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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Who benefits from shutting down the Anarchist Bookfair?

I have only just found out that there will be no Anarchist Bookfair in London this year. It is not entirely surprising, but it is entirely unfortunate. One of the problems facing socialist events in the UK, is that in our hurry to ensure that all voices are heard, we inevitably allow those who would undermine us the opportunity to do so. One of the key strategies of the state, in its capacity as proxy…

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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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Questions facing The People’s Assembly; austerity or neo-liberalism and hierarchy or democracy?

Last Saturday I was at the People's Assembly conference sub-titled 'How can we achieve an anti-austerity government?'. I have two problems with this phrase. Firstly, I believe the word austerity has been hijacked by the ruling class to act as a euphemism for 'bankers' bailout'. And secondly, covering up for and bailing out the ruling class when they break stuff is pretty much what government in the UK, and Europe, and much of the world…

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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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Can 9 Songs still be considered art?

In 2005 I reviewed Michael Winterbottom's film 9 Songs for the Morning Star. One of the things that was most apparent to me at the time was just how graphic the sex scenes in the film were, being that it had been classified as a non-pornographic film by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). I had completely forgotten that I had reviewed 9 Songs, and only remembered it when I was going through my…

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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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