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This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

From participatory budgets in Brazil to town hall meetings in New England, participation is being rediscovered as a democratic virtue. This openDemocracy strand aims to track, inform and explore its development. We are proud to partner The Development Research Center on Citizenship and Participedia in their research.

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Who’s in charge of transforming Detroit?

The real promise of urban transformation comes not from the outside in, but from the inside out—building a new city from the bottom up.

When is citizen participation transformative?

When is participation empowering and transformative? What is the relationship between ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ modes of participation? At a conference on the theme of ‘Participatory Cultural Citizenship’ in Aarhus, last November, keynote speaker Leah Lievrouw shared her thoughts on this with Participation Now. Interview.

Volatile, stable and extractive participation

At a conference on the theme of ‘Participatory Cultural Citizenship’ in Aarhus, Denmark last November, Participation Now asked keynote speaker Chris Kelty about questions posed by his current research project: Who gets to decide what participation should be like? Who should be deciding? How might they decide this? Interview.

Deliberation – Lessons from Brazil

By giving people permission to dream, space to debate, chance to learn, opportunities to contribute to righting deep-rooted wrongs, Brazil is creating a nation of informed, politically engaged citizens. The UK can learn from its example.

What ideas came out of the Deliberative Poll and why?

As readers of OurKingdom will know, POWER 2010 has just launched a nationwide poll to choose five proposals for democratic reform from a list of 29 items that a deliberative assembly in London short-listed last weekend.

Sunday morning with James Fishkin and POWER2010

Rosemary Bechler gives her account as an observer of the POWER2010 Deliberative Poll.

POWER2010 Deliberative Poll on Channel 4 News

POWER2010 Deliberative Poll on Channel 4 News

The fabric of accountability in Bangladesh’s garment industry

Poorly protected by its labour laws, Bangladesh's informal garment sector workers collectively seek ways to secure their rights through trade unions and popular movements.

Mexico’s native communities reverse the flow of accountability

Sustainable management of shared resources in southern Veracruz, Mexico entails solidarity and co-responsibility among indigenous communities through continuous engagement and mutual understanding of historical and cultural contexts.

Keeping the corporation honest in Visakhapatnam, India

When legal-constitutional guarantees fail, public hearings may be the only option available to those who have paid the price for India's rapid economic growth.

The fight for democracy is never over - a message from POWER2010 on International Human Rights Day

On this International Human Rights Day, I want to tell you about George, a refugee from Zimbabwe. His tale is a constant reminder that human rights are a shared responsibility, for everyone.

Kelly alone isn't enough - Power2010's open letter to party leaders

If any more evidence were needed that the Westminster system is itself sick and in dire need of treatment then the behaviour of MPs in the build up to today's release of Sir Christopher Kelly's report on expenses is surely it

Interview with Helena Kennedy QC about the launch of POWER2010

Blogger Mark Reckons has interviewed Helena Kennedy, Chair of POWER2010, the new campaign for democratic reform which launches today. POWER2010 is a bottom-up campaign which asks members of the public to submit and vote on their ideas for fixing our broken politics - the most popular will become the Power2010 pledge to be used to persuade and audit candidates and parties at the next election.

I'm working full-time on the campaign and hope to be blogging regularly on its progress and the different ideas it generates here. In this interview Helena Kennedy explains to Mark how the campaign will work and how we hope it will succeed:

POWER2010 sounds like an interesting campaign for political obsessives like me but why do you think this will succeed in a way that previous ones perhaps haven't? For example as far as I can tell, despite all the hard work of you and your colleagues, almost none of the original Power Inquiry key recommendations have been implemented three and a half years on.

There have been, as you say, many campaigns over the past few decades which have tried - in various ways - to get democratic and constitutional reform realised. I have been involved with many of them. You are right - despite the welcome the Power Inquiry report received - little has changed. I think you have identified the problem very accurately. In the end we have been reliant on politicians - those with power to implement reforms - reforms which in most cases will see them losing Power. And - they just can't take that!

So despite fine words, things don't change. But I do believe that change can happen. Look at how the Scottish Parliament came about - we needed an Act of Parliament and for MPs to vote for change. But they were persuaded in favour of the Parliament in the end because of the campaign in Scotland which involved civil society and real people and over years persisted and changed the culture in which that conversation was taking place. We need to do the same now.

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