Spain’s ‘citizen candidates’ shake up politics

At municipal elections, grassroots politicians are gaining support with radical participatory democracy. Barcelona, Spain – In May 2011 with an economic crisis engulfing Spain, protesters set up encampments in plazas all across the country demanding, as they said, “real democracy […]

Spin doctors to the autocrats

My investigative report for Corporate Europe Observatory ‘Spin doctors to the autocrats: how European PR firms whitewash repressive regimes’ is out now and can be downloaded here: It was covered by dozens of media outlets all over the world, […]

Der Spiegel et al, Corporate Europe Observatory

In the name of public safety

UPDATE: Since the publication of this piece the Government has modified the proposed law due to criticisms over its constitutionality, but it is still a very repressive piece of legislation. There’s an English update from El Pais here: It […]


The Spanish crisis – from private sadness to public indignation

“You have taken everything from me!” These were the words of Inocencia Lucha, a 47-year-old Spanish woman who recently walked into her bank in Almassora, Valencia, poured petrol over her body and set herself on fire. She was indebted to […]

The Guardian

The Spanish public won’t accept a financial coup d’etat

Spain’s government is right to fear the public reaction to this new round of suffering mandated by the financial markets The attempt by the Spanish “Occupy” movement, the indignados, to surround the Congress in Madrid has been compared by the secretary general of the […]

The Guardian

The indignados make change contagious

The recurring image of the indignados – the Spanish movement that protested against the “economic dictatorship of the markets” – is a kind of democratic Mexican wave of upraised, waving hands. Rippling in a crowd of thousands, the emotion that […]

The Guardian

Spain’s general strike is also a day of action for the 99%

Spain is about to experience huge austerity cuts that may prove explosive. On Friday Mariano Rajoy, the prime minister, is set to announce what even he describes as a “very, very austere budget” to reduce the deficit. According to El País, the […]

The Guardian

The Spanish indignados look beyond the election for their politics

Why the protestors in Spain are moving away from traditional politics

The Guardian

Occupy protests: a movement taking root

The Occupy movement, from Madrid to Wall Street to London, asks: “Why are the bankers in charge when nobody voted for them?” Like its predecessors in the anti-globalisation movement, it is struggling with the thorny question – how do you create […]

The Guardian

From Seattle to Copenhagen

Seattle was a turning point for the developing nations, an exemplar of how major concessions can be won.
 But to bring the spirit of Seattle to Copenhagen, polar bear ice sculptures alone won’t cut it. What we are seeing inside […]

Open Democracy

The tactics of these rogue climate elements must not succeed

A small, unaccountable group of climate activists of uncertain provenance and nefarious purpose are plotting widespread destruction in the City of London this week. Yes, it was business as usual for the corporate lobbyists who are in overdrive in the […]

The Guardian

Once beaten for stating the obvious, our time has come

It was 1999 and the summer of corporate love. Many pundits – now talking of “bad apples” and applauding bailouts – were predicting the stockmarket would go up forever. Not coincidentally, it was also a decade ago that the anticapitalist […]

The Guardian

The scramble for Africa

Tilbury dock, on the sea-reach of the Thames, is a bizarre industrial landscape patrolled by strange beast-like machinery: trucks lift sea-containers in their jaws and place them on railway wagons and lorries. Towering over them are giant cranes and mountain […]

New Internationalist

Sweet Nothings in Cancun

The World Trade Organization (WTO) claims to have ‘development’ at the top of its agenda. But as Katharine Ainger discovered outside its latest meeting in Mexico, it’s killing people instead.   The state of Quintana Roo, on the furthest eastern shore […]

New Internationalist

In the line of fire

The policing of mass demonstrations is becoming increasingly repressive and politicised As President Bush arrives in London amid unprecedented security, the politicisation of policing across Europe has never been clearer. This is a lesson Simon Chapman, a young British man […]

The Guardian

Top Girls

The chances are you won’t have heard of them, but we are pretty sure you will. In a Guardian women’s special, Libby Brooks introduces 50 women on their way to the top (Not by me but about me). Media […]

The Guardian

Will they ever understand?

To the ministers and corporate lobbyists at the WTO summit in Cancun, the suicide of a Korean farmer were just a distraction. Yet they echoed the views of Millions. In Cancun, Maria Livanos Cattaui, secretary general of the International Chamber […]

New Statesman

The peasants beyond the walls

Observations on Cancun In 1970, a computer chose Cancun – then a quiet fishing village – as the site for casino, sun, sex and resort-style tourist development. Now it is the location of the World Trade Organisation’s fifth ministerial meeting. […]

New Statesman

Ideas about power

A sample from the magazine issue Reinventing Power: Participation and liberation Most people have never heard of him, but almost all effective social-change projects today draw on the work of Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator with revolutionary learning methods. Freire […]

New Internationalist

Against the misery of power, the politics of happiness

Katharine Ainger describes a politics that is not interested in seizing power, but in breaking it into small pieces for everyone to hold. There was no-one in charge. It was totally spontaneous, utterly unexpected. Small fingers flew unerringly over the […]

New Internationalist

Great thinkers: Antonio Negri

Katharine Ainger on Antonio Negri Antonio Negri is not just one of the most significant figures of current political thought, but one of the few contemporary western intellectuals to have been imprisoned for his ideas. In 1980, Michel Foucault asked: […]

New Statesman

“Kindly tell our agonies to your scientists”

When you say you are trying to feed the poor, it can be embarrassing to have poor farmers turning up on your doorstep saying you are doing no such thing. In the summer of 1999, 30 farmers from Gujarat and […]

New Statesman

Is George Bush the new Bob Geldof?

The president of the US says he wants to feed the world. The only thing stopping him is Europe’s attitude to bio-crops. Katharine Ainger challenges his claim To hear him talk, you’d be forgiven for thinking that George Bush is […]

New Statesman

Eviction 2020

New Internationalist 353 Jan/Feb 2003 Food and farming / INDIA click above to return to part one A quarter of the world’s farmers are Indian. In this three-part report Katharine Ainger journeys through Andhra Pradesh to uncover their problems, solutions […]

New Internationalist

Crops of Truth

New Internationalist 353 Jan/Feb 2003 Food and farming / INDIA click above to return to part one A quarter of the world’s farmers are Indian. In this three-part report Katharine Ainger journeys through Andhra Pradesh to uncover their problems, solutions […]

New Internationalist

The market and the monsoon

A quarter of the world’s farmers are Indian. In this three-part report Katharine Ainger journeys through Andhra Pradesh to uncover their problems, solutions – and a grandiose plan to transform agriculture that will ride roughshod over the lives of millions. PART […]

New Internationalist

The new peasants’ revolt

Corporate agriculture is turning family and peasant farmers from stewards of the land into servants, or eradicating their livelihoods completely. Katharine Ainger meets the farmers fighting back. Everything in a supermarket has a story to tell, if only we could find […]

New Internationalist

Tricks of the trade

The global trade system, dominated by rich-world corporations, keeps poor countries poor. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the international body that makes the rules. These rules require poor countries to cut support to farmers and open their agricultural markets […]

New Internationalist

Profile: Raúl Gatica

‘Pessimism,’ says Raúl Gatica, ‘is something I buried along with my umbilical cord.’ Raúl’s small, stocky frame contains a humourful and expansive optimist. As an indigenous Mexican activist from the southern state of Oaxaca, his optimism is a form of defiance. […]

New Internationalist

Profile: Jacquie Soohen

In times of war, television cameras take sides. In May of this year independent filmmaker Jacquie Soohen, along with nine members of the International Solidarity Movement, entered the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem bringing food to the 160 Palestinians […]

New Internationalist

It’s democracy, stupid

New York, 1995. Exhausted government delegates gulp down coffee to help them work through the night on an international deal on climate change. One man, Don Pearlman, has been slipping negotiators of the oil-producing nations Kuwait and Saudi Arabia notes, […]

New Internationalist

Profile: Mujeres Creando

Overnight, in beautiful handwriting, words appear on the walls of La Paz, the high-altitude capital of Bolivia. They speak truths Bolivian women won’t say out loud. Deconstructing machismo, anti-gay prejudice and neoliberalism, Bolivian anarcho-feminist group Mujeres Creando takes art back […]

New Internationalist

A privatisers’ hit list

In the fevered imaginations of anti-globalisation protesters, the World Trade Organisation agreement known as Gats is a corporate boot sale of essential services, from water to electricity to the media. It is, they say, an attack on democracy that will […]

The Guardian

Globalisation from below

Blogging from the World Social Forum for New Internationalist The global justice movement has no a magic potion. What it does have is the World Social Forum in the Southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande de Sul. This global gathering […]

Empires Fall

Two words to remember – empires fall For the past few years, the global justice movement has been like the child at the back of the crowd as the parade of history wheels by. As the pundits applaud and the […]

Adbusters Magazine

Profile: Owens Wiwa

‘We all stand before history. I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial… its day will surely come.’ Eight years after the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, his final words to the Nigerian Military […]

New Internationalist

A culture of life, A culture of death

It is the end of September and, as US war planes mass in dark swarms over the planet, in Bolivia it is spring. Fat humming birds thrust their heads deep into the purple blossoms of the jacaranda trees that line […]

New Internationalist

To open a crack in history

When Macbeth saw what seemed like a grey mist pouring over the horizon, fear rose in his throat. As it came closer he could make out the branches of the trees which the forces of opposition carried aloft. The forest […]

New Internationalist

Beyond the Barricade

Artist Dan Baron Cohen travels the path from resistance to liberation with the landless movement in Brazil. Katharine Ainger talked with him about ‘learning democracy’. Nineteen burnt, twisted and branchless castanheira (chestnut) tree-trunks were being raised by cranes beside Highway […]

New Internationalist

Stay home for a while

Plenty of old hands were saying someone would die at Genoa. The signs were clear in the escalating militarisation on both sides. But the members of the Landless Movement of Brazil (MST) could tell you that Carlo Giuliani, the young […]

The Guardian

Earth summit for sale

Katharine Ainger discovers how the UN learned to stop worrying and love big business. White ants – Australian for termites – are pale grubs that chomp their way through wooden structures which still look intact from the outside. Until, that is, […]

New Internationalist

Our Word is Our Weapon

  The words of poets rarely make manifest the worlds which they describe. But the words of Subcomandante Marcos of the indigenous Zapatista rebels of Mexico – his political communiqués, fiction, poetry, letters – have a potent, magical power of […]

New Internationalist

Empires Of The Senseless

By the end of the first day of the historic street protests against the World Trade Organization – meeting to decide the future of the global economy as the millennium turned – almost every newspaper dispensing box in Seattle had […]

New Internationalist

A deficit of democracy

The Independent labelled those who protested against globalisation in Prague “economic illiterates”. The imposition of an identical economic model into every corner of the planet is not some immutable law of nature, but a planned process of unaccountable power concentration […]

The Independent

From the Streets of Prague

One of the first live blogging reports direct from the streets of the alterglobalisation protests against the World Bank and the IMF, for One World and New Internationalist. by Katharine Ainger Arrival – Banks and borders Thursday 21 September 2000 […]

One World / New Internationalist

Grain damage

The middle of a busy intersection in Manila in 40C heat could be the worst place in the world to hold a protest. Blocked by police from reaching the presidential palace, and blanketed by an evil fog of traffic fumes, a […]

The Guardian

Crazy Gang

Hitching a ride with the caravan of farmers fighting for a fair deal

The Guardian

Burning Crops & Mocking Leaders

In India, peasants are burning crops, mocking their leaders – and dying. Here’s why… Fifty-one years after India’’s struggle for independence ended in victory, another grassroots resistance struggle is being waged on the Subcontinent. Rural India is home to one […]

The Guardian