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Alan Johnson (political theorist)

Alan Johnson is a British political theorist and activist. He is a senior research fellow at the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre. Previously he was Professor of Democratic Theory and Practice at Edge Hill University.


Early lifeEdit

Johnson was born in North Shields and developed as a socialist in 1979 as a volunteer at the Marxist bookshop 'Days of Hope' in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1984 Johnson helped found the Merseyside Museum of Labour History (later the Museum of Liverpool Life).[1][2]


From 1991 to 2011 Johnson was an academic at Edge Hill University in the Social Sciences. He became a reader in 2001 and professor of democratic theory and practice in 2007.[3]

In 2011 Johnson left Edge Hill University and became a senior research fellow at the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM).[4] Johnson is editor of BICOM's fathom magazine.[5]

Political positionsEdit

The panel at the public launch of the Euston Manifesto. From left to right: Alan Johnson, Eve Garrard, Nick Cohen, Shalom Lappin and Norman Geras.

Johnson was an editor of the journals Democratiya (2005–2009) and Engage Journal, the former of which he also helped found.[6] He is a scholar of the labour movement in Iraq,[7] and is a founding member of Labour Friends of Iraq.[1]

A former Trotskyist and long-term member of the Socialist Organiser Alliance,[8] researching Hal Draper,[9] Johnson is a co-author of the Euston Manifesto.[10] He was opposed to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[1] Since 2003 he has worked with Abdullah Muhsin of the Iraqi Workers Federation.[11] Critical of the blanket labelling of advocates of military intervention against dictatorial regimes as neoconservatives in foreign policy, he calls for a "proper consideration of the social democratic antitotalitarianism of Paul Berman, Václav Havel, Adam Michnik, Ladan Boroumand, Kanan Makiya, Azar Nafisi, Bernard Kouchner, Tony Blair, or Gordon Brown" and points out that "neo-conservatives" in the Democratic Party deserve "their share of the credit" for "undermining cynical and self-defeating 'realism' and embracing democracy-promotion."[12]

Lecture disruptedEdit

In March 2014 Johnson was interrupted by a group of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions protesters whilst arguing against a boycott of Israel by the Student Union at University of Ireland Galway.[13]



  1. ^ a b c Alan Johnson (18 September 2004). "Alan Johnson, Research and Publications Officer". Labour Friends of Iraq. Archived from the original on 19 August 2007. 
  2. ^ Brian Wheeler (13 May 2002). "Milburn's radical days". BBC. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "Professor Alan Johnson". Edge Hill University. Archived from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Team". BICOM. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "Editorial team". fathom. Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre. Retrieved 7 November 2015. 
  6. ^ Johnson, Alan (19 March 2008). "Alan Johnson". Comment is Free. London. 
  7. ^ "SPS Newsletter – Iraq Book Launched in Washington DC". Department of Social and Psychological Sciences. Edge Hill University. 2006. Archived from the original on 26 June 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  8. ^,
  9. ^,
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2008. 
  11. ^ Johnson, Alan (3 June 2008). "Full profile". The Guardian. London. 
  12. ^ Johnson, Alan (15 January 2008). "On neoconitis". The Guardian. London. 
  13. ^ Johnson, Alan (13 March 2014). "On Israel, the intellectuals are driving the students mad". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 15 March 2014.