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This week's editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

From Venezuela and Peru to Bangladesh and Hungary, openDemocracy writers track a turbulent era of new political challenges and mobilisations.

Life on the Chinese border: Russia's Far East

Primorsky Territory is seven time zones away from the capital and has the largest economy in the Russian Far East.  There is justifiable irritation at Moscow’s insistence on a one-size-fits-all model of government oriented towards Europe and levels of frustration are forcing people to leave, says Olesya Gerasimenko.

The 'politics' in Ethiopia's political trials

The Ethiopian regime is using the legal system to eliminate dissident voices and drag protesters to court under terrorism charges. Far from guaranteeing equality and justice, the country’s courts serve as an instrument in the Government’s hands to legitimize persecution of political adversaries while justifying its practices to the west.

No more 'machismo': domestic violence in the political arena

Domestic violence in Spain can’t be blamed on ‘machismo’ argues Liz Cooper. When the statistics show Spain is just like other countries, Spanish feminists argue that it's time to get beyond the stereotype of a macho culture and see violence against women as a political issue. 

Seeking asylum, ending destitution

If "destitutes" across the UK can stand up and act together we can make a difference: we are ready to meet the authorities at the negotiating table, says Nancy Bonongwe.

New pope Tawadros on the horns of a dilemma

The newly chosen pope of Egypt’s Coptic Christians assumes his leadership in a country ruled by the first Islamist regime in modern history. Is it possible to fulfil the challenge of integrating the Christian community in the political and public sphere without becoming involved in politics?

Code Pink, the Taliban and Malala Yousafzai

The US antiwar movement is failing to develop a politics that is critical of both US imperialism and fundamentalist movements like the Taliban.

Can men be feminists?

With men leading on women’s issues, even when we win, we lose. Men shouldn’t be the voices of feminism, but we can build and support the platforms from which women's voices call out, says Gavin Thomson. 

Everyday feminism vs everyday sexism

A debate about the feminist economy cannot be brought to the school gates, but a discussion on sexting, advertising and tuition fees can. That's what everyday feminism is and why it must be truly diverse and accessible, says Aisha Mirza.

State feminism: co-opting women’s voices

Feminism is being used by some states as a political proxy to gloss over economic policies that hurt women, meanwhile, grass roots women’s rights activism is looking for new ways to reach parliament. Jennifer Allsopp reports from UK Feminista Summer School 2012

Occupy, and the common good

"This is what I know about Occupy, what I have experienced." Alexandra Stein, moving between Minneapolis and London, inhabiting the reclaimed public spaces that Occupy opened up, reflects on the movement's influence and potential.

Armenia's election: dark deeds, slim hopes

The Armenian authorities' capacity to secure the right result in the country's parliamentary election is matched by their failure to meet citizens' basic needs. The consequences are a priority for Armenia's civil society, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Democratic politics: a glorious messiness

The combination of post-election protest in Egypt and parliamentary stalemate in Nepal teaches Vidar Helgesen a wider lesson about democracy.

Syria beyond conflict: the economic test

The bitter divisions in Syria both reflect and intensify the grave, long-term economic challenges that must be met if the country is to have a viable future, says Jihad Yazigi

European dis-Union: lessons of the Soviet collapse

Europe's crisis is being felt at multiple levels, from the future of the eurozone and divisions between member-states to the rise of populist forces. But is the crisis likely to lead to the European Union's disintegration? The precedent of the Soviet collapse offers some lessons, says Ivan Krastev.

Syria and Iraq: armies, politics, and the future

The shared experience of military repression and failure under Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the al-Assad dynasty in Syria is a challenge to the Arab world's political elites, says Hazem Saghieh.

Syria, an exceptional despotism

Many authoritarian regimes - South Africa, Chile, Poland - have ceded power to the domestic opposition through a political process. The contrast in Syria speaks volumes, says Hazem Saghieh.

Burma: between elections and democracy

The by-election victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in Burma (Myanmar) raises the question of whether the country is at last on an irreversible path towards democracy. A detailed analysis of the context suggests seven reasons for caution, says Joakim Kreutz.

Damascus: beneath the façade

The Syrian capital at first sight offers little sign of the year-long conflict tearing much of the country apart. But a closer look reveals the fractures that are straining its social fabric, says Bushra Saaed.

February 20 movement: reflections of a young activist

The 20th February movement was seen by some as elitist and too focused on political demands, while the people were more concerned with daily economic hardship. The main challenge for young activists now is to re-establish a social dialogue within Moroccan society, says Sarra El Idrissi

Syria, morality and geopolitics

An accurate reading of the Syrian crisis must take into account the political interests and motives of leading regional actors, says Rein Müllerson.

The new Andean politics: Bolivia. Peru, Ecuador

A "pink wave" across three Latin American states has lifted to power radical presidents committed to a pro-indigenous but also developmentalist agenda. John Crabtree surveys their record and assesses the challenges they face in the coming years.

Syria's revolution, a year on

A year of violent repression and suffering leaves Syria's people as far as ever from achieving the freedom millions of them demand. Ayman Ayoub looks back and forward.

Football and the game of politics in Egypt

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces' call for an official inquiry into football violence, following the deaths of 74 al-Ahly team supporters in February this year, has been rejected by most clubs as a sham designed to obscure the blame that belongs to the Mubarak regime’s structures which orchestrated, and continue to orchestrate, violence.

Saudi Arabia and Syria: logic of dictators

Saudi Arabia's support for the armed opposition in Syria reflects the way that the Arab spring is now hostage to regional rivalry, says Madawi Al-Rasheed.

The meaning of "revolution"

The Arab uprisings can be situated in the context of long-term global processes that periodically redefine the term "revolution". Welcome to the fourth wave, says Hazem Saghieh.

Greece: misjudgment to breakdown

A series of conversations with young Athens professionals convinces Daniel Nethery that Greece's problems are more complicated than easy diagnoses often allow.

The Arab revolts in year two

The uprisings across the Arab world are becoming more complex and variable as they enter their second year. This makes it all the more important to identify their main dynamics, says Volker Perthes.

Tunisia: a year of all dangers

Tunisia is both the pioneer of the Arab spring and its greatest success so far. But even here the political and economic tests are acute, says Vicken Cheterian.

Theo Angelopoulos: "I am standing by you"

The award winning Greek film director, Theo Angelopoulos, died yesterday in an accident whilst working on his new film The Other Sea. He spoke to Jane Gabriel in 2009 about his film 'The Dust of Time', and in 1993 about his films 'The Suspended Step of the Stork' and 'The Travelling Players'

Morocco's silent revolution

Morocco’s experience of the Arab spring of 2011, including constitutional reform and a parliamentary election, exemplifies the country’s political distinctiveness within the region. The events of 2012 will demonstrate how far hopes of real change can be sustained, says Valentina Bartolucci.

2012, the age of the citizen

The dramatic citizens' uprisings and protests across the world this year are signals of an emerging era that demands a renewal of democracy itself, says Vidar Helgesen.

2011, a year between worlds

A profusion of innovative projects guided by an ethic of collaboration holds out the possibility of creative responses to today's multiple crises, says Keith Kahn-Harris.

2011, trepidation and hope

A topsy-turvy year full of dramatic reversals left sub-Saharan Africa still in search of of the balance that would harness good governance to economic progress, says Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie.

The 'Democratic Recession' has turned into a modern zeitgeist of democratic reform

It is no coincidence that the wave of protests comes in the wake of a 'democratic recession'. People are increasingly demanding democracy in the Arab world, and also in the west.

2012, democracy's monster

The inspiring release of human agency in the Arab world, and its abject surrender in Europe, defines the passing year. Together they present a democratic test on an epic scale, says Goran Fejic.
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