WHAT NEXT FOR NORWICH’S YOUNG CLIMATE PROTESTERS?

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By Howard Green

Since 2018, cities across the globe have had many of their Fridays dominated by the vibrancy and passion of youth climate protesters. It’s a testament to the radical attitudes of Norwich’s young population that such large crowds have flocked to the city centre to protest against the current climate regime. Sadly, the Coronavirus pandemic has dried up physical activism in the city for the time being. There is a serious risk that this pandemic may lead to the voices of young people, especially those in secondary school and sixth form, being silenced within Norfolk and across the country. We must diagnose the problem if we are to move forward and continue on in protest.

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IN SOLIDARITY WITH AL-MOUNADIL/AH AS MOROCCO CONTINUES TO STIFLE VOICES OF DISSENT

by Yali Banton-Heath

The revolutionary socialist newspaper and website Al-Mounadil/ah or ‘The Militant’ is facing an existential legal threat from the Moroccan state under it’s continued assault on the Left, progressive voices, and freedom of expression in the country. The onslaught of arrests and passing of restrictive legislation in recent years has targeted independent journalists and publications, and the use of social media and the internet as a platform for political expression. As the statement released by Al-Mounadil/ah’s editorial team reads: “the restrictions will not succeed in gagging voices; the advancement of technology will make a mockery of anyone that tries.

Al-Mounadil/ah’s director  received a court summons late last month regarding the newspaper’s compliance with Morocco’s Press and Publications Law; a piece of legislation which places onerous conditions on reporters and journalists in attempt to suffocate dissent in the media. Continue Reading

AUNG SAN SUU KYI IS DEFENDING ROHINGYA GENOCIDE; BUT WHY?

by Lotty Clare

Last month The Gambia, with the support of the Organisation for Islamic Co-operation (OIC), filed a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice against Myanmar, accusing the state of breaching the Genocide Convention due to the systematic violence carried out against Rohingya. Public hearings will take place on 10-12 of December in the Hague and will be attended by a team headed by State Councillor and de facto head of state Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

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NARRATIVES OF POWER & THE SILENCING OF COMMUNITY

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by Sarah Edgcumbe

The monopolization and manipulation of public narratives by the powerful has long been a pernicious political reality on both a national and global level. Invariably, they who shout the loudest somehow assert a claim to legitimacy, despite the commonly ill-conceived and downright harmful nature of the content being peddled. Continue Reading

THIS ELECTION IS THE FIGHT OF OUR LIVES – HERE’S HOW WE CAN WIN IT

By Bradley Allsop

The world is on the brink. A shattered environment, gargantuan inequality, a burgeoning mental health crisis, fascism openly spreading across Europe, public services at breaking point… but also the possibility of more radical and progressive change than we’ve seen in decades. Higher education specifically also faces two radically different paths ahead of it: continued marketisation, eroding academic integrity, burdening a generation with enormous debt, crushing academics under enormous workloads, increasingly insecure employment and workplace stress – or publicly funded higher education that opens up space to imagine and create a different sort of campus.

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THE RISE OF POPULISM IN 21ST CENTURY POLITICS

by Matt Musindi

Politics has become more divisive and polarised than ever, and it is the populists who have been the main beneficiaries of these political divisions. A populist is someone who consistently promises to channel the unified will of the people. Going off this definition, most political parties in liberal democracies are populist and yet this is not the case – why?Continue Reading

STUDENTS’ UNIONS WILL ALWAYS BE POLITICAL

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By Lewis Martin

Over the last few weeks, UEA Students’ Union has received a number of comments from certain students on social media, complaining about it being ‘political’ and choosing to take political actions such as organising boycotts and funding students to travel to rallies. The SU is also being accused of acting undemocratically for taking these actions. Whilst these accusations are nothing new, in these recent cases the accusers are creating an obscure binary on what the SU can and can’t be seen doing, with a particular focus on only serving certain students’ needs.

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HATEBOOK: DOES THIS GO AGAINST YOUR COMMUNITY STANDARDS?

By Jonathan Lee

Cw: hate speech, extremism

Ever seen a comment on Facebook that really riled you up?

Probably. But I mean one that really floored you – stopped you mid-scroll, and in a red mist, made you click those three innocuous little dots on the right and Submit to Facebook for Review?

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COUNTERACTING ANTI-IMMIGRATION YOUTH GROUPS IN THE UK

by Mary O’Driscoll

Despite the visceral reaction that some may experience at the sight of the terms ‘far-right’ and ‘youth movement’ sat next to each other, the rise of anti-immigration far-right youth movements in European countries cannot be contested. Not only are far-right political parties moving closer to the mainstream, but young people are getting involved in movements opposing immigration. The values of far-right nationalist political parties such as National Rally (previously known as National Front) in France, Austria’s Freedom Party, and the League in Italy have been embodied in youth movements such as Generation Identity- a group that made the jump across the channel to the UK in 2017. With the painfully hypocritical border-focussed rhetoric of Trump’s United States, and the equally ironic anti-immigration discourse of a Brexit Britain, many people are under the impression that ‘Western’ countries are too generous to newcomers.Continue Reading

RATS TO RICHES

by David Breakspear

CW: suicide

“Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time!”. In terms of reform and progress within our penal system, the proverb is about as much use as eating soup with a fork. For a start, how would you know?

Unfortunately, we do need prisons. Ever since Eve – reportedly – ate the forbidden fruit from the garden of Eden, crime has been in existence in human narratives. Crime, either directly or indirectly, affects us all; victims of crime or the family/loved ones/friends of the victim, perpetrator of crime, or, yet again, the family/friends/loved ones of the perpetrators. You may even pay higher insurance premiums due to crime. Crime affects all, therefore, crime is the responsibility of all, especially the prison system.Continue Reading

RECYCLING LIES: TRUMP, MIGRANT FAMILIES AND THE MEDIA

By Lewis Martin

Two weeks ago, Donald Trump signed an executive order bringing an end to the separation of undocumented migrant children from their parents. This was widely reported in the mainstream press as a win for those had publicly campaigned against this policy. But just saying that doesn’t make it so. The executive order did bring an end to the separation of children from their parents, but there has been no commitment to reuniting the families already separated. Children previously taken from their parents are being kept in camps in the Texan desert, while families crossing the border since the executive order are being transferred to ICE ‘Family Detention Centres’, which have extremely limited capacity. Whilst this was picked up by smaller media outlets and on social media, many in the mainstream press didn’t acknowledge these complications, focusing only on the initial ‘win’.

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TRUMP KILLED MY DRIVE

by Beth Saward

Have you heard the news? America has solved sex trafficking. With the passage of SESTA/FOSTA, it will become a thing of the past, the internet will be safer and Freedom™ wins again. What’s that? You haven’t heard of this miraculous new law? Here’s how it works.Continue Reading

THE EU IS GIVING FASCISM ITS SIX MONTHS IN THE SUN

by Jonathan Lee

Content warning: articles mentions fascism, neo-Nazis, anti-Roma and anti-Gypsy sentiments, concentration camps and violence. Article contains strong language, derogatory language and includes descriptions of assault. Video includes scenes of violence.

The EU is led by gangsters, racists, and neo-Nazis.

I don’t mean that in a Ukippy way. I mean that until the 30th June 2018, the presidency of the Council of the European Union will be held by Bulgaria, and will prominently feature a colourful circus of hate mongers, criminals and outright fascists.

The government in Sofia is currently propped up by a coalition of truly nasty bastards called the ‘United Patriots’, who are united mostly by their shared sense of aggressive racism. It is comprised of three parties: the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB), the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation (IMRO), and ‘Ataka’ (simply, attack).Continue Reading

DEEPGREY (9)

by Rob Harding

(Part 9 of a serialised prose fiction endeavour. Part 1part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8)

I stay hidden while Adil opens up again, rates the police on their app, and sends them packing. Once that’s done, Adil’s daughter nods to me. ‘You’re welcome.’ She says. ‘Now, if you don’t mind?’

I stammer my thanks and head out the front again. Adil nods to me and lets me duck under a shutter, and back out onto the street.

There’s no sign of the police, or the hijacked DeepGrey workers, or anything particular. A Community Security bot has rolled into place at the far end of the street, but if I don’t go near it it won’t ID me and do the digital equivalent of the staring-eyed pod person screech. I’ve long since resigned to having to work around the damn things, and these days I only vaguely keep track of the forum posters who fight a constant arms race with their glassy-eyed developers out in San Francisco or Vientiane, or wherever the fuck has the most reliably gullible investors this week.Continue Reading

DEEPGREY (8)

by Zoe Harding

(Part 8 of a serialised prose fiction endeavour. Part 1part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7) | CW: violence

The woman on the street is making those noises as the shouting starts again, the raw-throat all-out hate that only hysterical men can shriek. I barely recognise what they’re saying.

The woman coughs and sobs again, and I hear a fleshy impact, like the sound of a shoe hitting a stomach.

And then there’s the wail of a siren, right around the corner, and the burglar-alarm scream of an LRAD blots out all other sound. A huge armoured police car with tires as tall as I am comes grinding down the street, a pair of armed officers walking alongside it. The turret on top is swinging to bring a grenade launcher to bear against the fight. Hopefully they won’t fire it. I like this jacket, and the stink of chemical riot dispersant is designed with a half-life of about fifty years.Continue Reading

DEEPGREY (7)

by Zoe Harding

(Part 7 of a serialised prose fiction endeavour. Part 1part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6) | CW: violence, language

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I push the shop door open, and nod to Adil. He smiles back, salt-and-pepper beard twitching, and goes back to watching an old taped football match on his TV. I like Adil, even though we rarely talk. He’s a paid-up inhabitant of the Real World, the proverbial Englishman whose home is his castle, running his shop and veg garden like the world around him isn’t going to hell. I imagine his sitting room’s a comfortable throwback to the last millennium, kettle boiling and football on the TV glaring off the brown wallpaper.

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ENGINEERING UTOPIA: CHINA’S PROJECT FOR DESIGNING ‘TRUSTWORTHINESS’

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by Justin Reynolds

Visions of a great civilisation enjoying ‘peace under heaven’ have haunted the Chinese imagination from the time of the sages to today, when President Xi Jingping’s ‘China Dream’ of a prosperous ordered nation is propagated ceaselessly by the state-controlled media.

Here hypermodernity is filtered through ancient virtues. China’s gleaming new cities, high-speed rail links and technology parks are studded with billboards urging honesty, modesty and filial piety. Its vast wired economy is screened for decadent Western influences, blocking Facebook, Google and YouTube, and magazines infatuated with celebrity gossip or ‘crude language’. This year the ‘Great Firewall of China’ was reinforced when the state banned VPN services used by millions to break through to the global web.

Now China is finetuning the ultimate technological fix for designing a virtuous society: a ‘Social Credit System’ that will use the data produced by a population of some 1.4 billion citizens in the course of their daily interactions with digital services to rank them according to ‘trustworthiness’.Continue Reading

DEEPGREY (6)

by Zoe Harding

(Part 6 of a serialised prose fiction endeavour. Part 1part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5)

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Speaking of, I decide it’s time to go for a walk. Staying active is good for your mental health, which is why every single public park and footpath is perpetually rammed with DeepGrey drones trying to keep their brains stable enough to run the god-spreadsheet – in my case it also helps immensely with the dysphoria, which is useful because nothing else is going to any more.

I pull on a bomber jacket and a baseball cap, opting for relatively shallow heels in case I need to out-sidle a DeepGrey recruiter. For once I’ve got enough money for a solid grocery shop, and near me there’s still a place that takes cash, earned scandalously but (in my opinion, anyway) honestly. I feel a solid meal coming on tonight.Continue Reading

DEEPGREY (5)

by Zoe Harding

(Part 5 of a serialised prose fiction endeavour. Part 1part 2, part 3, part 4.)

Once you write off the shambling hordes of DeepGrey-infected marketing consultants who make up most of the population, what’s left? The Nazis, of course. That persistent yet cannibalistic and insular sub-species, still reeling from the swift and brutal Consequences that followed their atrocities during the Meme War. When the War began, the tech industry was on the verge of realising what human society took several world wars to realise: fascists are poisonous to any system they’re allowed to root in, and should be rapidly expunged with fire and extreme prejudice. Continue Reading

DEEPGREY (4)

by Zoe Harding

(Part 4 of a serialised prose fiction endeavour. Read part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here.)

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This thing that’s now installed on the brains of nearly three billion people, across pretty much all but the top levels of every single first-world government (and even then, one wonders if MPs have always been this weird and robotic – oddly, history would seem to confirm yes). What does it do?Continue Reading

FREELANCE STRUGGLES: ADVENTURES IN THE 9 TO 5

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by Sara Harrington

Read Part One of Freelance Struggles here; part Two here.

This series aims to vocalise and explore the realities of working as a creative freelancer in amongst a world of ‘nine to five-ers’. By collating a diverse array of stories from a variety of creative professionals Sara hopes to contextualise the working art world and give space to discuss what it really means to become your own boss.

“Great, welcome to the team”

A decisive hand offers a qualified handshake as I go to leave. It’s brisk and practiced, a clear powerplay perceptive to all those who encounter its efficient grip. Escorted down the stairwell and out of the premises, the automatic doors swish shut, the carefully constructed professional demeanour and gentile phrases I cultivated for the occasion are left behind. I’d got it.

But this is the story about how I quit my grad job after just three days.

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DEEPGREY (3)

by Zoe Harding

(Part 3 of a serialised prose fiction endeavour. Read part 1 here and part 2 here.)

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I kind of like the attack map. It’s nice to visualise the whole thing, even if perhaps ten percent of what I’m seeing is actual data derived from a fearsome net of analytics tools and keyword tracking.he rest is pretty colours and lines for the cheap seats and the press. It’s a nice reminder to stay on my toes, as well – that grey blob that covers three-quarters of my screen would love me to let my guard down so it can eat my brains and make me sell insurance.Continue Reading

REFLECTIONS ON #METOO FROM A TIRED SURVIVOR

by Anonymous

Content warning: mentions sexual violence, abuse, sexual harassment, rape, domestic abuse and violence 

Last week saw the hashtag #MeToo achieve viral success, following the accusations multiple women made again Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein. The hashtag started when actress Alyssa Milano, tweeted “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem”.

The next week, social media was bombarded with personal account of sexual harassment, abuse, rape, assault and domestic violence. Famous celebrities talked about their experiences and within 24 hours, Facebook reported that 4.7 million people engaged with the #MeToo hashtag with over 12 million posts and comments. Most of the media’s reaction has been positive – finally we are acknowledging that sexual violence is a pervasive problem rather than a few isolated incidents, they say.Continue Reading

DEEPGREY (2)

by Zoe Harding

(Part 2 of a serialised prose fiction endeavour. Read part 1 here.)

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I do the digital equivalent of slipping off the main street down a back-alley, activating two spongy ‘legal’ VPNs at once to provide the paper-thin security necessary to sneak an actual functional VPN into life without precipitating a time-delayed ISP shit-fit. It’s a sort of rite of passage, at least for British free-internet users, to accidentally break the vestigial mess that is the remains of the Snooper’s Charter and get a whiny message in the actual mail six months later complaining about it. The word ‘terrorism’ was almost entirely inflated to meaninglessness well before Meme War propaganda began labelling the entire world simultaneously with it in white-hot strobe-flashing GIFs, so the strident accusations and threats that are all the government can do about you breaking the rules aren’t particularly punchy any more. It can be another strike towards losing your net neutrality privileges, though. Besides, much nastier things lurk in the same patch of those particular legal waters, and the absolute last thing you want to do is thrash about and make a fuss.Continue Reading

TIPS FOR HELPING YOUR CHILD DEAL WITH A CYBERBULLY AT THEIR NEW SCHOOL

by Janice Miller

Being the new kid at school has always been hard, and schoolyard bullies have existed since there were schools. But bullying has evolved over time and the majority of it now exists online. One of the main problems that children face these days is online harassment – also known as cyberbullying. This form of bullying can be extremely potent because the harassment is often anonymous and can be spread to hundreds of people in a matter of minutes. Here are some tips for parents on how to help your child if they’re facing this situation.

 

React appropriately

If you find out your child is being cyberbullied – either from them or from reading their texts/social media messages – the first thing you should do it react appropriately. Don’t overreact and ban them from the internet, or go on a tirade in front of their friends. Don’t under-react by saying that it’s just what kids do and they must learn to get over it. Both of these approaches will only make -the problem worse. React appropriately by letting them know that you understand their situation, you think it’s serious, it’s not their fault, and you will help them get through it.

 

Tweak privacy settings

Most social media sites and blogging sites where cyberbullying often occurs have tons of privacy options that you can use to help thwart a cyberbully. Block any users that are bullying your child on their Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr accounts. Report abuse.

 

Talk to the appropriate authorities

You’re doing your child no favors by keeping their cyberbullying under lock and key. You should contact your child’s school and see if they can intervene. If the cyberbullying is severe and contains threats of violence or extreme invasion of privacy (posting sensitive information about your child, leaking hacked materials) then you should certainly contact the police. Cyberbullying.org notes that parents of cyberbullies may become defensive and confrontational if presented with evidence of their child’s activities, so it pays to be careful in this regard.

 

Create a healthy home environment for your child

Focus on the elements that you can control – for example creating a healthy, stress-free environment at home. Make sure your home is clean and de-cluttered. Practice healthy habits with your family, like a good diet and a focus on getting enough exercise. Redfin.com notes that natural light in the home plays a key role in overall happiness and wellbeing, so keep your curtains open and spend a lot of time with your kids in the backyard.

Finally, you want to create a home environment where communication is open and honestly is rewarded. The best tool you have to help your child fight against cyberbullying is knowledge, and you can’t know what your child feels if they don’t feel comfortable talking to you about it. Withhold judgment, overreaction, and any punishment for their online activities. Simply listen and offer help.

 

Teach your child that they must be better than their bully

Your child must know that when they go to school, it’s paramount that they rise to a higher level than their bully. They should know that retaliation is never a good idea, as it often emboldens the bully and make them more aggressive. They should always be kind to everyone and do their best to ignore the bullying.

It’s unfortunate that kids these days have to deal with cyberbullying, but it’s a prevalent problem. Bullies aren’t going away, and neither is the internet – so this problem is likely here to stay. As a parent, it’s your job to keep communication lines open, intervene when necessary, and teach your children how to react to a bully.

 

Please note: The Norwich Radical and the author are not cyberbullying experts, nor do we presume to be taken as such. The above are suggestions from a contributing parent, and should not be considered the golden standard in the case of cyberbullying.

Featured image via Pixabay

 


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DEEPGREY (1)

by Zoe Harding

(Part 1 of a serialised prose fiction endeavour.)

Download the attachment, click the link and whoah hang the fuck on here.

It’s not easy to properly rip a headset off your head. They tend to tangle on your ears, or else there’s a cable somewhere that gets in your hair and insta-knots itself until it might as well be glued there. When I had long hair it was even worse, but even my current slightly-longer-than-a-buzz-cut approach still manages to trap the occasional stray wire in its velcro-like hooks.

Still, I manage it, because when you’re the sort of person that I am, you develop a pretty impressive set of reflexes for certain situations. Part of that is down to the still-can’t-quite-believe-that-happened bullshit that was the Meme Wars leaving its scar on our collective psyche. Some of the shit the Russians worked out how to do with flashing lights and the Mark 1 Eyeball remains impossible to describe, both due to of its design and because of the gag limitations of the human stomach. But it’s also partly down to my own situation which is sadly far from unique but also far from common.

I feel the sort of revulsion you get when you accidentally stick your hand into something dead. In the first few hyperventilating seconds after I rip off the headset, it dawns on me that what I’ve just witnessed indicates that that, metaphorically, is pretty much what’s just happened.Continue Reading

IGNITING STUDENT ACTIVISM #3 – WORKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE

by Bradley Allsop & Calum Watt

Rarely in our lifetimes has there been a more exciting time for young people to engage in politics. Change is in the air and nowhere else offers more opportunities to engage in this conversation, to learn valuable skills and to help shape society than university campuses. This series of articles seeks to offer some guidance for those aiming to ignite student activism at their institutions. Drawing on our experiences as campaigners we hope to highlight some common challenges and give you some advice on how to combat them.

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IGNITING STUDENT ACTIVISM #2 – ESCALATION

by Bradley Allsop and Calum Watt

Rarely in our lifetimes has there been a more exciting time for young people to engage in politics. Change is in the air and nowhere else offers more opportunities to engage in this conversation, to learn valuable skills and to help shape society than university campuses. This series of articles seeks to offer some guidance for those aiming to ignite student activism at their institutions. Drawing on our experiences as campaigners we hope to highlight some common challenges and give you some advice on how to combat them.

The first article in this series looked at early steps of any campaign: doing your research, setting your goals, getting the message out there and beginning to grow your movement. This time we’ll be taking a look at some of the issues that occur as you begin to develop as a group.Continue Reading

IGNITING STUDENT ACTIVISM #1 – FIRST STEPS

by Bradley Allsop and Calum Watt

Rarely in our lifetimes has there been a more exciting time for young people to engage in politics. Change is in the air and nowhere else offers more opportunities to engage in this conversation, to learn valuable skills and to help shape society than university campuses. This series of articles seeks to offer some guidance for those aiming to ignite student activism at their institutions. Drawing on our experiences as campaigners we hope to highlight some common challenges and give you some advice on how to combat them.

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REVIEW: THE CIRCLE, BY DAVE EGGERS

by Eli Lambe

Dave Eggers’ The Circle, both the book and the recent feature-length adaptation, is a dystopia formed around a Facebook/Apple/Google/Amazon-esque corporation, one which hosts and shares almost every aspect of its users lives. The novel does a remarkable job of capturing the subtle ways in which this model is marketed to us, how this format of data-as-product is often shrouded in apparently progressive buzzwords – community, accountability, transparency, participation – whilst the company which operates under this model does so under the same values as every other corporate entity.

There is a veneer of progressivity and respectability that companies adopt in order to retain and gain customers – like Facebook making it easier to harass trans people, or implementing guidelines that protect white men but not black children, and at the same time, for one month of the year, patchily providing a rainbow “pride” react to the users who liked lgbt@facebook. Perhaps not as extreme as Eggers writes in The Circle, but eerily close enough: “Anytime you wanted to see anything, use anything, comment on anything or buy anything, it was one button, one account, everything tied together and trackable and simple, all of it operable via mobile or laptop, tablet or retinal.”Continue Reading

LIBERALISM HAS NEVER BEEN STRONGER, LET’S KEEP IT THAT WAY

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by Sunetra Senior

A few days after Trump’s Presidential win, an article by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz – entitled Under President Trump Radical Hope is Our Best Weapon published in The New Yorker – went viral. In it, the Dominican writer called out Trump as a ‘misogynist’ and ‘racial demagogue’, and principally defended multiculturalism stating that in order to recuperate: ‘we need to bear witness to what we have lost: our safety, our sense of belonging, our vision of our country’. He further argued that the best way to do this was to employ a concept called ‘Radical Hope’.

This, according to the creator of the philosophy Jonathan Lear, is a determined sort of hope that tackles mass trauma by being “directed toward a future goodness which transcends the current ability to understand what it is.” Here, I would like to highlight the British Labour Party’s recent parliamentary progress as not only encapsulating this, but also expanding Díaz’ original proposed vision. Corbyn and his recently more socially democratic party so successfully delivered Radical Hope that it not only revived the liberal spirit, but the possibility of a truly equitable world.Continue Reading

MANCHESTER AND THE SORRY STATE OF BRITISH JOURNALISM

by Zoe Harding

CW: article contains descriptions of the Manchester terrorist attack, racist discourse, links to images of war crimes.

The official threat level after the terror attack in Manchester is back down from Critical to Serious, and the country has started to move on. The news cycle seems to have been slightly shorter, as well; at time of writing the front page of the BBC News website is largely concerned with technical problems at British Airways and I-kid-you-not a cheese rolling competition.

I’d love to say that this particular terrorist incident didn’t incite the usual wave of hate and disgustingly inappropriate coverage that tends to follow such events, including random hate crimes, thundering headlines and political manoeuvring. I’d love to.

But The Daily Mail exists. And The Sun. And the political climate in the UK has become sufficiently toxic that even without those two, the response was nonetheless as unpleasant as any I’ve seen.Continue Reading

FUCK OFF, TERFS: DISPATCHES FROM THE INTERNET HATE MACHINE

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by Zoe Harding

Content warning: article contains strong language and mentions transphobia, rape, death threats, online harassment, homophobia, biphobia and bi erasure.

So this week a friend of mine said something on Twitter about accepting transgender people as people, regardless of genitalia. One of those reasonable discussions that occasionally ensue on the internet ensued, and ended with her getting dog-piled with sufficient angry, hateful messages to nearly crash her ageing iPhone and accusations ranging from homophobia to gaslighting and advocacy of corrective rape. While the barrage of tweets from a dozen accounts was polite by online discourse standards (for ‘polite’, read ‘no swearing but massively condescending, dismissive, pompous and worryingly intense’) the death threats and abuse that followed in private messages was significantly less so.

Once more, my friend had attracted the ire of the TERFs.Continue Reading

THINGS ONLY WOMEN WRITERS HEAR AND THE TROUBLE WITH TWITTER

by Hannah Rose

Virginia Woolf stated in her 1929 seminal essay A Room of One’s Own that, because women remain unequal to men in society, they are less likely to succeed as writers. A writer has two basic requirements in order to write productively: an independent income which provides basic necessities—food and shelter— and uninterrupted writing time. In 1929, the majority of British women were either working to provide the basic necessities for others, and did not have a private space in which to pursue a creative life or an independent income. This, says Wolf, is why the literary canon is dominated by men. “Intellectual freedom,” she writes, “depends upon material things.”

Almost a century later, some women are still having to argue their right to a creative life.Continue Reading

THE QUESTION CONCERNING TWITTER – IS HARASSMENT LESS REAL ONLINE?

By Eve Lacroix

Content warning : Article mentions rape threats, harassment, racism

In The Question Concerning Technology, Heidegger argues that technology is a means to an end, and that technology is a human activity. The two are not mutually exclusive. Technology is a means to facilitate our lives, eliminating manual or tedious or repetitive tasks. We use technology for our human need of community, connecting to friends and family through social media, searching for partners on dating apps.

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A FUNNY THING ABOUT AUTISM

by Aaron Hood

Article mentions gun violence, death, ableism, and contains strong language.

I’m taking my meme lord hat off for a second for something a bit more serious. Recently my newsfeed has consisted of dank memes, depressing Trump based shenanigans and salacious nonsense about what celebrity has indulged in whatever inanity this week. It’s strange how little chance anything that the algorithm that dictates my social media viewing has of showing me something that holds any real interest to me.

I came across a study via my newsfeed showing that we’re not far off eradicating Autism from children in the womb or whatever witchcraft those science people do now.Continue Reading

EVERYDAY DOUBLETHINK – ONLINE LIFE AND ALTERNATIVE FACTS

By Sam Naylor

Kellyanne Conway has been making headlines this week. Sent out to explain away Sean Spicer’s bizarre comments regarding the crowds at Trump’s inauguration, she said “we feel compelled to go out and clear the air and put alternative facts out there”. Alternative facts, huh? How’s this:

Last week saw the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America, Bernie Sanders. As the world witnessed the honesty and good intentions of the new administration firsthand over the next few days, sales of George Orwell’s 1984 surged (it sold out on Amazon). Commentators were broadly bemused. Why, with a president of unparalleled frankness ascending to the Oval Office, was a narrative of lies and alternative facts, paradoxes and doublethink, a story of a nation which unashamedly proclaimed “War is peace, Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength, becoming so popular?

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WHY TRADITIONAL CAMPAIGNING NEEDS A COMEBACK

by James Anthony

The other week, I made the decision to purchase train tickets for a 4AM journey down to London, just a few days before all of my university coursework was due. As with many other activists across the country, I was off to spend the first day of December in Richmond Park talking to voters for the parliamentary by-election taking place there. Some people might call that a stupid decision – and they’re probably correct – but there is an important reason as to why I did it. It’s the same reason that I trudged the streets of Norwich in May and again in June this year putting bits of paper through letter boxes and knocking on doors as I went around. I believe that traditional political campaigning holds the key to winning elections.Continue Reading

SNOWDEN (2016) – A REVIEW

by Andrejs Germanis

In the few years that I have been watching films it is a rare occasion that a film would receive an ovation at the end of the performance. This was the case during a recent preview showing of Snowden.

The latest Oliver Stone written and directed dramatization of actual events was shown as part of the 60th BFI London Film Festival. The film, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden and Shailene Woodley as Lindsay Mills, Snowden’s girlfriend, depicts the events that before and shortly after the shocking reveal of 2013 that the US government is spying on their citizens. The events are presented in an interview format between Snowden and the group of The Guardian journalists Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto), Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and Ewan MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson).Continue Reading

RACIAL PLURALISM IN THE OLYMPICS

by Julian Canlas

The 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil, has resulted in a lot of firsts. Nine countries are celebrating their first ever gold medal, including first-time entrant Kosovo, whose sovereignty the Olympics committee recognised only two years ago. The Refugee Olympic Team (ROT) was also formed to ‘bring global attention to the magnitude of the refugee crisis’. Despite not having won any medals, their significance lies in their representation. The ROT acts as a symbol of hope to those who have been forcefully displaced from their home country that the dreams of these displaced athletes will happen despite all the unfair hardships, injustices and atrocities they have experienced.

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CISGENDERED OR NOTHING – THE ABSENCE OF LGBTQ+ CHARACTERS IN FILM

by Jess Howard

Earlier this month, Warner Bros and DC released their latest superhero film Suicide Squad, sending mixed reactions across the internet as viewers commented on the film’s plot line and the sexualisation of squad member Harley Quinn. Audience and critics’ opinions aside, what is explicitly noticeable within the film is the lack of LGBTQ+ characters, such as DC character Batwoman, for example if Batman can make a cameo, why not her? In a world with superheroes, Killer Crocs, and witches, why are production companies still refusing to feature LGBTQ+ characters in their films?Continue Reading

THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED

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by Candice Nembhard

There is something to be said for the recent solidarity protests in London, Birmingham and Manchester as organised by the Black Lives Matter movement. Never have I seen such a positive, unionised display of blackness that has caught the eye of not only the media, but also the average citizen. As more articles are released, I am becoming more intrigued by the role that social media has played in galvanising mass movement, and implementing revolutionary politics that will leave behind a long lasting message for people of colour to come.

My experience in the UK regarding institutional violence against people of colour was that the baton was always passed to our stateside counterparts. It is not difficult to see why, when sites such as Twitter and Tumblr opened us up to the lives of Trayvon Martin, Ayesha Jones, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland — long before it caught the attention of popular news sites and news networks. It was important that these narratives were being discussed, as it gave people of all races an insight into the practices within forces that are designed to safeguard us —especially in a society of 24-hour surveillance.Continue Reading

SELFIES AND SELF-PORTRAITS

by Jess Howard

After finding myself caught in a particularly upsetting example of British weather on Monday afternoon, I decided my time hiding from the rain would be best spent nosing round the Impressionist collection currently held in the Courtauld gallery. After fanning away the tears that inexplicably began to spring from my eyes as I stood in front of Édouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folie-Bergère, I stood for a while to look at Vincent Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, painted shortly after the artist removed his own right ear.

Once I had gotten over my annoyance at the people taking photos of the works around them on their smart phones, instead of just looking at them – which I’m sure could make up another article entirely – I continued to look at the painting, the first real piece of Impressionist art I think I have ever seen in person.Continue Reading

CASUAL RACISM: WHY IS IT STILL A PROBLEM IN ASIA?

by Faizal Nor Izham

Disclaimer: mentions violence against women, casual racism

Last week, the Internet was sent into its usual frenzy over the latest political correctness issue. Amidst the now sadly all-too-common Western-centric controversies, such as actress Rose McGowan raising the issue of the use of casual violence against women in movie posters to market ‘X-Men: The Apocalypse’, the Internet also reacted strongly to a television advert from China that was making its rounds on social media. The ad, featuring national detergent brand Qiaobi, contained levels of racism considered disturbingly casual by most standards.

In the commercial, a pouch of Qiaobi cleaning liquid is forced into a black actor’s mouth by a Chinese woman, who goes on to bundle him head-first into a washing machine. After a few cycles, she opens the lid and in his place, a Chinese man emerges instead. He proceeds to wink at the camera before the tagline appears onscreen: “Change begins with Qiaobi”.Continue Reading

STATE MEDIA AND THE DETERIORATION OF FREE SPEECH

by Gunnar Eigener

Out of the May 5th elections the biggest story was the criticism of the coverage by the BBC and other mainstream media outlets. Particular focus of this was on BBC Question Time and the BBC Political Editor, Laura Kuenssberg. This isn’t the first time that Kuenssberg has come under fire and it probably won’t be the last. A petition was doing the rounds demanding an independent review of how biased her actions may have been but has now been taken down. Additionally, the lack of coverage over the alleged Tory fraud in the last General Election has generated a sense of distrust in the BBC, an organisation that states: ‘impartiality lies at the heart of the public service and is the core of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences’.

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SHAKESPEARE’S 400TH ANNIVERSARY — A CELEBRATION, PART 2

by Jo Thompson, Jake Reynolds, Hannah Whaley, Alex Valente

From an idea by Jake Reynolds.

April 23rd will mark four hundred years since the death of William Shakespeare. I won’t patronise you by introducing him. I contacted ten people — some undergraduates, some Master’s students, some UEA alumni — and asked them who their favourite Shakespeare character is. Or, more specifically, which character had the most profound effect on them. The responses have been read in a variety of different and fascinating ways. Some ground the character in the text, while others branch across to discuss film portrayals, personal experience, and cultural commentaries. The characters you will see championed here over the next three weeks come from current and former students of literature, creative writing, American studies, film studies, scriptwriting and performance, politics and international relations, and more. What binds them is their passion — the Shakespearean character, whoever he, she, or they may be, still survives the death of their creator, alive and rattling in our minds as they did to Shakespeare’s contemporaries. Continue Reading

SHAKESPEARE’S 400TH ANNIVERSARY — A CELEBRATION, PART 1

by Molly Pearson, Nándor Révész, Beth Saward

From an idea by Jake Reynolds.

April 23rd will mark four hundred years since the death of William Shakespeare. I won’t patronise you by introducing him. I contacted ten people — some undergraduates, some Master’s students, some UEA alumni — and asked them who their favourite Shakespeare character is. Or, more specifically, which character had the most profound effect on them. The responses have been read in a variety of different and fascinating ways. Some ground the character in the text, while others branch across to discuss film portrayals, personal experience, and cultural commentaries. The characters you will see championed here over the next three weeks come from current and former students of literature, creative writing, American studies, film studies, scriptwriting and performance, politics and international relations, and more. What binds them is their passion — the Shakespearean character, whoever he, she, or they may be, still survives the death of their creator, alive and rattling in our minds as they did to Shakespeare’s contemporaries. Continue Reading

WHERE ARE THE #PRAYERSFORNIGERIA?

by Cadi Cliff

On Tuesday night, landmark buildings from Germany to Dubai were lit up with the Belgian flag — a sign of solidarity after the horrific attacks in Brussels. The attacks — two bombs at the city’s main airport, and one at a metro station near the EU headquarters— have killed at least 30 individuals and injured hundreds of others. Daesh (read: the so-called Islamic State) have claimed responsibility for the attacks. It’s the most violent terrorist attack to hit Europe since the November attacks in Paris, which killed 130. But this is not the first, or even 100th, terrorist attack since Paris — though this certainly will be reported on by the Western media far more than the rest combined.

Since Paris there have been hundreds of terrorist attacks worldwide. Attacks that didn’t result in tricolour Facebook profile pictures; attacks that didn’t lead to projected flags on lumps of architecture. Their narratives are only a headline, barely breaking. The descriptions are factual, not empathetic. There is no footage of candlelight vigils played on a loop on the news outlets. The shock factor simply isn’t there for the media splash if it’s a country that gets attacked again and again and again.Continue Reading

REVIEW: WOW FESTIVAL 2016, PART 2

by Carmina Masoliver

The first part of this review, covering some of the events taking place on the Saturday, can be found here.

On Sunday, I attended the Trans Identities panel, featuring, Jane Fae, Munroe Bergdorf and Kate O’Donnell. I often feel that it is difficult to fully understand the trans experience without having lived it, yet put simply, the audience was asked to raise their hands whether they knew their gender at the age of five, alluding to those who transition as desiring the opposite to what they are referred to by others. As the panel highlighted, I’m of the view that to be a Feminist, you need to fight for all women, and that includes trans women. As Crenshaw argued, that is the crux of intersectionality. It’s not really the same if it’s only certain women for whose rights you fight. So, all I can do is listen and search to find out more about what it means to be trans, or gender fluid, or any other non-binary gender identity.  It’s a complex topic, and I think most people in the audience could have stayed at least an hour longer. To explore more, you can catch Rebecca Root and O’Donnell in BBC drama Boy Meets Girl, which for some reason, BBC iPlayer don’t have to view.Continue Reading

ONLINE DEMOCRACY UNDER THREAT IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD

by Faizal Nor Izham

One novel I’ve always been meaning to finish is the the award-winning sci-fi classic Neuromancer by William Gibson. Since the initial publication of the counter-cultural novel in – of all years – 1984, it went on to inspire the ‘cyberpunk’ movement in the science fiction genre, as well as the ‘high-tech, low life’ type neo-noir aesthetic that often goes with it. Neuromancer has also gone on to inspire popular films such as Ghost in the Shell and The Matrix.

But what makes the novel so prominent in popular culture is that fact that it was the first to coin the term ‘cyberspace’, i.e. a ‘consensual hallucination‘ replicated artificially by millions of interconnected computer users – which in turn makes up the Internet as we know it today. The story revolves around a washed-up computer hacker hired by a mysterious employer to pull off the ultimate hack (not dissimilar from Keanu Reeves’ original role in The Matrix). This in itself can be seen as an allegory for counter-cultural movements literally taking place within this ‘Matrix’ – a term first coined by the novel way before the movie of the same name was released – a world within the world, similar to the setting of the Tron films.

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ROBOTS WON’T BUILD OUR FUTURE — WE HAVE TO DO IT OURSELVES

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by Olivia Hanks

The Labour Party’s deputy leader Tom Watson wrote in The Guardian last week about the challenges posed to society by automation. Rapid developments in artificial intelligence over the last few years have brought this issue to prominence once again, and spawned a proliferation of articles saying, effectively, “We know we said this in the 60s, but this time we mean it — robots are going to take over the world!

The fact that fears of mass unemployment caused by machines proved largely unfounded in the 19th century and again 50 years ago doesn’t mean that we should ignore this issue. Far from it — it presents us with an opportunity to rethink our entire approach to work.Continue Reading

YIK YAK AI

by Jake Reynolds

I recently downloaded ‘Yik Yak’, the anonymous social media app prevalent among student communities, out of curiosity. I’d heard terrible things about it — it was posited as an anonymous forum in which people hurled insults and putdowns at one another in an act of self-generating bitterness. But when I opened the app, and scrolled through the comments as they rolled in, what I read didn’t feel like anger to me. It instead filled me with a strange and distant sadness. Yik Yak AI is my best attempt at rolling everything into one.

I need you to know I am hungover I need you to know
I went out and got alcohol poisoning I am in bed eating
pizza I am the real deal I need you to know I am the god
of all your comedy give me what I need I need you to
know I am jealous of you but I cannot say it properlyContinue Reading

THE FAR RIGHT IN BRISTOL

by Freddie Foot

The refugee crisis and the attacks in Paris has led to a reevaluation of European values and Europe’s overall unity. It has also stoked existing islamophobia and anti-immigration politics in the UK.

Those who were at, or read about, the far-right protest in Bristol in October would have noticed the organisers were the ‘Bristol United Patriots’ (BUP), a far-right group who ‘will defend our country our families and our culture against any threat to the peace and security of our nation’. The demonstration centered on opposing the housing of Syrian refugees while there was a British homelessness epidemic. The BUP had stated that “This demo is to highlight the homeless situation amongst the ex-service personnel living rough in Bristol and Somali rape gangs operating in this area. All nationalist and patriotic groups are welcome to fly their own flags.”

While Bristol has a strong history in anti-fascist activities and a relatively weak far-right, it is still worth understanding this new group and its intentions in the city. Readers will be pleased to know that it was difficult to look into the history of the far-right in Bristol. No one from the BUP wanted to speak to me about the protest or their organisation and seemed extremely defensive when I approached them.Continue Reading

ARE YOU SITTING COMFORTABLY? ARMCHAIR ACTIVISM – A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

By Josh Clare

The thing which I most enjoy about each Christmas since I learnt that there wasn’t a magical man bringing me countless gifts is the time available for reflection. This year as I sit by the open fire of my mother’s house, far too full on turkey next to the sleeping dog there is only one thing that I can think – how lucky I am. Sure, I have a rigorous job, but it’s certainly nothing like the dirty, tiring job my dad had or the chicken farm jobs my far-too-young mum had to take on as a child. I’m the first generation in my family to be enabled to think for a job and when I stop to contemplate about what that means I’m so grateful for the sacrifices that others have made to get me here but also, sadly, embarrassed by how I’m spending my opportunity, my ability.

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YEAR IN REVIEW

by Jake Reynolds

In response to 2015.

I saw terror through a lens
and the public shaming friendships.
We called it proper work.

Feeling so very comfortable eating churros with a bunch of pregnant women! Just what I needed, the perfect chill yummy food birthday!!!!Continue Reading

THE END IS NOT NIGH: THE REVOLUTION IS ALREADY HERE

By Gunnar Eigener

“Political action without the support of radical
mass movement inevitably becomes hollow.”

Chris Hedges

 

Positivity seems in short supply. Looking at the news and you might think that the end of days is upon us. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Relax. It might just be a glimpse, but there is something on the horizon.

There is no doubt that there are many terrible things happening to the planet and to its people. Yet history has taught us that in times of adversity people come together. It is easy to see how often people go against the wishes of their governments, to act humanely, decently. Just think of the migrant crisis and see how Europe have reacted. Think of the images and stories of citizens giving up their possessions and food and water to help strangers on their gruelling journey. In times of difficulty, humans are capable of great and generous acts. Under the right circumstances we will think nothing of giving away our material goods and food to others in need. If only we could realise that every time is the right circumstance.

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I AM A SOCIAL MEDIA ZOMBIE

By Sam Naylor

A feeling of instant gratification is on the menu and I know where I rush to get my fix. For most of us social media has become a daily part of our lives. How many of us wake up in the morning and check our social media presence? It is one of those little habits that has become a fixture of my daily routine and one that we’re finding increasingly difficult to disconnect from. We’ll just scroll one more time, just click that last video, read the article from that last link. Facebook is a great way to get your opinions out to all 1,125 of your ‘closest friends’ and for you to experience theirs. It can often feel like an extension of our own thought process, that we could just post that instantaneous nugget of knowledge as a status update. In fact Facebook cares that much about what we have to say that it politely asks “What’s on your mind?”, urging us to divulge in an opinion that it oh so wants to hear. The false companionship and the sense of familiarity that social media apps give us are aspects that keep us coming back, which have us glued to virtual text on a screen rather than worrying about dialogues set in the ‘real world’. Facebook is not a substitute for our own opinions.

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STUDENT POLITICS – JAPAN’S NEXT BIG THING?

by Faizal Nor Izham

The words “democracy” and “Asia” aren’t always known for going together. But with the proliferation of the Internet and social media, Asia appears to be learning a few lessons from other developing nations when it comes to democratic reform. The Arab Spring, the online democratic movement which eventually culminated in protests in Tunisia and Egypt, is surely a recent example that could be learned from.

The Internet has certainly had a liberating effect on this region, previously known for being conservative in terms of political expression and dissent. The Japanese political sphere, for example, is usually not renowned for being politically active or outspoken. But that’s slowly starting to change.

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LENSES

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

I can’t wait to get out of these clothes and braid
our legs together, hold collarbones like fridge handles
and wait for the glow, then poke your dimples
like they are soft depressions on a hot cake.

I like Evie, for a girl. Rory for a boy. And I like the way
that you are everything, that you hold the world up
as a photograph of a photograph, or how you sing
when you re-enact The Lion King with the cat.Continue Reading

THE WRITING OF A REFUGEE

by Jess Howard

At the end of last month, an image of a refugee in Beirut appearing to be selling a handful of biros, with his young daughter held to his chest, went viral. The image was captured and tweeted by activist Gissur Simonarson, whose Twitter feed was then flooded with requests for him to identify the pair. Simonarson quickly set up #BuyPens to find them, and within thirty minutes they were identified as Abdul Halim Attar, a single father of two, and his daughter Reem.

After identifying Abdul, through a woman who saw him daily around his house, Simonarson then set about organising a crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo.com, with the aim of raising funds for him and his family. Since the date this article was written the campaign has raised $190,824, completely overtaking the original target of $5,000. The amount of money that has been raised is incredible, and will completely change the lives of Abdul and his children.Continue Reading

PERSONAL MEDIA: RISK OR RESPONSIBILITY?

by Jess Howard

It’s easy to say that a vast percentage of the Western world is able to access the internet on a daily basis. Laptops, computers, tablets – the list of accessibility is almost endless. And then, of course, we have smart phones. A hand-held device that allows you to become a researcher, writer or photographer at the swipe of a thumb. Our hands have control of who we want to be, what we want to see, and when we want to see it. Be it on a train, buses or during our walk to Starbucks for our morning latte.

Personally, embarrassingly, I don’t think I could function without my phone. As a writer I am constantly jotting down article ideas or passages for potential short stories. Some stay, some are discarded, but the majority of them are stowed away in the Pages app on my iPhone. I fall into the same category as everyone else when it comes to my pocket-sized, electronic best friend.Continue Reading

THE MYTH OF ASIAN DEMOCRACY

by Faizal Nor Izham

Although Asia as a whole will always be making great strides economically, much more remains to be seen in the way of democracy and human rights. There has always been the myth that Asian values and democracy are incompatible — a well-known fact in Asia, especially in the more developing countries — but in the Internet and social media age, there appears to be a renewed demand for freedom, especially when people’s livelihood and most basic rights are in jeopardy.

However, despite these assumptions, a more thorough analysis shows that Asian history is actually rich in philosophies and traditions that are well-steeped in democratic ideals.Continue Reading

SOCIAL MEDIA, APPROPRIATION, AND THE ART WORLD.

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by Jess Howard

Artistic appropriation is in no way a new phenomenon. Painters and sculptors have been reproducing their own versions of classic art works for centuries. Picasso for instance, took his own stance in the 1950’s when he appropriated Eugene Delacroix’s The Women of Algiers, by painting the women from behind. And Andy Warhol famously lost a lawsuit in the 1960’s over the design of his Flowers piece. But how does the art world address this kind of appropriation when an image has been sourced directly?

Last month Richard Prince, no stranger to appropriation, caused controversy with his New Portraits exhibition, by displaying a series of images in the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles that he had directly taken off of Instagram. There was no editing, no unique angle, and no form of reproduction. He simply blew the images up, added one last comment, and hung them in gallery. They then proceeded to sell out at the Frieze Art Fair, with the pieces reaching over £56,000 each. This brings into question the idea of possession and identity, both on the internet and within artistic expression. If you place images on a public forum, do they automatically become public property?Continue Reading

THE PROBLEM OF EXTREMISM

by Jonathan Lee

Prime Minister Erdoğan was speaking in reaction to the Obama administration identifying Turkey as a moderate Islamic country. The blunt statement challenges much of the narrative coming from Western governments, and forces the West to question the validity of the term as well as another of its favourite loaded words: ‘Extremism’.

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the heavily sidelined Boko Haram massacre at Baga, the media’s use of choice words like ‘extremism’, ‘radicalism’, ‘fundamentalism’, and ‘Islamism’ has once once again been unleashed in a daily barrage on our television and computer screens. The corresponding rise of Islamophobia, which was already latent in the West, has reached even higher levels, resulting in liberals, apologists, and leftists having to try and stem the tide of what is sometimes wanton bigotry and racism. An oft deployed tool of argument is the careful labelling and distinction between ‘moderate Islam’ and ‘extremism’, usually in the vein of ‘moderate Muslims are not to blame, extremism is’.

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