I don't know how it happened in the rest of the world, but I can tell you about one small place. It is called Diepsloot, a volatile informal settlement on the edge of Johannesburg where I have been spending some time. Here it all began with a couple of people who started a small radio station which gave voice to the 200 000 forgotten people of the shanties, and gave them a way to be heard that did not involve violence. At first they used the radio to talk to each other, then they used it to talk to the politicians, and call them to explain themselves. They started using mobile phones to alert people to events, and let them talk on the radio. And they started doing investigative journalism: where are the houses, and the taps, and the clinics, they asked. Then they used it to organise themselves ...
(whose book, Diepsloot, is due to be published in May)
openDemocracy Russia is a thoughtful platform for all those concerned about the future of the post-Soviet world. We publish indepth analysis, comment and reportage on the region — from politics and economics through to ecology and culture
About 50.50 50.50 is openDemocracy's section dedicated to exploring issues of gender equality and social justice at the global level.
are committed to promoting human rights and inclusive democracy through
dialogue and debate. But a global debate without the female half of
humanity is neither global nor democratic. With this in mind, 50.50 publishes women's
analysis, insight and views on current affairs.
In the months following the start of the Arab Revolutions, articles and analysis poured into openDemocracy from contributors across the Middle East and Europe. Gradually, the impact of Tahrir Square began to extend well beyond the Middle East as democratic inspiration travelled from east to west. Arab Awakening tries to capture that inspiration and use it to help us read a rapidly changing world.
"As students of politics is it is vital to study the power of imagination."
-Professor Charles Tripp, SOAS