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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The good student of Europe at a dead-end

Portugal feels like a ticking bomb, yet the country still lacks the political structures that would make dissent a rational choice.

On centrism and independence in Spain

"Facing an increasingly self-centered centre, we stand for citizens who are open to the world and to the present time, capable of organizing and cooperating according to their abilities and aspirations."

No maps, no manuals: retrieving radical republicanism, restoring popular sovereignty

Republicanism brings into sharp focus an articulation of common freedoms strived for under extremely varying political conditions, in different times and places, with the shared commonality of facing unequal odds.

Catalonia: no fast track to independence

As much as many people deeply disliked the way the PP was facing the elections, they feared the prospect of a wide open scenario with no guarantees whatsoever. Español

European union – a cosmopolitan legal space

Porous borders really mean the acceptance that human beings move across borders, and that they should be able to move without being criminalized. The political philosopher in interview with Slawomir Sierakowski.

Negotiating environmentalism in a democratizing Iran

The new environmentalists hail from affluent backgrounds and urban areas and their everyday consumption practices are imbued with political meaning, given the reduced space for organized channels to express discontent.

Energy democracy: building a solar dream in a tar sands nightmare

Refusing to be victims in this game of fossil fuel roulette, communities like Little Buffalo in Alberta are leading the way towards energy independence. They are turning their gaze to the sun.

It’s the failure to admit failure that fuels conspiracy theories

Why do some still harbour the same concerns about medical interventions as expressed in 1950s America? And if history is repeating itself, why haven’t we learned the lessons?

On the absence of Arab intellectuals

Maged Mandour

An explanation for the conspicuous absence of Arab intellectuals from the revolutionary (and counter-revolutionary) scene.


Polio wars: conspiracy and democracy in Pakistan

What better evidence that the country is a nest of terrorists than the murder of medics trying to wipe out a deadly disease... all because of a conspiracy theory?

How multiculture gets militarised

When military institutions intervene in debates about integration, social cohesion and now, radicalisation, they overstep their bounds.

Breaking boundaries

Aliyah Tarek

The youth of Egypt are changing, but are these new attitudes temporary, or have they penetrated on a deeper level that can transform the next generation?

Iatrophobia explained

Iatrophobia: an abnormal or irrational fear of doctors or going to the doctor.

Refugees in CEE: why the lack of compassion?

The generic space of "Central and Eastern Europe" is castigated for its lack of compassion. But can we get under the skin of particular perspectives to explain - even understand - the attitude?

Film review: a Syrian love story

A Syrian Love Story is an intimate portrait of a Syrian family torn apart by war, especially moving and relevant in light of the continuing refugee crisis.

Why do people reject climate change?

US Democrats did not come to support climate change because they sat down and confronted the evidence, read the scholarly journals, and evaluated the climate models.

Why Australia can’t keep its prime ministers

Enter our new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. Let's be clear: the right's program will not change now that its leader has.

A climate of conspiracy

What the Tea Party and Occupy movements have in common is that they don’t accept the official version of events any more.

Climate change versus conspiracy theory in India

A key aspect of the counter-narratives to the climate change explanations for man-eaters has underlined and originates from this feeling of being-forgotten.

ISIS, identity and the destruction of antiquities

Confronted with the suffering of Syrian refugees, mourning world heritage seems academic at best. But Islamic State must not succeed in its cultural cleansing.

Terrorist slippery slope

The UK government should look to what is happening to free expression in Egypt and Turkey before broadening terrorist laws to include those who "spread hate".

Eleven theses on secularism

Secularism is a matter of life and death for democracy. A matter of survival for both is now a crescendo of equal, political and material, power – one that can no longer be postponed.

The politics of sorrow

David Foster Wallace is best known for his experimental fiction and comic essays, but a strong political current, deeply anarchist in sentiment, runs through his work.

The Hurricane and the Empire

On the tenth anniversary of Katrina, we republish an invitation to ponder the incapacity of the US government to respond to the disaster in New Orleans. What was at the root of that paralysis? From the archive, September 5, 2005.

No right to despair

As we enter into five years of Conservative rule, those of us who are relatively privileged need to be reminded of a vital principle: we have no right to despair. We won't pay the highest price.

The art of plagiarism

Zygmunt Bauman has been accused of ‘self-plagiarism’. Is it really a problem that the prominent sociologist has repeated passages across the many books he has published since retirement?

Women and the xenophobia narrative in South Africa

Women who are victims of xenophobia are seen as betraying their ‘nation’ by not conforming to their roles: and South African women are complicit in this narrative.

The siren song of financial realism

Financial realism has enchanted European polities. It is a song the powerful love to hear. But a song that will destroy all that is good and humane about Europe.

Hungary’s refugee policy: fencing off the country

The rapidly increasing influx of asylum-seekers poses a huge challenge to Hungary. The government responds with a complete lack of solidarity, massive demagoguery and arm-twisting in Brussels. 

Open up your eyes to 'Devo-Manc'

'Devo-manc' is part of the government's austerity agenda and its wider attack on the NHS.

Alternative democracy

Parliament, initiated in the 13th Century when the population was ill-educated, is now a self-perpetuating anachronism. What are the alternatives?

Objectivity, neutrality and the call for virtuous anger in academe

The problem with this perception of academic research as objective, dispassionate and free from emotion runs deeper. Neutrality, especially in social sciences does not exist.

Post-Suruc Turkey

“Today, it is from the collective efforts around the Kurdish movement that we are learning what a society made up of free individuals might look like in Turkey.”

In Japan: controversial US army base sparks outrage among local population

It is time activists across the globe extended solidarity to those protesting to prevent the construction of a new military base in Okinawa, who are haunted by their memories.

Lebanon's refugees: resisting hegemony through culture

Seenaryo, a small independent theatre project that starts this week with Syrian and Palestinian children, seeks to foster an alternative political proposal in a situation where politics has emphatically failed. 

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