only search

Urgent: expose the Brexit dark money

openDemocracy has worked for two years exposing the dark money driving Brexit. We have many more leads to chase down. Please give what you can today – it makes a difference.

Urgent: expose the Brexit dark money

openDemocracy has worked for two years exposing the dark money driving Brexit. We have many more leads to chase down. Please give what you can today – it makes a difference.

This week’s front page editor

Thomas Rowley

Thomas Rowley is editor of oDR.

Cultivating optimism

The addictions to bad news and to boosterism are alike protections from reality. One encourages cynicism, the other complacency; both evade responsibility for the world’s horror. For Dave Belden, it has been a long road to global optimism. But in the wake of the avalanche of violence and grief in the Iraq war, he wonders if giving up TV is a condition of sustaining long-term hope for the planet.

Al-Qaida: evolution, not comeback

Al-Qaida is not ‘back’: it has never been away. The sophistication and planning involved in the Riyadh and Casablanca bombings were in place even before regime change in Iraq. Yet if Afghanistan merely dispersed the network, US occupation of Iraq may indeed invigorate it. The prospect is endless war.

The absence of war

Even in remote areas of Namibia and Botswana, and in the Inuit region of Nunavut in Canada, the distant Iraq war enters social discourse and everyday encounters. War is both near and far. Hugh Brody journeys to a landscape where territory, history and mind all meet, to ask: are the world’s indigenous people ancestors or contemporaries of the rest of mankind?

The Turkish refusal

Turkey’s triple role in the Iraq war confounded many experts. While its neo-Islamist government supported the US invasion of Iraq, and its military refrained from major incursion into the Kurdish-controlled north, its parliament refused help to American forces. Turkey’s relations with the US were strained, yet without any diplomatic benefit from the EU to compensate. The crisis has shifted the political ground under Turkey’s feet. Who will design the new maps?

Aznar versus the people: a Spanish divorce?

The Spanish government ignored its people’s almost universal opposition to war in Iraq. This, itself the latest in a series of convulsive internal crises, raises serious questions about Spain’s political direction and even the commitment to democracy of its prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar. As a crucial election cycle approaches, will the bond between a troubled Spain and a hawkish US be renewed or broken?

Making a new world - Part Three: Apartheid: the sequel

Post-apartheid South Africa promised a new, fairer country. But Paul Kingsnorth, author of “One no, many yeses – a journey to the heart of the global resistance movement”, tells Caspar Henderson of openDemocracy that the African National Congress’s pro-globalisation policies are making many activists feel the country is in an even worse position than before.

Trade, aid and Iraqi debt

The world trade system is in trouble. Where next for aid from rich to poor? Plus: how best can Iraqi people benefit from the country’s oil revenues?

Muslims and European multiculturalism

Anti-Muslim sentiment in post-9/11 Europe contends that Muslims compound their ‘alien’ status by claiming special treatment from their ‘hosts’. But what if the aspiration to a recognised ‘Muslim’ identity is itself characteristically European? In the British context, Tariq Modood argues that a healthily multicultural society needs to accommodate religion as a valid social category – and rethink Europe so that the Muslim ‘them’ becomes part of a plural ‘us’.

Corporate super-predators

“Control fraud” is what happens when the person who controls a large company is a criminal. Enron was only the most conspicuous example of a pervasive phenomenon in corporate behaviour, says this white-collar criminologist. The participants in openDemocracy’s roundtable on corporate power and responsibility miss the point: as long as regulators fail to ask the right questions, we are condemned to suffer further crimes.

Neo-conning the world

Who are the US neo-cons? A riddle wrapped inside a mystery. Churchill said that. Or was it Ayn Rand? Whatever. Dominic Hilton enters their labyrinthine world, tastes its freedom fries, and comes out alive.

The Philosophy of Journalism

Our debate on journalism and war has relied upon notions such as truth, objectivity and balance; but what are the philosophical foundations of these ideas? Here the editor of ‘The Philosophers Magazine’, against what you might expect, concurs with David Loyn’s defence of the ideal of objectivity, and suggests that Loyn’s critics have crossed the line from healthy scepticism to defeatist relativism.

Rum an Coke

The second in a number of pieces of short fiction by Jacob Ross: a mesmerising cautionary tale of addiction, defiance, and a mother’s love - with a shattering twist. ‘Rum-an-coke is what dey call it,’ … ‘Dey take dat ting and drink down rum right after.’ But remember: ‘Too much niceness does kill.’

Making a new world - Part Two: From Genoa to Cochabamba

Global activists find the Zapatista movement in Mexico an inspiration. But a campaign against water privatisation in Bolivia and state violence at the 2001 Genoa summit, show the scale of the challenges they face. Paul Kingsnorth continues his world tour in conversation with Caspar Henderson of openDemocracy.

A peace accord in Israel-Palestine: what Europe can do

Many Americans as well as Europeans favour a more active and constructive European role in advancing an Israeli-Palestinian settlement. Following Tony Klug’s innovative ‘international protectorate’ argument, and Todd Gitlin’s call for creative European thinking, Steven Everts of the Centre for European Reform argues that a positive European role in resolving the conflict is both necessary and possible.

Benin: the pop idol and the voodoo forest

In the contrast between Benin’s roaring capital and the mysteries hanging round the town of Ouidah you catch the double profile of Africa today.

Eating the world: the philosophy of food

Food is meaning not just nourishment, ritual not just consumption, ceremony not just act, familial and social relationship not just individual ingestion. But profound and increasingly global changes in the way people eat have eclipsed these truths. In a provocative essay that seasons deep learning with wine, wit, and warmth, Roger Scruton toasts the plenitude of a fully human culture of food, and warns of the dangers attending its loss.

No control

The logic of US plans to redistribute its military forces around and beyond the Gulf region is reinforced by the Riyadh bombs. But this brutal indication of al-Qaida’s regroupment also reveals the deeper problems attending Washington’s regional strategy after its occupation of Iraq. Is the US gaining control, or losing it?

The Warsaw Pact, 2003

Polish power, Colombian heart, Bangladeshi tea

The threat of better journalism? Responding to David Loyn

‘Peace journalism’ is a healthy alternative to the skewed coverage the world has seen of the war in Iraq, says News Dissector Danny Schechter. Brushing it off with a cry for ‘truth’ and ‘objectivity’ ignores all the real problems of reporting in today’s big business media world.

A liberal European immigration policy platform

People movement is released by globalisation but must still be accommodated within institutional norms and fundamental values. In a vigorous counter-proposal to the People Flow document, Achilles Skordas argues that making the European Union an accessible space for new migrants requires a policy built around two axes: the market and human rights.

Germany isn't working

The crisis of Europe’s largest economy - high unemployment, over-regulation and a bloated welfare system - has been compounded by political miscalculation. The Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, will win short-term victory over his internal party critics, but his latest reforms fail to promise what Germany needs: not mere adjustment, but systemic overhaul.

Muslims in flux: the problem of tradition

Muslims across the world are engaged in a great debate about the fundamentals of their faith. The discussions among European Muslims often focus on how to sustain the meaningfulness of their religion within a new environment. Here, a Muslim still in ‘the process of arriving’ in Britain examines the tension between nostalgia and oblivion which afflicts his generation, and proposes a creative understanding of Islam for the new century.

Hammurabi, the exalted prince who made great the name of Babylon!

…has words from the other side of death for Donald Rumsfeld. Baghdad fell to a terrible echo - the smashing and pillaging of the priceless artefacts of its ancient civilisation. Across 3,800 years, the greatest law-giver of its Babylonian ancestor sends this fierce message to its latest conqueror

Iraq's oil curse - and what to do about it

Oil resources can be more of a curse than blessing to the nations that possess them. What would it take to manage Iraq’s oil for the good of the country and the world? If we’re really serious, says Globolog, it’s time to call the Norwegians.

Making a new world - Part One: Roads to Chiapas

Today's global movement for change - networked, with many voices, democratic - demands an equivalent type of engagement from observers. Paul Kingsnorth has travelled from Mexico to Italy, from Bolivia to South Africa and from Brazil to West Papua to track the ways that diverse social, political and environmental struggles combine in the search for a world of fairness and freedom. His interview with Caspar Henderson of openDemocracy starts in Chiapas, Mexico. 

Are you unipolar, multipolar, or both?

Schröder the Blairite, Karimov the torturer, Dongming the censor

<i>Lilya 4-Ever</i>: no other world

The rage that fuels Lukas Moodyson’s bleak portrait of the shattered life of a young girl forced into prostitution also traps the director’s imagination.

Food and the politics of humanitarian access in Iraq

Before the Iraq war, around 60% of the country’s people depended on the World Food Programme. The UN and other agencies need to make huge and sustained efforts to meet their needs in the post-conflict situation. Food assistance, long the subject of high politics in Iraq, is likely to remain a key area of dispute as nation-building evolves.

Berlusconi and Blair: an open letter to Anthony Barnett

The public embrace between the prime ministers of Italy and Britain fills this Italian free market conservative with despair. For, he writes to the editor of openDemocracy, Silvio Berlusconi is leading Italy down a dangerous path, and one that has closed a historic opportunity - for the country to become normal.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip: an international protectorate?

Israelis and Palestinians appear trapped in a war without end. Could a creative, international initiative help resolve their corrosive conflict? As external powers and local actors pore over the latest ‘roadmap’, an experienced analyst of the Middle East proposes an imaginative solution that offers hope to all sides.