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 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.

Demand homes not jails: queer homelessness is being criminalized

Cities globally are starting to criminalize homelessness: banning begging and making free food provision illegal. I work within LGBTQ communities, whose multiple oppressions lead to a high level of homelessness. When I see police disrupting rough sleepers, I remember their life stories.

Nothing about us, without us: reversing the power dynamics of philanthropy

If money is power, then control over money has to be democratized. What if grants to social movements of sex workers were distributed by sex workers themselves? This is the eighth article in our series on money and social transformation.

The populist appeal – bottom-up perspectives: Finland's biggest problems

The small city of Kouvola lies in forests where once the paper industry thrived. Recently, the region has suffered from closing factories and loss of jobs. Kouvola is one of the most important strongholds for the Finns Party. The following excerpts are taken from a focus group of party supporters.

Greece is the future of Europe

Austerity and popular resistance are essential to a political diagnosis for contemporary Europe. Political developments in Greece will show whether the future of Europe is one of neoliberal restructuring or one of a democratic socialist alternative. An interview with Costas Douzinas. 

Benefits Street: how austerity transformed makeover TV

Benefits Street was born from coalition government rhetoric: no one should receive 'anything for nothing'. The failure to transform is always personal. Nobody should be helped.

A year of living generously

Genuine happiness involves sharing time and money, but beware of thinking that the poor belong to some other tribe. Do not judge, presume or patronize. There are no unimportant acts of kindness.

The thin blue line between security, policing and the arms trade

On March 12-14 the quiet English town of Farnborough will play host to the Security & Policing conference and exhibition. This event will bring together some of the world's largest arms companies with some of the worst human rights abusers.

Voting for the climate?

Climate policy should be a major consideration for voters heading for the polls in May’s European parliamentary elections.

The sharing economy: a short introduction to its political evolution

Can the sharing economy movement address the root causes of the world’s converging crises? Not unless sharing is promoted in relation to human rights, democracy and social justice. This is the sixth article in our series on the role of money in the transformation of society.  

A reading list on the sharing economy

Want more details on the sharing economy and where it might be heading in the future? Check out this comprehensive list of resources, complete with web links.

Why the precariat is not a “bogus concept”

The precariat, a class-in-the-making, is the first mass class in history that has systematically been losing rights built up for citizens. So, why is it the new dangerous class and how is it differentiated from other class groups in the evolving global labour process?

Money, debt and the end of the growth imperative

Like a cancer, the political, interest-based, debt-money system corrupts everything it touches. It’s time it was replaced. This is the fifth article in our series on the role of money in the transformation of society.

Welcome to the age of resistance

I plead guilty to the indictment of avowed optimism. We have entered an age of resistance for which we must build an analytics. New forms, strategies and subjects of resistance and insurrection appear regularly without knowledge of or guidance from Badiou, Zizek or Negri.

Buy low, sell low: the secret to a healthier economy

To raise the quality of life, we must lower the cost of living for one another, and that’s what ‘buy low, sell low’ economics has to offer. This is the fourth article in our series on the role of money in the transformation of society.

What is the fifth estate?

For the first time since 1848, a renewed Europe from the bottom up is possible: with the new social coalitions of the Fifth Estate.

The BRICS of collapse? Why emerging economies need a different development model

They have pursued GDP growth with little or no investment in human, social and natural capital. This does not bode well for the future of the world economy.

Is laughter the best medicine for monopoly capitalism?

When the New York Public Library hosted an event with Mexican business-philanthropist Carlos Slim, the night got a whole lot funnier when 50 people staged a laugh-in. This is the third in our series of articles about the role of money in the transformation of society.

Introducing Teatro Valle – searching for a European commons

‘European citizenship’ is a ‘constituent’ process that emerges, develops and is constantly elaborated within social practices. How does the practice of the commons effect it? This week’s guest feature reports back on an experiment conducted last September in Teatro Valle. 

A third way for Cyprus?

Cyprus cannot be a nation-state under Greek Cypriot majority rule, or two nation-states in a loose co-federation under the surveillance of NATO forces. But could Cyprus be a new united Republic founded on the ideas of labour and a common Mediterranean civilization? If the EU said yes. 

Can philanthropy support the transformation of society?

Can philanthropy be more than a smile on the face of inequality? Two of America's leading philanthropists say "yes." This is the second article in our series on the role of money in the transformation of society. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina: putting social justice on the agenda

This is a revolt, not yet another NGO or academic report assessing BiH’s progress on its ‘Road to Europe’ or to NATO, nor a bland press statement from the Office of the High Representative, the supreme agency of foreign intervention in BiH.

The perils of procedural democracy: a lesson from Bosnia

The lack of substantive democracy has been bringing citizens onto the streets throughout the European Union, the Middle East, and even United States for many years now.

Money: in terms of social change, it’s both ‘beauty and the beast’

Is money a curse or a cure in relation to injustice and inequality? Welcome to a provocative new series on the role of money in the transformation of society. 

Diasporic walking sticks

In the cultural realm, we rarely talk about failing bodies, dialysis and dependency. Stuart Hall is one of those who did. Following him, what might it take to create new cultural resources from which to bring post-colonial debility and its histories into the cultural imagination? 

End the hypocrisy of European arms deals in the Middle East

Earlier this month the South Korean export agency announced that, following an international campaign supported by Campaign Against Arms Trade, they would cancel a shipment of 1.6 million gas canisters to Bahrain. This sets an important precedent which Europe should be following.

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