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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...

Update: The Bus, its seizure and our story

Here is the latest on the campaign to pressurise Nigeria Customs release the Living Memorial to Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 9 known as the Bus. Customs seized the Bus in 2015 and has refused to release it despite the huge efforts and directives described below. The guest blog is written by Celestine AkpoBari, National Coordinator for Ogoni Solidarity...

The Invisible Machine – a gas pipeline in the Caucasus and a handshake in No10

On the evening of Thursday 26th April 2018, it was warm and sunny in London. President Ilham Aliyev strode down Downing Street and was met by Prime Minister Theresa May with smile and a handshake. They posed for the cameras on the red carpet outside No 10 and then retired inside. A short formal chat...

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...

Spring in the Thames Valley – The extraordinary resistance of the more than human

  Even in the dark the Blackbird sings. The bubbling song fills the night outside our bedroom window. You sleep silently, the bedclothes rising and falling, as the notes of the bird flow over you. Hours later, the grey light of dawn has come and with it the calls of Song Thrush and House Sparrow....

Win! Mayor of London and More Councils Back Divestment

Yesterday, the Mayor of London joined the divestment movement. Sadiq Khan announced plans to divest the London Pension Fund from fossil fuels, calling on other London boroughs to do the same. We are seeing a wave of divestment pledges across the capital. Lambeth and Islington Labour have announced divestment commitments in their manifestos. With some local...

The slow dismantling the house of oil – The Gulbenkian Foundation divests

Quite unexpected comes remarkable news! Lucy Neal, a long-term part of the Platform family, e-mails out of the blue, forwarding an article from the Algarve Daily News, published on 1st February in southern Portugal. The headline reads: ‘Gulbenkian Foundation gets out of the oil business’ That truly is unexpected. Lucy had not foreseen this coming...

Avebury and the infrastructure of community

Over the Winter Break I walked at Avebury in Wiltshire with Nick Robins, a long term Platformer, who’s worked on several projects and was a Trustee. We had the chance to reflect on time and community. The soft whale back curve of the Ridgeway rose to the left, its skyline punctuated by barrows ringed with...

The River Resurfaces – reflecting on politically engaged art from the 1970s to today

    I’m sitting talking with Caroline Tisdall, a friend who has known Platform since 1986. We first came into contact with her via the producer and curator Richard Demarco: along with him, she was among the first to champion artist Joseph Beuys in the English-speaking world. Beuys’ art and politics were critical influences in...

Hackney Council as the climate vanguard – or is it just a laggard?

Hackney Council is voting tonight on its investment policy regarding fossil fuels and climate change. After years of campaigning by Divest Hackney and lots of media attention, this Tuesday is the big day for the Pensions Committee. But despite the hype and the repeated delays, the proposals are pretty disappointing. Hackney Council has £42 million in fossil...