I have a tradition of writing for the Red Inkies. I am quite prolific, but much of my writing is a sort of practical thinking. It also remains on my hard drives. But one overflow mechanism has been the more journalistic pieces I have written over the last ten years.
I really like W.E. Du Bois’ strategy of publishing anywhere. He published in racist newspapers, for instance. I am far from ideologically aligned with some of the Red Inkies I have submitted to – to say the least – but getting in there means offering readers who might not otherwise look a different sort of perspective. I get slightly irritated by publishing resumés that list a flawless set of totally right-on titles. I’m equally suspicious of record collections without at least two or three guilty pleasures hidden in them.
There is a wider, more serious point to make here, which is that ethically, by publishing in the Guardian or New Statesman, nothing is ‘solved’, quite the opposite. I have long argued that feminists should publish in Woman’s Own and Marxists in the Financial Times, and although this sometimes happens, it isn’t as widespread a practice as it should be. Could an anti-racism campaigner get published in an EDL publication? Those kinds of ambitions, surely, should be part of any leftwing agenda.
I have a similar take on ethics in relation to social research, that will doubtless make peope feel uncomfortable when I publish the writing. But the broader point I want to make is that we need to get out of our own echo chambers, out of our comfortable, neutered, academic diplomatic immunity, and be just a little bit more risky. History, I think, demands this.
So, here is a piece from Solidarity on the London Olympic Games opening ceremony, called A Cloud Of 21st Century Consciousness. It uses Iain Sinclair and Andrew Kötting’s Swandown as a lens through which we might view the eventual Olympic event.
More recent pieces have been on Afzal Amin, which I titled Life in the Hall of Mirrors, and an essay on the bizarre, desperate re-burial of despotic King Richard, which I called Richard III, or How To Be an Anthopologist in Your Own Country. I’m not going to upload all of my Red Inky pieces here, just the ones that are accounts of Adventures In Political Landscapes.