The global movement for change decentred, multivocal, democratic has a right to expect the same approach from those who seek to understand it. Paul Kingsnorth has travelled the world, to track the ways that diverse social, political and environmental struggles combine into the search for a world of fairness and freedom. Here, he talks to Caspar Henderson of openDemocracy about American consumer culture and the struggle for freedom in West Papua seemingly disparate issues connected by the thread of global corporate power.
The five-year presidency of Hugo Chavez has given Venezuela, long one of the most reliably conservative and pro-United States countries in the hemisphere, an unlikely reputation for political radicalism and social upheaval. Chavez, himself a former military coup-leader (in 1992) turned populist politician, was elected president of Venezuela in a landslide victory in 1998 (reconfirmed in another election in 2000 after Chavez introduced a new constitution). But his flamboyant attempts to set the country on a new economic and social course, allied to his radical rhetoric and grandiose political gestures, have mobilised both passionate loyalty and bitter hostility among the Venezuelan people.
In the aftermath of a cancer operation, inveterate sceptic and openDemocracy columnist Dave Belden is treated by a healer. Might his sickness really have roots in his childhood? Can she address its cause at the level of energy? If so, what else might she heal? Is she a cheap gypsy or the real thing? What does he believe?
This letter from Tehran tells of the arrest of a man who lived quietly by renting out copies of the worlds great cinema classics. This arrest is part of a wider purge of film journalists over recent months.
David Burke is wrong to associate interactive TV with more power for corporations, politicians and advertisers. Legal and practical safeguards protect viewers rights, and people will continue to select and filter the material they encounter. The heart of the new technology is communication, diversity and choice and, if anything, the empowerment of the viewer rather than the monitors.
The European Union faces a legitimacy crisis. Elites and publics are moving in different directions. The way to respond is to allow all EU citizens to vote on matters affecting their future, even across national boundaries. The two Irish referenda on the Nice treaty, and those on accession, illustrate the potential of this form of direct democracy to reinvigorate public engagement.
If any continent deserves intervention, it is Africa. In the Democratic Republic of Congo and East Africa a devastating human crisis failed states, ethnic violence, rampant disease and endemic insecurity presents Bush and Blair with a moral as well as a political challenge.
As migration increases around the world, both international organisations and states seek tighter regulation and control over workers, asylum-seekers, and refugees. These forceful attempts to manage free movement in the interests of economic growth and social engineering inspire in response a radical defence of global social justice and equality and an end to all restrictions on migration.
The controversy over People Flow reflects a major tension of globalisation: between the opening of national economies and restrictions in the worlds labour markets. Government attempts to fix labour movement in static patterns fail to register either migrations fluid, dynamic aspect or its benign economic effects. The way forward for Europe is to integrate the continent within the evolving world labour market and move towards free migration and open borders.
Africas economic collapse and corruption mean that Europes efforts to stem immigration from the continent will remain futile until the underlying causes are addressed.
He lied, he cheated, he fantasised now he confesses. After two years of glorious columnar insouciance, Dominic Hilton bares his soul, sells his editors, and shakes openDemocracy to its foundations. Can a publishing mega-deal be far behind?
The current debates over both American global power
and its quasi-imperial character, and the new strategic doctrines
and ambitions of its political leadership, need to be informed by a particular kind of historical thinking which has been too little in evidence so far. The consideration of parallels between old European empires and contemporary developments such as the central question of the US empire would benefit from four fresh elements.
The argument of Tony Klug for an international protectorate to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is flawed by unrealism. In particular, external forces would be incapable of the detailed military planning and enforcement necessary to ensure security in the contested territories. The way ahead, rather, starts from practical day-to-day cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces. This is the cumulative, difficult, but unavoidable route to an internal settlement.
The principle guiding successful governance is changing. Until recently, policy ideas evolved (and too often failed) within a vacuum of national experience and cultural superiority. Today, the global commons a shared space of experience, knowledge, and experiment is transforming the way political systems think and operate. One of the architects of the New Labour reform programme in Britain, writing in a personal capacity, maps a key transition.
The war on terror is in trouble in its two largest theatres of operation. Resistance to security forces is intensifying in the Afghan and Iraqi hinterlands, even reaching into Kabul and Baghdad themselves. In both countries, a long-term military campaign is in sight.
North Koreas nukes, Mauritanias mystery, Pizza politics
Yesterday Omer sent me, in an email attachment, some of the pictures he took with the digital camera I gave him. They were from the road between Kirkuk and Baghdad; pictures hed taken as we drove down it about ten days after Baghdad fell. A long straight road through the flat, beige landscape, through low mean mud villages; quiet or empty, past Arab shepherds with their faces swathed in red and white checked headscarves and abandoned Iraqi positions, dry dust trenches like scars; burnt out APCs like weals.
There were no Americans.
In advance of a global summit of centre-left leaders in London, Geoff Mulgan has mapped a vital cultural shift in the inner life of British governance from we know best to we learn best. The openness and practicality of his argument make it both welcome and deceptively radical, says Anthony Barnett; but does it, like Tony Blair's 'Third Way' itself, also carry some Old Britain paternalism into the new media age?
From 19th century imperial rivalries to Soviet communism and now the war on terror, the states of Central Asia have been targets of manipulation in the great games of superpower politics. Today, the domestic impact of US strategic ambitions is increased repression and denial of human rights. America may secure short-term political influence, but the lasting achievement of its current policy will be radical disaffection among the regions people.
The argument over genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) needs to be seen in the context of wider agricultural policy. In itself, the technology is neutral and may even have possible benefits. But the use of GMOs by farmers tied to the distorting economics of the EUs Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will only intensify the latters disastrous environmental impact. Rather than ban GMOs, it would be better to reform the CAP and tax agrochemicals.