Spiked (magazine)

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Spiked
Spiked-online.svg
Type of site
Politics
Created byMick Hume
EditorBrendan O'Neill
URLspiked-online.com
Alexa rankIncrease 84,689 (Nov 2018)[1]
CommercialNo
RegistrationNo
Launched2000

Spiked (also written as sp!ked) is a British Internet magazine focusing on politics, culture and society. The magazine was founded in 2001 with the same editor and many of the same contributors as Living Marxism, which had closed in 2000 after losing a case for libel brought by ITN.[2][3] It is funded in part by donations from the Charles Koch Foundation.[4][5][6]

There is general agreement that Spiked is libertarian, with the majority of specialist academic sources identifying it as right-libertarian, and some non-specialist sources identifying it as left-libertarian.[7][8][9][10][11][12] Activists associated with Spiked, sometimes described as part of "the Spiked network", took part in the Brexit Party as candidates or publicists,[13][14] while disagreeing with Nigel Farage on many domestic issues.

Editors and contributors[edit]

Spiked is edited by Brendan O'Neill,[15] who self identifies as a Libertarian Marxist,[16][17] following Mick Hume's departure in January 2007.[citation needed]

The magazine also produces a number of podcasts, with contributors including Christopher Snowdon.[citation needed]

Origin[edit]

The magazine was founded in 2000 after the bankruptcy of its predecessor, the Revolutionary Communist Party's Living Marxism (LM).[18][2][19]

LM closed after losing a libel case brought against it by the broadcasting corporation ITN.[20][3] The case centered around ITN coverage of Fikret Alić and other Bosnian Muslims standing behind a barbed-wire fence at the Trnopolje camp during the Bosnian war. LM claimed to oppose Western intervention on traditional anti-imperialist grounds, and published an article titled "The Picture that Fooled the World"[21] which claimed that ITN's coverage was deceptive, the barbed-wire did not enclose the camp and the Muslims were in fact "refugees, many of whom went there seeking safety and could leave again if they wished." During the court case, evidence given by the camp doctor led LM to abandon its defence. ITN was awarded damages and costs, estimated to be around £1 million.[18][22][23]

Content[edit]

Articles in the magazine have opposed censorship,[24] and its writers have called for a repeal of libel,[25] hate speech,[26] and incitement laws.[27][28] Spiked regularly critiques risk society, political correctness, and environmentalism.[13] As regards the latter, a particular Spiked target has been what they see as "exaggerated" and "hysterical" interpretations of the scientific consensus on global warming, and what they argue are double standards advocated by more advanced Western nations for self-serving reasons.[29]

Environmentalists such as George Monbiot[30][13] and Peter Melchett have suggested that the group of writers associated with LM, several of whom went on to form the core editorial group at Spiked, continue to constitute a 'LM Network' pursuing an ideologically motivated 'anti-environmentalist' agenda under the guise of promoting humanism.[31][32] In a 2007 interview in Spiked, Frank Furedi referred to these critics as "a network of McCarthyites".[33] Monbiot described the views of Living Marxism as having, "less in common with the left than with the fanatical right."[34] In 2018, Monbiot wrote that, "Its [Spiked's] articles repeatedly defend figures on the hard right or far right: Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Alex Jones, the Democratic Football Lads’ Alliance, Tommy Robinson, Toby Young, Arron Banks, Viktor Orbán".[5]

Activists associated with Spiked, sometimes described as part of 'the Spiked network', were active in campaigning for the UK to leave the European Union, with a number of its activists being involved in Nigel Farage's Brexit Party as candidates or publicists.[35][36][37][38][13][14] Those who joined the Brexit Party largely disagreed with Farage on domestic policies, and sought to build a left-wing faction inside the party.[36]

In 2018 Monbiot wrote that "Spiked's writers rage against exposures of dark money. It calls The Observer's Carole Cadwalladr, who has won a string of prizes for exposing the opaque spending surrounding the Brexit vote, 'the closest thing the mainstream British media has to an out-and-out conspiracy theorist'".[13]

Spiked opposed the post-9/11 invasions of Afghanistan and of Iraq and Western interference in developing nations in general.[39][40][41] It seeks to counter what it sees as a recent trend in Western foreign policy: humanitarian intervention.[42]

Frank Furedi, interviewed in Spiked in 2007, said that the stance of LM and Spiked originates from the "anti-Stalinist left".[33]

In July 2020, an exposé by the Daily Beast revealed that Spiked was one of several mainly conservative websites that had inadvertently published articles attributed to non-existent experts on the Middle-East. This network of fake journalists promoted The United Arab Emirates and pushed for harsher treatment of that country's opponents. Spiked did not remove the two articles, instead leaving an editorial note mentioning the articles' questionable authorship.[43][7][9]

The Daily Beast, as well as Paul Mason of the New Statesman, have described the site as libertarian.[43][7][44] A study in Policy & Internet by Heft et al described Spiked as populist, saying that it has "roots in the radical left‐wing scene, but now oppose the political establishment from a position on the right side of the spectrum."[45] According to Tim Knowles, the technology correspondent for the Times, Spiked is right-wing and libertarian.[9]Jean Burgess, and James Bowman of the Ethics and Public Policy Center have referred to the site as left-libertarian.[46][47]

Projects[edit]

SRB masthead.gif

In May 2007 Spiked launched the Spiked Review of Books as is a monthly online literary criticism feature. This coincided with controversy in the United States following the scaling back of newspaper book review sections.[48]

Spiked produces annual "free speech rankings" of UK universities.[49][50]

Funding[edit]

A joint investigation between DeSmog UK and The Guardian revealed that Spiked US Inc. has received funding from the Charles Koch Foundation.[4][5][51] The writer George Monbiot suggested that this was due to the online magazine's attacks on left-wing politics, its support of hard right or far right figures, and the many articles it publishes by writers supported by the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Koch funded Cato Institute.[5][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "spiked-online.com Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b Ideas, Jenny Turner reports from the Battle of (8 July 2010). "Who Are They?". London Review of Books. pp. 3–8. ISSN 0260-9592. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b Wells, Matt (31 March 2000). "LM closes after losing libel action". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b "The New McCarthyism is ruining public life". Spiked. 3 December 2018. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Monbiot, George (7 December 2018). "How US billionaires are fuelling the hard-right cause in Britain". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b Busby, Mattha; Halliday, Josh (8 December 2018). "Zuckerberg must end far right's fundraising on Facebook – Tom Watson". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Charbonneau, Madeleine. "Conservative Sites Pull Articles". Daily Beast. Daily Beast. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  8. ^ Mason, Paul. "David Lammy is right". New Statesman. New Statesman. Retrieved 2 September 2020. Labour MP David Lammy previously sparked outrage among Britain's right-wing circles when he compared the Tory ERG group to the Nazis at a "People's Vote" rally... Spiked Online, a libertarian website, accused him of "foul Holocaust relativism".
  9. ^ a b c Knowles, Tim. "Fake writers promoting UAE". Times. Times. Retrieved 2 September 2020. The articles were mostly in right-wing publications, including the British libertarian website Spiked...
  10. ^ Heft & others. "Beyond Brietbart: Comparing Digital News Infrastructures in Six Western Democracies". Policy & Internet. Policy & Internet. doi:10.1002/poi3.219. Retrieved 2 September 2020. some of the sites included in our study [of right-wing alternative media websites]—such as the British Spiked or German Compact—have roots in the radical left‐wing scene, but now oppose the political establishment from a position on the right side of the spectrum
  11. ^ Burgess, Jean (28 August 2018). Youtube: Online Video and Participatory Culture. Google books. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781509533596. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  12. ^ Bowman, James. "Faking it and making it". The New Criterion January 2017. The New Criterion.
  13. ^ a b c d e Monbiot, George (7 December 2018). "How US billionaires are fuelling the hard-right cause in Britain". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  14. ^ a b Bartholomew, Emma (8 March 2019). "'Pro-Brexit, anti-feminist, anti-environmental' videos from Hackney charity WORLDwrite spark concern". Hackney Gazette. Retrieved 10 June 2019. Ms Dingle was part of the Revolutionary Communist Party and wrote for its magazine Living Marxism before its successor LM Magazine went bankrupt in 2000, after it was sued successfully for libel by ITN. Key figures in the network - which some commentators have accused of being right-wing rather than left-wing as it claimed - went on to set up libertarian magazine Spiked and the think tank Institute of Ideas (IoI).
  15. ^ "Frequently asked questions". Spiked. Archived from the original on 5 March 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  16. ^ Marsh, Natasha. "Brendan O'Neill, atheist blogger and the Church's biggest defender". The Catholic Weekly. The Catholic Weekly (Australian).
  17. ^ "The Rubin Report 'What is a Marxist Libertarian?". Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  18. ^ a b Pallister, David; Vidal, John; Maguire, Kevin (8 July 2000). "Life after Living Marxism: Fighting for freedom - to offend, outrage and question everything". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Thomas Deichmann". www.lobbywatch.org. Lobby-Watch. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  20. ^ Hartley-Brewer, Julia (15 March 2000). "High stakes in battle over Serbian guilt". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  21. ^ Monbiot, George (13 June 2011). "Left and libertarian right cohabit in the weird world of the genocide belittlers - George Monbiot". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  22. ^ Vulliamy, Ed (15 March 2000). "Poison in the well of history". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  23. ^ "Spiked". www.lobbywatch.org. Lobby Watch. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  24. ^ Hannam, Paddy. "We must not shy away from the fight for free speech". Spiked. Spiked. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  25. ^ Guldberg, Helene (6 July 2006). "Don't tinker with the libel laws – scrap them". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  26. ^ Appleton, Josie (11 April 2006). "Sticks, stones and hate speech". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  27. ^ O’Neill, Brendan (28 March 2006). "Free speech, with the edges taken off". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  28. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (13 October 2004). "Can music incite murder?". Spiked. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  29. ^ Woudhuysen and Kaplinsky. "After the IPCC: A man-made morality tale". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  30. ^ Monbiot, George (9 December 2003). "Invasion of the entryists". The Guardian (London).
  31. ^ Melchett, Peter (19 April 2007). "Clear intentions". The Guardian (London).
  32. ^ Profiles: Martin Durkin, LobbyWatch. Retrieved 17 April 2007.
  33. ^ a b O'Neill, Brendan (25 April 2007). "Humanising politics—that is my only agenda". Spiked Online. Archived from the original on 28 April 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  34. ^ Monbiot, George (1 November 1998). "Far Left or Far Right?". Prospect. London.
  35. ^ "Revealed: Nigel Farage's Brexit Party candidate spread "propaganda" for Balkan warlord, was 'bugged' by MI6". openDemocracy. 21 May 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  36. ^ a b Smith, Julia Llewellyn (28 April 2019). "The Brexit Party's Claire Fox on why she's fighting for Farage". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  37. ^ English, Otto (24 April 2019). "Fox Breaks Cover – from Revolutionary Communist to Farage's Right Hand Woman – Byline Times". Byline Times. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  38. ^ English, Otto (13 May 2019). "AstroTurfers of Britain Part Two: Who is Behind Brexit Party Recruitment and its PR Makeover? – Byline Times". Byline Times. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  39. ^ Nadine Strossen; Faisal Devji; Jeffrey Rosen; Brendan O'Neill; Michael Baum; et al. "Life, liberty and politics after 9/11". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  40. ^ Hume, Mick. "The age of PR imperialism". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  41. ^ Cunliffe, Philip. "Exposing 'Empire in denial'". Spiked. Retrieved 15 July 2006.
  42. ^ O'Neill and Brendan. "What's worse than a Blairite? A Blair-basher". Spiked. Retrieved 10 May 2007.
  43. ^ a b Rawnsley, Adam (6 July 2020). "Right-Wing Media Outlets Duped by a Middle East Propaganda Campaign". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  44. ^ Mason, Paul. "David Lammy is right". New Statesman. New Statesman. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  45. ^ Heft & others. "Beyond Brietbart: Comparing Digital News Infrastructures in Six Western Democracies". Policy & Internet. Policy & Internet. doi:10.1002/poi3.219. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  46. ^ Burgess, Jean (28 August 2018). Youtube: Online Video and Participatory Culture. Google books. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781509533596. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  47. ^ Bowman, James. "Faking it and making it". The New Criterion January 2017. The New Criterion.
  48. ^ The National Book Critics Circle's Campaign to Save Book Reviews, John Freeman, President, National Book Critics Circle.
  49. ^ Carl Thompson (17 February 2018). "Free Speech Rankings: misleading, ill-informed and worryingly influential". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  50. ^ Malik, Nesrine (13 October 2019). "There is a crisis on campuses – but it's about racism, not free speech". the Guardian. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  51. ^ Small, Mike (6 December 2018). "Revealed: US Oil Billionaire Charles Koch Funds UK Anti-Environment Spiked Network". DeSmog UK. Retrieved 24 April 2019.

External links[edit]