only search

This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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 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.

Syrian civil society in Lebanon: challenges and opportunities

Instead of empowering Syrian civil society and helping it to build its capacity, the aid community is rendering us more fragile. 

Is cruelty the key to prosperity?

According to many politicians, removing benefits is necessary to compel the unemployed to work even if their children suffer as a consequence. What’s the origin of this idea?

TTIP and TPP: harnessing the anger of the people

In parallel to the EU-US trade deal currently under way, the US is negotiating a similar agreement with 11 countries of the Asia Pacific: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Walden Bello, leading critic of neoliberal and corporate globalisation, identifies the global strategy underpinning the two agreements. Interview.

When the direction of a few reroutes the journey for all

The TTIP can annihilate any work undertaken so far in the European Union on chemicals safety, consumer protection, workers’ rights and climate change.

Gaza reconstruction package: should taxpayers be concerned?

Israel could be charged with bearing some part of the $7.8 billion price tag for rebuilding what was destroyed in July and August. However, the international community has rushed to shoulder the burden for the third time in six years.

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.

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.

Draining development: illicit flows from Africa

Since 1970, Africa has lost at least $854 billion through capital flight which is not only enough to wipe out the continent’s total external debt of $250 billion but leaving around $600 billion for poverty alleviation

Can the EU clean up politics in enlargement countries? Turkey as a case in point

What are some of the lessons learned from the EU’s experiences in Bulgaria and Romania, and what could they mean for Turkey?

Ocean grabbing: a new wave of twenty first century enclosures

Not only are the small-scale fisher communities best placed to ensure food sovereignty, but they are also the starting point for any serious transition towards an ecologically and socially just food regime. We need a revolution to bring the oceans back into the global commons.

Greens face problem with economic ‘growth’ framing

With well-being central to economic thinking, things like leisure and quality of life ‘naturally’ come to the fore – they’re assigned a value that was always excluded by the ‘economic growth’ frame.

An unaccountable relationship

As the relationship between government and military service providers becomes more systemic and more profitable, questions must arise about accountability and public insight. A new report, New Ways of War: is remote control warfare effective? is published today.

Responses to Ebola are still way too little, and may now be too late

The lack of ambulances, hospital beds, and even plastic gloves have all played a role in allowing the disease to get out of control, particularly in the slums of Freetown and Monrovia. 

How has Modi performed in 100 days in office?

The governance process seems to be running smoothly. Modi’s public announcement on corruption “Na khaunga na khane dunga’ (Neither would I pocket money illegally nor allow others to do it) is laudable, though only time will prove if he walks his talk.

Trans-Atlantic slavery and contemporary human trafficking

Are we learning from the past or exploiting it? It is easy to obscure the similar economic rationales and incentive structures, as well as the participation of ‘legitimate’ enterprises and institutions, in both trans-Atlantic slavery and contemporary trafficking in humans.  

Human trafficking: from outrage to action

If we are to have any chance of addressing trafficking, we should work towards the elimination of labour recruitment fees; advocate for a global minimum wage; and look at ways of criminalizing the knowing or reckless use of the services of a victim of trafficking.

Extreme exploitation is not a problem of human nature

Extreme exploitation is a structural problem, not a problem of human nature. Unless we deal with the ‘root causes’, which I locate in inequality, then it will continue. And global inequalities are growing.

Narrow viewpoints and conflicting interests undermine anti-trafficking efforts: Q&A | Part I

Current anti-trafficking measures are weak because of a lack of inter-agency cooperation combined with a prioritization of national over human security.

Modi's foreign policy blend

With the economy under control – Standard and Poor has recently raised India’s credit outlook to ‘stable’ – Modi is free to indulge in international relations. 

The attractions of jihadism, and a generational nihilism stretching far beyond the Muslim sphere

French Muslims are protesting against the conflation of Islam with jihadism, and about France's engagement in the coalition. If the French government really wants to steer young people away from terrorism, here's what it should be doing instead. Interview with specialist on Islam, Olivier Roy.

The EU: wider and deeper with the Balkans

The post-1945 system is today overtaken by events and a new world order is about to emerge. This new—quite explosive—background doesn’t signal the end of the EU, but shouts out that its core features must be redesigned and receive broad popular support. The question is how.

Slavery and trafficking: beyond the hollow call

Reports on modern slavery miss the target when they blame individual actions and ‘a few bad apples’. This is a systemic problem, and the only solution can be a complete system overhaul.

Happy endings? Slavery, emancipation and freedom

Let’s stop giving the architects and beneficiaries of an increasingly neoliberal world order a platform on which to parade their moral condemnation of ‘slavery’, and focus on efforts to transform the meaning of ‘freedom’. 

Time to get serious about forced labour in supply chains

We now know that our shopping carts are full of forced labour. So why are governments and industry doing so little to stop it?

The once and future EU recovery

The instigators of these anti-social and anti-democratic policies, rules and treaties defend them as the mechanisms to bring recovery, end fiscal deficits and reduce public indebtedness. Were they successful, their authoritarian nature should make them unacceptable.

EU centralisation-without-representation: a reply to Frances Coppola, Simon Wren-Lewis and Niall Ferguson

Europeans are against ‘more Europe', because they are against the particular type of authoritarian, anti-democratic political union on offer. It would not after all, be the first time in history that a political ruling class place their preference for more unchecked power ahead of their concern for shared prosperity.

In defence of liberalism 2: socialist liberalism

It is all the more bitter that a misperception of liberalism by parts of the left is mirrored by an equally unreasonable and dogmatic belief in the supposed efficiency or inherent fairness of markets by many liberals. There is a third way after all.

When human trafficking becomes a Cause Celebre

Celebrities no longer just raise money and awareness. They offer advice about how to approach and ‘solve’ the human trafficking problem. The United Nations has multitudes of celebrities representing it as the ‘faces’ of the topic. 

Introducing: Beyond Trafficking and Slavery

This week’s special feature was edited by Neil Howard, Genevieve LeBaron and Cameron Thibos from openDemocracy’s new editorial partnership, Beyond Trafficking and Slavery.

The politics of exception: the bipartisan appeal of human trafficking

Contemporary abolitionism garners strong bipartisan support because it does not challenge major economic and political interests. But slavery, trafficking and forced labour are rooted in global patterns of injustice. For the movement to be effective it must sacrifice some of its support in order to speak truth to power.

The villa monologues

The discourse around Buenos Aires’ slums rarely transcends the self-righteous polemic of the Argentine press. Such moral outrage does little to resolve an urgent question: how to provide effective low-income housing that enables dignified living conditions?

Syndicate content