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

Suppressed at home, neglected abroad, Ethiopian migrants

The May 24 election, contrary to US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s misjudged and widely criticized comments, is a hollow piece of democratic theatre.

Brazil in decline?

The sluggish economic situation is much less worrisome to Brazil’s future than the measures being approved in the National Congress.

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.

A Syrian’s view of Europe

Humam, fleeing his war-torn country, made the perilous crossing from North Africa to Europe. He now reminds Precarious Europe how big and wonderful Europe can be.

Smartness Inc.

The powers behind India’s first ‘smart city’ tell us that “land is not an issue”. But with the neoliberalisation of space comes a disturbing transformation of citizenship via data and real estate.

The Iraqi crisis: rethinking the narrative

An approach to Iraq focused on military intervention, with some humanitarian assistance, has defied the complexity of the domestic and regional kaleidoscope. No wonder it is failing.

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.

NPT: nuclear colonialism versus democratic disarmament

A host of nuclear free states are claiming back their power to create the conditions for a much-needed legally binding agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons, moving beyond the NPT Review Conference.

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. 

What now for Localism?

So the Tories have been returned with an overall majority to govern us for another five years. What does this mean for local democracy?

Writing history before it happens

Nine surefire future headlines from a bizarro American world.

The future of human rights in the UK

A British Bill of Rights will not only allow the Conservative government to deport an individual to a country where they face a real risk of torture, harm or humiliation: the human rights system must be fought for.

Urban grassroots mobilization in central-east European cities

In expecting social movements in the post-socialist countries to follow the same repertoire of action as, for instance, in western Europe or North America, we risk missing out on important forms of collective action.

Spilling the beans, Riyadh style

With recent events, the Saudis are involuntarily proving Obama's point: petrodollars and weapons cannot buy them security, but social and political reform just might.

Mercury rising: three crunch points on climate change this summer

There are major battles ahead for the climate movement. They can be fought – and won.

Cameron’s victory in a (dis-) United Kingdom

The Conservatives' surprise but qualified win exposes the deep problems facing the country over the coming years. 

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.

New counter-extremism laws must not cut out spaces for dialogue

How do we address extremism in a way that does not impinge on civil liberties and exacerbate tensions in our communities?

Burundi teeters on the brink of civil war following coup attempt

Burundi looks like it is entering a vortex of renewed violence. It's in a troubled region, we have been here before—and the president's determination to pursue an unconstitutional third term is blocking any democratic alternative.

Smoke and mirrors over 'Brexit': key questions on the path to the EU referendum

Cameron has unleashed a process he won't be fully able to control, having major impacts on the UK's political dynamics and its constitutional future at home and in the EU over the next two years.

Wealth and want in England's fair land

An English city celebrated for its prosperity is riven with extreme inequality, poverty and inadequate housing.

A ‘hero’ for the twenty-first century: meet the CEO politician

In the twenty-first century, politicians behave more like CEOs. When voters are seen as shareholder citizens, what is left for democracy?

Europe's eastern partnership: why Riga matters

Russia's aggression towards states such as Georgia and Ukraine is a crucial test for the European Union. The forthcoming summit in Riga is the moment for a decisive response.

Countering hybrid war: civil resistance as a national defence strategy

The western response to Russian hybrid war in Crimea and eastern Ukraine has been predicated on a show of military force. Nonviolent civilian defence promises us another path.

The dangers of a blanket ban: ‘hawalas’ in Kenya

The closure of Somali remittance firms in Kenya, as a direct response to Al-Shabaab, only means cutting off one of the few pro-poor financial systems that exist.

Gagged in the name of security

The responses by the Spanish government to the escalation of public protest have taken increasingly threatening forms. Gag laws put the very essence of democracy at risk.

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.

Bradford West, democracy in technicolour

A passionate contest in Bradford West was a highlight of Britain's general election. Here is the remarkable story from a changing city.

Atrocities in the frame

The film “No Fire Zone” gives voice to the victims of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Here, amateur video footage powerfully documents those caught in the killing fields.

A second generation of grassroots movements in central and eastern Europe?

What comes next for central and eastern Europe’s civil society and social movements? The trend is for new forms of social participation that are community-oriented.

Libya: "Rejoicing at our bloody democracy"

For sustainable peace, the UN must refuse to sanction militarism as the default response to unwanted migration and invest in grassroots women and youth human rights defenders.

"To meet nothing that wants you": violence against migrants

As anti-migrant sentiment increases around the world and the law is increasingly used to protect the interests of citizens, we must provide a robust critique of the system.

How to stop Boris? Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and what the left must now do

The only way parties of the left can stop Boris Johnson is by coming together and ending their internecine tribalism.

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