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This week’s editor

TR, editor

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

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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.

Living in 'promotional times'

Promotion appears everywhere, so much so that we no longer notice. This is not just about explicit selling and buying. The promotional arms race has seeped into all fields, powerfully re-shaping individuals, organisations and our wider society.

The Canary Islands, Spain’s paradise lost

The country’s hard-won welfare state system is in reverse gear, with rights and social justice being handed back to charities, as was the case in pre-constitutional Spain, over 35 years ago.

An unholy alliance

Private companies and intelligence services have entered an unholy alliance: The former collect vast amounts of private data, the latter scoop it up without much oversight.

The scale of debt in the western world now threatens a serious collapse

There can likely be no repeat of the 2008 bailouts, sovereign states do not have the capacity. But the accumulating debt is now so large, the point of no return may have been breached. Euro collapse could trigger far wider meltdowns.

Husby and territorial stigma in Sweden

This statement appeared at the beginning of June in the Swedish broadsheet SVD, calling for a public investigation into the recent uprisings in Swedish suburbs.

Occupy Wall Street has some questions for Taksim Square

In interview, Müştereklerimiz, “The Network for Our Commons” argues that the really invisible flag, here in Taksim Square, is that of “our resistance, and the power we can have when we get together on a common ground to reclaim a different way to live together.” 

The Severn Trent takeover - corporate profiteering and tax avoidance on Britain's water supply

Severn Trent is the latest water company to be targeted for takeover by a motley group of investment funds. An analysis of their past deals reveals huge profits, meagre tax bills and a seemingly casual approach to ethical concerns. Once again public assets are turned into wealth for the few.

After austerity: a new limit to growth?

The current focus on policies for returning to economic growth threatens to obscure the problems of sustaining growth on a finite planet. A new study hopes to respond to this threat.

Post-growth: a green republican economy

We live in societies with economies nested within them, nested in turn in the non-human world. A green republican conception of political economy recognises this reality, and challenges the priority given to growth.

No weapons for the rebels

The potential for arms to be used against Syrian civilians who have suffered most throughout the two years of civil war is not among the primary considerations of the arms-exporting west. One may wonder whether it is of any concern at all.

Make no mistake, revolutionary struggle in Turkey is up and running!
 A reply to Juan Cole

Turkey will not tolerate, let alone a Saudi-type sharia law, but even a much more 
palatable mildly Islamist neoliberal conservatism, which is, incidentally, a
 direct descendant of the American religious right rather than any Islamic political ideology.

The time is now for wealth taxes in Britain

Taxing wealth is an underexplored option in the UK, given the scale of wealth inequality. A new project confronts this head on, with proposals for radical reform.

Algeria: has the post-Bouteflika era already begun?

Might the end of one of the most remarkable, and defining, of political careers in Algeria’s history be upon us?

This week's window on the Middle East - June 3, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: A toast to the Brotherhood

On the World Economic Forum and globalization

Our columnist attends a conference and can see why Gandhi suggested that humans are best organized in the small compounds he called “Swadeshi”.

The Gezi Park occupation: confronting authoritarian neoliberalism

Gas, gas, gas, it is the only way they deal with problems that come under one heading.

Toward a generative economy

What kind of economy is consistent with living inside a living being? This question is being answered in experiments across the globe, from community forests in Mexico to "industrial symbiosis" in Denmark.

Government corruption leads to industrial accidents, not global brands

Corrupt political systems create conditions for industrial tragedies, not the presence of global brands. 

Why cutting expenditure won't reduce the UK's deficit

The deficit is the consequence, not the cause, of Britain's financial problems. Reducing it would require big increases in spending from corporates and consumers. Could the trade balance component be the easiest route out of austerity?

City of London Elections 2013: the battle, the count, the lessons

The recent elections to the City of London’s local authority were fiercely fought, after years where the majority of seats went uncontested. Lessons should be drawn for any future attempt to reform the financial services industry.

Gridlock: the growing breakdown of global cooperation

Economic and political shifts in large part attributable to the successes of the post-war multilateral order are now amongst the factors grinding that system into gridlock.

EU economic and monetary disunion

Backtracking on the EU's monetary union will be politically very costly, but in the absence of a genuine economic and political union this stands out as the most likely scenario. What are the alternatives? Are there any?

Half-capacity Jordan: whose stories do we need?

The way Jordanians imagine their national collective identity must evolve from tolerance to acceptance and from diversity to true inclusion.

Untangling Egypt's web of political and economic challenges

Minimising IMF financial support through access to Gulf State finance allows Morsi to craft new political narratives that reject views of Egypt as a US client state and redefines Egypt within a framework of Arab nationalism and centre-right political Islam.  

The boundaries of Israeli unity

Two years ago, the rallying cry was "The people demand social justice", which was more open ended, proving its tenuousness in the question of Palestinian solidarity.


The Great Tax Robbery - reviewed

Private Eye's Richard Brooks has released a new book, The Great Tax Robbery, reviewed here by a former colleague. How did HMRC come to be 'captured' by big money, and why is government doing so little to correct it?

Why politicians can’t be honest about the EU

Responding to Stuart Weir's recent article, Damian Hockney says the EU's supposed benefits are as illusory as the supposed damages the UK would suffer from leaving.

Two notions of liberty revisited - or how to disentangle Liberty and Slavery

The modern liberal concept of liberty has roots in Roman law and the Roman understanding of the master and the slave. We need to unpick that heritage to imagine a better basis for our political aspirations

The British legal profession has a duty to help ensure justice for all

Legal aid and Law Centres are under threat in the UK, along with the principle of equal access to justice. Geoffrey Bindman QC says it's time for the legal profession to dig into their pockets and help meet the gap in state funding. This week's Friday Essay.

Europe’s seven most endangered species of monuments and sites

How best to preserve the archaeological record of the past, which so often obtrudes on political objectives of the present? And what happens when nation states are effectively bankrupt?  Are its monuments to be allowed to collapse into decay?

London's hospital campaigners march on Downing Street

A&E departments across London are already overstretched - but nearly half of them are now threatened with closures, and undermined by privatisation. This Saturday, hospital campaigners from across London join up to march on Downing Street.

A republican call for a basic income

Republicanism offers a persuasive guide to the political shaping of markets. A basic income could be the foundation of a democratic republican economy that frees all citizens from the commodification of labour.

Debate: Britain and the EU – Is the UK leading the way or running away?

Watch the debate with Graham Watson MEP (ALDE Group Leader) and Martin Callanan MEP (ECR Group Leader), moderated by Peter O’Donnell, covering many of the key issues for debate. What would Britain actually lose?

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