Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Age of austerity Category
Jair Bolsonaro:  Robocop in the Tropics

Jair Bolsonaro: Robocop in the Tropics

  • January 02, 2019
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Not many people outside Brazil will be familiar with the name Colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra.   As commander at the Brazilian army’s Department of Information Operations, known as DOI-CODI, in São Paulo, from 1970 to 1974, the man known as ‘Colonel Ustra’ was one of the most notorious torturers under Brazil’s military dictatorship, which ruled the country from 1964 to 1985.

Ustra introduced and oversaw a range of procedures against leftwing militants that included inserting rats in women’s vaginas and forcing young children to watch their parents being tortured.  One of the thousands of people tortured...

The Uses of Fear

The Uses of Fear

  • July 27, 2015
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The 21st century is a frightening place, so frightening in fact, that many of us would be forgiven if we just cowered under the blankets all day and never went anywhere.   Ebola, SARS, swine flu and bird flu, terrorism, ISIS,  people traffickers, migrants, financial implosion and the collapse of the eurozone – whatever face...

Greece Says No

Greece Says No

  • July 06, 2015
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Yesterday’s astonishing referendum vote in Greece has left elite jaws dropping across the continent.  In the face of universal opposition from the powers-that-be across the continent and dire warnings that essentially amounted to ‘do what we say or else’ Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected the Troika’s latest bailout package.

Technically they didn’t reject the package, because in...

Two Days, One Night

Two Days, One Night

  • June 03, 2015
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I’ve just seen the Dardenne brothers’ brilliant Two Days, One Night (2014)   It’s a film I’ve been looking forward to seeing for a long time, and it didn’t disappoint.     The premise is deceptively simple: Sandra Byas, played by Marion Cotillard,   is a worker in a Belgian solar panel factory who has...

Come on Let’s Kick the Poor (like we did last summer)

Come on Let’s Kick the Poor (like we did last summer)

  • June 02, 2015
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The Bible tells us that the poor will always be with us, and as long as they are around there will always be politicians willing to punish them for their poverty.     It might be the Wisconsin State Assembly, which has just approved legislation banning food stamp recipients from eating junk food and also...

Spain goes Left: Britain turns Right

Spain goes Left: Britain turns Right

  • May 31, 2015
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I’ve just come back from a week’s walking in the Axarquia mountains in Andalucia.  My trip didn’t allow much time for blogging, or for any commentary on the remarkable results of last weekend’s Spanish municipal and regional elections, but it was thrilling and inspiring to witness Ada Colau on television acknowledging her victory over the...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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