Electoral Impact of the Tragic Death of Eduardo Campos

One of the three leading presidential candidates of Brazil, Eduardo Campos, died in a plane crash today. Even if this is the time for condolences, political speculation on the impact of this tragic event is starting. This speculation can also be seen as an indicator of the importance his legacy. Let me offer some very preliminary remarks on what might happen now.

The main question that will be asked in the coming hours and days is whether his vice presidential candidate Marina Silva will take over the main candidacy. My guess is that even if there are likely to be important actors within the party of Campos who do not particularly like Marina Silva, her previously huge popularity makes her the most likely person to take over the main candidacy. The party has the term “socialist” in its name, but some of its key movers are uncomfortable with Marina Silva’s relatively critical stance toward agribusiness. It may, however, be that the popular pressures for Marina Silva’s candidacy will carry enough weight in the assessment within the party.

How would Marina Silva’s candidacy affect the presidential race? One scenario is that it might create some problems for the current president Dilma Roussef before the first round of the election. My overall starting assumption until today has been that the start of the full-speed electoral campaigning on TV is likely to consolidate Dilma’s support. This could be countered by the possibility that especially some of the women who currently express support of Dilma might be attracted electorally by Marina Silva.

This, however, does not mean that today’s tragic event would bring only bad news for Dilma’s electoral prospects. Marina Silva’s candidacy could also decrease the possibilities for an anti-Dilma coalition in a possible second round. My guess is that during a possible run-off between Dilma and the right-wing Aécio Neves, Marina is less likely to support the latter than Eduardo Campos would have been. Of course, the new situation could also mean, though it is less likely, that Marina Silva herself could make it to the second round of the election. In that case, she could be a particularly difficult adversary for Dilma.

Right now, this is of course merely one possible set of scenarios. We cannot predict the future. I have seen  various comments in social media about the death of Eduardo Campos implying a political earthquake or something similar. Not necessarily so. The possibility that his death would radically shatter the probability of Dilma’s reelection is, for the moment, not very obvious.

Possibility of African Consent: Meeri Koutaniemi’s Pictures on Female Genital Mutilation

Meeri Koutaniemi is a Finnish photographer who has received various awards for her work in the last couple of years. During the first months of 2014, one set of her pictures stirred an interesting controversy. The photos on female genital mutilation were published in the biggest newspaper of Finland, Helsingin Sanomat, on January 5, 2014. They have also been seen through various other media, including Time. Continue reading

G4S ei sovi hoitamaan Helsingin yliopiston vartiointia

Tämä on vetoomus sen puolesta, että Helsingin yliopisto ei jatkaisi yhteistyötään ihmisoikeusloukkauksiin osallisen turvallisuusyrityksen G4S kanssa.

Vetoomus on nyt avoin kaikille yliopiston henkilökunnan jäsenille allekirjoitettavaksi. Tervetuloa mukaan pyytämään, että Helsingin yliopisto noudattaa strategiansa mukaista vastuullisuutta. Allekirjoittajaksi voi ilmoittautua lähettämällä tittelinsä ja affiliaationsa sähköpostilla osoitteeseen syksy.rasanen@helsinki.fi tai teivo.teivainen@helsinki.fi.

Asiaa voi edistää myös levittämällä tätä vetoomusta vaikkapa sähköpostilla tai sosiaalisessa mediassa sekä nostamalla esiin kysymyksiä yliopiston vastuullisuuden merkityksestä eri yhteyksissä.

Alla on lista vetoomuksen allekirjoittajista. Mukana on yliopiston henkilökunnan jäseniä eri aloilta, nimikelistalta löytyy esimerkiksi dekaania, laboratorioinsinööriä ja professoria. Institutionaalista painoarvoa vetoomukselle lisää se, että allekirjoittajana on myös Helsingin yliopiston suurin akateeminen ammattijärjestö Helsingin yliopiston tieteentekijät.

Lisätietoa kaikesta vetoomukseen liittyvästä voi kysellä meiltä molemmilta. Kannattaa myös selvittää taustoja muualta. Iloksemme huomasimme, että Helsingin yliopiston rehtori Jukka Kola ilmoitti pian vetoomuksen tultua julkiseksi, että yliopistomme aikoo myös selvittää G4S-yrityksen taustoja.

6.5.2014

Syksy Räsänen ja Teivo Teivainen Continue reading

Onko Heikki Aittokoski oikeistointellektuelli?

Sain keskiviikkoiltana Twitterissä tomittaja Ari Lahdenmäeltä julkisen pyynnön: “osaatko suositella keitään fiksuja suomalaisia oikeistolaisia ja kirjoitustaitoisia seurattavia?” Mainitsin vastaukseksi kolme eri tavoin luonnehdintaan jollain tavoin sopivaa henkilöä, joiden ajatuksia seuraan itse mielenkiinnolla ja joissa kaikissa arvostan erilaisia ominaisuuksia: Risto E. J. Penttilä, Tuomas Enbuske ja Heikki Aittokoski.

Penttilän olen pyytänyt monta kertaa puhumaan opiskelijoilleni, koska hänellä on paljon painavaa sanottavaa ja on muutoinkin mukava mies. Enbuskelta olen toistuvasti nähnyt kiinnostavia huomioita vapaudesta. Aittokoski on mielestäni erinomaisen hyvä kirjoittaja, joka viljelee nautittavia poliittisia nokkeluuksia. Continue reading

Unknown Knowns of Russian

The Russian language has many unknown knowns. This is one of the pleasures of learning the basics of Cyrillic Alphabet

On Monday I was listening to Esko Aho, ex prime minister of Finland, deliver a talk about various kinds of challenges Finns face in Russian markets. As I was about to receive, a few minutes later, an award for the proposal to teach the Cyrillic Alphabet in Finnish Schools, I was trying to pick something from his talk.

At some point Aho was referring to Donald Rumsfeld’s well-known remarks on the known knowns and unknown unknowns. I had a vague recollection of reading that Slavoj Zizek had been emphasizing the importance of unknown knowns as something that Rumsfeld never paid much attention to. Continue reading

Left-Green Silent Majority of Bundestag

Behind all the talk about the number of votes for Angela Merkel, the German Bundestag seems to be getting a left-green majority. In theory, this means that the social democrats, the greens and the Linke could form the government and leave Merkel in minority. In practice, of course, this does not seem a probable scenario. If the three parties cannot find room for collaboration, their majority will not be able to speak the majority voice. It will therefore be a silent majority. Continue reading