About Aaron Bastani

Aaron Bastani is a Ph.D candidate at the  New Political Communications Unit (Royal Holloway University) and is also a participant with Novara Media. He is interested in technology, politics and social change and how these three areas intersect in the contemporary context, from political economy to social movements.

Articles by Aaron Bastani

This week's editors

Darian Meacham, Europe the Very Idea team Francesco Tava, Europe the Very Idea team Darian Meacham and Francesco Tava introduce this week's theme: Old ideas for a new Europe.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Podcast: What's happening in Scotland and why the rest of the UK should care

What's going on in Scotland, why the English should care about it: this week's NovaraMedia podcast was a discussion with current and former OurKingdom co-editors.

Misogyny and Twitter - confusing cause with medium

Despite the lazy characterisations of much mainstream media, misogyny is not created by new technologies and it will take much more than an "abuse button" to resolve.

Burn up not out; four suggested projects for UK activism

At the moment, there are few anti-capitalist social movements that have any real impact. Aaron Peters examines four structures that would aid their plight and boost the movement's political voice.

Britain's housing crisis: on Novara Radio

We need homes, but why growth? The Novara radio show discusses the housing crisis in Britain. For more Novara radio episodes, go to the Novara Media website.

The crisis of European centre-left parties: on Novara Radio

The Novara radio show discusses the crisis of nominally left social democratic parties in Europe since 2008. For more Novara radio episodes, go to the Novara Media website.

The Lady is not Returning: Novara radio on Thatcher

The Novara radio show marks the death of Margaret Thatcher with nuanced, wide-ranging, radical analysis of the politician and her legacy.

Weaponising workfare

Workfare recognises a reality that the TUC and many on the left haven't - our current model of production, from a social perspective, is crumbling. Make workfare a weapon for change.


Audio: New media and the British commentariat

The British media is exceptional in its status as part of the political class. But with the newsroom becoming defunct as a site of cultural production, and models of journalistic authority breaking down, this role is threatened. Laurie Penny and James Butler discuss, hosted by Aaron Peters.

Video, Up The Anti : Reclaiming the future - lessons of protest

A collection of speakers from an Up the anti conference discuss lessons to be learnt from the return of mass protest, and look at the challenges ahead in securing claims on the future.

Olympic Britishness and the crisis of identity

London 2012's opening ceremony offered an epic history of the British worker, but with no acknowledgement of what contemporary work is like. Its celebration of modern Britain was a trans-historical mash-up, flattening all history as repackaged and 'inevitable' British national identity. In fact, the 'national character' is a totem from another century, as is the idea of the 'epic' worker subject. By reverting to these, the ceremony illustrated our present crisis of identity.

"Unsourcing" - does free labour ultimately require free goods too?

Crowdsourcing has been discovered by the corporate sector, The Economist tells us, as a great way to turn consumers into free labour. "Unsourcing", is the McKinsey-speak for the method pioneered by Wikipedia (and adopted by openDemocracy). But what are the system-wide implications of this move? Where will income to buy products come from once products are made by free labour? A bandwagon too far for the management consultants? Or the opportunity to think about the transformative politics necessary to sustain that world?

Supply Side and Plan A - the straightest path to human tragedy

The Coalition's economic 'Plan A' ultimately has a strategy of wage repression at its heart. This will undermine the conditions needed for economic revival but, above all, will impose incalculable human costs on the mass of British people 

Jobless reindustrialisation: down and out in Detroit and Turin

The consensus of the UK's three main political parties of the need to 'rebalance' the economy fails to acknowledge the paradoxes of modern systems of production. Aaron Peters examines how the global processes of mechanisation and outsourcing have together made impotent the possibility of recovery via 'reindustrialisation'. 

The Third Industrial Revolution - a response to the Economist

The Third Revolution by nature of its high mechanisation and non-labour intensity means an ever larger proportion of the general public will be excluded from the production process or remunerated to ever lesser extents.

'Plan B(s), Keynes and the global financial crisis, is there no alternative alternative?'

Aaron Peters talks to Danny Hayward on Novara (Resonance FM) about UK politics, Keynesianism, underconsumptionist critiques of neo-liberalism and possible Plan B(s) amid the economic crisis. 

Forget the ‘golden age’ of capitalism: there’s no return, and our future can be better

Talk on the British left of a return to a Keynesian, pre-monetarist system is historically untenable. Aaron Peters argues that the solution to the current crisis resides not in statist capitalism but through a greater correspondence between the mechanisation of labour and a respect for human agency.

Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything

The editor of our Networked Society debate concludes the project by sharing his reflections on the last tumultuous year of global networked protest, making way for a new debate on the escalating Occupy Movement.

Part One: the alter-globalisation movement goes North

Part One of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

Part Two: open source activism and memes

Part Two of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

Part Three: reality management #fail

Part Three of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

And so?: Occupy Everything

The final part of our conclusion to the Networked Society debate: Goodbye, year of new movements: bring on 2012 and Occupy Everything.

Flee the state, don't seize it! A response to the idea of 'citizen politicians' in UK government

A response to the idea of transforming British politics through citizens entering parliament for one-term only.

Audio: Anthony Barnett discusses the rise of social movements in 2011

Audio: Founder of openDemocracy, Anthony Barnett, discusses the Occupy movement and its antecedents on Resonance FM show Novara hosted by Aaron Peters.

Reproduction of movement(s) without organisation: #UKUncut, #OWS, #OccupyMovement

A global day of collective action in 82 countries shook the world on October 15, 2011. Yet the protests were not co-ordinated by political parties, unions or other institutional actors. They were driven by the rapid dissemination of memes, made possible by the internet.

"The Game is Up": Unrest, Policing and the War on the Underclass

Ten years after 9/11, the 'War on Terror' in Britain is being replaced by a 'War on the Underclass' as exceptional legal powers and the militarization of the police come to constitute the new normal.

The Police, Notting Hill Carnival and the Permanent 'State of Exception'

Notting Hill Carnival - despite predictions of disorder after London's riots - was hailed as 'peaceful' and a 'success'. The price was basic civil liberties, as the normal rule of law was suspended across the capital, and stop-and-search powers abused

The movement that needs no name

A global movement is taking shape. The failure of neoliberalism, the development of new technologies, a burgeoning class of the over-educated and under-employed: all play a part in its birth. Yet the movement is only now beginning to recognise itself and its future role

New weekly Resonance FM show will discuss politics, activism and social change

Novara is a new weekly show that engages with political theory, current affairs and cultural debate. It is hosted by activist and graduate student Aaron Peters on Resonance FM. Discussion ranges from political aesthetics and activism to social history, locating these debates within a topical context relevant for the listener.

The Communication Commons: resisting the recuperation of the internet by capital

Is the 'information revolution' truly revolutionary? The internet presents us with a choice. Either we permit the recuperation of the web by capital – or we resist, and insist on the values of the commons

A New World in the Shell of the Old: prefigurative politics, direct action, education

Online networks are increasingly seen as of huge importance for how social movements organise - be it in Wisconsin, Cairo or London. However, what is missing is the recognition that online, commons-based forms of production are methods of political contention and practice in their own right

The Facebook Purge: Corporate power, political influence and the need for independent, powerfully popular social media networks

If Facebook have acted at the request of a state body then the ‘Facebook Purge’ of activist accounts in the UK during the royal wedding is an issue with freedom of association and assembly at its very heart.

The Open-Sourcing of Political Activism: How the internet and networks help build resistance

The fallout from the TUC demonstration on March 26th, which saw the mass arrest of peaceful UK Uncut activists following the police’s failure to deal with the controversial black bloc earlier in the day, has lent added urgency to debates about the nature of networked activism, its limits and potential in a shrill and reductive political environment. Here, we are re-publishing an article by Guy Aitchison and Aaron Peters which deals with some of these issues in the context of the emergent anti-cuts movement. Written at the end of 2010 as a contribution to Fight back!, it forms part of OK’s debate on the “networked society”.

UK Uncut, responsibility and the logic of networked activism

Much of the critical rhetoric attacking UKUncut's choice not to denounce the violence on March 26th fails to understand the organisational make-up of the UKUncut network and, more generally, of the national anti-cuts movement.
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