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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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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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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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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