These pieces are now listed on the Readings page of this blog. This is from the pre-amble on that page: This is where we want to share readings we’ve found to be interesting, thought provoking and even provocative. Please note that inclusion in this section does not always mean a full endorsement. Sometimes a reading will be included because we think a reasoned debate on the issues it raises is needed.

Given that from Monday 15 June, a face covering of some kind is required before you can board a train, this is a very timely piece.

The Science and Law of Refusing to Wear Masks: Texts and Arguments in Support of Civil Disobedience – Simon Elmer | Architects for Social Housing | 11 June 2020
There are few issues about which the medical profession – which throughout this crisis we have seen subject to external political and financial pressures – is so divided; but an overwhelming mass of medical and scientific opinion is not only that masks do nothing to stop the spread of SARs-COV-2, but that non-medical masks of the type we are being advised to wear on public transport by the Government – a supposedly life-saving device it recommends fashioning from an old T-shirt – can endanger the wearer by increasing the chance of infection.

This really does chime with how we’re feeling at the moment.

Flower Bomb: An Obituary for Identity Politics – Flower Bomb | 12 June 2020
Rewind back to a time and place where people used pagers and pay phones. When front porches and public parks were the hang-out spots. A time when conflicts were resolved face-to-face and shit-talking came with real life consequences. These were the days before ‘call-out culture’, ‘troll-baiting’, and other internet-dominated social activities. Some say the internet and technological expansion have advanced the fight against oppression. My opinion? The internet is where all potential for social revolt goes to die. In addition to pointless petitions and endless memes, recognition as a rebel can be gained through pity parties and academic loyalty rather than hands-on direct action.

Right at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, we did warn that it would be used to fast forward the imposition of a cashless economy.

Cash, Kisses and Karaoke: Why the War on Covid must not become a War on Cash – Brett Scott | Open Democracy | 9 June 2020
For a number of years I have investigated – and warned about – the War on Cash. This is the slow process by which the banking sector, payments industry, financial technology companies and governments have in subtle and not-so-subtle ways tried to wean people off the physical cash system, and to onboard them into the bank-run digital payments system.
Calling it a ‘war’ is controversial, because in the mainstream this process is often described as a peaceful and organic bottom-up move towards a ‘cashless society’ driven by ordinary people. I, on the other hand, characterise it as an aggressive and artificial top-down move towards a ‘bankful society’, driven by the financial industry and many governments.