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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Anarchists, Nazis and the People’s Olympics

In 2012 several things came together in my life at the same time, the essay Gold or Freedom is the first manifestation of that direction. I had been toying with the idea of writing a novel set during the Spanish civil war for several years. During the research stage I came across several historians that were writing in a way that went beyond the standard history texts. Professor Helen Graham's short introduction and Chris Ealham's…

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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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The UK deep state, and the progressive left that they target

The UK deep state is very real. The exploiter class is fighting a war with the exploited class. And they are using the state to do it. There are UK secret police. And they are working with US spies to monitor British political activists. The NSA and GCHQ are monitoring us right now, and sharing the information with their chums. As you read this post, there is at least two digital files being updated. Regardless…

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Hotel Rwanda, and our complicity in genocide

In 2005 I reviewed Terry George's superb film 'Hotel Rwanda' for the Morning Star. It tells the story of Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of a hotel in the capital Kigali, during the Rwandan genocide. In hindsight, I think that a little background helps contextualise the importance of this film. In 1994 a campaign of mass violence took place in Rwanda. It has been approximated that somewhere in the region of 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu…

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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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My first novel, A Most Uncivil War

I've just got around to putting the details up about my first book, a Spanish Civil War novel called A Most Uncivil War. The idea for this novel came about after several people commented on a couple of my essays that had recently been published on the war. One was focussed on the anarchist revolution and the other was on the people's Olympics in Barcelona. I spent some time going through my notes and realised…

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Study of an anarchist revolution

In the early 1930s, the ruling elite in Spain found themselves caught between conservative fascists and social democrats. In contrast large sections of the population were divided along communist and anarchist lines. The compromise offered up by the ruling class was a progressive and democratic system of government. But this was a step too far for many of the ruling class and they responded by attempting to take control of the country through military force.…

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