This week's editor

Heather McRobie

Heather McRobie is an editor at 5050.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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.

The euro and an ancient divide

The coming months could leave an indelible mark not only on the very economic subsistence of many western states but also at a deeper level on an ancient philosophical debate between republicanism and liberalism.

Social contract theory for Occupiers: what law, culture and history tell us

No legitimate social contract can be devoid of stewardship, responsibility and duty. Recognising this allows us to assess both the historical significance of the democratic revolutionaries of our time, and the scale of the political challenge posed today by hypocrisy.

In Place of Austerity: Reconstructing the economy, state and public services

When even ex-Blairites are turning their back on the doctrine of New Public Management, why do such policies still guide reform? Dexter Whitfield's new book asks how we got here, and what practical alternatives there are for the future.

Capital E Nationalism versus little e (and €) capitalism

To be a big player in Europe, England needs to be a big nation. Britain cannot fulfill that role because it is not a nation, but an empty shell.

Lebanon: calm before the storm?

The momentous events of 2011 in the Arab world have widely overshadowed Lebanon. With neighbour Syria continuing to be embroiled in unrest and growing sectarian civil conflict, Lebanon's future is full of opportunities and risks.

Fumbling for change

If politics is “the art of the possible” then 2011 has left us, as artists, with suddenly a much larger canvas and a new palate of colours to choose from. This broadened scope requires of us a new capacity for imagination.

2011, a year of wonder

A great scientific breakthrough is also a path to appreciating the core ingredient of our humanity, says Tina Beattie.

‘Mr former Havel': the kind of politician we need

Warm memories pay tribute to Vaclav Havel who died today

Another road for Europe: a draft appeal

This draft appeal is launched by Rete@sinistra, Sbilanciamoci, il Manifesto and Lavoro e Libertà, who organised and spoke at the Florence Forum, ‘The way out. Europe and Italy, economic crisis and democracy’, bringing eight hundred people together to discuss 'our European alternatives' on December 9, 2011. The appeal, accompanied by its initial signatories, is undergoing discussion between several European civil society networks and groups, aiming at joint actions at the European level.

Japanese Woodcuts and Drag Queen Bingo

Jim Gabour sees the graphic of living through nineteenth-century Japanese woodcuts to Drag Bingo, via West Coast illustrators and his own country and western posters

Banning books in Britain, fifty years after Lady Chatterley

The main charges against Faraz were brought under the Terrorism Act 2006, and included the dissemination of terrorism publications, and also section 58, which makes possession of material related to terrorism an offence.

The Long and the Quick of Revolution

This is the Raymond Williams Annual Lecture for 2011, coinciding with the publication of a new 50th anniversary edition of Raymond Williams’ The Long Revolution by Parthian Books, for which Anthony Barnett has written the foreword, also published here this week. In the lecture, he considers the potentially revolutionary events of the past year, starting with a double-democratic crisis in the ruling order, asking why now? and what kind of revolution is under way?

We live in revolutionary times ... but what does this mean?

Encouraged by the Spanish movement for ‘Real Democracy Now!’, the Occupy network and above all the Arab Awakening, Anthony Barnett asks what revolution might actually mean in the developed democracies of the West. This is his foreword to the new edition of Raymond Williams' "The Long Revolution"

Should the head of a top UK university be overseeing NHS privatisation on the side?

The track record and ideology which won Malcolm Grant the chair of the Health Minster's NHS Commissioning Board are the very same reasons students have rejected his leadership of University College London.

Rape and the Occupy movement

Failure to take collective responsibility for rapes at camp sites springs from the ideological tension at the heart of the Occupy movement's twin emphases on autonomy and group action as 'the 99%'. An injection of feminist politics is sorely needed.

Flee the state, don't seize it! A response to the idea of 'citizen politicians' in UK government

A response to the idea of transforming British politics through citizens entering parliament for one-term only.

Time is up for awkward customer, Greece

Such complex situations cannot be resolved satisfactorily by only addressing numerical data or even the historic socio-economic and geopolitical factors that underpin them, without some understanding of the mindsets of the people involved. A reply to Vassilis Fouskas.

Worlds apart: Fight Back! and The Purple Book compared

Two anthologies emanating from the broadly defined British left have wildly different conceptions of progress and democracy. One celebrates protest while the other refuses to stray from the narrow confines of existing political debate.

A scorecard from Busan: did the High Level Forum contribute to aid effectiveness in conflict-affected countries?

The high ambition of getting global agreement tends to lead to an unambitious convergence on the least demanding positions and commitments. How did Busan fare?

Rallying to save the UK's Human Rights Act

On International Human Rights Day, 10 December, dozens of British human rights organisations issued an open letter defending the country's human rights legislation - under attack from those who brand it a European imposition.
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