What I’m up to now – Building a research transparency app

I’ve basically stopped writing journalism for the time being. My last piece was an impassioned cry for progressives not to assume a Clinton victory, and to therefore hold their noses and vote for the lesser evil. We were in a situation where the parties are no longer converging on a neoliberal consensus but polarising faster than ever, especially in the right, which is in serious danger of being taken over by its most hateful and dangerous impulses.

By now there’s no joy left in telling people I told them so on this point. Just as there isn’t in regards to Egypt, or Libya. I even deleted my twitter account. I long ago decided I wanted to more than simply spew article after article into the internet’s gaping maw, with little or no reaction coming back.

So I’ve been involved over the years in attempts to upgrade journalism standards and methodology. The latest incarnation of this effort is called Stone and it is the worlds first research transparency system. Further explanations and early use cases will soon be added to our website.

 

You can also follow our progress on Twitter and Facebook.

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Remembering the Ghouta massacre

Leila's blog

CM1cqBFWsAApCXxTwo years ago the Syrian regime dropped Sarin gas on multiple locations across the eastern and western Ghouta, an agricultural, industrial and residential district on the outskirts of Damascus. It was the deadliest use of chemical weapons since the Iran-Iraq war, the greatest single poisoning of civilians since Saddam Hussain’s slaughter of the Kurds at Halabja. More than 1,400 people choked to death in the attack – so many because people were sheltering from the artillery barrage in their basements, the worst place to be, where the gas sank and thickened.

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A phone call from Jeremy Corbyn

I write at ImportantCool.com only from now on. Might start using this place to reblog awesome stuff like this though.

Crispin Flintoff - Labour Party campaigner

On Monday the #JC4PM tour hit Swansea. The date had been planned months ago and tickets had been selling well before the attempted coup on Jeremy Corbyn. But in the week between the coup and the event, sales went through the roof – and the Brangwyn Hall has a very high ceiling!

People wanted to show support for Corbyn. That was clear from the impromptu rally of a few hundred people that assembled outside the venue just before the show. The was already a buzz about the night before it had started.

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Mark Serwotka was a fantastic compere. He not only managed to set the political events of the last two weeks in context, but he was skilled at introducing performers and encouraging audience participation. He was also funny. From the perspective of the audience, it was slick (there is a youtube clip here).

However, backstage, I was in a bit of a pickle. At the weekend I had…

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JAN25 piece on ImportantCool

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Some of you may have noticed that this blog has been very quiet recently.

If you actually pay that much attention to my work, you may also have noticed I’ve been busy, along with a bunch of others, founding ImportantCool.com – a transparent worker owned news outlet that will, inevitably, take over the Internets.

Today IC is featuring my piece marking the fourth anniversary of the 25 January 2011, entitled What Went Wrong With Egypt’s Revolution.

Here’s a sample:

Despite the best efforts of the Western-facing Egyptian intelligentsia – alongside the Anglophone commentators with whom they overlap and intermingle incestuously – to obfuscate what happened and blame Egypt’s first elected government for its own demise, there is very little ambiguity as to what went wrong.

Inexplicably bewildered by predictable Islamist success at the ballot box, secularists rushed back into the waiting arms of the security state. They sought and found authoritarian protection from the electoral success of the Islamists, whose conservative populism successfully mustered feelings of national and religious pride behind a project of economic and socially centrist nation-building.

Secularists held mass protests demanding the removal of President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who won the first democratic presidential election in Egypt’s history. In doing so they greatly aided the efforts of the deep state to create a sense of crisis that allowed the armed forces to step in, arrest Morsi and his government, murder their supporters en masse in the streets, shut down all sympathetic media and generally re-assert near-totalitarian control; public, religious and civic institutions were transformed into eviscerated mouthpieces for a mafia-style military government lead by a sociopathic man-child.

Please check out the rest, follow ImportantCool on Twitter and Facebook, and become a patron, which will give you a say in how this new media outlet evolves. There really is a great community forming around this project. Come and see.

Will be making a more long term decision about what to do with this blog later.

Peace.

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[PHOTOS] Egyptians Defy Military Regime And Show Solidarity With Gaza

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Originally posted on bayareaintifada:
? Despite Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s close collaboration with the Israeli Occupation Forces and siege of Gaza, Egyptians have staged solidarity actions across the country against Israeli aggression. The actions have mostly been ignored by both the…

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The things they said that day

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Nader on the “isms”

No Big Thinkers On The Left, says Nader. It’s always been presented to me that the lack of an “ism”, or any big picture systemic vision that could be portrayed as a victory for freedom of thought, with people no longer locked inside these rigid structures. It’s occurred to me since that the discrediting of any ideology (except the dominant and therefore generally un-articulated ones, like capitalism) is actually a way of crippling thought. It’s like how knowing scales and chords and stuff doesn’t make you less free to improvise with music. What Nader says here, about how it was actually the Mcarthyist purges that made people first move away from these systemic, society wide critiques, and into empiricism (he describes his own work focusing on auto-safety as an example), and what he says about the consequences of this, fits very well with my argument. What I fear is that many of Nader’s generation of lefties don’t realise the extent to which they through out the baby with the bathwater… with big picture political movements gone and a generation (the boomers) where both sides were busy singing the praises of the glorious atomized individual, it’s easy for people of my generation to view political action as a hobby,to think of being radical as a consumer lifestyle option that one can pursue without threatening the centers of power. Key to remaining non-threatening to these systems is the endless talk about localization and living small, let us have our little hippy commune on the fringes, Mr Bigshot, and we’ll let you have everything else.

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