October 24 - 30 on openDemocracy

The Tunisians started the Arab Awakening. Now, after a human nine months we can all celebrate the birth of free elections in their country - and it is indeed their achievement writes Ayman Ayoub. But will a consensus between Islamist and secular parties be enough to ensure Tunisian women share fully in the success, Kristine Goulding sets out a three-part answer.
10 November 2011

As democracy arrives in the Maghreb the Russian artist Maxim Kantor is biting about the way it has permitted the rise of a global “lumpen elite” enjoying a parallel life and pointless art - and you can scroll through his own graphic etchings.

Other Russians share his pessimism: an increasingly illegitimate leadership has begun high-risk brinkmanship over the nation’s economy; its secret services are investing huge sums into developing savvy tools for monitoring its online and engaged public; while oil giants and the authorities are colluding in cover-ups of the most outrageous nature. But what did you expect, asks Andrei Konchalovsky? Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose: a country can only ever be a mirror of its nation, and in Russia that nation remains totally disengaged. Surprising that so many thought democratic evolution was a possibility, concurs Daniil Kotsyubinsky.

But the Occupy Wall Street protests offer hope of a world free from crony governments and media. Shilpa Kameswaran is unconvinced: what chance does Zuccotti Park have if the protestors come from near identical white backgrounds? She claims they will have nothing like the success of Hazare’s massive anti-corruption movement in Delhi and is rebuked for shallowness, as our #Occupy debate grows.

openDemocracy loves connecting the dots, and from his Scottish vantage point Gerry Hassan sees the connections between nationalism and Euroscepticism while from London’s ippr Nick Pearce tracks how those who default on orthodoxy like Argentina and Iceland… do best.

Many in Eastern Europe carry on failing to connect with their war-time past. Perhaps the west does too. But we explore what really happened as we continue our partnership with the conference on a century of bombing. Dick Gregory exposes The American way. And there is good news! You almost certainly have not read about it elsewhere. Hiding behind an abstract headline is a fascinating report by Paul Rogers on the dismantling of the last of the most powerful thermonuclear bombs in the United States arsenal, the US B53.

PS: Can anyone spare a ticket to the Bolshoi? It opened its doors again after six years of restoration charging £240 entrance.


Three links you won’t want to miss:

Should ecocide become a crime against humanity? (Video)

Canon of St Paul’s ‘unable to reconcile conscience with evicting protest camp’

Libya: where are the women’s voices?

Peter Geoghegan: dark money and dirty politics

Democracy is in crisis and unaccountable flows of money are helping to destroy it. Peter Geoghegan’s new book, ‘Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics’, charts how secretive money, lobbying and data has warped our democracy.

How has dark money bought our politics? What can be done to change the system?

Join us for a journey through a shadowy world of dark money and disinformation stretching from Westminster to Washington, and far beyond.

Sign up to take part in a free live discussion on Thursday 13 August at 5pm UK time/6pm CET

In conversation:

Peter Geoghegan Dark Money Investigations editor at openDemocracy and the author of ‘Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics’.

Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy.

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