Log inskip to content

IQ2 Debate: THE ALLIED BOMBING OF GERMAN CITIES IN WORLD WAR II WAS UNJUSTIFIABLE

Britain Should Not Have Fought in the First World War

Op-Ed on Referendums

I recognise that this is an unpropitious time to call for more referendums. But the Brexit vote was the worst possible model for popular decision-making. The government threw a massive question at an electorate that had almost no experience of direct democracy. Voters were rushed towards judgment day on a ridiculously short timetable, with no preparation except a series of giant lies.

Worse still, an issue of astonishing complexity was reduced to a crude binary choice. Because the only options presented were in or out, everyone knows what the majority voted against; no one knows what kind of Leave it voted for. Why could we not have had a multiple choice, presenting the different ways in which we could have stayed in or left Europe? Without permission to make a nuanced decision, we had no incentive to achieve a nuanced understanding.A lively and intelligent politics demands an active and empowered electorate that can hold its representatives constantly to account.

Read more from George Montbiut in the Guardian

How Did Women Fare in China’s Communist Revolution?

While the Communist revolution brought women more job opportunities, it also made their interests subordinate to collective goals. Stopping at the household doorstep, Mao’s words and policies did little to alleviate women’s domestic burdens like housework and child care. And by inundating society with rhetoric blithely celebrating its achievements, the revolution deprived women of the private language with which they might understand and articulate their personal experiences.

When historians researched the collectivization of the Chinese countryside in the 1950s, an event believed to have empowered rural women by offering them employment, they discovered a complicated picture. While women indeed contributed enormously to collective farming, they rarely rose to positions of responsibility; they remained outsiders in communes organized around their husbands’ family and village relationships. Studies also showed that women routinely performed physically demanding jobs but earned less than men, since the lighter, most valued tasks involving large animals or machinery were usually reserved for men.

The urban workplace was hardly more inspiring. Women were shunted to collective neighborhood workshops with meager pay and dismal working conditions, while men were more commonly employed in comfortable big-industry and state-enterprise jobs. Party cadres’ explanations for this reflected deeply entrenched gender prejudices: Women have a weaker constitution and gentler temper, rendering them unfit for the strenuous tasks of operating heavy equipment or manning factory floors.

The state rolled out propaganda campaigns aimed at not only enlisting women in the work force but also shaping their self-perception. Posters, textbooks and newspapers propagated images and narratives that, devoid of any particularities of personal experiences, depicted women as men’s equal in outlook, value and achievement.

Read more from the NY Times

Why Xi Jinping’s (Airbrushed) Face Is Plastered All Over China

CHINA-CONGRESS_MAOISTS.jpg

 

NY Times delves into the Cult of Xi

Jesus won’t save you — President Xi Jinping will, Chinese Christians told

Jesus Christ won’t drag you out of poverty or cure your illnesses, but the Chinese Communist Party will, so take down those pictures of Christ and put up a nice photograph of President Xi Jinping.

That’s what thousands of villagers in southeastern China have been told by local officials, in a sign of the growing cult of personality around the country’s powerful leader, as well as rising pressure on Christian worship.

A social media account in Jiangxi province’s Yugan county said villagers had “willingly” removed 624 posters showing Christian religious sayings and images, and replaced them with 453 images of Xi. The move, while still on a small scale, harks back to the personality cult surrounding Communist China’s first leader, Mao Zedong, whose picture was in every home.

“Many rural people are ignorant. They think God is their savior,” he said. “After our cadres’ work, they’ll realize their mistakes and think: We should no longer rely on Jesus, but on the party for help.”

Common vs. Civil Law

Just what is common law, and how does it differ from the civil-law system used in some other countries?

Common law is a peculiarly English development. Before the Norman conquest, different rules and customs applied in different regions of the country. But after 1066 monarchs began to unite both the country and its laws using the king’s court. Justices created a common law by drawing on customs across the country and rulings by monarchs. These rules developed organically and were rarely written down. By contrast, European rulers drew on Roman law, and in particular a compilation of rules issued by the emperor Justinian in the 6th century that was rediscovered in 11th-century Italy. With the Enlightenment of the 18th century, rulers in various continental countries sought to produce comprehensive legal codes.

Today the difference between common and civil legal traditions lies in the main source of law. Although common-law systems make extensive use of statutes, judicial cases are regarded as the most important source of law, which gives judges an active role in developing rules. For example, the elements needed to prove the crime of murder are contained in case law rather than defined by statute. To ensure consistency, courts abide by precedents set by higher courts examining the same issue. In civil-law systems, by contrast, codes and statutes are designed to cover all eventualities and judges have a more limited role of applying the law to the case in hand. Past judgments are no more than loose guides. When it comes to court cases, judges in civil-law systems tend towards being investigators, while their peers in common-law systems act as arbiters between parties that present their arguments.

Civil-law systems are more widespread than common-law systems: the CIA World Factbook puts the numbers at 150 and 80 countries respectively. Common-law systems are found only in countries that are former English colonies or have been influenced by the Anglo-Saxon tradition, such as Australia, India, Canada and the United States. Legal minds in civil-law jurisdictions like to think that their system is more stable and fairer than common-law systems, because laws are stated explicitly and are easier to discern. But English lawyers take pride in the flexibility of their system, because it can quickly adapt to circumstance without the need for Parliament to enact legislation. In reality, many systems are now a mixture of the two traditions, giving them the best of both legal worlds.

Source: The Economist

UK General Election 2017

UK General Election Assignment

Write an 800-1200 word (1.5 – 2 page), single-spaced, thesis driven essay in response to the following questions:

  • Describe: What happened in the May 7 general election and why?
  • Analyze: What stands out as particularly interesting or anomalous in the election results?
  • Evaluate: What do the results mean for the UK? What challenges might ensue from coalition rule?

Use the articles given. You may also do your own research. Properly cite your essay using parenthetical citation. You do not need a works cited page.

You will present and defend your essay in class. I look forward to it.

The Great Realignment: Britain’s Political Identity Crisis

Is Britain facing an identity crisis? The traditional dividing lines of left and right seem to be dissolving into new political tribes – metropolitan liberals versus the culturally rooted working classes, graduates versus the uneducated, the young versus the old. In June’s general election, traditional Labour heartlands like Mansfield went Conservative, while wealthy areas such as Kensington swung to Corbyn. Britain seems utterly confused about its politics. As the far left and Eurosceptic right have gained strength, much of the country has been left feeling politically homeless.

So what’s going on? How will these new alignments play out as the country faces the historic challenge of leaving the EU and forging a new relationship with the rest of the world? Are the Conservatives really up to the job, as they bicker over what kind of Brexit they want and jostle over who should succeed Theresa May? Is it now unthinkable that Jeremy Corbyn could be the next prime minister?

Looming over the current turmoil is the biggest question of all: What kind of Britain do we want to live in? What are the values that should hold our society together?

Speakers

  • Professor Anand Menon, Director of The UK in a Changing Europe
  • Hilary Benn, the Labour MP and Chair of the Brexit Select Committee
  • Ken Clarke, Father of the House of Commons and the most senior Conservative voice in Parliament
  • David Goodhart, author of one of the most talked about analyses of British politics and the rise of populism
  • Helen Lewis, deputy editor at the New Statesman and prominent journalist on the left

Your assignment: Listen to the entire program (about one hour). Take copious notes. Submit notes as homework.

It’s now illegal in Russia to share an image of Putin as a gay clown

hat poster became popular in 2013, after Russia passed a law banning propagandizing to children about “nontraditional sexual relations,” and gay rights protesters were beaten and arrested.

But gay Putin memes have proliferated as Russia has cracked down on both sexual liberties and online speech in recent years.

Russia passed its first “Internet extremism” laws in 2013, according to the Moscow Times — a year after Putin returned to the presidency and began restricting civil rights.

About

Daniel Lazar This is a forum to post articles and to share ideas about my historical and political interests. I hope to provide a valuable resource for my students and to contribute to the marketplace of ideas.

Categories