From the demise of democratic values to privatisation: February 13 - 19 on openDemocracy

Can democracy hurt minority rights? In a fascinating and disturbing essay on how Tahrir Square is not Egypt, Sami Zubaida acknowledges that dictators have liberated women and stifled the displeasure of religious conservatives and their supporters. What does it mean for women’s rights now, when chauvinism is empowered by democratization?

27 February 2012

The Eurocrisis takes its toll on cherished democratic values too. In a must-read article, Julia Knobloch exposes a Portuguese scandal of censorship in grim economic times. In France, the advent of Marine Le Pen’s Front National (yet again) threatens a shift to the far-right. Is this demise of democratic values in Europe a pattern? Not necessarily, argues Paul Linden-Retek, provided Europeans re-define political Europe from the bottom-up.

Speaking of bottoms brings us to health care and “incontinence pads and private equity” in Sweden, the top read of the week byGerhard Schnyder. It is a graphic revelation of what privatization of health and elderly care means in Stockholm county. The English health care profession is up in arms as they face a similar threat and an inside account reaches us from a consultant whose name we can’t publish. It is “management consultants, not doctors, whose ‘mouths are stuffed with gold’ to bring about reforms”.

The threat of war against Iran continues to grow along with US military deployment to the Gulf and recent attacks on Israeli diplomats. De-escalation is more urgent than ever, argues Paul Rogers. And we have a rare insight into the structures of Iran’s religious authorities: Mirjam Künkler assesses the influence of female Islamic scholars – and their impact on female candidates running for parliamentary office.

The focus of oD this week is on the long-term impact of the bad side and how to change it: with a powerful essay on the damage wreaked by market fundamentalism to people’s minds and judgement by Judith Marquand. But it is not all bad news - Rupert Murdoch scuttling across the Atlantic to try and shore up his baleful empire, as its editorial custodians are arrested. As John Mathews outlines, we could finance the transformation of the global economy to a green, sustainable system. oD Russia reports on legislation designed to silence Russia’s LGBT community and the impending endgame for Vladimir Putin. And Mary Kaldor shows that there is a middle ground between military intervention and western idleness as Syria moves towards civil war.



Three essential links from elsewhere on the web:

What the US should - and shouldn’t - do about Syria

Robert Walser’s fantastic ‘Berlin stories’ – in English for the first time

Charles Glass on Aleppo



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