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Germany

In Berlin, "Civil Disobedience For A Better Europe"

The Peng Collective of artist activists has been raising awareness and "filing down the teeth of civil society" by tackling pollution, data protection, denuclearization and now refugee politics.

A Peng Collective ad in Berlin
A Peng Collective ad in Berlin
Charlotte-Haunhorst

BERLIN — The show begins at 10 a.m. Ruben, a Peng Collective activist, is standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate wearing a black suit in the brutal heat. A TV reporter is interviewing him, and photographers are scurrying around them like ants. Behind Ruben is a dais with an EU flag and a photo of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, whom Ruben notes is "sadly not present today." But, he goes on to say, "Today we present the European decoration for services to those who have helped refugees escape, as they committed a necessary and important act of civil disobedience to create a better Europe."

The group of Berlin activists is calling for people to drive refugees across European borders when vacationing abroad with a car. For civil disobedience "beginners," they say, this need not exceed the Schengen Area of open borders, but they would also welcome help for all who want to enter Europe. The collective calls that "help to escape," or Fluchthilfe in German.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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