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05 Oct 2011

We did it!

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By "we", we mean "you" - YOU bloody did it. You answered our call when we asked for help and you gave more supportingly and generously than we could ever have hoped for. And now ... now we have enough money to buy the rights to Jarvis Cocker's "Running the World". Thank you!

This will be looked back upon as an exciting and happy chapter in the story of TerrorBull Games. It's particularly humble to know that we have built up such a store of goodwill that people are willing - especially in the current climate - to give money to something so superficial and seemingly inconsequential.

However, those of you that pitched in, you clearly saw what this meant to us and to the game and it was wonderful that you shared the same desire that we did to make this thing as great as possible.

And it is looking - and sounding - great. Here's another sneak preview as a little way of saying "thanks". This little fella pops up when you start the game:

Can I help you liberate the world?

Once again, everyone who donated, tweeted, liked and generally helped us on our way, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our balls. You've made our day.

Posted by TerrorBull Games on 5 October 2011 - 3 comments

Comments so far:

  1. The poster has been delivered today. It looks great! Now if only I had an iphone, I could actually play the bloody game ... :pDavid Holt from Amsterdam - 28 October 2011
  2. Looking forward to release, need to satisfy my world running aspirations, any idea of a release date yet?Bob Mugabe from Harare - 30 October 2011
  3. Release date .... is looming .... we have to submit the app to the iTunes store this week and then, pending approval, should be live pretty soon after!TerrorBull Games - 1 November 2011

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25 Sep 2011

DiGRA 2011: Gamification, morals, mimes and a hungover LARP

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Last week, I was asked to take part in a panel on board games at DiGRA 2011 at the Utrecht School of Arts in The Netherlands. It's three days of jam-packed, pretty intense debate, discussion and, of course, play centred around academic research into games. Seeing as that sounded like my idea of a GOOD TIME, I attended the whole thing. Here's what I learnt ...

First, I was pretty amazed at the breadth and sophistication of the state of games research, considering how relatively new serious study of games is. There was discussion on everything from meta-analysis of what a game is, to sociological and cultural evaluation of the impact of games, to how they work and communicate with the player. What struck me is that these conversations are pretty rare amongst game designers themselves (from what I've observed), which is odd. I mean, while you don't necessarily need to know, for example, why a great painting works in order to produce one yourself, it does seem somewhat of a handicap.

Highlights of the conference included Eric Zimmerman's frenetic and inspirational opening keynote. He triggered a note of introspection that lasted the duration of the convention. Two themes seemed to persist. The first was how to ensure games were taken more seriously and the other was what to do about "gamification" - starting with the very definition of the word. Gamification is currently the hot buzz-word in marketing circles and that's pretty much the kiss of death when you're trying to build credibility. So understandably there were quite high levels of hostility towards the idea of bringing game mechanics to everyday processes (like Foursquare).

The accusations levelled at gamification are that it's a lazy and crass attempt to coerce customers to engage with your brand. But then, as was pointed out, it doesn't have to be lazy or crass - anything poorly implemented will always be poor; that's not a compelling argument in itself.

I'm not sure where I sit on the matter myself. Reward schemes have been around forever and are a type of game. My main concern is that people should naturally want to engage in an activity - if they're doing it just for a gold star, then that may even supplant natural desires in time. It becomes just about accumulating stuff - an extension of capitalist ideology where nothing has intrinsic worth, only if you slap a value, a prize or a badge on it. In short, games do not improve everything, sorry Jane McGonigal.

I had the slightly uneasy feeling I'd been drafted in for the panel simply to be the living embodiment of everything Reiner dislikedThe board game session on the first evening started with a keynote from Reiner Knizia. I hope Reiner doesn't need an introduction, but just in case you don't know, Reiner is like the China of board games. 90% of all games out there are designed by him. Well, so it seems. He has published an astonishing 500 titles.

Reiner's talk could be paraphrased as "5 rules of board game design". It was interesting, witty and humble, but pretty flawed ... I know, quite a claim when he's sold literally millions of games. Clearly he's doing something right. But these "rules" just didn't hold up. Take #3: "If you're clever and have something to say, you don't need to shock". Well, that's pretty limiting, but OK. The next rule was a poor extension of the same point: #4 "If you're clever and have something to say, you don't need blood". Wait a second, so shock and blood automatically rid something of any artistic, cultural or social value? I guess that's bad news for, well, every artist who's ever lived.

The thing is, Reiner is a *good guy*. He personally walked round the hall before his talk, giving away free copies of his game, Pickomino. - how nice is that? He oozes respectability and is one of those people who genuinely seems not to have a bad bone in their body and to be honest I feel bad picking him up on this as I write. But there was a degree of self-denial in these proclamations of games as upright citizens of the entertainment world. It was a bit like being lectured on game design by Victorian Dad. Sitting there, watching Reiner's talk, I had the growing, slightly uneasy feeling I'd been drafted in for the panel simply to be the living embodiment of everything Reiner disliked.

Sure enough, when the panel got underway, the conversation soon drifted to the idea of games having morals and the morality of game design. Reiner asserted that games should be positive experiences and therefore need to re-enforce positive morality. I should say at this point that everyone on the panel had vastly more knowledge and experience of games than I, but were all far too polite to challenge Reiner. All eyes looked to me and I took up the gauntlet. I recapped Reiner's #1 rule: "Games are about real life" (which he illustrated with a game of his about building a caravan through the desert - and let's be honest, that's real life for a really limited section of the world's population). I strongly agree with this first rule by the way but I pointed out that life is not all positive - it's often complex, difficult and nasty, and those things need representing too, otherwise we're just creating fairy tales. Reiner responded to this by saying that this didn't mean we have to design games where you "fly planes into skyscrapers" - obliquely referring to War on Terror.

What's interesting is that Reiner (who hasn't played the game) raised an objection that we encountered verbatim more than once upon releasing War on Terror from rather reactionary camps who hadn't even seen - let alone played - the game. For some reason, lots of people jumped to the worst possible conclusion they could and made up game mechanics that were far more depraved and far sicker than anything we could ever dream up. And that reminded me of the discussion about gamification earlier in the day. I suddenly understood Reiner's worry very clearly - games that shock are frequently lazy and crass. And while it may have been lazy of him to assume our game was about something so void of value as getting points for hitting skyscrapers, Reiner merely fell into the trap that the gamification critics did of assuming that because a lot of the implementation of a certain idea is badly done, then the idea must be bad in itself.


This is probably the only time you will ever see my name and Reiner's mentioned together in the same tweet. Savour it.

Later in the conference, Mary Flannigan, in an excellent, ideas-packed talk, would sum up this imperative for games to grapple with serious issues far more coherently than I did on stage. She said, "in a polarized world games help people take a position and experiment with it". That line could almost be our mission statement.

Reiner and I argued the point further for a bit in an exchange that someone later described as "enjoyably uncomfortable", before moving onto safer territory. The panel went on for well over an hour after that and it was a real privilege to have such a stimulating conversation with such an interesting group. I got on especially well with Douglas Wilson, co-founder of the Copenhagen Games Collective and designer of the beautiful, balletic game, Johann Sebastian Joust. Douglas likes to play with those spaces in games that exist between the rules; I think that's why we saw eye-to-eye on a lot of things. I'd like to briefly thank Ben Kirman and José Zagal for arranging such an enlightening session and of course for inviting me to be part of it.

As great as our panel was, it wasn't the highlight of the convention. That honour goes - without a shred of doubt - to Antanas Mockus, who delivered his keynote via Skype from Colombia. Mockus is a true radical, a real games revolutionary. He is the ex-Mayor of Bogota and during his time as Mayor he experimented with a number of unusual and daring public games (although he didn't see them as games) that he devised to rewrite the social contract and make the town a better place to live. My favourite anecdote was his solution to the flagrant traffic abuses that the police were too inept, lazy or corrupt to fix. Mockus drafted a small army of 400 mime artists to publicly and visibly call out road users who broke the law. In effect, the mimes - in a playful and comedic way - plastered over the cracks in the social contract and made it socially unacceptable again to run red lights. A bonus side effect of this strategy was that the mimes were so disliked that when the police did turn up, they were greeted as heroes. Citizens and police were united by the common enemy of mime. It sounds like the plot of a Family Guy episode, but this is very much for real. Check out the documentary 'Cities on Speed' for more on this fascinating character.

Last but not least, I was inducted, on the final day, into LARPing (Live Action Role Play). Previously I had a massive prejudice against LARP, understanding it was largely about dressing up in the woods and waving latex swords around with other people pretending to be orcs. That was until I was told about Nordic LARP. Nordic LARP seems to be less about fantasy make-pretend and more about unregulated psychological experiments from American universities in the 1970s. Take, for example, a LARP they did, set in the time of the Cuban missile crisis - except in this game, World War III actually breaks out. They got everyone into a bunker, set up the situation, told them the boxes were full of supplies and then "dropped the bomb". It's at that point they find out the boxes don't contain food, they contain speakers and the ground literally shakes with the "explosion". Then they switch off the lights, cut the power and lock them all in there for 22 hours. Apparently some people emerged with post traumatic stress disorder. Others were crying. Some were too stunned to speak. FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY! I realised that Nordic LARP makes our games sound weak and feeble in comparison.

Anyway, author of the Nordic LARP book, Jaakko Stenros, lead a "hungover larp" on the last morning of DiGRA. It was a kind of whodunnit, but one that has no resolution. There were ten of us locked in a darkened room with empty bottles lying over the floor and party snacks scattered on the table. The scenario is we all awake after a riotous house party, we all remember different snippets of the previous evening. Oh and there's blood all over the sheets on the bed upstairs. Basically this gave way to 90 minutes of pretty hammy acting, some genuinely insightful moments and many, many laugh-out-loud moments, which makes it tough to stay in character. All in all, it was an interesting experience. I certainly see the appeal now. Stay tuned for the forthcoming Guantanamo LARP from TerrorBull Games!

OK, you've been really good and you've finally reached the end of this epic post. Drawing lessons from gamification, I hereby reward you with the "EPIC BLOGREADER" achievement badge. *ching! ching!* - and here's your special unlocked bonus material .... Kid Koala at the opening party playing moon river. This was incredible so I'm really sorry about the appalling sound quality. Enjoy:

For more pictures of the insane opening party, check out the gallery and also DiGRA's own videos of the event.

Posted by Andy S on 25 September 2011 - 3 comments

Comments so far:

  1. For a good read about the downsides of giving out badges and the like - gamification - see the book Punished by Rewards by Kohn. Lots of stuff about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. I'd be happy to lend you my copy.hamish from cambridge - 27 September 2011
  2. That sounds right up my street, thanks Hamish, I'd love to borrow it.TerrorBull Games - 27 September 2011
  3. Great post! I really liked your admittance of your newfound appreciation of LARP. Although I've never done this in the structured sense, I, along with my family and a couple thousand others, once spent a whole week in character at the SCA "Gulf War" http://www.gulfwars.org/about.html reenacting a middle ages battle between two warring kings. It was one of the most brilliant experiences I've ever had!Estella from Chelmsford - 2 October 2011

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11 Sep 2011

Our present to you today: the "Never Forget" calendar from TBG

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Making a game about the War on Terror gives you some strange insights. One unintended example is that we have been receiving Google alerts for 'war on terror' for about 7 years now. Over that time, we've seen an interesting evolution in both the use and discussion of the term.

In general, results have moved from fear-heavy "news" reports to more reflective "opinion" pieces. Then the official ditching of the phrase by the Obama administration in 2009 was incredibly effective and the mass media - with rare exceptions - all towed the line. The torrent of alerts dried to a trickle virtually overnight. Mentions these days are either mostly from Far Eastern news sources or are being used in retrospect to label the period 2001-2009 (as if the 'war on terror' were over).

We're not sure which is scarier - fighting a made-up war on an abstract concept that no one can effectively define, or fighting a made-up war that no one can name.

In the interests of nostalgia, we thought it was high time that we marked the event ourselvesRegardless, there is a time of year when our Google alerts tumble in like the good ol' days. Each year, the first half of September is filled with (mostly regurgitated) comment pieces and 'remembrance' of the 9/11 attacks. This year, being a 10 year anniversary, has seen a particular abundance of such content. So, in the interests of nostalgia, we thought it was high time that we marked the event ourselves.

It's perhaps our distorted sense of importance regarding 9/11 that is the most defining feature of it. The cultural and political impact of those attacks and our reaction to them speaks volumes about the unquestioning, assumed authority that we placed in the United States of America to be able to do whatever it wants in the world without fear of retribution. The continuing military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recent escalation of the war into Pakistan and the current use of force in Libya shows that those assumptions are far from fading.

So, inspired by The Other 9/11 and also this excellent article about the over-stated importance of 9/11, we set about making a calendar to mark the many historic events that deserve an annual day of reflection, but barely achieve the odd column-inch if they're lucky.

Never Forget calendar - a remembrance of anti-imperialism
Click to enlarge

Highlights include:

... and many more!

We hope our calendar goes a small way to redress the balance. It's a work in progress, by the way. Available in no shops anywhere soon.

Posted by TerrorBull Games on 11 September 2011 - 7 comments

Comments so far:

  1. The peolple of the Indonesian archipelago (much like the Philipines) were fucked over more then once. See before the East Timor thing, after WOII and the occupation by Japan, the Dutch waged a war against them because they wanted their colony back.Zellie - 11 September 2011
  2. Zellie - thanks for your comment, you're quite right, Indonesia has a beleaguered past. As the fourth largest country in the world, maybe that's to be expected (though of course not excused). Have you seen Pilger's excellent documentary on the East Timorese? It's called Death of a Nation in case you haven't (or for anyone else interested) and you can watch it online for free on his site (johnpilger.com)TerrorBull Games - 12 September 2011
  3. How can I get one?Linda from East Africa - 14 September 2011
  4. Hi Linda - I'm afraid you can't, just yet. It's still a work-in-progress but we have had quite a bit of interest, so you never know.TerrorBull Games - 20 September 2011
  5. Filipina heart spreads a rhetorical container. A dragon civilizes the throughput. Filipina heart pulses on top of your holy ambassador. The sin punctures filipina heart. A ploy waves into filipina heart. The crossroad responds outside the dog.911asian from new york - 21 September 2011
  6. Thanks for our most cryptic comment to date, 911asian (what drugs are you on?)TerrorBull Games - 24 September 2011
  7. Please, please, please manufacture this calender!- I would pre-order several dozen for me n all me people. (ps, we've had many a wicked xmas tanks to the War on Terror,the game that is, cheers!..).Victoria from Hull - 27 September 2011

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04 Sep 2011

Special TBG Fundraiser: Cash for Cunts

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Regular visitors will know that we've been working on an iPhone version of War on Terror and after 10 long months it's finally coming together. What you don't know is that we had plans to licence Jarvis Cocker's satirical masterpiece, (Cunts Are Still) Running the World, to play alongside the end-game credits. Sadly, negotiations with the label fell through because we just couldn't afford it. And rather than give up, we thought we'd try begging instead. Hello!

Now the label, Rough Trade, are actually being very reasonable and have come down from £1500 to £1200. For a track like this, for a worldwide licence, we think that's a pretty good deal; it's just way outside our budget. So what we've done is set up a campaign over on artsy fundraising site, Indiegogo. We're calling our campaign, Cash For Cunts.

screenshot from War on Terror, the boardgame, the application - opening game menu

Here's the thing - for us to blow £1200 we don't have on an experiment that might get banned from iTunes the day it's released is just foolhardy. But 600 people all donating £2 and it's in the bag, with no one any the worse off - that's so doable! We have 600 unique visitors a day. We can actually do this in 24 hours!

To make things a bit more appealing, as well as being able to bask in the glow of having done a truly good deed, we're offering rewards for your kind donations. If you donate £20 for example, you'll get a signed, limited edition "Cash for Cunts" fundraising poster by the one-and-only Tom Morgan-Jones. The more you give, the greater the reward on offer. Full details are on our indiegogo page.

screenshot from War on Terror, the boardgame, the application - terrorist turn announcement

Maybe though you can't afford to spare any money, or maybe you've simply decided that this cause is the most narcissistic and immature fundraiser you've ever come across. Both are fair positions to take. However, you can still help us by spreading the word. Maybe you know Jarvis? Send him our video pitch! (see below) Failing that, just clicking on the share buttons and helping us shout about it will do the trick. Most of these campaigns run for 60-80 days to achieve their goal. Unfortunately we don't have that amount of time, so if we don't achieve our target by the end of September, everyone gets refunded and we don't get a penny. And that would be a real tragedy.

So please, please, please help us realise our dream of having this song accompany our app. Apart from anything, it would be an amazing tribute to a unique artist.

Now you've sat through all that, here's the good stuff. Sit back and watch what a sweaty day's work in a hot caravan brought forth:

Read more and donate on Indiegogo: www.indiegogo.com/cash-for-cunts

Thank you, thank you. Thank you.

Posted by TerrorBull Games on 4 September 2011 - 6 comments

Comments so far:

  1. If you promise me you'll make an Android version of the game I'll donate! At least a fiver too. Go on, you know you want too... Pretty please?Rohan from Bristol - 5 September 2011
  2. Hi Rohan, we'd definitely love to make an Android version (especially as that's what I prefer) but it all depends on how our iOS experiment goes. So that's a promise of intent - good enough? :)TerrorBull Games - 9 September 2011
  3. i will donate copius amounts of cash if you bring this to webOS. Please please please please for the love of all that is war on terror port it to webOS!!!!jon d from ohio - 9 September 2011
  4. Also, i am planning on donating the 85 dollar amount anyway. Just please do not forget about those who are not apple fans. I understand it is the best place to launch your digital version of WOT, but once it skyrockets in popularity, please bring it to webOS and Android. With Love, The guy with the Double Chin on the 20 Million Dollar Bill of WOT ;)jon D from ohio - 9 September 2011
  5. Hey Jon! Good to see you round these parts and I totally hear what you're saying. Between you and me, I didn't even own an Apple device until I had to buy one for development purposes. It is a great platform to launch on, but after that we really hope we have enough impetus and interest to bring it to the web and also Android. Early signs are that it's a remarkably playable 15/20 minute game - and that's without multiplayer at the moment. I'm more surprised than anyone that it's actually working!TerrorBull Games - 10 September 2011
  6. so glad to hear! I can't imagine how you guys got a game that could last 10+ hours down to 15-20 minutes. That's crazy. Really hope war on terror mobile gets really popular so that I can see it on the webOS operating system in the future! Especially with cross platform multiplayer! Good times ahead! :-)jon d from ohio - 13 September 2011

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10 Aug 2011

On looting, gangsters and fisting

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For the past four nights, a number of cities in England have seen widespread violence, arson and looting. Journalists, commentators and the general public seem unanimous in their condemnation of what is being called senseless and mindless criminality.

But this is not the first time that antisocial criminals have taken control and ransacked the country. 2 years ago, the Labour government conspired with bank bosses to loot the entire economy and in doing so mortgaged off the future of all young people in this country. As a reward, these gangsters, whose excessive greed ran the economy into the ground in the first place, have this year received billions in bonuses.

While the "feral rats" are simply not playing by the rules when they pick on innocent people and businesses, the banks are getting away with crime on an unimaginably huge scale. While the hoodies' actions are "mindless", the bank bosses are very deliberate, knowing all-too-well what they're doing. And when supercilious disgust is poured upon the underclass for not having more respect for their environment and community, the current government are cutting public services because they've spent too much money on opportunistic wars and securing the interests of big business.

They're laughing AT YOU

But it is wrong to suggest parallels between these two events, because they are one and the same. They are both symptoms of the same malaise. The teen hoodlum who takes what she wants from JD Sports because she can is the suit-wearing CEO who worries more about their bonus than the health of the economy. They differ only in that the latter crime is greater and conducted with full knowledge of the consequences.

Greed and opportunism lie at the heart of both actions but, more importantly, the system within which we all operate and contribute to positively endorses such behaviour. Of course, we'd rather the rioter buy their material symbols of status, not steal them. Or, at least, we'd rather they dress smartly, speak properly and know the right people before they try such a stunt. But essentially this seemingly anti-establishment bender is born ironically out of an aspiration to the status quo.

Stuff and money; it's our only measure of worth. So who, with good conscience, can solely blame those people who succumb to the temptation of grabbing as much of both as possible, when our cultural message is emphatic and unrelenting: YOU ARE WHAT YOU OWN.

When Crunch came out, we wrote:

"It's all very well going after the fat cat bankers of the world, but blaming those people for the shortcomings of capitalism is like blaming a dancing bear for the cruelty of the circus."

Similarly, blaming "parents" or "sheer criminality" or "organised gangs" for the UK riots is to show equal unwillingness to understand the underlying causes. Just as 30 years of rampant "free" markets genetically engineered today's risk-loving, profit-motivated banker, so these teenage yobs are the product not just of their environment but of their parents' environment too. And that's a product of decades of apathy towards the poor and underinvestment in the areas that need it most.

And just a reminder for any off-piste Daily Mail journalists who at this point may be choking on their own indignant froth, saying someone is a product of their environment isn't exonerating or excusing criminality - especially when people are getting hurt and killed. But it does suggest we look at the society that produces kids that smash shops up and at the system that encourages bankers to trade immorally and recklessly. These are the symptoms and our country is the sickness. All of which is as absent from the current debate as serious, critical evaluations of unchecked capitalism were from analysis of the credit crunch.

Of course, we'd rather the rioter buy their material symbols of status, not steal them What can help us come to terms with these bigger questions? Well, for starters, we need to get used to the idea of multiple, ongoing causes and effects. Until we learn to see events as a continuum, instead of isolated political soundbites, we will never have an honest or meaningful debate.

We live in a cult of immediacy, ginned up by politicians shaping news to exploit a neatly-packaged message and exacerbated by rolling 24 hour news channels and constant, mobile updates. We demand instant explanations, categorisation and rapid action. We are addicted to delineation. Nuance and grey area are the casualties of such a system and the most marketable, uncomplex ideas effortlessly rise to the top.

In this version of reality, we have no hope of tackling the really big problems such as climate change, social divides or the gross injustices inherent in our economic system. Being able to discuss these things in context requires not just a wider view, but a different philosophical outlook; one that acknowledges a greater degree of interconnectedness, that sees everything as a cause of everything.

And that's where fisting comes in ("Finally!" I hear you cry). I can think of no video that better demonstrates our incapacity to deal with continuum and the long-term view than Alan Watts talking about Time & Change. (It's ok, the fisting is safe for work). Grab yourself a cup of (herbal) tea, take 40 minutes out of your day and enjoy:

Posted by Andy S on 10 August 2011 - 6 comments

Comments so far:

  1. YEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSYes from YES - 11 August 2011
  2. People like you are what's wrong with this coutnry, not the looters. These criminals are having a laugh, killing pensioners and burning down poor families businesses for their own amusement. They're nothing but thugs. But there's always do-gooding lefties like yourself who can be relied on to jump to the defence of any dictator or criminal who doesn't fit your agenda. Meanwhile, the country (and continent) is overrun with radical Muslims who want to impose Sharia law. Where's your blog about that? Cowards!Rohan from Nottingham - 15 August 2011
  3. Yeah guys, can't you see all those radical Muslamic fundamentalists sitting in the Houses of Parliament imposing their Sharia laws, and standing outside the Lapland Embassy, ready to ban Christmas? Cowards!Chris Cisne from Londontown - 16 August 2011
  4. It concerns me not at all that for-profit, hierarchically-run businesses that exploit workers and consumers are being burned down. The bourgeoisie / middle class bears a large share of the burden for this sorry mess called capitalism. It is regrettable when innocent people (if you can find them) are hurt, but this is just "collateral damage" according to the terms of engagement established by the ruling class capitalists and its hired thugs that make up the police and military. My hope is that these so-called hoodlums will organize with the rest of the working class and oppressed and come up with a strategically organized resistance that will involve direct action beyond just violent tactics. When violence is called for, it should be focused and productive toward achieving the goal of true freedom for the Proletariat / Working Class majority of the population and all those who want to live in peace as equals. No Gods, No Masters! Workers of the World Unite!Joseph Waters from North Carolina - 16 August 2011
  5. @Chris are you taking the piss? the problem is, the rate we're going, we will have radical muslim fundies in parliament, because we're so obsessed with PC and equal opportunities. The tolerance that makes this country great will also be its downfall. Multiculturalism is an experiment that everyone knows has failed, but liberals like you can't face the difficult truth and admit it. (by the way I'm a liberal too; just one who's read a lot on the subject). When we designed multiculturalism, we didn't factor in a group of people so driven by hate, violence and intolerance. It won't work and someone has to have the balls to say so. Yeh I know and now you call me a racist. Fine.Rohan from Nottingham - 16 August 2011
  6. Rohan - how the hell did you go from looting and Zen to fundamental Islam ruining the country? Clearly our "tunnel vision filter" isn't working at the moment. Seriously, I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to say, although I recognise it's heartfelt. Are you suggesting that we're ignoring a problem that is posed by intolerant viewpoints by being ourselves of a tolerant disposition? If so, I wonder if you think that being intolerant to intolerance is any more productive? I have a feeling you're touching on an interesting topic of debate (and co-incidentally a mantra of the right - what specifically is all this reading you've been doing?) but I'm not sure how to relate it to the riots, or capitalism, or bankers or Zen philosophy.TerrorBull Games - 16 August 2011

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