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How should we remember Auschwitz?

On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, whose stories are told and whose are marginalized? 

The Holocaust's lessons remain deeply contested

This year's commemoration marks a turning point in Holocaust remembrance. What we want is to honor the dead and empower the living, but often we end doing neither.

The people’s state of the union: re-imagining U.S. politics

Could the U.S. President’s annual address be reconfigured as a playful, reflective and connective civic ritual? Here’s how.

Can clients become citizens? Evaluating the new democracy in Indonesia

Political transformation means more than a few new institutions. It’s a deeply cultural process that lives in the history of every community.

America’s holy alliance is ripping apart at the seams

Liberals and progressives may feel besieged by the religious right, but they should breathe easy: they are winning.

Can you imagine a city where trees and swings matter more than cars?

As we reimagine our future cities, we can make room for nature and humanity.

What makes nonviolent movements explode?

The emergence of social movements is a product of two powerful forces working in tandem: disruption and sacrifice.

Imagine if we used renewable energy to build a safer world

The UK government spends £37 billion on the arms industry every year. What if it invested in green energy instead?

Why the fight against HIV starts within us

We may no longer herd people with HIV/AIDS into colonies, but economic policy still leads to destitution and despair. That's why activist group ACT UP UK have reformed.

Welcome to Transformation

Can the world be reconstructed through the fusion of personal and social change? We say yes. Here's to another year of Transformation.

Science fiction and the post-Ferguson world

Radical science fiction and fantasy are remedies for the belief that there is no alternative to the violence and inequality that surrounds us.

Irresistibly biased? The blind spots of social innovation

Social innovation has an irresistible global appeal, but is it biased towards protecting the status quo? 

From Weather Underground activist to life in prison

Even in a just war we need to feel the pain and tragedy of losses on the other side. And in the Brink's robbery our own mistakes and failings led to unnecessary casualties. An extract from Love and Struggle: my life in SDS, the Weather Underground and Beyond.

How I will prepare my white son for the interactions he won't have with police

Seamus’ whiteness means that I don’t have to teach him how to prepare for humiliation. That is white privilege in a nutshell.

Why I want to burn everything down right now—and why I’m not going to

What I learned from James Baldwin’s writing about race, in a moment of great anger.

The political emotions of Martha Nussbaum

Why does love matter for democracy? A conversation with one of the world’s leading philosophers. 

The transformation of a warrior behind bars

I’m sick of seeing people die, I’m tired of losing loved ones. I don’t want to die on the streets, I don’t want to get shot over some nonsense and I don’t want to shoot anyone.

Remembering Leslie Feinberg: a queer and trans fighter for justice

Author and activist Leslie Feinberg died this week, just before Transgender Day of Remembrance. As the opposite of a single-issue activist, ze showed what it was to resist, and to stand in solidarity with others.

The ordinary, extraordinary life of David Hartsough

Nonviolent action is a seamless part of the rhythm of life. A review of Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Lifelong Activist.

Lea's story: my days as a mad girl

In immaculate clinics people are segregated, held down, drugged, often with no other purpose than to control them and get them out of the way. Content warning: eating disorders, self harm, medical abuse.

Dale Farm: an eviction anniversary

While at Dale Farm, I consider myself to have witnessed an incidence of ethnic cleansing. Basildon Council argued the site was built on green belt land. In reality, it was a former scrap yard.

How did Gandhi win?

What underpins the transformative impact of campaigning? Short term success or failure may be a poor guide to the future.

The young Roma women who are changing their communities

Eleni wants to go to school. She can read and write already and says emphatically: “I don’t want to be given to get married. I want to learn my letters, learn to speak Greek properly and be a hairdresser”.

Small steps, big changes: how social media contribute to social transformation

Social media facilitate differing degrees of involvement in political action, helping more people to take small steps as part of a larger movement: the fourth piece in our series on social media and the transformation of society.

Social cleansing not social housing: how councils use poor people against themselves

This week Focus E15 Mothers showed how London councils are prising out tenants, replacing their homes with expensive private housing. Property guardian companies make this social cleansing possible.

Surviving the ups and downs of social movements

The fluctuating cycles of popular movements can’t be avoided, so how do activists translate periods of peak activity into substantive and enduring social change? 

Student activism is being sabotaged and this is why it matters

Politicians and the police are attempting to depoliticise student unions and repress student activism. To strengthen the struggle against this, we need to know about it.

Forced episiotomy: Kelly's story

Every patient has the right to say “no” to a doctor. Informed consent means that a doctor doesn’t get to say, “I am the expert here.” Content warning: medical violence, rape.

Why the Internet makes the personal even more political

Online interactions have changed the ways people participate in politics. The second in our series on social media and the transformation of society.

Does the left still need transformation?

Strategy is weak without soul: readers react to openDemocracy’s newest section, and where it goes next.

Collective memory, collective trauma, collective hatred

Trauma runs through the narratives of both Israelis and Palestinians in the form of the Holocaust and the Nakba. But in order to rationalize their moral superiority, both sides actively deny the other’s suffering.

When marches aren't news, and media stunts fail

The strategic step to convert people and energy on the streets into material gains for Palestinians is never taken, replaced with the easier 'raise even more awareness'.

We are all complicit in the bombardment of Gaza

"We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian's life all because of a bad image or angle."

You can add us to equations but they never make us equal: participatory budgeting in Boston

How would you spend one million dollars of public money? From a house made of bacon to public WiFi booths, deliberating over budgets can be a transformative experience. 

When the pillars fall: how social movements can win more victories like same-sex marriage

In only ten years, widespread opposition to same-sex marriage in the USA has been transformed into equally widespread support. How did it happen?

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