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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Islamic finance: in a paradigm of transition

In the post-financial crisis era, many conventional banks, economists and depositors have been inspired by the moral and ethical foundations of Islamic finance, values which seem to be absent from the conventional banking system.

Leaderless no more

The rise of new left leaders such as Alexis Tsipras in Greece and Pablo Iglesias in Spain reflects a new desire for leadership and political representation at odds with the neoanarchist culture that has for long dominated the radical left and influenced the movements of 2011.

Human rights essential for holding states to account

Time and time again, regardless of political persuasion, when people are asked if they support, say, the prohibition against torture or the right to life, the answer is a resounding yes.

Extremism and 'Prevent': the need to trust in education

‘Prevent’ is the part of the UK government’s counter-terrorism strategy designed to respond to the ideological challenges of terrorism and extremism. Are its priorities self-defeating? There are promising alternatives.

Progressive Muslims in a world of ISIS and Islamophobes

Ani Zonneveld, president of Muslims for Progressive Values, explains the struggle to organize progressive Muslim communities and institutions in a fight back in the era of ISIS.

Beyond the square: changing dynamics at the World Social Forum

If the recent Occupy-type social explosions are to seek transformative action beyond occupied squares, they should look at the history of the World Social Forum, with its valuable paths to transnational connectivity.

British perfidy in Greece: a story worth remembering

It was the day, seventy years ago this Tuesday, when the British Army at war with Germany switched their allegiance, opening fire upon – and arming Greek collaborators with the Nazis to fire upon – a civilian crowd in Syntagma Square.

Re-imagining higher education

Learning takes place in the heart, the hands and the home, not just in the head. What does that mean for the universities of the future?

The Cold War was a success compared to this

As long as the radical left held to the democratic rule of law, they were given the space to articulate their views. They didn’t flee to communist walhallas, but remained in the sights of the intelligence services.

Belgian jihadists in Syria: alienation, consumption, power

Politicians are flexing their muscles and alienated youngsters are defiantly posting their Syrian ‘adventures’ online, but in the meantime the rule of law is being eroded without much notice.  

Hijacking Europe and denying Eurasia

It makes moral and political sense to integrate Ukraine into the west as soon as possible. But for clueless western leaders, the only way to do so is to reaffirm the non-European character of Russia.

IS – a threat to the structure of international law?

The theological and ideological basis for IS’s struggle visualizes this as a fight against the spiritual power centre of European public international law: Rome.

Bulgaria's new coalition: a rainbow without colours

Neoliberalism and nationalism will continue to be fused under the recent Bulgarian coalition. Domestic policy outcomes are unlikely to differ from previous coalition governments. 

Towards a psychology of war

Women may participate in war, but in our social imaginary, war is still man’s business. The few women who fight have not undone the dominant symbolic association of passive receptivity with femininity or of masculinity with domination.

Brazil doubles down on cyber security



The out-sized military response risks compromising citizens’ fundamental rights. If Brazil is to build a cyber security system fit for purpose, an informed debate is imperative.

Scientism and free-market jihad

For the past forty years, our vision of life has shrunk to one based on a selfishness born of scientism. It is time to embrace different ways of seeing the world. 

Physical space and ‘Occupy’ tactics: a new trend in civil resistance?

Does the term ‘occupation’ delegitimize movements by casting participants as short-term guests, instead of representatives communicating grievances held by a wider society within a public forum that is theirs?

A political tsunami called ‘Podemos’

Are we entering the ‘bear hug’ phase in the political and economic Spanish elites’ strategy to beat Podemos, or have they begun to realise that Podemos could win?

Saving Europe from salvation

National competences are not something one can waive away with a magic wand and reassign to international institutions. Limited sovereignty all round is the road we must travel.

The law is the law: legalistic distortions between official Spain and Catalonia

The Catalanists’ democratic credentials are shoehorned into a one-size-fits-all horror story of minority nationalism that allows non-violent Catalans to be condemned in carelessly violent language. 

Political Islam in neoliberal times

Neoliberalism devours other competing world-views through the commodification of cultural difference—turning a tidy profit. Wrest this monopoly on political readings of Islam away from capital and authoritarianism.

Islamophobia, a foreseeable consequence of ultra-liberalism?

Islamophobia does not result from a specific strategy to create the ideal scapegoat, but Muslims came in opportunely to fulfil this function within ultra-liberal European societies.

Life after Europe: the Post-Europe Project

The joint editors of Europe – the very idea introduce the next stage of their project – a discussion inspired by the Czech philosopher and political dissident Jan Patočka. An invitation to discussion.

Hungary: ruling in the guise of democracy

After 1989, within two decades, the hitherto ‘dormant’ authoritarian, leader-worshipping, order-obsessed right-wing mentality has gradually found its way to the surface. Its institutional shape is precisely impossible to define.

Thoughts on autonomous weapons systems and meaningful human control of cyber

In cyber, borders, states, agencies – the traditional ways of organising international cooperation and communication no longer count. In cyber, everybody is a potential adversary.

The cooling wars of cyber space in a remote era

Hyperbolic language used to describe the potential consequences of cyber attacks has contributed to the ‘securitisation’ of the debate around cyber security issues. Increased transparency and accurate information is essential.

From the few to the many: swarm economics

With 3D printing, the distributed production economy can alleviate structural imbalances, injustices and diseconomies, if we manage with foresight.

Fossil addiction: is there a road to recovery?

There is no shortage of knowledge about global environmental and climate problems. Nor was there 40 years ago. So why is nothing happening?

Race and racism in modern Turkey

Ninety years since the establishment of the Republic, in an ever more complex society, the limitations and contradictions of Turkish national identity are coming to the fore more and more. 

Peace in Syria: civil society and a utopian glimpse of hope in dark times

Attention on the still ongoing Syrian civil war has chronically faded. Last remaining hopes for peace seem to have been dashed. But a peace conference that took place some months ago thought outside the box.

The EU-Mexico global agreement: time to put words into actions

The EU-Mexico Global Agreement is a vestige of a different era, the EU emboldened by ‘its success’ in shaping and promoting the democratisation of southern Europe, then of the post-Communist countries in the early 1990s.

The party rules

What lies behind the Chinese Communist Party elite’s foregrounding of the ‘rule of law’? With China's declining economic growth rate and widening income inequality, the basic rationale at the heart of the party's right to rule is at risk.

BDS and the politics of ‘radical’ gestures

Boycotts and divestment can be useful tools for righting wrongs, but they are apolitical tantrums in cases of right versus right.

The most important thing you‘ve never heard of

Introducing a secret trade deal which could affect everything from healthcare to banks to the air we breathe. Plus: find out what we're not being told about Ebola.

TTIP and TPP: harnessing the anger of the people

In parallel to the EU-US trade deal currently under way, the US is negotiating a similar agreement with 11 countries of the Asia Pacific: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Walden Bello, leading critic of neoliberal and corporate globalisation, identifies the global strategy underpinning the two agreements. Interview.

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