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This week's editor

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Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Freedom and meaningful work: an exploration

Many of us have resigned ourselves to domination in the workplace. This is an outrage. 'Meaningful work' is not only an achievable goal for all, a socialised mutual economy is beginning to emerge that may be one step towards this ideal.

UK becomes world's second largest outsourcing market

Stuart Weir responds to news that the UK is now second only to America as an outsourcing market. The UK's "new enclosure movement" is fast transforming the British state into one marked by foodbanks and 'toll booths'.

Syria: freedom is economics too

Before any elections, the first stone will have already been laid - with reconstruction. On which policies will Syria be rebuilt? Which checks and balances will be organized around an international aid campaign driven by vested interests? Who will plan it? What can work, and what doesn't, in Syria?

Workfare and the state of exception

The retrospective legalisation of workfare has deprived rightful claimants of £130 million. Alongside the lives wrecked in its wake, the ‘emergency’ legislation has exposed a chasm at the heart of Britain's parliamentary democracy.

Reaction: change this change

Will the new Syria be any better than what the new Palestine proved to be? Annalena di Giovanni responds to the conversation between Fawaz Gerges, Rosemary Hollis and Robin Yassin-Kassab.

The Syrian irony for Turkey

Before the uprising, Erdoğan and Davutoğlu tried to turn Damascus and Aleppo into safe market havens. Perhaps Turkey still expects eventually to have the lion's share in a future reconstructed Syria, but the ruling AKP party may pay a high price for its regional policies.

Share the pie

A new social contract is needed in Syria. The Syrian people need to be treated like adults, individuals who are empowered to partake in the social, political and economic future of their country.

Solving the Syrian riddle

The only Arab country where protests started from rural areas might find itself facing an internationally funded reconstruction which will award money to urban centres, thus abandoning the very roots of the current crisis. The only solution is to build economic awareness. Starting from now.

This week's window on the Middle East - March 25, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Israel and the vertical politics of interruptions

The second destruction: Syria and the upcoming reconstruction

The Syrian social movement has to be conscious of the necessity of establishing a just economy. Strong checks need to be built against the post-war government so that all Syrians understand the conditions of aid and consequences of reconstruction plans on their lives and the lives of their children.

The Cyprus Eurocrisis: the beginning of the end of the Eurozone?

EU accession in 2004 did little if anything to make runaway bankers accountable; on the contrary, the so-called institutional ‘independence’ of the Central Bank making the Governor accountable to the ECB rather than having any democratic accountability to the people who would be immediately affected, made the bankers more unaccountable.

The future of Europe: or how to burst the bubbles around our heads?

Choosing a new path for development based upon self-reflection only happens rarely in history. This would be impossible without a fundamental shift in the self-perception of the vast majority of Europeans, including the political and business elite, national political classes, intellectuals and academics, churches and religious communities.

Weaponising workfare

Workfare recognises a reality that the TUC and many on the left haven't - our current model of production, from a social perspective, is crumbling. Make workfare a weapon for change.

 

This week's window on the Middle East - March 18, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, The second anniversary of the Syrian uprising

Towards a European spring

Individuals should be able to feel that not all of the risks of the world, and especially not those of banks and states threatened with bankruptcy, are being dumped onto their shoulders. But that something exists that deserves the name “European Community”.

The limits of liberalism: otherness and the crisis of Europe

The intrinsic necessity of a subordinated, non-European, other to the making of a moral and political economy is not just built into Europe, but into the very idea of liberal citizenship in the modern nation state.

From welfare to workfare: how the helping hand became a contract

We no longer regard society as having obligations to the poor, but rather the poor as having obligations to society. When and how did this shift take place?

"Currency war" rhetoric obscures the real need for realignment

Global economy remains so imbalanced that significant currency shifts are needed, not only to help pull the West out of its slump but to ensure a stable and viable world for us all.

Freedom to follow orders: the democracy Bush and Blair wanted for Iraq

It is worth asking whether the last ten years would have been such a disaster under the consensual, independent, and Iraqi-led transition that the British and Americans were so keen to avoid.

Iraq after 10 years

It is the marriage of the intimate knowledge of the particular - the only knowledge the particular is susceptible to, by definition - with a moral compass, that should have guided policy towards Iraq. openDemocracy's debates were my re-schooling.

Folkhemmet

In this excerpt from ‘Sweden: the reluctant nation’, published as part of Counterpoint’s ‘Europe’s Reluctant Radicals’ project, Göran Rosenberg explores the history of the Swedish political ideal of ‘folkhemmet’ [the people’s home].

Yemen: where is the transition heading?

The humanitarian situation remains grave. Why doesn’t it receive the attention given to similar situations elsewhere?  With over 10 million people hungry, 13 million without access to water and sanitation, 1 million children malnourished, and about 700,000 IDPs and refugees, there is no doubt that there is a need for urgent humanitarian action.

Egypt: from uprising to revolution?

The two and a half weeks between January 25 and February 11, 2011 proved that in Egypt there is a strong demand for social, political and economic justice, and that the established political elites – religious or secular – are badly out of step with those aspirations.

A toxic dependency: Algeria’s love-hate relationship with its oil

This year's 41st anniversary, celebrated two weeks ago, has been marked in particularly gloomy fashion. Reports have recently emerged floating the prospect of oil reserves drying up and arguing that new discoveries are failing to keep pace with production. This might well turn out to be the best news of all.

This week's window on the Middle East - March 11, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Sidon’s Salafist Sheikh: the roar of the Sunni lion

What was the real purpose of David Cameron's visit to India?

With little mention from the British media, Cameron is negotiating trade agreements that will open the UK jobs market to considerable inflows of Indian labour.

Chávez to eternity

This indeed is the authentic measure of the late president’s achievements: there is now no simple switch in Venezuelan public ideology – no going back. The turn in the post-colonial history of the region is unequivocal.

Hoping for an Italian Spring?

More widely, what the M5S’ success represents is a challenge to the approach to economic reform which has too often rewarded the rich responsible for the problems, while making the working classes pay for Europe’s economic mess.

Outsourcing and employee ownership - growth versus equity?

Previous contributions to this debate have identified worker coops and mutuals as one route to a citizens' economy. But does the strike by cleaning staff at John Lewis point to some problems and limitations of co-operative models?'

From bust to boom: Chavez's economic legacy

Chavez leaves behind an inconsistent report card on 'pro-poor' policies that will only fuel a polarizing legacy as Venezuelans look to address future economic challenges.

This week's window on the Middle East - March 4, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Syrian colours: the greys

Fair Trade and 'The Economist's Critique'

As Fairtrade Fortnight commences it is important to demystify the economic arguments surrounding fair trade.  Is it the case that promoting social justice in the supply chain can serve to undermine the long term prospects of poor southern producers?

Defending the 99%: still a 'slogan' for our times

Many have accused Occupy's 1 / 99 narrative of brushing aside the realities of actual wealth distribution in Britain. Most recently, Craig Berry of the TUC has presented a case that it is time to drop the 'slogan'. Activist Kerry-Anne Mendoza hits back, arguing that it is vital as a global group identity.

The Front of the Ordinary Man

In the wake of the Italian elections, this excerpt from ‘Stagioni del populismo italiano’ examines populism in Italy’s political past and present. How did Guglielmo Giannini’s Qualunquismo movement influence the most recent forms of populism: those of the former Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and comedian-turned-politician, Beppe Grillo?

Haiti, cholera and the UN: the case for isolation vs infection

One of the most powerful international organisations is pitted against vulnerable people in the poorest country in the Americas. The accusation: that the UN is responsible for Haiti's cholera epidemic. What measures should now be taken? Who, if anyone, is to blame?

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