This week's editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Tabit and sexual violence in Darfur

Darfur has practically been closed off to journalists, politicians and independent civil society organizations, and sexual violence and rape have now become a reality in women's day-to-day lives.

Twenty-five years since first election of a black US governor, L Douglas Wilder

Progress has been slow. Other than Wilder, only one other African American – Deval Patrick of Massachusetts – has been elected governor of any state. 

Towards a psychology of war

Women may participate in war, but in our social imaginary, war is still man’s business. The few women who fight have not undone the dominant symbolic association of passive receptivity with femininity or of masculinity with domination.

Endgame: the United States and Iran

What stands in the way of Iran and the US cooperating openly to meet twin threats of Sunni extremism and state failure is any failure to resolve the nuclear deadlock. 

The geostrategic consequences of the Arab Spring

The Arab awakening is creating a new socio-political and economic reality in the region, transforming the balance of power, not because states have become stronger, but rather because states have become weak and fragile.

Qatar: diplomats return but differences remain

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have ambassadors returning to Qatar after a nearly year-long absence, a boost for a Gulf state that could do with positive media coverage.

Eric Hobsbawm and MI5

He was an increasingly isolated figure, regarded at the time with a contempt and hostility from some Party apparatchiks that exceeded even MI5 denunciations. 

Brazil doubles down on cyber security



The out-sized military response risks compromising citizens’ fundamental rights. If Brazil is to build a cyber security system fit for purpose, an informed debate is imperative.

Women peacebuilders: transforming the system from the inside out?

Navigating between cooperation and confrontation vis-à-vis institutions of power, as WILPF approaches its centenary it must continue to avoid cooptation into a system that produces the violence it abhors.

“Someone is making a killing from war”

In this 2005 note for War Resisters’ International, Howard Clark explains why the campaign against war profiteering is integral to WRI’s broader promotion of nonviolence. Taking action against those who profit from war involves facing a powerful lobby in favour of military expenditure.

Remembrance and the reserve-reserve army of labour

In November each year, with increasing collective commitment it seems, we remember the servicemen and women who have died in recent wars and those of the previous century. It is curious, remembrance.

Physical space and ‘Occupy’ tactics: a new trend in civil resistance?

Does the term ‘occupation’ delegitimize movements by casting participants as short-term guests, instead of representatives communicating grievances held by a wider society within a public forum that is theirs?

The Sahel-Sahara between 'Arab spring' and 'black spring'

The international media spotlight follows the US politico-military agenda to the Middle East but potentially transformative developments to the west in Africa deserve much closer scrutiny.

The Italian social strike is a landmark event for the precariat

Last week the Italian precariat took a step beyond primitive rebellion and began to constitute itself as a politics. As its arguments take shape those involved must work to engage with communities outside of the activist world.

A political tsunami called ‘Podemos’

Are we entering the ‘bear hug’ phase in the political and economic Spanish elites’ strategy to beat Podemos, or have they begun to realise that Podemos could win?

Saving Europe from salvation

National competences are not something one can waive away with a magic wand and reassign to international institutions. Limited sovereignty all round is the road we must travel.

Iran’s emerging institutional power and its effect on negotiations with the United States

It is now the US shift in institutional power that is threatening the process and undermining the President’s efforts. 

The law is the law: legalistic distortions between official Spain and Catalonia

The Catalanists’ democratic credentials are shoehorned into a one-size-fits-all horror story of minority nationalism that allows non-violent Catalans to be condemned in carelessly violent language. 

Britain and the EU – a sorry tale of collapsing influence and dishonest debate

Without EU 'reforms' he may not even recommend a 'yes' in the referendum on membership in 2017, says British PM. But what he asks for is mostly there already.

The Nigerian state: no match for Boko Haram?

The latest Boko Haram atrocity in Nigeria will not be the last. The incapacity of the state and looming elections mean more violence can be expected.

Jerusalem: a city on edge

The old city of Jerusalem is the singular most contested city in human history.

“There was so much fear”

The outworking of the eight-year-old peace agreement in Nepal has embraced the government and its Maoist opponents. The women who were victims of sexual violence from both sides during the conflict have, however, been left out.

The imminent prospect of a US-Iran breakthrough worries the hawks

The more fundamentalist elements of the IRI, are now frightened with the prospect of diplomatic normalization and the loss of their grip on power. They fear that they will be overthrown.

Iran’s unresolved conflict between reformers and fundamentalists

Either the Islamic Republic wishes to remain in its fundamentalist cocoon and alienate more educated, westward-looking young Iranians, as well as be regarded as a pariah by the international community, or it wishes to join the modern world

An unexpected borderzone: the come-back of the Franco-Italian border

The arrival of the migrants created conflict between Italy and France – with both Nicolas Sarkozy and Silvio Berlusconi facing an election year – and quickly escalated into threatening the Schengen Agreement.

Islamophobia, a foreseeable consequence of ultra-liberalism?

Islamophobia does not result from a specific strategy to create the ideal scapegoat, but Muslims came in opportunely to fulfil this function within ultra-liberal European societies.

The new cold war Russia (again) won't win

The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, burst the 25th-anniversary balloon of the symbolic end of the cold war by warning of a new one, fed by NATO's eastward expansion. An economically weak USSR lost the last one; a still weaker Russia will lose this one too. 

Life after Europe: the Post-Europe Project

The joint editors of Europe – the very idea introduce the next stage of their project – a discussion inspired by the Czech philosopher and political dissident Jan Patočka. An invitation to discussion.

Hungary: ruling in the guise of democracy

After 1989, within two decades, the hitherto ‘dormant’ authoritarian, leader-worshipping, order-obsessed right-wing mentality has gradually found its way to the surface. Its institutional shape is precisely impossible to define.

Thoughts on autonomous weapons systems and meaningful human control of cyber

In cyber, borders, states, agencies – the traditional ways of organising international cooperation and communication no longer count. In cyber, everybody is a potential adversary.

The cooling wars of cyber space in a remote era

Hyperbolic language used to describe the potential consequences of cyber attacks has contributed to the ‘securitisation’ of the debate around cyber security issues. Increased transparency and accurate information is essential.

Palestine's statehood options: a dialogue

What are the choices facing Palestinians regarding their state sovereignty, and how best should they be pursued? Two legal scholars debate these increasingly urgent questions. 

The financial logic and human cost of the war on terror

The general frame of war on terror rhetoric is that no one is safe and secure unless politics is securitised in order to pave the way for growing investment in the military industry.

Islamic State: power of belief

The strength of the new jihadi movement is to link ideology and combat experience. The failures of its western enemy add fuel to its cause. 

Race and racism in modern Turkey

Ninety years since the establishment of the Republic, in an ever more complex society, the limitations and contradictions of Turkish national identity are coming to the fore more and more. 

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