Waiting for Bolsonaro, and company

Brazil's new president, Jair Bolsonaro, takes office at the start of the New Year. His election victory over the PT's Fernando Haddad by almost 58 million votes to his rival's 47 million loses a little of its shine when we consider that 41 million voters chose to abstain or register null or blank votes rather … Continue reading Waiting for Bolsonaro, and company


Marielle Franco and the politics of hate in Brazil

On Wednesday, March 14, Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco was shot dead in  a car in the city centre, together with her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes. Born in the favela of Maré, Marielle Franco was a tireless campaigner for the human rights of the  people of the favelas. With a sociology degree from the … Continue reading Marielle Franco and the politics of hate in Brazil

Distinguished anthropologists taking a stand in Chiapas

The Council of the University of Sciences and Arts of Chiapas,  the UNICACH, has recently approved the award of an honorary doctorate to General Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, current Secretary of National Defence, by a majority of 20 votes in favour to 8 against. This act has led two exceptionally distinguished anthropologists to renounce the honorary … Continue reading Distinguished anthropologists taking a stand in Chiapas

A tragedy that shames the Brazilian justice system

On the morning of October 2, the rector of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Professor Luiz Carlos Cancellier de Olivo, parked his car in the Beiramar Shopping Centre in Florianópolis. Shortly afterwards he committed suicide by leaping to his death from the top floor into the open central space of the building. Professor Cancillier … Continue reading A tragedy that shames the Brazilian justice system

What the Tories need to see in Manchester

Today the British Conservative Party begins its annual conference in Manchester. At first sight things have been going well for Manchester recently. But one result of improvements to the city's image as a place to do business, study at university, live, and have fun, in a metropolis that doesn't sleep very much, is that property … Continue reading What the Tories need to see in Manchester

Trump: the end of all illusions?

The long-expected announcement, by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, of the end of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA, popularly known as the “Dreamers” program) sees Donald Trump delivering on an election pledge, sort of. No new applications will be accepted from young people who were brought to the country illegally before they reached … Continue reading Trump: the end of all illusions?

Does Temer’s survival weaken the Brazilian coup?

Yesterday, as expected on the basis of recent developments, unelected Brazilian president Michel Temer survived. 263 deputies in the lower house of congress voted in a plenary session against suspending him from office pending investigation of the charges brought against him by Attorney General Rodrigo Janot, comfortably more than the minimum required to keep Temer … Continue reading Does Temer’s survival weaken the Brazilian coup?

Crazies and Craziers

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell is reputed, in a book written by the BBC's James Naughtie, to have called the key figures surrounding George W. Bush in the run-up to his invasion of Iraq "f***ing crazies". Mike Pence, Trump's Vice-President, certainly has a track record that places him squarely in the same camp … Continue reading Crazies and Craziers

Deepening crisis in Brazil

Yesterday afternoon a light plane carrying four passengers crashed into the sea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. One of the bodies recovered was that of Teori Zavascki, the Supreme Court judge responsible for oversight of the Operation Carwash (Lava Jato) corruption investigations and judgement of cases against politicians who, by virtue of currently … Continue reading Deepening crisis in Brazil

Destroying Britain’s universities

If you believe the present UK government, everything is fine with our public university system, which continues to  achieve remarkable results in international league tables, something habitually described as "punching above our weight" as a relatively small country without much deeper reflection on how our public universities got to be as good as they are. … Continue reading Destroying Britain’s universities