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This week's editors

Cat Tully and Allie Bobak introduce this week's theme: Participation and foresight – putting people at the heart of the future

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Hong Kong: the stakes are high

Beijing knows that the struggle for democracy in Hong Kong is not just about the future of the former British colony: the party monopoly on the mainland is ultimately at issue.

Alternatives to military intervention: a commando team of mediators

The Ammerdown Invitation has initiated here a debate on an alternative security policy for the UK. Mediation is a key alternative to the “militarism” the signatories bemoan.

International legal obligation to end trade with settlements

If the political will to bring about justice and peace is lacking, the answer lies in international law. Ending state trade with Israeli settlements is not an economic sanction, but a legal obligation.

Twenty-first century protest: social media and surveillance

The internet is a two-edged sword—a vehicle for mass surveillance on the one hand and the organisation of civil-society protest on the other.

How was he to know? The cracking of the Ukraine regime

Ukraine’s parliament has abandoned the law to curb public protests only recently introduced and the prime minister has resigned. What lies behind these dramatic events?

Violence visited on Cambodian garment workers

Cambodian garment workers make around $80 a month, taking on long hours of overtime in harsh conditions. Now workers across the country are standing up for themselves to demand more—but the fight for a better wage in Cambodia is a dangerous one. At least four garment workers were killed this month during a crackdown on protesters demanding a decent wage from the government and international clothing companies. This video shows the workers who are standing up—and the violence consistently employed to keep them quiet.

To eliminate WMD we need to disarm patriarchy

Civil society must stop the use of chemical weapons being used as a pretext for US-led bombing in Syria. A gendered understanding demonstrates that the only sustainable strategy is to pursue disarmament and strengthen international humanitarian law.

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.

Uniting States of Americans: We are the 99%!

A year ago this month, 'the 99%' changed the discourse of US politics. But did this call to action for 'American Revolution’ issued by the Occupy Wall Street movement change politics itself? In this first of two multimedia articles, filmmaker and academic Cynthia Weber, introduces us to a range of impressions and reflections in the field.

Gene out of the bottle: an interview with Dr Gene Sharp, author of 'From Dictatorship to Democracy'

Last week openSecurity caught up with one of the chief proponents of political defiance, whose writings have been translated by activists the world over, to ask if non-violent tactics really yield concrete political victories in the face of violence.

Mega dams: campaigning against the plans of the Indian government

In demonstrations barely reported in the media, peasants and students in the Northeastern Indian state of Assam are fighting together against a proposed gargantuan network of dams across the upper reaches of its rivers in Arunachal Pradesh, one of the world’s six most seismically active regions. The movement has gathered impressive momentum against a project that threatens devastating environmental, demographic and socio-economic impact.

Youth who make the future

Movements capable of bringing about change, just by showing their resistance towards unjust governments, have emerged and young people are directing them. In Turkey, youth participation in politics can be divided into four eras.

Civil resistance and the language of power

“If you want to build a ship, don’t gather your people and ask them to provide wood, prepare tools, assign tasks. Call them together and raise in their minds the longing for the endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The trifecta of civil resistance: unity, planning, discipline

Three attributes can make the difference between success and failure for nonviolent movements around the world: unity, planning, and nonviolent discipline.

Resisting corruption: recent progress in Indonesia and Kenya

People power may be well-suited to a systemic approach to curbing corruption. Political will can be thwarted, because too many office-holders have a stake in the crooked status quo. Those benefiting from graft are much less likely to stand against it than those suffering from it.

Red lenses on a rainbow of revolutions

Given continued strikes in Iran and the freeing of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, neither the Burmese nor Iranian struggle for democracy is a story that should be characterized as an example of a failed movement and successful repression. But it is up to us - the global audience - to understand our responsibility in this dynamic.

The Anishinabe and an unsung nonviolent victory in late twentieth-century Wisconsin

In the wake of the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, many Native Americans adopted civil resistance to fight for rights supposedly guaranteed in the 19th century by the government's treaties with their tribes. This true story is how one tribe in Wisconsin, using nonviolent strategies, prevailed in that fight.

Repression’s paradox in China

From the authoritarian’s perspective, internal dissidents are easy to deal with – put them in jail, have them disappeared, exiled, or executed. It is not so easy to silence the prestigious Nobel committee, however, let alone the international community. Of course, that is exactly why Professor Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Upsurge in repression challenges nonviolent resistance in Western Sahara

Sahrawis have engaged in protests, strikes, cultural celebrations, and other forms of civil resistance focused on such issues as educational policy, human rights, the release of political prisoners, and the right to self-determination. They have also raised the cost of occupation for the Moroccan government and increased the visibility of the Sahrawi cause.

People power and the new global ferment

People power does not lend itself to the geo-strategic interests of empires or warlords, since it is based on collective action and civic unity, as well as the refusal to comply with existing power-holders. Any movement that opts for civil resistance has to encompass and attempt to represent diverse social groups.

Gender matters

In celebration of International Women's Day, 2009, Jane Powell, formerly of Greenham Common, talks to Rosemary Bechler, about the role women and girls might play in improving the prospects for one of the most delicate conversations of all.

The power of protest in the Maldives

Without tenacious and bold nonviolent activism, the ouster of Mahmoud Gayoom would never have happened
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