“hello, my name’s male privilege, excuse me while I shut down the press”

Once upon a time, not that long ago, I could churn out words. Every week a by-line, some deep purple ruminations, with the accompanying research, (an hour at most), doing its best to hoist up the sails of the latest vessel. Flimsy skeletons. Anyway, it’s hard to imagine now. Often if we were down on … Continue reading

Violence on Trial

This article will appear in Red Pepper magazine soon, or so I am told… The Mutiny, it seems, pride themselves on being at odds with the pedantic solemnity that is typically a feature of discussion groups on the Left. Instead of grandstanding speeches calling for workers to seize the means of production, Mutiny offer ‘speed-debating’, … Continue reading

Dissecting a movement: analysing UK Uncut

The zeitgeist in activism in the first half of 2011 has definitely been UK Uncut. The network’s ethos of enjoyable direct action has appealed to activists, and, more crucially, the middle classes in a way that no other campaign has managed to in the last few years. With hindsight offering predictably 20:20 vision, one could … Continue reading

Why to refuse the census

This article was originally published in the Red Pepper online blog, March 20th, 2011. In March this year, as in 2001, Lockheed Martin UK, a subsidiary of the world’s largest arms manufacturer, will be helping to run the census. Their specific role, contractually valued at £150 million, will be “delivering data capture and processing support … Continue reading

Count Me Out takes action against Lockheed

Today was the ‘Count Me Out‘ campaign’s first day of national action against Lockheed Martin’s involvement in the census. In a twitter and email storm titled ‘Let ‘Em Have It!’ people from around the UK barraged the gates of Lockheed Martin with the minutiae of their day. No bowel movement, lunch-time feast or guitar jam … Continue reading

International Women’s Day

It was 100 years ago, in 1911, that International Women’s Day (IWD) was honoured for the first time, with more than 1 million men and women attending rallies across Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. It was the start of an energised and vibrant campaign for women’s rights to work; vote; be trained; hold public office; … Continue reading

The public face of international gun-running

In March this year, as in 2001, Lockheed Martin UK, a subsidiary of the world’s largest arms manufacturer, will be helping to run the census. Their specific role, contractually valued at £150 million, will be “delivering data capture and processing capability” for the Office of National Statistics (ONS). This seems innocent enough, but whilst the … Continue reading

‘Count Me Out’ campaign launched

Last Friday, in the half-light of the early morning, a number of bleary-eyed activists converged from across London upon the Office of National Statistics (ONS) building, near Kings Cross. The occasion was the launch of ‘Count Me Out’, a campaign aiming to raise awareness about the arms trade’s involvement in running the UK census, and … Continue reading

Leveling the playing field: horizontal politics, technology and activism in 2011 (part 5)

Social media and internet technology are to some degree changing the way people think and act. At the very least they have provided us with the means through which to counter the discourse of the police, government and mainstream media. More people are coming to realise, certainly, that this trinity of power and legitimacy do … Continue reading

Leveling the playing field: horizontal politics, technology and activism in 2011 (part 4)

A normative view of marches might see them as the proverbial gateway drug for a lot of disaffected people. Smaller direct actions, such as those perpetrated by UK Uncut, are usually a lot more fun, and a lot more empowering. It is also in these types of action where the real benefits of horizontal organisation … Continue reading