On constate même une légère diminution auprès des jeunes de 15 à 17 ans. De plus, un sondage mené par Ipsos indique qu’environ 70% des travailleurs ne remarquent aucun effet sur la productivité, la qualité, l’absentéisme et la sécurité au travail. Les Québécois sont même ceux qui consomment le moins au pays, avec un taux d’environ 10%. Cette diminution de consommation chez les mineurs, faible mais réelle, s’accorde avec

un objectif de la loi fédérale, qui souhaitait ainsi diminuer l’accès des mineurs au cannabis: « un peu moins, mais surtout pas plus », signale le pédiatre Nicholas Chadi. Par contre, d’autres objectifs sont loin d’être atteints. Le gouvernement Trudeau affirmait vouloir aller à l’encontre du marché noir pour protéger la santé et la sûreté du public en assurant un produit de qualité dans un environnement sécuritaire. Forcés sommes-nous d’admettre, qu’un an après la fin de la prohibition, le marché illégal domine encore, surtout au Québec.

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LE MARCHÉ NOIR TO UJ O U R S R O I

Au Québec, la Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), une société d’État, détient le monopole des ventes des produits du cannabis… en théorie. Dans les faits, elle estime qu’environ 80% du marché lui glisse entre les doigts. Le gouvernement n’est pas compétitif face à ses concurrents. Le gramme légal coûte, en moyenne, presque deux fois plus cher que le gramme illégal. La SQDC ne compte que 28 succursales au Québec, et uniquement quatre à Montréal, pour une population d’environ deux millions d’habitants. La première année de légalisation au Québec a été « marquée par les ruptures de stock, la réduction des heures d’ouverture et les files d’attente devant les commerces. » Ces circonstances laissent donc l’opportunité au marché noir de préserver une part importante des ventes, alors que le Québec décide en plus de restreindre davantage l’accès au produit légal. Le gouvernement affirme que cette décision a été prise pour protéger les Québécois des « importants risques du cannabis » (curieusement, aucune loi n’est passée pour protéger les Québécois des méfaits de l’alcool, plus largement consommé et généralement plus nocif pour ses consommateurs). Ils veulent retarder le moment auquel les jeunes, population vulnérable, commencent à consommer. Cette loi ne risque pourtant pas d’agir à cet effet. Les experts indiquent que ce sera tout le

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contraire. Ainsi, M. Séguin, directeur du Centre d’intervention et de prévention en toxicomanie de l’Outaouais souligne que les jeunes qui s’approvisionnaient auprès du réseau légal se tourneront dorénavant vers le marché illégal. Bien sûr, dans le cas de l’Outaouais, les jeunes de 19-20 ans peuvent aussi sauter dans un bus de ville et s’approvisionner à Ottawa. Considérant les difficultés déjà existantes vis-à-vis le marché noir, la nouvelle loi provinciale ne fera qu’aggraver la situation. L A R E VA N C H E D E S DROGUES DURES

Une plus grande accessibilité, de meilleurs prix et une offre constante permettraient de réduire les parts du marché noir dans le cas du pot. Certes, certains trafiquants se désistent du marché de la marijuana par eux-mêmes, encouragés par la hausse des peines de prison maximales ayant passé de 3 à 14 ans au moment de la légalisation. « Va voler dans les poches du gouvernement et c’est certain que tu te prends une grosse peine », affirme justement un trafiquant montréalais interviewé par Radio-Canada. A-t-il pour autant délaissé la business? Non, il a choisi de se concentrer sur un produit bien plus lucratif, la cocaïne. Il n’est pas le seul à se tourner vers des drogues dures qui provoquent une forte dépendance et qui garantissent donc une clientèle régulière. Le chercheur Heyu Xiong a étudié le phénomène au Colorado, en Oregon et dans l’État de Washington. Son constat est clair: ces légalisations poussent les trafiquants « à se tourner vers d’autres substances interdites ». Bref, « la libéralisation dans un marché de la drogue

a pour conséquence involontaire d’augmenter l’offre dans d’autres marchés illicites, » d’autres marchés bien plus dangereux. Ainsi, la prohibition n’entraîne pas une diminution de la consommation (c’est bien pour ça que nous avons décidé de légaliser le cannabis). La légalisation de la drogue douce, lorsque bien mise en place, peut aller chercher une partie de la clientèle du marché noir pour lui fournir un produit plus sécuritaire. Mais elle n’agit pas sur les autres substances vendues illégalement, ou peut même en encourager la vente. Quelles mesures devraient donc prendre nos gouvernements, si leur but est, tel qu’affirmé, de diminuer la consommation de produits nocifs, particulièrement par les populations vulnérables, et de voir à la santé et à la sécurité publique? C’est alors que les avantages du modèle portugais de dépénalisation deviennent apparents. D É C R I M I N A L I S E R TO U T E S LES DROGUES?

Que propose le modèle portugais de décriminalisation instauré en 2001? Il ne s’agit pas de légaliser toutes les drogues. Leur usage demeure interdit, mais l’infraction administrative remplace l’infraction criminelle. Il est illégal de faire le trafic de drogues, mais il ne l’est pas de posséder des quantités pour usage personnel ou d’en consommer. Lorsque la police intercepte des consommateurs, elle les réfère à des « commissions de dissuasion de la toxicomanie », composées d’experts tels des psychologues et des assistants sociaux. Ces commissions font du cas par cas.

Elles peuvent imposer des travaux communautaires ou une amende, mais aussi tout simplement suggérer des traitements, informer les utilisateurs sur les drogues qu’ils consomment ou bien fermer le dossier. Le but de cette méthode? « Soigner plutôt que punir ». Bref, traiter ceux qui ont des dépendances comme des personnes étant aux prises avec des problèmes de santé et ayant besoin d’aide, plutôt que comme des criminels. Bien sûr, un tel modèle demande d’investir en santé, entre autres en réorientant les ressources auparavant épuisées par le système pénal sur-sollicité. Les choix du Portugal ont porté ses fruits. Effectivement, au tournant du siècle, c’est près d’un pourcent de la population portugaise qui était aux prises avec un problème d’héroïne. « C’était pratiquement impossible de trouver une famille qui n’avait pas de problème avec les drogues, » indique le docteur João Goulão, ayant participé à l’élaboration du modèle actuel. Depuis 2001, la consommation de drogues a diminué, incluant la consommation par les jeunes, tout comme le nombre d’infection de VIH chez les toxicomanes et l’âge d’initiation aux drogues. Le pays enregistre aussi une baisse de la criminalité associée à la drogue, du nombre de décès par surdose, de la charge des tribunaux et du coût social par habitant lié à la consommation. Des résultats qui devraient intéresser le Canada, qui doit présentement lutter contre une crise des opioïdes ayant causé plus 12 800 morts entre janvier 2016 et mars 2019. C’est simple: la déjudi-

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ciarisation de la consommation et de la dépendance permet de déstigmatiser les toxicomanes. Miser sur une approche non-répressive qui traite les dépendants comme des personnes malades permet d’augmenter l’accès à des ressources de santé publique, contribue à la réinsertion sociale des toxicomanes ou ex-toxicomanes et encourage la sensibilisation auprès de la population. P O U R U N E AC T I O N P O L I T I Q U E V É R I TA B L E

En conclusion, par sa nouvelle Loi resserrant l’encadrement du cannabis, le gouvernement Legault ne fera que rassurer ceux qui craignent les dangers de la drogue pour la société, pour leurs proches, pour leurs enfants. Mais ce n’est qu’une réassurance superficielle, parce que de telles mesures restrictives et punitives ne permettent pas une amélioration de la santé publique, une diminution de la consommation, ou un retardement du premier contact avec la drogue chez les jeunes. La prohibition n’empêche pas la consommation: c’est bien ce que l’illégalité de la marijuana de 1923 à 2018 au Canada a montré. Plutôt, pour réduire la consommation et ses dangers, il faudrait à la fois retirer la nouvelle interdiction imposée aux jeunes de 18-20 ans sur la drogue douce et s’inspirer du modèle portugais de dépénalisation pour attaquer le fléau des drogues dures. Un modèle véritablement ancré dans un idéal de santé et de bien-être de la population, qui compte beaucoup plus de réussites que d’échecs près de vingt ans après son instauration.

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ENVIRONMENT

The Cost of Burning BY JUSTINE COUTU

BE T W EEN AUGUST 2 019 and January 2020, about 17 million acres of land burned in Australia. This is the country’s most devastating bushfire season to date, and the fires are not slowing down. Grass fires, which are prevalent in Australia, spread faster than most people can run: up to a speed of 22 km/h. Strong winds, sweltering temperatures, and a dry climate fuel the blazes. Although fires occur annually during Australian summers, experts agree that climate change has increased the scale of these disasters. Over the last few weeks, images of injured koalas, destroyed houses, and bright orange skies have flooded the media, bringing more attention to the immediate impacts of the bushfires. Alarmingly, these headlines do not even begin to outline the true costs of such fires—they are both local and international, and they will wound Australia for years to come. Grasping the true costs of environmental disasters is tedious at best, and impossible at worst. A common approach to assessing such damages is to estimate the value of direct costs when possible and imputing a dollar value to losses that are usually not quantifiable in monetary terms. However, figuring out the actual costs of the Australian bushfires is vital. It allows us to design adequate first-response frameworks and gives us a benchmark for govern-

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ment aid evaluation. As climate change’s effects unfold, putting a price on the societal costs of its impacts may be the most compelling way of ringing the alarm bell. Destruction of infrastructure, both private and public, is perhaps the simplest category of costs to assess. Since September, about 2,600 houses have burned down, leaving countless families without a home to return to. In the past four months, insurance claims for damages on private property linked with the fires totalled 700 million Australian dollars. Some homes are underinsured and many are still burning, so this figure does not encompass the full value of destroyed property. Public infrastructure is also threatened by the bushfires. Roads throughout the country have suffered extensive damage and are in need of repair as people continue to move away from the flames. In New South Wales, the public water authority is concerned about the possible damages to the state’s water infrastructure. Power grids were also damaged throughout December and January, causing power outages and rising electricity costs. Whether it be for immediate repair or to build infrastructure that is better suited to face future disasters, the government will need to foot a multi-million-dollar bill. In addition, Australia’s economy at large will deteriorate considerably as the fire sea-


son continues. Tourism, a sector that accounts for much of Australia’s international income, has slumped. The Australian Tourism Export Council reports a fall of 10 to 20% in bookings made by international tourists since September. They fear bad air quality, ongoing fires, and a failure to rebuild quickly—this will reportedly cost Australia about 4.5 billion Australian dollars by the end of the year. Predictions also show a slowdown in the agricultural sector, as dairy and milk output is expected to drop in southern Australia, possibly affecting local consumption. Since the fires are unpredictable, uncertainty looms on financial markets, and corporate stocks threatened by the fires are volatile. Consulting firms and think tanks currently estimate that this bushfire season could reduce GDP growth by 0.25 to 1% in 2020. At a time when the country needs funds to fix itself and restore confidence in its industries, economic slowdown is far from ideal. Perhaps the most dramatic damages are simply unquantifiable. Blazes tear through neighbourhoods, bushlands, and forests, decimating plant species and the habitats they form. As time goes on, ecologists warn that climate change will impair ecosystems’ normal recovery processes, which will span over centuries instead of decades. Nationwide, one billion animals have been af-

fected by the ongoing fires. On December 27, Environment Minister Sussan Ley announced that up to 30% of koalas in the New South Wales region have been killed by the fires. Millions of animals have been burnt, and some species of frogs and birds are in immediate danger of extinction. Negative impacts on the health of Australian citizens are also impossible to measure. To date, 33 people have died from causes directly related to the fires, and this number is bound

to increase. As forests burn, air quality deteriorates and toxic smoke blankets the country’s most populated areas. It is impossible to accurately predict the number of deaths that this will cause, but bushfire smoke will make hundreds, if not thousands of victims. What the future holds is also opaque—how can we account for the impacts on future generations, many of which we cannot predict? All in all, the true cost of this disaster may exceed 100 billion Australian dollars, says economist John Quiggin. The govern-

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ment is expected to foot the bill by issuing relief funding, rebuilding damaged infrastructure, and protecting what will be left of the wildlife. Earlier in January, the federal government announced an emergency fund of $2 billion, much of which remains unallocated. Although more funding is said to be available if needed, this is blatantly insufficient to provide aid to those who need it and to rebuild what has been decimated. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has struggled to admit that climate change has indeed made the fires worse, leading to protests and international scrutiny. It doesn’t help that Australia’s leading industry is coal, used domestically as an energy supply and exported to Asia. Ensuring support to the mining industry and its 250,000 workers helped Morrison secure his spot at the head of government, which explains his lack of enthusiasm towards environmental protection measures. The Prime Minister’s lacklustre response to the bushfire crisis not only reflects domestic climate policies, but it also hints at a broader phenomenon of climate skeptic leaders holding onto power—joining the ranks of President Trump in the US and President Bolsonaro in Brazil. If this ongoing crisis has taught us one lesson, it’s that we are running out of time. In a world where money talks, correctly estimating the true cost of climate change is our best bet to rally world leaders behind the fight.

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the party sharply to the left from his Blairite predecessors, remains the most unpopular Head of the Opposition of the last 45 years. However, if a figure like David Cameron was successfully able to lead the Tories to renewed victory 13 years after their dramatic defeat in 1997, a new Labour leader can certainly help the party to recover from this loss going into the future. The question remains: what steps must this leader take to do so? L I ST E N TO T H E I R VOT E R S ’ CO N C E R N S O N I M M I G R AT I O N

POLITICS

Labour’s Love Lost: The Party’s Unsure Path Post-Corbyn

This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars—can Labour reclaim it? BY G I O R DA N O BA R AT TA

LE T ’ S NOT M I NCE words— the Labour Party of the United Kingdom lies in tatters. The Conservatives claimed 365 seats and won a landslide victory last December, forming their largest majority in Parliament since 1987. In the process, Labour lost 60 seats as the party’s support crumbled in their once-loyal mainstays of Wales, the Midlands, and the North East. Most notably, former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s previous riding of Sedgefield flipped to the Tories for the first time since 1931; as did Bolsover in Derbyshire, which brought an end to the four-decade long career of the acerbic

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Labour MP Dennis Skinner. Some have attributed the Conservative victory to Brexit, as a significant amount of voters on the left flirted with Euroscepticism, disagreeing with the European Union’s open labour market and free movement laws. It has been estimated that up to 800,000 Labour supporters voted “Leave” during Brexit. Others have placed blame for the fall of the “red wall”, Labour’s heartlands in north-to-central England, at the feet of Jeremy Corbyn. With 76% of the electorate espousing a negative opinion of the Labour leader in the months prior to the election, Mr. Corbyn, who pulled

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Cottonopolis, Warehouse City—industrial Manchester is Labour, or at least, it was. Despite its prominent status as the cradle of the working class and British radical politics, Labour has recently begun to ebb within its boundaries. Four MPs in the Greater Manchester Area flipped from red to blue in last year’s election, but the Conservatives have been making gradual inroads as early as 2010. A pressing issue for local voters is immigration. In 2001, Oldham (a city within Manchester) violently erupted into race riots between native Britons and the South Asian immigrant population. Twenty years later, these ethnic tensions are not as conspicuous but persist nonetheless. The British Independent Office for Police Conduct recently published a report into the failings of police and social workers in the city, concluding that vulnerable girls as young as twelve had been groomed and abused in “plain sight.” Although the police were aware that a pedophile network of Pakistani men preyed upon young British girls, accusations of sexual

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abuse were not only ignored—but were deliberately suppressed by police—in order to prevent Manchester from plunging into sectarian violence anew. In 2017, the city also became the site of a horrific Islamic terrorist attack at a concert that killed 23 (many of whom were teenagers) and wounded more than 800, the deadliest attack in all Britain since the 2005 London bombings. In light of these troubling events, the issues of unregulated immigration and cultural assimilation loom large in the minds of Manchester’s residents. The problem at hand is simple: many British Labour voters want greater controls on immigration, but left-wing activists, a “sizeable constituency…for whom border controls are racist by definition,” oppose the silent majority. In contrast, the Tories will likely continue to promote a stringent stance on immigration and related social issues that have won over many Labour voters in increasingly multicultural areas like Manchester. Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, a high-ranking Tory of Pakistani heritage, has gone on record stating it was “wrong to ignore” the ethnicity of grooming gangs, arguing that disregarding the electorate’s concerns about immigration and assimilation could deliver voters into the arms of extremist far-right fringe groups. Despite the reservations held by large sections of their base, the Labour party higher-ups have remained strikingly tonedeaf, appealing to activists over voters. Although Corbyn promised to “compromise on immigration,” delegates at Labour’s annual conference unanimously

backed a motion committing the party to “free movement, equality, and rights for migrants.” Many former Labour voters, seeing Corbyn as disingenuous on immigration issues due to the radical stance taken by his party, voted accordingly in 2019. The current left-ward shift within Labour over immigration is a recent phenomenon. In the past, former Labour leader Ed Miliband promised to take the matter seriously, stating: “…it isn’t prejudiced to worry about immigration, it is understandable.” To regain lost ground, Labour must digress from its unpopular stance on the matter and actually heed the concerns of their voters. A change in attitude will do well to recapture long-alienated voters within Labour’s traditional constituencies. E M B R AC I N G T H E B LU E L A B O U R M OV E M E N T

The internal divide within Labour over issues like immigration and Brexit lays bare a greater phenomenon permeating the British left. Many voters maintain strong conservative values at heart, while simultaneously rejecting the neoliberal free-market model advocated by the Tories and middle-way Blairites. Enter Blue Labour, an advocacy group associated with the Labour party and founded by the peer Maurice Glasman, which advocates “a socialism which is economically radical [but] culturally conservative.” The organization looks back in time to the nascent Labour movement of the early 20th century for answers to modern-day issues. In contrast to Labour’s post-1945 managerial style of government, disseminating services through

a top-down bureaucracy, figures like the Lord Glasman prescribe a more communitarian approach to the welfare state. Instead of state-driven distributive policy, Glasman contends that Labour should return to a “relational” style of politics, where the state delegates wealth and power back to local communities. Through this arrangement, Labour would deviate from the Eurocommunist model out of which Corbynism emerged and revive the practices of Old Labour: mutuals, co-operatives, friendly societies, local banks, and workers’ representation on companies. Just as the original Labour Party was staffed by Methodist activists preaching the importance of establishing a government serving the needs of individual communities, Blue Labour seeks a return to form: to implement a kind of secular Methodism for 21st century Britain. While Blue Labour is “culturally conservative,” supporting a unified Britain and taking a strong stance against crime, immigration and the European Union, it is still supportive of LGBT rights and takes a hard stance against racism. Academic and Blue Labour advocate Jonathan Rutherford, while discussing recently deceased British philosopher Roger Scruton, best describes Blue Labour’s political philosophy: “The left has followed the liberal philosopher Friedrich Hayek’s disparaging view of conservatism in his essay, “Why I Am Not A Conservative.” Conservatism, writes Hayek, with its fear of change and timid distrust of the new, is dragged along paths not of its choosing, constantly

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applying the “brake on the vehicle of progress”. But we have all learned that things don’t only get better. The destructive impact of liberal economics over the last 40 years requires that we recognise the enduring presence and value of the conservative instinct in society. As [Roger] Scruton argues, the market has a corrosive effect on human settlement.” Having rejected the emphasis on free-market capitalism implemented from Margaret Thatcher onwards, Rutherford utilizes the conservative Scruton’s love of tradition and community to express Blue Labour’s own stance. “Scruton’s conservatism is a philosophy of attachment. He describes it as a love of home, by which he means the common life and inheritance that belongs to “us”, the people, and which grows out of everyday life. This “us” is not made by contract and nor is it ethnic in its origins. It is membership which is made in the ordinary life of friendship, family, community and love of place.” In sum, Blue Labour cannot be thought of as “blue” for being socially conservative, but rather for being conservative socialism: a mode of government that seeks to elevate family and the community at the “heart of a new politics of reciprocity, mutuality, and solidarity.” When internationalist obligations such as those imposed by the European Union threaten the stability of British families and communities, Blue Labour affirms they must be rejected in favour of the good of the nation. The latent potential of Blue Labour is significant for the

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following reasons. First, when a political party is publicly perceived as patriotic—but also supplemented by a strong social welfare framework— they can achieve mass appeal, and thus a greater chance of winning. Second, there has already been substantial support for Blue Labour-esque policies in past years. The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), a Eurosceptic populist party, which became the largest British party in the European Parliament in the mid-2010s, similarly adhered to a conservative political agenda affirming national identity, while simultaneously eschewing European integration and the negative outcomes of 21st-century neoliberalism. Consequently, one of their largest support bases became the working-class, largely situated in Labour-voting districts. With the British electorate having responded well to this economically-left and socially-right mélange before, it is plausible that Blue Labour thought may soon acquire more traction should the party seek to reconnect with voters previously disaffected with Corbyn. B LU E L A B O U R — A LOV I N G “ LO N G S H A N K S ” TO Q UA S H S COT T I S H INDEPENDENCE?

Lastly, a revitalized party operating under the auspices of “Blue Labour” could aid in drawing the increasingly outward-looking Scots back into the British fold—and in turn, allow Labour to recover from the brink of collapse. Last December, Labour was reduced to just one seat in Scotland, its lowest share of the vote since 1910. Despite this precarious position, the combined Conservatives, Liberal Democrats

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and Labour (all anti-independence) still collectively control 55% of the vote, compared to the Scottish National Party (SNP) with 45%. However, it was not so long ago in 2010 where Labour was in the opposite position, with 42% of the Scottish vote and 41 out of 59 seats under their belt. As the internal political divide in Scotland worsens, something must be done to warm relations between Edinburgh and London. The Lord Glasman, architect of Blue Labour, affirms how his movement can do so by reining in the creeping Scottish National Party and granting Labour newfound political relevance there. The statist model currently preached by Labour has not fared well in an area increasingly supportive of political devolution. With this in mind, Blue Labour’s wish to make the community the locus of governance rather than the state bureaucracy may find fertile ground in headstrong Scotland. The Lord Glasman also believes the Labour Party must look back to its Scottish founder, Keir Hardie, for guidance in the present. Congregationalism, steeped in the ideas of Scottish Presbyterianism, formed a key part of Hardie’s early Labour platform, wherein each church congregation would be able to run their own affairs autonomously. By re-asserting traditional Scottish methods of religious governance within the context of the modern secular state, Blue Labour intends to implement “Scottish-derived,” bottom-up, community-centred methods of governance. This may ultimate-


“the exclusive property of the right in British politics.” Although Nandy remains in thirdplace behind candidates like Sir Keir Starmer, a softer leftist than Corbyn, and Rebecca Long-Bailey, a dyed-in-the-wool Corbynista— don’t discount Blue Labour just yet. If no candidate receives a majority in the first round of voting (as is likely to be the case), preliminary results from January show Nandy’s support will be largely redirected to Starmer, rather than to Long-Bailey. If Blue Labour’s support causes the scales to tip in Starmer’s favour, he will need to make serious concessions to the movement to maintain their support once in power.

ly turn the Scots away from the monolithic SNP in favour of Labour. Furthermore, as Glasman notes, Scotland’s left-leaning working class shares with its English counterpart a disposition of cultural conservatism which is amenable to the ideals of Blue Labour’s conservative socialism. W H E R E B LU E L A B O U R F I T S I N TO T H E UPCOMING LEADERSHIP ELECTION

Among the current contenders for the Labour leadership, only Lisa Nandy holds true to the “Blue Labour” vision that emerged out of the Miliband era. Nandy, much like Glasman, has stressed the importance of community and co-operation in accordance with the “old traditions of ethical socialism.” Similarly, she has asserted that patriotism must not become

POLITICS

army’s confusion was perfectly justified. After all, Konashenkov complained, it has become a “common practice” of the Israeli Air Force to wield passenger jets as “cover” during the airstrikes they mount over their northern neighbours. Using airbuses as a “block,” the Jewish State could effectively prevent retaliatory fire from Syrian missile defence systems by rendering the associated civilian costs very grave. Israel’s tactics in Syrian skies have become so constant and so manipulative, implied the Russian Defence Ministry, that they could be unequivocally blamed for the landing of that airbus on Russian-controlled ground that week. On its face, this sequence of events seems unremarkable. Israel’s anti-Iran targeting threw the object of Iran’s aid in the region, the Syrian military themselves, into a moment of confusion, jeopardizing the safety of civilian travellers and requiring a Russian landing pad for a wayward plane. The Kremlin simply took to the media in order to publicly grumble about the blunder. But below the surface, perhaps Russia’s willingness to openly bemoan Israeli tactics in Syria is the latest iteration of the Federation’s crumbling foreign policy in the region. As the Syrian Civil War winds down and Russia enters its fifth year of intervention within it, the country seems to be getting tangled in its own web of contradictory and covert international

Vaulting Ambition Russia in the final phases of the Syrian Civil War. BY S A R A H FA R B

ON FEBRUAR Y 7, Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for Russia’s Ministry of Defence, released a statement to the international media. Some time earlier in that week, a Syrian passenger jet had made an emergency landing at the Russian-controlled Khmeimim Airbase on Syria’s coast, routed on its way to Damascus by rockets from the ground. The fire, he explained, had been friendly. Syrian air defence had trained its missiles on the plane on the suspicion that it was a harbinger of an Israeli strike on the area, the latest in a stream of rocket attacks directed not at the Syrians per se, but at their Iranian allies. As the Russian Defence Ministry saw it, the Syrian

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partnerships. Positioned as the mutual ally between multiple sets of enemies in the Syrian theatre, the Russian presence that once smacked of Cold War calculation now seems improvised, stochastic, and altogether unsustainable. When President Putin announced in the late summer of 2015 that Russia would send its air force directly into the Syrian Civil War, the decisions and partnerships that followed signified a kind of imperial opportunism. Virtually immediately upon arrival, defence forces constructed the forward-operating Khmeimim airbase (the same one on which the Syrian jet landed this month), and implanted within it its advanced S-400 missile defence system. The navy entered and heavily fortified the nearby port of Tartus, reviving the eponymous Soviet-era base there with new technology and personnel. Geographically, within a year of its initial intervention, Russia had already reclaimed a tangible foothold in the eastern Mediterranean, the likes of which it has not enjoyed since the height of the Cold War. Meanwhile, under the official auspices of defeating ISIS, the country’s incompatible compacts began to take shape. Russian defence sent armaments and aerial support to the Syrian Democrat-

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ic Forces (SDF), a predominantly Kurdish coalition led by forces that had hoped to build an independent state on the territory out of which they chased ISIS. But, ever eager to maximize allies, Putin also bolstered the Turkish intervention in northern Syria. Erdogan, too, had ostensibly sought to cripple the

Islamic State, but more immediately, he hungered to crush the nationalist aspirations of those same anti-ISIS Kurdish groups aggregated in the SDF. And Russia’s position as the friend these two enemies is the confounding alliance still largely subsumed under the anti-terror motive that Putin had sold to his own population and the world. In reality, Russia’s chief aim in Syria has always been the

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reinstatement of the Assad regime, and with that objective comes another confusing and contradictory set of partnerships. Since 2015, Russia has carried out extensive aerial strikes on behalf of Assad, bombing both rebel and civilian targets in order to reassert regime control. It has collaborated closely with Syria’s pro-Assad military on a tactical basis, has infused them with firepower and training, and has furnished them with the elite Russian-built S-300 missile defence system, transferred to Syrian control in October 2018 following the latter’s accidental downing of a plane that contained fifteen Russian servicemen (in a situation not unlike the one from the beginning of this month, the Syrians, having mistaken the aircraft for an Israeli spy jet, fired on it over the Mediterranean, a debacle for which Putin similarly blamed Israel). Most critically, however, this extensive alliance with the once-faltering regime has required an indirect yet constant partnership with that regime’s other major backers. Iran and Hezbollah, who view an Assad-controlled Syria as a strategic geographic bridge between their two organizations, have also worked to reinstate the leader, embedding themselves among those same Syrian forces on the ground as Russia aids from the air. Bonded as it is to Iran and Hezbollah through a mutual

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commitment to Assad, Russia has also nursed a quiet, cryptic partnership with Israel, the archenemy of that state and its Lebanese satellite. Although the relationship’s full extent is difficult to discern, proof of its existence lies in the policy of “deconfliction,” an active agreement for military coordination between the countries’ defence ministries that emerged

at the outset of Russia’s 2015 intervention. Affirmed by periodic meetings between Russian and Israeli military personnel, the tenets of the agreement give Israel free rein to launch strikes on Iranian targets in Syria, provided that the country’s air force does not obstruct Russia’s own pro-Assad operations there. Essentially, under the cover of Syria’s constant warfare, Israel can chip away at the growing Iranian presence in the region while Iran’s ostensible ally looks on in tacit permission. In sum, Russia has armed and collaborated closely with the pro-Assad Syrian army, who have, in turn, collaborated closely with — and been armed by — Iranian actors and their Hezbollah affiliates. Israel hits Iranian targets, which are defended by Russian-donated Syrian air defence systems, and Russia allows this Iranian targeting, so long as the

Jewish State takes care to keep Moscow out of the crossfire. All the while, Russia’s own operations target not only ISIS but also the US-backed Free Syrian Army and Saudi-supported Nusra Front, effectively concentrating Russia’s opponents in the United States and the Gulf, while reinforcing a tangential partnership with anti-Gulf Iranian actors. So long as the war itself persisted in full force, the contradictions between these alliances could be blurred and elided. Provided ISIS continued to hold its territory, for instance, Russia could interface with both Kurdish nationalists and their Turkish opponents, supporting the former’s quest to erode the Islamic State’s presence in Northern Syria, while assuring the latter that the land around the Turkish-Syrian border would not become Kurdish territory once ISIS had died. As long as rebel strength persisted, the Russian military could continue to work with Assad’s army in willful tunnel-vision, acceding to Israeli adventures on the one hand, and to Iran-Hezbollah maneuvers on the other. While all these allies and covert partners focused on the ultimate ends of the conflict, Russia keenly made itself at home in the interim. Only now, as the civil war sputters toward its end, must that fleeting empire confront the eventualities it was premised on ignoring.

Today, in the first stages of that confrontation, Russia is fickle and flailing. It alternates between publicly chastising and cooperating with its partners, attempting to satisfy each by sacrificing pieces of its relationships with others. It is a perpetual seesaw that explains why Putin darted from closed-door meetings in Jerusalem in January to an exasperated denouncement of Israeli “provocations” above Damascus just two weeks thereafter. Or why Moscow sold Ankara its elite S-400 missile defence system this past summer, even as a Russian-aided airstrike last week killed an estimated 36 Turkish soldiers in efforts to coax Erdogan out of Syria’s Idlib region (the two sides have since reached a precarious ceasefire). It is duct-tape diplomacy, conceived in order to exploit a horrendous conflict for all the partnerships it is worth, but ill-suited for that conflict’s denouement. At the beginning of Macbeth, the protagonist speechifies about the notion of “vaulting ambition,” a kind of lust for power so potent that it “o’erleaps itself,” crossing its own wires and tumbling toward a space beyond reason. And in a form not unlike that described by the play’s wannabe king, Russian foreign policy seems to be catching up with itself, too, revealing its own contradictions and inherent impermanence. As the Kremlin chases a Cold Warera dream anew, it seems it is running out of interim chaos into which to vault. With the Syrian Civil War coming to an end, perhaps this is what it looks like when Moscow starts to overleap itself.

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Canadian Federal Elections INTERVIEW

How Do We Get Canada’s Youth to Vote? BY ANNA BEEBE

A discussion with Samantha Reusch, the Research and Evaluations Manager of Apathy is Boring regarding the research and efforts that have been made to help spark a shift toward greater youth engagement.

SURVEY

VIDEO

NDP Wins McGill Survey as Students Express Concern Over Climate Change

Jagmeet Singh attends event at McGill University

BY ALEC REGINO

In a survey conducted by the McGill International Review, 37 percent of McGill students expressed that they were planning to vote for the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in their constituency.

BY CAMILLE POINT

On September 16th, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and the Québec Team attended an event held by NDP McGill at McGill University. We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions while he spent some time speaking to students on campus.

Podcast Miniseries Ranging from interviews with politicians to post-debate discussions, this podcast series covered the broad strokes of Canada’s political climate. A C H AT W I T H

In several episodes, Staff Writer Sara Parker and Media Team Member Tilila Bakrim spoke with members of Liberal McGill, NDP McGill, and Young Greens McGill to discuss their respective platforms and why they are the best choice for voters in the upcoming general election. P O ST- D E BAT E D I S C U S S I O N

In this podcast, Media Team Member Alexandre Edde sat down with MIR Editor Chris Ciafro and MIR Staff writer Wynn Rederberg to discuss the performance of each party in the Canadian Federal Election debates.

OPINION

Canada is Quickly and Quietly Falling Behind in Humanitarian Aid Spending BY ALLEGRA MENDELSON

There is no justifiable way to spin how little Canada currently spends on foreign aid.

INDIGENOUS ENGAGEMENT

ARTICLE

There Are No More Second Chances BY ALLEGRA MENDELSON

The campaign trail of the federal elections has been full of promises of economic growth, affordable housing, and so forth. Why is it that issues relating to the indigenous populations continue to be neglected from these conversations?

GUIDE

On this episode, Senior Editor Allegra Mendelson spoke to Canada’s Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, about the government’s engagement strategy with the Indigenous community, its relationship with the environment, and the upcoming General Elections.

VIDEO

Trudeau delivers campaign speech in Montreal BY BILAL VIRJI

BY C H A R L E S L E PAG E

This article, coming late in the campaign, aims to explain a phenomenon that we have not covered yet: the Bloc Québécois (BQ).

Canada’s Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau speaks to supporters at a campaign rally in Montreal on September 13th, 2019.

OPINION

The Dumbest Ideas of the 2019 Election BY N I K I TA B U C H KO

An indepth look at some of the proposals in each federal platform.

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MEDIA

Podcasts This semester the MIR Media team has worked tirelessly to expand its podcasting section. From the start of this academic year, we have produced more podcasts than the past three years combined, which has translated to a 7-fold increase in the number of downloads we have received. This has, in large part, been due to our successful integration on major podcasting platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Consistency in output through our various different series’ we have been producing, such as The Aftermath, Regional Recap, Editor’s Pick, Mask

Hysteria and Review Radio, has allowed us to have a consistent flow of content to keep our audience engaged with us. After securing funding from AUS and SSMU we have also been able to invest in new audio equipment which has allowed us to greatly improve the quality of our podcasts. However, most importantly, the podcast section has been able to improve at such a phenomenal rate this year, due to the hard work and dedication of our podcasters: Côme, Naomi, Risann, Victoria, Ashwin, Joy, Rebecca, and Mateo.

H E R E A R E S O M E P O D C A ST S E R I E S T H AT C A M E O U T T H I S Y E A R .

T H E A F T E R M AT H CÔ M E C A B R È R E

The Aftermath, a reference to Dr. Dre’s 1996 album, is an in-depth podcast on specific events in current affairs and international politics hosted by Côme Cobrère.

B L A C K O U T C A M I L L E P O I N T, ALEC REGINO

In this series, Creative and Media Director Camille Point and Editor-inChief Alec Regino examined the state of democracy and censorship in countries all across the globe. Together they spoke with journalists, professors, bloggers, and activists to learn more about justice and freedom of speech.

REGIONAL RECAP NAOMI SHI

A rotational podcast series covering the most popular news within each geopolitical area that MIR covers

AMERICAN 2020 ELECTIONS AMERICAN ADHOC TEAM

During the second semester, MIR’s American ad-hoc team published a variety of episodes that broke down the results of the Democratic Primaries.

2019 - 2020

EDITOR’S PICK VICTORIA APONTE

Every month our Executive Board selects one article from the publishing cycle to be featured and read aloud in this podcast series.

MASK HYSTERIA BILAL VIRJI

Multimedia Editor Bilal Virji breaks down the latest updates surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and explores the public health, social and economic ramifications of disease outbreaks in this series.

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PHOTOGRAPHY

Cl imate Ma rc h ON FR I DAY, SE P TE MBE R 27, nearly half a million people in Montreal took part in one of the largest climate strikes in world history, led by Greta Thunberg and indigenous leaders. Here are some photos from our staff on the historic event. I M A G E S B Y VA L E R I A L A U , I M A N Z A R R I N K O U B , A N D D O M I N I K M A C Z I K

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2019 - 2020


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Profile for McGill International Review

MIR Year in Review 2019-2020  

A compendium of some of the McGill International Review's articles and content from 2019-2020.

MIR Year in Review 2019-2020  

A compendium of some of the McGill International Review's articles and content from 2019-2020.

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