FRAW site updates (in reverse chronological order)
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.28, Strawberry Moon 2023:
Some books get a ‘reputation’ as a result of what people believe they say rather than on a detailed reading of the text. Just a word in the title – for example, ‘collapse’ – can be enough to invalidate their content without any appreciation of what they actually say.
‘Ramblin’ News’ No.4, Strawberry Moon 2023:
As the Government threatens to raise the retirement age, again!, why is there no discussion about ‘Multidimensional Poverty’?
‘Radical References’, No.5, Strawberry Moon 2023:
One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, sixteen women from Ascott-under-Wychwood in Oxfordshire were made an example of by a system of power that sought to resist inevitable change. What does it tell us about Britain today?
‘Ramblin’ News’ No.3, Flower Moon 2023:
For some months the ‘specialist’ media have been tracking a major structural change in the world’s economy brought-on by the Ukraine War: Not the well-publicised crisis of food or energy prices; but of who controls the world’s financial payments system, and its use to enforce Western sanctions.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.27, Full Flower Moon 2023:
Though, ‘Overshoot’, is ostensibly a book about biophysical limits, the theme that runs through it is about the human propensity for denying obvious facts: Our ability to deceive not only others, but more importantly, ourselves.
‘Ramblin’ News’ No.2, Flower Moon 2023:
Why are authoritarians in both of our main political parties stifling the youth vote in Britain? We have to draw the line somewhere: For me, that’s the point where participation in the process implies a willing acceptance of it.
Long Walks & A/P, Part 8, Full Pink Moon 2023:
The issue here is ‘mechanomorphism’: The tendency for humans in a technological environment to identify their essential being with that of a machine. This idea will take a little time for me to unpack – so please, unplug your remote network connections, disable interrupts, and drop your motor functions into standby mode!
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.26, Full Pink Moon 2023:
Politicians and the media obsess about ‘economic growth’; but what if that ‘glorious thirty years’ of economic expansion from the 1960s has ended? This landmark text of the degrowth movement explores why growth’s ‘end is nigh’, and why this should be welcomed.
‘Ramblinactivist’s Videos’, 2023/9, 8th March 2023:
‘Fascism Rules UK’ (short)
History is screaming at us, yet few want to listen because they won’t believe such things could happen today.
Banburyshire Rambles Journal, Worm Moon 2023:
‘Trespassing, With Intent!’
In pursuit of a route along a brook, I follow a path created by the stormtroopers of the landrights movement – the dog-walkers!
‘The Meta-Blog’, no.26, New Worm Moon 2023:
According to the media, on-line chatbots are helping people to be ‘more creative’; but is the whole picture really that rosy? Digging deeper, the facts are in plain sight, but no one ‘in authority’ seems to be capable of holding this rather disturbing discussion.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.25, 16th February 2023:
Proudhon, Property, and the Political Panic over ‘The Great Resignation’ – how this classic text prefigures the contemporary debate over work and well-being.
‘The Meta-Blog’, no.25, Imbolic 2023:
The ‘ecological crisis’ is a big, technical, complicated issue; and all too often, therefore, how this is presented isolates and simplifies, and more especially, relies on commonly-held tropes to convey meaning. But what if those tropes are not objectively correct?; and so as the media feedback those tropes, it increasingly distorts how we react to the ecological crisis.
‘An Anarchist’s Cookbook’, Pt. 7, 1st Q. Snow Moon 2023:
Bread, Soup, & Pie, Episode 1. ‘Food!: It’s Political!’ (whether you like it or not)
Food is the basis for lifestyle: Food is the connection to our authentic, biological nature as living creatures, sharing the world with a host of other creatures, in a complex global ecology. Get that right, and all the other things are ‘negotiable’.
‘Ramblinactivist’s Music’, 2023/3, 23rd January 2023:
‘The March of The Machine’
Consider this a little indulgence, a practical need to be creative; and to push my skills to see how far they go before I embark on the really heavy work of film-making this year.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.24, 12th January 2023:
Some books are so well observed, so prescient, that even their supporters are seemingly overwhelmed by their material implications, and turn away from the truths they annunciate: ‘Small is Beautiful’ is such an example.
The Meta-Blog: ‘Ramblin’ News’ No.1, Wolf Moon 2023:
The first in a new blog series looking at unreported or badly reported stories. This time: New evidence on why ‘bright green’ ideas are failing; and, the facts behind the recent fusion experiment in the US.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.23, 28th December 2022:
All religions have problems with ‘unbelievers’, but that response is insignificant compared to their visceral hatred of ‘apostates’.
Banburyshire Rambles Journal, 15th December 2022:
‘The North Wind Comes...’
Sunday 11th December 2022: As I leave the house it starts to snow: heavily. By the time I reach Crouch Hill there’s a good dumping on the ground. For me, having a day outdoors in the frost and cold is obligatory. Now the north wind is blowing, and it promises a lovely walk!
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.22, 10th December 2022:
What do Extinction Rebellion and Hollywood superheroes have in common? They both uncritically preserve the bureaucratic status quo by breaking the rules of everyday conduct.
‘The Meta-Blog’, no.24, 4th December 2022:
The environmental debate in Britain is maintained by a few unaccountable figures elevated to the role of eco-gate-keepers – which is why the ecological debate fails to make any real progress
Banburyshire Rambles Journal, 23rd November 2022:
‘From Green Lane to Weeping Cross’ (with deep green ‘luddite’ subtitles)
Not a planned walk: it was ‘now or never’ for the next few days. Dazzlingly bright sun made the Autumn leaves glow; not good for photography as I’ll be struggling between extremes of light and shadow. Then crossing the canal I notice something unusual… most of it wasn’t there!
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.21, 17th November 2022:
Published thirty-five years ago, this book is simple, comprehensive, diverse, and more importantly, fun! Based on many different sources, it’s one of the best introductions to the history and theory and anarchism because ditches the often dry academic prose of such guides for an involving narrative.
‘The Meta-Blog’, no.23, 12th November 2022:
Talk about ‘fuel poverty’? Talk about the 'cost of living crisis? No!! I want to talk about the ‘The State’s Monopoly on Hunger’! ‘Fuel poverty’ is a new view of the old issue of deprivation in Britain; and yet it is simply a modern dimension to the issue of well-being and inequality deliberately created by the British state as a matter of ‘choice’.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.20, 3rd November 2022:
Fifty years ago the editors of The Ecologist published a book that condensed their thinking on ecological problems, and the necessary solutions to them. Five decades on and the book’s prognosis has not only been borne out by experience, but many of the changes it proposed are supported by the latest academic research.
‘Radical References’, No.4, 29th October 2022:
As British people currently wrestle with the reality that they do not have the power to choose the governing executive – and that their representation is in actuality in name only, and renders little political control – it’s fitting that we celebrate the 375th anniversary of one of the significant events of English history.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.19, 26th October 2022:
Though written 15 years ago, ‘The Shock Doctrine’ still has a lot to tell us about events today. It charts how a radical lobby created the neoliberal economic model which dominates the world; how that model was introduced from the 1970s; and how it was supercharged after the Millennium through natural and deliberately manufactured ‘disasters’.
Banburyshire Rambles Journal, 9th October 2022:
‘Hunting the Hunter’s Moon’
Autumn’s here, but for me the season really starts with the ‘Hunter’s Moon’ – the first full moon after the Autumn Equinox. So I go off for an afternoon to find it.
Ramblinactivist’s Videos, 2022/31, 9th October 2022:
‘A Porch Door in 6/4’ – A musical experiment in ‘rhythmic D-I-Y’ beats
A musical experiment in ‘rhythmic D-I-Y’ beats, set to the video of the couple of weeks taken to restore a Victorian porch door in a Welsh chapel.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.18, 4th October 2022:
From branding to political propaganda, Vance Packard’s book prefigured the use of psychological research and market segregation to more precisely sway public opinion for economic and political ends.
‘Ramblinactivist’s Blogs’, Autumn 2022:
The environmental movement is very good at praising its efforts, but seldom does it actively probe its assumptions against the hardest test of all – the data on ecological collapse. This presentation seeks to test the assumptions of environmentalism, with perhaps uncomfortable results.
This page summarises this new presentation, and gives access to the background information and videos which contribute to it.
‘The Meta-Blog’, no.22, 22nd September 2022:
Electricity supply, one of the systemic flaws in the UK’s failing economy, looks increasingly like it could fracture this Winter – and without accepting why that model is broken that cannot be avoided.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.17, 16th September 2022:
Published in 1970 by Swedish economist Steffan Linder, this book examines how society has become ‘time poor’, and therefore has become increasingly trapped in the complex ‘rationalisations’ of the modern economy.
‘Radical References’, No.3, Mabon 2022:
In 1962, Aldous Huxley, author of ‘Brave New World’, gave a speech to mark thirty years since its publication. Sixty years after that speech, and Huxley’s prognostication of the populous learning to ‘love their servitude’ continues to evolve.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.16, 20th August 2022:
‘Stone Age Economics’ (1972)
Beginning as a presentation in 1966, what Sahlins challenged was the historic prejudice which dismissed the rights and value of ‘undeveloped’ societies and their ‘state of nature’.
Banburyshire’s Ancient Trackways, 13th August 2022:
‘Salt Way’ was a minor Roman route to take salt from Droitwich to the Roman towns of the South Midlands, and on down to the Chilterns. Its use as a regional road carried on into Medieval times. The page has been updated with new information, mapping, and images.
Banburyshire’s Ancient Trackways, 11th August 2022:
An ancient route, running through the heartland of the Dobunni and later Hwicce tribes, that linked Banbury Lane at the top the the Thames Valley and Crickley Hill on the Cotswold escarpment with many ancient sites along the way.
Banburyshire’s Ancient Trackways, 11th August 2022:
Some revisions to the ‘Banbury Lane’ page, with more detail about the route, new mapping, and more links to background information.
Banburyshire’s Radical History, Monday 8th August 2022:
In 1772, a Quaker went on a journey through England, visiting the meeting house in Banbury, to preach about the ills of slavery; a journey that would end with his death in York at the beginning of October. The words he spoke during his life are just as true today, and in the context of today’s materialistic society, are even more revolutionary than when he spoke them over 250 years ago.
‘An Anarchist’s Cookbook’, Part 6, Lammas 2022:
‘The Great Coffee Economy Con’
Coffee, the addictive obsession of the affluent class, can tell us more about modern society than just retail trends; it is an indicator for how the modern neoliberal system operates, and its current shift toward new economic extremes.
Banburyshire’s Ancient Trackways, 29th July 2022:
For some time I’ve been hoping to update and extend ‘The Jurassic Way’ page, with more detail about the route as a whole. As the local buses have now been ‘reorganised’ (i.e. cut) it seemed a good time to do so. Details of the new bus services are included, as well as new maps and images.
‘Ramblinactivist’s Videos’, 2022/23, 23rd July 2022:
‘Electric Shock!’ – Technological Complexity and the Modern Lifestyle
There is a myth, accepted across modern society without question: ‘Technology makes life better’. It’s a proposition treated as a ‘rule’, when in fact it is a ‘function’: A certain level of technology certainly improves human lifestyle; but beyond a certain point technology creates a ‘trap’ – where growing complexity creates a higher risk to our well-being should those systems suddenly fail.
Long Walks & A/P, Part 7, Hay Moon 2022:
What inspired this post was a recent comment in response to another posts. To paraphrase: ‘I’m not going to read that because other articles on that site are anti-technology’. What I say in response is that I am not ‘anti-technology’, but ‘pro-science’.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.15, 15th July 2022:
‘Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism – The Unbridgeable Chasm’ (1995)
The problem with the label, ‘anarchist’, is that the moment it is defined, it contradicts the principles it claims to represent. It was this contradiction that Murray Bookchin sought to explore in his 1995 book, in the wake of the complex political transformation that occurred after the 1960s.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.14, 16th June 2022:
‘Food for Free’ (1972)
The 1970s surge in ecological awareness saw many books published on our relationship with the natural world. ‘Food for Free’, by Richard Mabey, was published fifty years ago in 1972.
Banburyshire Rambles Journal, 31st May 2022:
‘North of Banbury along the Ironstone ridges’
Friday 27th May 2022: A circuit out from Banbury, following the long ironstone ridges that rise from the northern fringe of the town towards Edgehill.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.13, 24th May 2022:
‘Silent Spring’ (1962)
An historically significant book, its hypothesis proven right, its message undimmed by the passing of six decades – and yet it is so seldom discussed today.
‘The Meta-Blog’, 19th May 2022:
The media is exercised by the ‘cost of living’ crisis; but they’re ignoring the greater structural economic trends that are driving it – and thus the difficult questions that these trends raise for our future.
‘A Book in Five Minutes’, no.12, 6th May 2022:
‘Rules for Radicals’ (1971)
In this review of ‘Rules for Radicals’ I’m not going to list those ‘rules’. Nor the oft-neglected list of ‘means and ends’. That’s because, if you read the book, that’s not the point of these lists. Alinsky’s philosophy is broader than that.
‘Ramblinactivist’s Videos’, 2022/16, 1st May 2022:
‘Minster Lovell Hall & its ‘Romantic’ Graffiti’
Minster Lovell Hall has a surreal quality; especially if the weather adds to the atmosphere. It’s a classic ‘ruin’, but at the same time you can see that centuries of less reverent visitors have scrawled graffiti over many parts of it. More then anything, it’s just an ethereally beautiful place to visit.
Banburyshire’s Ancient Sites, Beltane 2022:
Minster Lovell Hall has a surreal quality; especially if the weather adds to the atmosphere. It’s a classic ‘ruin’, but at the same time you can see that centuries of less reverent visitors have scrawled graffiti over many parts of it (a practise common before modern times). And while today it seems a backwater, the history of the site ties it to some major events in history.