Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Europe Category

Ukraine: Back to the Shatter-Zone?

  • March 02, 2014
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Nowadays bad governments can fall or come under massive popular pressure at the drop of a hat, regardless of whether the government concerned is a product of the formal democratic process or not.   Such governments may be dictatorships or authoritarian regimes, or they might be corrupt, inept, elite-driven, or simply indifferent or unresponsive to the well-being of their own population.

But whatever the source of their unpopularity, few governments can take their power for granted in an era where mass mobilizations can take place very quickly, and can move from peaceful protest to armed...

Policing the Crisis

  • December 17, 2013
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The Spanish parliament is currently debating a draconian ‘Citizen Security Bill’   that will introduce fines of up to 600,000 euros for attendance at unauthorized street protests and demonstrations.     Among other things, demonstrators will face fines for ‘insulting’ or making ‘false accusations’ against public officials and state institutions.

The bill will also ban protests...

A Europe of the Far Right?

  • November 18, 2013
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It’s never good news when the European far-right gets internationalist,   and the announcement that Marine Le Pen and Gert Wilders are planning to co-operate in next year’s European Parliament elections in an attempt to ‘fight this monster called Europe’   ought to raise alarm bells.

This is the first time the far-right has tried to...

Europe, Golden Dawn and the Murder of an Anti-Fascist

  • September 21, 2013
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When the lords of austerity look down on the world from their parliaments and glass-fronted offices, they often look on the bright side.     Poverty, food kitchens, unemployment, the destruction of jobs and pensions, cuts in health and education, ‘social unrest’   – none of these things bother them too much as long as...

Achtung Switzerland!

  • August 11, 2013
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In Carol Reed’s The Third Man,  Harry Lime  sarcastically suggests that Switzerland’s only contribution to civilization is the cuckoo clock.   Lime was ignoring some innovations which would not have suited his modus operandi.

In terms of human rights and the laws of war, Switzerland is associated with some of the most significant...

Of Moors and Gypsies

Of Moors and Gypsies

  • June 10, 2013
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I’ve just come back from Spain, where I spent a fabulous week leading a group of 18 walkers around the Axarquia mountain range in Andalusia.   The village where we stayed was located about an hour from Malaga, just inland from Torre del Mar, one of several   ‘white villages’ in the area left over...

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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