The future of Momentum

A FEW DAYS AGO, I launched a petition proposing a positive vision for the future of Momentum and asking that we, the ordinary members, be directly consulted on the future of the organisation. After over 2,300 signatures and support from members of the Shadow Cabinet, Jeremy Corbyn himself has stepped in to explain his vision … Continue reading

Four Years After The London Riots

What strikes you most looking over the extensive footage of the riots is how little crime is being committed. What you see are people drinking, smoking and hanging out.

By Matteo Tiratelli

Elliott School R.I.P.

Why was Wandsworth Council so adamant about selling off public assets in one case but investing in another? Because who the fuck cares about the school none of their kids or friends’ kids will ever go to? Why would rabid Thatcherites want to renovate a school that stands as a relic to the welfare state dream?

The Problem of ‘Defence’ in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

In the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the rhetoric of defence permeates every aspect of Israeli discourse. But so long as people are violently denied their basic human dignity, the emergence of violent grass-roots organisations like Hamas is inevitable. Israel, like all colonial powers, is engaged in continual, tacit violence, violence which is often hidden by its omnipresence. Peace demands reciprocity. Flattening Gaza for the sake of killing a few Hamas militants is not an expression of peace or of real defence. If this war is to end, it is the violence of the Israeli state that needs mitigating, not that of Hamas.

Why we should be worried about Water Cannon: Tactics, Symbols and Nonsense

In 2011, David Cameron first mentioned the possibility of getting water cannon. The response to the riots, which had started because the police shot and killed someone, was going to be further militarisation. Not long after this, Wandsworth Council served an eviction notice to the mother of Daniel Sartain-Clarke, arguing that her son’s participation in the riots meant neither she nor him deserved council housing, and we had something else to get angry about. We forgot about the water cannon, assuming it was just part of post-riot cacophony. Last week when I read that Boris Johnson had gone ahead with the plans, without consulting Londoners (or even the Home Office), the anger returned.

Bir Mayis, Istanbul

Here in İstanbul the tension around May Day had been building all week. Each morning there was fresh graffiti calling for ‘Devrim’ (Revolution) or urging people to take Taksim Square. Posters from various political groups and parties were up everywhere. The warnings from everyone always began, ‘keep away from Taksim’, ‘stay off the streets’, ‘I hope you’re not going out tomorrow…’.

Knowing your place: Protesting and problems for the Left

Recent images of the vigil held for Mark Duggan outside Tottenham Police Station illustrate a problem which has plagued the Left for many years. Apart from a few DIY banners, all of the placards on show bare the brazen logo of the Socialist Workers Party. The issue here is not the “instrumentalisation” of Mark Duggan’s death, or even the SWP itself, but rather the omnipresent, left-wing branding of almost all protests.There is obviously nothing wrong with solidarity or showing your support for certain causes. But the fact that the vigil, like so many other protests, was completely dominated by SWP creates a host of problems.

By Matteo Tiratelli

Why Do Dictators Bother with Propaganda?

It seems strange that, in the midst of unrest and economic distress, dictators would choose to spend precious resources on propaganda. And not just any old propaganda which, being generous, we might assume is effective; but patently absurd and unbelievable propaganda. Terrible photoshop jobs. Outrageous and unbelievable claims. A personality cult which everyone knows to be out of touch with real opinions. The answer seems to be that they do so in order that people have to pretend to believe it.

By Matteo Tiratelli