This week's editor

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Adam Ramsay is co-editor of OurKingdom.

Campaign finance reform would be a wasted effort

The still fresh McCutcheon v FEC Supreme Court decision, which removed limits to political campaign contributions, has angered activists and reformers, who call it nothing less than the privatization of government. But what if neither side is right?

Hawaii and Crimea

In 1898, Hawaii was officially annexed to the US illegally under a joint resolution of Congress, with the US using the excuse of ‘military necessity’ in the advent of the Spanish-American War.

US position over Iran’s ambassador generates confrontation with UN

If the UN does not act to reject this precedent, it will contribute to an international erosion of faith in its own integrity and independence -precisely the kind of behaviour which the carefully crafted ‘headquarters agreement’ was designed to prevent.

Climate change and false gods: Moloch and the bible-punchers in the US

The UN's IPCC report on climate change calls for immediate action to deal with a crisis which supersedes and includes all other questions. Meredith Tax says that international pressure on the US government to deal with the crisis is essential, for soon it will be too late.

No-fly-list America

Sad as it may be, the Ibrahim case is a fairly benign example of ordinary Washington practices in the post-9/11 era. And one thing is clear, no-one is guarding the guards.

Two tributes to Jonathan Schell (1943- 2014): In memoriam

The purpose of deterrence is to prevent a nuclear war from happening. It depends entirely on producing a psychological impression in the mind of the enemy that you are a very tough guy - so tough you’re ready to commit suicide and drag the enemy down with you.

The Persian Gulf: implications of the Saudi-Qatari dispute

The Saudi strategy of offering military support to the US while exporting Muslim militancy and portraying itself as the protector of the two holiest sites in the Islamic world has backfired for both Saudi Arabia and the US. 

Ukraine and Eurasia's imperial fault-lines

The current conflict has been brewing for a long time and is the result of two asymmetrical imperialisms: Russia's outdated, and rather formal, imperialism, on the one hand, and the west's smart, informal route to empire on the other. We must come to grips with these fault-lines in Eurasia's vast plateau.

The heavy imprint of America's 'light footprint'

New documents reveal the blinding pace of US military operations in Africa as the Pentagon prepares for future wars. 

The Rohingya refugee making factory

If the production of refugees was an industry, Myanmar would be among the world’s market leaders. And of all its products the Rohingya would be one of the most lucrative. A niche but growing market of global proportions, the culmination of decades of tireless endeavour to hone a specialist craft.

Jonathan Schell: in memoriam

The writer who taught courses at Yale on non-violence and nuclear arms through 2012 and who died Tuesday night, at 70, of cancer, in his home in Brooklyn, was a luminous, noble bearer of an American civic-republican tradition inherently cosmopolitan and embracing.

Invasion of the data snatchers

How Big Data and the Internet of Things means the surveillance of everything. There’s simply no way to forecast how these immense powers - disproportionately accumulating in the hands of corporations seeking financial advantage and governments craving ever more control - will be used.

Democratizing inequalities

Participation has become a necessary basis for institutional authority in an era of declining social mobility and government retrenchment. It has become a tool for sustaining hierarchies as much as a tool for transcending them. 

Challenging annexation: in Crimea, the referendum that wasn’t

The time has come – unfortunately in the midst of another political and human crisis – for the international community to develop a rapid assistance framework for nonviolent activists and dissidents who risk their lives to preserve their right to self-rule. Yesterday it was Ukraine. Today it is Crimea.

The invisible war: Sexual assault in the American military

Thousands of soldiers, mostly women, have been the victims of rape and sexual assault in the American military. Politicians and the Pentagon are worried about the growing epidemic of this behaviour. All twenty women Senators decided “enough was enough”

Demand homes not jails: queer homelessness is being criminalized

Cities globally are starting to criminalize homelessness: banning begging and making free food provision illegal. I work within LGBTQ communities, whose multiple oppressions lead to a high level of homelessness. When I see police disrupting rough sleepers, I remember their life stories.

Elegy for queers for economic justice

Ynestra King laments the untimely closing of a visionary US queer social justice organization, and reflects on its contributions to the US left and the reasons for its demise.

How to address apathy and avoid confusion

The post-1989 generation is the ‘shallow generation’ because of its proclivity for apathy. How can this inherently political problem be addressed?

Back to the future: America's new model for expeditionary warfare

In a world of supposed cutbacks, the US military continues to quietly move into Africa in a distinctly below-the-radar fashion. The Pentagon’s newest tactic: refight the colonial wars in partnership with the French.

US counterproductive over cultural boycott of Israel

US Congress moves against the academic boycott of Israel. What now for freedom of expression?

Ukraine, Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Somalia, North Korea: Do we deserve to be happy?

Our Sunday Comics columnist on Mardi Gras 2014 and his experience - rather than pursuit - of happiness

Introducing Bill McKibben: social movement creation today

Is one of America’s most prominent environmentalists, Bill McKibben, heading up a leaderless movement? If not, what kind of leader is he? Book review.

Why Obama shouldn’t fall for Putin’s Ukrainian folly

Russia and the west have conspired to tear the country apart. Both sides must stand down now or face the consequences.

Two bob each way on democracy: book review

The author of The Life and Death of Democracy reviews The Confidence Trap: A history of democracy in crisis from World War 1 to the present by David Runciman (Princeton, 2013).

Social room: making a more civil society

The US school shooters weren't just pathological murderers, they were responding to suffocating beliefs about masculinity. The 'sea of pink', Nelson Mandela and the AIDS memorial quilt show that to thrive, everyone needs more social room.

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