Monday, April 30, 2007

Carnival of Conflict, First Edition

Welcome to the May 1, 2007 edition of the Carnival of Conflict. Thank you to all who participated in this Carnival, and we look forward to your responses.

For information about the Carnival including a description, archives, and instructions for submitting your posts to the next carnival, visit here.

This Carnival begins with a song. Madeleine Begun Kane's Serenade For The First Sufferers (Political Song Parody) draws creation from conflict. Her satire confronts a deadly serious issue: the monstrously hollow sympathy she sees in the Bush administration for those sacrificing and dying for them. But humor disarms the monster and gives us the space to discuss the problemsas they really are.

Creation out of conflict is a pervasive theme of this edition, as well as the notion that conflicts have a profound influence on producing the political character of a society. The posts here react to a wide variety of conflicts. Writing about issues from global political strife to personal transformation, these bloggers illustrate that conflict (whether political, personal, and in one case, even physical) can be fertile ground for new ideas, deeper reflection, and more nuanced conversation.

Global


TheGoodGovernor writes about the structure of democracy in A framework of politics and democracy - Part II Democracy relies, the author articulates, on many forms of opposition - political dissent, diverse parties, economic competition and more.

Phil for Humanity identifies conflict between human society and our environment in How long can the world sustain the world's population? To a question like this, there is no single answer to be found. It seems to me the point of such a question is guide inquiry, not end it. Is describing a framework of democracy similar?

Domestic


Al Nye's Senator Collins whines on YouTube criticizes the Senator's position on the Iraq war and her response to criticism (she posted on YouTube). Here is good and bad of the politics of a democracy like TheGoodGovernor describes. Political fights can be ugly, but when democracy works well, those fights are fodder for public conversation.

Michael Boldin offers a perspective on responsibility for the military's actions. And he goes on to argue that standing armies themselves often become a tool for states to create armed conflict. They do this, he argues, to perpetuate their own authority. Conflict here is productive, but not in a positive way, according to most measures. His post is Leaders don't kill people.

Council Elections May 2007 by Save the Ribble illustrates another kind of contention in democracies. Politicians want a citizen group's supporters and the group wants its autonomy from electoral politics. Every influential group must negotiate this relationship with institutional power.

Santhros tackles the war in Iraq with Do we need more troops in Iraq? The question of American policy in Iraq has proven to be a divisive one the world over. But it also fuels new kinds of citizen cooperation and debate across state borders.

Whether sex education has a place in schools is, according to Good As It Gets, a major debate in India today. Good As It Gets argues a position in favor of supplying kids with information at Its all about sex baby. The debate is a useful metaphor for democracy in general. "Information is power," the author says, and values, power and political manipulation all intersect in debates like this one.

Chris Gragsone presents his perspective on a debate that shapes American politics - gun control. In his post, Guns are not the issue, he argues that without guns, criminals can still be violent, and crime in society will persist.

Yid with Lid , in French Jews Should Get Out of France While They Still Can , argues that antisemitism is increasing in France. Like many others, this is an issue that involves many kinds of conflicts and other social mechanisms - racial politics, power consolidation, economic frustration, and more.

Personal


Chris discusses using conflict in an explicitly nurturing way in his post, Conflict Resolution: A casualty of non-violent martial arts. Genuine physical conflict in a training space is the key for developing a host of skills for managing and resolving conflict outside of the space. Forbidding conflict inside the dojo robs it of its instructive role.

Katie writes about a very personal and well known conflict: debt. In today's economy, there are good reasons for avoiding debt, and good ones for incurring it (education, investments). What to do? Many turn to advice in the public sphere. Katie's blog caters to those seeking financial advice who are also interested in using their money in socially responsible ways. The post is An age old idea still rings true...just hard to accomplish

The last post will echo the first - with satire. Jon Swift responds to the recent uproar over Alec Baldwin's insults directed at his daughter. Clearly, he explains in Alec Baldwin's Daughter is a Disgrace , its the kid's fault.


There are many shapes to conflict, and there are many ways we react to it. In this first edition, we've started to talk about a few of them. What needs to be said next?

Thanks for coming to the carnival, and I look forward to your responses.
Find out about submitting to the carnival here.

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