Balancing Ideology with Pragmatism: Spain, Syria and returned ‘Foreign Fighters’

James Matthews was recently charged with terrorism offences for his participation in the Syrian Civil War. It itself this would seem unremarkable, except for the fact that he had not fought for the ‘Islamic State’ but for the Kurds, nominally one of the UK’s allies in the region. The controversial decision to charge Matthews for … Continue reading Balancing Ideology with Pragmatism: Spain, Syria and returned ‘Foreign Fighters’

The Spanish Civil War, Living History and Pan’s Labyrinth

This was originally published on 7 February 2017 for the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities Blog | I sometimes envy those who study safely dead topics: however important swamp drainage in the sixteenth century might have been to those who valued dry feet, it is unlikely to ever lead to a shouting match … Continue reading The Spanish Civil War, Living History and Pan’s Labyrinth

Language and the Logic of Stalinism in the International Brigades

This was originally published on 11 May 2016 for the Language of Authoritarian Regimes | There is an old and not necessarily edifying debate that has surrounded the International Brigades almost since their inception. Were the 35,000 men and women who travelled to Spain to defend the Spanish Republic during the bitter civil war of 1936-9 dupes of Stalin? … Continue reading Language and the Logic of Stalinism in the International Brigades