Home

Support a world-wide awakening

openDemocracy’s founder Anthony Barnett writes to you...
Anthony Barnett
Anthony Barnett
22 November 2011

Dear reader,

A wake-up call is being sounded against the closed and inhuman privileges of corporate power - and its different forms of political control. It is being heard, picked up, repeated and amplified across the world.  

But what are its demands? What do the indignants, the occupiers and the inspiring brave youth of Egypt want? The answer is clear. So clear that it is blindingly obvious. So blinding that our mainstream media can’t see let alone utter it.  

It is that our economic and social systems must henceforth be governed by the people, for the people.  

At last!  

openDemocracy is part of this rising.  

We will be asking the questions of how. How can we govern our economies for the people, not the financiers? How can this best be done by we, the people? How can we do this so that we enhance and protect our liberties rather than lose them?

These are very hard questions. It may be obvious that the power of open networks now makes it possible to achieve real democracy. But it is just as clear that in authoritarian hands modern surveillance and control can impose the opposite. It is not just that the answers demand hard intellectual work, they will call for even tougher and more careful networked organisation, which in turn demands an open, anti-corporate culture we are all just learning.  

I’m asking you to join openDemocracy and help the tough cultural and intellectual fight for real democracy.

What has led us to this point over the last ten years is succinctly set out by Paul Rogers. Why you must resource us (if you can) is brilliantly argued by Tony Curzon Price. Tony makes an original point. Nothing is really free on the web. When you think it is, you are the product that is being sold! 

Except when it comes to openDemocracy. We are not a commodity; we are a not-for-profit that will always be free to read. And nor are you a commodity: for a start there are not enough of you to become an advertisers’ dream, more important you are awkward customers who think for yourselves.

However, there are more than enough of us, who use, read, write and help edit openDemocracy, to make it self-sustaining: by joining or donating affordable amounts. The more independent we are, the more we will improve, grow and be more widely used and enjoyed and all the more impactful we will be.

openDemocracy’s Editor Rosemary Bechler is developing ideas for Citizens Editors, to open out openDemocracy in a way that releases energy and is purposive (avoiding the self-indulgent time-wasting of much on-line comment).  

In May, in Madrid’s Plaza del Sol, when the Occupy movement extended the Arab awakening to the West, I interviewed one of its inspiring, starter activists. “We have broken the silence”, she told me – and she was right.

But it is going to be very tough indeed to work out what to say and do next. It will need argument and debate and a disciplined open-mindedness to replace the current economic system, not clichés and glibness. It will need us all to create a new democratic culture, open to each but strong enough to govern with modesty - encouraging the love that does justice, in Martin Luther King’s commanding phrase.  

With your help we can make a start. Join in openDemocracy. Become a Member by investing however much you think best.

Thank you

Anthony Barnett

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.

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

Comments

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