Home

When is a change not a change? March 26 - April 01 on openDemocracy

As Spain witnessed a general strike against austerity, Daniel Raventos and Julie Wark argue for a basic income guarantee, Robert Borosage denounces America’s top 1% taking 93% of all salary growth and Nick Pearce urges social democrats to rethink.

9 April 2012

Across the world, political elites search in vain for public support. In France, the left are experimenting with US-style primaries, but Phillipe Marlière shows it may lead to another form of spectator distance. In India, state elections see voters roundly rejecting national parties to embrace regional ones, and Tanmoy Sharma senses federalism. In Russia, a party reform bill is going to be signed into law. And Grigorii Golosov asks, is it a real concession or (as in France) change that is no change?

The UK elite is in trouble too. The dramatic outcome of a by-election confirms popular repugnance, says Gerry Hassan, who grew up as a neighbour of the upstart George Galloway. Tony Curzon-Price agrees: cash for access scandal means time is up for Britain’s mainstream party politics, as single issue and micro-campaigns offer new ways of imposing a moral obligation on the executive. Indifferent to them, the UK Coalition is removing free legal aid from those seeking welfare benefit – undermining democracy if you agree with Deborah Padfield. An unpopular marketisation of the NHS finally became law aided by the larger problem of a silent media when things get serious, says Aeron Davis. Richard Seymour deconstructs Boris Johnson as one vapid media clown and politician of the spectacle likely to retain control of London in May, despite the riots that started under him. Neal Lawson attacks a new report on them for its timidity on consumerism and stirs up disagreement, Was it the shops what done it?, while campaigning lawyers Shauneen Lambe and Michael Oswald urge the police to change their attitudes towards young black and Asian men.

Russians prepare for the ‘return’ of Putin. John Besemeres and Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan doubt he will turn back the clock, especially against online Russia. Natalya Zubarevich, redraws the map and sees four countries in the world’s largest, predicting that the land of the brains will win out. Elsewhere on oD Russia: the link between football hooligans and politicans, a photoreportage of abandoned wooden churches and a reflection on what God must be telling Belo-Russia’s Lukashenka.

 

Photoreportage: The tragedy of Russia's abandoned wooden churches. All photos (c) Richard Davies

Take a look at Mark Lee Hunter’s impassioned defence of Julian Assange against his media ‘tormentors’. The comments on this piece are particularly lively.

 

Three links you may not want to miss:

Marx at 193 

China’s death-row reality show

Is US public opinion moving towards Russia? 

 

 

openDemocracy’s week in 400 words is emailed to Members and Friends to help pay for our great content. Please forward this to any contact you think might be interested and want to join; they should see here or email [email protected].

Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

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