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

The transformative visions of William Blake

The ‘poetic genius’ inside of everyone creates a springboard for self-inquiry and social struggle. 

Ayotzinapa: the events that shook the Mexican youth

These protests did not oust the government of Peña Nieto, although they demanded the resignation of the president, but they did force the government to react and try to explain what had happened. 

A year of Modi Raj – India in crisis

Middle and upper class Indians might balk at the idea that their country is in crisis but while they are having it good - the media fails to inform them that more than 75% of the population is suffering neglect at best and in far too many instances, massive state violence and terror.

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

The writer reflects on the role of language, foreign and Arabic, colloquial and classical, in Morocco; and on the appropriation, polarisation, and xenophobia of the Egyptian counter-revolution.

Special deal, root and branch reform or Brexit? Cameron’s EU-policy - a sceptical view from Germany

The concessions which Britain will be granted today in negotiations with Brussels and Berlin may well turn out to be self defeating in the long run, because they will marginalise Britain. 

Discovering Diwane: ancestral African ritual music

The history of Algerian Diwane is as rich as the musical tradition itself. Gaâda Diwane de Béchar are playing at Rich Mix in London, Thursday, May 28, 8pm.

Bob Dylan: revolution in the head, revisited

The most influential and original musician of the 1960s generation remains a figure of protean creativity half a century on. The wealth of attention still devoted to Bob Dylan is testament to a career of astonishing range. It also reflects the complex legacy of a formative decade which Dylan’s songs and persona helped to define, says David Hayes.

(This article was first published on 24 May 2011)

Bob Dylan: a conversation

Many celebrations of the great American musician Bob Dylan involve a personal journey through the archives of memory. Here, David Hayes recalls a thrilling series of concerts Dylan performed in 1981...and a late-night encounter.

(This article was first published on 24 May 2011)

Civil disobedience is not the same as violent extremism

Several leading Swedish academics published a protest in a major daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter this March, regarding Swedish Government plans for preventing extremism.

Scandal and silence in Lisboa

I am not an “austerity refugee”, the author tells our partners, Precarious Europe. In fact, my family has had a role to play in the suffering of millions of Portuguese workers.

Deficits in the EU that should worry Europeans

In Greece for the first time the EU authorities demand a government complete a programme that it has neither designed nor has a democratic mandate to implement.

Has the west given up on democracy?

Authoritarians are methodically cracking down on opposition elements, restricting civil society activity, swapping surveillance and censorship tips and technologies to keep domestic dissent at bay.

From Northern Ireland to Korea: the power of nonviolence and love in action

As thirty international women peacemakers prepare to cross the DMZ with women from North and South Korea, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire speaks in Pyongyang of the power of forgiveness.

May 2015, aka “The month I realized dissent was illegal in Canada”

Bill C-51 and this revision to Canada’s hate laws make it possible for reasonable dissent, formerly protected under free speech laws, to be labeled terrorist, racist, or both, and prosecuted as such. 

Europe’s migration crisis: central Europe’s dangerous game

Should a serious migration crisis erupt as a result of conflict escalation in Ukraine, the odds are that the V4 would need assistance through exactly the kind of EU solidarity mechanism they now oppose.

What do Shakespeare’s plays tell us about how to run classrooms in an unequal society?

Drama and algebra can be models for strengthening young people’s resistance to injustice.

Songs of dissent, laws of control

An artistic group in Pune, the cultural capital of Maharashtra, is among the targets of India's counter-terrorism measures. But an acclaimed film opens a new front for freedom of expression.  

On power in the Arab World

Maged Mandour

Arab autocrats’ power depends on more than physical coercion or the rise of Islamist extremism: it has deeper roots in the role of civil society, orientalism, and identity politics.

Whatever is happening to the Egyptians?

The socio-economic gap is widening, and taking an ideological and cultural form. This comes as no surprise, because unity makes people a threat to power.

Heretics and liberals: what Ayaan Hirsi Ali gets wrong

Pious protestations about Islam do nothing to further our understanding of the complex relationships between religion and violence. 

PC thought-bots embarrass themselves with PEN boycott

What’s really at stake in awarding a character prize to the French satirical weekly?

The world: an issue missing from this election campaign

A look at the three main parties’ manifestos confirms that none of them really have any big ideas about the rest of the world.

Russell Brand is a confused social democrat - his call to vote Labour makes complete sense

Like so many involved in the newer left, Brand's practical political programme is reformist. We need to develop a left in which ideas and traditions are worth more than revolutionary kitsch.

Ferguson to Baltimore: taking on institutionalized racism

What are our values? Equal opportunities? Freedom of expression? Protection of human rights principles? If so, the US is building a frightening track record of alienating and insensitive behavior.

Iraq's vanishing heritage: risks and solutions

Despite the challenges involved in rescuing Iraq's endangered cultural and archaeological sites, a recent conference put forward concrete, long-term solutions.

How it became easier to borrow than it is to save: understanding the silence of the poor

Busy promoting a fantasy world of morally virtuous work and discipline, our policymakers are a long way from understanding what it means to live in poverty.

BRICS from below: counterpower movements in Brazil, India and South Africa

While movements in Brazil and South Africa have been fueled by unrealized socio-economic expectations and by explosive growth in India, what they have most in common is the subordination of democracy to money.

Surveillance, migrant deaths and humanitarianism in the Mediterranean

Smugglers are not the cause of migration; they are the consequences of the EU’s expanding border surveillance regime. The EU should concentrate on saving migrants from this regime.

Back to the future in Turkish politics: CHP in search of a social democrat identity

Kilicdaroglu not only promised to address the problems of the country’s 17 million poor, but tied the reforms to a timeline, not at all common in Turkish politics. 

This is not what democracy looks like

On 1 May Occupy Democracy will be returning to Parliament Square to demonstrate against the UK's inveterate political system. 

A new narrative on human rights, security and prosperity

It’s up to us to ‘reframe the narrative’ of development, to move beyond the historic thrust of capital and war and to say no impunity for the murder of Indigenous women. Jennifer Allsopp reports from WILPF's Centenary Conference in the Hague.

Migrant “cockroaches” and the need to tame tabloid hate

The moment for action is now, in the election run-up, but current regulation of the British press offers no prospect of fast-tracking urgent and serious complaints. 

Mourning the Mediterranean dead and locking up survivors

Although the EU, US and others have demonstrated a willingness to intervene militarily in Libya or Syria, a willingness to take responsibility for the consequences is woefully lacking. 

Living with smartness

Will new technologies turn people into passive human beings?

The British syndrome: an abdication of responsibility

There are glaring absences at the heart of the UK elections contest. The new preface to his ‘Essay on Britain, now’ - by one of Britain’s leading political thinkers tells us why. Remarkably, it suggests ways in which to free ourselves from the trap we are in.

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