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Great Charter Convention

Rights and liberties today

A look at liberty, rights & justice including human rights, digital rights and freedoms, questions of surveillance, the rights to assembly and protest, the legal system and the law.

A constitutional convention A written constitution? Rethinking representation Building it: campaigns and movements
Rights and liberties today A new charter of the forest Power where? Nations, regions, cities History


Rebuilding democracy in Iceland: an interview with Birgitta Jonsdottir

In the first of a series of interviews by Phil England examining the situation in Iceland and the possible relevance of developments there to the UK, Phil talks to Pirate Party MP Birgitta Jonsdottir.

The EU referendum: why we need a Deliberation Day

The UK is going to vote on staying or leaving the EU. A special bank holiday – Deliberation Day – can help make the decision an informed one.

How did mistrust of mainstream media become a sign of violent extremism?

The UK Government’s Prevent strategy has led to official claims that mistrust of mainstream media and anger about government policies can be symptomatic of violent extremism.

Magna Carta: a beggarly thing, a mess of pottage

If Magna Carta is the cornerstone of liberty, why did the Levellers, democratic radicals of the 17th century, reject it as 'containing many marks of intolerable bondage'?

Equal rights for all: the limits of Magna Carta and the 1965 Race Relations Act

The commemoration of Magna Carta should not be a complacent celebration, but an opportunity to explore what more we need to do as a nation to secure equal rights for Black and minority ethnic people.

A Magna Carta for learning disabled people

800 years of Magna Carta but learning disabled people remain 'villeins', denied rights against arbitrary power. What would a Magna Carta for learning disabled people look like?

No place for the young: the towns where childhood is being criminalised

Across England, local councils are banning young people from public space.

Digital rights and pornography – a child protection catch-22 or lazy policy solutions?

Internet filters all too easily threaten children's legitimate right to information in the well-intentioned effort to protect them from online pornography. A better policy response is more focus on relationship and sexual education.

Pornography and digital rights

Public debate needs to take proper account of the risks of internet filters, imposed by the state or private companies, in trying to restrict access to online pornography.

Magna Carta 800th anniversary: three contrasting videos

A message to England from America's Black Lives Matter, A talk under the oldest Yew in England, and might says it is right

800 years since the Magna Carta: Remembering the British struggle for ethnic minority rights

As we approach the 800th aniversary of Magna Carta, let us recall other important anniversaries which mark the struggle for black and minority ethnic rights in the UK.

Abolition of the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee is a loss to British democracy

The government's decision to abolish the Political and Constitutional Reform Commitee is a major blow, depriving British democracy of a major support for informed discussion of options for constitutional change.

The Convention on Modern Liberty

The Magna Carta 2015 conference in Cambridge this weekend will provide the last chance to buy the book on openDemocracy's 2009 "Convention on Modern Liberty".

The future of human rights in the UK

A British Bill of Rights will not only allow the Conservative government to deport an individual to a country where they face a real risk of torture, harm or humiliation: the human rights system must be fought for.

New counter-extremism laws must not cut out spaces for dialogue

How do we address extremism in a way that does not impinge on civil liberties and exacerbate tensions in our communities?

In new gods do we trust?

Do you expect the machine to solve the problems? In this wide-ranging interview with the Director of the Open Rights Group we discuss bulk collection, state bureaucracies, the pre-crime era and trust.

Rule Britannia

Today’s parallel with feudal 1215 is the absolute dominance of a “collective monarchy”, combining the power not merely of the Westminster state but also of the corporate and financial institutions and their elites. 

Digital rights and freedoms: Part 2

More than rights, a set of guiding principles is needed to counterpose to the reigning ideals of ‘security’, ‘growth’ and ‘innovation’. Alternative ideals, perhaps, such as democracy, health and environmental sustainability?  See Part 1.

Digital rights and freedoms: Part 1

Under the rubric of state security on the one hand and commercial openness on the other, we are being lulled into an online world of fear and control where our every move is monitored in order to more efficiently manage us. See Part 2.

Digital citizenship: from liberal privilege to democratic emancipation

On the anniversary of the Magna Carta, a call for a new debate on the conception of citizenship. Let’s seize the opportunity to transform our utopian dreams into everyday life.

The Met lose on water cannon - for now

News that the Met won't be allowed to use their water cannon is welcome - but may not be the end of the story.

Basic Income - basic respect

Basic Income is not a panacea for our woeful economic structure but it could certainly be a big step forward.

On the eve of Magna Carta’s 800th birthday, the British legal system is being ripped apart

A protest march against the Global Law Summit in London symbolises the relevance of the Magna Carta.

Why did intelligence agencies spy on Greenpeace?

Because they are building a vast system of social control.

From Magna Carta to magna market

The upcoming Global Law Summit does seem to have plenty to do with the rule of law, but perhaps not in the way its corporate organisers think.

Theresa May’s Prevent bill is extremism in the name of security

The home secretary’s counter-terrorism and security bill is a Hobbesian contract meant to frighten us into surrendering our freedoms.

Response to committee - a new Magna Carta?

openDemocracy's founder explains why Britain must go for a fully written constitution, and why a constitutional convention is necessary to achieve that.

Basic income – transforming benefits in the era of the precariat

The time has come to seriously consider basic income - the current system of coercive sanctions and meagre benefits is not fit for purpose.

In defence of the Human Rights Act - laws must change with society

The law must adapt to remain relevant. The changing interpretation of human rights is entirely in line with our best legal traditions.

How many judicial review cases are received by UK government departments?

Government insists judicial challenges are now so frequent that they must be curbed in law. But the numbers don't seem to back this up.

Magna Carta: what prospects for a Precariat Charter?

The events surrounding the signing of Magna Carta 800 years ago may sound more familiar to readers than they might expect...

Farewell Magna Carta: the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill

A new law being rushed through Westminster with little scrutiny is a direct attack on our freedom.

Let's not do what the Charlie Hebdo murderers want

Our reactions to the attack on Charlie Hebdo have been pretty predictable: it seems likely that this is what the attackers wanted.

The British left's desperate confusion over Charlie Hebdo

Focusing on calling murdered cartoonists racist is useless and problematic. The left needs to come to terms with reality, and prepare to fight the far right.

The hypocrites have jumped aboard the Magna Carta bandwagon

Neither the Government nor the VIPs celebrating the historic charter's anniversary give a damn about its principles.

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