This week's editor

James Ron

James Ron hosts this week's openGlobalRights theme: public opinion and human rights.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Lessons from the Spanish Occupy Movement

Taking the Occupy movement in Spain as a case in point, location, organisation and timing seem to be crucial when it comes to putting across a lasting message.

The Toulouse killings and the radical right - part I

There were some good reasons to suspect the French extreme right of theToulouse killings. In this first article, Nicolas Lebourg shows how, once the identity of the killer was known, Marine Le Pen could switch her discourse to Islamophobia, a terrain on which she feels most comfortable.

Oh, about midnight

SundayComics tornado

The crashing intervention of reality leaves little room for fiction, and its 'stranger' ways in time and space need to be told

Beyond tax-and-spend: revising social democracy for a new age

The director of Britain's leading progressive think-tank sets out his vision for a transformation of social democracy that could renew its credibility and appeal for a new generation.

European alternatives: trajectories of mobilisation responding to Europe’s crisis

The political culture that supported global and European civil society activism in the 1999-2007 period - challenging neoliberal economic and financial power in the form of governments, EU and global institutions – has appeared irrelevant at the very moment when it could have emerged as a credible alternative to the crisis of European economies and politics. A brief chronology and typology of European resistance so far.

The 2012 Parti Socialiste primary: a beauty contest?

More people have had a say in the Socialist candidate’s selection process thanks to the ‘open primary’ experiment. But this is not at all the same thing as the ‘democratisation’ of the decision-making process. In fact the kind of political contestation which can build new debates, and involve and engage new types of citizens, was systematically removed from the process.

Reclaiming 'common sense': new pamphlet is a rallying cry to the 99%

"This year will either see us create a new, more plausible, basis for our shared life, or settle back into the old, dispiriting fictions." So says Dan Hind in a new e-pamphlet published by OurKingdom, invoking the spirit of Thom Paine and urging the 99% to reclaim the public realm. We interview the author.

The Holocaust and genocide: loose talk, bad action

The dangers of genocide denial are widely recognised. But the politics of "genocide mobilisation" - and the legal and discursive infringements that often follow - can also be a barrier to historical understanding and justice, says Martin Shaw.

The meaning of "revolution"

The Arab uprisings can be situated in the context of long-term global processes that periodically redefine the term "revolution". Welcome to the fourth wave, says Hazem Saghieh.

Feminism is funny

Recovering Mysoginist

Artist Sarah Maple’s new exhibition places feminism firmly at the centre of its work, using comedy to explore 21st century gender issues. Heather McRobie asks whether  feminism is finally coming back to the fore in the art world

India is ready for change, but censorship, taxation and corruption plagued the Art Fair

The fourth annual India Art Fair (IAF), held earlier this year, was hailed by Indian and international media as proof of an art culture come of age. The private opening was packed with the art-hungry moneyed class from all over the world, not least among them Indian buyers with an eye on potential investments.

(Fill in the blank) … - Muslim

The cynical manipulation of the category of ‘radical-Muslim’ in order to advance a political trajectory and perpetuate unqualified stereotypes is most unfortunate.

Nothing is inevitable in Syria

The question remains the same - to intervene or not to intervene, but a change is needed in how we frame the debate.

Explosive theatre

The reality of war between nuclear states is beyond our imaginations, yet the issue demands public debate. As tensions rise over Iran’s nuclear programme, can theatre help us think the unthinkable? Review

And now what? Greece after its official creditor-led default

Following Greece’s recent mammoth 206-billion-euro bond swap, people wrongly believe that the private bondholders of the Greek debt lost money and that the country is on a path to recovery. The only solution for Greece remains a debtor-led default and exit from the euro-zone under the leadership of a radical democrat political movement

Barrack Hussein Obama … (1) Holds an Active Estonian Passport! (2) Covertly Dates Britney Spears! (3) Cheats at Lawn Croquet! … and Now, You Can Too!

The tide of news swill from the US presidential race becomes weirder and more pervasive as falsehoods and media stunts are passed off as truth and gain a life of their own

Dealing with the past in post-conflict societies

Unless the past is articulated in such a way in which the connection of events and experiences are integrated in a real and meaningful way, the ‘truths’ which drove conflict will continue to be reproduced.

The danger of inaccurate information in conflict reporting

Before we stop to think, we share. We don’t think about what it means to re-Tweet a news article. Are we claiming ownership of the information contained in it? In increasing public exposure to this information, are we taking personal responsibility for its accuracy?

Moral principles, the ‘Leftists’, and the Syrian Revolution

Criticizing the uprising, in itself, is not immoral. But what is immoral, is to criticize the uprising without declaring their solidarity with the Syrian people.

Partners in need: Turkey, the European Union and the United States face the Arab Spring

The Arab spring has cast Turkey back into the western fold and away from alternative alliance patterns which seemed to be in the pipeline only a few years ago. Turkey won't act in Syria without its western partners. Meanwhile it is the very incompleteness of the Turkish model which is of such interest to its neighbours.

Religion and coming to terms with soldiering in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)

Judaism is crucial for how IDF soldiers comprehend their role as soldiers and share their experience, as well as providing them with the worldview that locates their role as individual soldiers within a larger framework of collective meaning. This applies not merely to the minority of religiously observant recruits, but also among the remaining conscripts.

All stick and no carrot

Why are Europe's fiscal technocrats so afraid of democracy? There is no evidence that good economics requires keeping European peoples out of the equation.

And You Are?

There are many candidates to savour, each of a singular beauty which defies a label, as our author turns away from the nightly news

Reflections on Britain's student movement

This exchange revisits the student movement that erupted in Britain over the winter of 2010-2011. It produced a new cohort of young activists, fueling the anti-cuts movements and Occupy. But to what extent was the movement middle-class, a-historical, and shaped by neoliberalism?

A theory of conventional cultural unity

Development and peace in Ethiopia are hampered by a poor social network infrastructure, low trust between the people and the government and low trust between ethnic groups. Conventional cultural unity would harmonise a peace by strengthening the psychological attachments between Ethiopians.

The code in the machine. A conversation with Luis de Miranda

2012-02-27_1446How has the digital realm changed us? Has it given us a way to understand the liberating aspects of order, and is this how the today's thinking about alternatives differs from that of generation '68? Listen to a podcast that prefigures some of the themes that will be covered on our Friday March 2nd London event.
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James Klugmann, a complex communist

An intellectual who spent his career inside Britain's communist party, and who was long regarded even by many of his comrades with a degree of pity, may seem an unlikely candidate for reappraisal. But the life of James Klugmann, who was born on 27 February 1912, was also intertwined with some of the 20th century's biggest themes and controversies: depression and fascism, war and communism, loyalty and betrayal, political commitment and moral courage. Geoff Andrews, who is writing Klugmann's biography, reflects on an influential yet haunted man.

This is fiction except when it isn’t

Today's Sunday Comic on predators and prey of various kinds plus a road map to reality


'An excess of democracy'

Occupy and the direct action movements of today have much in common with the radical movements of the 1960s/70s. Can the new generation move beyond the successes and failures of the past, to develop an alternative political economy?

Public crises, public futures

We need to develop new understandings of public action, public culture, public space and the public sphere and what impact it has on these when people see themselves as in crisis.

Subterranean politics and the European debate

Subterranean European politics draws on a new meaning of Europe already visible in cross-border citizens’ mobilisations, civil society networks, trade union struggles; it has now to shape Europe’s politics and policy-making.

Netwar 2.0: the convergence of streets and networks

To the extent to which we are not witnessing a clash between two capitalisms but a process of reconfiguration realized through the hegemony of finance, information and circulation, the only way to change the current situation is through the autonomous organization of the multitude’s living labour in the streets and on the net.

Islamists bring religion down to earth: the end of religious idealism

The movement was in disarray until the historical revolution offered it a second life - a revolution that they did not plan and certainly did not start.

Palestinians learning lessons

What has been happening to Hamas over the past few months, and what to Mahmoud Abbas? And what is the impact of all this on the reconciliation effort?
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