On George Orwell

08/05/2021

George Orwell is a name everyone learns, at least in the West as far as I know, during school. Animal Farm and 1984 are the two books written by him that we are told to read and write some analysis of. They are both antitotalitarian works, with Animal Farm being based on the Russian Revolution and led by Lenin and the Bolsheviks, and 1984 being a scary predictor of surveillance. And that’s about it. That’s all I learned about him in school. Of course, there’s much more, and not all of it is good.

The Twitter hellscape was quick to mob me on that.

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My 2020 Reading List

30/12/2020

As this rather wretched and exhausting year comes to a close, I looked back at my list from 2019 and laughed sadly at my optimistic plans to read more in 2020. Perhaps I did when you count news, analysis, etc. online, but in terms of books it was disastrously minimal. However, the books I did read offered brilliant insights or just fascinating bits of knowledge. So, in no real order:

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Historical Amnesia Goes Both Ways

07/12/2020

The first time I heard the term historical amnesia, it was in relation to a discussion about American exceptionalism and the masses “forgetting” the more bothersome parts of their history of involvement (ironically, I can’t recall the specific source or case I first came across). But, rereading Noam Chomsky’s On Anarchism (again, ironically because at the time I read it, I did so without any real focus or retention), the now seemingly obvious opposite is also true: that the true victories and battles fought by the masses themselves are also victim to this international blank slate.

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Governments Can’t Self-Regulate Surveillance

10/10/2020

Reading Sacha Molitorisz’s Net Privacy: How We Can Be Free in an Age of Surveillance, I have appreciated the background and philosophical backing for protecting privacy. In particular, the relational approach to privacy he describes I think is a brilliant way to expand the scope of what actually constitutes privacy as an individual and societal concern. However, there have been a few points that I do not agree with or wish were explored more; as young as it is, the role blockchain technology has and could play in ensuring net privacy is not even mentioned once. Instead, the chapter I am currently reading speaks of regulation and legislation, talking about the privacy of individuals and society but then falling back on the State or global institutions to uphold it – a tad problematic.

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David Hannan’s Arguments Against Socialism

12/04/2020

I have recently stumbled into a few videos online with pro-capitalist arguments, decrying socialist ideas and encouraging free markets to take full form. The one thing I have found listening to them, whether their arguments have any legitimate points within, is their selective examples and, at times, complete disfiguration of facts. One such video was an argument about why socialism did not work by a man (who I know nothing about beyond this) called Daniel Hannan. I haven’t written in a while, so what better way to get back into it than by questioning this random guy’s points?

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Oh, The Guardian…

13/12/2019

There is really no nice way to put this. There are only two words that sum up my response to how the Guardian has carried itself in relation to the Labour Party, specifically Jeremy Corbyn, over the past few years, and in the immediate aftermath of the election results. They are simply: get fucked.

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UK Election: Vote Labour

23/11/2019

The Labour Party, under Jeremy Corbyn, could have a real chance to defeat the Conservatives. I don’t know all that much about UK politics, so I don’t know what third parties or alternatives there may be, but Corbyn’s Labour Party, whether you love the man or not, is undeniably better than giving the Conservatives under Boris Johnson another term to screw up the UK and Brexit negotiations.

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Reflecting on Old Reflections: Lenin and the Russian Revolution

23/11/2019

Earlier this year, I read Lenin and the Russian Revolution by Christopher Hill, which was a rather old and small book that is very much an introduction to the revolution and to Lenin himself. At the time I also wrote a couple of pieces on my thoughts about it, thoughts which, with further reading and understanding, are worth revisiting in an exercise of revision. While the general thrust of each of the pieces is still solid, my view of Lenin has changed drastically – for the worse.

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Journalism as A Pillar of Democracy

About a month ago I had a take home exam/essay for my Political Communication unit at university. Now that I have gotten the marks back for them – I can happily say I got 100% for it all, as the guy that ran the unit was really impressed and even praised the fact I challenged some of the concepts and ideas – I thought I would post them all here in a string of short pieces without fear of TurnItIn flagging me for plagiarising my own content. I’ll quote the questions we were given and then have what I wrote underneath – there will be six in total. This one details some of the ways in which I don’t think journalism lives up to its role as a ‘key pillar’ of democracy.

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Capitalism Hasn’t Changed

09/11/2019

I’ve recently started reading The ABC of Anarchism (originally Now and After and What Is Communist Anarchism) by Alexander Berkman, and while a lot of the references made do show the age of the book, published in 1929, there are still many relevant observations and similarities to the modern age. The main one, with its many facets, is that capitalism hasn’t really changed much over the years, other than finding more efficient methods of concentrating even more wealth into fewer hands.

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