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A world tour in summitry: May 14 - 20 on openDemocracy

The creation of the European Union is arguably the most noble and positive achievement of deliberate international political construction since the end of the First World War. Now it could collapse like the Soviet Union: Ivan Krastev’s careful, masterful comparison is free of all the usual banalities of pro and anti-EU rhetoric and is a ‘must-read’ for our time. It is reinforced by Nick Pearce on from the Pirate Party to Le Pen while Mario Pianta provides a relentlessly detailed survey of the staggering growth of inequality in Italy.

31 May 2012

In a period of breakdown will Europe’s public service media survive? Dan Hancox welcomes us to a new debate page OurBeeb hosted by OurKingdom as the UK's most important cultural institution, the BBC, appoints a new head. What should he (or she) do? Greg Dyke, the Director-General purged by Blair in 2004, is the first to rise to the challenge in Change or Die.

Who does the BBC represent? It’s a question that links to the revival of Rousseau - of the passionate General Will rather than the rational Social Contract. He haunts a fascinating hour long podcast by Simon Critchley and Tony Curzon Price, as they pick their way across the neoliberal debris asking if we need a ‘civil religion’. How to deal with internet rumour from government and people once the Fukushima reactors blew their tops, leads Fabian Schäfer into an extended reflection on how democracy needs to mobilise the passions. And in our Uneconomics debate, Paul Anderson shows how the market cannot value nature, while in the UK Aaron Peters argues it does not value humanity either.

A video of Charles Tripp’s inspiring lecture on how art, as a school of the emotions, prepared the Arab Awakening, reinforces the Roussean moment. But Albena Azmanova sees western style, corporate democracy defeating itself in the Arab Spring…  and Meriem Dhaouadi, in a wry short post shows how a Tunisian can now look at the French.

Nowhere else can you take a world tour of summitry: from Non-proliferation to Sustainable Energy, via the G8 and the UN’s Rio Summit not to speak of the Millennium Development Goals High Level Panel or Tribunal 12 as it puts Europe’s migration regime on trial; and in a series of articles, on the intervention in Libya and on future partnerships, discuss NATO in the run-up to Chicago.

And the great Theda Skocpol says the US presidential election could be the most important ever.

Before our links from elsewhere: have you forwarded an email to a friend this month asking them to join? If not please send this link

Three links you don't want to miss:

The harms of hate speech legislation

Will reform bring Burma peace?

The science of human conflict

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

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