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Hangovers, hopes and hurrahs (Nov 5-11)

As Obama congratulates himself, Paul Rogers, Ahmed Kadry, Cas Mudde and Salam Al-Kawakibi set about qualifying any glib triumphalism, a mood deepened by Helen Tilley and Joanna Wheeler on the politics of aid.

14 December 2012

Sexual citizenship in Obama’s America went under the microscope, while on 50.50, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Afiya Shehrbano Zia, Nivi Manchanda, and Pam Bailey have been wrestling with more false binaries set up by the critique of the US antiwar movement, for ‘failing to develop a politics that is critical of both US imperialism and fundamentalist movements like the Taliban.’  Rahila Gupta takes on some of the arguments raised by Lisa Pilgram on British-Muslim family law: she has little time for hybridity.

We are called back to Europe by Ulrich Beck’s piquant analysis of the Machiavellian powers of Angela Merkel, and Ignasio Ribo’s vision of the rise of the small habitat-nation, seemingly confirmed in Catalonia. In the UK, Jason Edwards warns against a simplistic approach to citizen self-government, urging a pluralism of competing models echoed by Colombian-American anthropologist Arturo Escobar in his critique of the European modernity model. Over on Our Kingdom, Colin Crouch argues that despite everything, the EU remains Europeans’ greatest hope for contesting the triumph of the global market.

This week’s guest theme, Citizenship after orientalism, hosted by Engin Isin at The Open University, eagerly provokes thoughtful Europeans, whether about our colonial past from Palestine to India; the current citizenship challenge from rioting youth and migrants in our midst, in Italy, Germany, and the immigration regimes of the EU; or a haunting exploration of the failure of Truth and Reconciliation for post-Yugoslavs.

Our Kingdom has been welcoming New Putney Debates on the one hand and wondering whether there is much point in being ‘progressive’ on the other; while John Grayson and Andrew Neilson continue to monitor a declining G4S, helped to survive by the UK Government. Meanwhile, Anastasia Kirilenko and Kristina Gorelik chart the history of Radio Liberty for oDRussia, and Ekaterina Loushnikova revisits the Gulag.

Celebrating John Berger’s 86th birthday – we investigate Art and Property Now – an exhibition exploring his life and works curated by Tom Overton. On the day itself, we republished his glorious 1967 denunciation of the Vietnam war, Let Vietnam Live!

As Romney laments not having added a house to his portfolio, openDemocracy will keep scrutinizing the current occupant and all leaders worldwide.


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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.


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