The Hungry Empire

This post is just a quick recommendation to listen to an audiobook currently available on the BBC Radio iPlayer. It’s called The Hungry Empire, by British food historian Lizzie Collingham, and in five 15-minute episodes charts the history of the British Empire, from the 1500s to the 1960s through the lens of food. It turns out that the history of food in the Empire has some really important things to tell us about how ordinary life was lived in that period and how it has shaped much of our modern world.

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Accidental Anarchist

This is a short post recommending a BBC Four documentary  – Accidental Anarchist: Life Without Government.

I agree wholeheartedly with Carne Ross’ mistrust of the state and deeply sceptical view of the structure of international relations. Unlike him, however, I’m less hopeful about of our ability to make any meaningful changes to either.

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Stealing independence

It’s Independence Day in America. The declaration on this day, July 4th, in 1776 was the culmination of many decades of becoming a distinct nation, apart from and opposed to the British crown. But how did the America of 1776, this brand new nation out of nothing, come to be, and how did those 13 precarious colonies turn into the continental superpower of today?

In this post I’m going to look at just one specific facet of the development of the United States of America, and it’s relevance to us all and the unjust capitalist system we endure.

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The Qatar question – a primer

I don’t know an awful lot about contemporary Middle Eastern politics, but this week’s panellists on the Talking Politics podcast clearly do.

Qatar have until tomorrow to agree to all 13 of the very exacting demands set by four neighbouring Arab states – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – on June 23rd. After this time, they will face economic and political sanctions; blockades and diplomatic isolation. This is a sudden and dramatic action that wildly destabilises the Middle East, and we should be under no illusions as to its potential future impact on us all.

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Legitimate criticism of Trump

Bercow champion of the commons

John Bercow, champion of the commons! Citing opposition to racism and sexism, support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary he announced that he would not invite Trump to address Parliament if the proposed state visit does indeed take place.

Predictably, headlines began to pour in slamming the short speech as outrageous, an attempt to silence the president, a breach of speaker impartiality, unjustifiable and hypocritical.
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This new age

I studied politics at university from 2010 to 2013. It was a period of global economic recession and non-recovery. It was a time in which Obama reigned in the worst excesses of Bush and Blair’s War on Terror but at a fundamental level failed to end (an unsympathetic commentator would say actively continued) the very same clandestine, extrajudicial foreign policy methods. Neoliberal austerity punished the people for the disastrous consequences of under-regulated, free-as-a-bird capitalism.

The dominant ideology of politicians, policymakers and their institutions – domestic and international – was liberalism. The cutting edge of international relations (and all interesting political philosophy) was all critical theory and post-structuralism. Pushing back against the narrative of the ’90s that the West had won. Highlighting the institutional violence and injustice in the assumptions and policies of universalist liberalism.
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Powerful force is behind Global Times

First read the editorial “Powerful force is behind Panama Papers

In Reply

It must be hard being a journalist in China. And getting harder.

Or all the intellectually robust candidates have long since changed careers.

Regardless, all discourses must be critically interrogated, in the pursuit of something like justice/truth/progress (delete as applicable to leave one you believe in).

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