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Archive for November, 2017

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

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Britain Should Not Have Fought in the First World War

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Op-Ed on Referendums

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

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?

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

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

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

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NY Times delves into the Cult of Xi

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

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

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.”

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