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This week's editor

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Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The courage of Cheran: organizing against violence

Mistrust in government systems of rule has led the town of Cherán in Mexico to create its own institutions. The community faces many challenges, not the least of which is the non-violent defence of their people in an area where armed gangs are a constant threat.

Egypt: how to negotiate the transition. Lessons from Poland and China

A comparison of the Polish Round Table and the Tiananmen Tragedy show that non-violent resistance movements need to be clear-headed in the moment of negotiation and transition. The next moves by the democratic movement in Egypt will determine the political shape of the country for a long time to come. It should learn from Solidarity's success in 1989.

Civil resistance and the language of power

“If you want to build a ship, don’t gather your people and ask them to provide wood, prepare tools, assign tasks. Call them together and raise in their minds the longing for the endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The trifecta of civil resistance: unity, planning, discipline

Three attributes can make the difference between success and failure for nonviolent movements around the world: unity, planning, and nonviolent discipline.

Resisting corruption: recent progress in Indonesia and Kenya

People power may be well-suited to a systemic approach to curbing corruption. Political will can be thwarted, because too many office-holders have a stake in the crooked status quo. Those benefiting from graft are much less likely to stand against it than those suffering from it.

Authentic journalism: weapon of the people

The path out of the crises wrought by commercial journalism opens when citizens steal back the mission that big media claimed but failed to do: Honest, coherent storytelling.

Red lenses on a rainbow of revolutions

Given continued strikes in Iran and the freeing of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, neither the Burmese nor Iranian struggle for democracy is a story that should be characterized as an example of a failed movement and successful repression. But it is up to us - the global audience - to understand our responsibility in this dynamic.

The struggle after people power wins

With peaceful but forceful civic mobilization in 2004, Ukrainians managed to reverse a rigged presidential election. Later, disappointed in politicians who failed to deliver on promises of political and economic change, many Ukrainians distanced themselves from politics, thereby helping Victor Yanukovych become president in 2010. Civil society moved its residual activism from political to social problems, which could strengthen civil society as it prepares to counter democratic backsliding.

The Anishinabe and an unsung nonviolent victory in late twentieth-century Wisconsin

In the wake of the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, many Native Americans adopted civil resistance to fight for rights supposedly guaranteed in the 19th century by the government's treaties with their tribes. This true story is how one tribe in Wisconsin, using nonviolent strategies, prevailed in that fight.

Repression’s paradox in China

From the authoritarian’s perspective, internal dissidents are easy to deal with – put them in jail, have them disappeared, exiled, or executed. It is not so easy to silence the prestigious Nobel committee, however, let alone the international community. Of course, that is exactly why Professor Liu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Upsurge in repression challenges nonviolent resistance in Western Sahara

Sahrawis have engaged in protests, strikes, cultural celebrations, and other forms of civil resistance focused on such issues as educational policy, human rights, the release of political prisoners, and the right to self-determination. They have also raised the cost of occupation for the Moroccan government and increased the visibility of the Sahrawi cause.

People power and the new global ferment

People power does not lend itself to the geo-strategic interests of empires or warlords, since it is based on collective action and civic unity, as well as the refusal to comply with existing power-holders. Any movement that opts for civil resistance has to encompass and attempt to represent diverse social groups.

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