This week's editor

Jeremy Noble, editor

Jeremy Noble and the oDR team edit the front page this week.

Global Civil Society and the rise of the civil economy

The last thirty years has seen the re-emergence of a civil economic challenge, side by side with the advance of globalisation, as a distinct strand in the development of global civil society. Don’t underestimate its longterm significance in the glacial shifts now taking place in the world economy.  

Thinking about politics and the internet: time to update our perspective

We need a politics of the internet focused as much on creativity and imagination as on structure, space and intersection 

The deep structure of the European crisis

Instead of deepening integration, the famous Franco-German engine now represented by the Merkozy-Sarkel tandem has brought the EU to the fringe of disintegration. Where does the road lead from here? Will Europe combust, as some of its rivals and adversaries hope and suggest - or are there options and alternatives for reinventing itself?

National memory in Kyrgyzstan: attitudes to the Soviet past

New nation states frequently need to create a ‘national myth’ to justify their new status, and Kyrgyzstan is no exception. Since its emergence as an independent republic in 1991, historians have been drawing on Chinese and Russian historical sources in an attempt to trace Kyrgyz history back to ancient times. But, inevitably, the most controversial — and contradictory — part of their stories relate to the recent Soviet past, says Damira Umetbaeva.

Fred Halliday: an unfinished voyage

The core themes of a new book of Fred Halliday’s openDemocracy columns underline his work's enduring vitality, says David Hayes.

[This article was first published on 23 March 2011}

US Congressional paralysis

Even if President Obama adopts a stronger-arm approach to domestic politics and demands legislative efficiency, the conflicts will simmer regardless, boiling over in some form or other by 2016. 

Death and technology

Apparently his mother approves. She was “positively thrilled” by her son’s brief return to the stage courtesy of entrepreneur Dre Dre who forked out a considerable sum to fund the resurrection.

A plague on both your populisms

Populist movements can bear a strong, but misleading, resemblance to more respectable cousins: movements for democratic accountability. It has now become fashionable even to argue that ‘some populism is good’ - because populism is seen as ‘speaking truth to power’. It’s important therefore for democrats to be able to tell the good guys from the bad guys. If populists can play this game, don’t the rest of us need our own enemy images?

Syria and the left

Is every uprising against dictatorship a civil war? If that is the case then it is the case in Egypt, in Yemen, in Bahrain. Are we going to dismiss all these revolutions, because some of the people support the regimes? Or is it just Syria that is doomed?

Günter Grass, antisemitism and the inflation of evil

The Israel factor has politicised the business of assessing antisemitism such that the vitriolic disagreement surrounding it has become about far more than just facts, intelligent judgment and expertise. What does Israel, what does anyone gain from this?

Revolutionizing the Canadian social justice sector

Environmental groups seem to have attracted particular government ire. In other cases, officials have labelled civic groups unpatriotic… The Conservatives may have done Canadians a favour. Deprived of federal funding, independent activists will now have to learn new ways of ethically raising money from individuals, communities, and businesses.

Patriots in the decent sense: rediscovering English nationalism

English nationalism has long been trapped between American-led globalisation and small-minded nostalgia. Can England rediscover its identity in its rich local, regional and radical movements?

Columnists, for Arab Awakening section

openDemocracy's Arab Awakening section is currently looking for individuals in the Middle East to join our 'Arab Awakening columnists' programme.

Indian calendar art: the popular picture story

What was the impact of these paintings on patterns of worship in public and private spaces, in the creation and/or propagation of a collective nationalism, and in the arts itself?

For Easter and Passover Holy Days: who crucified Jesus?

Preaching about love in the churches is not enough, as long as the words the worshippers read in their Bible turn them against people of other faiths and fill them with suspicion, dislike, loathing, hatred, aversion or revulsion. It is not enough to talk about tolerance as long as the holy scriptures set us apart.

J14 and the movement for social justice in Israel

Israel's J14 protest movement is a new breed of movement in search of a society which has a mature accommodation with its diversity. The priority given to social problems over cultural issues can be traced back to anthropological and moral principles that lie at the heart of Zionism. But its critique of the many distortions created by the pull of national sovereignty has thrown up a new definition of occupation. 

Lessons from the Spanish Occupy Movement

Taking the Occupy movement in Spain as a case in point, location, organisation and timing seem to be crucial when it comes to putting across a lasting message.

The Toulouse killings and the radical right - part I

There were some good reasons to suspect the French extreme right of theToulouse killings. In this first article, Nicolas Lebourg shows how, once the identity of the killer was known, Marine Le Pen could switch her discourse to Islamophobia, a terrain on which she feels most comfortable.

Oh, about midnight

SundayComics tornado

The crashing intervention of reality leaves little room for fiction, and its 'stranger' ways in time and space need to be told

Beyond tax-and-spend: revising social democracy for a new age

The director of Britain's leading progressive think-tank sets out his vision for a transformation of social democracy that could renew its credibility and appeal for a new generation.

European alternatives: trajectories of mobilisation responding to Europe’s crisis

The political culture that supported global and European civil society activism in the 1999-2007 period - challenging neoliberal economic and financial power in the form of governments, EU and global institutions – has appeared irrelevant at the very moment when it could have emerged as a credible alternative to the crisis of European economies and politics. A brief chronology and typology of European resistance so far.

The 2012 Parti Socialiste primary: a beauty contest?

More people have had a say in the Socialist candidate’s selection process thanks to the ‘open primary’ experiment. But this is not at all the same thing as the ‘democratisation’ of the decision-making process. In fact the kind of political contestation which can build new debates, and involve and engage new types of citizens, was systematically removed from the process.

Reclaiming 'common sense': new pamphlet is a rallying cry to the 99%

"This year will either see us create a new, more plausible, basis for our shared life, or settle back into the old, dispiriting fictions." So says Dan Hind in a new e-pamphlet published by OurKingdom, invoking the spirit of Thom Paine and urging the 99% to reclaim the public realm. We interview the author.

The Holocaust and genocide: loose talk, bad action

The dangers of genocide denial are widely recognised. But the politics of "genocide mobilisation" - and the legal and discursive infringements that often follow - can also be a barrier to historical understanding and justice, says Martin Shaw.

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