James Butler

James Butler is a contributing editor at the LRB and a co-founder of Novara Media.

Up in Arms

James Butler, 16 November 2023

On 26 October​ more than 150 trade unionists and Palestinian solidarity activists blockaded the main entrances to a factory site in Sandwich, Kent. The factory is operated by Instro Precision – a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest privately owned weapons company – and produces military surveillance and targeting devices. The picketers were responding to a call...

From The Blog
14 November 2023

Suella Braverman finally goaded Rishi Sunak into sacking her as home secretary yesterday morning. The nominal cause was the editorial Braverman wrote for the Times last Thursday, which libelled pro-Palestinian demonstrators as ‘hate marchers’ and criticised the police for ‘playing favourites’. Number Ten has since briefed that its suggested edits for the piece were ignored. Braverman’s baseless claim of threats to remembrance services at the Cenotaph helped mobilise hundreds of far-right counter-protesters; responsibility for the drunken violence and sporadic racist attacks against demonstrators returning home lies with her.

From The Blog
11 August 2023

The audience of Punchdrunk’s The Burnt City is plunged into a world created in two vast warehouse spaces, one Mycenae and the other Troy, between which play out the events – more or less – of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon and Euripides’ Hecuba.

Short Cuts: In Suburbia

James Butler, 10 August 2023

One of the​ Labour Party’s least attractive peculiarities is its restlessness when deprived of opportunities for self-flagellation. Last week’s by-elections saw the party achieve a staggering swing to overturn a 20,000-vote majority in Selby and Ainsty, and come tantalisingly close to taking Uxbridge and South Ruislip, where the Tory majority is now only 495. The Liberal...

Short Cuts: Radiant Ambiguity

James Butler, 27 July 2023

Afterthe fall of the National Government in 1931, R.H. Tawney wrote an essay titled ‘The Choice before the Labour Party’ in which he claimed that the party was fundamentally unclear about its purpose and priorities, allowing socialism’s ‘radiant ambiguity’ to obscure its muddle of contradictory views. The result, in power, had been paralysis. In its...

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