Jim Bliss

16th July 1945 the Manhattan Project

At half past five on the morning of July 16th 1945, The Gadget exploded and the whole world shook. Three square miles of desert sand was melted into glass. A mushroom cloud rose almost 8 miles into the sky and … Continue reading

Posted in Atrocities, World Events | 4 Comments

14th July 1789 the Storming of the Bastille

Today we celebrate, though not without a small note of reservation, the Storming of the Bastille in Paris on this day in 1789. Commemorated with a public holiday in France, Bastille Day has come to mark the beginning of The … Continue reading

Posted in Revolution, World Events | 9 Comments

4th July 1980 the Death of Gregory Bateson

There is no shortage of events to remember on July 4th. So I’m extremely pleased that On This Deity finds room today to celebrate the life and commemorate the death of Gregory Bateson. The first time I encountered Gregory Bateson’s … Continue reading

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27th June 1905 the Founding of the Industrial Workers of the World

On June 27th 1905, a couple of hundred anarchists, socialists and vagabond activists gathered in a hall in Chicago for what would later become known as the First Annual Convention of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Like activists … Continue reading

Posted in Anarchists, World Events | 3 Comments

23rd June 1937 George Orwell flees Spain

On the morning of June 23rd 1937, George Orwell boarded a train at Barcelona station with his wife, Eileen, and two companions, John McNair and Stafford Cottman. The train was bound for the French border and Orwell (or Eric Blair … Continue reading

Posted in World Events | 5 Comments

17th June 1972 the Watergate Arrests

On a balmy Saturday evening in Washington DC, Frank Wills was doing his rounds. It was June 17th 1972 and he was working as a security guard in the Watergate complex. During the course of his routine patrol he noticed … Continue reading

Posted in World Events | 4 Comments

4th June 1989 the Tiananmen Square Massacre

In the early hours of the morning on June 4th 1989, the Chinese military began a brutal crackdown of the protest movement that had seen up to 100,000 people camped out in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square for more than a month. … Continue reading

Posted in Atrocities, Dissent | 8 Comments

31st May 1996 the Death of Timothy Leary

At 12:44am on the 31st of May 1996, Dr. Timothy Leary sat bolt upright in bed startling the small group of friends and family who had gathered to keep him company during his final days. He had been diagnosed with … Continue reading

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25th May 2000  Lebanon Liberation Day

On the morning of May 22nd 2000, Israeli armed forces began to pull out of Southern Lebanon, signalling the end of a military occupation that had lasted more than two decades. Within three days the withdrawal was complete and by … Continue reading

Posted in World Events | 2 Comments

12th May 1916 the Execution of James Connolly

It was a bright morning in Dublin on May 12th 1916, and a great crowd had gathered outside of Kilmainham Jail. As spring was turning to summer, a city still coming to terms with the death and destruction of the … Continue reading

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29th April 1916 the Easter Rising

On the 29th April 1916 poet, teacher and revolutionary, Pádraig Pearse, issued the following statement from a beseiged building on Dublin’s Moore Street, In order to prevent the further slaughter of Dublin citizens, and in the hope of saving the … Continue reading

Posted in Revolution, World Events | 1 Comment

18th April 1955 the Death of Albert Einstein

On the 18th of April 1955 Albert Einstein died in Princeton Hospital, New Jersey. He was 76 years old. One of the chief architects of the modern era, there are few other individuals whose impact on human culture has been … Continue reading

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7th April 1969 “The Birth of the Internet”

Today we wish a very happy 49th birthday to the internet. In truth, pinning down an exact date for the birth of the internet isn’t really possible, but Wired magazine suggests today’s as good a day as any to celebrate; … Continue reading

Posted in Revolution, World Events | 6 Comments

5th April 1992 the Siege of Sarajevo

On April 5th 1992 units of the Yugoslav People’s Army on orders from Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic, in combination with Bosnian-Serb militia groups, took up positions in the hills surrounding the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. From there they opened fire on … Continue reading

Posted in Atrocities, World Events | 3 Comments

24th March 1989 the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

At four minutes past midnight on March 24th 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Despite not even being in the top 50 global oil spills by volume, the Exxon Valdez disaster … Continue reading

Posted in Atrocities, World Events | 2 Comments

19th March 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom

On March 19th 2003 US President George W. Bush announced that US and UK armed forces had launched strikes against “targets of military opportunity” in Iraq. It marked the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom; a disastrous conflict that would drag … Continue reading

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14th March 1883 the Death of Karl Marx

“On the 14th of March, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think.” Those were the words of Friedrich Engels at the funeral of his close friend and creative collaborator, Karl Marx. The … Continue reading

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26th February 1994 the Death of Bill Hicks

Do you remember where you were when you heard the news that Bill Hicks was dead? I was at the corner of Kentish Town Road and Hawley Road, on my way to a pub in Camden Town. My friend Justin … Continue reading

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15th February 1989 The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Empires fall. It’s what they do. It’s inevitable. Sometimes the collapse is due to the depletion of essential resources. Sometimes it’s a result of being overwhelmed by external aggressors. Sometimes it’s plague or a natural disaster that does it. And … Continue reading

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7th February 1992 the Maastricht Treaty

Today we look back to 1992 and the signing of a treaty that would cause delight, despair and scepticism. A treaty that announced a radical evolution of the European Project from an economic trade pact to a political union. But … Continue reading

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2nd February 1970 the Death of Bertrand Russell

On the 2nd of February 1970, after a long life in which he travelled far and wide, Bertrand Russell died less than a hundred miles from his Welsh birthplace. To some he was the most important philosopher of the 20th … Continue reading

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28th January 1939 the Death of William Butler Yeats

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the death and celebrate the life of William Butler Yeats. Poet and politician, mystic and modernist, revolutionary and traditionalist, WB Yeats lived a life filled with glorious contradiction. A man of … Continue reading

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19th January 1865 the Death of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Let us cast our mind back to this day in 1865 to remember the death (at the age of 56) and celebrate the life of the world’s first anarchist. Actually, it’s probably stretching things a little to describe Pierre-Joseph Proudhon … Continue reading

Posted in Anarchists | 2 Comments

10th January 1776 Thomas Paine publishes ‘Common Sense’

  At the beginning of 1776 the American Revolution was well underway and growing in intensity with each passing week. The Battle of Bunker Hill in June ’75 had shaken the British army so badly they’d been on the back … Continue reading

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28th December 1937 The Birth of the Irish Republic

At one minute before midnight on December 28th 1937 the Irish constitution passed into law and the Republic of Ireland (or Éire) was born. Although it has been described as a revolutionary act itself, the passing of the constitution was … Continue reading

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9th December 1987 The First Intifada

Today we mark the beginning of the first Palestinian Intifada in 1987. Various end dates are cited, usually falling between the Madrid Peace Conference of 1991 and the Mehola Junction bombing of 1993, but arguably the conditions and enmities created … Continue reading

Posted in Dissent | 2 Comments

28th November 2001 The Collapse of Enron

  The collapse of US energy and trading conglomerate, Enron, played out over several months in 2001 but we choose to note its passing today. For it was on November 28th, 2001 that the scale of the deceit and fraud … Continue reading

Posted in World Events | 3 Comments

24th November 1859  Charles Darwin Publishes ‘On The Origin Of Species’

Today we’re looking back to November 24th 1859 and the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Although few of you reading this will be unaware of the significance of this remarkable book, it is worth taking a … Continue reading

Posted in World Events | 5 Comments

27th October 1944 Tito’s Partisans Liberate Serbia

On this day in 1944 the Nazi occupation of Serbia ended. And although fighting would continue for several weeks as the retreating axis forces were driven from Croatia and Slovenia, it was on October 27th 1944 that Germany’s “Army Section … Continue reading

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22nd October 1899 Sigmund Freud publishes “The Interpretation of Dreams”

Today we’re stepping back to the Autumn of 1899. To the day when a small academic printing-press in Vienna produced two advance copies of a book that was to herald a cultural revolution. A book that initially struggled to find … Continue reading

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13th October 1909 the Execution of Francisco Ferrer

The execution of Catalan anarchist and educator Francisco Ferrer, on this day in 1909, was not punishment for the crime of which he had been accused. That the charges against him were fabricated is not in any doubt. Rather, his … Continue reading

Posted in Anarchists, Heroes | 6 Comments