Martin J Walker

I have been an activist, investigator, political poster artist and writer for most of my adult life. My twelve books, essays and articles and a large number of posters reflect an involvement in campaigns since the occupation of Hornsey College of Art, where I was a student in 1968.

        Those who want to read a more detailed history of my campaigning and writing, should read my biographical essay, Perilous Journey.

        Between writing and investigating I have designed and printed posters mainly for political community campaigns, worked for lawyers as an investigator and helped with the defence of those wrongly arrested and imprisoned.

        Apart from poster design I have pursued my art training through ceramics, especially tile decoration and photography. I am personally interested in dissent in different professional fields, especially medicine and science and the complex decisions made by individuals who leave orthodoxy to enter the world of alternatives. On a broader level I am interested in how the growth of corporate power, capitalism and technology erodes individuality, individual choice and democracy.

         For the last twenty years my writing and investigating has been confined almost entirely to the field of corporate lobby groups involved in pharmaceutical marketing and the cover-up of adverse reactions. For a more complete view of my campaign involvement you can see parts of my CV.

         Most recently between 2007 and 2011 I have reported, written essays and edited and published two books by parents about the adverse reactions caused to children given the MMR vaccination. I followed and wrote about the case of Dr Andrew Wakefield attending every day of the bogus three year trial organised by the General Medical Council. 

 

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Influence

My three most serious preoccupations over the last thirty years of my life have been political poster design, investigating and writing. Only the body of work of two widely different artists influenced my poster art, Alphonse Mucha and the Stenberg brothers, Georgil and Vladimir. That is not to say, of course, that other individual poster artists and their posters didn’t influence me, just that these individual posters and artists don’t stand out in my mind. While I worked at the Poster Collective, between 1974 and 1978, I had considerable admiration for the work of Jonathan Miles who I still consider to be one of the great political poster artists of the 20th Century. However, I wasn’t influenced by him because our styles were radically different. Many of Jonathan’s posters are didactic, with lots of text and very pragmatically black and white, the message promoted by stark photographic images. Another poster artist I had admiration for was John Philips who then was one half of Paddington Print Shop and is now director of the London Print Studio on the Harrow Road. John’s work had the popular character of the 18th and 19 century cartoon, but John didn’t influence me either because I couldn’t get close to his organic satirical style. My work stylistically fell squarely between Johnathan's and John's, more 'cultural'’ and inclined towards colour than Johnathan's and without the satirical fluidity of John's.

          I have little idea of how I was influenced in my desire or method of investigation. It seems to have happened consequent upon the rise in the role of investigators working for lawyers in the US and Britain. However, I think for me the desire to investigate grew out of a simple intellectual preoccupation to research the truth in a country which has been plagued with excessive secrecy, state dirty tricks and in the seventies and eighties much police corruption. I have an interest in the investigator in literature and film but this is something that has run parallel with my own practice and has only influenced it when it touches on simple techniques or lines of enquiry which are not over emphasised or dramatic. Apart from Jeremy Brett’s Shelock Holmes, who is untouchable as a master, the investigators I find most real are: Arthur Lyons’ Jacob Asch, Raymond Chandlers’ Philip Marlowe, Howard Browns’ Paul Pine, Peter Graafs’ Joe Dust, Jonathan Valins’ Harry Stoner, P.B. Yuills’ James Hazell (although quickly outdated and now seriously sexist) Josephine Teys’ Inspector Grant (even if he is a police officert), Michael Connellys’ Hyromimous Bosch (who is always at odds with his surrounding police employers) possible a detective to equal Holmes but with greater modern pragmatism. In television there are a number of interesting investigators, including Rockford, Public Eye and perhaps my most favourite, Archie Panjabis’ Kalinda Sharma in the Good Wife, an investigator who gives the lie to the idea that to conduct a good investigation you have to have a stable personality — technically she is brilliant.

          In terms of my writing, from the early seventies, after I drifted into writing with my first book about homeless youth in the West End, I had a very fixed idea about being an ‘activist writer’. In fact I always convinced myself that once I stopped being politically active I would also stop writing. Now, in my sixties, while no longer so active but very much in love with writing, I find that early promise to myself impossible to keep.

          Despite finding it hard work, I like writing but think that we don´t pay enough attention to style in the kind of investigative writing which I have always done. I wish there were investigative writers or even reviewers who talked to each other about style. Usually this kind of discussion is reserved for producers of ‘literature’.

          I am interested in writing which links sociological investigation with journalism and I am particularly attracted to the North American muckrakers, who challenged powerful interests with good investigative prose in the early part of the twentieth century.

          In the 1990s, the number of good investigative writers/ activists has proliferated considerably. It is now almost impossible not to be stunned, impressed and influenced, by writers such as Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, the late Barbara Seaman and writers like Jonathan Harr.

          Before this sudden blossoming of the form, I had been most influenced by Janet Malcolm, to the point at which I could think of no better writer, also, Paul Foot, Paul Brodeur and Rachel Carson. Modern movements are particularly bad at giving credence to their history and their participants; in relation to the Health Freedom movement, I think it is important to be cogniscent of the writings of, Christopher Bird, Morris Bealle, Hans Ruesch, Harris L. Coulter, Samuel Epstein, John Lauritsen, James Carter, P. J. Lisa, Guylaine Lanctot and the greatest of them all, Ivan Illich. My bibliography of the Health Freedom movement, tries to give a map of those whose writing have advanced the cause of health freedom.

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The corporately influenced world has from the beginning paid little or no attention to my writing. My book ‘Frightened for my life’, written with Geoff Coggan, about deaths in British prisons, was a considerable hit before it was taken off the shelves (under threat of a libel action), mainly because the government and the political class could see clearly that it wasn’t good to have so many prisoners die from unnatural causes in prison. However the demand for my other books, especially as I moved into writing about the lack of ethics and murderous marketing strategies of pharmaceutical companies have been completely ignored apart from a small cohort of readers and in the case of my early books by ‘the left’.


If you want to send any books or papers to me, this is the address:

  Slingshot Publications,                                                                                   

  BM BOX 8314,                                                                                           

  London WC1 3XX.                                                                                     

  England. UK


References for Books, Pamphlets and Essays

Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief: The story of New Horizon. Sigwick and Jackson; 1972. London.

Identification Evidence: Practice and Malpractice. Evidence to the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure, with Bernadette Britain. JAIL 1979. London.

George Davis: The Making of a One Man Gang. Unpublished manuscript commissioned by Pluto Press; 1975. London.

Frightened For My Life: An account of deaths in British prisons (with Geoff Coggan). Fontana; 1982. London.

State of Siege; Policing the miners’ strike 1984-85 (with Jim Coulter and Susan Miller), Canary Press; 1984. London.

A Turn of the Screw: The miners in prison. Canary Press; 1985. London.

With Extreme Prejudice: An investigation into police vigilantism in Manchester, Canary Press; 1986. London.

Dirty Medicine: Science, big business and the assault on natural health care, Slingshot Publications, 1993. London.

Ungovernable Servants: The Regulation of hackney transport workers in London 1800-1995. Unpublished MA dissertation. 1995. Warwick.

Loïc le Ribault's Resistance: The creation of a treatment for arthritis and the persecution of its author France's foremost forensic scientist. Slingshot Publications, London. 1998.

SKEWED: Psychiatric Hegemony and the manufacture of mental illness in Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Gulf War Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic fatigue Syndrome. Slingshot Publications, London. 2003.

Brave New World of Zero Risk: Covert strategies in British science policy. Slingshot Publications, London. 2005.

HRT: Lincensed to Kill and Maim: The unheard voices of women damaged by hormone replacement therapy. Slingshot Publications, London. 2006.

Odd Man Out: Rees Evans’ Battle with the Ministry of Health and the cancer establishment.

Unpublished, to be published with Alan Goldings’ film of the same name,  some time in the future.

Fate of a Good Man: The investigation, prosecution and trial of Jim Wright by the MHRA. Martin J Walker. (PDF) Slingshot Publications, London. December 2007.

Cultural Dwarfs and Junk Journalism: Ben Goldacre, Quackbusting and Corporate Science. (PDF) Martin J Walker. Slingshot Publications, London. January 2008.

Silenced Witnesses: The Parents Story — The denial of vaccine damage by government, corporations and the media. Written by the parents. Edited and published by Martin Walker. Slingshot Publications, London, 2008.

Silenced Witnesses Volume II — The denial of vaccine damage by government, corporations and the media. Written by the parents. Edited and published by Martin Walker. Slingshot Publications, London 2009. Distributed with Alan Goldings brilliant hour long CD, Selective Hearing, Brian Deer and the General Medical Council.

Overthrowing the Temple: Loic le Ribault and his development of organic silica. Martin J Walker. Slingshot Publications, 2011.

Dirty Medicine: the Handbook. Martin J Walker. Slingshot Publications, 2011. London.

 

Chapters and parts

Pieces in The Hornsey Affair; An Education Special. Penguin.1969.

Miners in Prison; Workers in Prison; Political Prisoners. Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 12. No.3. Winter 1985.

Paper Trial: The case of Michael Morris; Causes for Concern,(ed) Phil Scraton and Paul Gordon. Pengiun. 1983. (using a pseudonym)

Spirits of the Past; Writing on the British Miners' Strike 1984-1985(a German trade union backed teaching aid)

Raising the Past: Toynby today. Settlements, Social Change & Community Action, (ed) Ruth Gilchrist,Tony Jeffs.Jessica Kingsley.2001.

Il ruolo del'industria nel mediare informazioni sulla salute occupazionale e pubblica:verso una teoria generale. Scienza e Democrazia(ed) Marco Mamone Capria. Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici. Italy 2003.

Biotechnology and conflicting interests: The European Convention on Bioethics and Human Rights. Progresso Scientifico, Etica, Tutela delle Risorse: Sfide Professionali del Terzo Millennio.Vol.II(ed) S. Dumontet, E. Landi, F.Pastoni. Ordine Nationale dei biologi. 2002.

Preface, with Marco Mamone Capria, to Slaughter of the InnocentHans Ruesch. Slingshot Publications, 2003.

 

Published Papers and essays

Company Men: Sir Richard Doll, Death and Vinyl Chloride. Part I and II. Circulated on the internet. 1993.

Report on the pharmaceutical industry published by What Doctors Don't Tell You. 1995

The Scare that wouldn’t go away; Salmonella, report published by What Doctors Don't Tell You. 1996

A Bibliography of the Health Freedom Movement. 2004

The Ghost Lobby: New Labour and the pharmaceutical industry. 2004

Hardell, L, Walker, M.J., Walhjalt, B., Friedman, L. S., and Richter, E.D., Secret Ties to Industry and Conflicting Interests in Cancer Research. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2006.

Uncomfortable Science and Enemies of the People. Published in Medical Veritas, Volume 6 Issue 1. April 2009

An Interest in Conflict? The Conflict of Interest policy of the General Medical Council and the fitness to practice hearing of Dr Andrew Wakefield, Professor Walker-Smith and Professor Simon Murch. Published in Medical Veritas, Volume 6 Issue 1. April 2009.

The Complainant — Brian Deer, the ABPI, Medico-Legal Investigations and Dr Andrew Wakefield. Published in Medical Veritas, Volume 6 Issue 1. April 2009

An open letter to Brian Deer rebutting his article — ‘Families duped by a sad smearmaster of MMR fabrication and hatred. Published in Medical Veritas, Volume 6 Issue 1. April 2009.

Vaccine Damage Denial and the British Press. Published in Medical Veritas, Volume 6 Issue 1. April 2009.

To Encourage the others. Published in Medical Veritas, Volume 6 Issue 1. April 2009

The Urabe Farrago — A recent historical example of corporations and governments hiding vaccine damage for the greater good. Published in Medical Veritas, Volume 6 Issue 1. April 2009.

The response to my political posters, has followed a similar path, to that of my books although in this case, now, around 25 years after my last posters, there is a growing interest in them, and interest which try as I might I could not drum up a couple of decades ago.

My political poster work is referenced in a number of books and a couple of web sites:

Photomontage; Dawn Ades. Thames and Hudson. London 1976

The Power of the Poster. Margaret Timmers (ed) V&A Publications. 1998.

Images of Aspiration, Huub Saunders. International Institute of Social History. 2005. Amsterdam. Holland.

British Posters: Adverstising, Art and Activism. Catherine Flood.V & A Publishing 2012. London.

British Design from 1948: Innovation in the Modern Age. (ed) Christopher Breward & Ghislaine Wood. V & A Publishing 2012. London.

Radical Alternatives to Prison Newsletter. Volume 4 No. 8, 1975. Control Units.

A Guide to Women’s Posters. Deirdre Armstrong.

Emma Holister’s Art Margins, a small gallery of 20 posters, collages and woodcuts by Martin Walker (2005) http://www.art-margin.com

The Poster-Film Collective: http://poster-collective.org.uk/

Collection of Posters in the prints and Drawings Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Collection of Theatre Posters in the University of London Theatre Museum.

Collection of Posters, prints and drawings, in the International Institute of Social History. Amsterdam, Holland.

 

References to papers in collections:

Archives Hub: Martin Walker Papers relating to the Miners’Strike.

www.archiveshub.ac.uk/news/0403mw.html.