January 09 - 15 on openDemocracy

Does the mindset of market fundamentalism get its philosophical imprimatur from Descartes' calculating cogito? In which case perhaps a more generous world needs to look to Spinoza, the first great critic of Cartesian individualism. The contrast hovers over an elegant engagement with John Berger's two latest books and drawings by the philosopher Susan James.
23 January 2012

In the Middle East war threatens again. Paul Rogers makes a shrewd assessment of the dangerous moment in US-Iranian relations; Rachel Kantz Feder says that in Iraq, too, a critical juncture has been reached with sectarian politicians vying for advantage as US troops pull out.

The Arab Awakening may matter more. New in our debate are Madawi Al-Rasheed on Saudi co-option and containment of the democratic revolution, Filippo Dionigi on the opportunities and risks facing Lebanon and Andy Ignatov offering lessons from Georgia and Ukraine to a nascent Egyptian democracy.

We take a rest from the baffling politics of the main EU powers and look at the way it is disintegrating at the edges. Krzysztof Bobinski reports on the potential cost to Poland of Eurozone deals, Iannis Carras shows how so-called EU support in Greece destabilised it, in his revealing ‘Structural Funds and Crocodile Tears’; Jan-Werner Mueller describes the shocking ‘Putinization’ of Hungary where Zsuzsa Ferge also demonstrates that as democracy is eroded the poor suffer most; and a row over Scottish independence leads OurKingdom to debate the possible break-up of Britain starting with Gerry Hassan, Gareth Young and Katie Schmuecker. In the face of all this, Per Wirtén challenges his fellow Europeans: Where were you when Europe Fell Apart?

openRussia carries a two-part conversation between celebrated writer and activist Boris Akunin, and opposition politician Alexey Navalny. The latter says he doesn’t see the point of "all this de-Stalinisation" – it's for the history books not current politics. Many oD writers disagree, historical memory is needed for the future: Vicken Cheterian argues that the genocide museum at Yerevan, Armenia, belies the fact that Turkish-Armenian diplomacy is as tense as ever, while Susanne Sternthal visits the preserved Gulag camp of Perm-36 and sends us a long, gripping account of the indomitable efforts to remember what Stalinism did. 

Also not to be missed: a bold essay by René Lefort on the great Ethiopian land-grab, a rush of agro-industry leases benefiting the well-connected, and Evelyn Chan on December’s widely reported protest in Wukan where the Chinese authorities were lenient - there are many such local uprisings and most are crushed, and Aaron Peters explains why our debate on the 'networked society' has turned into one of the global occupy movement.


Elsewhere on the web:

In Haaretz, the four-state solution

EU approves new budget to fight maternal mortality in Ghana

Bill Thompson on Cory Doctorow and the coming war on general computation

The New York Times links to Magnus Nome demonstrating the difference between climate and the weather in 1 minute 5 seconds

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