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This week's editor

En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is openDemocracy’s assistant editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Can Europe actually make it?

Between a destroyed economy, blatant institutional dysfunction and fledging popular support, the current picture of the EU looks bleak. But it is not the end of the Union yet!

Brazil’s mensalão: corruption and context

Corruption traditionally involves the spiriting away of public funds for private gain, here the ultimate gains were arguably public. Poverty levels in the country fell more than 51% between 2002 and 2010.

This week's window on the Middle East - December 3, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week on the democratic rollback which has ignited Egypt's streets: The Saturday Mothers

The Saturday Mothers

To the memory of Mother Berfo who has searched for her disappeared son for thirty years.


The revolution continues: Morsi’s miscalculations and the Ikhwan’s impasse

After President Morsi’s Constitutional Declaration providing him with unprecedented sweeping powers, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt faces unprecedented protests. Is this a sign of its political weakness?

Britain, become a republic! You can even keep the Queen!

Britain has been fooled. Told that 'republicanism' just meant sacking the monarchy, the British have missed its radical vision for the future. We interview the author of a new pamphlet that seeks to ignite the flame.

Christmas trees, Islam and right wing populism: a Danish Christmas story

‘Christmas takes ages and costs a lot of money…’ goes a popular Danish Christmas carol. This year, Christmas started early and revitalized old debates about failed integration, cultural incompatibility and Islamization.

How Britain could leave the EU

Unless politicians, business leaders and trade unionists find the courage to make the case for membership, it is only a matter of time until Britain leaves the EU.

Mexico's lost generation

Enrique Pena Nieto will assume the Presidency of Mexico on the 1 December 2012, a day which will mark the return of his party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) after 12 years absence.  Their first job:  Mexico’s biggest labour reform in over 40 years.

Democracy in a state of emergency: Greece, the EU and the eurozone debt crisis

Day after day, it is becoming clearer that the European Union has no intention of tackling its democratic deficit. It is time for the Union to realize it has failed Greece, European citizens and its own ideals - including democracy.

Leveson has reported, now let the campaigning begin!

Two of the most prominent campaigners for wide-reaching reform of the British press, Hacked Off and Media Reform, respond to the long-awaited Leveson Inquiry report.

An iron chain of bondage: lessons from the Knights of Labor

As modern workers, we have much to learn from the rich tradition of labour republicanism in America. The second piece in our Democratic Wealth series, hosted with Politics in Spires

Russia paralysed by pragmatism

Officially, the Russian government is above politics. While this stance worked well during the boom years, since the financial crisis it has been paralysing government. Reform is urgently needed. But how can these be pushed through without recourse to politics? Russia’s non-political period is drawing to a close, Dmitry Butrin reckons.

Elections in Catalonia: it takes two to tango

On Sunday November 25, the Catalan elections illustrated the fact that, in politics, nothing is ever sure. But also, and more importantly, that nothing is ever as simple as politicians would like it to be.

India Burning

When the rice harvest season finishes in a few weeks, fields in India will turn black as farmers burn thousands of acres. This practice shows one of the failures of the Green Revolution, with devastating regional and global consequences. A food-security-obsessed India cannot ignore these issues for much longer.

Deconstructing false myths: Spain vs Catalonia

This Sunday's election confirmed the success of nationalist parties in Catalonia - paving the way for a probable referendum on independence. However, this outcome is alienating to many - Catalans and Spaniards. When two cultures have been interlaced for so long, how does one draw the line between "them" and "us"?

Reclaim the future? An idea whose time has come

This weekend radical activists from across Britain will come to the capital to debate, discuss and plan for a future beyond the dead end of austerity.

Vultures are circling the carrion of sovereign debt

In the struggle between Argentina and a "vulture fund", a New York judge has sided with the vultures. It's a move that could have significant consequences in Europe. Public pressure may yet force a turning point: the introduction of an agreed process for sovereign default.

Democratic wealth: exploring ideas for a citizens’ economy

Could republicanism provide the model for a political economy that belongs to us all and works for the common good? OurKingdom and Politics in Spires’ new series explores this question, introduced here by its editor.

This week's window on the Middle East - November 26, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week on the democratic rollback which has ignited Egypt's streets: The President and the fatal trilateral logic of US, Egyptian and Israeli relations

Syrian refugee camps and conflict in Turkey

Now that the short term crisis has transformed into a long term stalemate, the inadequacy of the temporary protection regime of camps in Turkey is revealed. Turkey is a party to international treaties arising from the basic obligation to open its border to refugees. But the international community also has responsibilities.

The Chinese Communist Party takes a line from the Catholic Church

The notion of an end to corruption under the current system of government is a logical impossibility. Corruption is riven into the fabric of Chinese society.

New platforms, new paradigms, old newspapers

Newspapers have not yet found a sustainable business model because although they have embraced the new technologies, they have not fully taken on board the new paradigm.

The US-Iran dialogue and how it can affect the Iranian democratic movement

President Obama’s re-election for a second term has afforded him much more manoeuvrability on foreign policy issues, including Iran. What are the prospects for the US-Iranian dialogue in the next four years - and how will it affect the Islamic Republic's local pro-democracy forces?

The geopolitics of drug trafficking in Afghanistan

%22Bordering"In Afghanistan, opium is not clandestinely traded on some back alley black market. Opium is the market.




The trouble with Fortress Europe

To prevent illegal immigration, the EU has built a set of far-reaching border control and enforcement policies. But it doesn't work: today's 'Fortress Europe' is an inefficient, immoral and costly bureaucratic construction that should be urgently reformed.

This week's window on the Middle East - November 19, 2012

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week: A non-violent 24-year-old gets Sudanese intelligence mobilising

The British betrayal: some inconvenient truths about children’s health services

Leading politicians and health professionals meet in London tomorrow to discuss the future of child health in the UK. Ahead of the Westminster Health Forum seminar — ‘Improving children’s and young people’s health: towards a health outcomes strategy and meeting public health challenges’ — OurKingdom presents a challenge from internationally renowned paediatrician, England’s former first children’s commissioner, Prof Sir Al Aynsley-Green.

Child poverty in Britain — redefine it, or reduce it?

The UK government claims today that current measures of child poverty fail to tackle the “root causes of poverty. . . worklessness, educational failure and family breakdown”. A paediatrician asks: what’s really behind the urge to redefine? 

Foreign aid to local NGOs: good intentions, bad policy

International solidarity is a wonderful idea, and the notion of transferring resources from North to South for good causes is morally attractive. The mechanics of doing this properly, however, are far more complex. 

Who are the Finns? Ask The Finns!

Combining support for the welfare state with xenophobic populist sentiments, The Finns have clouded and shaken the traditionally straightforward Finnish political landscape. Beyond this textbook example of mainstream recognition for a previously radical faction, what do the Finns really stand for?

Corrupt and ‘reckless’ Kellogg Brown & Root still in the running for UK police contracts

Ahead of Police & Crime Commissioner elections in the UK, a negligence verdict in Oregon intensifies pressure to keep tainted contractor KBR out of UK policing.

From the people to the people, a new constitution

What the future holds in store and what will be the fate of the bill for a new constitution is hard to say at this point in time. But what is evident is that the battle of “who owns Iceland” is being fought and is at its high water mark. There is much at stake.

The Sicilian blow to Italian politics

Nearly 20 percent of Sicily’s electorate voted for Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement (M5S) – an alternative “clean hands” party that has recently gained momentum in Italian politics. Their candidate, the comedian and blogger Giancarlo Cancelleri, seduced Sicilian voters with a fresh - and anti-establishment - approach to politics.

Child health at risk in the economic crisis: what can we do?

A doctor urges fellow child health practitioners to speak up for the benefits of social protection policy, and to measure, evaluate and bear witness to the impact of NHS 'reform' on child health.

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