Who will Guard the Guardians: Direct Democracy as Suspicion of Authority

Towards Autonomy

There no longer are any checks on political life, no sanctions beyond those of the penal code, which, as various “affairs” have shown, functions less and less. At any rate, in such a situation the question is posed, as it always has been: “And why the devil would judge themselves, or their ‘overseers,’ be exempt from the general corruption, and for how long? Who will guard the guardians?” [1]~Cornelius Castoriadis For a long time there has been this persistent and deeply entrenched idea that direct democracy, or popular self-management, is impossible to attain on society-wide scale because people are not good enough. One of the earlier expressions of this argument can be found in the works of great Swiss thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He suggests, in his magnum opus The Social Contract, that “were there a people of gods, their government would be democratic. So perfect a government is not for men”. Although he...

Xingu Seed Network

Amazon’s least-deforested areas are due to ‘vital role’ of Indigenous peoples

Carbon Brief

Only 5% of net forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon occurs in Indigenous territories and protected areas – even though these areas contain more than half of the region’s forest. That is a key finding from a recent study, published in Nature Sustainability, which looks at data over the period 2000 to 2021. It analyses satellite images to estimate annual forest area and then overlays that information with national datasets on different governance and management systems. The findings reveal the “vital role” of Indigenous territories and protected areas in forest conservation in the Amazon, the authors write. However, over 2018-21, the percentage of annual forest loss in those areas was twice as large as the one in non-designated areas, the study finds. The authors warn that this change highlights the effect of the “weakening” of environmental protections under former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. The great Amazon The Amazon is the largest...