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TR, editor

This week Tom Rowley and the oDR team edit the front page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The fields of Marange: where is the diamond money?

Local communities were supposed to reap the benefits of rich resources since Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields were opened up to formal mining in 2009. Four years on, impoverished locals are still waiting.

Tobacco farmers wiping out Zimbabwe’s indigenous forests

Following Mugabe's land reforms, Zimbabwe's farmers are turning to the booming tobacco industry to alleviate poverty, but this get-rich quick-fix scheme comes at what price to the local environment and farming communities? 

Cities in the future of democracy

Today’s cities perch people far off the ground. They block sight of the stars. So we’re faced with a completely different task: re-embedding our cities into our biosphere. Interview.

Witness to the revolution: Bolivarianismo and popular power in Venezuela

For those of us living in a land of economic austerity and political atrophy, seeing a country demonstrate that there is an alternative remains an indispensible component of our long-term struggle to rejuvenate our society.

Burma’s paradox of plenty

Military and crony interests remain closely aligned with large-scale extractive projects in Burma. As the country emerges from junta rule and economic isolation, Burma is treading a rocky developmental path.

More out of Africa

There is a current global environmental crisis and Africa is part of it. But as aggressive resource extraction ravages the African environmental landscape, can the answer to Africa’s ‘crisis’ lie within?

State of denial

Migration is a conveniently ignored reality in Southern Africa. The lack of regional governance is a critical challenge.

Al-Shabaab’s theft: humanitarian and security implications

The theft of UK aid in Somalia by the militant group al-Shabaab risks provoking a set of reactionary responses. The humanitarian community must remain committed to addressing the needs of vulnerable populations.

Moral Mondays: the new face of protest?

"This is no momentary protest. This is a movement. We've been here before, and if slavery didn't kill us, if the oppression of women didn't kill us, surely no weak legislator with 86 votes gonna kill us...instead of defeating us, they've made us defiant." 

Turkey’s Gezi Park episode is far from over

Paradoxically, Gezi Park presented Erdoğan with a golden opportunity, one that could also have helped Turkish democracy part company from the tendency of powerful political parties to drift into populism-fuelled authoritarianism.

The road to federal consociationalism

Many Israeli Jewish intellectuals, activists and politicians over the years have spoken out clearly for a one-state solution. They were very aware of the consequences of war and conflict, and arrived at the conclusion that we must live together, sharing food, water, resources, and even politics.  

How to fry a planet

Don't for a second imagine we are heading for an era of renewable energy.

Secessionists and sectarianism: Yemen’s more combustible security crises

In Yemen, there are far more significant sources of conflict with a far greater potential for escalation and loss of life than imminent terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

It begins and ends with power

The author acknowledges his supporters, but he answers his critics. (See related articles). It is political leverage, not human rights, that make things happen. The wealthy and influential have it, the poor do not except when organized in sufficiently large numbers. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights.

Turkey: what lies behind the nationwide protests?

The nationwide demonstrations were spontaneous, universal and beyond distinct class characteristics. What we have witnessed can be described as the self-protection of society against a particular form of “governance” which neutered politics and silenced voices of dissent by appealing to the requirements of economic success, says Ayse Bugra

Land of gold

The early months of 2013 have once again seen the severe deterioration of Darfur’s humanitarian situation. There may be links between this recent violence, the region’s newly discovered gold mines and the Government of Sudan.

The art of giving

Just as Warren and Doris Buffett launch their new philanthropy course for college students, Peter Buffett has spoken out against the ills of charitable giving. Radical grassroots fund Edge Fund casts a critical eye over the conflicted Buffett style of giving.

Egypt’s long revolution: knowing your enemy

What we have learned so far during these two and a half years of revolution is that people do learn from experience. It is this high level of political consciousness which will save our revolution. (A long interview, July 24, 2013.)

Egypt’s new interim government is not a leftist coalition

A historian of the Middle East from Stanford University discusses Egypt’s new interim government and the labour movement. 

Human rights are also about social justice

Drawing on the central practices and aims of a traditional human rights organization as described by Aryeh Neier in his account of Human Rights Watch, let me respond, the author says, by imagining its suitability and relevance to a social justice agenda. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debates on Emerging Powers and Human Rights and Economic and Social Rights.

Both perilous and wonderful? The global transformation of authority

These are exciting times, when authority is being challenged everywhere. But what will replace the old models that have dominated both societies and ourselves? Can our own "collective intelligence" take over?

The Greek catastrophe and a possible way out

The lead author of a major econometric analysis of the Greek economic crisis discusses the disastrous outcomes of the policies enforced on Greece by its international lenders, and the IMF’s admission that it made serious errors in its assessment of the impact of austerity on the Greek economy and society.  

Populism, anti-populism and European democracy: a view from the South

Isn’t it time to start dissecting the extremism of this ‘moderate centre’? Is it not the duty of every truly moderate citizen/social scientist, of every democrat, to radically oppose this extremism camouflaged as moderation? 

Misunderstanding our mission

The founder of Human Rights Watch tells Stephen Hopgood and James Ron that this organisation is globalizing itself; though it has a long way to go, over time it will prove effective. But human rights and social justice are not the same thing. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debates on Emerging Powers and Human Rights and Economic and Social Rights.

Eviction Brixton: creating housing insecurity in London

The marketisation of access to housing security is central to the increasingly normative experience of housing precarity in London. Lambeth Council's eviction of long-term squatted and short-life housing co-op communities is pouring fuel onto the fire: making people homeless to clear the way for public housing stock sell-offs.

Car parks for global wealth: the super-rich in London

Over half of the super-prime market is now owned by foreign wealth, funds and individuals – looking to make money by simply parking it there while stock markets and other forms of investment offer scant reward or sleepless nights.

A Greek tragedy on the London stage: the City, the Eurozone crisis and an urban dark age to come

Capitalist perpetrators of the crash are intent on using the opportunity provided by austerity to divert political and economic power to compliant nation states and emergent para-sovereign bodies, such as the EU Troika, that operate outside the constraints of democratic control and public accountability. 

Naked in the flat

Could you live without any belongings? Helsinki-based Petri Luukainen took radical action to conquer the clutter of his apartment: he got rid of all his stuff. This is the second video in our Everyday Stories series, showcasing people who are adding more meaning and sustainability to their lives. (Video, 5 mins)

The neo-liberal knowledge regime, inequality and social critique

The argument about students holds that there should not be a direct public subsidy of a private beneficiary. But on the impact agenda the situation is reversed. Here the Government’s view is that there should not be public funding unless there is a private beneficiary and that that beneficiary should not pay.

‘We can’t be content with running alternative coffee shops, while leaving the global financial system to our opponents’

Funded by their sympathisers in business and corporations, the neoliberals worked at promoting that programme, slowly but surely, to people in a position to put it into practice. Lots of people feel helpless and powerless in the face of neoliberalism because they are helpless and powerless.

Investing in food security? On philanthrocapitalism, biotechnology and development

Africapitalism and philanthrocapitalism represent a progressive convergence of business principles with social philanthropy. But vigilance is needed to ensure long-term success amid shifting debates about GM crops and their regulation.

Neoliberal networks: a response to William Davies

The question of how these two disparate logics - network sociality and neoliberal competitive individualism - relate to each other is arguably the key issue in the analysis of contemporary power relations. 

How to kill a zombie: strategizing the end of neoliberalism

An ideology which promised to liberate us from state socialist bureaucracy has instead imposed a bureaucracy all of its own.  This only looks like a paradox if we take neoliberalism at its word. 

Ostrom and the Commons

Elinor Ostrom's studies of commons-based social organization have important lessons for those looking to develop new commons, online and elsewhere. Here Dan Hind sets out some key findings from her work, and sketches some of the implications.

The neoliberal trap

Credit isn’t extended to help people get ahead. It’s the means for producing securitizable debt, which means financialization (one of the key features of neoliberalism) needs poor people, poor people cut off from public services and left to fend for themselves.

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