Death of the Center-Left

Death of the Center-Left

It’s been nearly five years since Ed Miliband was elected as Labour leader. From the start, the right-wing press heaped scorn upon him. Of all the attacks foisted upon him the ‘fratricidal’ agent charge, who stepped over his own brother to grab the big seat, backed by trade unions, was perhaps the most revealing. More»

To the Crematorium

To the Crematorium

He was running across our rows for the first time. He was creating a new block out of us, the “zugangs” (new arrivals.) He was seeking, among unknown people, some men to keep order in the block. Fate willed it that he chose me, he choose Karol Swietorzecki (a reserve officer of 13th cavalry regiment,) Witold Rozycki (a good fellow from Warsaw,) and several others. More»

From Extreme Metal to Islamic State

From Extreme Metal to Islamic State

When I set out to do ethnographic research on extreme metal for my doctorate in the mid-1990s, it was the transgression that fascinated me. I wanted to immerse myself in a culture dedicated to musical celebrations of the dark side, that flirted with sonic oblivion, that stared into the abyss. More»

Camping in Poland

Camping in Poland

We were terribly thirsty. Pots with some beverage were just delivered. The same people, who had been killing us, were distributing round mugs of that beverage along our ranks, while asking: “Was bist du von zivil?”We got what desired, that is (a) beverage, and replied some trade, a worker or a craftsmen. And those pseudo-people, while beating and kicking us, shouted:… “Hier ist Auschwitz – mein lieber Mann!” More»

Latest entries
Azans in UKIP Country

Azans in UKIP Country

On Sunday afternoon, I participated in an act of theatrical protest at Nigel Farage’s local pub: the George & Dragon in Downe. During the “Beyond UKIP Cabaret,” I recited the azan over a loudspeaker, while wearing a red-and-white keffiyeh. More»

Nowhere to Hide

Nowhere to Hide

As I was preparing to spend a year abroad in Germany, I agonized over one of the tips my exchange student organization had sent me. It encouraged us to photograph aspects of the United States that wouldn’t be familiar from watching American movies and television. But what came to mind for me were the homeless people I saw on every trip to Washington D.C. More»

Music for Palestine

Music for Palestine

Israeli pop has never crossed over. Though a few artists have gotten airplay on European radio, and spawned a YouTube meme from time to time, with the exeption of Ofra Haza, it’s never been a big success internationally, and it’s not for lack of trying. Dozens of licensing agents  have tried to place it abroad over the years, at best landing niche artists at boutique labels and ad agencies. Think Idan Raichel, and Monotonix. More»

Death From Above

Death From Above

The drone war, as it has been fought to this point, has featured an effective interweaving of military and ideological considerations. Grégoire Chamayou’s A Theory of the Drone represents  the most comprehensive attempt to untangle the most politically complex aspects of drone use, and to explore its and psychological implications. More»

The Mecca Cleaners Strike

The Mecca Cleaners Strike

In November 2013, thousands of street cleaners in Mecca went on strike. The move was triggered by South Asian workers, primarily, complaining that intense police harassment was accompanying an immigration crackdown. More»

Red Scares

Red Scares

When Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote the first lines of The Communist Manifesto, they turned the conventional notion of haunting on its head, conjuring the “ghost”, not of something that had passed away, but of something that had not yet come to pass. Since the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, though, this has changed decisively. The world is haunted instead by the communism that was — and wasn’t. More»

Ukraine Troll Armies

Ukraine Troll Armies

The Ukrainian government, in an attempt to counter the narrative of the Russian-backed rebels, announced last month that it would be recruiting an iArmy of media volunteers. This is not an ideal means of countering biased narratives on Ukraine.  More»

Georgia's Economic Decline

Georgia’s Economic Decline

Makuna is a 35 year-old self-made entrepreneur, running a cozy little shop in Tbilisi’s busiest tourist area. For several years, her idea to create unusual jewelry, clothes and original souvenirs blossomed into a lovely business, giving her plenty of time for herself and family, and as a steady income. More»

Jihadi John as Thug

Jihadi John as Thug

British tabloid coverage of Mohammed Emwazi (“Jihadi John”) has been predictably irritating. The SunThe Daily Mail, The Daily Star, and more have all printed obscene headlines about the man, with the clear objective of terrifying their readers into supporting counterterrorism. More»

White Supremacy Resurgent

White Supremacy Resurgent

Sometimes accidents of timing reveal what is no accident. The news media was preoccupied with two stories this past Monday: the letter that 47 Republican senators sent to Iranian leaders warning them that any agreement signed by the President might not outlast his term, and the outrage over footage of an Oklahoma fraternity singing a racist song that invoked lynching. More»

Homocaust Cabaret in London

Homocaust Cabaret in London

Last Saturday was the launch of The Homocaust, a 70th anniversary cabaret, organized by Never Again Ever! Late February marks the anniversary of when the Nazi Party launched its purge of homosexual (gay, lesbian, and bisexual; then known as “homophile”) clubs in Berlin, outlawed sex publications, and banned gay groups.  More»

Punk’s Past Alternate Future

Punk’s Past Alternate Future

I first started listening to punk and hardcore in 1988—not that music’s best period. Many of the great early bands, including the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and Crass, had broken up a couple years before, and it seemed that the genre might be at its social and aesthetic end. The politics were fading while metalcore and straightedge hardcore bands were in ascendance. More»