When the shadows masking the deep state retreat, what is left?

This week the US President will be visiting the UK at the behest of the administration department of our own ruling class. And of course, the usual chorus of sycophants have started singing their usual song across the internet, television, radio and newspapers; “don't protest, don't complain, do as you are told, show deference to the masters, respect your leaders”. There is something inherently nasty when the rich tell everyone else to passively respect their…

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Me, the state and the drugs trade; the mathematical perfection of a power-inequality triangle

At a time when questions about the legalisation of cannabis are once again high on the news agenda, I think it is worth remembering the historical relationship between the state and the drugs trade. Although, it is only right that I first explain my personal history with the drugs trade. The British summer has in recent years become synonymous with large scale for-profit festivals. When I was younger, festivals where the time and place to…

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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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