1st July 1876 the Death of Mikhail Bakunin

“No theory, no ready-made system, no book that has ever been written will save the world. I cleave to no system. I am a true seeker.”

Today we contemplate the extraordinary life and legacy of Mikhail Bakunin, the revolutionary colossus and leading spirit of 19th-century anarchism who – one hundred and thirty-nine years ago today – died in poverty and defeat at the age of sixty-two. Out-manoeuvred and … Continue reading

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2nd July 1940 the Sinking of the Arandora Star

The Arandora Star

Today marks the anniversary of the sinking of the Arandora Star – the killing of hundreds of people due to the British government’s callous disregard of their welfare simply because of their nationality. It also demonstrated the common humanity and … Continue reading

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2nd July 1937 Amelia Earhart Disappears

"Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done.' - Amelia Earhart

“…first lady of the skies,  she had no guy holding her down, no one could clip her wings, she was no bird in the hand, she is no living thing now…” from the poem ‘Amelia Earhart’ by Patti Smith When 10-year-old … Continue reading

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3rd July 1971  the Death of Jim Morrison

Mr Mojo Risin'

Today we honour that great poet and masterful singer, Jim Morrison, whose life was taken from him forty-four years ago today as he lay sleeping in his bath. He packed the life of an adventurous seventy-year-old into his twenty-seven short … Continue reading

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4th July 1980 the Death of Gregory Bateson

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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5th July 1833 the Death of Joseph Nicéphore Niépce


Look at the camera and say ‘cheese’ and ‘thank you’ to Joseph Nicéphore Niépce who died on this day in 1833, for it was Niépce who changed the way we view the world. Born in France 1765 into a middle-class family Niépce … Continue reading

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6th July 1934 the Death of Nestor Makhno

Nestor Makhno

Today we recall the Ukrainian revolutionary leader, Nestor Makhno, who died 81 years ago on this day in poverty, illness and oblivion. Fellow exiles who’d watched Makhno drink and cough himself to death in the slums of Paris could scarcely … Continue reading

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7th July 2006 the Death of Syd Barrett

The beautiful Syd Barrett

Today we pay tribute to the legendary Syd Barrett, erstwhile leader of the Pink Floyd and Psychedelic Frontiersman # 1, who quit this planet nine years ago after decades of reclusive living and battles with mental illness. WebRep currentVote noRating … Continue reading

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8th July 1822 the Death of Percy Bysshe Shelley


Today we lament the tragically early death of Percy Bysshe Shelley, drowned when his schooner sank in a sudden violent storm in the Gulf of La Spezia. He was twenty-nine years old. Ten days later, his body washed ashore and, … Continue reading

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9th July 1977  the Death of Alice Paul

The remarkable Alice Paul

At the onset of the second decade of the twentieth century, the American women’s suffrage movement was floundering. Despite non-stop crusading since 1848 and the monumental efforts of pioneers such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, by 1910 … Continue reading

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10th July 1985 the Bombing of the Rainbow Warrior

The stricken Rainbow Warrior

On July 10th 1985, French intelligence agents acting under direct orders of President François Miterrand bombed the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour to prevent its protest voyage to the nuclear testing site of Moruroa in French Polynesia. The French … Continue reading

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11th July 1954 “In God We Trust”


On 11th July 1954, the U.S. Congress enacted Public Law 84-140, which decreed that “In God We Trust” would henceforth appear on all American currency. This pious new motto was a direct violation of the First Amendment. The separation of … Continue reading

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11th July 1960  Harper Lee Publishes To Kill A Mockingbird

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

“…Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked … Continue reading

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12th July 1936  the Murder of Jose Castillo

José Castillo (left), and José Calvo Sotelo

At 9.30pm on 12th July 1936, José Castillo – a Spanish lieutenant in the governing Republic’s special police Guardia de Asalto and a high-profile anti-fascist – left his house in Madrid to walk to work. When he reached the corner, a … Continue reading

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13th July 1954 the Death of Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo self-portrait

“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” …and Frida’s reality was a lifetime of extreme physical pain and tortuous suffering, punctuated with a tempestuous emotional turbulence. Artist Frida Kahlo … Continue reading

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14th July 1789 the Storming of the Bastille

The Storming of the Bastille, by Jean-Pierre Houël

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

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15th July 1907 the Martyrdom of Qiu Jin


Today we pay tribute to the extraordinary Chinese poetess, radical women’s rights leader and revolutionary, Qiu Jin – executed one hundred and seven years ago on this day at the age of 31. At the turn of the twentieth century, while Qiu’s … Continue reading

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16th July 1945 the Manhattan Project

The Trinity explosion

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

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17th July 1946 the Execution of Draza Mihailovic

Draza Mihailovic: Fooled the Axis, fooled the Allies, but ultimately fooled himself

Today, we make brief note of the execution sixty-six years ago of the notorious Serbian Chetnik leader – General Dragoljub ‘Draža’ Mihailović – for war crimes and collaboration with the Nazis and Italians during the Second World War.  Rejected at the end … Continue reading

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18th July 1988  the Death of Nico


“I’m flying to Ibiza. It’s my favourite place, and I think I’ll die there.” And twenty-seven years ago today, Nico fulfilled her own prophecy after a fatal bicycle fall on the Spanish island she loved so much. She was 49. … Continue reading

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19th July 1850  the Death of Margaret Fuller

Margaret Fuller

On this day in 1850, pioneering feminist, Transcendentalist leader, freethinker and intellectual giant Margaret Fuller drowned tragically when an Italian cargo ship carrying her and her family struck a sandbar just fifty yards off the coast of New York’s Fire … Continue reading

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20th July 1923 the Murder of Pancho Villa

Pancho Villa

Today we make note of the splendidly awful murder of that outrageous Mexican Revolutionary Pancho Villa on this day in 1923, whose bulging-eyed corpse – exploded by nine fatal bullets – was left upside down hanging out of his trashed … Continue reading

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21st July 1969 “One Giant Leap For Mankind”


Forty-six years ago today – and just sixty-seven years after the very first piloted aircraft flight – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first humans to walk on the moon. Or so it is claimed.

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22nd July 2005 the Murder of Jean Charles de Menezes

Jean Charles de Menezes

Today we remember one of the great miscarriages of British justice of the present time, in which the British police – indeed the Metropolitan police, those paragons of English authority whose collective beats are more international and mutli-cultural than probably … Continue reading

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23 July 1967  the Detroit Riot

Motor City is Burning

On this day in 1967, the Detroit police raided an after-hours bar in the city’s poor black ghetto where nearly 100 locals had gathered to celebrate the return of two African American soldiers from Vietnam. Typically in such raids, the … Continue reading

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24th July

Nought to write about on this day. I’ll leave you instead with something to ponder from proto-feminist and beloved ancestor, John Stuart Mill: “In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, … Continue reading

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25th July 2001  the Death of Phoolan Devi

Phoolan Devi

She was born a low-caste “untouchable”. By the time she was twenty, she’d been raped so many times she’d lost count. But she would rise from abuse, poverty and degradation to avenge her honour and become a champion of women’s … Continue reading

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26th July 1953 the Birth of the 26th of July Movement


Today we recall the most revered date in Cuba’s history. For it was on this day, 26th July 1953, that Fidel Castro led the failed attack against the corrupt Fulgencio Batista dictatorship that would serve as the namesake and inspiration … Continue reading

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27th July 1945 Labour’s Landslide Victory

Clement Attlee's 1945 Labour government

Today in 1945 the British people awoke to the headlines that they had a socialist government.  When parliament later reconvened, the newly elected Labour MPs stood to sing the ‘Red Flag’. To generations of us who have since come to … Continue reading

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28th July 1968 the Founding of the American Indian Movement

The flag of the American Indian Movement

From the first contact with their invaders, American Indians have striven to be treated with the respect deserving of an indigenous, sovereign and culturally distinct nation. In turn, they’ve faced overt attempts by their conquerors at removal, forced assimilation and … Continue reading

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29th July 1890 the Suicide of Vincent van Gogh


On 27 July 1890, Vincent van Gogh, an unkempt, unknown 37-year-old Dutchman, walked out of his lodgings in the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, just north of Paris, where he had been living and working since May. That day instead of his … Continue reading

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30th July 2006 the Death of Murray Bookchin

Murray Bookchin

Today we pay tribute to one of the great thinkers of the twentieth century – social critic, anarchist, utopian and eco-pioneer, Murray Bookchin – who died nine years ago aged 85. For twenty-five years, he was the most prominent American proponent of … Continue reading

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31st July

Nought to report on this day. Instead, here’s something for you to chew on: “Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain, which is … Continue reading

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