October 2009

31 October

31 October 2009 'To cause the face to appear in a mass of flame make use of the following: mix together thoroughly petroleum, lard, mutton tallow and quick lime. Distil this over a charcoal fire, and the liquid which results can be burned on the face without harm.'

30 October

30 October 2009 The first star of reality television requires a bribe to appear on screen.


30 October 2009 ‘Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.’ Yoda

29 October

29 October 2009 All beavered up and nowhere to go.

28 October

28 October 2009 It's St Jude's Day, after the patron saint of lost causes

27 October

27 October 2009 Dylan Thomas's birthday. Although he dismissed the literary Marxists of the 1930s as 'parlour pinks', he remained a committed socialist to his death.

26 October

26 October 2009 'I think one man is just as good as another so long as he's honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman.'

25 October

25 October 2009 It's stick two fingers up to the French day, if you're into that sort of thing.

24 October

24 October 2009 It's United Nations Day, and the beginning of International Disarmament Week, marking the day in 1945 when the UN Charter was ratified by a majority of signatories and the permanent members of the security council.

23 October

23 October 2009 Tens of thousands of people joined what turned into a national uprising against Soviet control on the streets of Budapest, in Hungary, on 23 October 1956. Soviet troops initially withdrew from Budapest, but on 4 November they returned in a full-blooded invasion.

22 October

22 October 2009 'Chickens do not avoid Mike who, however, has shown no tendency to mate.'

The other India

21 October 2009 Mike Marqusee reviews Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy by Arundhati Roy

Enlightened fundamentalism

21 October 2009 Liberal and conservative Europe alike are guilty of a new 'xeno-racism' against Muslims, according to veteran anti-racism campaigner Liz Fekete. Review by Matt Carr

A fight worth having

21 October 2009 Kate Ferguson interviews Ian Terry, a 23-year-old wind turbine worker involved in the occupation of the Vestas factory on the Isle of Wight

21 October

21 October 2009 21 October 1967, Washington DC: Levitate the Pentagon!

20 October

20 October 2009 'I put my feet up on the desk and start reading. If I get an erection, we prosecute.'

19 October

19 October 2009 After 15 years imprisonment in English jails for crimes they did not commit, the Guildford Four - Patrick Armstrong, Gerard Conlon, Paul Hill and Carole Richardson - were finally freed on 19 October 1989.

18 October

18 October 2009 A police raid on the London flat of John Lennon and Yoko Ono on this day in 1968 turned up 168 grammes of cannabis. Lennon took the rap and was fined £150 for the offence - getting off more lightly than Keith Richards and Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, who were imprisoned for the same offence the previous year.

Essay: Red Shi’ism, Iran and the Islamist revolution

17 October 2009 From the Iranian revolution to the Palestinian struggle, it has often been Islamic ideas that have inspired resistance to imperialism. Here, Alastair Crooke argues that the left needs a more complex understanding of the thinking, critical forms of political Islam

Essay response: How not to understand Islamist politics

17 October 2009 Saeed Rahnema argues that Alistair Crooke's understanding of the Iranian revolution and recent events is deeply flawed

Essay response: Which side are you on?

17 October 2009 Alastair Crooke's glorification of the Islamist movement is based on distortions and falsification, says Azar Majedi

17 October

17 October 2009 'The campaign to make poverty history - a central moral challenge of our age - cannot remain a task for the few, it must become a calling for the many. On this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, I urge everyone to join this struggle. Together, we can make real and sufficient progress towards the end of poverty.'

16 October

16 October 2009 Marie Antoinette was beheaded, the Palace of Westminster was gutted by fire, the first broadcast of Blue Peter went out on BBC TV (with presenters Leila Williams and Christopher Trace) - and Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize.

15 October

15 October 2009 Reds will prohibit Christian names for children

14 October

14 October 2009 The heptagonal 50p coin became part of the official British currency on this day in 1969, prompting the formation of the Anti-Heptagonists organisation to campaign against it.

13 October

13 October 2009 The first party election broadcast was made on BBC radio by the prime minister, Ramsey MacDonald, on this day in 1924

12 October

12 October 2009 David McLean, the 'Marlboro Man' who appeared in many television and print advertisements for Marlboro cigarettes from the early 1960s, died of cancer at age 73 on this day in 1995.

Digging the dirt

11 October 2009 Corporate Watch provides the rundown on researching corporations

Unnatural no more

11 October 2009 In July, the Delhi high court in India decriminalised homosexuality. Sylvia Rowley talks to Shaleen Rakesh, the activist who brought the case

11 October

11 October 2009 Poet, novelist, filmmaker, actor, painter, designer, one-time boxing promoter and full-time celebrity, Jean Cocteau died on 11 October 1963.

10 October

10 October 2009 It probably didn't feel like it to the 15,000 or so people whose heads it removed over the next two decades, but the guillotine was introduced as a 'painless and private capital punishment method equal for all the classes, as an interim step towards completely banning the death penalty'.

Christmas cards

9 October 2009 Buy your Red Pepper Christmas cards here. Ten cards (five of each image) with envelopes for only £8.00. (UK only.) Or watch a video: and read a commentary upon it.

Quaker Peace and Social Witness

8 October 2009 Peace and Disarmament Programme Manager

8 October

8 October 2009 General Pervez Musharraf might have won 98 per cent of the votes (671 out of 685 cast by national and provincial assemblies) to secure re-election as Pakistan's president over the weekend. But he's still short of the biggest election victory ever.

Carry on camping?

7 October 2009 Beginning in 2006, Climate Camp has captured the imagination of activists and the interest of the press. At a more peaceful than usual gathering in Blackheath this year, Andy Bowman spoke to participants about their reflections on the past three years, and the way forward

Europe’s far left narrowly misses a hat-trick

7 October 2009 Leigh Phillips analyses the far left results in the recent German, Portugese and Greek elections

A real green deal

7 October 2009 35 years ago, workers at the Lucas Aerospace company formulated an 'alternative corporate plan' to convert military production to socially useful and environmentally desirable purposes. Hilary Wainwright and Andy Bowman consider what lessons it holds for the greening of the world economy today

Just say yes

7 October 2009 As the anti-corporate pranksters the Yes Men launched their new film, {Red Pepper} dispatched Brendan Montague to meet them and get the lowdown on their unusual form of activism

7 October

7 October 2009 'Tonight,' said George W Bush, in a speech headed 'Iraq: Denial and Deception' on 7 October 2002, 'I want to take a few minutes to discuss a grave threat to peace, and America's determination to lead the world in confronting that threat.'

6 October

6 October 2009 'If God spare my life, 'ere many years pass, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scriptures than thou dost.' So spoke William Tyndale, who was burned at the stake for heresy on this day in 1536, to a priest whose ignorance of the bible was typical of many clerics of the time.

Direct action not inaction

5 October 2009 Andrew Beckett of Smash EDO says Milan Rai's criticism of direct action campaigns misses the point

Disarming the arms makers

5 October 2009 Milan Rai looks at the growth of local campaigns against arms manufacturers

5 October

5 October 2009 'Hello, last week on {Party Hints} I showed you how to make a small plate of goulash go round 26 people, how to get the best out of your canapés, and how to unblock your loo. This week I'm going to tell you what to do if there is an armed communist uprising near your home when you're having a party.'

4 October

4 October 2009 It's the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, a man whose reputation can stand the damage done to it by Margaret Thatcher's appropriation of his words when she won the 1979 election.

3 October

3 October 2009 Don't vote, look what it did to Edgar Allan Poe.

2 October

2 October 2009 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on this day in 1869. The Mahatma, or 'great soul', prompted strong feelings throughout his life, not all of them favourable - not least from that arch-opponent of Indian independence, Winston Churchill.

Border stories

1 October 2009 Frances Webber investigates the tabloid fantasies and desperate realities surrounding migrants in Calais

Reclaiming our food system

1 October 2009 Democratising our food system is the key to securing the right to food and sustainability, writes James O'Nions

Carbon con-trick

1 October 2009 Michael Meacher MP says the government's low carbon transition plan is built on an accounting trick whereby developing countries shoulder the burden

1 October

1 October 2009 'There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.'