We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, August 6, 2018

Recommended articles for Monday, August 6, 2018

As noted in Rolling Stone earlier this year, 70 percent of Americans get their news from just two sources, Facebook and Google. As that number rises, the power of just a few people to decide what information does and does not reach the public will amplify significantly.
Jordan currently ranks among the highest recipients of US foreign aid worldwide, both in absolute terms and particularly so on a per capita basis. Besides military and economic support, Jordan has over the past years also been the target of a whole plethora of US democracy-promotion interventions. As a result, there are probably only a few Jordanian state institutions that have not in one way or another been the target of external attempts at some form of capacity building and institutional engineering.
Later he writes:
Comparing US attempts at alleged democracy promotion with the recent protests highlights important differences in both approaches and the key actors. In fact, such comparison reveals the extent to which many US-funded programs in the country are about the disciplining of democratic demands and shaping them such that they become compatible with existing authoritarian power structures.

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