James Butler

James Butler is a contributing editor at the LRB. He co-founded Novara Media in 2011 and hosted its weekly radio show for several years.

On a cold evening​ in early February 2011, a small group of activists spilled out of a squat in a Georgian townhouse on Bloomsbury Square. The building – recently purchased by a presenter on Antiques Roadshow – was then home to a loose collective running the Really Free School (RFS), a ramshackle series of political talks, film screenings and discussions. It was a natural hub for...

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...

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