On Althusser, ideology, policing and the law for the LA Review of Books.
[This is a slightly edited version of a text that appeared in Volume 3 of E.R.O.S. Journal in 2013]
‘The Purloined Gender’
‘The problem, simply stated, is that one must believe in the existence of the person in order to recognize the authenticity of her suffering. Neither men nor women believe in the existence of women as significant beings’ – Andrea Dworkin
‘The wounds, deprivations and suffering women suffer today – as simultaneously lovers, workers, wives, mothers – have crystallized themselves for me in the image of decapitation’ – Julia Kristeva
‘But here we might ask: What is left when the body rendered coherent through the category of sex is disaggregated, rendered chaotic? Can this body be re-membered, be put back together again?’ – Judith Butler
[Picture from Debrett’s site, advertising training courses on debate]
[This is a version of a text that was originally published in Strike! magazine in 2015]
O thou Powers of England, though thou hast promised to make this People a Free People, yet thou hast so handled the matter, through thy self-seeking humour, That thou hast wrapped us up more in bondage, and oppression lies heavier upon us; not only bringing thy fellow Creatures, the Commoners, to a morsel of Bread, but by confounding all sorts of people by thy Government, of doing and undoing. – John Taylor, ‘A Declaration to the Powers of England, and to all the Powers of the World, Shewing the Cause why the Common People of England have begun, and gives Consent to Digge up, Manure, and Sowe Corn upon George-Hill in Surrey; by these that have Subscribed, and thousands more that gives Consent’, in The True Levellers Standard Advanced by Gerrard Winstanley and the Diggers, 1649.
[This piece was originally written for Loops magazine, which I think just stopped at some point before they published the issue that this was written for]
Folk doesn’t need Reviving!
The English countryside appears to enjoying something of a revival of late. Patrick Keiller’s Robinson in Ruins (2010) delves into the dark arts of biophilia, lichen metaphors and the crumbling post-revolutionary stakes of a rural idyll that is somehow just as much a base for the military-industrial complex as it is for butterflies. Rob Young’s recent Electric Eden casts a similarly wide-ranging and sympathetic eye over British folk music from Arnold Bax and Vaughan Williams to Ghost Box. Less than 20% of British people reside in the countryside, yet we are obsessed with visions of Albion, of some sort of calm, greenish idyll, even if we forget that the British countryside is also the history of enclosures, of the destruction and put-down of peasant revolts, of heavy militarization, of bigotry and racism.
[Illustration: Andrzej Krauze used to illustrate my article, ‘Defending Rights against the Rights, published in Red Pepper in February 2015]
Articles and reviews can be found here.
[Photograph used to illustrate ‘Bamboozle, Baffle and Blindside’, my piece on the 60th anniversary of the publication of Orwell’s 1984, published May 2009]
Various pieces can be found here.
Various reviews and articles can be found here.