The media

Social media, politics, and the "Schweitzer model"

Published on: Thu, 01/08/2019 - 00:21
Author

Rhodri Evans

The decade-and-a-bit since the 2008 crash has been a distinct period of capitalism in economic and in political terms. It has also been a distinct period in the technology of political communications.

Twitter "took off" around 2007, Facebook "took off" around 2009, mass use of smartphones "took off" about the same time. For a few years now, more web browsing has been done via smartphones than via computers. Tablets and e-readers, once said to be the wave of the future, have lagged.

Many young people today get their news of the world via social media, rather than via newspapers or TV news shows

Corbyn in the 1980s

Published on: Wed, 17/07/2019 - 08:51
Author

Sean Matgamna

The Times of 6 July 2019 ran an article by Dominic Kennedy, "Corbyn's hard-left blueprint revealed", attacking Jeremy Corbyn for his links in the 1980s with Socialist Organiser, a forerunner of Solidarity. Sean Matgamna, editor of Socialist Organiser in the period described, talked to Solidarity.



We have serious political differences with Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.

But Corbyn has the record of an honorable, serious left-winger, who - unlike many others who had some association with Socialist Organiser in the 1980s - did not change his coat in the years of Blair's New Labour

Depths of denial

Published on: Wed, 15/05/2019 - 10:28
Author

Simon Nelson

Keith Kahn Harris’s book sets out to be a short analysis on what drives a lot of conspiracy theories: denial.

People deny climate change, the effectiveness of vaccines, or the Holocaust. Kahn Harris explains succinctly where some of these conspiracies are driven from — helplessness in a world that leads the less informed to believing the conspiracy of someone with an alternative agenda. But the book is short in length and short on answers.

Kahn Harris makes a distinction. “Denial” is the act of denying something, for example, claiming that you can smoke just one more cigarette and quit

True, but never mind that...

Published on: Wed, 17/04/2019 - 11:06
Author

Jim Denham

"These things really happened, that is the thing to keep one's eye on. They happened even though Lord Halifax said they happened ... and they did not happen any the less because the Daily Telegraph has suddenly found out about them when it is five years too late" - George Orwell, Looking Back on the Spanish War (1942)

On April 7, the Sunday Times carried a front page lead story claiming that the Labour party has failed to take action against hundreds of members accused of antisemitism. The story was apparently based upon leaked emails and a database from Labour’s HQ.

The details were shocking,

Telling the truth about wars

Published on: Wed, 20/03/2019 - 09:17
Author

Simon Nelson

The career of the journalist Marie Colvin was fairly unique. She covered most of the major conflicts of the 1990s and 2000s up until her death in Homs, Syria, in 2012.

Her articles in the Sunday Times brought across some of the horrors of war, not just the conflicts between political factions and leaders but the stories of mass graves in Fallujah, and the near starvation of internally displaced Tamils. Until her death she may be remembered as one of the last journalists to interview Colonel Gadaffi before he was killed in the Libyan conflict of 2011.

The film, based on a Vanity Fair article,

Democracy and social media

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2018 - 17:56
Author

Rosalind Robson

The scandal surrounding how Facebook shared with a Cambridge psychologist, and his firm (Global Science Research) the personal information of 50 million users, without their explicit consent, has revealed a gruesome network of right-wing academic, political and business connections.

GSR’s data, mined in 2014, was sold on to the data analytics company Cambridge Analytica (CA). The company is partly owned by the family of Robert Mercer, an American hedge-fund manager who supports right wing causes, including Brexit. Its director and CEO is Alexander James Ashburner Nix. CA is affiliated to the

Behind Wakanda’s utopian vision

Published on: Wed, 14/03/2018 - 13:15
Author

Sameem Rahimi

Firstly, I like Black Panther as a character. My first introduction him was in the highly acclaimed (and short lived) ‘Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ TV series from 2010.

The portrayal of this character was that of a stoic, no nonsense, quiet member of the team, who relied on his instincts and intellect to overcome more powerful enemies.

I then decided to read up on him and encountered him in the Fantastic Four comics taking on the ‘Silver Surfer’, again using his superior intellect to take on the all-powerful herald of Galactus, and defeat him. In my eyes, Black Panther was effectively

Messing up our minds

Published on: Tue, 16/01/2018 - 12:20
Author

Martin Thomas

"Steve Bartlett, the company’s 25-year-old co-founder, regularly boasts to potential clients that he can make any hashtag trend on Twitter before he’s finished his presentation".

The Observer (14 January) reported on how Bartlett and his now multi-million pound company Social Chain shape how marketing is done on social media.

The report also sheds light on the low quality and corrupting effect of political argument carried out on social media - how it smothers real debate and investigation, and replaces it by constant churning of scandal and flame-warring.

"People share feelings, not

Selections, factionalism, and Akehurst

Published on: Wed, 06/12/2017 - 13:22
Author

Will Sefton

“We may well have reached 'peak Momentum'. These are the most favourable political circumstances Labour’s hard left could envisage.

“They feel politically vindicated by the general election result, have a well-funded, well-staffed organisation holding a vast amount of data on Labour members and have reshaped Labour’s membership through successive rounds of mass recruitment.”

So says Luke Akehurst, secretary of Labour First, writing a sober article about Momentum and local council selections in a week of right-wing hysteria from the tabloid press, and with Roy Hattersley and Angela Rayner

Free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe!

Published on: Wed, 15/11/2017 - 10:33
Author

Charlotte Zalens

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British Iranian dual national, has been detained in Iran’s infamous Evin prison since April 2016.

Nazanin was on holiday with her young daughter visiting family in Iran when she was arrested and charged with “plotting to topple the Iranian regime”. Despite having refused requests to meet Nazanin’s husband and campaigners on her behalf for a year, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson publicly contradicted her reason for being in Iran claiming she was “training journalists”.

Johnson’s comments have apparently been used as evidence in a court in Iran, and Nazanin may now

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