October 31 - November 06 on openDemocracy

This week the ongoing crisis in Greece, the #Occupy protests in London and the US, the future of Europe and discrimination in the UK were themes that came to the fore. Fintan O’Toole’s tour de horizon of the twists and turns of Ireland’s relationship with the EU revealed some of the historic challenges to all concerned, while John Palmer reminded us of the multilayered nature of shifting European identities, and Andrew Watt asked whether wage-setting could provide a way out of the currency crisis. Anthony Barnett’s timely piece on the Greek referendum that wasn’t argued that it would have provided the first breath of democracy in the entire eurozone crisis; Takis S Pappas, however, considers Prime Minister Papandreou fundamentally undemocratic.
14 November 2011

The #Occupy protests continue to pose questions about the nature of contemporary protest, and the identity and goals of those involved.  Lawrence Rosenthal situated the Occupy Wall Street protests in the broader American political landscape, finding points of comparison with the Tea Party protesters of the Obama era.  Ryan Gallagher noted how, although the #OccupyLondon site at St Pauls is a thriving community, lack of transparency could defeat the movement’s own demands.  In ‘So goes California, so goes the nation?’ Alex Andrews talked to Oakland activist Brad Johnson about the protest’s prospects and calls for a general strike in California.

Paul Rogers anatomises the role of NATO and arms companies in Libya, as the story of how Gaddafi fell and who benefits continues to be contested. Aaron C Taliaferro and Shanthie Mariet D’Souza, meanwhile, explored Washington DC’s incoherent position on Afghanistan, notably the absence of frameworks of reconciliation; while Sadegh Zibakalam tracked Iranian incoherence on the Arab spring.

This week, openDemocracy’s 50.50 section launched Centrestage, a series asking what it will take to build a truly inclusive society in the UK. Editor Barbara Gunnell set the context of economic exclusion; while Melissa Benn looked at Britain’s ‘educational apartheid’; and  Shauneen Lambe drew attention to the UK’s credibility gap on securing children’s rights, three years after the UN criticised Britain for its negative public attitudes to children. 

From debates on inclusion and exclusion in the EU, the US and in Britain, the week ended on a more contemplative note, with Daniel Zylbersztajn reflecting on neighbourly relations in the 1930’s and now, and a potentially transformative dialogue which has taken decades to cultivate. 

Three links we wouldn’t want you to miss:

The Nation: Greece spins out of control

Murmuration by Sophie Windsor Clive (video)

Wayback from Edinburgh to Skye (video)

How do we work after coronavirus?

The pandemic has profoundly changed our working lives. Millions have lost their jobs; others have had no choice but to continue working at great risk to their health. Many more have shouldered extra unpaid labour such as childcare.

Work has also been redefined. Some workers are defined as 'essential' – but most of them are among the lowest-paid in our societies.

Could this be an opportunity?

Amid the crisis, there has been a rise in interest in radical ideas, from four-day weeks to universal basic income.

Join us on 5pm UK time on 20 August as we discuss whether the pandemic might finally be a moment for challenging our reliance on work.

In conversation:

Sarah Jaffe, journalist and author of 'Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone', due to be published next year.

Amelia Horgan, academic and author of 'Lost in Work: Escaping Capitalism', also due to be published next year.

Chair: Alice Martin, advisory board member of Autonomy, a think tank dedicated to the future of work.

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