I merely belong

When I lived in the USA, I was always amused and confused by people who puffed out their chests and said how proud they were to be American. Now that I’m back in London, the government here declares its intent…

More mindless killing

To continue for a moment the theme of senseless killing for squalid and trivial ends, I’m reading a book of essays by Texas Death Row inmate Gene Wilford Hathorn. He’s been on the Row for 21 years now, and has…

How about a little humanity?

Does this sound familiar? A war in the Middle East launched for obscure reasons. The justification changing constantly according to what ministers think can “sell” it to the people at any particular time. Disregarding the United Nations. Bombing people in…

Remembering Haymarket

I am often too cynical for my own good. So I am taking time to reflect on the fact that on 1st May 1886, thousands of workers in Chicago went on strike to demand an eight-hour day. The police attacked…

American left-wing blogs are myopic

I’m very new to blogging. I go out into the world and look for blogs that I might be interested in — things that are left-wing, radical, socialist, environmentalist, anarchist, etc. The name “LeftAlign” is a clue to my general…

International Workers’ Memorial Day

Thanks to Aotearoa-based Spanblather, I have discovered very belatedly that it’s International Workers’ Memorial Day today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were 5,734 fatal occupational injuries in the USA in 2005. In my time as a journalist…

Library cuts

I love libraries. Always have. I could spend all day in a library, working my way through the stock. I even love the weird library smell (what is that? It’s not the smell of books, because bookshops don’t smell like…

Strange experience in a public toilet

I was coming out of a public toilet in central London today (Paternoster Square, near St. Paul’s, if anyone’s interested), when I saw a strange sign on the door: “Images are being recorded for security purposes…” (so far so good)…

Rip Your Heart in Two

The Sunday papers often have sad stories. People with cancer, children needing transplants. Tug-at-the-heart-strings-over-your-tea-and-Cornflakes stuff. This Sunday’s Observer was different, though. The story of Noel Martin doesn’t tug at your heartstrings — it rips them out of your body, shreds…