From counter-cultural Paris to proletarian London

Dublin, May 1995.  With my exams finished, I was dead set on seeing the world beyond the industrialised West. But one problem stood in my way: I had no money.  Ireland's economic depression was well into its third decade.  Unemployment had remained persistently high at around 15% for as long as I could remember. The…

A culture of alienation

Upon returning from Paris, I struggled to make sense of the counter-culture that I had been exposed to and the anarchist ideas that were influential within it.  After the mental shocks that I had experienced, I now considered myself an absolute beginner when it came to political thought. That trip to Paris represented my first…

The counter-cultural fringes

From the point of view of a young person growing up in a modern industrialised society, the pattern of life that is presented to them as they become aware of their future prospects can appear to be highly pre-ordained with little room for manoeuvre. A large part of their early years will be spent in…

Chomsky starts a fire

In a previous post, I wrote about how a chance viewing of a documentary about Noam Chomsky had radicalised me. This post takes up that thread again and starts to fill in the gaps between Chomsky and my trip to Paris 11 months later where I witnessed the great general strike It's 2.30 a.m. on…

The left and political theory: a disaster story

This is the second part of the introduction to my theoretical writings.  In the first part, I described the long decline in socialist beliefs in the West and asked the question of whether it is possible to reinvigorate belief in a socialist alternative.    The great bulk of leftist political theory can be traced back…

The last great victory

In the aftermath of the great demonstration in Paris on December 9th, 1995, the strike continued to spread to new sectors, while occupations persisted and multiplied. The echoes of the great French revolutions of the past reverberated through the country. Within a fortnight, the general strike had come to an end with the workers' movement…

Free the cheese one and the great demonstration

This is the second part of this story that began yesterday.  In the first part, I recounted how a chance viewing of Noam Chomsky's documentary had radicalised me, how I ended up in Paris during a general strike and how I had been apprehended by the police for 'liberating' a giant cheese from a supermarket.…

From Chomsky to “le grand theft fromage”

January 1995. It's midnight and I'm sitting in my apartment on Grand Canal St. in Dublin's South Inner City, half watching tv while thinking to myself how shit it is. Channel 4 is on and the pointless pop-culture show that I'm watching limps to its over-excited end. Listless and half-asleep, I let the ads roll.…

What’s in a name

The name on my birth certificate is "Kevin Chekov Kolbe Feeney". Kevin was the name of my paternal grandfather, which was probably the inspiration for my first name. My mother may disagree, but I don't always trust the fidelity of her motivational recollections, so my explanation is good enough for me. Chekov was in honour…

What’s it all about

At the end of 1994 a couple of things happened to me that have managed to keep me pretty busy since. In October 1994 I started studying Computer Science at Trinity College Dublin. For the last 18 years, computer science has been a large part of my life. Today I'm back in Trinity working as…