Posts tagged politics

Occam’s Razor and the Rise of Populism

Over the past few years, people have been wringing their hands over the rise of populism, whether it’s far-right parties in Europe, Brexiteers in the UK or Trump in the US. Now, academics have found the rise in populism is correlated with a rise in economic insecurity.

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The end of TINA

Yesterday, I experienced something entirely new. I finally learnt what it felt like to celebrate an election result. To be honest, I’d given up hope of ever having this experience. I thought my politics were simply too far to the left, and I would never find a candidate to cheer. I could certainly never muster any enthusiasm for Tony Blair’s victories. The fact that he was elected again after the criminal disaster of the Iraq war is something I’ll never understand, but long before that, it was clear that he… Read More

On the violence of borders

I recently visited Ceuta, a piece of the north African coast that belongs to Spain and is hence part of “Europe”. It was a very strange and disturbing experience to cross that border so easily just by showing my British passport, when many people with different-coloured passports die trying to do the same thing. Here’s a photo I took of the border fence. The houses to the left are in Spain; the hillside to the right is in Morocco. There’s also a small village on the Moroccan side, just out of… Read More

The Things I Care About

What do you really care about? I asked myself that question recently, and I was surprised by the results. Firstly, it seems that I care about quite a lot of things. And secondly, although I care about these things, they’re generally not the things that I spend most of my time talking about, writing about, reading about, and taking action on. So it was a useful exercise. I’d recommend it to anyone, writer or non-writer. Just ask yourself what you really care about, and list what comes to mind, as quickly and roughly as possible, without… Read More

Ten years ago: Why I Protest

This post is part of a series of stories and articles I wrote exactly ten years ago, on this day in 2003. Here I talk about my reasons for protesting against the Iraq war, which had just started at that point. For more stories in the series, click here. The dust storm came blasting down Wall Street. Luckily I saw it coming and managed to duck inside before it engulfed our building, blocking out the sun. For several minutes, crouching nervously in the darkened lobby, I tried not to think about… Read More

The Politicians by Don Walther

Coruscating look at the world of politics. If you’ve ever looked at the politicians in your country and wondered why they’re all so bad, this novel goes a long way to explaining it. The book is set in a Caribbean country as it gains independence (it seems like Guyana, but it’s never named). The main character, Jack Lalbahadursingh, grows up poor in the country before being taken to the city by a more well-to-do schoolteacher, Mr Farrington. When he grows up, he decides he wants to become a lawyer helping… Read More

Marxism 2007: Day Four (Sunday)

“Cuba after Castro” was a great talk, with one small problem: it wasn’t about Cuba after Castro. The speaker, Mike Gonzalez, focused most of his talk on Cuba under Castro, and spent only the last few minutes talking about Cuba after Castro. It wasn’t the only speech at this conference to disregard its advertised topic, however, and the effect was not fatal. I learned a lot about the way power is wielded in Cuba, and the achievements and failures of Castro. It was probably the most balanced analysis I have… Read More

Shorthand thinking

Shorthand language results in shorthand thinking. Ideas are abbreviated to fit into a small space, not nurtured and allowed to breathe and grow.

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