VIDEO: Internet showdown! Why digital freedom matters


Internet rights are the human rights of the future – and a global community of computer geeks wants to help you secure them. December's issue of New Internationalist gets all techie, dives into the world of free and open source software and meets those digital pioneers offering protection from snooping governments and marketeers.



We get behind the masks of political hackers Anonymous, with writer Quinn Norton, and marvel at designs – that are free to use, change and share – for new technologies for everything from prosthetics to small-scale hydroelectric power. We dip our toes into the weird and wonderful world of the 'makers' whose 3D-printers are turning data into the new raw material, while taking to task outdated and overbearing copyright laws along the way.



Plus – American mischief in the Sahara. A shocking report by African expert Jeremy Keenan on the escalating conflict in Mali reveals that the US and other Western powers have been colluding with the Algerian secret service to create terrorist incidents that justify the wider 'war on terror' in the region.

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Youth rising - why apathy is not an option


With the ‘one per cent’ busy squeezing all they can out of the planet, young people are setting about making sure there’s still a kingdom left to inherit. Over the past two years, they have led a wave of dissent, whether in 140-character tweets or through chants of masses on the street. Young people from Egypt to Canada are working to articulate a blueprint for a new future.

youth_smallIn October’s edition of the New Internationalist we hand over our Big Story section exclusively to writers aged up to 25. Guest-edited by activist Jody McIntyre, the issue explores how young people are engaging with politics around the world. It looks at the tub-thumping victories of the Chilean student movement, airs the frustrations of Linah Alsaafin in the West Bank and has Laurie Penny explain why selling out is no longer an option.

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Youth rising - why apathy is not an option


With the ‘one per cent’ busy squeezing all they can out of the planet, young people are setting about making sure there’s still a kingdom left to inherit. Over the past two years, they have led a wave of dissent, whether in 140-character tweets or through chants of masses on the street. Young people from Egypt to Canada are working to articulate a blueprint for a new future.

October 2012 youth coverIn October’s edition of the New Internationalist we hand over our Big Story section exclusively to writers aged up to 25. Guest-edited by activist Jody McIntyre, the issue explores how young people are engaging with politics around the world. It looks at the tub-thumping victories of the Chilean student movement, airs the frustrations of Linah Alsaafin in the West Bank and has Laurie Penny explain why selling out is no longer an option.

UK subscription offer
We are offering young people aged 25 and under a one year's subscription for just £25 (regular price £39.85).

Buy the single issue in our UK shop

For international, institutional and digital subscriptions visit www.newint.org/subscriptions.

Slideshow photo: Andrew Moss Photography, reproduced under a CC license.



Olympic scale foul: sexism in football


Britain's Casey Stoney being interviewed in Cardiff. Photo: joncandy under a CC licence.

On Saturday afternoon I sat down to watch Britain’s women’s team thrash Cameroon 3-0 at football. It was a great match;  not only was the quality of play outstanding, there was a noticeable and much welcomed lack of the diving and amateur dramatics often seen in the men’s game.

I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share my appreciation on Twitter and so joined hundreds praising Casey Stoney, Jill Scott and their teammates in qualifying for the quarter finals with still one game to go. Not everyone in the Twittersphere was quite as complimentary.

The top tweet on the subject, retweeted 56 times when I came across it, read, ‘The women’s football Olympians have a kitchen as a changing room.’ Scrolling down I discovered numerous misogynist remarks such as:
‘Children’s football is better than women’s’
‘I’m allowed to say this because I am a girl, women’s football is terrible. I hate it with a passion’
‘Cameroon’s women’s football team is full of some of the ugliest women in the world...’
‘Watching the Olympic women’s football, waiting for someone to score and take their top off...’

Had these people been watching the same game? It was clear that women’s football has become an easy and seemingly acceptable target for both men and women. What was also clear was that, unlike in other sports, the majority of sexist comments about football did not focus on looks or sex. Compare the tweets during the volleyball for example: 
‘If I had to pick something in the Olympics to do, it would probably be one or two of the women’s volleyball teams.’

Why weren’t tweeters commenting that women’s volleyball, badminton or tennis are ‘pathetic’ ‘appalling’ or ‘so funny’? The most obvious explanation is that in Britain we have become socialized to see football as a male sport and so insulting women who ‘attempt’ to play it is fair game. When women start to do well at it, we become simultaneously defensive and offensive.

Volleyball on the other hand isn’t given much attention as a sport, so the women who play it are subjected to the same judgment as any other female – are they good looking enough to be given this air time?

The media have a social responsibility to start giving women’s football as much coverage as men’s. It is the same sport, with the same exciting twists and turns and brilliantly talented players. According to Stylist’s Fair Game campaign, only five per cent of sports media coverage features women.

Men’s football is arguably the most popular sport internationally and in recent years we have seen some players transformed into global superstars. The media make gods out of some of the male team members, with top professionals now as good as getting away with on pitch aggression, violence and racism.

The mainstream media has ensured that the only acceptable place women have in football is hanging off the arm of the Rooneys and Beckhams of the world. Women are only of significance if they are a WAG, or a mistress. If they are top players themselves no one is interested.


Satirical mockumentary Twenty Twelve, which follows a team of people responsible for running the London Olympics, summed it up perfectly when the characters tried to tackle the unpopularity of the women’s game, by planning an advertising campaign that had nothing to do with football.

Currently, women’s sport receives only 0.5 per cent of the total sponsorship income into the sector, whereas men get 62.1 per cent. If this is how they are being treated by the industry, it isn’t really surprising they are considered second-class players by the public.

So let’s commit to kicking sexism out of football, first, by looking within at our own prejudices and second, by targeting the industries that create and fuel them.

Sign the Fair Game petition for equality in sport here.

Hip-hop: sexist claptrap or revolutionary verse?


‘Hip-hop doesn’t enhance society, it degrades it’. Do you agree or disagree? It’s a pretty black and white allegation, and it was up for debate at Hip-Hop on Trial earlier this week.

I’m a hip-hop fan – it takes up about 60 per cent of my Mp3 player. I decided to go along, and, as I walked into the auditorium, was asked along with the rest of the 1600-strong audience, to say whether  I was  ‘For’ or ‘Against’ the motion, or as yet undecided.

I chose to sit on the fence. Hip-hop isn’t a uniform genre – even someone with no knowledge of the music could tell you that. Ludacris – one of the first artists cited by the pro-camp for his degrading lyrics – probably isn’t enhancing society much when he raps that he has ‘hos in different area codes’. But there are also rappers like Lowkey, an underground, recently retired UK artist, who spent his hip-hop career using music as a medium for political expression.

Hip-hop is about the lyrics, it is about words – try debating ‘words don’t enhance society, they degrade it’ and you might encounter similar arguments. It stands to reason that the group tasked with this debate was bound to range widely. The panel at the contest, which was hosted by Intelligence Squared and Google+ and streamed live online, was vast in both size and personality. There were no less than 19 opinionated speakers fired up and ready to row. Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson sat alongside hip-hop artist KRS-One, David Cameron’s advisor on youth and crime Shaun Bailey and hip-hop journalist dream hampton (lowercase by choice, not omission).

In the end, the debate honed in on three words: ‘bitch,’ ‘nigger’ and ‘ho’. KRS-One focused in especially on the etymology of the word ‘nigga’. He argued that this differed from ‘nigger’, which hip-hop artists don’t use, claiming it comes from the word ‘neggus’ which means king. 

KRS-One also offered the insight that when Kanye West raps ‘you know how many hot bitches I own’ he is actually referring to cars not women, a claim that his adjacent panelist dream hampton, for one, was not buying.

Meanwhile, rap group Slaughterhouse seemed to help out the pro-camp when they answered the question ‘Who gave you the right to call our women bitches?’ with the response that not all women are bitches. Unfortunately UK female artist Estelle used a similar argument, making a distinction between women who are ‘bitches and hos’ and women who aren’t.

Benjamin Zephaniah and Egyptian rapper Deeb briefly managed to bring up the relevance of politics, with the latter stating that in Egypt many young people trust hip-hop artists more than the news.

I personally go for songs with a social message. One of my favourites is How I Got Over by The Roots, a song increasingly relevant in the US and Britain where the gap between rich and poor is widening and shows no sign of reversing: They all got a sales pitch I ain’t buyin’/ They tryin’ to convince me that I ain’t tryin’/ We uninspired / We unadmired / And tired and sick of being sick and tired.

Holding up hip-hop as a form of political resistance helped make the debate more relevant a British audience. Take the powerful songs of Lowkey or Logic or the Andrew Lansley Rap by MC Nxtgen. Lies by Lowkey came into my mind where his lyrics reference Benjamin Zephaniah’s point that it was corrupt politicians who should be examined as the real degraders of society, not hip-hop:‘You ain’t gangsters, Tony Blair’s the real gangster, everyday we pay him to stare at his propaganda.’ These British artists are considerably younger than most of the American hip-hop contingent chosen for the panel, who were making music in the 90s.

And, so, who won? The final result saw the opposition clinch victory with 70 per cent of the vote,  and 24 per cent approve the motion. No surprise, perhaps, in a hall of self selecting hip-hop enthusiasts, although it’s worth noting the pro-camp won over more swing voters, managing to double their support from the pre-debate poll result of 11 per cent, while the opposition camp only added 3 per cent to their pre-debate majority.

As for me, found myself voting for the motion despite my appreciation of hip-hop. The pro-camp had  better arguments, and the opposition failed to persuade me that hip-hop isn’t misogynistic or socially problematic.

But while I know that sometimes hip-hop is degrading, I also know that sometimes it isn’t. In fact sometimes hip-hop can inspire the oppressed to resist, helps make sense of a unjust world and challenges the status quo.

The debate was definitely entertaining and sparked further discussion. But next time let’s start with a better motion.

Rio+20: The Great Greenwashers

The Rio+20 Earth Summit will take place June 20-22. Make this month's New Internationalist your unofficial guide to the conference. Remember things are not always what they seem...

Drum roll please. Let me introduce to you the greatest magicians, conjurers and illusionists of all time. The greatest masters of deception. The Great Greenwashers...



Step up Royal Dutch Shell, the only company cheeky enough to describe sucking oil from Canadian tar sands as a contribution to a sustainable energy future. For Shell it’s a no-brainer: why invest in renewables like you promised when you can be the first foreigners to frack in China? One thing’s for sure, you can never be sure of Shell!

Next up is GM agricultural giant and master of deception Monsanto. The company that brought the world Agent Orange wants to hypnotize away seeds of doubt with its boasts of ‘improving lives’ through ‘sustainable agriculture.’ But before you sign up for their magic beans you may want to check the small print: it’s been argued that paltry crop yields and the need for more pesticides can make their seeds a farming nightmare...

And last but most definitely not least is HSBC. The world’s local bank promises to respect environmental limits. It does this by investing in such daring acts as coal mining, offshore oil and gas drilling, tar sands, mega-dams, the arms trade, logging and so much more!

Eight Great Greenwashers’ which examines the green claims of Shell, Monsanto, Vale and others features in June's magazine Protection racket? Guide to the Rio+20 earth summit. Other features include:

Rio cover for web‘Sustainability for sale?’ – a battle is brewing over the future of global action. Danny Chivers presents the unofficial guide to the Rio+20.

‘The good life is the realistic solution’ – indigenous activist Ruth Buendia's take on sustainable development.

‘Tools that might help us’ – an overview of ideas that different groups and movements have suggested for inclusion in the Rio+20 Final Declaration.

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For almost 40 years, New Internationalist has campaigned for a fairer world. We promoted fair trade before it was labelled Fairtrade, blew the whistle on the irresponsible marketing of artificial baby milk in the Majority World, and exposed the banks before the crash.

Now we’re asking you for your support. Because we’re a small not-for-profit cooperative, the income from sales of New Internationalist magazine goes towards spreading our aims and ideals ― not into a rich tycoon’s pocket! It is our loyal supporters and subscribers that allow us to continue reporting on issues that matter. If you appreciate our frank and independent approach to global journalism, and want to help us continue to give a voice to the voiceless, please join us and become a Friend of New Internationalist.

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Video: Keeping the oil in the ground

The Yasuní National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet. It is home to many indigenous people including some who voluntarily maintain no contact with the outside world. Unfortunately the Yasuní also sits atop between 412 and 920 million barrels of oil and the oil companies are desperate to start drilling.

In 2007 the Ecuadorean government launched the Yasuní ITT iniative, promising to keep the oil in the ground if the international community financially and politically helped support Ecuador. The initiative was passed and 700,000 hectares of the park was declared legally untouchable. Five years later, many countries have not honored their promises. This alongside accusations of internal corruption has left the Yasuní ITT initiative hanging in the balance.

Photographer Julio Etchart traveled to the Yasuní national park and met the Huaorani community who have come up with their own way to keep the oil in the ground.

Read more about the Yasuní campaign and the Huaorani eco-lodge in this month's New Internationalist cover image 450(buy here)

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Video: Field trip to a fair economy

The past four years have shown us that governments, banks, their tame economists and unelected technocrats, cannot be trusted with our common future. It's up to us to put people first and reclaim what's ours. It's not only the economy that is at stake, but democracy itself.

March's New Internationalist - Game over! Time for a fair economy (buy here)

Features include: image450

Put equality first
Both inequality and economic instability are growing. How deep does the connection go?

Economy and equality - The facts

Is the Green New Deal a dead duck?
Zoe Cormier checks the pulse of the big idea for tackling our economic and environmental woes

What the squid did next - They say that US investment bank Goldman Sachs runs the world. Kenneth Harr investigates just how it's wrapping its tentacles around the heart of Europe.

Getting there - a roadmap

...for a fair economy

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Best of the web: most read 2011

Your favourite New Internationalist blogs and magazine articles of 2011.

1) From Brixton to Tottenham, inequality lies at the heart of the riots

The true causes of the London riots are being swept under the rugs looted from Carpetright, argues Jody McIntyre.

2) Why America’s 99% have rebelled

The 99 per cent aren't whining- they just want a fairer deal, says Mark Engler.

Paul Hackett / Reuters
A hard-line look: an English Defence League supporter wears contact lenses sporting the St George cross – a symbol for some of white supremacy. Paul Hackett / Reuters

3) Eyes to the far right

Extremists have been making inroads across Europe with a sanitized version of some very dirty politics. K Biswas looks into the heart of the beast. 

4) The food rush

Maize and wheat are hot assets, right up there with gold. But since investors piled into food markets, the poorest can no longer afford to eat. Hazel Healy gets to grips with the commodity speculators.

5) Not the last time London will burn

Some put the London riots down to inequality, others criminality. But Charlie Harvey argues they’re also a result of a broken, consumerist society.

6) There’s no escaping racism in India

Prejudice against inter-state and foreign migrants is on the rise, writes Mari Marcel Thekaekara.

7) Undercover and over-the-top: the collapse of the Ratcliffe trial

Climate change activist Danny Chivers explains how police infiltration led to the collapse of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station trial.

This graphic is part of the Swiss-based Public Eye campaign to elect the world’s worst corporation. Foxconn is a 2011 nominee. Greenpeace

8) iSlave

Electronics giant Foxconn employs more than a million people in China in conditions that drive them to despair, reports Jenny Chan.

9) The costs and benefits of animal experiments

Andrew Knight, author of a recent book on animal testing, responds to Laurie Pycroft's case for it.

10) Killing Gaddafi: the death of legal justice

First it was Saddam, then bin Laden and now Gaddafi. The West gets its man but loses its humanity, says Felicity Arbuthnot

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