Scotland is gearing up for another round of voting to decide its future. On referendum day, voters will head to voting booths to solve the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" What does this vote mean for the left and what is the historical roots to this question? Chris Bambery
, author of A People's History of Scotland
, gives a brief and striking history of this "Scottish Question".
National commemorations of major historical events usually offer an incredible opportunity for the Right to showcase its jingoistic logorrhea about national identity and patriotism. Starting this coming August, the First World War centenary will most likely be no exception.
The Conservatives are battling on two different, though not unrelated, fronts. Contrary to what Max Hastings argues, it is the Right indeed who is “making an ideological argument out of World War I, as it does out of almost everything else in history.”
In a Telegraph article, David Cameron puts particular emphasis on commemorating, and even celebrating the break-out of World War I as a moment of national unity and cohesion, “a fundamental part of our national consciousness.”
Over the past few years, it has been fairly common to hear: "the time has come for a new vision for Palestine/Israel." It is hard to refute the reality of a dead-end implied in this expression, but must a dead-end always lead us to a new vision? As Hanan Ashrawi has previously stated, new forms of talks, dialogue, and inventiveness are not what was missing in the endless peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
After 65 years of "peace talks" – they didn't start with the Oslo accords, but way back in 1949 – we should question the very relevance of the procedures of peace. A peace treaty is usually called for in a situation of war between two existing states. In the case of Palestine since 1949, peace talks were a means for imposing partition, which was rejected by the majority of the population in Palestine in 1947; they were a way to bypass that rejection and implement partition through violence. In 1948-49, 750,000 Palestinians were expelled, the country was destroyed and its face transmuted by the new state; but full partition was not achieved. Ever since, maintaining the fantasy of separation has required the use of more and more violent solutions to the problems entailed in partial partition. Peace talks are a means of ruling that for the last 65 years have kept Palestinians and Jews haunted by the same question that colonialism lethally injected into the Middle East: for or against partition; one or two states. The major difference between then – prior to 1947 – and now is the excessive violence that was exercised in order to achieve what was doomed from inception as opposed by the majority of the concerned population – namely partitioning.
In the lead up to the release of The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, The Independent and The Guardian have published interviews with the film’s co-creators, Slavoj Žižek and Sophie Fiennes.
Largely improvised, the film exhibits the high octane intellectual energy which characterizes much of Slavoj Žižek’s work. Against the solid identities of conventional academic or philosophical respectability, his ‘habit of self-contradiction’ and ‘impromptu hyper-digressive tours de force’ make his ideas more like ‘protons ricocheting frenetically in the Large Hadron Collider of his brain’ than ‘austere’ philosophical tenets. Jonathan Romney, Žižek’s interviewer, finds joy and humour in this dynamism. For Fiennes herself, Žižek’s verve is near to being sonorous: ‘“you have to engage with it almost like music”’.
Place-Hacking, the urban exploration practice championed by Verso author Bradley L. Garrett, has appeared in several mainstream newspapers. For the Guardian
Robert Macfarlane accompanied Garrrett around several of London's subterranean passages. Macfarlane, a fellow explorer and author of the bestseller The Old Ways
, describes it such:
Urban exploration, urbex or UE is recreational trespass in the built environment. Among the requirements for participation are claustrophilia, lack of vertigo, a taste for decay, a fascination with infrastructure, a readiness to jump fences and lift manhole covers, and a familiarity with the laws of access in whatever jurisdiction you're undertaking your explorations. Archive and web skills are useful too, for acquiring the schematics and blueprints that will inspire and orient you. Among the sites in your sights are disused factories and hospitals, former military installations, bunkers, bridges and storm-drain networks. You should be content on the counterweight of a crane 400 feet above the street, or skanking along a sewer 10 yards under the asphalt.
Visit the Guardian
to read the feature in full.