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

Outside the jobcentre: talking with jobseekers

Interviews with unemployed and underemployed people reveal the exacting impact of dealing with jobcentres and workfare programmes. The UK government's new 'Help to Work' scheme, with daily jobcentre visits, compulsory workfare and sanctions, looks set to do anything but 'help' jobseekers.

The 'equality economy': tackling labour-market insecurity in Europe

While since '9/11' a militarised conception of security has dominated the world, the global economic crisis has seen insecurity in the labour market mushroom. Marking international workers' day, could Europe lead the way to a more secure 'equality economy'?

Corporate hegemony and the Keystone Pipeline

Environmental management consistently projects an image that the risks of climate change can be managed and the extraction of dirty energy resources should continue. 

The high price of materialism

The good life is not the same as a life filled with goods. Wellbeing and materialism don’t fit together. (Animation, 5 minutes).

Rana Plaza: the struggle continues

A year after the huge loss of mainly-female Bangladeshi garment workers’ lives at Rana Plaza, unions are still fighting for compensation for the victims, safety at work and a living wage

Well-being is more than a side-show to neoliberal economics

Well-being is not just a luxury for good economic times. Reducing poverty and promoting equality are more important goals than simply increasing the size of the economy. To this end, new data shows that stability is better than growth.

China’s leftover women: an interview with Leta Hong Fincher

Chinese women face a resurgent crisis of gender inequality, argues Leta Hong Fincher in her new book Leftover Women. She talks to openDemocracy about the future of feminism under socialist neoliberalism.

Why these Algerian elections are essential

Caught between the dynamic of the Arab Springs and that of the destabilization of the Sahel, the Algerian trajectory remains profoundly uncertain. Since its stability is essential for Europe, the stakes of the April presidential elections are high. 

Can philanthropic oligarchy nurture economic justice?

Will NGOs and foundations ever be able to look at their moneyed benefactors and challenge how they generated their wealth? The national correspondent of NonProfit Quarterly takes on our series on the role of money in the transformation of society. 

Understanding the Chinese Communist Party: a conversation with Yu Keping

The challenges of changing a revolutionary party into a ruling party, as seen by no new Martin Luther, but a modernist.

A startup fever with a Middle Eastern twist

Young Arab entrepreneurs throughout the Middle Eastern region (the "youth bulge") are collaborating to revitalize their local economies and attracting international investment. 

Bulgaria: leaving no man's land behind for the EU open door

One lesson we are learning is that although Brussels is important, it is not a universal solution. Brussels is used as an excuse in Bulgaria so that we do not worry about political lobbying, the judicial system, and the media, because somebody else has the big stick. An interview with Dimitar Bechev. 

Energy descent




These new value systems do not mean we will adapt to less, but rather we will return to core essentials, empowering individuals and local communities.

Not enough demand for green growth? Ask for it.

If change is slow to come from international agreements or business boardrooms, it could come from interconnected people who measure their success based on the sustainable impact their money and actions have. Aggregate environmental and social impact is the key.

Why green growth won’t transform the economy

Green growth is a myth. Because it ignores the social, political and personal dimensions of sustainability, it can never cut deep enough into the structures of self and society to secure solutions to the crises that we face.

Can the Greek textile industry be a driver for growth?

Due to the crisis, Greece has been experiencing unprecedented deflation and labour laws have started to liberalize, thanks to reforms that were demanded by its EU-IMF creditors.

Exploring Erdoğan’s unwavering support in Turkey

The fear of possible military coups have never left the collective imaginary of all forms of Turkish public, including the conservative constituency.

The Goebbels effect

Let us stand still and recognize what has happened in the Dutch repudiation of Geert Wilders and embrace of Moroccan-Dutch – in all its ambivalence – but not cheer it, yet.

The roots and grassroots of the Syrian revolution (Part 1 of 4)

In a series commemorating the uprising's third anniversary, Syrian revolutionary activist Joseph Daher answers key questions still circulating in the western digital commons. In this first part he offers us a short history of the socio-economic causes behind the protests that sprang up across Syria in March 2011.

The Egyptian counter revolution: the Gulf connection

Maged Mandour

Since Egypt, as a rentier state, can ignore popular demands and rely on coercion, continuous financial support from Arab states, similar to international financial support, will only act as insulation for the regime from popular pressure.

Mental health: why we're all sick under neoliberalism

We don't understand mental health, allocating the label only to those who are struggling. So good mental health, and its political causes, become invisible. An introduction to Transformation's new series on the politics of mental health. Content warning: anxiety, suicidal thoughts.

Changing public opinion through direct action

“Starbucks felt so pressured by the public that they felt obliged to pay £20,000,000 to the HMRC.” Our series of interviews with activists and practitioners who organise public participation initiatives speaks next to Sarah Kwei from UK Uncut, the direct action group that works to raise awareness of tax avoidance and austerity cuts through creative forms of protest.

Anbar – thorn in Maliki’s side

Anbar province has emerged as the fulcrum of a rising Sunni resistance against Iraq’s Shi’a controlled government and it could have a major impact on the formation of the next government.

Responding to Myners: Notes on Co-operative Governance

Paul Myners is conducting a review of Governance of the Co-operative Group in the wake of the near-insolvency caused by the problems at the Bank formerly owned by the Group. In his reply to the Group’s consultation exercise, Dave Boyle makes some suggestions for constructive reform.

It’s time to put money out of its misery

Money talks, but what language is it speaking? New ideas and experiments could reposition money as a source of social justice as well as personal fulfillment. This is the final article in our series on the role of money in the transformation of society.

The Myanmar context

For the first time since independence, government forces and most Ethnic Armed Groups have stopped fighting. This is an historic achievement in peace-making. However, the ceasefire process has yet to be transformed into a substantial and sustainable phase of peace-building.

The Arab Spring popular uprisings – myth and reality

It is critical to recognize the significance of this revolutionary chapter in the modern history of the Middle East and the creative conceptions and articulations of resistance that shattered the system of domination, particularly the popular roots of these uprisings amongst the urban and rural poor.

The Rohingya refugee making factory

If the production of refugees was an industry, Myanmar would be among the world’s market leaders. And of all its products the Rohingya would be one of the most lucrative. A niche but growing market of global proportions, the culmination of decades of tireless endeavour to hone a specialist craft.

The shadowy hijacking of Bogota’s democracy

The Santos regime finally (and illegally) removed one of the few honest politicians in Colombiathe democratically elected, socialist Mayor Gustavo Petrofrom office last Thursday, after only two years of a full four-year term of office.

Security and status determination for urban refugees in Malaysia

It seems probable – and entirely reasonable - that it will take several years to build trust in a ‘new’ Myanmar that is safe to return to. But in a context of perpetual fear and insecurity, how will refugees in Malaysia survive until then? 

Spain’s Marches of Dignity, 22M, 2014: not anti-politics

The marches continue the collective resistance that has galvanized Spanish civil society since the 15-M occupation of the Puerta del Sol, but which is rooted in a long tradition and practice of autonomous politics of resistance and civil disobedience in Madrid and around Spain over the past decades. 

“A constant state of fear”: Chin refugee women and children in New Delhi

Ethnic Chin refugee women and children from Burma are the hidden victims of pervasive sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in New Delhi, India.  Lacking confidence in the current peace process in Burma and unwilling to return home, the prospect of staying in New Delhi is both bleak and terrifying.  

Introducing Myanmar in transition? A displacement perspective

Individual posts in this week’s feature have provided a snapshot into a single issue. Collectively, they explore a crucial question: if Myanmar is undergoing a national ‘transition’ to democracy, what does this mean for a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, regional refugee situation?  

Refugees on the Thai-Burma border: ready for return?

For refugees in camps on the Thailand Burma border to be able to return to Burma, two main issues need to be addressed, the political situation, and the technical arrangements. Neither are even close to being addressed.

Qatar: FIFA must act

Pressure has mounted on FIFA to address the toll of deaths among migrant workers in Qatar, as the emirate prepares for the World Cup in 2022. As its Executive Committee meets today, the international trade union movement is demanding action.

Syndicate content