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Niki Seth-Smith

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist, editor and fiction writer, published in Al Jazeera UK, VICE UK, the London Review of Books, the London Magazine, the New Humanist and others. At openDemocracy she has been Editor at OurKingdom (now oD UK), OurBeeb, and 50.50 (Interim Editor Jan-March 2017) and has co-edited two books: 'Democratic Wealth: Building a Citizens' Economy' and 'Re-thinking the BBC: Public Media in the 21st Century'. She lives in Athens, and is writing a novel.

Motherhood and an end to women’s civil war

Doors, choices, decisions. Credit: Pixabay/qimono. CC0 Public Domain. Sheila Heti’s ‘Motherhood’ came out in May, not a day too soon for me. Her book is something I urgently needed to read, a novel drawn from life and a kind of fictionalized diary that allows Heti to interrogate the question, ‘Should I become a mother?’ Her answer is ‘no,’ she will not. Or given that Heti inverts the question, seeing it as a positive choice: ‘yes,’ she will remain childfree. Although …

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Welcome to the ‘New Dark Age.’

Credit: Flickr/opensource.com. CC BY-SA 2.0. Data is making us dumber. This seeming paradox has been gaining currency, at least in the tech-saturated Global North. We’re increasingly bombarded with advice on how to manage data overload. The English comedian Dave Gorman summed it up in the tongue-in-cheek title of his recent book: “Too much information: Or: Can Everyone Just Shut Up for a Moment, Some of Us Are Trying to Think.” We like to laugh about this stuff. It helps us …

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Do we have the right to financial rebellion? A conversation with Enric Duran

Enric Duran Giralt, anti-capitalist activist. Credit: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons. It’s not easy to get in touch with Enric Duran. Dubbed the ‘Robin Hood of the Banks’ by the mainstream media, the Catalan activist defrauded the Spanish banking system of nearly half a million euros in the period 2006 to 2008. He used the money to fund a range of local and global initiatives aimed at building alternative structures outside the state. In 2013 he skipped bail and has since …

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Thanks to social media, do teenage girls like Ahed Tamimi now have the power to influence wars?

Gaza demonstration in support of Ahed Tamimi. Photo: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images.In December 2017, a then 16-year-old Palestinian girl named Ahed Tamimi was filmed slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier outside her family home in the occupied West Bank. She had just heard that her 14-year-old cousin Muhammad had been shot in the head with a rubber bullet. Tamimi then faced up to 10 years in prison on charges of assault and throwing stones. Last week she accepted a plea deal of eight …

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Golden Dawn Girls documentary gives new voice to women in Greece’s far-right elite

Jenny speaks at a Golden Dawn rally. Credit: Golden Dawn Girls. When I first heard about the documentary Golden Dawn Girls, I was more than a little sceptical. Why would three women of the Greek far-right party’s elite invite cameras into their homes, around their dinner tables and inside the party headquarters, for a feature-length film? What was their agenda? Norwegian documentary maker, Håvard Bustnes, presents the film as a quest to discover “what happened to Greece?” How did a …

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What is ‘femonationalism’?

Marine Le Pen in 2017. Photo: Sylvaoin Lefevre/PA Images. All rights reserved. Sara Farris recently published a provocative book entitled In the name of women’s rights: the rise of femonationalism. In it, she examines how right-wing nationalists, neoliberals, and some feminists and women’s equality agencies, all invoke women’s rights to stigmatise Muslim men and advance their own political objectives. She argues that there is an important political-economic dimension to this seemingly paradoxical intersection. It’s a timely – but complex – …

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Out of the box: Megan Prescott on Skins, bodybuilding and busting gender roles

Credit: Megan Prescott Megan Prescott is an actress best known for playing Katie Finch in the BAFTA-winning teen drama ‘Skins’. She works as a writer at Balloon Entertainment and began training as a bodybuilder in 2015, competing in The UKBFF British Finals in October 2016. Niki Seth-Smith: You said that you’ve never been subject to the feeling of gender inequality as much as in the last two years in the bodybuilding industry. Could you speak a bit about that, in …

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Re-shaping Britain must include the BBC

In the next few years, the UK’s constitution will be re-shaped. This includes the BBC. A new book, from openDemocracy and Commonwealth Publishing, rethinks what Britain in the 21st century needs from its public media. OpenDemocracy’s new book, Rethinking the BBC: Public Media in the 21st Century, brings together industry insiders, outsiders, academics, activists and cultural figures to propose how the BBC can meet the challenges of the next decade. Read it for free here.  *** In the next few years, the UK’s …

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Lord Puttnam: the BBC must confront a “total” loss of trust

As the media confronts its spectacular failure to educate and inform the British people before the EU referendum, the BBC has a special duty to learn from its mistakes. We talk to Lord Puttnam about the changes needed, and how a report released this week on the future of public service broadcasting might help the BBC better meet the challenges of the 21st century. Read the full report here.  Read Des Freedman’s reflection on the report here. Lord David Puttnam, 2010. …

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Change of some kind is coming either way, but a vote to leave would empower Europe’s far right

Britain shapes and is shaped by Europe. Let’s not pretend otherwise. Golden Dawn, Wikimedia Commons, by DTRocks I’ve pinned down the core reason why I’m for Britain remaining in the EU. It’s not because I want things to stay the same, but that I’m sure that, even with a Remain vote, there will soon be radical change in the UK and Europe. I understand the importance of democracy and national sovereignty – I lived in Scotland and voted in favour …

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