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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Founder, Director and Editor of democraciaAbierta

Constitutional conventions: best practice

“Oslo Peace” twenty years on: part 2

Twenty years in twenty photographs. See the introduction here in part 1.

Variations on citizenship in a wider Europe: a round-table discussion

Has ‘multilevel governance’ replaced the nation state or European confederation, creating the precondition for a multilevel citizenship? Or is this just a name we give to the empty place left by the demise of the nation state?

Berlin’s ‘system error’ free shop

No money or goods exchanged, just take what you want.

A relational society - The Kilburn Manifesto

Today, social responses to peoples' needs are being pushed to the margin by the reframing of all tasks in terms of economic gain. But the development of human capabilities depends on relationships. A different set of values is needed. 

PPE for the people

What do political elites like Prime Minister David Cameron, opposition leader Ed Miliband and 40 other UK members of parliament have in common? They all studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford University. 

You cannot ignore religion in social policy-making in the Middle East

Governments and global development agencies will do well in the formulation of new social protection and social welfare policies, only if they take serious account of the experience of religious organisations in their provision.

Grading the drug war in Afghanistan a decade after: F

It might be unfair to call the US/NATO drug war a ‘failure’ since its purpose was never to address drug problems.

Our fossil-fuelled future 

What sort of fabulous new energy systems will the world possess in 2040?  Which fuels will supply the bulk of our energy needs?  And how will that change the global energy equation, international politics, and the planet’s health? 

Idealism and politics: the case of Uruguay

What makes Uruguay different, is that apparently utopian dreams are being implemented - not in half-measures but fully, openly and with the participation of the people. From openDemocracy.

Community action against property markets

Dan Strange's cartoon is a bold image of transformation through community action. It is a response to Jane McAlevey's article Organizing as whole people

Empathy: lots of lessons but no final words

What can we learn from two weeks of debate?  Empathy must be used to correct injustice, not simply to understand it or feel its associated pain. This is the final article in our series on empathy and transformation

Empathy, democracy and the economy

Democracy is lost unless we re-structure our economies, and re-structuring our economies requires a new system based on different values. This is the sixth article in our series on empathy and transformation.

A dialogue on ‘barriers’ to participation and capitalist temporalities

Coming together can make it possible to live more and work less. Doing things collectively is the only way we can be free from the obligation to work so hard as self-exploiting individuals. This is not primarily a question of politics or protest.

Futures of an unlived past: participation, Plymouth architecture and the voices of the dead

Perhaps it is impossible to create a participatory democracy through participatory means. The solution developed here, in any case, was to draw on the external authority of a famous urban planner. 

Facilitation as creative bricolage: opening participatory democracy’s black box

With our Indian collaborators we embarked on a creative campaign to defend the integrity of a process that had provided a platform for the informed views of some of the most marginalised rural people in India. It was not a comfortable experience for either of us.

Compassionate economics

What kind of economics could facilitate the liberation of all human beings? A new middle path can transform our relationship to individual and collective suffering. The second in our series of articles on empathy and transformation.

How to redistribute authority: participatory knowledge matters for democracy

If collaborative science or participatory budgeting does not incorporate some openness to calamity and creativity, to the world pushing back, then it will not have the effect of generating ‘real life’ experience and redistributing authority. 

Participation in (a time of) crisis

We are the ones we have been waiting for. The importance of openness lies in creating spaces and times outside the dominant architecture and temporality of the past and present in order to create new alliances and subjectivities based on a common dignity. 

The UK migration debate: lessons from America

Why have US activists have been more successful than their British counterparts in building a constructive immigration dialogue within mainstream politics, asks Katy Long.

Jordan bearing the brunt

Already home to almost two million Palestinians, Jordan has had to take in almost a million Iraqi refugees as an aftermath of the two Gulf wars, the majority of whom have not returned.

México, la permanente encrucijada y su (¿cínica?) política migratoria

México comienza a dar pasos para convertirse en un actor global, como lo menciona Carlos Heredia, para proteger a las y los migrantes en el mundo. Sin embargo, para hacerlo debe empezar en y desde casa.

How to win friends and influence the new economy

Loneliness is as strong as smoking or alcohol abuse as an indicator of premature mortality. When Lisa Cook found she had no one to help her put her cat down, she decided to act. She joined a resilience circle: a friendship group that works on new economic principles.

Meditation on the Egyptian bloodbath

Most of Egypt’s allies - except notably for Turkey and Qatar - were clearly more comfortable with the military that promised “stability” than with the Muslim Brotherhood that had won the country’s first elections. This is what counter-revolution looks like. 

The green machine of Copenhagen

When machines break down, don't throw them away, fix them. Anders Koefoed has declared war on “planned obsolescence.” This is the third video in our Everyday Stories series, showcasing people who are adding more meaning and sustainability to their lives. (Video, 5 mins)

The fields of Marange: where is the diamond money?

Local communities were supposed to reap the benefits of rich resources since Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields were opened up to formal mining in 2009. Four years on, impoverished locals are still waiting.

Tobacco farmers wiping out Zimbabwe’s indigenous forests

Following Mugabe's land reforms, Zimbabwe's farmers are turning to the booming tobacco industry to alleviate poverty, but this get-rich quick-fix scheme comes at what price to the local environment and farming communities? 

Cities in the future of democracy

Today’s cities perch people far off the ground. They block sight of the stars. So we’re faced with a completely different task: re-embedding our cities into our biosphere. Interview.

Witness to the revolution: Bolivarianismo and popular power in Venezuela

For those of us living in a land of economic austerity and political atrophy, seeing a country demonstrate that there is an alternative remains an indispensible component of our long-term struggle to rejuvenate our society.

Burma’s paradox of plenty

Military and crony interests remain closely aligned with large-scale extractive projects in Burma. As the country emerges from junta rule and economic isolation, Burma is treading a rocky developmental path.

More out of Africa

There is a current global environmental crisis and Africa is part of it. But as aggressive resource extraction ravages the African environmental landscape, can the answer to Africa’s ‘crisis’ lie within?

State of denial

Migration is a conveniently ignored reality in Southern Africa. The lack of regional governance is a critical challenge.

Al-Shabaab’s theft: humanitarian and security implications

The theft of UK aid in Somalia by the militant group al-Shabaab risks provoking a set of reactionary responses. The humanitarian community must remain committed to addressing the needs of vulnerable populations.

Moral Mondays: the new face of protest?

"This is no momentary protest. This is a movement. We've been here before, and if slavery didn't kill us, if the oppression of women didn't kill us, surely no weak legislator with 86 votes gonna kill us...instead of defeating us, they've made us defiant." 

Turkey’s Gezi Park episode is far from over

Paradoxically, Gezi Park presented Erdoğan with a golden opportunity, one that could also have helped Turkish democracy part company from the tendency of powerful political parties to drift into populism-fuelled authoritarianism.

The road to federal consociationalism

Many Israeli Jewish intellectuals, activists and politicians over the years have spoken out clearly for a one-state solution. They were very aware of the consequences of war and conflict, and arrived at the conclusion that we must live together, sharing food, water, resources, and even politics.  

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