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To Bruce Mackenzie – For these and future memories

  In the flurry of a Tuesday afternoon, I receive an unexpected e-mail from Vicki Carroll. The header has your name in it Bruce, and I know instinctively within an instant what the message holds. I hover a while and then open the text to read the inevitable. You have stepped over, passed through the...

When we ask them they say ‘Don’t stop!’ – Knowledge as resistance to erasure at the launch of Black Cultural Activism Map

We watch in wonder as dancer Akeim Toussaint Buck moves his body as fluid as water across the black box of the stage. Our eyes are transfixed as the voice of activist Max Farrar intones the words of Sai Murray’s poem ‘Stop Signs’ over the sound system. And in Lane number 1 from Nigeria, wearing 1969,...

Victory at Leith Hill! Divest Fracking! Resisting sites of speculation

This piece was written before the news of the draconian jail sentences passed on those opposing fracking in Preston, Lancashire … but that bitter ruling does not destroy the reality that shortly before that decision we celebrated a Victory! The News of an Amazing Victory! We wrote of it as follows … The permission to...

Decades of neglect, years of waiting: it’s time to clean up Ogoniland’s oil pollution

Two years ago, the Nigerian Government officially launched a clean-up programme of Shell’s oil pollution in Ogoniland. But today communities are still waiting for emergency measures on drinking water and health protection and the clean-up to begin. Here’s what Godwin Uyi Ojo, Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria had to say about it:...

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

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’  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

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

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...

Victory at La ZAD ! – inspirational resistance through community

The people of Notres Dame des Landes have won! The people of La ZAD have won! The airport that the French state have tried to build for 50 years has been defeated! On 17th January President Macron decreed that the Nantes International airport, similar in size to Heathrow, would not go ahead after half a...

Transitions Just and Unjust – the question of power

We’re descending from the peak of A’ Chailleach (The wise old Woman). Trudging down the steep slope of Sron na Goibhre (Under the Nose/promontary of the Goats) on the northern edge of the Fannich mountain range. My knees are exhausted as they absorb the shock of each step on this sodden mass of grasses and...

‘How you would have loved these times’ – A conversation with Doreen Massey

The days tip towards the darkness of Winter. The world of the North comes into our lives. The year stops and takes a breath. It pushes me to reflect on the months past. It makes me think of you Doreen and how you would have loved these times.  You’d have been everywhere. In your element, plugged...