The Scum Gentry Journal

Politics

The Handmaid's Tale: A Timely Warning

The Handmaid’s Tale: A Timely Warning

Politics
Zack Breslin
The television show The Handmaid’s Tale is nearing the conclusion of its third season and while the show is perhaps not quite hitting the heights of earlier series it remains essential viewing. For those who haven’t seen it (don’t worry, you’ll find no spoilers here), The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the Margaret Atwood book of the same name, tells the story of the fictional theocratic state, Gilead, which has replaced a United States that has collapsed against the backdrop of political instability, declining fertility and environmental catastrophe. In Gilead, the state forces fertile women to become child-bearing slaves (Handmaids) to a Christian Fundamentalist elite. It is a dystopic society in which all the power is held by ...
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Corporate Bias in the UK Media

Corporate Bias in the UK Media

Politics
Mark Tweedy
Since journalists overwhelmingly rely on the voices of elites, elites have a disproportionate influence on the media agenda, acting as the ‘primary definers’ who set the framework of interpretation against which all subsequent voices are forced to insert themselves. While voices on the right-wing of the political spectrum often claim that the media has an implicit left-wing agenda, it is corporations, not leftist academics, which enforce politically correct limits on speech. By contrast, ordinary people who appear in the news are constructed primarily as passive consumers, reacting to the agendas set by these elites. If the UK press had a left wing agenda, why would they not support Jeremy Corbyn? After all he embodies many left-wing ideas ...
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Starvation Sanctions Are Worse Than Overt Warfare

Starvation Sanctions Are Worse Than Overt Warfare

Politics
Caitlin Johnstone
“We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday,” President Trump tweeted last week. “I look forward to the day that Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again — The sooner the better!” Iran’s economy is already floundering due to the steadily mounting sanctions that the Trump administration has been heaping upon it since its withdrawal from the JCPOA last year. Crucial goods are four times the price they used to be, sick Iranians are having difficulty obtaining life-saving medicine, and life in general has been getting much more difficult for the poorest and frailest Iranian civilians. For this reason, it is a very safe bet that there have been Iranians who ...
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The Psychopaths Want War

The Psychopaths Want War

Politics
Zack Breslin
Once more, tensions are rising in the Middle East as analysts warn that the ongoing strategic contest between the US and Iran might result in war. On the 13th June, two oil tankers were attacked and set ablaze in the Straits of Hormuz, off the coast of Iran. Who the perpetrators were is not clear, although inevitably the US placed the blame on their regional nemesis, Iran. The US military released video footage and photographs that are purported to back up these claims, although the governments of several nations, including Germany, have expressed scepticism. The incident was the latest in a series of unexplained attacks on oil tankers in the Straits of Hormuz. The US blames Iran ...
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Where Ideas Go To Die

Where Ideas Go To Die

Politics
Mark Hoskins
A lot of dedicated, principled socialists ran in both the European and local elections in Ireland, many of whom I know personally. There’s a tendency for electoral socialists to take personally criticism of electoralism from anarchists who have been comrades on campaigns, but we aren’t saying you’re terrible because you run in elections; we’re saying you’re better than that. I didn’t ask anyone to abstain from voting in the local and European elections. I don’t particularly care if you stick a number beside a name on a ballot paper. I’m not asking you to agree, I’m not asking you to text join if you do, and I don’t have a paper to sell you or a petition ...
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The Brexit Humiliation

The Brexit Humiliation

Politics
Zack Breslin
With the UK about to vote in elections for the European parliament, it is fair to say its politics have become increasingly strange. The country is stuck in a weird pre-Brexit twilight zone, with its ruling class too proud to admit that the Brexit project is on the verge of failure but not quite stupid enough to self-inflict a catastrophic no-deal. The result is that Britain remains in a kind of chaotic state of institutional denial.The two main political parties are unclear about the way out of this three-year-long political crisis. The ruling Conservative Party is deeply divided, and Theresa May is a lame duck leader who is on the verge of suffering yet another defeat on ...
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World War III: The Permanent War

World War III: The Permanent War

Politics
Zack Breslin
If you followed the news this week (August 2018), you may have come across three stories that reveal the state of war and peace in the world today. The first was Donald Trump’s announcement that he would now seek to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan, having previously indicated he favoured complete withdrawal. The second was that the recent terrorist attackers in Spain had been planning an attack much larger in scale than the one actually carried out. The third news story appears somewhat unrelated to the first two; the Russian military’s plan to conduct large-scale military exercises in Eastern Europe ...
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Mutually Assured Destruction: a Game for Mad Men

Mutually Assured Destruction: a Game for Mad Men

Politics Phillip Sutcliffe-Mott The United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, India, and Pakistan. These countries have all detonated nukes in the last century. North Korea and Israel likely have arms too, perhaps homebuilt or perhaps imported. All but two of these detonations were on unpopulated testing sites. Fission weapons are, to leap into technicality, like 20,000 tonnes of TNT when dropped. The US showed our world as much over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, killing, by the most conservative possible metric, 129,000 people with two bombs. If they were dropped on a 21st century-dense population, the loss of life would be orders worse. Consider such imprecision. Some years ago, I asked Dr. Lisbeth Gronlund, co-director of the Global Security ...
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