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|Created by||Mick Hume|
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Spiked (also written as sp!ked) is a British Internet magazine focusing on politics, culture and society. The magazine was founded in 2001 with the same editor and many of the same contributors as Living Marxism, which had closed in 2000 after being sued for libel by ITN. It is funded in part by donations from the Charles Koch Foundation.
George Monbiot described it as supporting right and far right figures and as arguing against the exposure of dark money. Monbiot and fellow environmentalist Peter Melchett have said that some of its core editors have pursued an anti-environmentalist agenda, an accusation that has been rejected as a McCarthyite conspiracy theory. Activists associated with Spiked, sometimes described as part of 'the Spiked network', took part in Nigel Farage's Brexit Party as candidates or publicists.
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, and Frank Furedi, among others. Brendan O'Neill self identifies as a Marxist libertarian.
LM closed after losing a libel case brought against it by the broadcasting corporation ITN. The case centered around ITN coverage of Fikret Ali? and other Bosnian Muslims standing behind a barbed-wire fence at the Trnopolje camp during the Bosnian war. LM claimed to oppose Western intervention on traditional anti-imperialist grounds, and published an article titled "The Picture that Fooled the World" which claimed that ITN's coverage was deceptive, the barbed-wire did not enclose the camp and the Muslims were in fact "refugees, many of whom went there seeking safety and could leave again if they wished." During the court case, evidence given by the camp doctor led LM to abandon its defence. ITN was awarded damages and costs, estimated to be around £1 million.
Spiked focuses on issues of freedom and state control, science and technology, culture, education and literature.
The magazine states that it opposes all forms of censorship, by the state or otherwise. Its writers call for a repeal of libel,hate speech and incitement laws, and of censorship on university campuses (e.g. No Platform). In 2018 George Monbiot wrote that "Spiked's writers rage against exposures of dark money. It calls The Observer's Carole Cadwalladr, who has won a string of prizes for exposing the opaque spending surrounding the Brexit vote, "the closest thing the mainstream British media has to an out-and-out conspiracy theorist".
Spiked regularly critiques risk society, 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, and what they argue are double standards advocated by more advanced Western nations for self-serving reasons.
Spiked opposed the post-9/11 invasions of Afghanistan and of Iraq and Western interference in developing nations in general. It seeks to counter what it sees as a recent trend in Western foreign policy: humanitarian intervention.
Frank Furedi, interviewed in Spiked, said that the stance of LM and Spiked springs from the tradition of the "anti-Stalinist left". He argued 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.
Environmentalists such as George Monbiot and Peter Melchett have suggested that the group of writers associated with LM, several of whom went on to form the core editorial group at Spiked, continue to constitute a 'LM Network' pursuing an ideologically motivated 'anti-environmentalist' agenda under the guise of promoting humanism. Writers who used to write for Living Marxism reject this as a 'McCarthyite' conspiracy theory. Monbiot described their views as having, "less in common with the left than with the fanatical right." In 2018 Monbiot wrote that, "Its articles repeatedly defend figures on the hard right or far right: Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Alex Jones, the Democratic Football Lads' Alliance, Tommy Robinson, Toby Young, Arron Banks, Viktor Orbán".
Activists associated with Spiked, sometimes described as part of 'the Spiked network', were active in campaigning for the UK to leave the European Union, with a number of its activists being involved in Nigel Farage's Brexit Party as candidates or publicists.
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. 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.
A joint investigation between DeSmog UK and The Guardian revealed that Spiked US Inc. has received funding from the Charles Koch Foundation. The writer George Monbiot suggested that this was due to the online magazine's attacks on left-wing politics, its support of hard right or far right figures, and the many articles it publishes by writers supported by the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Koch funded Cato Institute.