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This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Sovereign democracy, Egyptian style

The similarities between the Egyptian and Russian regime are striking, says Grigorii Golosov. Arguably, Mubarak’s was the more liberal one.

This week’s theme: Failures of the Liberal State and responses on the ground

In thinking through the issues we were struck by how often failures happen at the level of the national state nowadays and remedies, responses, the making of solutions… all tend to happen at more local levels, from cities and villages to translocal networks and neighbourhoods.

After Mubarak's refusal to leave: which way will the armed pillars of the state jump?

Updated 11am. After Mubarak's refusal to stand down, attention must turn to what the armed pillars of the state will now do.The army may well be divided between loyalists and reformers; but the police and the Presidential Guard are also armed. The right kind of foreign pressure must continue.

America’s anaemic reaction to Egypt’s democratic struggle

The leaders of the United States have this time dropped the ball.

North Korea makes direct food aid appeal

North Korea makes direct appeal for food aid, highlighting worsening food security situation. Tensions ease on Thai-Cambodian border as refugees return hom. India-Pakistani peace talks to resume, say sources. All this and more in today’s briefing…

Afghanistan: echoes of Vietnam

The operational resemblance of aspects of the Afghan insurgency to the guerrilla campaigns against French and American forces in Vietnam is ominous for Washington.

Tahrir Square, February 4, 2011, 5.30am

Interviewee: Islam El Tahtawey is a 23 years old Egyptian opposition demonstrator, a junior auditor in Cairo. 

US Middle East policy: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil… just act surprised

None of the Arab Revolts of 2011 have played themselves out as yet. So it will be a while before the Obama Administration can assess the damage to its interests: a set back or a debacle?

It’s not because they’re Arab

To frame the crisis in the region as an “Arab crisis” is to risk essentializing the problem in another, unique “world.”

Obama, Mubarak, and the Iron Cage of Liberalism

When a nonviolent battle is fought before curious, and sometimes fearful, international audiences, Western politicians face a near impossible task in supporting blatantly dictatorial regimes.

Afghans need to set the Afghan agenda 

The Afghan perspective is about incorporating a moderate version of Islam. There is still time to bring Afghanistan back onto the right course.

The Clash of Clichés

Does America want Europe to fail in its accommodation of Muslims? Passing remarks by politicians are often amplified by the international media, but sometimes we should ask why

Egypt’s pro-democracy movement: the struggle continues

Those who were expecting a quick victory are no doubt disappointed, but successful People Power movements of recent decades have usually been protracted struggles.

Preah Vihear: the Thai-Cambodia temple dispute

The diplomatic and near-military crisis of 2008 between Thailand and Cambodia reflects both deep historical tensions and contemporary domestic politics, says Milton Osborne.

(This article was first published on 25 August 2008) 


Have we had enough of all sorts of fabricated fiction that reduce and limit complex realities towards more or less paranoid plots and universally exchangeable narratives? Then let's escape

The space between

Real change can only be achieved by responsible civic actors inhabiting the centre and reclaiming lost psychological and physical space for the public realm

Power and powerlessness in global cities

How does today’s globalization transform our perceptions of urban inequality and how do we respond to it? Inequality is a powerful social divider but also, in some circumstances, a unifier

Contradictions of ‘development’ in contemporary India

Is India moving on a path towards segregating society, enclaving economic space in a way that essentially excludes the majority from the development orbit?

Tirana: calm before a storm?

On 21 January, three people died when the Republican Guard opened fire on protesters in front of the Prime Minister’s office. This is taking place in Europe

What keeps Mubarak on his throne?

Mohammed Hussainy summarises the personalities and forces that prevent Mubarak from standing down.

Facts on the ground in Afghanistan: a village perspective

Let’s try asking Afghan people: “Has the west failed in Afghanistan?”

Social democracy: in crisis the world over

The crisis of social democracy is closely linked to that of capitalism. How should it respond to the sharp reminder that the interests of capital and labour are not identical?

Justice for Janitors campaign: open-sourcing labour conflicts against global neo-liberalism

New forms of shared strategy and campaigning are taking on the worst effects of fiercely competitive neoliberal service economies. Globalization from above can be fought and resisted effectively by processes of globalization from below

The Counter-Terrorism Review: Trading liberty for security

The review of the UK's counter-terrorism and security powers tackles efficiency issues, but fails to address the impact of these powers on Britain's communities and on our civil liberties.

Don't paint bulls-eyes on pictures of opponents, and why Sarah Palin should have known

There is a history of painting targets or cross-hairs onto pictures of those you disagree with in the USA. It is widely known that doing so can get them killed. So why does Palin look so clueless about it?

Mubarak’s Day of Departure?

Updated after Friday prayer Representatives of the regime may have understood that violence will weaken them even further internationally, but the question is whether they can and want to control numerous constituencies in the party, the policy and elsewhere who benefited from the regime and now fear the days of reckoning. And the organisational capacity of the opposition will soon be tested. You can follow Eberhard Kienle's regular updates here

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.

A lesson in thuggery: how the security services control Egypt

A one-time Egyptian resident describes the operation of a thuggish security state that controls through everyday brutality. This article was based on conversations with many Egyptians who wished to remain anonymous.

The global crisis: between Cairo and Davos

The new age of insurgencies of which Egypt is an emblem has its deeper source not in the anger of the marginalised but in the system operated by the world's financial elites.

The new middle east: intellectuals and democracy

The change that is unfolding across the middle east places an especial responsibility on intellectuals to think civically and engage ethically, says Ramin Jahanbegloo.

Mubarak’s thugs make a mockery of media neutrality

Media reporting of today's events in Cairo plays into Mubarak's hands and betrays the journalists risking their lives to expose the violence perpetrated by the regime.

Women's citizenship:implications of the Southern Sudan referendum

How will the result of last month's Southern Sudan referendum affect the prospects for women's participation and activism in the North and in the South ?

Fight Back! A Reader on the Winter of Protest

Read 'Fight Back! A reader on the winter of protest' here, and get all the latest information. The book is FREE to download, and available in print on Amazon and in Housmans bookstore

Egyptian army declares it will not use force against civilians as protests intensify

Egypt's military maintain ambiguous stance on protests. 99% of southerners vote for independence, according to first official reports. Surge in political violence ahead of April’s elections in Nigeria. Elected parliament convenes in Myanmar for first time in twenty years.

Taking Tea with Torturers

From the Shah of Iran to Egypt’s Mubarak to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, cozy relationships in US foreign policy need to be questioned
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