Mark Duggan: No Justice-No Peace.

As Donald Rumsfeld would have it, there are the known knowns, the known unknowns and those damn tricky unknown unknowns. That seems to encapsulate the Mark Duggan tragedy perfectly.

 

Was Duggan part of London's gang culture? Almost certainly. Was he carrying a gun at the time of his arrest and murder? Possibly. Did he have the gun in his hand at the time of his murder? Almost certainly not. Could the police have detained Duggan without shooting him dead? No doubt about it. Have the police covered up and lied about the whole affair. Very likely. These sort of questions and answers pretty well cover the known knowns and the known unknowns But the really interesting questions are the unknown unknowns. For example, what will it take to prevent other young lads like Mark Duggan getting caught up in gang culture? Why are young Black men far more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterparts? Why do so many black people die in police custody? When will the next riot break out in London? Why is there fifty percent youth unemployment across Europe? What do we have to do to stop the Metropolitan Police being institutionally racist? And perhaps the most unknown of the unknowns; what will it take to finally remove racism from the European psyche?

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 May 2018 11:45 )

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Mandela Dies: Now Hear the Tidal Wave of Hypocrisy

 

They're all at it. The monarchy, the Tories, the tabloids and every two bit reactionary this country has managed to produce over the last fifty years. All sing praises to Nelson Mandela, all ring out condemnations of the wicked apartheid system. All tearfully celebrate the saintly life of the magnanimous one. It seems we're all rainbow democrats now. It makes you wonder how apartheid managed to last a day let alone fifty years.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 May 2018 11:54 )

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Hull: City of Culture, City of Debt.

 

At the very moment that Hull was awarded the UK City of Culture 2015, it was revealed by the BBC that Hull has the highest levels of personal indebtedness anyway in this dis-United Kingdom of ours. This cruel juxtaposition of images, one of life enhancing cultural pursuit, the other of debilitating personal indebtedness, is the reality not just for Hull, but for cities and towns up and down the country, including of course, the capital city itself. And on closer inspection, these two accolades, the one a cause for celebration, the other for sober commiseration, are inextricably linked. Culture, as one wily old German professor from the nineteenth century once observed, is nothing but a reflection of the economic base. True today as it was a hundred and fifty years ago.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 May 2018 11:56 )

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Russell Brand: Capitalist Democracy is Junk

'It perhaps takes a junkie, or a recovering junkie, or at the very least, an ex-junkie, to be able to speak with such clarity where normally there is only fudge and subterfuge. I missed Russell Brand's recent Paxman interview but I did catch up with his line of thinking via his follow-up Guardian article 6/11/13, and without over-egging it, it was hot stuff. Quite electric.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 May 2018 18:10 )

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Taking On the Trolls, Hadley Freeman, The Guardian, 7/8/13

 

Two articles appeared in the 7/8/13 edition of the Guardian, one by John Henley the other by Hadley Freeman, both journalists trying to make sense of what to do with the internet. It's generally accepted that the internet is a sort of 'wild west', complete with cyber bullying, violent and degrading child pornography, misogynistic abuse by the bucket load, and of course, 24/7 illegal government surveillance. What is not generally accepted is what to do about it. The whole debate revolves around a simple axis; to censor and regulate, or allow the internet to exist as it was originally envisaged  an open international democratic forum for all views, all opinions and all proclivities. It's a damn tricky one. Is it conceivable to do both? Time will tell. My gut instinct is to favour some basic regulation but who does the regulating and by what criteria do they regulate? And then there is the logistics of such a mammoth task. Billions of emails and tweets to sift through daily. That stinks of 1984 and all that that sinister thesis implies. Mind you, with Snowden's revelations about the NSA, perhaps we have entered that zone already.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 24 May 2018 05:52 )

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