Watch earlier discussions

For many communities, this is not the first crisis they’ve faced. The lockdown feels familiar to those who have years of experience living and organising in the face of scarce resources and state violence.

So it’s not surprising that grassroots and community activists mobilised quickly in response to COVID-19, from expanding mutual aid groups and launching creative campaigns to getting information out to women at risk of domestic violence.

What can the world learn from these movements to get us through this crisis – and help us rebuild a better world?

Hear from:

Mona Eltahawy Feminist author, commentator and disruptor of patriarchy. Her latest book ‘The Seven Necessary Sins For Women and Girls’ took her disruption worldwide.

Crystal Lameman Member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation and campaigns against the exploitation of her people and of their land, holding the government of Canada accountable for violations of their treaty rights.

Elif Sarican Anthropologist (LSE), writer, organiser and an activist of the Kurdish Women’s Movement.

Chair, Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy.

What might democracy look like as countries emerge from lockdown? How will public health respond? What lessons from history have we forgotten? How will our societies and cultures change?

openDemocracy has partnered with UCL's Institute of Education to launch a student competition to find ambitious and inspiring answers to these questions. Join openDemocracy for a live discussion on these and many more questions with some of the competition judges.

Hear from:

Lia Bote Biological sciences student at University College London, and the project leader of London COVID-19 Care Central.

Adam Habib Professor of political science, vice-chancellor and principal, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and incoming director of SOAS University of London.

Hannah Marcus Assistant professor in the department of the history of science at Harvard University.

Adam Wagner Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers, visiting professor at Goldsmiths University, specialist advisor to the Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into COVID-19.

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy.

The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the foundations of global capitalism.

What might be the long-term impact on the world’s economy? Are we facing the end of globalisation as we know it? And what are the prospects for emerging from the crisis with a fairer and more sustainable economic system?

Hear from:
Joseph Stiglitz Economist and University Professor at Columbia University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001 and is chief economist at the Roosevelt Institute
Ann Pettifor Director of Prime: Policy Research in Macroeconomics and a fellow of the New Economics Foundation. She is the author of ‘The Case for the Green New Deal'
Richard Kozul-Wright Director of the Globalisation and Development Strategies Division in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Chair: Laura Basu European Economics Editor, openDemocracy

Lockdown restrictions in African countries seem to have slowing down transmission of coronavirus on the continent. But they have also been brutally enforced, driving the most economically vulnerable into destitution and disrupting other essential health services. Were the costs and benefits weighed well enough? Did the restrictions go too far? Was an opportunity for smart, Africa-appropriate lockdowns missed?

Hear from:
Mausi Segun Executive Director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division.
Catherine Kyobutungi epidemiologist and Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center.
Gilad Isaacs Co-director, Institute for Economic Justice, South Africa.
Chair: Ferial Haffajee Associate Editor, Daily Maverick.

The horrific killing of George Floyd has shocked the world and sparked uprising across the US. Join openDemocracy to discuss what this means for the world’s superpower.

Hear from:
Zoé Samudzi Co-author of "As Black as Resistance: Finding the Conditions for Liberation" and PhD candidate in Medical Sociology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Rasna Warah Kenyan writer and journalist.
Aaron White North America economics editor, openDemocracy
Chair: Lola Olufemi Author of "Feminism, Interrupted: Disrupting Power".

Usually, profits come before people. But this year, governments across the world have been forced to shut down their economies and put life first. Why? Join openDemocracy for a live discussion on what the coronavirus tells us about globalisation, neoliberalism and our shared experience as humanity.

Hear from:
Anthony Barnett Founder of openDemocracy, and author of ‘Out of the Belly of Hell: COVID-19 and the humanisation of globalisation’, which looks at how social movements since 1968 have reshaped the world. Achille Mbembe Leading post-colonial philosopher who developed the idea of necropolitics: how politics can dictate who lives and who dies.
Thea Riofrancos Author of ‘A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal’ and ‘Resource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador’. She is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Providence College.
Chair: Réka Kinga Papp Hungarian journalist and editor-in-chief of Eurozine.

In Libya, despite a collapsed health system, conflict has intensified. People are trapped between fighting and the threat of the coronavirus.

How can countries in conflict tackle the spread of the coronavirus? How far should their people give up personal freedoms and human rights? And what can international law do?

Watch Lawyers for Justice in Libya and openDemocracy discuss Libya's dilemmas.

Hear from:
Asma Khalifa Libyan activist and researcher and co-founder of the Tamazight Women’s Movement. She is currently a research fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies. In 2017, Asma was named one of the ‘100 Most Influential Young Africans’.
Tarek Megerisi Libyan political analyst and researcher, currently a Policy Fellow of the North Africa and Middle East programme at the European Council of Foreign Relations in London.
Hanan Salah Senior Libya researcher in the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch.
Kate Vigneswaran Senior Legal Adviser with the MENA Programme of the International Commission of Jurists. Prior to joining the ICJ, she was a consultant with the UNDOC’s Eastern Africa and Southeast Asia regional offices, Legal Director of Fortify Rights in Southeast Asia, and prosecution lawyer at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
Chair: Marwa Mohamed Head of Advocacy and Outreach at Lawyers for Justice in Libya. Prior to joining LFJL, she worked as the Libya Researcher with Amnesty International, documenting human rights violations in Libya.

From money laundering to arms smuggling to VAT fraud, big-time criminals use one tool above all others to hide their tracks: British corporate structures.

The UK's respectable-looking register of companies distracts attention from a complete absence of checks on the people creating them. This makes the country an accessory to staggering volumes of financial crime.

What will it take to make this better?

Hear from:
Susan Hawley Director of Spotlight on Corruption, and one of the UK's most respected anti-corruption voices.
Peter Geoghegan Investigations Editor at openDemocracyUK and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'
Heather Marquette Professor of Development Politics, University of Birmingham, and a Fellow in the Institute for Global Innovation’s Twenty-First Century Transnational Organised Crime research cluster.
Chair: Oliver Bullough Journalist and the author of 'Moneyland: Why Thieves and Crooks Now Rule the World and How to Take It Back'

Tenants falling behind on rent. Migrants unable to claim benefits. Families already in debt. Low-paid workers facing pay cuts or job losses. The UK government has promised help for some – but millions more still have little or safety net. Coronavirus has exposed the inadequacy of the UK benefits system, where the most vulnerable are hit hardest by the pandemic. What can we do to avoid stop-gap solutions and really protect people from poverty, both now and in the future?

Hear from:
Caroline Molloy
Editor of openDemocracyUK
Sarah Arnold
Senior Economist, New Economics Foundation
Kate Belgrave
journalist and author of a forthcoming book on the UK benefits system
Chair: Mary Fitzgerald
Editor-in-Chief, openDemocracy

The coronavirus crisis has brought with it an unprecedented attack on human rights around the world. openDemocracy hosted a discussion with three women leading the fight for justice and human rights around the world during pandemic – and long after.

Speakers:
Helena Kennedy Director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, Labour member of the House of Lords in the UK.
Latanya Mapp Frett President of the Global Fund for Women, based in the US, and a former Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Global.
Monica Roa Acclaimed international women’s rights activist. In 2006, she and her organisation persuaded the Constitutional Court of Columbia to overturn the ban on abortion. She is now based in Spain.
Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-Chief of openDemocracy

From coronavirus to climate change, China looks like it is surging ahead of the US and its allies. Are we witnessing the slow death of liberal capitalism?

Speakers:
Paul Mason journalist and author of 'Clear Bright Future: A Radical Defence of the Human Being'.
Dr Linda Yueh economist and author of 'The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today'
Laurie Macfarlane economics editor, openDemocracy.
Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-Chief of openDemocracy

These unprecedented times are changing how we live - but also how we feel and what we think. On 16 April, the openDemocracy team discussed how our old views are being challenged.

How the pandemic is being used to remove democratic rights around the world.

Speakers:
Berhan Taye Senior policy analyst for the digital rights group Access Now, based in Kenya.
Justin Spike Journalist based in Hungary, covering the Orbán regime over the last decade and currently investigating the government’s COVID-19 crackdown.
Aarti Khosla Journalist based in New Delhi, publisher of the website CarbonCopy.info and of the media agency climatetrends.in
Leigh Baldwin Editor of SourceMaterial. He previously worked as an investigative journalist for Global Witness and as a reporter for Bloomberg News, and is collaborating with openDemocracy on our DemocracyWatch newsletter.
Mary Fitzgerald, Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy, facilitated the discussion.

An online, global discussion about some of the biggest threats and opportunities of our time, affecting rights and democracies around the world – and what we can do now to start building a more just and equal future for all of us.

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