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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

Neoliberalism, crisis and the world system


An insider glimpse of the conference that inspired this week's theme, plus an outsider view.

 

The scapegoats of Empire: racism and resistance in the city of romance

As the citizens of Venice propagate myths about the city’s expanding 'oriental' workforce they humiliate members of their own community and allow the island’s true invaders to escape justice. 

Elemental Dr Watson?

Michael Edwards explores a new documentary about three people who are confronting environmental degradation in a spirit of transformational activism.

'Sorry for the inconvenience, we are changing the country': Brazil

In the last month, Brazil has joined the growing number of countries whose civil society has gone to the streets to start large demonstrations. Why did it happen? Who are the protesters? What do they want? What were the main reactions? These are some of the important questions.

Radical Virtues

Is there a radical politics of virtue? One that can say anything useful to our own society? Yes, and it comes from an unexpected source.

Bulgaria’s belated struggle for democracy

Our protests cannot match theirs in scale. But we demand our share, however small it might be. It is ideas and determination that unite all these events.

Egypt: from rebel to revolution?

From the revolution’s very beginning in January 2011, western diplomats were keen to reduce the demands of the Egyptian revolution to a call for formal democracy. In doing this, western spokesmen and domestic elites ensured that more substantive reforms – such as an overhaul of the entire socio-economic system – were dropped by the wayside.

From eurocrisis to a global new deal

The author of a new book on the ongoing crisis in the eurozone discusses the survival of the euro, the default alternative, who might gain from a failed austerity, and the prospects for global Keynesianism. An interview.

Is Germany paying for southern Europe?

Germany is not paying for southern Europe. On the contrary, it benefits from it.

QE: a timeline of quantitative easing in the US

Bernanke and the Fed are under mounting pressure for further action; with Operation Twist at an end and much of the rest of the economic toolkit exhausted, is the next option as simple as QE5, or no?

The Islamic state in context

Almost by default, the swelling numbers of young Arabs, especially in the culturally vibrant centres of the Arab world (Cairo, Tunis, Beirut, Damascus, Casablanca, Kuwait, Manama), will create plurality - in social views, political positions, economic approaches, and in social identities and frames of reference.



Tahrir squared

A functioning state and pride in this functioning state is as much part of the Egyptian identity as the rest.  It is precisely this compact of pragmatism, pride and aspiration that need to be understood to make sense of recent events.  

A year of democratic farce

Samir Amin, Egyptian philosopher and economist, director of the Third World Forum in Dakar, talks about the last year in Egypt with the Brotherhood in power, interviewed by Giuseppe Acconcia.

Talateen seta

The '30-June', (or 'talateen seta' as it is in Arabic), is a password that you can depend on every time to discharge an endless volley of complaints and political theories and speculations. Not everybody is against Morsi and the Brotherhood...

Back to the old Egypt?

If the claims of the opposition activists are true, why don’t they use this 'massive electoral strength' in trying to win parliamentary elections, only a few months away? 

The destruction of the commons

These tools are too powerful for governments not to use. John Boehner, Dick Cheney and Nancy Pelosi – who agree on nothing – have agreed to defend the legality of the NSA program. That’s positive: the rules of surveillance and the supervision of the snoopers might need to be re-written.

A mixed record: Peru struggles to face its past

A new report from the International Center for Transitional Justice highlights delays in implementing a national reparations program for victims of Peru's 20-year internal armed conflict. But even with compensation, can Peruvian society achieve the reconciliation and inclusion it strives for? 

The disappearing entrepreneur

Russia’s small businesses are officially disappearing. Perestroika was supposed to give everyone the chance to be his own boss. Things, however, turned out rather differently.  Mikhail Loginov charts the rise and fall of small business in Russia. 

Turns of the century

Instead of experiencing a proliferation of terrorism, we are witnesses to a proliferation of resistance against the standard economic model of the last sixty years. It’s an endogenous shock, not an exogenous one. The socio-economic contract has been broken.

Erdogan against a European Turkey?

Why did Erdogan miss his historic opportunity? Inadvertently? Due to exasperation? Or because, more consequentially, he does not identify with those 'European values' that would force him to respect a country that cannot be reduced to its Sunni, Turkish, conservative majority?

Populism and the enchanted world of ‘moderate politics’

Why do some political scientists seem oblivious to the fact that the ‘moderates’ who let down their electorates are mainly responsible for their own demise? A reply to Catherine Fieschi’s Who’s afraid of the populist wolf?

"No" to an IMF loan puts more pressure on the Egyptian economic recovery

For a range of sovereign economic and geo-strategic reasons, Egypt should be concluding a deal with the IMF as soon as possible.

Who’s afraid of the populist wolf?

Populism may not be entirely coherent (what ideology is in its lived form?) but it has a consistent logic, and a line of distinction along which it treads that marks it out and accounts for its power. We should beware of falling into the many traps it creates for democrats.

Turkey: looking east and west

The ongoing protests have only emphasised the gap between the Turkish government and the EU, and between Turkey and Arab leaders whose fear of revolt doesn’t necessarily translate into political solidarity with Ankara.

New powers won’t play by old rules

Expecting new global powers to promote human rights abroad via the United Nations assumes that they will play by the old rules and - if such pressure is to be effective - that human rights factors will condition their bilateral relationships; neither is likely. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human RightsEspañol.

Can India be an international human rights leader?

As an emerging economy with a growing work force, India believes it should have a voice in global affairs. No one disagrees. But then, on crucial foreign policy issues, India should take initiatives that seek an end to human suffering. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights Español中国语文हिंदी

Hunt blames councils for poverty and ill-health

Jeremy Hunt has declared himself 'shocked' by health inequalities revealed in new league tables. But what did he expect, asks a community health worker from bottom-ranked Manchester.

Illusions and realities surrounding Iran’s presidential elections

All the opposition groups, almost without exception, had called for the boycott of the elections. Had Iranian voters listened, a worse candidate would now have won the presidency. 

A transatlantic corporate bill of rights

This week G8 leaders hail the opening of EU/US Free Trade negotiations as 'a once in a generation opportunity' to create jobs and growth. But behind the rhetoric, leaks of the secretive negotiating mandate suggest that its real intent is an undemocratic power grab by corporations at the expense of the public interest, affecting everything from health and workers rights to the ennvironment. 

A chronology of crisis in the Sahel

Awareness has not necessarily translated into more investment in good governance or poverty-reduction programmes. Instead, the US has supported training of local special forces units in counter-terrorism.

What can we say? On Prism, the Snooper's Charter, whistleblowers, spies and secret courts ...

In February 2009 the Convention of Modern Liberty gathered a distinguished crowd who cared about the issues raised by a growing UK surveillance state. Their words are worth revisiting today. 

Limited liability - a fundamental breach of our rights?

This is drawn from remarks at a meeting in the House of Lords chaired by Lord Phillips of Sudbury on Shareholder Accountability and a Fair Society, as part of a SOAS projectPlesch first articulated the limited liability problem in his book, The Beauty Queen's Guide to World Peace.

Western Sahara: the inconvenient uprising nobody wants to talk (or hear) about

While many praise the remarkable determination of Sahrawi activists to maintain the peaceful character of their struggle, others signal this as a key factor behind their failure to secure a just resolution.

 

Letter from Tirana: Who is a guest in Europe’s house?

The political establishment has a decisive role in determining the place of hatreds in society; with adequate rules, laws and institutions it can marginalise and neutralise or, on the contrary, tolerate and encourage them. 

Populism: a European warning shot and what to do about it

This sudden emergence of populism was in fact a true sign of modernity. This is what you might describe as a warning shot – and when you see it happen, you have to realize that something is very wrong with democracy. An interview.

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