The struggle over what is normal: May 07 - 13 on openDemocracy

What’s normal? For thirty years the politics of ‘globalisation’ has tried to persuade us that regulation is inhuman while avarice and the market are natural. Now, in the wake of the crash, a struggle over what is ‘normal’ has begun. In a brilliantly suggestive reflection on France after the elections, the leading feminist scholar Nilifur Gole contrasts the conservative ‘normal’ of socialist President-elect Hollande and the anti-immigrant claim on the ‘normal’ by Le Pen. For sure, across Europe, argues Andrea Teti, ruling politicians, their methods and policies are being repudiated, not least the Greek party dinosaurs of PASOK and New Democracy as economic pressure and anti-Roma nationalist feelings reshape the public sphere, while 50:50’s Lea Sitkin observes that border control now resembles crime control. And a Muslim Norwegian calmly refuses all such politics.

24 May 2012

Syria is moving towards a sectarian civil warwarns Yakin Ertürk. In a critique of Mariano Aguirre, Steven Heydemann and Reinoud Leenders emphasize the need for a credible threat to the regime and Mariano issues a strong reply: militarization means costly foreign intervention, destroying many lives without bring down Assad. Perhaps Mali shows the consequences of foreign military solutions says Stephen Zunes.

Can Islamist parties lead the Arab countries to swift economic improvement? It is critical that they do says Fawaz Gerges. Genevieve Theodorakis agrees and NATO also has to learn from the past in its relations with the Middle East, argues Andrea Teti in his second contribution of the week, as Rebecca Johnson laments the UN’s failure to remove nuclear weapons from the region.

Responding to Anthony Barnett’s indictment of the British prime minister as party to a criminal understanding with Rupert and James Murdoch, oD’s Chairman David Elstein says intimacy is not so simple and Anthony replies - as Brian Cathcart points out - that there is an even greater press scandal which, astonishingly, the press does not cover! The magic and manipulation of the Olympics draws Phil Cohen into its culture as the country’s largest warship is ordered up the Thames as a protective measure and Paul Rogers quietly mocks a Naval obsession with watery greatness.

To Europe’s east, Moscow feels occupied, Armenia and Azerbaijan head back to war, and something very odd is going on in Lithuania while Turkey’s political direction is challenged by the Gülen movement.


We have launched our Spring campaign. If you are a supporter and want to make another donation please don’t hesitate. If you know one person who you think would like to get these handy editors’ summaries please forward this email to them now and ask them to join up here the amount they wish to give is entirely up to them.


Don’t miss out on these excellent stories elsewhere on the web:

oD author Todd Gitlin asks: Is freedom of speech a dead letter?

Can geoengineering fix the climate?

The normalization of drones in American life

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.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData