This week's editor

Mariam Ali

Mariam Ali is Associate Editor for openDemocracy's Arab Awakening page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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.

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.

Wise fools for love? Arts activism and social transformation

The arts can inspire and equip people to use their power and creativity to stand against injustice.

Jerusalem: a city on edge

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

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

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.

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.

From the few to the many: swarm economics

With 3D printing, the distributed production economy can alleviate structural imbalances, injustices and diseconomies, if we manage with foresight.

Fossil addiction: is there a road to recovery?

There is no shortage of knowledge about global environmental and climate problems. Nor was there 40 years ago. So why is nothing happening?

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. 

We are not victims, but fighters: acid attack survivor Laxmi speaks

After suffering an acid attack in 2005, Laxmi refused to be a victim and instead has championed the crusade against acid attacks in India.

Turkey’s Arab Alawites and the Syrian conflict

Turkey's Alawites do not face the same threats as the people of Syria and Iraq. Despite the porous nature of Turkey's southern border, it is not about to collapse. But the Alawites of Hatay feel vulnerable.

US Republicans are not alone: fear and hatred on the campaign trail

The blame game allows these commonly quite similar parties in practice to distinguish themselves from each other in rhetoric.

What do the Brazilians want: from the 2013 protests to the 2014 elections

Nothing more reasonable than a president being reelected, especially when she has managed to keep the unemployment rates at a historic low. But only if you ignore recent history.

A Syrian fearing exile and return

Many Syrian activists have left Syria voluntarily, either being refused permission to return or being threatened with imprisonment or death. They face an unknown destiny in exile.

For jobs and freedom, 50 years on: the struggle for racial equality in the age of Obama

The public discussion of race in the Ferguson era is rolling back years of progress.

The state: the final frontier

If Catalan markets are subject to European regulation, if redistribution is increasingly coming under threat, and if the inhabitants of Catalonia prefer a different combination of public services, why should it have to share the same state structures as Spain?

Bliss Was It in that Dawn to Be Next Door

The author considers the wave of gory Isis propaganda and the violent wielding of an old tool with new vectors, a social media Tamburlaine; and remembers the Moroccans who served in the World Wars.

BDS and the politics of ‘radical’ gestures

Boycotts and divestment can be useful tools for righting wrongs, but they are apolitical tantrums in cases of right versus right.

The most important thing you‘ve never heard of

Introducing a secret trade deal which could affect everything from healthcare to banks to the air we breathe. Plus: find out what we're not being told about Ebola.

The Fall: extreme violence as a distorted mirror of post-conflict Belfast

The most watched drama on the BBC for 20 years,The Fall, is about a serial killer in Belfast who murders and 'poses' his women victims in the nude. Is the violence gratuitous, or does it capture the current post-conflict mood and mindset of Belfast?

Democracy in America, part 5: What's wrong with Congress?

Obstructive members of Congress blame others, of course, the president in particular, but the failing institution in America’s constitutional system is Congress itself. Power has shifted. 

After inspiring fossil fuel divestment, will South Africa's own campaign succeed?

South Africa’s carbon emissions rank among the worst in the world. So why is there debate about a fossil fuel divestment movement which may be close to a transformative victory?

Latin American progressives and environmental duplicity

What governments must do, now more than ever, is decisively leave resources in the ground, reject mining projects, resist the short-termist temptation of a fossil fuel fix. 

El Salvador: crisis of masculinity in a machista society

Unless the crisis of masculinity in El Salvador is directly tackled, no effort on behalf of women’s organizations will be able to reduce the levels of violence against women that take place in the country.

On election day, let Texas voters tip their hats to Hong Kong

On November 4, long lines of unarmed Texas voters can salute American democracy’s counterparts and admirers abroad simply by showing up in huge numbers at the polls.

Popular action against corruption

Some of the biggest corrupt operations are run by governments themselves, and watchdog bodies often lack sufficient power to challenge entrenched problems. There’s another powerful approach: popular action, as documented in Shaazka Beyerle’s new book Curtailing Corruption. Review.

Hong Kong’s umbrella movement

The movement could benefit from encouraging splits within the seemingly unified voice of the elite, bound to have its internal conflicts. Then there are new challenges and new nonviolent opportunities, planned and unplanned.

Democracy in America, part 3: What's wrong with court activism?

The present Supreme Court is activist in all three meanings of the term: it accepts cases that it should not take on, is systematically biased in its rulings, and rules more broadly than it needs.

Democracy in America, part 2: What's wrong with signing statements?

In his first election campaign, President Obama committed to ending this habit of undermining legislation – but he's continued to do it nevertheless.

Homophobia, fire and terror in Brazil

While specific horrific cases of homophobia are condemned, the overall mentality is not. Politicians wish the issue would disappear, and there is no education in schools.

Confronting Ebola in Liberia: the gendered realities

In Liberia 75% of those who have been infected or killed from Ebola are women. Last month, a rapid assessment and gender analysis of the outbreak concluded that a gendered perspective on prevention, care, and post admission care is imperative.

Democracy in America, part 1: What's wrong with gerrymandering?

Introducing a system that enables the powerful to cheat democracy and to disenfranchise voters.

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