Notes From the Margins…

Stand Up to Racism Tomorrow

  • March 18, 2016
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Tomorrow Stand Up To Racism is staging a national demonstration in London to coincide with UN Anti-Racism Day, which commemorates the 1960 Sharpeville massacre when 69 peaceful demonstrators were shot by police in South Africa.  Tomorrow’s demonstration takes place at a critical period  in European history, when racism, xenophobia, and hatred towards foreigners...

Europe’s Porous Borders: Leonidas Cheliotis and the logic of ‘punitive inclusion’

  • March 13, 2016
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Think of borders in the 21st century and you immediately think of walls, barbed wire fences, razor wire, checkpoints, quasi-military border patrols on land and sea, surveillance cameras, sensors and a panoply of high-tech paraphernalia whose essential purpose is to keep unwanted people out.   This is the kind of imagery that we tend...

The Archbishop’s Fears

  • March 12, 2016
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One of the most depressing and inane themes in the  great British ‘debate’ about immigration is the idea that there is no debate about immigration. It’s a refrain  emanating mostly from the right, which  has been replayed for years like a stuck record.  It goes essentially like this; ‘we’ aren’t allowed to speak about...

Europe’s ‘Migration Crisis’ : Repression with a human face

  • March 08, 2016
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Many years ago Franco Solinas, the scriptwriter for Gillo Pontecorvo’s masterpiece The Battle of Algiers, was asked by an interviewer why the French colonel Mathieu – a pragmatic exponent of torture –  was portrayed as ‘ too much of a gentleman in fatigues, excessively noble.  He is elegant, cultured….’  Solinas replied that...

Hope I die before I get old

  • March 06, 2016
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There was a time when living longer was considered to be a desirable goal, and rising life expectancy was regarded as a metric of social progress.  In those not so distant times, ‘developed’ capitalist societies and already existing socialist societies alike assumed that work was a preparation for an old age in which you...

Karl Schlögel’s Moscow

  • February 28, 2016
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There have been many books, both fiction and non-fiction, written about Stalin’s purges, but there is nothing quite like Karl  Schlögel’s monumental Moscow 1937, which I’ve just finished.  As the title suggests, the book is a portrait of Moscow in the year in which the Stalinist terror reached a horrific pitch of self-destruction on...

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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