only search openDemocracy.net

This week's editor

NSS, editor

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

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Gambling with our security?

How much risk are we willing to accept? The dangers of maintaining nuclear weapons remain the same but the issue has fallen out of public awareness, and a mistake could be disastrous.

Really radical economics

Transformation doesn’t require an alternative “social economy,” because the economy we have is already social. We just need to recognize and act on that fact.

When personal courage saved the world

In actual decision-making situations like the one Petrov faced on his watch at the command centre, group dynamics, not geopolitical considerations, prevail.

Observations on the identity amendments to the Egyptian constitution

Right now, we must seek to overcome this tough historic moment without burdening Egyptians with a battle of no winners at all.

The journey from Iraq to Camelot

I had her phone number, and tried to call her several times after I returned to Kirkuk, but no one picked up the phone. I hope that she found her ‘Camelot’ in the end.

Can the Pentagon be tamed?

US military spending is out of control. An unlikely alliance of liberal and conservative groups is determined to rein it in. This is the second in our series on “trans-partisan” politics.

Preventing more Hungarys – a stronger human rights architecture for the EU

The EU is becoming increasingly involved in policy areas that many consider the holy grail of national sovereignty. How did this come about? The short answer is: Hungary.

Love in a time of neo-liberalism

In the harsh world of neo-liberalism, the word 'love' has become so devalued it would be better simply not to use it.

Mexican beheading: how to deal with real violence on the internet

Shying away and blocking out violence, however, is never a permanent solution. We have become the intimate witnesses of real horror. 

Feminism: We are not calling for equal inequality

"Feminism is only frightening to those who gain the most from oppression, to those who would stifle the human spirit and hold the world in stasis. The rest of us really do have nothing to lose and everything to gain". Finn Mackay speaking at the FiL Conference

Greek modern populism in its European context

The new composition of the European Parliament after the elections in 2014 is expected to be rather different. It is estimated that the number of anti-Europeans and Eurosceptics will increase from around 100 to around 200 MEPs in a total of 751 seats, reinforcing the presence of radical parties.

Argumentum ad wikipedium and what the social sciences might learn

Sadly, the hallmark of a contemporary academic career has become the invention of a new term, whether or not the subject matter requires it.

Love at the barrel of a gun

Violence can only be overcome by love. An armed intruder meets an unexpected response at an elementary school in Georgia.

Literature, empathy and the moral imagination

Great works of literature are often love-letters to the form itself, but moral philosophy has rarely taken story-telling seriously. The work of Martha Nussbaum shows that the novel is key to social justice, through the role that reading plays in developing our moral imagination

Can digital empowerment alleviate poverty in India

The focus has, until now, been on access but is gradually shifting towards changing social behaviours within communities.

Islam’s invented Golden Age

The introduction of print technology fundamentally changed the way one did scholarship in the madrasa. There were no manuscripts and margins, no reproduction and living engagement with a tradition of argumentation - one of a number of social, political, cultural, institutional, and technological factors explaining the current state of affairs.

Can religion be a force for transformation?

Growing up with an abusive father, Ouyporn Khuankaew learned a distorted version of the Buddhist teaching on karma: her mother had done something in a past life to deserve the violence. Now, as a radical feminist lesbian, she teaches activists that Buddhism can be a way to fight oppression

Liberty Abroad, Part 3. National liberation, tribalism and intervention

JS Mill's support for national liberation movements in 1848 became doubt as he saw liberation turn to nationalism, solidarity turn to tribalism. His ideal was of cultural hybridisation, but citizens loyal to their states. What would he have thought of Syria today? Dr Georgios Varouxakis discusses his latest book, Liberty Abroad

Love, vanity and wealth

Secure in gated communities and smoke-tinted limousines, the rich have no desire or motive to transform ‘I’ into ‘We.’ The cultural changes that catapulted us into the greed-is-good world must be reversed

Snowden and Socrates

In our liberal democracy, the democracy needs fixing before we can turn our thoughts to whether the liberalism needs fixing as well. The NSA should at last be able to jolt us into recognizing this.

On superheroes: who will save us now?

Comicbook superheroes live in a world where individuals can change with ease into objects, think out loud, or kill with a stare. Yet they fight only to maintain the status quo. How would it be different if superheroes were the people who are oppressed?

The Middle East: news and narratives

When would-be peacemakers insist the past is past and the only way to resolve the conflict is to look to the future and find a compromise solution to the competing claims, they underestimate the power of the narrative in determining identity and meaning.

Thinking like a plant

How can we act in ways that contribute to the evolving fabric of life, rather than to its dissolution? By “thinking like a plant.”

Academia deserves its crisis

Competition and wisdom are two different paths that will never intersect. As future academics and intellectuals, we need to seek wisdom rather than playing games and politics against our peers to get status and power.

The end of Alzheimer’s “disease”

It’s time to re-inject some humanity into the unloving scientism and unjust capitalism of the contemporary dementia industry. 

The western way of war and the crisis of democracy: a reply to David Held and Kyle McNally

War shows the limits of parliamentary democracy and the crisis of democracy is far too deepseated to be compensated for by parliamentary deliberation on military intervention in Syria.

Liberty Abroad - Part 2. JS Mill on empire

JS Mill, liberalism's intellectual giant, justified despotism in India, thought Britain should be a beacon of liberty like Athens (because of its navy) and that it is impossible for a democracy to rule another country well. Listen to Dr Georgios Varouxakis on his latest book, Liberty Abroad

How children's books can transform the world

Political children's literature has always existed. Clementine Beauvais reads three children's stories about the possibility of another, better world.

Human compassion in a foreign lingo

Mexico officially recognises 68 native languages, although some of these are spoken by fewer than 100 people and seem destined to disappear along with the culture and customs to which they gave expression. From openDemocracy.

Liberty Abroad, Part 1. JS Mill on International Relations

Mill is liberalism's intellectual giant of the nineteenth century. He was a respected public intellectual and a high ranking official of the East India Company, who also gained political influence through direct election to Westminster. This podcast explores Mill's thinking on war, slavery and nationality

Dumping on the world: e-waste 2.0

E-Waste is the new emerging pathology of the ecosystem, born during the current historic period of capitalist production.

Veganism and compassion

Veganism is often seen as a vain attempt to dismantle market demand for animal products, one block of tofu at a time. This debate overlooks the radically transformative potential of compassion.

Drone technology: the humanitarian potential

Will drones be added to the arsenal of tools available in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations?

Data, the new conflict resource

Forget blood diamonds. There's a new resource being mined and exploited in the developing world: data. 

On common ground: the making of meaning in film and life

The maker of new film essay Taskafa: Stories of the Street charts the journey that led her to write a ‘manifesto for co-existence in film and life.’

Syndicate content