Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

The discussions around Brexit, the remerging secessionist movements in Europe and Asia (Mainly Catalonia and Kurdistan) as well as the simmering feeling of socio-economic unrest that exists across the world has made me wonder at the sort of future people are envisioning for themselves. I feel that the minds of certain individuals are conflicted between several things, mainly; What we deserve, what we want, what we need, what we are entitled to, and what we actually receive. Once these factors have been harmonized, I believe we may move closer to the sort of peaceful utopia of solidarity that many people seem to crave for. Of course, the underlying question being, is this actually feasible? People may be asking the same questions of what we deserve and what we actually need, but the answers seem to differ greatly according the various political and economic groups that people belong to. Furthermore, there is a general feeling that citizens have been told by tyrannies of what they should and should not desire, this sentiment seems to be shared across the political spectrum; several so called “liberal left” institutions and “neo-conservative” governments have been at the spotlight of these accusations. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I believe that communication is central to addressing these concerns. This does not just mean just articulating your perspective clearly, it also means listening to others carefully so that debates and arguments can led to constructive outcomes. This may be a simplistic analysis of the current social mood, but perhaps the first stage of dealing with complex dilemmas is to begin with basic and accessible approaches.

Several historical episodes show that the creation of political utopias have often failed because there has been a fundamental misunderstanding of what people have been trying to achieve. One only needs to look at the successful and unsuccessful Russian Revolutions of the early 20th Century, or the English and French revolutions of the early modern era to see the lack of a coherent strategy after the ruling power was toppled. Our utopias will not succeed based on how beautiful or how great they look, but on our ability to compromise and interact effectively.

“It’s wrong to deprive someone else of a pleasure so that you can enjoy one yourself, but to deprive yourself of a pleasure so that you can add to someone else’s enjoyment is an act of humanity by which you always gain more than you lose.” – Thomas More – Utopia – 1516




Following on from my previous post, I have a new blog which will be dedicated to poetry and possibly creative writing. It will aim to subtly reflect my political and philosophical thoughts as well as matters on history, radicalism and current affairs.


I’ll be uploading some fresh new poems on to a separate blog in the near future. I have always wanted to revisit my poetic talents but I never felt like I could articulate my thoughts in a way that was coherent and that satisfied how I truly felt. Most of the poetry I wrote was mainly in my adolescent teenage years and was loosely inspired by the Romanticist poetry I learnt whilst studying English Literature at school. I have spent some time recently reflecting on how authentic I really was towards Romanticism; and although I believe I wrote in the style and and the vein of the Romantic Poet – particularly ones who “renounced the rationalism and order associated with the preceding Enlightenment era, stressing the importance of expressing authentic personal feelings. ” – I felt that I did not capture the sense of social responsibility to inform and inspire other that is often associated with Romantic poetry. It would be great if I could bring an essence that back into my new poetry, although I do not wish to stifle my creativity by enforcing a particular writing style. Most of my poetry was written through a prism of typical teenage angst, which probably represented my narrow world view at the time! Since then, I have invested much of my attention towards current political affairs, historical research and a willingness to look at those things with a radical perspective, my poetry will touch upon those themes with hopefully the same level of creative enthusiasm that I had placed in my earlier writing.

In my opinion, the world we interact with is filled dark and disturbing imagery that can often bring out the worst in us. The media are often the culprits of this, but we also play our part by gullibly seeking political and historical information with a blissful ignorance towards the truth. Whilst I understand how important accurate research is, I believe that for our mental health we occasionally need to take step back and view these issues in a more measured manner. Hopefully my poetry will reflect this.


I still plan on blogging about radical, political historical matters. My next post will discuss Irish political history and its global relevance regarding independence and cultural citizenship.

wilfred owen

Its hard to genuinely describe how I feel about this election. I’m excited, nervous, disappointed, angry, hopeful and scared at the same time. This election has come under the backdrop of a very strong swift to the right wing of the political spectrum. Populism has thrived under a sporadic wave of anti-establishment sentiment. This feeling, which has the potential of inspiring a new era of progressive politics that could challenge the very foundations of injustice automatically feels the opposite. Trump’s victory has given rise to an emboldened and camouflaged sense of neo-liberalism. Brexit (for the time being) could potentially provide the Conservatives with the ability to usher in totalitarian legislation which no voted for on June 23rd; Remain or Leave. Yet, despite this, Jeremy Corbyn’s brand of true Centre left politics has held strong, he has managed to publish a manifesto that stands by his economic principles and he has managed to garner support (both from experts and the public) during the process. The polls are narrowing and the prime minister incumbent is beginning to buckle under the pressure. Even the Tory-supporting Media are struggling to avoid criticism of Theresa May; her pledges to let those age with dignity and keep our nation safe have been torn to shreds under the scrutiny of the opposition, the public and the national media. Her weak leadership has been representative of why this country is broken and who so many are indifferent to our political system.

Jeremy Corbyn is by no means the perfect politician. He has occasionally demonstrated his inexperience at dealing with the mucky, business end of party politics and he is very reluctant to follow traditional party policy when called upon. Some may say this makes him naïve and undisciplined. But I disagree, why would a former Chairman for Stop-The-War suddenly jump at the chance to renew our Trident Program? And why would someone who commits to the idea of “a different kind of politics” want to engage in petty personal attacks? We need more a principled type of politics that speaks towards the  people and not towards a carefully structured agenda steeped in bureaucracy and thinly veiled insults. Corbyn may not have all the answers but he has the right approach.

In regards to the outcome, it is important to stress that this popular surge of progressive politics needs to continue whether Corbyn gets thrashed or wins by a landslide. There are too many examples throughout history where potential political saviors have come to the surface and achieved power only to fall back on all their promises; Trump, Stalin and even Oliver Cromwell all spoke of grand and radical changes which will benefit the nation, but it was only a matter of months before all those figures committed a war crime of some nature shortly after their election to the highest office. It is our social and political responsibility to make sure that the people we put in power speak for us and not for any special interests. That isn’t to say that we will always be successful in holding leaders to account, but we can’t stand idly by while our hopes and dreams are trashed away. The same principles apply if Corbyn was to lose. If Corbyn was to get obliterated in the election, this doesn’t mean that we should just give up our progressive principles simply because “they couldn’t win us an election”, the values we fight for are independent of any political party or leader. True change and true progress comes from grassroots collective action, we are the only ones who can genuinely enforce a “different kind of politics”. Tomorrow is the perfect time for us to express that.

“Don’t let Apathy policy the populace” – Flobots


sovereigntyWith the decision of the Scottish Parliament to approve another independence referendum, the formal decision of Theresa May to official invoke article 50 and the nationalist tone of the general election; Questions surrounding sovereignty and the ‘recovery of power’ are fully in play. The rise of populism throughout the world and the increase around nationalist feeling has made Scotland particularly interesting in their growing interest towards leaving the United Kingdom.

Scotland’s recent change in political mood has been born out of a supposed fear that Scotland will be “dragged” out of the EU despite the country wishing to remain inside the European Union (as was evident in last year’s referendum).  But what I find intriguing is how Scotland wishes to leave an union based on the principles of sovereignty but at the same time wishes to remain inside a European Institution that requires member states to pool their sovereignty.

I have seen instances of this in other regions of the world, where a country has ceded from its host nation, only to join another a larger union that requires some pooling of sovereignty. Western Sahara or Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) became an unofficial independent region since 1975 when Spain retired its administrative power over the region following an uprising by the native West Saharan People (Polisario Front/ Sahrawi people). In 1979, the UN granted SADR the right to self determination and independence. There has been an ongoing conflict between Morocco and the West Saharan people for control within the region, with several protests and demonstrations resulting in fatalities. With this struggle for independence and sovereignty, it may be seen as a surprise as to why the Western Sahara are happy to join the African Union(African Union), an institution that advocates African states giving away their sovereignty. It may be said, that this was done for diplomatic reasons since the AU has historically recognised SADR. But recently, several countries are considering withdrawing their recognition of SADR, and over half of the member states within the AU may call for the expulsion of SADR from the Union. Why would Western Sahara want to join a Union that seeks to undermine the status and the integrity of its government?


Who has legitimate sovereignty over Western Sahara?

I believe that some comparisons can be made here with Scotland. EU law has specifically outlined the difficulty with which Scotland will face if it attempts to rejoin the EU after leaving the United Kingdom The conditions of admission……..shall be the subject of an agreement between the Member States and the applicant State…….This agreement shall be submitted for ratification by all the contracting States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements’. This agreement will not be easy to conduct if the negotiations between Theresa May and European Union are anything to go by. The rhetoric from some senior European/Scottish officials have expressed the struggle that Scotland may face in attempting to rejoin the EU, MSP Adam Tomkins said ”

For all its moaning about Brexit, it knows fine well an independent Scotland would not simply step into the European Union. Not only would it join the back of the queue, but we now learn it may have to adopt the euro and tackle an eye-watering deficit.

“It’s time for the nationalists to be honest about Brexit and stop using it as a tool to agitate for separation“.


What are the true intentions for the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon; surrounding Brexit and Scottish independence?

I find it particularly interesting how Tomkins claims that the Scottish government are using the European Union to further their own nationalist agenda. One could argue that Western Sahara/Polisario are attempting to a similar path, in that their attempt to join the AU is less about supporting African unity and prosperity and more about strengthening their cause for self-determination. Is this a matter of political dishonesty? Or is it just a necessary feature of modern politics? What sort of an impression does this give to the African and European Unions’ idea of continental unity if membership is seen as a political tool to gain independence?

Although Western Sahara are in the midst of a violent conflict with Morocco, Scotland and Western Sahara both harbour criticisms about joining a corrupt institution. African Political Scientists, Okumu and Makinda have remarked on the scale of fraud and misconduct in the African Union “personal greed; the internalization of bad habits; weak government structures.; poor remuneration of civil servants. These facts have generated corruption from the local governance authorities, through the state to the African Union”. Interestingly similar comments have been made about the European Union and its ability to prevent the growth of corruption, political scientist Warner has actually claimed that the European Union has supported the rise of wrongdoing and misconduct. “Across the EU, corruption has been found to have occurred not just in the ‘old economy’ sectors but in new and supposedly competitive sectors such as telecommunications, with politicians getting kickbacks for steering contracts or making favourable arrangements for firms”. Is it a possibility that the prospect of economic growth may be more significant than the idea of sovereignty. Both Scotland and Morocco have expressed an interest in joining smaller regional financial organisations; Scotland are currently considering joining EEA whilst changing their relationship with the WTO. Morocco are following a similar path by joining the (ECOWAS) Economic Community of West African States as well as being a part of  the Arab Maghreb Union. Now both Scotland and Morocco both adopt a strong patriotic tone with their politics, with the idea of national sovereignty being paramount. But does their relationship with these small political regional organisations suggest a changing nature around our idea of sovereignty?


Are our perceptions of sovereignty changing?

As Political Scientist Dr Nat O’Connor discusses

Part of the explanation for the British vote to exit the EU is a reaction to the uncertainty and fast pace of change brought about by globalisation. The calls to ‘take back control’ and for the UK to be fully sovereign are a rhetorical expression of this malaise.

Yet, how many countries are truly sovereign in this idealistic way?

Once the government of any territory wants to interact—even in a purely transactional way—with other jurisdictions, there must be some level of co-operation, if not compromise, which represents pooled sovereignty. “

From my perspective, this entire argument over sovereignty rests on the notion over a paternalist state versus the right of the individual. It could be argued that a paternalist state is allowed to seek financial agreements if it supports economic growth for its citizens despite the lack of transparency or approval with its subjects. The ‘right of the individual’ argument will often stress however that the citizen has the right to be informed over every decision and that “the people” should be part of the ‘negotiation process’. The complexities surrounding these notions of sovereignty is about the definition of “the people”. Many prominent Brexit Campaigners have cited the 52% of those who voted to leave the European Union as an accurate representation of “the people”. What happens to other 48%? Are their political voices to be ignored because the result of the referendum went against their wishes by 2 percent? These questions have led me to believe that political representation is central to our differing notions of sovereignty. But it also alludes to some conflicting ideas that some British political parties have about sovereignty. Nicola Sturgeon often makes the argument that the SNP are the party to spearhead Scotland towards independence, using her electoral gain of 50 seats from the 2015 general election as a democratic mandate for home rule. However if we take a look at the figures from that election, one could argue that SNP are not wholly representative of the Scottish electorate. They may have claimed 56 of the possible 59 seats in Scotland, but they only claimed 1/2 of the possible votes from Scottish electorate, how can a party promote the values representation and sovereignty for the people when it benefits from a disproportionate and a flawed system such as First Past The Post?

proportional representation

Can the First Past the Post System claim to accurately reflect the voice of the UK electorate? If it does not, then are the British electorate truly sovereign?

I do wonder however whether it is possible that the SNP could  prosper the idea of an alternative left wing movement that transcends the traditional idea of sovereignty. As we have seen, both Morocco and Scotland believe that their political and economic responsibility reaches beyond their national boundaries. Furthermore, the SNP have claimed that the employment rights of Scottish citizens are so enshrined within the European legislation,  that it actually makes the EU a stronger guarantor of worker rights than the current Conservative government of the UK. Interestingly, whilst there have been criticisms of the Conservative government spending disproportionately on defense at the expense of education, health and welfare departments, a similar sentiment has been echoed in much of North Africa including Morocco. Tunisian politician Riad Ben Fadhel has stated that  “[There has been an] unusual level of expenditure on arms, instead of social budgets, with austerity still being widely implemented across the Arab world…with Moroccan and Saudi Arabian governments receiving military assistance from the US…”, but Fadhel also states that to combat this militarist agenda, north African states should attempt in “building a united left-wing political coalition in the post-Arab spring political environment.” Fadhel speaks in a similar rhetoric to many SNP voters in that he does not wish to ignore the national identities of countries such as Morocco and Tunisia but to remind us about the social responsibility we have to those who are vulnerable regardless of their citizenship.

These principles may not be entirely new as it has been argued that institutions like the EU were founded on a social democratic promise to protect ‘ordinary’ European citizens. But with the rise of left wing politicians such Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders as well as the growing leftist movement DIEM25, there seems to be developing political trend outside of the establishment to unify and transform global politics. I am not sure whether this will have the same impact as the populist right due to the facet seem to espouse and support the governments neo-liberal handling of brexit furthermore the mainstream media outlets tend to offer more coverage to right-wing administrations such as the American Trump presidency over of British left wing movements such Jeremy Corbyn’s Momentum.

Of course historically, the SNP have always celebrated their ability to pool sovereignty with the government of England  the union with England and Wales. The Act of Union which was signed in 1707 was in seen as a great opportunity for the Scottish middle classes to rise up the social ladder and enjoy financial benefits of a prosperous British Empire. An English traveller to Scotland by the name of Daniel wrote in 1726 that “the Union opened the door to the Scots in our American colonies and the Glasgow merchants took up the opportunity”. I could be argued that this mentality of Scottish nationalism is still inherent today, with many Scottish citizens claiming they enjoy the benefits of the UK’s economic reach across the world. Would it then be radical political step for Scotland to detach itself from the Union which could thus threaten the national identity of Scotland progressing as a state.



Can a cross border movement based on the idea of democracy beat a populist narrative based on the traditional idea of sovereignty?


It is clear then that sovereignty is not a black-and-white issue like it has been portrayed in the national media. Our perception of power and where it resides can often be contradictory and fleeting. But is dominates our political conversation to the extent that certain contextual issues such as military intervention, party politics, austerity can often be forgotten. It thus important that our voices and opinions on these issues are accurately represented by our politicians and the media. We often hear how the support for national sovereignty is reflected in the far-right support for populist parties, but perhaps we should look beyond these claims to the idea that something more powerful can transcend the traditional ideas of sovereignty.

Is this an accurate portal of Trumpean future? How did we reach a stage where socio-economic equality has become a secondary priority to nationalism? I understand that the recent western anti-establishment movement seemed initially to fight for the “people” or the ordinary worker. However, I feel that those people have become deliberately detached from this initial message and have taken arms against the rise of the ‘SJW’. This isn’t particularly directed at the populist Alternative Right, but more about the source for this divisive atmosphere that has captured today’s political culture. What happened to discussions of ‘equality of opportunity’, what happened to idea of taking on the Big Banks and Wall street? Whilst there was a movement that was mobilised around social mobility, this has gradually been replaced by a rhetoric that justifies the inflated wealth of the elite.

This is particularly reflected in Trump’s decision to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act (the piece of legislation that regulated the Banks after the 2008 financial crisis). In his own words ‘We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank, because frankly I have so many people, friends of mine, that have nice businesses and they can’t borrow money … They just can’t get any money because the banks just won’t let them borrow because of the rules and regulations in Dodd-Frank. So we’ll be talking about that in terms of the banking industry,’. Does this sound like a man who is using radical measures to fight the establishment? It is clear that a vast section of Trump supporters have adopted a blissful ignorance to the fact that Trump is a product of a broken system. A system that seeks to protect the lucky winners of the banking and finance industry, whilst the losers – primarily those middle income earners whose mortgages were  devalued by the banking crisis, that Trump is meant to appeal to – are left a heavy financial burden to fix the economy.


Which one will you be?

One could also argue that here in Britain, any discussion of the economic consequences of Brexit have been minimal with immigration concerns remaining dominant. But there is emerging evidence that certain MPs who backed Brexit, were not doing so to restore ‘power to the people’. Earlier last week, brexiteer Kwasi Kwarteng spoke to RT and was reluctant to criticise the sanction scheme for British welfare, but seemed quick to defend the ‘bail-out’ of the banks based on the reasoning that ‘if the banking sector fails, everything fails’. This wilful negligence to acknowledge the contribution of the working classes to the economy is indicative of the way the conservative party are ensuring that Brexit works for the establishment. The big question here is, how we the public respond to this manipulation of public opinion.

Jeremy Corbyn has warned us about the dangers of Britain becoming an off-sure tax haven for the rich. “Theresa May has dangled the threat of turning Britain into a bargain basement tax haven….Far from taking back control, that would mean an assault on our public services, our standard of living and our quality of life.” As Disraeli said back in the 19th century, this would create a two nation England, where the corporations would reap the benefits of less financial red tape and the losers will suffer from a poorly funded public services.

Brexit and Trump were meant to deliver an eagerly awaited revolution that could potentially transform the relationship between ‘people’ and authority. Instead of focusing on ensuring that that revolution is realised, the populace in both America and the US have become distracted by the May’s and Trumps ill-thought immigration strategy. This is not to say that immigration is not an important discussion, but I believe it is being used as a smokescreen so that the ‘establishment’ can realign themselves on the right side of these populist results. It is our responsibility to make sure that we hold these outcomes to account and not to be distracted by sensationalist headlines.



‘Man in the High Castle’ – MITHC

The influence of popular culture on our day-to-day lives is incredible and subtle at the same time. Last year, I managed to catch up on a Boxset from Amazon Prime called ‘Man in the High Castle’. Based on the Phillip K. Dick novel of the same name , the show depicts a 1960s world where the Nazis and the Japanese Empire win the Second World War and then go on to dominate the world, both politically, economically and socially. America in particular, is divided from the the Japanese Pacific States on the West to the Nazi-Occupied forces on the East. Amongst the daily operations of the Totalitarian Nazi and Japanese authorities, we witness a resistance movement emerge from the depths of American society that aims to return America to what it used to be. The leader of this resistance, the ‘Man in the High Castle’ has produced a series of video tapes that literally portray a parallel universe where the Nazis actually lost the war. The Man in the High Castle is a mysterious and unseen figure, but his tapes provide hope for certain characters that dream of a world where ‘traditional American values’  have been restored. Whilst the world of ‘The Man in the High Castle’  is far from anything we have witnessed in our current society. I believe it presents some striking comparisons to Trump’s overall appeal to a vast section of America.

Firstly, it is important to mention that in ‘The Man in the High Castle’, the Nazi’s have political control over the entire world, their influence and reach stretches from South America to Africa and Asia. From a certain perspective, you could argue that the way in which the ‘The Resistance’ fights against against Nazi globalist force is similar to the way that Trump voters speak about the negative effects of globalization. Of course, the globalization of the 21st century is not tyrannical in the same vein, but many Trump voters feel that the authenticity of what it means to be American has been corrupted by the inter-connected and multicultural world that we live in. The Man in the High Castle talks of an ‘alternative’ dream where the world has been corrected to its natural state, and in some ways Trump sees himself as that ‘Man in the High Castle’ who offers Americans ‘a way out’ and a glimmer of hope to reverse these changes. Anti-establishment-ism can thrive in many different environments. Prior to Brexit and Trump’s victory , the idea of being Anti-Establishment was perceived as a philosophy that fights against authoritarianism and totalitarian regimes; Stalin’s Russia,  Hitler’s Third Reich and Kim John-Un’s North Korea come to mind.  These are just some historical and contemporary examples, but it is important to remember that these historical figures came to power because certain conditions existed that helped to create the desire for these kinds of leaders. Germany had suffered greatly from the  economic punishment they received from ‘Allied’ leaders after World War One and Hitler gave the Germans a sense of national pride to resist that international punishment at the expense of many minorities. Many Russians were in vast impoverishment during the rule of the Russian Tsars(royalty). Stalin portrayed himself as the leader of the working classes that seeked to lift the masses out of their struggle, again at the expense of many minorities. These men were the faces of two different types of revolutions; Hitler challenged the moderate and in some ways ‘defeatist’ Weimar Republic and Stalin was seen as someone who challenged traditional system of government. Both of these men simplified the origins of these problems, but this didn’t matter because they were seen as men who could  challenge the establishment, and Trump is operating in a very similar manner.  He doesn’t just manipulate fears and emotions, he distorts the historical causes of these poor conditions whilst placing himself as the man to solve them. Trump does not need to show how he will implement the changes, the people just need to a see a man who is willing to change things. Trump has thus created a sort messianic populism that has supported his campaign, his supporters will vote with passion and protest because Trump represents something new and enlightening. In this manner he is similar to the ‘Man in the High Castle’. The ‘Man in the High Castle’ distributes video tapes of an alternative world, and people will wholeheartedly believe and support him even-though they nothing of him simply because he symbolises a fundamental shift away from their current condition.

To say that Trumps electoral victory has create a wave of shock and and hysteria is probably an understatement. But this does the beg the question, if Trump appeared to be so abhorrent, repulsive and distasteful, then why did so many Americans vote for him as the 45th president of the United States? There can be no talk of a ‘silent majority’, as Trump’s campaign was one of the most passionate and vocal we have seen from an American Presidential campaign in decades. Personally, I believe the considerably low-turnout (which fell by 4% from 2012) demonstrates that people are gradually losing faith in a broken political system. And I believe it is here, where more parallels can be drawn with the Man in the High Castle. In the TV Show, people willingly adopt the principles of Nazism and are easily indoctrinated in their ideals. TV Critic Inkoo Kang makes a subtle similarity with the current state of our politics and MITHC by commenting ‘It’s quite possible to say we don’t have state-sponsored violence in the sense of institutional eugenics, but we have massive injustice all over this country and we’re kind of okay with it.’ Is it possible that the level of indifference in our current society has allowed corrupt political elites to take control of our democracy? I remember lots of people speaking out against the harsh austerity of the UK conservative party back in 2013, but the 2015 election displayed an even stronger level of support for the Conservatives.


Man in the High Castle also shows how cognitive dissonance works on a larger scale. Wearing the Parteiadler (Nazi emblem) on the Statue of liberty is a clever use of political imagery. Although Nazism and the Statue of Liberty offer contrasting ideals, (Totalitarianism and Liberalism) it demonstrates how the use of traditional imagery can disguise the brutal policies of contemporary politics.

Have people decided to end their resistance towards these right wing neo-liberal parties, simply because they have given up hope? I’m not so sure, but there may be some truth to it. Both the UK and the US are now seen by many ‘western’ citizens as proponents of two-party states. Third parties are now being perceived as ‘pressure groups’ as opposed to parties that hold a realistic prospect of winning an election. Both UKIP and the US Green Party are examples of this. It is also important to note that funding and media exposure are both factors which have led to the inability of these parties to have consistent electoral success. People’s disillusionment with the system does not stem from an indifference to politics but more of a growing resistance to vote in a system that offers no true alternative in terms of policy or vision. Trump may be seen as a ‘different’ option, but the lack of diversity in presidential choices demonstrates the lack of diversity as a whole. I think cognitive dissonance plays a large factor in the reasons why Trump attracted the alternative vote despite operating in system that he has called rigged. Trump became an embodiment of radical values, this was mainly because the media built up a particular image of  Trump – as the man who would smash the establishment or “drain the swamp” – without any reference to his fairly conservative and establishment past. It appears that people were both repulsed and attracted to Trump’s apparent rebelliousness as the political scientist Runciman notes; ‘They wanted Trump to shake up a system that they also expected to shield them from the recklessness of a man like Trump.’ Surely this is an example of collective ignorance and contradiction, how people can have trust in a system that they inherently do not like? Furthermore, one could argue that the idea of Trump being controlled by the system draws dangerous parallels with Germans President’s Hindenburg’s famous 1933 quote from the  German President about Adolf Hitler. “we can control him”.


Trump’s victory may also represent an ambivalence about politics as a concept. Obama’s victory was seen as a momentous leap towards political and social change in America. Many commentators at the time hailed his electoral success as a symbolic triumph for progressive politics. But I would argue that Obama’s administration has been symbolic for the passive and compliant nature that our political culture consists of. Obama’s effective public-relations strategy as well as his charisma have pulled him through two presidential terms that have been wrought with various neo-liberal imperialist efforts as well efforts to bail out a central banking system that has plunged millions of Americans in to poverty. This is not speculation. These are facts. Still, Obama has faced very little opposition to his presidency. The Occupy Wall Street movement has received significant public attention but it has operated as a campaign against the system that Obama resides in, not Obama himself. How can a President that had offered so much be adored when he provided so little? You may say, ‘well the public vented their anger in the support for Trump’. But Trump does not have the constitutional power to deliver the changes that his supporters demand.  Could it be that our political passions are short lived during an age where we have so many other distractions? Is Trump just another politician that is jumping on the anti-globalist bandwagon? Time will tell. Perhaps, we should consider the possibility that a large section of society are happy to go along the political agenda that is presented to us. When I watched the MITHC, I witnessed how Americans could easily go about their daily routine despite the fact their homeland had been occupied by the Nazis. Somin, a Law professor claims that MITHC shows how ‘People in virtually any society in the right circumstances could go along with an oppressive and unjust regime.‘ It can not be doubted that revolutions and other political moments have the ability to create fundamental change. But we must ask ourselves, where exactly does this ‘fundamental change’ occur? And do we really have the power to intiate it it? If our recent history has taught us anything, it is that people will always vote for purposeful change and then fail to hold those politicians to account when that change does not occur. Is this political naivety or just human nature?


Did Barack Obama create Donald Trump?

I also believe that Trump in very subtle ways has become the embodiment for people to escape their ‘apparent’ racial defeatism. It is here where I can witness Trump as a revolutionary. If there is one thing you can attribute towards Trump it is his notion of pride. He has restored a corrupted faith in the older white demographic, one that seeks to divide Americans on the basis of race and nationality. His alienation of the minority and his allegiance to the majority has enabled him to translate a very simple, coherent and clear message to his audience.  ‘I am the ideal but typical American ‘. This is very important, because politicians have struggled for decades to make themselves seem like one of the people. Where they have gone wrong is that they have envisaged themselves as the ‘perfect candidate’, one that is flawless and will serve the nation without the possibility of a mistake. trump’s consistent ‘gaffs’, his crude remarks and his haphazard comments on serious issues have made him appear not as a ‘political giant’ but as a human. One that may have prejudices, but a human nonetheless. He reminds me of those old eighteenth century cartoons (Punch), that features an overweight, middle aged man with receding hair. His name was John Bull and he was used as the national personification of the UK. Historian Irving has described him as “…plain, downright, matter-of-fact fellow…He excels in humour more than in wit..“, he was often shown in satirical geopolitical situations with him  making plenty of stupid mistakes but eventually winning through a sense of strength and ‘traditional values’. In a lot of ways Trump is also a national figure for many Americans. Non-Americans are constantly stereotyping the USA as nation full of fat, stupid and socially backward people. Is it no surprise that  that many Americans have used stereotype as sort of self-fulfilling prophecy with Donald Trump as their mascot? Trump has been more than happy to be the national joker as it suits his egotistical behaviour and his claim to be ‘one of us’. It is important to remember that national icons can be more important to an electorate than their political policies. In MITHC, the Japanese assert their domination over the US by using old American memorabilia as a gimmick, there are plenty of scenes where we see Americans being humiliated as the middle class Japanese laugh and scoff over old American toys. This is much in the same way when Americans used to laugh at Japanese art during the real 1960s. This is what I mean earlier when I discussed racial defeatism. Trump has given the older-white demographic the ‘impression’ that they are second class citizens in their own country. In Trump’s vision, the liberals and the ethnic minorities are the invaders who are ridiculing the ‘national conventions’ of what makes America great. Trump’s self portrayal as national icon transcends our conception of Right-wing and Left-wing politics. He attempts to portray himself as the national revolutionary to drag American out of its slump. But is this really about the fight against liberalism? Or is this about the restoration of divide and rule politics?


A 1914 Postcard showing John Bull defeating Kaiser Wilhelm II during World War 1.                Is Donald Trump just an American version of John Bull?


Lastly, I would like to discuss the profile and the impact of Trump in relation to another piece of literature ‘Look who’s Back – Timur Vermes‘. This book depicts a fictional world where Hitler has mistakenly travelled forward in time to 2011 Germany. At first he is horrified and disgusted with the conditions and the culture, but eventually he manages to use his political ability to gain significant influence over large section of the German people. Initially people think that he is a comical impersonator or comedian. But eventually people begin to take him more seriously; he ends up having his own TV show where he provides ‘satirical’ political sketches, he also interviews other politicians. This in particular enabled Hitler to really gain a foothold (again!) in German political culture. But what I found especially interesting is the way Hitler was able to exploit the superficial nature of European political systems. He easily ridicules apparent ‘leftist’ politicians and uses his blunt and direct rhetoric to appeal towards his audience. I think some comparisons can be drawn to the way Trump has exploited the inequality in our political abilities. But secondly, the most significant point was the way in which the book discuss es political responsibility and how it affects our discussions on Far-right attitudes, socialism and liberalism. We need to ask ourselves who is responsible for allowing these sentiments to develop. The book argues that Hitler is a product of social decline; simply because in both worlds that he has resided in (1940s and 2011) he takes advantages of the political corruption in society. Perhaps, if we look at Trump’s rise in popularity we could argue that his growing political influence is down to the negative affect that neoliberal elites have had on society. However, if we look at this history of neoliberalism we could argue that it was encouraged by bourgeois members of society who were afraid of the growing inflation in the 1970s. So are all political principles simply a matter of how human nature reacts to difficult circumstances? Or could it be that politicians manipulate political ideologies for their personal ambition? Whatever the answer, we must be consider the fact that we all bare some responsibility for our political outcomes, and the denial of that responsibility (as witnessed through history) will only lead to darker political forces having control of our political destiny.


Can Far-right politics slot easily in to our world that we conceive of as tolerant and liberal?

So as to we look towards an emerging ‘neonationalist’ world; it seems that there is a growing need to adapt, accommodate and respect. But not in the ‘multicultural’, ‘globalist’ sense of the term, it has become more about understanding the sentiments of  ‘ordinary workers’ and their needs. This idea, that ‘ordinary workers’ need to to be rescued is dangerously vague in my opinion. I will explain in my next blog post about the sort of cultural values that are cementing themselves in our society under a new form of political correctness that populist politicians will thrive under. One must also wonder about the future of constitutional politics under populist influence. We can already see that Trump’s attempts to protect american patriotism is conflicting with the US constitution’s first amendment. Also in Italy, the populist surge against their Prime Minister’s constitutional policies is also proving very problematic for the Italian national identity. I also believe that the growing desire to either protect or break down our political system coincides with the privatisation of our politics. With businessmen like Trump taking control of our politics, does this mean that experience in public office can no longer be used to measure a politician’s success? The abuse of public office by public servants can be witnessed throughout history, perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised to see it exposed in so much detail. These themes of constitutional change, privatisation of politics and political correctness are all features of this neo-nationalist world. Popular culture and western literature have reflected on the darker elements of this emerging trend and I believe they have provide important insight about the motivations behind Trump, but more importantly they force us to look underneath the surface of the hysteria and mania of popular politics. As we search for new answers either in history or television, we must make sure that our questions are not dictated by political stereotypes, as we are the only ones who bare political responsibility for the world that we live in.



In the wake of the Donald Trump Presidential victory, the fatal interactions between blacks and the police as well as Brexit; many black citizens on both sides of the Atlantic are feeling as if their position in society is under threat. Whether this is a justified feeling or not, it is worth discussing the ways in which people have responded to this idea of institutional racism. BlackLivesMatter have proved to be the major group in fighting for an improvement in racial civil rights, however I believe that the success of this movement largely depends on how much they have learned from the civil rights movements of the 20th century. Mainstream media outlets have simplified the BlackLivesMatter movement and are unwilling to question the principles and the methods that BlackLivesMatter have adopted. Whilst I agree with the core philosophy that BlackLivesMatter have. I believe that a deeper historical analysis of this group is needed to understand who they are, what exactly they are fighting for and the obstacles that they may face.

When it comes to discussing racial equality in the ‘western world’ (A term I am growing to dislike), one has to be careful not to regurgitate the perspectives of previous writers, journalists and academics. The debate has been argued from many various points of view, some with legitimacy and others with less so. Over recent years, we have seen a lull in discussion particularly in regards to black-white formal relationships. But the recent media exposure of police brutality has opened a new dimension or outlook at racial treatment across the Atlantic. It feels as if an outpouring of emotion and anger has erupted after a decade of ‘apparent’ racial harmony between blacks and white. I believe this sentiment has being expressed from both sides of the socio-political spectrum, it is no coincidence that Far right wing groups alongside the BlackLivesMatter ‘movement. This feeling of rage and disgust is somewhat justified after witnessing several  years of racial abuse and oppression from law enforcement agencies. In this vein, I feel as if BlackLivesMatter is the birthchild of resentment and resistance towards injustice. Guardian Columnist Gary Younge stated that he was ‘not sure whether BLM was actually a movement yet‘. Whilst I agree with Younge on the infancy of BLM as an organization, I believe that BLM is more of a socio-political ‘mood’ that seeks to bring awareness to the plight that black people encounter on a frequent basis as opposed to an organization with clear political and social goals. This is mainly because that BLM is mainly operating in two regions(UK and US) with a different historical context this means that each branch of BLM is interpreting what it means to have civil rights in a different way.

The harsh realities?

Firstly, I think it is important to establish some facts. This is an issue that is enriched with societal pain and anguish and it is easy for people to misrepresent statistics or points of view and it is even easier for people to be fooled by the manipulation. In the US, various groups have argued about the racial discrimination that consists in law enforcement, whist I don’t doubt this; I also believe there are harsh some truths that BLM need to recognize. One truth, is that the US and the UK police do not disproportionately kill blacks more than whites. Several studies from lawyers of different academic and cultural backgrounds have outlined that ‘Black people are actually 22 to 24 percent less likely to be shot at by police.‘, one study has even claimed that  ‘“officers took significantly more time to fire their weapons if the subject was black,” and that “officers were slightly more than three times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects.” However these same writers have also clearly outlined that ‘On non-lethal uses of force, blacks and Hispanics are more than fifty percent more likely to experience some form of force in interactions with police.’ Even if you look at UK statistics, FullFact and INQUEST both state that from 1990, 10% of all identified deaths in police custody were from black and ethnic minority backgrounds (figure will be lower if you just look at black deaths), which is only ‘slightly’ disproportionate to the demographics of this country. But we still come in to contact with comments such as ‘the police are disproportionately more likely to kill black and Asian people in custody or shootings’. Without trying to get bogged down in the detail, it is clear that there is a misconception of the figures of police brutality, secondly the cause of deaths referring to those in police custody is unspecified which means that the influence of police forces on custody deaths must remain disputed. Of course, it can be ignored or denied that the black and ethnic minority forces face overly stringent attention by law enforcement agencies (Check out Theresa May’s Prevent policy). But one must take the media’s stance that black people are being killed disproportionately with a pinch of salt.

I think its important to question some popular conceptions about Britain’s racial composition and the effect this has on the Uk BlackLivesMatter movement. Firstly, Britain is considerably less racially diverse than the US especially in urban environments; in the US you can actually witness cities where most residents are black or of close black descent. A sense of racial solidarity against injustice can be visualised in many American cities, the protests in Chicago are good example of this. However, UK statistics demonstrate a very different picture. The media and pop culture often likes to reference certain British regions with the term ‘Black Ghettos’ or ‘black areas’ such as Brixton, Peckham or Toxeth but the contrasting research shows that only that only 25% of those regions consisted of black people. Indeed if we look at this in a larger perspective; 86% of the UK are White British compared to 3% of Black Briton whereas the in the US, there are 77% whites to 14% percent of blacks. One author has even claimed that because of the racial and ethnic composition of the UK in comparison to other Western nations it becomes “almost ridiculous to describe Britain as a multi-racial society” In my opinion, this has a significant impact on the BLM UK movement. It is because the UK black population is much smaller and spread out across the British cities – in comparison to American ones –  that it becomes harder for black Britons to unite in solidarity against police brutality. I believe these contrasting figures are also important because the media can manipulate these statistics and claim that the plight of black British people with the police is illegitimate and that the BLM movement in the UK is just a pointless distraction to the American situation. I will explain more about how the BLM can overcome this issue later.

Moreover,  I feel that the media already has a psychological advantage to racial civil rights. In 1996 it was reported that 97% of all blacks in the US were born there, but that only 50% of blacks in Britain were born here. Could it be possibly argued that blacks in America seems to fight for civil rights with a more stringent focus than British Blacks because of their closer relationship to their country? Of course this is a simplistic question which overlooks the historical and exceptional struggle the black American population has faced. But subconsciously, could it be argued that conflicting and impassioned patriotisms that Black Americans have with their native country makes their fight for civil equality much more successful and poignant?


Has the legacy of the British Empire changed??

BlackLivesMatter’s historical predecessors

It is important to remember that BLM is not the first civil rights campaign in the UK. During the turbulent period of the 60s, 70s and 80s, several organisations were created with the purpose and scope for dealing with racial conflict in the UK. The interesting point to note is that these were not grass-root organisations, they were formed in the image of a national body that sought to oversee all cases and issues of racial discriminatory nature. As Sociologist and Historian Stephen Small said: “A lot changed in the 80s, the vast majority of major organisations adopted equal opportunity policies…this was spurred on partly by the pressure of black organisations and some non- black organisations“, this is particularly true if we take in the efforts of the Commission for Racial Equality’ and also Ken Livingstone’s leadership for the Greater London Council. Although the Commission for Racial Equality lacked the legal foundation to undertake employer disputes, it operated as a high profile body to ensure that employment, housing and education agencies followed an informal racial equality policy. The CRE was the first official organisation to publish a set of guidelines for how public and local authorities may ‘fulfill their obligation to promote racial equality’, you may look at this as just another meaningless initiative engineered to give the image of progressive civil rights, but these sort of guidelines were published for the entire UK population to read and reflect upon. Not only did it provide the exposure of progressive racial equality policies but it allowed the public to hold the government to account if it did not follow through on these guidelines. Secondly, I believe the influence of Ken Livingstone’s Greater London Council is worth mentioning, particularly in today’s socio-political climate. Ken’s legacy of promoting racial equality is now seen by many as the birth of a bad politically correct society. Whilst there may be some truth to this; I believe the growth of far right politics in Britain has skewered this image. After all, he was the Mayor that created the GLC which helped to push for equality legislation such as the Race Relation Amendment Act of 2000. Furthermore, Livingstone helped to foster a sense of regional pride in London’s multicultural character which eventually built an atmosphere of change; this is particular evident in the Human Right Act of 1998 which came in to full effect in 2000.

Racism and British Devolution

This link between local authority power, regional support and national change is something that I believe BLM can build upon. Appearing as a pressure group is certainly effective if they wish to bring awareness, but if they wish to enact real change if they must work more closely with local authorities to have a significant impact. I believe this is particular relevant as the vote on our Independence from the European Union has seen hate crime rise in particular parts of Britain. I believe it is the duty of BLM and other social equality groups to stem the flow of discriminatory feeling from the root of these regions. It is important to recognize that it is the racist sentiments in these communities that encourages and supports the practice of police brutality; it is no surprise that the region(North East) with highest reports of hate crime this year is also fourth in the list of counties(2014-2015) where allegations were made against the police. Institutional racism is not bred from the offices of police head quarters, it roots lie in the day to day activities of the local community. It is therefore essential that BLM pressurise local authorities to combat this issue, as it would help to bring greater awareness and action in support of hate crime victims. As the Chief of Hate UK has said ‘it is a sad fact that the numbers of all hate incidents are extremely under-reported”.  Local authorities in particular seem to be stuggling to fulfil their obligations in eliminate racial discrimination; political commentator Val Hagen has stated that the gap between reported cases of racist abuse and prosecution is too large. I would argue that a more devolved and federalized UK may give local authorities more power to challenge racist rhetoric in communities, furthermore the support of BLM in these type of initiatives would not only instill confidence that local authorities can effectively fight for justice but it would bring a sense of legitimacy to the BLM as they would be perceived to be working with official organizations rather than the media perception of a haphazard grassroots group.


Can this hatred be stemmed through a more devolved UK?

BlackLivesMatter Leadership

Secondly I think it is important to stress that the leadership of BLM, in particular BLM uk, leaves itself to be vulnerable to misrepresentation by the government. One of the key members of BLM UK, is Caprice Willow who has considerable influence when it comes to organizing BLM events and has underlined her abilities by managing to encourage roughly 3000 protestors to rally in central London earlier this year. Although it may sound simplistic, it is with regret that I say that her age has made her a considerable target for media tabloids to denigrate her profile and stigmatize her actions as well as her experience. In reference to the central London protests she organized; The Daily Mail commented that ‘In the past six months, the model and actress, from Waltham Abbey, Essex, has blogged on visits to Turkey, Denmark, Germany and France…..Her blog is littered with photos of exotic beach scenes and yachts.’ Anybody who researchers her name through well-sourced websites will see that she has often discussed how ‘she thought that studying and learning was the best way to take action.‘ and how much she enjoyed her experiences at Epping Forest college, but the above quote presents her in an image that is befitting of a stereotypical youth who spends their time on leisurely holidays without doing anything that is productive or constructive for society. This is not to say that Caprice isn’t one of these characters, but the way the media has presented her is in no way fair or neutral. It is these sort of factors that distinguishes them from the more experienced civil right activists of the 1960s. One more famous black civil rights activists in Britain was Claudia Jones who was instrumental in the creation of the first weekly newspaper that focused on the injustices committed towards black people in the 1950s and 60s and also created a African, Asian and Caribbean solidarity committee which brought a greater awareness to racial discrimination. However, Claudia managed these achievements by the age of 40 when she had already considerable experience fighting for civil rights across many states in America. Although, BLM UK may have noble principles, it is the leader that often catches the headlines and grabs the attention of casual onlookers (the sort of audience that is decisive to the success of progressive politics). Unfortunately, we live in the of age of ‘The Celebrity Cult’ where the thoughts, opinions and policies mean nothing to the onlooker if they can not see a leader to command them.


BlackLivesMatter’s message

Although the media can often be accused for portraying BLM in a negative light, one could argue that the overall message of BLM has been incoherent and has thus given the media the opportunity to manipulate their viewpoints. However it must be stressed that the reasons for this incoherence do not lie solely with BLM but resides more in the cultural and historical character of both the UK and the US. After much of the racial equality legislation was passed in the 80s and 90s, Stephen Small commented: ‘the situation in England shows that once you have gone beyond a certain level of integration, the goals seem confused’. Whilst it is true that BlackLivesMatters’ goal is self-explanatory, I believe that some of their polices for achieving this are underdeveloped. BLM aim to make ‘the racial makeup of police departments reflect the communities they serve’. I have picked out this point because I believe that racial integration is the most effective of tool to eradicate the racist culture that harms police-ethnic minority relations. However I feel that BLM need to consider the difficulties and complications in using integration to fight 21st century police racism. The American Civil Rights Campaigners of the 60s discussed de-segregaton as a way of showing the inequality in everyday civil life. I feel that it is harder to apply this to the modern UK situation as firstly, finding the balance between having a police force that meets a racial diverse standard and a police force based on meritocracy can be problematic. Secondly, it also worth mentioning that the UK’s law enforcement system is not federally governed like the US where the regional community has considerable influence on local matters. One could argue that a much more racially integrated UK police force would thus have little impact on endemic institutional racism . Secondly, the issue of extremist Islamic terrorism has blurred the lines between race and religion; particularly when we consider the racial profiling that has existed in several ‘counter-terrorist’ schemes by the government such as Prevent. It has made integration a much less feasible strategy as religion is operating as a second layer alongside race for discrimination. We have seen recently how these obstacles can be overcome with the inclusion of the headscarf in the Scottish police uniform; we need to see more of these initiatives across the UK if BLM is to make a significant influence towards increasing integration inside and outside the police force.

I think a large detrimental factor which separates BLM from the civil rights moments of the 60s is the lack of a tangible set of rights that can be fought for. BLM is fighting against a cultural practice whereas the the 60 movements were fighting for actual laws to put in practice. The lack of tangibility can be further expressed by the fact that in the 60s a court case outlawing segregated public services could clearly demonstrate that racial inequality existed, whereas now the issue of police brutality is heavily reliant on witness testimony and unreliable technology. One Lawyer commented on a recent case of disputed police manslaughter. The family described the incident as ‘cold bloody murder’, but the Lawyer stated that “There is no reason that we can tell why the initial officers fired at the fleeing car….There was no kind of imminent threat to them or anyone else…The second set of officers may not have understood the situation…. Shots were being fired near them; they may have concluded the offender fired shots at them…” The fact that video tapes can offer more questions than answers not only adds an element of inconclusiveness to these cases but makes the fight for civil justice even harder. Secondly, video technology often relies upon interpretation which can be easily skewered to fit a particular narrative.

Furthermore, I believe the fight for civil justice is often hindered by the current mentality and attitude towards criminal cases of racial nature. In the 1960s, the notion of empire and colonial attachment resonated with black Britons in a way that most of the current generation will never understand. To add, legacy of Empire and Imperialism tends to act as an historical fact to most of the current generation. It is no longer operates as a memory to motivate our citizens to fight for social change. I believe this exists primarily because cultural integration has blurred our recollection of racial heritage and this has weakened our ability to witness racial misconduct. This is not to say that integration has helped to hide racist behaviour, but more to say that racial integration has changed our perception and understanding of racial abuse. Integration should be used to highlight the positive parts of each others ethnic past, but instead it has made us forget about the historical injustices that still affect us on a daily basis.

To add, I believe we have a conflicting ideology of how to adopt the principles of BLM. For example, many of us are not sure how much government intervention is required to eliminate institutional racism. Many people believe in the political independence of police force, but does this conflict with the level of state interference that is needed to eliminate institutional racism? Secondly, many people often criticise the spending cuts to the police force as a right-wing political agenda to place pressure on our law enforcement, but there are many that argue that it is the ‘left-liberal’ activists (of which BLM has been associated with) that have placed pressure on the police force. Whilst I support the political neutrality of the police force in all nations, I do think there is a responsibility on all of us as citizens to ensure that the jobs of the police force are as smooth as possible. Although the BLM has an honorable and noble message at the heart of its movement, it is stigmatized by violent and divisive rioters who wish to hijack the movement and steer it towards a path of darkness and destruction. There are many theories that suggest that conservative elites have hired violent thugs to present BLM in a bad light, whilst others suggest that the violence is the true nature of the BLM movement. Whichever side the audience wish to believe, it is important that BLM’s leaders continue their efforts to distinguish themselves between the dark elements surrounding their movement otherwise they will become the victim of a public opinion that is ever so manipulated by the media.


Does this really represent BlackLivesMatter?

BlackLivesMatter and Internationalism

One aspect I have noticed whilst researching the racial civil right movements of the 60s is how they linked their main vision with the global injustices that were occurring outside of their main goal. For example, Black Panther activist Tony Soares based his foundations upon the events that were occurring between the US and Vietnam in the 1960s; ‘”We were influenced a lot by what was happening in the States before the US black Panthers“, namely Vietnam‘. Soares wanted to see an end  to American Imperialism and its influence across the non-western world, he tried to do this by forging relationships with Black Americans who were exiled in countries such as China, Switzerland and Algeria. The creation of transnational intellectual networks across the globe would support the civil rights movement in two ways. Firstly, by supporting various national Self-determination campaigns, it would place the campaign for racial justice in a global perspective. Secondly, Soares’ managed to establish several bodies to support his internationalist objective; both the Afro-Asian Liberation Front and the Revolutionary People’s Network distributed several newspapers and pamphlets discussing the methods in which they could combat oppression from ‘imperialist’ powers. This network of information helped to unify the concept of civil rights and provided support for all citizens who faced institutional abuse, regardless ethnicity, race or class. For example, a pamphlet published by Soares regarding the Congolese Civil War was said to ‘be exchanged and distributed on an international level between all oppressed and struggling peoples who are actively engaged in the international proletariat revolutions’. I would like to see BLM replicate the efforts of these black activists not simply because it promotes peaceful cooperation but also because we live in a globalized and digitized environment where the flow of information is much easier to undertake. With the events occurring in Syria and Iraq, some BLM activists will be able draw upon the same sort of feelings as the ones felt by Syrian and Iraqi citizens. Both groups claim that they are encountering brutality from an oppressive and violent organization. It may to different extents, but the civil injustices that both groups have faced in recent years is undeniable. It will also create some solidarity with the UK authorities who also claim to be tackling ISIS at its core and it will force the UK government to properly address its civil treatment of Syrian refugees. Another large benefit that BLM will receive from working with or supporting oppressed foreign groups is the exposure of BLM’s message across the world. We have witnessed in the past how oppressed nations have admired or adopted the principles and actions of black civil rights groups in the America and the UK. Indeed, one IRA leader called Cathal Goulding said in 1970 ‘When we helped to initiate the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland, we copied to a great extent the approach and activities of the Negro people in America‘ and these thoughts were echoed from another Irish republican activist, Bernadette Devlin. ‘Our movement didn’t start from university conditions, from youth culture or students in Paris or London…What we related to was the American civil rights movement.‘, and even more remarkably she goes on to say ‘within the institutionalized discrimination of the State we saw ourselves basically as Blacks’. This association goes far beyond a simple admiration for the American civil rights movement, it supports the concept for a shared racial identity that transcends national boundaries and fights on the side of progressive  politics. If this sort of political relationship could occur in the racially charged 1970s, then just imagine what sort of impact BLM could make today in other civil right movements, particularly in world that many believe is much more racially tolerant than it ever was.


Does BlackLivesMatter need to broaden its global reach?

I will conclude by suggesting a few overall ideas that support objectives of BLM as the vision of a harmonious relationship between black citizens and the police force. The police force needs be more than just a guardian of the law, it needs to be positive presence in the community. Founder of the 1829 British Police Force, Robert Peel once said “The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” It is a sad eventuality that we have strayed so far from this ideal, but it is one that we can return to if we have the social commitment. Instead of having employment quotas which often give the impression of ‘half-hearted equality’ why not have festivals or conventions that celebrate the positive elements of law enforcement, this could take place in non-academic environments that have public access, such as parks or libraries. Some may argue that schools already offer these sort of schemes. But seeing as schools are now seen by many as harbors of institutional racism, this may not be the wisest idea. A more relaxed and open setting could mean that ethnic minority children would interact with the police in a manner that doesn’t feel forced or pressured. I believe that BLM would gain a lot of credibility and respect if there were able to organize these types of initiatives with local law enforcement agencies. It may seem like a trivial and small project, but history has shown that small efforts by lots of dedicated people can create fundamental changes.