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Round table on the future of work

Labour is frequently divided into two distinct categories: free and unfree. However, there are many occasions where desperate workers have few if any alternatives, and therefore ‘freely’ consent to highly exploitative conditions. Read the complete introduction...

Round table on the future of work

Labour is frequently divided into two distinct categories: free and unfree. However, there are many occasions where desperate workers have few if any alternatives, and therefore ‘freely’ consent to highly exploitative conditions. Read the complete introduction...

This week’s front page editor

Iran: preparing for a refugee crisis

The war in Iraq faces its Iranian neighbour with the prospect of hosting another wave of refugees. How will the country cope? Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Javad Zarif, talks to Arthur Helton about how past experience informs current humanitarian planning on the ground.

From a human shield

How does it feel to be a voluntary human shield in Baghdad, waiting for the gathering storm?

Weapons of War

The mother of all nicknames, US-French warfare, bin Laden the pop star

Another world is necessary

The World Social Forum is a potent liberating force, but its leadership risks being hijacked by the West’s old left. It must listen to women and to the Third World. They need exchange on an equal basis.

Struggling with the gas-mask in Jerusalem

As the American bombardment of Iraq begins, Israel steels itself for a repeat of the Scud attacks of 1991. One resident of Jerusalem's old city reluctantly makes her preparations.

Life gets serious

The real challenge out of Iraq is less military than political. After 9/11 the world needs to learn a new geopolitics, one where pre-emption is part of the democratic armoury. Politicians can and must explain this to their publics; but will they listen? On both sides, this is a voyage without maps.

Asymmetrical strategies

What are the military options for Iraq? How will the US deploy their firepower? What is the likelihood of street battles in Baghdad? The author of “War in the Twenty-First Century” assesses the options.

Chirren

The first in a number of pieces of short fiction by Grenadian-born writer, Jacob Ross, 'Chirren' packs a serious punch into a very small space: a powerful story, told in entrancing language. Author and editor of numerous admired anthologies, Jacob Ross is currently working on his first novel, The Village Above the Wind.

On the eve

The Iraq war is imminent. US strategists confidently plan for swift regime collapse. But the experience of 1991 offers sober lessons. Prepare for surprise – and a dangerous aftermath.

Dangerous dreams, indispensable dreams

Radical dreamers, often religious, have shaped today’s democracies. In a fundamentalist age like ours, how can we be inspired by them without falling foul of their totalitarian tendencies?

On the Kurdistan frontline: longing for war and Kirkuk

On the eve of war, the borderline between Free Kurdistan and Saddam’s forces is a place of rumour. Refugees from Kirkuk - a great oil city as well as the Kurds’ emotional capital – gather there, listen to the wind, and wait for the moment of return.

Which Europe do you want? A map of visions

If you don't know where to start in the European labyrinth, this might be a good place. What is Europe for? Which Europe do we want? As the European constitution is drafted, a bewildering variety of visions for the continent have been offered. Paul Hilder maps and clarifies the terrain.

The war on Iraq: its effect on the Arab world

How will the change of regime in Iraq impact on the rest of the Middle East? An experienced Jordanian adviser and scholar takes a cool, country-by-country tour of the region.

World opinion: the new superpower?

The first war of the 21st century has generated in response an enormous, worldwide public opposition – much of it mobilising via the net. It represents a profoundly democratic challenge to the way the US seeks to conduct world affairs.

Send us your open letter

If you would like to send us your Open Letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair – or to Eyad Sarraj – or to President Saddam Hussein

Don't panic: taking the terror out of terrorism

What is the best means of defence against attack by nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons? A former member of the US military offers a practical, purposeful guide for his fellow-citizens. The ingredients of survival: calmness, common sense - and canned food.

The UN and Iraq: time to get serious

Divisions over Iraq on the UN Security Council reflect a wider crisis of the world institution. It is time to reaffirm the UN’s core purpose – by suspending Iraq’s membership.

Getting in the way of war

For this Gulf war the US army are allowing selected journalists to join active military units, a process called ‘embedding’. Meanwhile peace activists from many countries are travelling to Iraq to act as voluntary human shields against US bombing. Both are examples of a new trend, the emergence of ‘weapons of attention’- civilians whose presence in the war zone is specifically designed to focus media attention, and capture public sympathy, amongst viewers ‘at home’. A German media analyst assesses the legal, moral and political implications of this new weapon.

Dear Tony Blair, justice please

The Gaza children's mental-health specialist Eyad el-Sarraj sends an open letter from Gaza to the British prime minister.

The invisible hand of the American empire

The United States rigs the international economic system to its own advantage, argues the distinguished international economist Robert Hunter Wade.

Laughing off the war

Psy ops in Iraq, Anxiety in France, Pan-African ass-kicking

The myth of a clean war - and its real motive


The immediate US purpose is to destroy the Saddam regime. This, no less than the weapons used to fight it, guarantees that the Iraq war will have a heavy human cost in the short term. Behind the war, the search for military and oil security is impelling a broader US agenda for regional control. This ensures further violence in the long term.

The assassination of Zoran Djindjic

The murder of Serbia’s prime minister has created a dangerous political vacuum in a country still trying to recover from a decade of war, poverty, and unrest. Dejan Djokic laments a tragedy, puts it in historical context, and assesses the likelihood of Serbian democracy coming together to challenge the gangsters threatening it.

Corporate Timeline

What are the key events in the rise of modern corporations? Why do these institutions matter? Are they more powerful now than before, better behaved or worse? openDemocracy's corporate timeline explores the long, complex and controversial history of this engine of contemporary capitalism.

Journalists need to think: a reply to David Loyn

An experienced journalist and advocate of ‘peace journalism’ takes on David Loyn in a compelling and comprehensive defence of engaged journalism.

Fiery death or watery grave?

The performances of Salma Hayek and Nicole Kidman, two candidates for the ‘best actress’ Oscar award, draw on their celebrity status as well as the allure of the great artists they portray: Frida Kahlo and Virginia Woolf. But only one burns with life.

Turkey prepares for a refugee influx from Iraq

Twelve years ago this month some 2 million Iraqi Kurds, fleeing Iraqi suppression of widespread revolt in northern Iraq, escaped to the Turkish border and into Iran. They suffered terribly. How would they fare in the event of conflict this time?

Thank you, President Bush

From the world's most popular novelist, Paulo Coelho, an open letter of praise for President Bush.

F.A.: no home in the world

The West African state of Guinea is home to thousands of refugees, in flight from its neighbours’ wars. One mutilated teenager – born in Sierra Leone, raised in Liberia, in limbo in Guinea – has nowhere left to turn.

Another Cameroon is possible!

The benefits of globalisation are hard to see in Cameroon. The deprivation of the rural majority, says one of its social activists, is reinforced by the venality of the World Trade Organisation, giant corporations, and local politicians. The answer? Cameroon people must learn from the vibrant protest movements of India and Latin America, and imagine themselves into a better country.