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Aliyev re-elected as President for another 7 years – the chain of oil autocracy that binds Azerbaijan

Aliyev re-elected as President for another 7 years – the chain of oil autocracy that binds Azerbaijan

On 18th April Ilham Aliyev will be inaugurated for the fourth time as President of Azerbaijan. His re-election comes as no surprise. It is so predictable that it barely counted as ‘news’ and consequently got next to no coverage in the international media. Originally the election was scheduled for 17th October, but at nine weeks...
Vive La Zad ! – in the midst of the tear gas, La Zad exists in our hearts

Vive La Zad ! – in the midst of the tear gas, La Zad exists in our hearts

The police arrived at 03.00 am on the morning of Monday 9th April. The exact number is, of course, unclear but it is said that 2,500 officers in riot equipment, with crash helmets and visors, Perspex shields and plastic body armour were deployed. Two and a half thousand highly trained men appeared out of the...
Home is a Hostile Lover - ending the UK Government's racist deportations regime

Home is a Hostile Lover – ending the UK Government’s racist deportations regime

‘Home is a hostile lover’  a poem by Selina Nwulu is read from the concrete steps of Chelmsford Crown Court. London’s former young poet laureate, gives a powerful indictment of the UK’s ‘hostile environment’. Hundreds listen in the chill morning outside Chelmsford Crown Court to stand in solidarity with fifteen people who begin trial this week...
La Zad puts down roots – sensing the future

La Zad puts down roots – sensing the future

We’re in the middle of the crowd. Standing some way back from the stage, watching transfixed and elated at the performance of Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp. Two trombones, two drummers, two marimbas, two electric guitars, two cellos and five other musicians blast out such a blissful riot of sound that our souls sail above...
Communal Memory - the power of community to resist Shell in Nigeria

Communal Memory – the power of community to resist Shell in Nigeria

I’m holding in my hands a report published by Amnesty International in November last year – ‘A Criminal Enterprise? Shell’s involvement in human rights violations in Nigeria in the 1990s’. It analyses in forensic detail exactly how much Shell staff knew about, and were involved in supporting, the actions by the Nigerian military taken against...
In memoriam Ed Ross – in honour of one who honoured others

In memoriam Ed Ross – in honour of one who honoured others

  A Robin sings among the bare branches of the Ash trees. A small crowd is gathered in a corner of Highgate Cemetery to commit the ashes of Ed Ross to the earth. A few hundred yards away, obscured by the gravestones and tree trunks, is the imposing bust of Karl Marx. Ed died suddenly...
Today, remembering the Ogoni Bill of Rights

Today, remembering the Ogoni Bill of Rights

10th November 2017 marks the 22nd anniversary since the executions of nine Ogoni men from the Niger Delta who had been protesting against the exploitation of oil in their homelands. These Nigerian activists – outspoken author and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John...
Bribes, bulldozers and BP: what makes a gas mega pipeline?

Bribes, bulldozers and BP: what makes a gas mega pipeline?

Earlier this week, the Guardian’s Azerbaijani Laundromat investigation uncovered thousands of covert payments totaling £2.2bn from Azerbaijan’s ruling elite to prominent Europeans through a network of opaque British companies. Today, Platform and other organisations had a letter published in the Guardian, filling in the blanks in the story.  Azerbaijan is particularly keen to present a...
Conversations with Suzi Gablik  - Living in wartime.

Conversations with Suzi Gablik – Living in wartime.

  I’ve recently returned from a visit to my friend and mentor, Suzi Gablik, in Virginia, USA. She has been an inspiration to so many over the past 33 years since the publication of ‘Has Modernism Failed’, and later her book ‘Conversations Before The End of Time‘. Her work harnessed an ecological sensibility in the...