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

Stronger Europe or democratic sovereignty? Yes please

In search of a new European politics, we must face the fact that we have skirted the political question of identity: how do we redraw the boundaries (symbolic and physical) dividing us so that we can re-democratize the European public space?

Carne Vale

In the run up to this year's Mardi Gras the author, left behind by progress, nevertheless decides not to rush

Occupy – free, educating theatre coming to a town near you

We are seeing today the first widespread global popular uprising in history that shares a name-tag and an idea: an end to corporate greed, extreme socio-economic inequality and, by deduction, the capitalist system in general. This performance on the world stage is wrestling with notions of publoid space and the challenge of ‘scaling up’.

Ragip Zarakolu, human rights symbol in modern Turkey

Turkey will become a real global power only when the high level of its economic progress is matched by a strong, stable and functioning democratic system.

Democracy for all? Minority rights and democratisation

The challenge of accommodating and promoting the rights of ethnic, religious and other minorities tends to emerge whenever a formerly authoritarian country begins to move towards democracy. It is faced today as the middle east and north Africa embarks on its own democratic transition. The region could be aided in the endeavour by learning lessons from earlier experience in countries such as Indonesia, says Mark Salter.

An Indian youth delegation visits China in 2011

The Indian youth delegation to Beijing was highly impressed with China and its people.

How the Arab League turned against Syria

Why did the Arab League, once perceived as an ineffective dictators’ club, end up taking the side of anti-government protesters against the Syrian regime? Does its humanitarian rhetoric simply conceal its most powerful member states’ true motives: concern over the geopolitical distribution of power?

Abu Qatada, British justice and human rights

Having allowed a preacher associated with 9/11 to take up residence in the UK, the British government has held him in prison for over 6 years without trial, in an attempt to send him to Jordon. The result is a disaster for justice.

What is energy for?

So familiar has the social economy of energy become in modern societies, so routine its extraordinardinary wastefulness, so toxic its effects, that the capacity for a better way can be missed. By questioning the how, why and what of energy use, says Rebecca Willis, new possibilities - of living, travelling, eating, working and buying - can open

Civilisation apéritif

Join the author for a toddy in a place where politeness has not gone out of style

Britain won’t have a good society until we revive the ‘public interest’

The pressure group Compass is taking action to place the public interest back at the heart of Britain. Joe Cox of the group's campaigns team reports on their latest event, a citizen's assembly.

Is there such a thing as ethical capitalism?

In response to a growing realisation that neo-liberal capitalism is morally and literally bankrupt, Britain’s political leadership have provided three visions of ethical capitalism for us to aspire to. So, is there such a thing as ethical capitalism? And why is this question being asked now?

Words of welcome: 2011 Olof Palme Prize

On January 27, in its 25th award ceremony, the 2011 Olaf Palme Prize for International Understanding and Common Security was given to Lydia Cacho Ribeiro and Roberto Saviano for their tireless and often lonely efforts to expose criminal networks despite great personal risk. Before the award, the Prize chairperson addressed the two honoured guests and an illustrious audience.

The far horizons of peacebuilding – and the near

Peacebuilding and development can no longer be thought of in terms of what was always an over-simplified polarisation between the powerful stability of the giver and the weak turbulence of the beneficiary. It was always wrong to see the world that way; now it’s impossible.

The long haul of solitary death: Michel Houellebecq and the decline of western sexuality

A prophet-provacateur faithful to French traditions of lucidity, sensuality, and alienation, Houellebecq believes we are all doomed. The Map and the Territory continues his great project of exposing the limits of individualism.

At the corner of food & politics

In New Orleans in the summer of 2005 you needed transport and fuel in order to eat. In this landscape of dead refrigerators and flooded stores, abandoned by government, the author describes how individual improvisation woven into collective action fed empty stomachs

New faces of nationalism

Around the globe, new forms of governance are being sought to counter-balance the hyper-empire of global capitalism. Scotland is developing its own resistance, could England follow suit?

Who are the 40%?

The Islamist win in Egypt confirms a trend. Religious absolutism is now out of the equation: people are empowered to determine their political leaders and their institutions.

Enter, the anti-Thatcher (in tall shoes)

The daring designer plunge, the sledgehammer swing and a crawfish culinary classic are all ways to get noticed, swamplands-style

The Great Partnership: multiculturalism, faith and citizenship

Do the supposedly civilised values of human rights and responsible citizenry become exclusionary, used to divide rather than unite? Is religion a partner of liberty? On the day the British parliament considers a bill proposing the banning of headscarves in public places, Robin Llewellyn reviews Jonathan Sacks' ‘The Great Partnership: God, Science, and the Search for Meaning’

The Occupy Movement - a revolution in our sense of self

The Occupy Movement, far from having no programme, has revolutionized our sense of self. The Citizen of the World adopts a panoramic view of society and takes the interests of others all over the world to be as important as her or his self interest.

EU democracy in crisis: mired in a perfect storm or rebounding?

If the heart of the crisis lies in the politics – including in the politics of the economic policy choices being made – then solutions may lie, not in yet more EU institutional changes and the creation of an austerity union, but in the practice and the dynamism of democratic European politics. But a certain tradition of creating a theoretically more democratic Europe for the people even if they do not seem to want it has deep roots in the EU elites. So far, this hasn't worked.

A gift from New Orleans

The psychic charge given to a gift from deepest Looziana ultimately proves to be a prudent investment

Britishness and anti-intellectualism

Why is Britain the country of commonsense, rather than high theory? A brief history of the ideology of anti-intellectualism and conservatism in the UK.

The snails are marching in their shells one year on

Ancient wisdoms and future challenges come together after the elections in Egypt: the Islamic parties will not have things all their way

Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything

The editor of our Networked Society debate concludes the project by sharing his reflections on the last tumultuous year of global networked protest, making way for a new debate on the escalating Occupy Movement.

Bento and Berger

In which it is claimed that the practice of drawing can lead two thinkers centuries apart into a new symbiosis opening the way to political transformation. But what kind of transformation? Book review

Part One: the alter-globalisation movement goes North

Part One of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

The beginning of the break-up of Britain?

Scotland's independence referendum will be held in Autumn 2014. Whatever the people decide, Scotland and the UK will never be the same again.

Part Three: reality management #fail

Part Three of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

And so?: Occupy Everything

The final part of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

Occupy: rediscovering the general will in hard times

Times of economic crisis call into question our systems of democracy. Today's global occupy movement is a call to reclaim the economy as a site of decision. To do so, we will need to rethink ourselves as political subjects.

Where were you when Europe fell apart?

Too many Europeans have too long avoided the question of Europe. To prevent the EU from turning into a "post-democratic regime of bureaucrats", intellectuals need to stop mumbling and take their and our fear of Europe seriously

Reflecting the public will in Egypt: between rhetoric and institutionalism

Despite the success of the January 25 Revolution, Tahrir Square at best offers a powerful platform for monologue on some of the most profound democratic challenges the new Egypt faces.

From eastern Europe, lessons for Egypt’s newborn democracy

Ukraine and Georgia - two countries in a region undergoing dramatic change in the past two decades - can help Egypt examine the circumstances in which high aspirations do or do not lead to a successful transformation.
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