Stockholm stillness brought me to a drinking pool of more analysis and better grammar - it brought me wide eyed and wet (from snow) to local libraries and cafes. Amongst other things, in my lap jumped David Runciman's book review, Bouceability in the London Review of Books.
Runciman brings Classical Athens back to relevance. He links current ideas about mass collaboration and knowledge aggregation as manifested in the battle against copyright laws and the creation of Wikipedia for example, with the life in classical Athens. Classical Athens had a form of direct democracy as opposed to representative democracy, and apparantly it was successful.
On my mind is how our legal system can act against our interests. The Rule of Law is an ideal that
"rests upon a strict separation of public power where formal equality reigns from private power generated by disparities in wealth being utilised in the market where hierarches may proliferate freely" (Hugh Collins, Roberto Unger and the Critical Legal Studies Movement).
Legal rules are embedded in context - understanding the context is the way to interpret the rule. The example offered by HLA Hart is a law prohibiting a person taking a vehicle into the park. There are a myriad of factual circumstances that could fall within the scope of this rule : such as - taking a baby in a pram into the park,
-driving a truck over the grass,
-installing a truck as a monument (Hugh Collins, Lon Fuller).
So we see the role of judicial discretion in applying the rule to the facts.
It is Ronald Dworkin who argues that the judiciary refer to the purpose of the law. I suppose one predominant purpose of law is to protect private property. But it is also to promote the common good via dissemination of the benefits of technology and culture.
In the fascinating trial against The Pirate Bay, (Spectrial) we see the powerful confluence of the profit-motivated cultural industry and the legal system. (In a perverse twist one main investigating officer took leave of absence to work for Warner Brothers, a member of MPAA).
and on to Athens
Friday, February 6, 2009
Sunday, December 7, 2008
It is so sad and frustrating that the media continue to present the current political movement as a confrontation between anarchists (or extremists) and the police.
What is happening in Athens is a continuation of the massive public unrest with the current Karamanlis government, and its unfair policies. Out on the streets now are social democrats, students, socialists, and workers.
We saw the general strike, lasting for weeks, resulted in a resounding deafness by the parliament to the needs of the majority of people. When a prolonged general strike does not affect the Parliament votes, of course now we have the culmination of the public frustration and the demonstrations roll on. The government should call for a re-election Now.
Light on Athens
Of course it is not only the Karamanlis government but the ignorance and biligerence of the police.
The police shooting of a 15 year old boy did not run by without a resounding response of shock and action ...it has stirred and pushed all of you to march in anger at the continued police brutality in Greece! I also liked George Monbiot's description of this phenomenon.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
i'm writing in the middle of a midnight cornflake snack, disorientated back here in smelly Athens after a fantastic five night break on Naxos, where i strolled on long deserted beaches, ate delicous food and sat chatting to the locals until 2 am in Naxos world music cafe. Its wonderful to be so close to the sea, with so few cars around. There is an odd sense of desertion and evacuation there too, a little sad that the islands were emptied of there populations in the 60's, when people went to Athens for work. The few young adults that remain for the year seem a little lonely and bored. I'm all for decentralizing public authorities and the like, to re-populate the islands.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
This week is Orthodox Easter, and until this evening it looked like a week where everyone uses their holiday time to hit the shops...scarcely one woman could be seen without a shopping bag or three draped off her arm...stores were open all day, siestas were forgotten....
But then this evening my cynicism was given a shake, when we went on a walk and were sort of called up a hill by the chanting from a beautiful white Orthodox Church.
The chanting was very beautiful and loud, and there were lots of people standing outside the Church like us...just listening , or waiting for the procession, which would come out carrying the effigy of Christ.
we missed the procession as our hunger pains and gurgling stomachs called us back down the hill into baser activities.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
However the statistics show that prostitution is accepted in Greece, with about 1 million males visiting prostitutes, that is half of the male sexually active population.
Monday, April 14, 2008
On arriving in Greece from Italy, outside the docked boat, there were dozens of young men origin unknown, very poor and dishevelled. and not speaking Greek. They sat on the ground in a line. They were literally the first people I saw in Greece, and now only a few months later, their welfare is a top priority for the UNHCR and European Commission.