What Europe’s hopeful left can learn from Latin America

By Ana Cecilia Dinerstein

(This blog was oringially posted at – The Conversation)

After years of austerity and economic turmoil, mass movements based on hope are finally taking root in Europe – and not just on the streets. Syriza is now in power in Greece, and enjoying a surge in the opinion polls. Meanwhile, its success is inspiring Spain’s Podemos to make a serious stand in elections there; its rallies are drawing Spaniards in their tens of thousands. These movements are not just part of the everyday turnover of domestic politics. They are a real rejection of the insidious politics of austerity, and the beginning of the end of the politics of fear.

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Can DFID really work with faith communities?

By Severine Deneulin

In June 2012, DFID launched a new partnership with faith communities, working together for poverty reduction and sustainable development. Amongst other things, it calls for  for mutual understanding between DFID and faith communities.  The question of whether this was really possible was vividly highlighted to me when I was in Ecuador last year attending a government-sponsored conference on sustainable development alternatives. The conference opened with a religious ceremony by a Kichwa man and an altar of harvested goods. He began by singing songs of praise to God for giving abundant food and sustaining human life. He then gave a short introduction to the Kichwa indigenous cosmovision which is encapsulated in the Kichwa greeting: Not ‘how are you?’ ‘Fine’ but ‘You are me’ ‘I am you’.  This was to expresss how our individuality is found in our relationships to others and our lives are intertwined with the natural environment. He finished by some petition prayers that we may live in harmony with each other and nature. Continue reading