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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

Britain's housing crisis: on Novara Radio

We need homes, but why growth? The Novara radio show discusses the housing crisis in Britain. For more Novara radio episodes, go to the Novara Media website.

Kickstarting taxation

The Starbucks and Googles of this world will always find tax loopholes. We need to link taxation once again to civic virtue and demonstratable social impact. We'll get them on the spirit of the law, not the letter.

Republicanism and tax justice

Republicans can offer the principles needed to work towards a tax system built for the global common good.

The only socialism we will ever know?

Looking for signs of life and the difference that was made, surely that dreary grey oblong could not have been the spiritual home of the 99%? But it was and it did.

A new dawn for the Unions? Frances O’Grady and economic democracy

The TUC’s new General Secretary seems to represent real change in the 'pale, male, stale' world of British unions. But can she shake them up in policy terms, and draw in the energy of a disparate anti-austerity movement?

This week's window on the Middle East - April 29, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Attack on the French Embassy in Tripoli: what now for Libya?

Is there any austerity in the UK?

The Coalition is not cutting the deficit, while many on the right argue that spending is rising. So what's the real picture? The director of centre-left think tank IPPR gives his analysis on whether there is really austerity in Britain.

The link between immigration policy, labour markets and exploitation in the UK

The UK government’s commitment to tackling trafficking for labour exploitation is being undermined by its immigration and labour market policies.

Europe’s austerity, the beginning of the end?

Europe is increasingly unpopular, the recession hits the euro area and Angela Merkel is now facing a new populist party. So Brussels opens up to a timid change of season. But austerity has not yet been defeated politically, in elections and in the streets.

The military in our midst

Up in Arms normally focuses on the figure of the soldier in order to track the militarization process. Here we visit the overlooked role of the ‘military wife’ as a key to interpreting far-reaching policy decisions.

Europe’s guns, debt and corruption

This second of two essays on military spending and the EU crisis, explores the role of the European arms trade, corruption and the role of arms exporting countries in fuelling a debt crisis, and why these 'odious' debts need to be written off. See Part One here.

Do the Egyptians really need democracy?

One might be forced to return to the  question posed, this time with a view to the current situation in Egypt. Do the Egyptians really understand democracy? 

Plans for regional banks are a radical leap for Britain

A Labour MP sets out why his party's plan to establish a network of regional banks is a step towards a fundamental reshaping of the UK economy.

This week's window on the Middle East - April 22, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Beyond Arab vs Berber: the rich complexities of Algerian identity should be celebrated, not feared

Truly working-class politics in America

Government always claims they are protecting the downtrodden by monitoring the powerful, though nowadays through standards often written by the lobbyists of the powerful, which has a remarkable resemblance to catering to their almost every whim. 

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the bank…

The people who brought us the banking crashes of 2007-2008 that became the credit crunch 2008-2009 and the economic wreckage we’ve lived in since are having another go. The very credit arrangements that brought us so much grief are fashionable again.

Finding a 'New Deal' in the post-2015 agenda

No low-income fragile state is expected to reach a single Millenium Development Goal. The post-2015 agenda must recognise that conflict is a barrier to development and set explicit peacebuilding targets to tackle this.

The Alaska Model: a citizen's income in practice

The idea of a basic income for all citizens is often seen as a utopian dream. But 'the Alaska Dividend' has existed for more than thirty years, and is immensely popular to this day.

Algerians in London protest against shale gas and the lack of a national debate

Fracking has raised major concerns for its substantial use of water (particularly worrying for the Sahara) and for the potential leaking of these chemical substances into groundwater.

Scottish independence: not worth the trouble

Chart the actual probable outcomes of independence, and there is little to recommend it to the Scots, if slightly more to the English. Yet the results would be devastating.

Labour in times of rising foreign direct investment in developing countries

The disadvantaged position of labour is often seen as going hand in hand with the rise in foreign direct investment (FDI). But this situation, attributable to a 'race to the bottom' initiated by states, is anchored in the misleading notion that transnational capital inevitably embraces cheap labour.

Be it ever so humble!

Forget “Home, Sweet Home”. The British government’s bedroom tax humbles families in social housing, depriving them of the dignity to call their home their own, forcing many of them to move and driving some into homelessness.

Bonjour Tristesse

French parliamentarians – left or right, including the Socialist Speaker of the House – stick tooth and nail to their perks. The opposition is crying out against what they call being taken back to the times of Robespierre's “Terror” under the French Revolution.

Why Greece failed

How different is Greece? The beginning of wisdom about the current Greek crisis is to recognize that it is fundamentally political, and that it has been long in the making. Greece’s failure is the outcome of a long process during which populism prevailed over liberalism and became hegemonic in society.

The Front National’s new clothes

Last year, Marine Le Pen came third in the French presidential elections, following a campaign seeking to de-demonise the party and make it more attractive to a broader electorate. While it is arguable whether her strategy was entirely successful, the changes made may well have long-term consequences.

The 'Patriot' Prime Minister

It is time to disassociate Thatcher from liberty. Look at her era of repressing dissent, protest and freedom of expression. She must not go down in history as a 'champion of freedom and democracy'. 

The Eurozone crisis: what way forward?

The simple truth unpalatable to Eurozone authorities is that small peripheral EU economies and even big economies like Spain and Italy, are victims, not designers of the liberalised financial architecture that was built way back in 1992, repeating earlier twentieth century failed experiments that led to financial crisis, immiseration and war.

The Cyprus 'bail-in' blunder: a template for Europe?

The justification for the ‘rescue’ plan for Cyprus appears reasonable: taxpayers should not have to pay for the costly mistakes of bankers and ‘tax havens’ should be eliminated. But the ‘bail-in’ plan does not achieve these objectives.

From heart attacks to maternal care: the human cost of austerity in Greece

In Greece, austerity has caused more than just tear gas usage to rise. Heart attacks have spiked in the republic, in line with the economic crisis in the Eurozone.

No country for wise men

From PM Monti's technocracy to President Napolitano's ten 'wise men', Italy is turning to technical expertise to rescue it from political lethargy. But the rise (and fall) of Italy's technocrats only hides the chronic frictions between the country's political class and its educated – and forgotten – youth. 

Women, Scotland and the crisis in economics

Economics, still a male-dominated discipline, excludes many issues of relevance to women in Scotland. No wonder they are being hit disproportionately by austerity measures.

This week's window on the Middle East - April 8, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Algerian activism: a new generation draws the line

Italy, where nothing is where it should be

Without a government at Palazzo Chigi, Italy’s politics has been displaced. And as the “Offshore Leaks” scandal has revealed, the country’s economy has meanwhile moved to tax havens.

Fall of Baghdad – 10 Years On

On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, former organiser in the Stop the War movement and Iraq hostage negotiator, Anas Altikriti, says Iraq has never been closer to a civil war.

Bank-money and the betrayal of democracy

In this speech given at the PSA conference in Cardiff, the author examines the history and theory of bank money - credit - from a democratic perspective. How did this strange fraud come to be established under law?

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