Economic dysfunction and organised resistance – The Week in 1 Minute: April 21 – 27 on openDemocracy

We have tributes to two anniversaries this week: one to an event which surely saved lives, the other to an event which cost more than a thousand. Mandela's iconic speech from the dock, “it is a cause for which I am prepared to die” perhaps saved his life, and contributed, eventually, to the transformation of his country. The Rana Plaza disaster, as openSecurity reminded us, shows that his work is not yet done and that we must continue to question the foundations of our economic system.

13 May 2014

That economic system can also be found on OurKingdom on discussions of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and austerity in Britain – including the resulting rising numbers of fascists and hungry children, and falling numbers of hospital beds; and the woes of the EU on Can Europe Make It?.

But while the world may dance to a systemic tune, it plays out differently in each country. This week, we learn from 50.50 about the murder of a student protester in Sudan and the link between violence against women and HIV rates; from Arab Awakeningabout the failure of Tunisia's justice system; from Transformation about Body Dysmorphic Disorder, from oDR about Russia's continued involvement in Ukraine; and about sexism in China.

We look too at resistance and at how things could be different, with an examination of Russian civil society, a rallying cry to anti-fracking protesters from Britain's only Green MP and a commemoration of that great resister Gabriel García Márquez, from Sweden's former foreign minister.

This theme continues with a look at the global human rights movementa new series on economic alternatives in the UK and explanations of why well-beingdevolving powercare and the environment must be at the core of economics and why a better education system really is child's play.

We hear from '60s student radical and intellectual power-house Tom Nairn on how Scottish independence aligns with the shifting nature of the modern world, and Adam Ramsay's written up the first six of forty reasons why he supports it.

In all of this, it's important for those who write or talk about the world, from Easter Europe to Syria, to Rwanda to understand our role in shaping it and to ensure that the stories we tell are about those we are talking about, not just ourselves. This will never happen unless the media reflects on its ownership and whether it is holding power to account, or perpetuating it.


  • oD contributor Robin McAlpine writes in the Scotsman about how parties have lost control of politics in Scotland

  • Peter Geoghegan writes for al Jazeera about the surprising story of protestants learning Gaelic in Northern Ireland.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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