This week's guest editors

"Rehearsing the revolution": theatre in Israel-Palestine

In Israel/Palestine, former combatants are using the Theatre of the Oppressed to move towards an end to the occupation. Recently London theatre group Cardboard Citizens invited a former Israeli officer to share his experience of making theatre for peace.

We need to talk about the UK media war on women

While Dylan Farrow's child abuse allegations against Woody Allen hold the headlines, it is time for journalists to realise that sexual violence is not about evil individuals, Asian grooming gangs, or 1970s BBC culture.

Securitizing the Hizmet/Gulen movement

Turkey’s most influential and widely respected civil society organisation, the Hizmet movement, is under continual attack by PM Erdoğan who accuses it of seeking to establish a “parallel state”. Such rhetoric and 'securitization' may destroy the democratic fabric of Turkish society.

A French style “Tea Party”?

Every conceivable attempt to mobilise all the extremes has been used to beef up recent French demos. With some success.

Derry on the 42nd anniversary of Bloody Sunday

It is a good time to reflect on how the City of Culture in Derry, the cradle of political creativity in the 1960’s, reckoned and grappled with, rather than skirted over or denied, the recent past - as there was much pressure to do.

The Ice Age 2014

As New Orleans freezes over our Sunday Comics author reflects upon his personal, ambiguous relationship with ice


Euphoria and caution greet a new democratic experiment

Mr. Kejriwal’s supporters now begin to question the legality of his conduct,his utterances about there being no real democracy in India, and about the futility of celebrating Republic Day.

At a knife’s edge: elections and democracy in Thailand

The Kingdom of Thailand, and the wider region in which it stands, resembles a global political laboratory. It is a 21st-century testing ground, a place where the future of democracy is being decided, slowly but surely. So watch what happens there, carefully.

South African youth complex: locating youth in a complicated youth-state relationship

Faced with high unemployment and widespread social ills, South Africa’s youth are ambivalent towards the state, and emerging as increasingly independent of it. What does this tell us about the present climate and possible outcomes of South Africa’s fast approaching elections?

The surprising success of the Tunisian parliament

Surrounded by the pressure of Islamists and civil activists, Tunisia’s deputies have managed to achieve something unique in the Arab world: making the parliament the centrepiece of political discourse and power. The failure of Egypt – as perverse as it might sound – was another factor that strongly contributed to Tunisian success.

Silence = death: Sarah Schulman on ACT UP, the forgotten resistance to the AIDS crisis

When the AIDS activist movement ACT UP was formed in New York in 1987, 50 per cent of Americans wanted people with AIDS quarantined, while 15 per cent favoured tattoos. An interview with Sarah Schulman on her film United In Anger: A History of ACT UP. 

A Cuban diary

Which way should Cuba look for its futurenorth or south? Or might it, through trial and error, find a different path that could have lessons for all of us?

The Tunisian arts of compromise

The biggest risk is that Tunisia’s politicians consider the past constitution-making as a painful, one-off exercise in negotiation and compromise, imposed by voting rule technicalities, rather than taking pride in setting a precedent for the country’s democratic culture and the region.

Thank You Pete Seeger

“We are not afraid…we shall all be free.” Pete Seeger died last night, but the power of his music lives on. One activist pays tribute to another.

East end boys and west end boys: does gentrification lead to homophobia?

Three men recently attacked my date and I in London's gay village Soho. They threw coins and shouted "faggot". I think gentrification partly prompted their resentment. 

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

The author ponders literacy, the literate 'red blood corpuscles of society', and the way Arabic is taught in the Middle East and North Africa. He explores the shaky relationship between language and expression and closes with a story of an American seduced into 'deprovincialisation' by Arabic.

Changes in democratic Argentina: 1983 to the present

The ability of Argentine democracy to tackle reforms when they appear both overdue and feasible, instead of attempting them all at once, might yet come to be regarded as constituting one of its hidden strengths. 

Fetishizing “culture”: local militias and counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

The US military's attempt to mobilize local militias against the Taliban paradoxically imposes a “traditional” mode of governance on a subject people initially the target of an emancipatory and liberating discourse to justify military intervention in 2001. This is the sub-text to the corrosive relationship between President Karzai and his western allies.

France and the European balance of power

Hollande holds historic responsibility as the French president who, for lack of political courage, marked the end of the balance that has governed Europe for sixty years. And maybe even for being the gravedigger of the Parti Socialiste and French social democracy.

Participation Now: patterns, possibilities, politics

At one end of this spectrum we have started to place initiatives that offer to rationalise public engagement and make the participatory self-organisation of publics more efficient. At the other end, initiatives seem more focused on enriching processes of engagement and participation.

The golden age of journalism? 


It took the arrival of the twenty-first century to turn the journalistic world of the 1950s upside down and point it toward the trash heap of history. So when was the golden age?

What’s so special about storytelling for social change?

A new world requires new stories, but people will only listen to them when they themselves are included in the storyline. This requires a ‘gear-shift’ in conversations about radical action.

Surveillance and scandal :
 time-tested weapons for US global power

The US president’s recent NSA speech makes it clear that genuine “change” or “reform” isn't on the agenda, that little that matters will alter in the NSA’s methodology, and that nothing will be allowed to shake the system itself. Why not give an inch?

Egypt: return of the deep state

With the referendum the military secures its privileges, but its main challenge is the economic crisis.

The ‘laboratory’ called Hungary: a challenge for understanding protest movements

There is a central Hungarian political paradox: it is the conservative governing party (FIDESZ) which has made successful use of the rhetoric of anti-establishment social movements in other countries, and which disposes of the means to do so. 

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