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Tapping the will of the people – a route to radically better democracy?

Tapping the will of the people – a route to radically better democracy?

This week’s editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

A tale of two conferences: exploring the politics of global child labour policies

In the fall of 2017 both authors attended two international conferences concerning working children (La Paz, Bolivia) and child labour (Buenos Aires, Argentina). In the following report they reflect on the two events, providing insights into the different positions, underpinnings and politics in global policymaking on child labour.

How Romania became a battleground in the transatlantic backlash against LGBT rights

Romania decriminalised homosexuality in 2001. Today it is witnessing a backlash against LGBT rights, supported by US Christian conservatives.

Igor Yasin: “If there’s no freedom of assembly for LGBT, there’s none for anyone else”

Russian activist Igor Yasin on attitudes towards LGBT in Russia’s regions, why the opposition has a homophobia problem, and how to assert your rights — and still be heard. RU

Sisi, the guardian of sexual morals

The repression of the LGBT community in Egypt stems from the colonial legacy of imperialism and is driven by the middle class in its attempts to create its own version of “modernity.”       

“I’m really just a slave” – how hotel chains exploit agency loopholes and dehumanise workers

Alenka, like so many others, hopes for a better life but is caught up in a catch-22, valued only for the absence of a smudge on a bathroom mirror.

Free Russia Forum: sanctions and boycotts

Russia’s opposition remains weak and divided — but the latest forum in Vilnius could hint at consolidation down the road. RU

Christian ‘legal army’ in hundreds of court battles worldwide

Women’s rights advocates say controversial US legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom is ‘exporting extreme ideologies worldwide’ against sexual and reproductive rights.

Digital giants are trading away our right to privacy

Today, the big tech race is for data extractivism from those yet to be 'connected' in the world – tech companies will use all their power to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or localisation. 

مصر: جريمة مسجد الروضة قد تتكرر

أسباب الهجمات الإرهابية في مصر موجودة منذ سنوات دون علاج أو تطوير أو تغيير بما يهدد بتكرارها.

To become a bit more human: Review of Belén Fernández, “Letter from Iran”

In “Letter from Iran” Belén Fernández reminds us that we—people everywhere—are not Washington cyphers but flesh-and-blood human beings who must keep being defiant in order to retain that status.

Last week on OpenGlobal Rights: governments stifle dissent and obscure motivations for violence against the Rohingya

Last week on OpenGlobalRights, authors debated how NGOs can speak out against governments that muzzle them, why activists should stop labelling the violence in Myanmar a religious conflict, and how science can help stop modern-day slavery. 

The Birmingham Trojan Horse affair: a very British injustice

Accusations levelled against the Park View Academy and its Trust for attempting to “Islamicise schools” fell apart for good reason, yet they continue to do damage.

How should we feel about the feelings of the animals we eat?

Acknowledging the sentience of other species requires us to be vegan.

From #Resistance to #Reimagining governance: 6 shifts that can improve the way we solve public problems

For change to be meaningful and positive, the question arises: What kind of government do we really want? One that moves us beyond resistance, to begin rebuilding.

Internet equality in question again: perspectives on Net Neutrality

As the US regulator seeks to erase Net Neutrality, we ask a number of commentators to share their views on this momentous decision.

As Brexit dominates, its causes are being forgotten

The perennial and tragic irony is that the very conditions which led to Brexit are being eclipsed by the government's total preoccupation with it. 

Tapping the will of the people – a route to radically better democracy?

Ireland's innovative Citizen Assembly is changing the way the country debates sensitive issues like abortion. What else could it achieve?

Could the end of Britain’s tabloid-driven migration policy be in sight?

Right now, there’s a political window for a more sensible, positive approach to migration that could boost regional economies, strengthen productivity and help achieve trade deals, a new report finds.

Principled pragmatism: defending normative Europe

European security and defence policy, once propelled by Franco-British cooperation, has been held back of late by Nato enthusiasts. Without the UK, can the Commission advance a new Defence Action Plan? Book review.

Debt and poverty: the thriving business of high-risk moneylenders in Russia

In Russia, loansharks and payday lenders masquerade as “microfinance” organisations to attract clients. But for many people, short-term loans are a way of life.

33 Theses for an Economics Reformation

On 12 December 2017, Rethinking Economics and the New Weather Institute published '33 Theses for an Economics Reformation' to mark 500 years since the Catholic Reformation. The Theses, which were en...

Migration in the time of empire

Millions migrated to work the plantations following the abolition of slavery in the British and French empires. Like today they needed help to do so, and like today that help wanted its cut. 

Bitter grapes? Slavery, labour, and memory in the Cape winelands

South Africa’s vineyards have been accused of practicing ‘modern-day slavery’, but few ask why exploitative practices from the past continue. A few new museums in the area seek to start this conversation.

Turkophilia and the common life: a pledge, a bond, and a very special appeal

Exactly one hundred years to the day – the story of a British Scots-Irish family who learnt to love Turkey, of two rosaries and of a silver Koran. 

Trading away our Privacy; the WTO Ministerial in Buenos Aires

If countries from the Global South want to prepare for data wars, they should start thinking about how to reduce the overwhelming control of Big Tech. Español

Forever Evo?

A court ruling authorizes the reelection of Evo Morales. The Bolivian president is looking to Argentina and Ecuador to convince himself that the "process of change" depends only on him. Español

The battle between Syrian secular activists and feminists: we all lose

Yet another pushback for Syrian women to leave the public spaces for the powerful men who behave as if these spaces are their ownership.

Libyan outrage: slavery or borders?

A recent CNN video of an apparent ‘slave auction’ in Libya has caused horror on social media, but the term slavery hides the European migration policies leading to such abuse.

Мәскәү Татарстанны телсез калдырды

Татар теленә бәрелү- соңгы ел эчендә Мәскәү ягыннан беренче генә бәрелү түгел. RU, English

The building of the Indian as a violent character

There is no repression without demonization. In Argentina, demonizing is being used to place native communities outside the rule of law, so that “counter-terrorist war” can be waged against them. Español