This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

EU centralisation-without-representation: a reply to Frances Coppola, Simon Wren-Lewis and Niall Ferguson

Europeans are against ‘more Europe', because they are against the particular type of authoritarian, anti-democratic political union on offer. It would not after all, be the first time in history that a political ruling class place their preference for more unchecked power ahead of their concern for shared prosperity.

Conscientious objection: Virginia Woolf's ideas live on

In her 1938 essay Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf defined patriarchy, militarism and nationalism as sources of war. Marta Correia explores how Women in Black Belgrade are acting out Woolf's call to 'disobedience' - and paying a price.

In defence of liberalism 2: socialist liberalism

It is all the more bitter that a misperception of liberalism by parts of the left is mirrored by an equally unreasonable and dogmatic belief in the supposed efficiency or inherent fairness of markets by many liberals. There is a third way after all.

When human trafficking becomes a Cause Celebre

Celebrities no longer just raise money and awareness. They offer advice about how to approach and ‘solve’ the human trafficking problem. The United Nations has multitudes of celebrities representing it as the ‘faces’ of the topic. 

The politics of exception: the bipartisan appeal of human trafficking

Contemporary abolitionism garners strong bipartisan support because it does not challenge major economic and political interests. But slavery, trafficking and forced labour are rooted in global patterns of injustice. For the movement to be effective it must sacrifice some of its support in order to speak truth to power.

Turkey and the Islamic State crisis: everyone's non-ally?

The military success of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq intensifies questions over Turkey's strategy and decisions. What Ankara does next will help to resolve them.   

Cultural heritage and violence in the Middle East

When people are dying in their thousands, why should we care about the destruction of artefacts? Cultural violence has long been a component in the obliteration of communities; it legitimates the denial of diversity and makes them much harder to rebuild.

IS in Algeria: serious threat or publicity stunt?

The latest act of violence may be part of a pattern of opportunist 'career advancement' for the leader of Jund El Khalifa, rather than an indication of real IS presence in Algeria.

Why Hong Kong matters

Could mainland China not seek eventual convergence towards a democratic system, respectful of the full gamut of human rights? That actually is what the happenings in Hong Kong now are about.

The SWISH Report (25)

What should United Kingdom's defence policy be? A government department has commissioned advice from the noted SWISH management consultancy. This is an exclusive copy of its just completed report.

Arabs without capitals

The fragility of Arab capital cities reflects the lack of legitimacy among their rulers and the wider popular antagonism they provoke. 

With peace and love: civil disobedience in Hong Kong

Western media outlets have described Hong Kong’s accelerated wave of unrest as predominantly led by students. It has a much wider base than that. Months of steady canvassing and campaigning on the streets, and a promotion of emotive symbolism over violence, have garnered enormous sympathy for the Occupy movement.

Kojève’s idea of the end of history: a philosophical key to the European economic crisis

What I would like to argue is that this historical and existential process retraced by Kojève helps to clarify the origin and the genesis of the present, European and global, supremacy of economic processes over all other fields of human activity. 

Critique of the boycott divestment sanctions movement, from a Jewish supporter of the Palestinian cause

The moral degeneration of Israel must not have as its indirect consequence the moral degeneration of the Palestinian solidarity movements, for in a desperate struggle there is such a danger as all sides losing at once. Here are arguments supporting sanctions against Israel, and opposing a cultural boycott.

Beyond Mosul

Shia militias, still operating under the control of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, are laying siege to Latifiyya, especially the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq militia. Failure to address the broader effects of international assistance in Iraq’s fight promises to further polarize Iraq’s communities.

Alternatives to military intervention: a commando team of mediators

The Ammerdown Invitation has initiated here a debate on an alternative security policy for the UK. Mediation is a key alternative to the “militarism” the signatories bemoan.

ISIS airstrikes: how to rehabilitate dictators and destroy the revolution

Maged Mandour

The American intervention will strengthen the hand of Arab autocrats against their opponents, Islamists and non-Islamists alike. It lends credibility to the 'war against terror' rhetoric that these regimes use as a suppressant to the revolution.

The Islamic State war: Iraq's echo

A major new war has begun in the Middle East. But the Islamic State movement is prepared, and the precedents are bleak.

What Arab partners will get in return for strikes on Syria

Much of the analysis of the US-led attacks on IS has been from the American end of the telescope. But how does it look from that of its Arab allies?

The EU-US free trade agreement (TTIP): giving rights to firms, taking jobs from modest communities

If global corporations gain rights, do citizens also? We now know the answer: No.

When the European moral vacuum meets Hungary’s autocratic regime

Hungary is obviously moving towards autocracy. But we have to ask ourselves two questions. Would it be useful for the EU to introduce measures against a country with democratic problems? Secondly, is Europe in the moral, political and economic state to be able to act? Both questions require thorough deliberation. 

Women and jihad

Much has been made in the media of the women jihadists of IS, but this kind of violence by women is not unprecedented and is comparable to the Algerian experience of the 1990s.

Crisis brewing in Macedonia

Events over the summer in Macedonia revealed just how fragile interethnic relationships remain. The EU and the US must address their responsibilities as guarantors of the country’s peace accord.

Turkey and the "Islamic State”

Turkey is notably reluctant to join a military campaign against ISIS. In fact, Ankara's ambiguity towards the radical Islamist group has deep political as well as historical roots.

The war with images

Social and political militants have all now transformed into marketing activists as they struggle to find ways to convince the public that the Palestinian cause is righteous.

The battle to preserve Bethlehem's cultural heritage

Open Bethlehem is a campaign to revive Bethlehem's legacy as a diverse, culturally rich, and entrepreneurial city, after decades of being suffocated by occupation.

Israel Inc. marketing the conflict in Gaza

In corporate jargon, Israel’s assault on Gaza is akin to that of a monopoly which undertakes unfair business practices to crush a small competitor’s attempt to increase its market share.

Longing for normalcy

There is a paradox in Zionism. Zionist Jews show willpower and initiative when it comes to war, but when it comes to reaching a historic compromise, the world appears to them as definite and immobile.

A fresh look: towards an Israel-Palestine two-state solution

A two-state solution is still possible in Israel and Palestine, but it will take a more aggressive strategy - one that focuses on the religious-nationalist right on both sides, and on concrete steps towards nation-building in Palestine.

Genealogies of empire: the Islamic State as a western symptom

The butcher of Foley has in a sense defied the genealogies of empire and the 'be with us or against us' mentality now once again at the forefront of politics.

Why Israel attacked so many Palestinian civilian targets during the 2014 offensive

Unlike the belief that Israel is just a criminal-like state for targeting civilians, attacking Palestinian civilian targets should be seen broadly as part of their defined political, economic, and social objectives.

Change in a time of climate change

When we come together as civil society, we have the capacity to transform policies, change old ways of doing things, and sometimes even topple regimes. That’s why I’m marching this Sunday in New York City.

Into the third Iraq war

Washington's strategy to defeat the Islamic State has the same deep flaws that marked earlier phases of the "war on terror".

Islamism vs the weak Arab nations

The fragility of Arab national identity makes it difficult to resist the Islamic State. This makes the Kurdish experience relevant to the prospects of war against the movement.

Tunisia’s forthcoming elections: transition at risk and arms sales won’t rescue

The mounting social and security risks should prompt the west to engage with all segments of Tunisian society to thwart the rise of sectarianism and polarization, looming in the rest of the Middle East and North Africa.

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