The Attack on Democracy and Breaking Out of the Empire State in the US and UKGerry HassanSunday National, January 10th 2021 Democracy is under attack. It is being challenged by the likes of Trump and his fascist supporters and by authoritarians the world over – testing its strength and legitimacy. And it is not in great shape in the UK, with academic David Runciman saying that “American democracy is stuck and British democracy is stuck.” The events of 6th January 20201 and the storming of Congress by Trump’s far right supporters has appalled most of the world. Much
Will today mark the beginning of the era after Trump?Gerry HassanScottish Review, November 4th 2020 Today the debris and damage that Trump has inflicted on the US will become a little clearer. There can be no return to the world pre-Trump and the supposedly more genteel, polite era of Barack Obama as if it were some golden age. The tensions, turmoil and evasions of those recent times laid the ground for and created the likes of Trump, Farage and others. Today may mark the beginning of the end of the Trump spectacle but the world and politics will
The Politics of Hate and why it has to be defeated – from the US to ScotlandGerry HassanSunday National, November 1st 2020 We live in divisive, contentious times where the noise and claims and counter-claims in public life seem to never stop. Many people yearn for this age of rage and hatred to stop, and for a return to supposedly calmer, more enlightened times. This can be seen in part of the logic of support for Democrat Joe Biden against Donald Trump in next week’s US Presidential election. However, there will be no return to a so-called ‘normal’
Letter from America: Let’s Stop Looking to America for the FutureGerry HassanScottish Review, October 30th 2019‘You don’t know how lucky you are. Never take your democracy for granted. You don’t realise what it’s worth until it’s too late.’Mikola Statkevich, former Belarusian Presidential candidate, 2015 America likes to think of itself as the shining light on the hill, as the exemplar in the whole world of life, liberty and happiness. Yet the America of today is increasingly turning it back on such a version of itself. This is a dysfunctional, divided, unhappy society, increasingly not at ease
Whatever happened to the springtime for democracy?Gerry HassanScottish Review, September 18th 2018 Three decades ago democracy was the future and carrying all before it. The Soviet bloc was collapsing, the South African apartheid regime was crumbling - and all across South America brutal dictatorships were being replaced by democracies (however imperfect) symbolised by the fall of the Pinochet junta. Today the state of the world could not look more different and feel less optimistic. There are still many more democracies than there even a decade ago, but somehow the springtime for people power promised three decades ago has
How Trump Shook America and the World: My Letter from AmericaGerry HassanScottish Review, November 10th 2016 America has shaken itself and the world. Something seismic has happened which has compounded experts, the political classes, and observers all round the world. But in this year of revolt and surprises - from Leicester City and the Cubs to more seriously Brexit and Trump - the question is why should we be surprised anymore? I spent the last three weeks in the States, attending rallies, speaking and listening to people, and trying to understand what was going on. It was clear
What does the US Presidential Election Mean? Twelve Thoughts on US PoliticsGerry HassanOpen Democracy, November 8th 2016 This has been a fascinating election; a true rollercoaster of emotions - of hope and fear, the spectre of bigotry and violence, and the flames of intolerance, and even insurrection, raised in some right-wing circles. Here are some thoughts and observations based on travels, conversations and attending various political events in the United States over the last few weeks.
In the past fortnight I attended a Hillary Clinton-Elizabeth Warren rally, followed by a Donald Trump event, and an eve of
Fear of a Trump PlanetGerry HassanOpen Democracy, November 4th 2016 Could Donald Trump actually pull off the biggest election shock in post-war US politics? One week ago the US Presidential election was meant to be over. Now the weekend before the election things look very different. For the past week the Clinton campaign has hit stormy waters, aided by FBI Director James Comey, while Trump has in the last stages found a momentum and even belatedly embraced a degree of message discipline. On Friday I went to a Trump rally in the palatial surroundings of Atkinson Country Club,
Donald Trump may be a one-off but his politics are not a one-offGerry HassanScottish Review, March 16th 2016 Donald Trump may seem like a throwback to earlier, uglier times, but he is actually a very modern phenomenon. He is easy for opponents to hate, ridicule and throw insults at - from ‘fascist’ (which he most certainly isn’t) - to racist, misogynist and demagogue which, whether they are right or wrong, get in the way of understanding his politics and their widespread appeal. Donald Trump is favourite to win the US Republican nomination to be President of the United
What are politicians for today? In Defence of a Different PoliticsGerry HassanScottish Review, March 9th 2016 For all my adult life, I have defended the potential of politics and politicians to aid a better world. I have defended politics as the means to bring about change, for people to come together collectively and exercise power, and to aid the art of living together well. I have defended politicians as both a necessary evil - not all being the same and tarred with the same brush – and as people undertaking an activity in which many try their best.