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This week’s front page editor

Julian Richards

Julian Richards is managing editor of openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

London and Lampedusa, the two extremes

Just as the wandering elites of Damascus, Cairo or Tripoli seek salvation in London, the peripatetic poor and needy of the very same countries are drowning to the distant putting sound of an indifferent life-boat.

Thinking like a plant

How can we act in ways that contribute to the evolving fabric of life, rather than to its dissolution? By “thinking like a plant.”

The US Government shutdown in perspective

According to those polls, nearly one in three Americans said they felt personally affected not by too much government, but by too little, by the sudden freeze in critical services.

Fossil fuel euphoria: Hallelujah, oil and gas forever

Senior government officials including President Obama have already become infected with this euphoria, as have top Wall Street investors - which means it will have a powerful and longlasting, though largely pernicious effect on US energy policy, industrial development, and foreign relations.

The Maldives: a serial coup in progress?

Should Britain, the United States and others who claim to be concerned, stand by and allow reactionary forces to stage-manage a phony election, this sends yet another inconsistent and disheartening message to those struggling for peaceful democratic change in the Islamic world and beyond. 

Sold down the river

The Angara, the only river draining Lake Baikal, might disappear by 2020, as it is progressively dammed for massive hydroelectric schemes designed to aid the development of … China.

The Shutdown: Forty years in the making

What is going on in the United States?  Why the first government shutdown in nearly two decades? Kay Dilday sits down with Colin Greer to trace the origins of the current crisis.

Why are the Irish not resisting austerity?

It has become a cliché to compare the passivity of the Irish in the face of the Troika’s brutal austerity programme with the active resistance of the Spanish or the Greek. Yet, the Irish are challenging austerity in their own way.

Is your crucifix too big?

A proposed Canadian ban on "ostentatious religious symbols" shows that for migrants, "being Canadian" may mean having to become someone else. 

What is a ‘fair’ election?

The recent elections in Zimbabwe were a flagrant fraud.  But analysis must not stop short at ballot rigging. Zimbabwe’s problems are far greater. Why did many Zimbabweans vote for Mugabe?  

Egypt's 'civil society coup' and the resilience of the post-1952 order

Cairo’s new rulers have few plausible solutions to the longstanding problems of political economy and while Egyptian civil society failed to democratise the political order in the wake of the Mubarak overthrow, it remains a potentially revolutionary force.

Dumping on the world: e-waste 2.0

E-Waste is the new emerging pathology of the ecosystem, born during the current historic period of capitalist production.

A tipping point for Mongolia's democracy?

Sandwiched between the giants of Russia and China, Mongolia is looking to develop its vast mineral wealth. How will this affect one of the most stable democracies in the region, and what will happen to the benefits of development?

Cashing in on catastrophe: how to stop the climate crisis profiteers

New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina provides one of the most disturbing portraits and dystopian preludes of what the militarisation of climate change looks like. There is a hidden story here.

Call for a broad anti-fascist alliance in Greece

It is only a broad anti-fascist alliance which will actively condemn and oppose any form of violence, focusing on the defence of democratic institutions to reenergize democratic practices, that will disarm Golden Dawn politically and culturally in the longer term.

Fixing a broken economy

Occupy hasn’t disappeared, its spirit is alive and kicking in thousands of efforts to transform the economy. Let’s celebrate “New Economy Week.”

Why democracy is still in danger in Greece

Ten days after the murder of Pavlos Fyssas, the ND-PASOK pro-austerity government arrested most of the Golden Dawn leadership on the grounds of being a criminal organization. Yet, for a combination of economic and political reasons, democracy in Greece is in more danger today than ever before.

Gauging ‘success’ in Yemen’s National Dialogue: mission impossible?

An agreement in 2011 averted dissent developing into violent conflict. The National Dialogue Conference has made progress against a backdrop of drone attacks and terrorist strikes, but as the process draws to a close there is all to play for.

A struggle for sacred land: the case of Wirikuta

For the moment, the Wixáritari believe that they are winning the fight for the hearts and minds of Mexicans and that public opinion is turning against international mining companies. They should not be underestimated. 

Rhythms of resistance

What to do with abandoned properties in Porto? Turn them into community gardens and public spaces for art, music, learning and social action. This is the fourth video in our Everyday Stories series, showcasing people who are adding more meaning and sustainability to their lives. (Video, 5 mins)

From ego-system to eco-system economies

Two words summarize the shortcomings of mainstream economics: externalities and consciousness. The solution to global crises begins between our ears.

“Oslo Peace” twenty years on

Are there any Israelis and Palestinians who still believe in peace between them?  Yes, there are, but they are implementing a different “process”.  The following stories are of coexistence.

“Oslo Peace” twenty years on: part 2

Twenty years in twenty photographs. See the introduction here in part 1.

Variations on citizenship in a wider Europe: a round-table discussion

Has ‘multilevel governance’ replaced the nation state or European confederation, creating the precondition for a multilevel citizenship? Or is this just a name we give to the empty place left by the demise of the nation state?

Berlin’s ‘system error’ free shop

No money or goods exchanged, just take what you want.

A relational society - The Kilburn Manifesto

Today, social responses to peoples' needs are being pushed to the margin by the reframing of all tasks in terms of economic gain. But the development of human capabilities depends on relationships. A different set of values is needed. 

PPE for the people

What do political elites like Prime Minister David Cameron, opposition leader Ed Miliband and 40 other UK members of parliament have in common? They all studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford University. 

You cannot ignore religion in social policy-making in the Middle East

Governments and global development agencies will do well in the formulation of new social protection and social welfare policies, only if they take serious account of the experience of religious organisations in their provision.

Grading the drug war in Afghanistan a decade after: F

It might be unfair to call the US/NATO drug war a ‘failure’ since its purpose was never to address drug problems.

Our fossil-fuelled future 


What sort of fabulous new energy systems will the world possess in 2040?  Which fuels will supply the bulk of our energy needs?  And how will that change the global energy equation, international politics, and the planet’s health? 

Idealism and politics: the case of Uruguay

What makes Uruguay different, is that apparently utopian dreams are being implemented - not in half-measures but fully, openly and with the participation of the people. From openDemocracy.

Community action against property markets

Dan Strange's cartoon is a bold image of transformation through community action. It is a response to Jane McAlevey's article Organizing as whole people

Empathy: lots of lessons but no final words

What can we learn from two weeks of debate?  Empathy must be used to correct injustice, not simply to understand it or feel its associated pain. This is the final article in our series on empathy and transformation

Empathy, democracy and the economy

Democracy is lost unless we re-structure our economies, and re-structuring our economies requires a new system based on different values. This is the sixth article in our series on empathy and transformation.

A dialogue on ‘barriers’ to participation and capitalist temporalities

Coming together can make it possible to live more and work less. Doing things collectively is the only way we can be free from the obligation to work so hard as self-exploiting individuals. This is not primarily a question of politics or protest.

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