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Poetry » Poem Brut #23 – Ten Lines Each Day (published 21/01/2018)

seekers of lice.

In the 23rd edition of The Poem Brut series, new poetry by Anne Gutt.

Essays » Suffer the Little Children: Sessions’ Zero-legality Policy (published 05/08/2018)

Hearing the voices of children separated from their parents at the US border calling for their mothers and fathers in secret detention centers makes any decent person, in the US and abroad, shudder. That the government uses secrecy even in grim public facilities, where at least the façade of the building is known to reporters, but also in nonpublic subcontracted warehouses for private military intelligence contractors like MVM to imprison children is both unsurprising – a sign of bureaucratically authorized crime – and appalling. Even some of the people who work in these centers – a nurse in Hastings, New York as well as someone who recorded the Propublica audio tape – take videos or make recordings with cell phones – at great personal risk and smuggle them out.

Alan Gilbert writes about the US policy of separating children from their parents at the US/Mexico border.

Essays » The Angel’s Trail: Seven Swiss Encounters (published 15/02/2017)

Youssef Rakha is an Egyptian writer; he has been in Switzerland to attend a literary festival and write about refugees. But what if Youssef Rakha doesn’t actually exist? What if in reality I am a Syrian refugee separated from my family – unsure of my future now that my hometown has been gutted and unable to step in Syria without incurring the wrath of war lords – stranded indefinitely in a German-speaking European airport: in Zurich, Vienna, perhaps between the two?

Youssef Rakha on seven Swiss encounters.

Essays » Not That: reflections on the Election, Choicelessness and Contradiction (published 19/11/2016)

Badiou is clear that the properly political contradiction is not between two forms of the same world, but between a world and something which is beyond the limits of that world. The true contradiction was between Trump and Sanders, Badiou says. In affirmation of real choice, he continues that “today, against Trump, we cannot desire Clinton. We must create a return to the true contradiction. That is, we must propose a political orientation that goes beyond the world as it is …”

Cam Scott on Badiou on Trump.

Essays » European Marks (published 24/01/2015)


A Mark (or March, Marches) is the European name for a border, a frontier, a “boundary” territory; its name comes from early Middle Ages. The Franks called it marka, Anglo-Saxons called it mearc, but both nations meant only one thing by the word: something that is situated between two sources of power, political and economical influence, and law.

Kirill Kobrin on borders.

Interviews » The Underground Island (published 21/12/2014)

One premise, not rigorously applied, was that you should be able to live somewhere in Britain without money. So with a few exceptions we offered free accommodation, ad lib, to who-ever made it to the island. No references, no deposit. In the early days, no council tax. No notice to quit, no eviction, however extreme the acting-out. It was how the Welfare State was supposed to work. Incidentally, as Machiavelli reminds us, this was also how ancient Rome was founded, by attracting fugitives and outlaws from the modern.

Richard Marshall interviews Roc Sandford.

Interviews » Performance redux (published 01/04/2013)

The film has two elements that are strong: sex and violence. But neither can be neatly parcelled in conventional terms, or neatly presented and tied with a bow, particularly the violence. It’s too easy to tag it to the East End, Bow Bells and neat ribbons. It was the era of the Krays. But it was also the era of the Richardsons, south of the river. And there were others, like Jimmy Evans, who didn’t fit into the gang structure as shown in the film. So the reality is jagged anyway.

Richard Marshall interviews Paul Buck.

Essays » Light travels faster than words (published 11/02/2013)

Keen seems to have rejected the label ‘pop artist’ and it’s not hard to see why. If pop art is about elegantly subverting existing art world conventions by substituting ‘pop’ content and styles for more traditional ‘high art’ content then the pop artist would have to have accepted that a distinction actually exists between high and low art. If he or she sees all kinds of images, executed for whatever reason in any medium, as forming part of daily experience, unmediated by these conventions, then he or she is probably not a pop artist, even if making use of the stuff that pop artists also use.

Bridget Penney on Jeff Keen.

Interviews » The purpose of all wars (published 16/08/2012)

The book partly originated from my own travels and realising I was a war tour voyeur while inter-railing around Europe and beyond. On the one hand, when people visit places there is an authentic desire to understand and find out about history and there is also a problem if past horror is erased and people choose to forget, as has happened in our cultural memories of colonialism. But these acts of looking are part of a holiday and visiting other places, of fun and entertainment, so it was this tension between the two that spurred me to write the book. After a while there was a sense that it’s impossible to escape from war zones and the remnants of war, so in ‘With Their Backs to the Fort’ the couple find war memorials even on an idyllic quiet island.

Kerry Ryan interviews Zoe Lambert.

Essays » 29M (published 16/05/2012)

29mA broad cross-section of Barcelonans had come out to protest reforms which affect everybody. There was a palpable combination of playfulness and potency about the occasion. One irony of protest since 2008, has been that as resistance has become more direct, the message has become subtler and there’s an intellectual agility about this movement that is, to me at least, a revelation. Occupy is accused of lacking coherence but, by eschewing leadership, they have challenged the notion of hierarchy that underpins most organisations and which, for the most part, even those on the left take for granted. If, as Eliot said, “Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important,” Occupy have shown that one person needn’t be considered more important than another for an organisation to be effective.

By Max Liu.