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This week’s editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The right to blog: freedom’s next frontier

A summit on global citizen media highlights the experience of activist bloggers under authoritarian regimes and raises questions about how best to champion their work, says Evgeny Morozov.

Authority, credibility and openDemocracy

How does openDemocracy's editorial thinking inform its work, and how can it earn the trust of its users in a media environment where this quality is both precious and elusive? A conference on "credibility in the new news" was the occasion for David Hayes, openDemocracy's deputy editor, to explore this theme.

Byzantium: always an Empire, never a Nation

In a response to Judith Herrin's new history, the example of Byzantium inspires some contemporary reflections from Tom Nairn in Melbourne's Arena magazine, republished with kind permission.

Olympics of shame

The refusal to participate in the Beijing Olympics in protest at China's repressive policies in Tibet is an ethical imperative, says Ramin Jahanbegloo.

Philanthropy for social change: a response to Michael Edwards

Much of Michael Edwards's critique of "philanthrocapitalism" could equally be directed at the large established foundations, says Gara La Marche, who advocates a more active role in the "evaluation" processes that can make the practical case for social-justice philanthropy.

Philanthrocapitalism: after the goldrush

The application of business principles to the world of civil society and social change has fashion, wealth, power and celebrity behind it. But where is the evidence that "philanthrocapitalism" works, and are there better ways to achieve urgently needed global social progress? It's time to end the hype and start the debate, says Michael Edwards

(This article was first published on 19 March 2008)

Globalisation and nationalism: the new deal

The map of world statehood is creatively fissuring, as globalisation accentuates difference and breeds self-confident ambition among its underlings and marginals. The process, says Tom Nairn's extraordinary Edinburgh Lecture, heralds the retreat of the "body-builders' club" of would-be great nations and the "emergence of new, smaller communities of will and purpose - the nations of a new and deeply different age"

Democracy in the network age: time to WeThink

The new communications technologies are a toolkit for enriching and deepening democracy - and their greatest impact will be in the global south, says Charles Leadbeater

Nonline community: freedom, education, the net

Both governments and zealous cyber-enthusiasts champion the internet's educational and political potential. The danger that results is a policy of techno-compulsion that undermines citizens' autonomy. There is a better way, says Dougald Hine.

The modern Gandhi

Dialogue, global citizenship, autonomy, non-violence, political freedom - in embodying these ideas in his life and activism, Mahatma Gandhi is a thinker of this century as well as his own, says Ramin Jahanbegloo.

The blind newsmaker

Did the market generate an ethic of professional, independent journalism or was it a historical accident? Probably an accident. And will the blogosphere deliver the material that this ethic produced? Probably not. de Tocqueville, Stephen Jay Gould and Walter Benjamin are marshalled to the challenges posed by the new economics of news.

Beyond abstract solidarity

James Mensch asks us to be careful of easy generalisations about "solidarity". Is it necessarily exclusionary? or grounded in the past, the tribe? No, when we examine the lived examples of solidarity, we find a diversity of practices and habits that is not easily reducible to grand theorising.

Accountability's global thread

A failure of accountability connects the crises facing the world community, says Zadek.

A world in contraflow

There is a stark disjunction between the scale of global problems in 2008 and the tools available to resolve them, says David Hayes.

The world in 2008: a year and an era

Globalisation, elections, conflicts, climate change, migration, technology, media...openDemocracy writers take the measure of the passing year, and look ahead.

openDemocracy, an editorial update

A digest of seven weeks of openDemocracy's editorial work, by David Hayes.

Disarmament: the forgotten issue

The world should seek inspiration from past successes and aim to for global disarmament by 2020. it can be done, says Dan Plesch.

Violence and embodiment

The understanding of violence must be sought in the very bodily being and capacity of the individual human self, argues James R Mensch in a provocative and challenging essay.

Anthony Barnett: a radical’s fanfare

Anthony Barnett - writer, intellectual, reformer, social entrepreneur, founder of Charter88 and openDemocracy - is 65. A moment for friends and colleagues to celebrate an extraordinary life-in-progress that continues to enrich and inspire.

The sorcerer’s birthday: notes from the apprentice

Anthony Barnett, pioneering constitutional reformer and founder of openDemocracy, is 65. Tom Nairn, a lifelong ally, pays intellectual respects and looks forward.

The bad faith of the secular age

The philosopher Charles Taylor's reflection on the religious roots of modern secularism is a radical contribution to the argument about belief, says Mark Vernon.

A moral audit of the British empire

An epic story of power, race, wealth, suffering and violence dominated much of the world for 250 years. Piers Brendon offers a balance-sheet of empire's achievements, follies and crimes.

openDemocracy, an editorial digest

A report on the last eighteen weeks of openDemocracy's editorial work, by David Hayes.

Social networks: after privacy, beyond friendship

The online expression of human identity is dissolving privacy and transforming friendship, says Mark Vernon.

Iron Curtain: a century restaged

An excavation of the true origin of a familiar political expression opens the door to a different understanding of the "long cold war", finds Patrick Wright.

Women, men and rape

The social crisis of sexual violence against women is matched by legal failures in addressing it. Both policy and imagination need to change, says Joanna Bourke.

Blood and soil: the global history of genocide

The murderous impulse to ethnic, racial and religious mass violence has - from Armenia to Rwanda, Nazi Germany to Cambodia - dominated the last century. But to track the history of genocide is to understand its far deeper roots in human experience, says Ben Kiernan.

The Clinton Global Initiative: party on

The glamour as well as the ethics of giving sustain the ex-president's project, says Lam Thuy Vo.

The power of the few

Globalisation is making the world simultaneously unruly and connective, transnational and tribal, cosmopolitan and insular. The result, says Andrés Ortega, is a potent, transformative fusion of identity-formation and power-capacity.

Men for women?

A generation's work for women's equality and authority leaves Tim Symonds with a sobering lesson: women must do it for themselves.

Anita Roddick: outsider rules

The achievement of the Body Shop's founder offers ten rich lessons for the entrepreneurs who follow, says John Elkington.

The seductions of denial

Why is the systematic refusal of evidence-based, reason-fuelled conclusions about human and natural realities - from genocide and 9/11 to global warming - so persistent? Keith Kahn-Harris investigates.

Anita, and the future of business

The business pioneer and environmental and human-rights campaigner Anita Roddick will be seen as one of the key figures of the last century, says David Boyle.

“I Am an American”: portraits of post-9/11 US citizens

How have diverse Americans engaged questions of citizenship and identity in their everyday lives following the collective national trauma of 11 September 2001? Cynthia Weber explores through video the lived experiences of those who say "I am an American" in a different voice. openDemocracy features her work in the days leading to 9/11's sixth anniversary. Cynthia Weber here presents the thinking behind the project.

Science and mysticism: a tainted embrace

Scientists who indulge mystical and religious fantasies in the interest of popularisation are betraying their professional calling, says Yves Gingras.
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