What Even Is Democracy?

By Nick-D (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In October 2017 Green Agenda hosted two lively debates at the Green Institute Conference: “Everything is Connected”. This is the edited audio and transcript of the first of these discussions, titled “What Even Is Democracy?”.

In this conversation, hosted by Green Agenda co-editor Simon Copland, three speakers — Clare Ozich, Stephen Healy and Joan Staples — answered key questions about the nature of democracy. Panelists discussed what it is that we mean by ‘democracy’, why our democratic institutions are in crisis, and what we can do about it.

Thanks to the Green Institute for hosting such an engaging conference, and to Clare, Joan and Stephen for appearing on this panel.

Continue reading →

Turned Upside Down: Fake News And The Future Of The Media

A revolution is taking place in our communication. Across the world, structures have collapsed because of their dependence on a funding model that no longer works. This has allowed new digital platforms to expand their reach ever further, and to tighten their grip on the information we circulate and are exposed to. Fake news is thriving in this new media environment – presenting a threat to our democratic societies which we underestimate at our peril. In this article republished from the Green European Journal, they sat down with Aidan White from the Ethical Journalism Network to discuss what fake news means for our society.

Green European Journal: How would you describe the media landscape today, and the main changes which have been occurring?

Aidan White: The landscape has been transformed by technology, essentially by the internet, in a way that allows us as individuals to have more choice and access to faster information from a greater range of sources. But this has come at a high price – that of our privacy and protection, and our access to pluralist and reliable information.

The capacity of social networks to provide rapid information has meant that the role of journalism to inform people about news events has become less important. But what has not changed is the need for reliable and accurate information to help us better understand the impact and consequences of events, and that also provides context – not just reporting a series of facts but explaining why things are happening. While social media can provide us with instantaneous coverage of an incident or disaster, we often miss the filter that journalism provides, for instance to provide news while sheltering others, especially vulnerable people such as children, from views or images that can be damaging. There is no moderation because the tech companies have always said they leave the content generation to users without interfering with it. This has left the door open to unscrupulous communication, such as special interest groups who are only interested in pursuing their own narrow agenda, not the public interest.

Continue reading →

Refugee Justice in the Global Crisis: Where to from Here?

Pessoptimism, noun, the inextricably intertwined feelings of hope and despair, of desire and knowledge, under the current untenable political conditions

Stephen Wright describes aptly the state of refugee justice in Australia today as a symptom of much broader malaise:

‘The existence of the detention centre on Nauru is a critical marker of the failure of our ability to maintain a commons, and of the failure of the Left’s imagination. The self-immolations of Hodar Yasin and Omid Masoumali are not just the suffering of offshore detention made visible. They are our commons burning.’1 Continue reading →


  1. Stephen Wright, ‘On Setting Yourself on Fire’, Overland, Summer 2016, winner of the Overland/NUW Fair Australia Prize. 

Is Social Democracy Ever Coming Back?

As labour parties and their political projects appear to recede deeper into irrelevance in every election around Europe, we might wonder whether the death knell ring has rung for social democracy. But what remains to be seen is whether this trajectory will continue, whether the political landscape is in the process of shifting irreversibly – and if so how Greens can assert their place in it, and their vision for a new social democratic pact?

Continue reading →

Postcapitalism: An interview with Paul Mason

Green Agenda Editors Clare Ozich and Simon Copland spoke to Paul Mason, journalist and author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future.

With his bold thesis on how technological development is leading to the end of capitalism and the exciting prospect of what a postcapitalism could look like, we had a lot to discuss with Paul. As Paul puts it in the introduction to the book “The current crisis not only spells the end of the neoliberal model, it is a symptom of the longer-term mismatch between market systems and an economy based on information. The aim of the book is to explain why replacing capitalism is no longer a utopian dream, how the basic forms of a postcapitalist economy can be found within the current system, and how they could be expanded rapidly.”

Continue reading →

An Automated World? An interview with Jim Stanford

Green Agenda contributor Mark Riboldi recently sat down with Jim Stanford to talk about automation and what it means for the future of work.

Jim is an economist and the Director of the Centre for Future Work. He recently moved to Australia from Canada where he served for over 20 years as Economist and Director of Policy with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector trade union (formerly the Canadian Auto Workers).

Continue reading →

Goin’ where the weather suits my clothes

On the 9th December, 2016, the Green Institute published the paper Can Less Work be More Fair: a discussion paper on Universal Basic Income and Shorter Working Week. As part of this release Green Agenda will be republishing a number of essay from the paper.

The third paper we are publishing is from Louise Tarrant, “Goin’ where the weather suits my clothes.

How might a Universal Basic Income (UBI) and shorter working hours interact with challenges facing democracy, civil society and community engagement?

Continue reading →

Understanding the anti-elite Trump vote

The aftermath of the stunning victory of Donald Trump to the White House has left many asking the same question: how on Earth did he do it?

While the analysis is still fresh, and formulating, one can highlight three theories as to why Trump will be the next President of the United States.

The first, and probably most common among liberals, is that Trump’s victory was due to him effectively stoking racial fears. This theory is based on the idea of a “whitelash”, the idea “that Mr. Trump won in large part because he managed to transform economic disadvantage into racial rage.” Donald Trump’s victory was the result of a backlash from white people who saw their status diminishing with increasing diversity in the United States. Continue reading →