Biddle, Matthew

Matthew Biddle
1 June 2010Feature

Turning ancient history upside down

Much of our understanding of the world and its peoples is based on sometimes unconsciously- absorbed accounts of history.

When Martin Bernal first published Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization in 1987, he set out to show the impact Egyptians and other dark-skinned peoples had on Greek civilization, a history he argued had been covered up by classics scholars for largely racist reasons. Understandably, the academic community launched intense…

3 May 2010News

The six EDO Decommissioners, who caused £300,000 damage to the EDO MBM arms factory in Brighton to protest against the war on Gaza, go to trial on 17 May. They are charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

The trial will be held at Hove Crown Court on Lansdowne Road BN3 3BN. There will be a solidarity demonstration at 10am on the Monday morning.

Because the courtroom lacks a large public gallery, people are also encouraged to turn up throughout the trial to…

1 May 2010Feature

As politicians warn of post-election cuts in public spending, the question arises: how much could be saved by reducing Britain’s military presence worldwide?

This is what many Britons think the government should be doing. In a 2007 Daily Telegraph poll, 55% of respondents felt Britain should stop trying to “punch above our weight”, and reduce the country’s foreign military involvement.

In real terms, military spending – like public spending in general – has increased…

1 May 2010Feature

Recent opinion polls suggest an increased likelihood of the 6 May general election resulting in a hung parliament, something last seen in 1974. In order to avoid this, one party must win a minimum of 326 seats. The Labour party will forfeit its absolute majority if it loses 24 seats; the Conservatives will only achieve an absolute majority if they gain 116 seats. Otherwise, a hung parliament results and smaller parties gain value as the two major parties try to pass legislation.

16 April 2010Feature

Three New Zealand peace activists found not guilty for $1m damage to US spy base.

Three Christian peace activists, charged with burglary and unlawful damage at a US spy base in New Zealand, were acquitted on 17 March.

Father Peter Murnane, Adrian Leason and Sam Land stood trial for NZ$1m damage to a 30m-high pressurized dome covering a satellite at the Waihopai spy base. Waihopai is New Zealand’s biggest contribution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and part of Echelon, a five-nation network of global surveillance.

The three broke in by…

3 April 2010Comment

Howard Zinn, US historian and activist, died in January of a heart attack at the age of 87. Perhaps best known as the author who challenged the status quo with A People’s History of the United States, Zinn was at the forefront of the early civil rights movement and anti-war protests against the Vietnam War.

“He was fearless,” Noam Chomsky said. “He said the right things, said them eloquently, and inspired others to move forward in ways they wouldn’t have done, and…

16 March 2010Feature

More than 500 activists shut down access to the Aldermaston nuclear bomb factory in Berkshire on 15 February to protest against the expansion of the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s research, design and testing of advanced nuclear warheads – without parliamentary approval.

Beginning at 6.30am, demonstrators, including Nobel Peace Prize winners Jody Williams and Mairead Maguire, prevented workers from entering all eight gates for nearly four hours.

Reading Gate was…

1 March 2010News

The Green Party is focusing its attention on three constituencies where it has a reasonable chance of electing a Green MP in this year’s general election: Lewisham Deptford, Norwich South and Brighton Pavilion. Britain is the only sizeable European country never to have had any Green national legislative presence.

Brighton Pavilion represents the Greens’ best chance at achieving this milestone. With nine councillors, the Greens have more representation than the other parties in…