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This week's editors

RB, editor

Rosemary Bechler edits openDemocracy's main site.

Parvati Nair directs the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility.

MM

Cameron Thibos edits Mediterranean Journeys in Hope.

En Liang Khong is assistant editor at openDemocracy.

Alex Sakalis is the editor of Can Europe Make It?

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The democratic drift: political malaise in the age of democracy

If the twentieth century was, in the language of the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, the “age of extremes”, then the twenty-first century may well be the age of democracy. And yet a profound sense of disconnect has emerged.

Islamic law and the state: rearticulating Sharia in Pakistan

This statutory nature of the Sharia begins to emerge, paradoxically, in the colonial British courts.  It is this legacy that led to a reimagining of the role of Sharia, that now plagues the modern Muslim nation state.  

What do we talk about when we talk about creativity?

Neoliberal logics are increasingly being applied to the ways in which we talk about ‘creativity’. The new dogma of ‘creativity’, far from ushering in an age of horizontalised power structures, masks powerful processes of elite capture and capitalist development.

The right to the city: the inspiring free space of Can Vies

The social centre of Can Vies in Barcelona, occupied by squatters since 1997, achieved global recognition when plans for demolition were met by forceful protest. The attention on rioting has masked the hard work of reconstruction by the people of Sants, in a site of urban struggle against austerity measures.

You take the high road, I'll take the low road, and we'll see who's more democratic when we get to the other end…

Whilst there are many apparent similarities between the rhetoric of ‘Localism’ in England and that of ‘Community Empowerment’ in Scotland, a closer look reveals striking contrasts in the ways that these policies have been developed and what they mean in practice.

Social justice with knitting

Welcome to the world of craftivism - a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice louder, your compassion deeper, and your quest for justice stronger. 

“Never again”: for an education toward critical self-reflection

The education system, recovering from economic crisis, increasingly obsesses itself with downsizing and rationalising, with “student learning outcomes” determined by test scores and the job market. Now, more than ever, we need to return to Adorno.

If politics abandons human rights

In 1999, the EU embarked on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, not recognising that, left to their own devices, the judges would ultimately be overcome by the material forces and zeitgeist that put the interests of the markets before the rights of individuals.

Cutting the Gordian knot: the corporate-government nexus

If the brave students of the Otpor movement can take on a totalitarian regime, then we can take a couple of hours out of our week.

What was the role of religion in the Arab Spring?

The Arab Spring was caused by a multitude of factors (economic, political, social, cultural and religious), but its origins also lay in belief. Not a singular belief, but a collective, multifaceted belief that liberation is not only needed, but also possible.

If we can have p2p economics, why not p2p spirituality?

No more gurus: the emergence of peer production opens the way to a commons of spiritual knowledge from which all humanity can draw.

Remembering a younger Paul Hirst, and beyond

A tribute to an intellectual mentor and great friend to openDemocracy.

Willing the impossible: an interview with Judith Butler

Over 800 Palestinians and 34 Israelis have now been killed in Operation Protective Edge, while last night the largest protest since the second intifada took place in the West Bank. Judith Butler on the Israel/Palestine conflict and a one state solution. This interview was first published on 23 July 2013.

A consultative Council of Citizens: for a new policy of participation in Europe

People are no longer content simply to take part in elections and to delegate all their power to political representatives. If Europe wants to create a direct link with the people, there is no other solution than to put the latter in a position to communicate with it.

Protest and social movements: a sine qua non for democracy

Laurence Cox interviews Cristina Flesher Fominaya about her new book, Social Movements and Globalization: How Protests, Occupations and Uprisings are Changing the World - on the mutual impact of social movements and globalisation, the ongoing influence of nation states, the rise of the autonomous movements and the importance of communication.

The Zapatista Women’s Revolutionary Law as it is lived today

This essay on the Zapatistas’ Women’s Revolutionary Law twenty years on, draws on Zapatista women’s reflections, together with a decades-long engagement with indigenous feminism and Zapatismo. Engaging difference through respect rather than negation can also move us beyond impasses within contemporary feminism, political theory, and rights-based activism. 

Brazil, drawing political conclusions from the 2014 World Cup

Most Brazilian coaches do not have any international experience and do not even speak English. That has posed a huge barrier to a greater exchange of ideas, tactics and best practice.

“Terrorism” and the US-led global order

“Terrorism” has become a formulaic term in political discourse, often deployed as a device sustaining a US informal empire. Time to unpack it—and develop a more secure multilateral order.

AIDS 2014 Conference: stepping up the pace and still on the wrong path

As the 20th International AIDS Conference opens in Melbourne this weekend, Alice Welbourn reflects on how global policies still fail to acknowledge the gender dimensions of this pandemic, or take into account the new broader medico-ethical debates which echo many of the concerns of women living with HIV.

Transforming anger into nonviolent power

Anger, rage and a desire for revenge are all reasonable and justified in the face of armed attacks, abuse and exploitation. What matters is what we do with these things.

Anti-social subjectivity infringing the principle of ‘Living Together’

Society forces us to challenge ourselves to accept that participation in the public sphere is not just through the similarity with the people around one, but also through the differences. 

The brave struggle: an insight into Europe from its future

We should start understanding Europe not as an idea but rather as a clash of ideas; as a community whose ground is not an exclusionary identity, but rather a comprehensive solidarity. 

Defending political autonomy – or: Habermas on Europe

Habermas likes to regard 'national solidarity' based on 'national identity' as a stage in the development of solidarity. It is just a step towards the mutual beneficence and trust that is based, not on imagined histories, but on actual mutual participation in political deliberation and decision-making.

Can the bottom-up actions of citizens regenerate democracy in Europe?

The digital revolution has strengthened the ability of large organisations to arrange production in ways that weaken collective resistance, and to control and keep watch on our societies. But those who understand the dual role of this revolution also see possibilities for the regeneration of democracy, while acknowledging the great challenges.

The danger of fetishizing revolution

Revolution has become an empty word - a distraction from the real work of social transformation. 

Dead-ends and hurt feelings thanks to marital laws in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Experience shows us that drawing on our private moments to make public demands has been an effective way of claiming individual and collective rights in contemporary Iran, even if it generally leaves the state’s authoritarian structures untouched. 

Lives in common

Past Jewish-Arabic coexistence in Palestine teaches us that life in common prevails where “The Other” has a human face. Conflict did not always rule people's minds and hearts and it did not shape Jewish–Arab relations from the start.    

The security dilemma, the media and the Israeli bombardment

If you care about human life you should be appalled by what is happening in Gaza right now. But you should also be appalled if you are a hardheaded political realist. Or even if you simply love Israel.

Don’t wait for the revolution - live it

When pranksters and creative organizers create temporary utopias, the experience leaves us wanting more - and ready to work hard to get it. 

The individualisation of radical Islam in Britain

Presenting “British values” as the antidote to Islamic fundamentalism misunderstands the process of radicalisation and what should be done to stem it.

What do you think of Transformation?

Transformation, openDemocracy’s newest section, turns one year old today. We want your help in evaluating our progress.

1914 versus 1938: how anniversaries make history

Drop into any of the big bookstores in London or Berlin and discover that they are literally occupied by books about the Great War. But how does this affect European attitudes to Russia’s involvement in Ukraine today?

The case for hard: why social transformation demands lots of social friction

Hovering above the restrictions of place and culture, detached from democracy, and technocratic to its core, a new discourse favours a frictionless approach to solving social problems.

New shots heard 'round the world

A somewhat bleak survey of American democratic prospects for this American Independence Day begins by reminding us what America was meant to be all about. 

American politics: beyond angels and demons

In celebration of July 4, Independence Day in the United States, Transformation asks what lies in store for democracy in America? 

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