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Living Marxism

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Living Marxism was originally launched in 1988 as the journal of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). It was later rebranded as the glossier LM Magazine and closed in March 2000 following a libel lawsuit brought by British news agency ITN. Gave its name to the LM group, a libertarian political network of LM/RCP supporters.

History

Despite its beginnings as a far-left outlet, the politics espoused by the magazine developed a pronounced libertarianism. In February 1997, the publication ditched its old title in favour of the modern-sounding LM. The introduction to this issue summised the adversarial libertarian outlook:

Living Marxism borrowed its style, although not its content, from Marxism Today, the theoretical journal of the CPBG. Marxism Today became fashionable and media aware first, and it's contributors were frequently seen in the media espousing their 'new times' philosophy of not left or right, but inquistive and seeking. This was the model adopted by the Furedians for LM.

"We live in an age of caution and conformism, when critical opinions can be outlawed as 'extremism' and anything new can be rubbished as 'too risky'. Ours is an age of low expectations, when we are always being told what is bad for us, and life seems limited on all sides by restrictions, guidelines and regulations.
The spirit of LM is to go against the grain: to oppose all censorship, bans and codes of conduct; to stand up for social and scientific experimentation; to insist that we have the right to live as autonomous adults who take responsibility for our own affairs. These are basic human values that cannot be compromised if we are ever going to create a world fit for people. " [1]

At around the time the time Living Marxism became LM, a campaign of entryism into academic and media circles was being pursued by LM partisans and former members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, according to some observers [2]. Such observers claim that associates were encouraged to found their own organisations to act as seemingly independent platforms for LM and its political agenda. This unofficial political network came to be known as the LM group. Other commentators have been sceptical about whether any such campaign of entryism was ever pursued [3][4].

Views expounded with regularity in LM included opposition to sanctions on apartheid South Africa, downplaying concern over AIDS as a heterosexual disease or as a problem in Africa, attacking environmentalists and eulogising biotechnology. LM writers also engaged in a sustained campaign of denial of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

As the magazine attempted to reinvent itself, however, it sowed the seeds of its downfall. In the same issue the journal was re-christened LM, editor Mick Hume published an article by German journalist Thomas Deichmann which claimed that British Indepent Television News (ITN) had fabricated its dramatic discovery in 1992 of prisoners held by the Bosnian Serbs. "The picture that fooled the world" argued that ITN's footage, in which emaciated Bosnian Muslim men clung to barbed wire, showed not a detention centre, as ITN maintained, but a safe haven for refugees. The Bosnian Serb soldiers at the camp were not detaining the Muslims but defending them [5].

The publishers of LM, Informinc (LM) ltd., were promptly sued for libel by ITV and in March 2000 the magazine was forced to close. The network now lives on in its current media incarnations, the Institute of Ideas and web magazine Spiked online, edited by Mick Hume. LM and its successor organisations continue to espouse a range of libertarian views, though they continue to regard themselves as "left wing". [6]

Example articles

Rwanda

The environment

Bosnia

Fox hunting

  • Ceri Dingle, "Fox Hunting is Fun", LM 108, March 1998. "The hunting fraternity should stop waffling about pest control and economics and speak up for the thrill of the chase".

References and further reading

General

SourceWatch

Press articles

Blogs

Libel action