Football and socialism together are greater than the sum of their parts

As a socialist and a football fan, there have been periods when I found it a struggle to rationalise these two aspects of my identity. I know from speaking to other people, that the feeling that football and socialism are mutually exclusive is not entirely uncommon. Chomsky's comments didn't help, when during an interview he called sports “another crucial example of the indoctrination system”. In terms of the capitalist model of modern football, with it's…

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Cultural Imperialism and the mass-production of racism, sexism and violence

When I sat down to write the post that would accompany archiving my 2005 review of Ben Dickenson's Hollywood's New Radicalism, I got caught up in a couple of issues. Primarily steel tariffs, Weinstein, the new Avengers movie and cultural imperialism. After rereading the review a couple of times a lot of the feelings that had accompanied writing it clearly came flooding back. When you have been standing in the middle of the woods for…

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If we want to stop being sheared, we need to stop being sheep.

In the lead up to the 15th anniversary of the 15th February 2003 global anti-war protest it struck me that much of the cross-campaign solidarity, that we had achieved at that time has since seemed to disappear and our movements fragment back to their original single-campaign focuses. There was a moment fifteen years ago, that seemed like we may really be able to start addressing inequality and exploitation at it's source. As all the various…

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You say tax avoidance, I say sociopaths

Between the Panama Papers in 2016 and the Paradise Papers in 2017, and against the fallout of the great 'bankers bailout scam' called austerity, there was a brief period when informed debates around the role of tax and tax avoidance where momentarily occurring in even the mainstream press. After years of justifying cutting public spending in order to bail out the criminally inept bankers, the corporate news media did an about turn and started laying…

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May Day, McStrikes and my review of McLibel

In the mid 1980s London Greenpeace wrote a fact sheet and started handing it out in front of McDonalds in North London. In 1990 the McDonalds corporation issued libel writs against 5 of the activists. The ploy nearly worked. 3 of the five backed down, apologised and retracted their claims. Two of them didn't. Helen Steel and David Morris refused. What ensued was, at the time, the longest trial in English history. It soon became…

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Attention seekers, progressives and the ruling class – that same old song

Back in 2004 I attended the London European Social Forum. I had been writing and involved in activism and campaigning for a few years by then, and was beginning to struggle with notions of party politics. At the time the Green party was positioning itself as the egalitarian and progressive voice in the UK but with little electoral success, while the Labour party was still firmly in the clutches of the neoliberals, and the socialists…

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Celebrity revolutionaries and UK democracy

One of the fundamental failings of 'UK democracy' is that the establishment, to all intents and purposes, controls all the levers of power. So, while it is true that a large percentage of the UK population has the right to vote, the real question of how much actual political power exists within that vote, is very rarely discussed. But when Russell Brand decided to throw his hat, albeit still very grubby from his fall from…

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Celebrities, charity singles and hypocrisy

When celebrities get involved in charities, there is always the publicists fear that a secret hypocrisy is lurking somewhere in their past. The unfortunate truth is, when dealing with people that will do almost anything for trinkets and attention, is that it's never really a secret. But it is invariably one of those things that the establishment media are happy to brush under the carpet. I worked in various charities as a fundraiser for many…

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9/11, anti-war protests and democratic shortcomings

In 2003, Red Pepper published one of the first pieces I ever got picked up. It was called Millions Take to the Streets. Shortly after the worldwide anti-war protest in the February I began to think about a piece Gore Vidal had written about 9/11. Then, after watching the protests against the ongoing military and economic attacks on Iraq in London grow from tens of people back in 1998, to hundreds of thousands of people…

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The Corporation – a review and interview

In 2004, shortly after watching the brilliant documentary The Corporation by Mark Achbar, Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott I decided to write a review about it. At the time, and still now, I felt that it was a very important piece of work. And I wanted other people to get a chance to see the darker side of the free market, that I had become all to aware of during my time working in the…

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