Spiked (magazine)

Infobox Website
name = Spiked
favicon =

caption =
url = http://www.spiked-online.com
commercial = No
type = Politics
registration = No
owner = Brendan O'Neill
author = Mick Hume
launch date =
current status =
revenue =

"Spiked" (also written as "sp!ked") is a British Internet magazine focusing on politics, culture and society. The magazine’s mission statement is that they wish to “make history” and to stand up for the principles of “liberty, enlightenment, experimentation and excellence”.cite web | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/about/article/193/ | title = Frequently asked questions | work = Spiked | accessdate = 2007-04-14 ]

The magazine describes itself as:

...an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms. "spiked" is endorsed by free-thinkers such as John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx, and hated by the narrow-minded such as Torquemada and Stalin. Or it would be, if they were lucky enough to be around to read it. [cite web | title = About spiked | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/about/article/336/ | work = Spiked |accessdate = 2006-07-15 ]

Editors and contributors

"Spiked" is edited by Brendan O'Neill, following Mick Hume's departure in January 2007, and features regular contributions from James Heartfield, Michael Fitzpatrick, Patrick West, Rob Lyons, Nathalie Rothschild, Tim Black, Duleep Allirajah, and Frank Furedi.


The magazine was founded in 2000 after the bankruptcy of its predecessor, the print title "LM magazine". "LM", an acronym for "Living Marxism", closed after losing a libel case brought against it by the broadcasting corporation ITN. The case centered on "LM" featuring an article by Thomas Deichmann called "The Picture that Fooled the World" . [cite news | url =http://web.archive.org/web/19991110185707/www.informinc.co.uk/LM/LM97/LM97_Bosnia.html| title = 'The Picture that Fooled the World' | first = Thomas | last = Deichman ] that alleged that the photographer who took the famous ITN picture of Bosnian Muslims behind a barbed-wire fence in a Bosnian Serb-run camp during the Yugoslav war gave the false impression that this was a Nazi-style concentration camp. Deichmann claimed that it was really the photographer who was in a fenced in area and that it was a transit camp.

The corporation won and the ensuing award and costs, estimated to be around £1 million, bankrupted the magazine and its publishers. [cite news | url = http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/article419696.ece | title = The day I faced being a £1m bankrupt | date = 2005-03-07 | first = Mick | last = Hume | publisher = The Times | accessdate = 2007-04-14 ] Ed Vulliamy , who filed the first reports on the Trnopolje camp, commented:

"... history - the history of genocide in particular - is thankfully built not upon public relations or melodrama but upon truth; if necessary, truth established by law. And history will record this: that ITN reported the truth when, in August 1992, it revealed the gulag of horrific concentration camps run by the Serbs for their Muslim and Croatian quarry in Bosnia." [cite web | url =http://www.guardian.co.uk/itn/article/0,2763,184815,00.html | title = The poison in the well of history | date = 2000-03-15 | first = Ed | last = Vulliamy | publisher = The Guardian | accessdate = 2008-02-27]


The magazine focuses on issues of freedom and state control, science and technology. It seeks to counter positions such as multiculturalism, environmentalism and what they see as a recent trend in Western foreign policy: humanitarian interventionism. [cite web |last = O'Neill and Brendan | title = What's worse than a Blairite? A Blair-basher | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3331/ | work = Spiked |accessdate = 2007-05-10 ]

A prominent focus of the magazine is the defence of the freedom of speech. "Spiked" says that it opposes all forms of censorship imposed by the state or otherwise. Its writers call for a repeal of libel [cite web | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/935/ | title = Don’t tinker with the libel laws — scrap them | first = Helene | last = Guldberg | date = 2006-07-06 | work = Spiked | accessdate = 2007-04-14 ] , hate speech [cite web | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/34/ | title = Sticks, stones and hate speech | work = Spiked | first = Josie | last = Appleton | date = 2006-04-11 | accessdate = 2007-04-14 ] and incitement [cite web | title = Free speech, with the edges taken off | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/273/ | first = Brendan | last = O’Neill | date = 2006-03-28 | work = Spiked |accessdate = 2007-04-14 ] [cite web | title = Can music incite murder? | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA733.htm | first = Brendan | last = O’Neill | date = 2004-10-13 | accessdate = 2007-04-14 | work = Spiked ] laws. "Spiked" also regularly critique risk society; animal rights; political correctness; and environmentalism. 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. [cite web |last = Woudhuysen and Kaplinsky | title = After the IPCC: A man-made morality tale | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/2819/ | work = Spiked |accessdate = 2006-07-15 ]

Other notable positions of "Spiked" are their opposition to the post-9/11 invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and Western aid for or interference in developing nations in general. [cite web |last = Nadine Strossen, Faisal Devji, Jeffrey Rosen, Brendan O'Neill, Michael Baum and others | title = Life, liberty and politics after 9/11 | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/1602/ | work = Spiked |accessdate = 2006-07-15 ] [cite web |last = Hume |first=Mick | title = The age of PR imperialism | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/2120/ | work = Spiked |accessdate = 2006-07-15 ] [cite web |last = Cunliffe |first=Philip | title = Exposing ‘Empire in denial’ | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/1601/ | work = Spiked |accessdate = 2006-07-15 ]

"Spiked" has been described by journalists from "The Independent" and "The Guardian" such as George Monbiot and Johann Hari as pursuing a right wing and pro-corporate agenda under a guise of being left wing. Some have said that "Spiked"'s stance has more in common with free-market libertarians than with the left. For example, in a LobbyWatch interview, George Monbiot stated of Spiked's predecessor, "LM Magazine", that:

...it was very far from a Marxism journal — it was just about as far from a Marxist journal as you could possibly get. And it seemed to me that the title was a direct and deliberate attempt to distract attention from the fact that this was a far right wing libertarian publication that was using the terms of the left to make it look as if the positions it was taking were new and unusual ones. [cite news | url = http://www.lobbywatch.org/p1temp.asp?pid=90&page=1 | title = Interview with George Monbiot | first = George | last = Monbiot | publisher = LobbyWatch | accessdate = 2007-04-27 ]

A response to this view is to be found in an interview in "Spiked" with Frank Furedi. Furedi states that the stance of "LM" and "Spiked" springs from the tradition of the "anti-Stalinist left". He argues that the reason why many in the left tradition have difficulties in identifying these ideas with the left is that they completely misunderstand the humanist political position of being progressive in terms of human progress, science, rationality and freedom, and yet be completely anti-state:

...much of the left in the twentieth century tended to be influenced by Stalinist and Social-Democratic traditions, which means they could not imagine that you could be left-wing and anti-state...so they were confused by us. But that was their fault, not ours. It was a product of their own abandonment of liberty in favour of ideas about state control. [cite news | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3132/ | title = 'Humanising politics — that is my only agenda' | first = Brendan | last = O'Neill | publisher = Spiked | accessdate = 2007-04-27 ]

Furedi listed Marxist activists, politicians and writers who he said had influenced "LM" and "Spiked", including Roman Rosdolsky, Henryk Grossman, György Lukács, Paul Mattick, Christian Rakovsky, and Leon Trotsky.

The journalist Nick Cohen described "Spiked"'s positions as mere attention seeking:

"if you strip revolutionary defeatism of its revolutionary content, you have what modern editors and producers want: contrarianism, the willingness to fill space and generate controversy bysaying the opposite of what everyone else is saying just because everyone else is saying it – an affectation most people get over around puberty." [ [http://www.nickcohen.net/?p=141 Nick Cohen » Blog Archive » New Humanist Book Review ] ]

George Monbiot and Lobbywatch

George Monbiot and the Lobbywatch Network of web-sites [cite news | url = http://www.lobbywatch.org/p1temp.asp?pid=90&page=1 | title = LobbyWatch | publisher = LobbyWatch | accessdate = 2007-04-27 ] [cite news | url = http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=78 | title = Living Marxism (LM) | publisher = GM Watch | accessdate = 2007-05-11 ] [cite news | url = http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Spiked_Online | title = Spiked Online | publisher = SourceWatch | accessdate = 2007-05-11 ] have also accused the contributors of "Spiked" (and its predecessor, "LM" Magazine) of adopting a strategy of entryism into the media, communications and science networks. For example, Monbiot posits what he calls the “LM Network” — and goes on to state that this 'network' is responsible for the formation of front groups, the infiltration of pressure groups, think tanks and governmental advisory committees to pursue what he sees as an agenda suiting a diverse range of corporate funders. Monbiot and his network of online critics therefore argue that "Spiked" ideas are simply a front for their corporate funding. Spiked has responded at length to these allegations and vehemently denied that they are paid to provide a corporate point of view:

"spiked has never “taken money from the fossil fuel industry”, and those organisations that do sponsor us do not dictate our editorial agenda. It is testament to the small-mindedness of today’s illiberal liberal commentators that they think anyone who criticises green authoritarianism must be in the pay of Big Oil.’" [cite news | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/4720/ |title= 'The Independent, Big Oil and me' | first = Brendan | last = O'Neill | publisher = Spiked Online | accessdate = 2008-03-04 ]

Monbiot is also on record expressing his hope that members of the “"LM" network” lose their jobs and are no longer accorded scientific credibility, given what he sees as an alleged lack of scientific credentials. In particular, he had hoped that his Lobbywatch article, “Invasion of the entryists”, would have had more of an impact than it did — prompting sackings and scientists and others to question their associations. [cite news | url = http://www.lobbywatch.org/p1temp.asp?pid=90&page=1 | title = Interview with George Monbiot | first = George | last = Monbiot | publisher = LobbyWatch | accessdate = 2007-04-27 ]

"Spiked" dismiss the claims as conspiracy theory and liken such critics to McCarthyites. For example, Brendan O'Neill has stated:

"From their craven search for hidden agendas to their spider-web linking of various individuals to their censorious and McCarthyite demands: they might be treehuggers by day, but these individuals share all the worst traits of the most hardened conspiracy theorists." [cite news | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3132/ | title = 'Humanising politics — that is my only agenda' | first = Brendan | last = O'Neill | publisher = Spiked | accessdate = 2007-04-27 ]

In other articles "Spiked" has compared these critics to the tiny group of neo-Nazis who have accused them of being a Jewish front organization — and have asserted that these critics have limited themselves to attacking "Spiked"’s associations (with certain companies and institutions) rather than tackling its ideas. [cite web |last = O'Neill |first= Brendan | title = Gossip dressed up as investigative journalism | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/139/www | work = Spiked |accessdate = 2007-04-30 ]

Therapy Culture

A long-standing thread in the Spiked critique is what they identify as 'Therapy Culture' - a culture where the victim takes ascendancy and where rationality and logic is replaced by emotions and feelings. [cite news | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/4721 | title = 'History-as-Therapy'| first = Frank | last = Furedi | publisher = Spiked | accessdate = 2008-03-05 ] For Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, the core issues here are about agency and political autonomy and he argues "we should stop surrendering our sovereignty to the 'therapeutic state'".

"The medicalisation of personal problems may relieve the individual of moral responsibility, but at the cost of allowing the therapeutic state to control personal behaviour and psychic life."

[cite news | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/2094/ | title = 'Get off the couch!'| first = Michael | last = Fitzpatrick | publisher = Spiked | accessdate = 2008-03-29 ]

Position on environmentalism and the global warming debate

One of Spiked most sustained analyses centres on the political, scientific and media discussions, surrounding the environment and environmentalism and climate in particular. Here, "Spiked" are regularly presented as being 'deniers' of global warming by their critics such as Monbiot and of ignoring the scientific consensus on the issue.

On the question of 'denial', "Spiked" writers such as Frank Furedi have responded by critiquing the concept of denial, pointing both to its close connotations of Holocaust denial and the psychological genealogy of the term (see 'Therapy Culture'). Furedi further argues that by labelling anyone who questions the consensus that climate change equals global warming a 'denier', debate is closed down on the issue. [cite web |last = Furedi | title = Denial| url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/2792/ | work = Spiked |accessdate = 2007-01-31 ]

In opening up the debate on the environment and climate, "Spiked" writers have deconstructed the environmentalist narratives in different ways to draw out what they see as the ideological agendas driving the debates and to compare and contrast the arguments with the scientific data. For example, Josie Appleton argues that:

"Today’s ‘global warming story’ — where morality equates to carbon calculating — owes more to the anxious zeitgeist than scientific findings." [cite web |last = Appleton | title = A Measuring the political temperature | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3406/ | work = Spiked |accessdate = 2007-05-25 ]

Woudhuysen and Kaplinsky have taken the approach of closely comparing what environmentalist such as George Monbiot articulate, with the data that supports the scientific consensus on climate change. They argue that the scientific data on climate change and the impact on the environment of a modern industrialised society, does not so neatly match the arguments presented by many environmentalists on the topic. The environmentalist arguments on areas such as climate change, rather than being unquestioned scientific truth, are in fact one, and they argue, a highly questionable interpretation of available facts. Often they argue, scientific data is used to create an ideologically driven agenda:

"the IPCC's fairly sober summary of climate science has been spun to tell a story of Fate, Doom and human folly." [cite web |last = Woudhuysen and Kaplinsky | title = After the IPCC: A man-made morality tale | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/2819/ | work = Spiked |accessdate = 2006-07-15 ]

In a series of articles, James Heartfield has argued against what he sees as a profound anti-humanism in much green thinking, especially that surrounding climate change. Heartfield argues that an underlying hatred for humans and their actions underpins environmentalism:

"As the chattering classes’ preoccupation with climate change reaches fever pitch, the extremists feel more confident to draw conclusions that others baulk from. That is because the extremists are only drawing out the underlying philosophy of environmentalism to make it more explicit." [cite web |first = James| last = Heartfield | title = Seeing people as a plague on the planet | url = http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3337/ | work = Spiked |accessdate = 2007-05-09 ]

In his most recent book, "Green Capitalism: Manufacturing Scarcity in an Age of Abundance" Heartfield turns on its head the notion that anyone who criticises environmentalism must be in the pay of 'Big Oil' and the multinationals. Here Heartfield argues that it is the environmentalists themselves who are the heart of contemporary capitalist ideology.

"Spiked Review of Books"

The "Spiked Review of Books" is a monthly online literary criticism feature, based at Spiked. The launch in May 2007 coincided with controversy in the United States following the scaling back of newspaper book review sections. [ [http://www.bookcritics.org/?go=saveBookReviews] ] The Spiked Review of Books features editorials by Brendan O'Neill and interviews, essays and reviews by a range of writers, many of whom are regular contributors to Spiked, such as Frank Furedi, Jennie Bristow and Josie Appleton. The cover illustrations are by Jan Bowman.


"Spiked" receives its funding via online advertising and organising online debates, surveys, seminars and conferences; with a variety of partners, corporations and organisations. It also receives donations from readers.

ee also

*Revolutionary Communist Party (UK, 1978)
*Spiked Review of Books


Publications by Spiked Writers

James Heartfield
* [http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1906496102 "Green Capitalism: manufacturing scarcity in an age of abundance"] (2008)
* "Let's Build! Why we need Five Million Homes in the next 10 Years" (Audacity, 2006)
* "The "Death of the Subject" Explained" (Sheffield, 2002)
* "Great Expectations: the creative industries in the New Economy" (London, 2000)
* "Need and Desire in the Post-material Economy" (Sheffield 1998)
* "Sustaining Architecture in the Anti-Machine Age"co-editor with Ian Abley (London, 2002).

Frank Furedi
*"The Soviet Union Demystified: A Materialist Analysis", Junius Publications, 1986
*"The Mau Mau War in Perspective", James Currey Publishers, 1989
*"Mythical Past, Elusive Future: History and Society in an Anxious Age", Pluto Press, 1991
*"The New Ideology of Imperialism: Renewing the Moral Imperative", Pluto Press, 1994
*"Colonial Wars and the Politics of Third World Nationalism", IB Tauris, 1994
*"Culture of Fear: Risk Taking and the Morality of Low Expectation", Continuum International Publishing Group, 1997
*"Population and Development: A Critical Introduction", Palgrave Macmillan, 1997
*"The Silent War: Imperialism and the Changing Perception of Race", Pluto Press, 1998
*"Courting Mistrust: The Hidden Growth of a Culture of Litigation in Britain", Centre for Policy Studies, 1999
*"Paranoid Parenting: Abandon Your Anxieties and Be a Good Parent", Allen Lane, 2001
*"Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age", Routledge, 2003
*"Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?: Confronting Twenty-First Century Philistinism", Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004
*"The Politics of Fear. Beyond Left and Right", Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005
*"Invitation to Terror: The Expanding Empire of the Unknown, Continuum International Publishing Group,2007

Patrick West
*"Conspicuous Compassion", Civitas, 2004
*"The Poverty of Multiculturalism", Civitas, 2005
*"Beating Them At Their Own Game, How The Irish Conquered English Soccer", Liberties Press, 2006

External links

* [http://www.spiked-online.com/ "Sp!ked" Online]
* [http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/2852/ Theresa Clifford: Is Wikipedia part of a new ‘global brain’? (Spiked article)]
* [http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=124/ Lobbywatch entry on Spiked]
* [http://www.frankfuredi.com Frank Furedi Official Website]
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/mick_hume Mick Hume's column in "The Times"]
* [http://www.woudhuysen.com James Woudhuysen Website]
* [http://www.heartfield.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ James Heartfield Website]

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