In this column: the shocking ignorance of the academics (and others) who signed the 'Open Letter' and the wider world of armaments issues.

The academics who signed the document against the 'Defence and Security Equipment' event, described as the 'Arms Fair,' have shown shocking ignorance.  Liberal democracies which make no provision for defence and security will be defeated by totalitarian or semi-totalitarian regimes which will pay absolutely no attention to the naive and superficial views of the signatories. The Defence and Security Equipment event was making available advanced weapons which reduce the chance of killing or injuring unintended targets.

Precision strikes conducted by Ukrainian forces using high-tech weapons supplied by democracies are undermining Russia's ability to fight and Moscow is turning to outdated arms as its stocks of more modern armaments become exhausted. The inspiring resistance of Ukraine to unprovoked aggression - only effective because it makes use of advanced armaments, not the ridiculous rhetoric of the signers, is one of a very large number of other counter-examples which comprehensively demolish the false claims of the signers. I provide other examples on this page.

Any pretence that the signers had the advantage of expert knowledge is undermined by the evidence of the profiles here - I intend to add more - as well as other evidence. The signers acted as ideologists, not fair-minded academics. They have surely damaged their own reputations and potentially the reputations of the University departments where they work -  the ones who do work in University departments. The document supplied with the list of signatories made claims that were obviously false as regards their backgrounds.

 

I also provide some context, and some relevant, miscellaneous matters, with a few surprising inclusions. I include criticism of 'anti-woke' people and organizations. I see no reason why they should be immune from criticism There aren't nearly as many  linkages between 'woke' and 'anti-woke' as contrasts, but the linkages exist and haven't been sufficiently recognized.  The entries here - very few as yet -  already vary widely in tone. I intend to add much more material in this category, of course. This is the newest page on the site. For the time being, the material is restricted in scope.

List of sections (to be extended) with links

Quack doctors with PhD's

 

Wittgenstein, 'Philosophical Investigations:' the unbalanced diet of the signers

 

Israel and armaments

 

'Anti-woke' people and organizations

 

The terrorist group Al-shabaab and armed anti-terrorist action

Professor Matthew Flinders, Sheffield University Department of Politics and International Relations

 

Quack doctors with PhD's

 

 Quack: a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, qualification or credentials they do not possess; a charlatan ...'

 

The medical quack

 

 

Above, William Hogarth, 'The Visit to the Quack'

 

 

Above, Jan Steen, The Quack'

 

Quacks in University departments of politics, international relations, etc

 

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How do you become a Prof?  It can be as easy as 1-2-3 -

 

(1) BA
(2) MA
(3) PhD

 

with a few years after that sending articles for publication to what we call 'journals' (we'll give you all the information you'll need -  journals to choose, journals to avoid, the easy journals and the journals that are too much like hard work!) The key to success here is to use the right language for your article.  You need to use a form of language that SENDS THE RIGHT SIGNALS. Standard English doesn't send the right signals, usually. We'll teach you all you need to know. Again, imitate us, follow us, learn to speak like us, write like us and think like us and you won't go far wrong!!!

 

How not to get ahead: Write a book on war with a title like 'On War' (title of an old-fashioned book by a man called 'Carl von Clausewitz') and send it to a non-progressive publisher.

 

The right way to get ahead: Write a piece with a title like this: 'An illocutionary text: ethnographic approaches to theorizing Deleuze's problematized heuristic on socialized interaction and its praxis appled to inter-generational and trans-generational conflict situations.' (Not an actual title, although it's hard to be sure about that. Be sure to carry out an Internet search to make certain that your title hasn't already been used.) Send it to a cutting-edge journal that ONLY  publishes PROGRESSIVE pieces or you're wasting your time!

 

An exercise for those intending to submit to a (progressive) journal for the first time. Can you identify the deliberate mistakes in this very short, hypothetical title which I've just written - it took me very little time? If you can't find them you're risking rejection by the journal!

 

'The geocentrics of testimony: the dilemma of ends and means.'


The mistakes, very bad mistakes:

 

(1) the etymology of 'testimony' is gendered, sexist, phallogocentric.  'testimony' is from Latin 'testimonium,' from testis, meaning witness. The plural of 'testis' is 'testes,' that is, male reproductive organs. Either avoid all use of the word 'testimony' or make sure the word is preceded by 'gendered,' 'phallocentric' or 'phallagocentric.'

 

As is common knowledge, 'phallagocentric' is a neologism coined by Jacques Derrida  and used by Hélène Cixous and post structural feminists. Whatever your journal submission may be about, you should insert references to post structural feminists or similar thinkers. In the same way, whatever may be the issue which has prompted the action of an activist - defence, terrorism, gun crime, vaccination, allotments, cruelty to animals, drought and water shortage, for instance, - the activist should always - and I mean always - insert a reference to the 'gender pay gap' or a similar issue. In fact, the activist could consider the advisability of starting a campaign at all on any of these issues and concentrating all of his or her time and energy on the gender paygap and similar issues. The gender pay gap is certainly one of the central issues of our time and supremely important.

 
(2) 'Dilemma' is an ordinary word, common in written texts. It refers to two alternatives. Better by far to use 'trilemma,' which is much more impressive and which refers to three alternatives. But there are only two in the hypothetical title - you can easily think of a third. If you can't, I give you help later.

(3) Similarly, 'ends' and 'means' belong to ordinary language, not the language of the journals whose published authors you are hoping to join. Remember, without publication in one of these journals you are nothing! The solution is easy to find. Change 'ends and means' to endings and meanings.' These are still ordinary words, but are unexpected. They have more of that all-important making-an-impression factor.

 

'Meanings' doesn't have the same meaning as 'means' at all, but that's no reason to be concerned. The title is now taking the reader into the realm of semiotics, the relationship between spoken or written signs and their referents in the physical world or the world of concepts. (Better not to dwell upon the physical world - you should be theorizing, not giving thought to that mundane world of obstacles and technology.)

 

You'll recall that a third alternative is needed. Provided it looks good and will impress the journal, there's no need to worry too much about whether the word is suitable, just make absolutely sure that you choose a word which isn't plain and ordinary in the least.

 

The word I've chosen, for no particular reason but the reason I've just given, is 'prolepsis,' the rhetorical device by which objections are anticipated and answered in advance.' This is with the strong warning that submissions to progressive journals should pay no attention whatsoever to possible objections, just as the journals themselves pay absolutely no attention whatsoever to possible objections. Here, our interest is in the sound of the word, not its meaning.

 

It's easy to deflect attention from the meaning of the word by changing the noun 'prolepsis' to the adjective 'proleptic' and by adding the word 'imaginings,' which has the advantage of having a third term which has the same ending as the first and second terms. It can suggest that if objections are made, they belong purely to an imaginary world and can be discounted.

 

As for 'geocentrics,' no objection can be taken to this word at all. 

 

So, our hypothetical title, transformed by these critical comments, now becomes this, a vast improvement on the original:

 

'The geocentrics of phallagocentric testimony: the trilemma of endings, meanings and proleptic imaginings.'

 

What is the purpose of a submission to a progressive journal? Is it for altruistic reasons, to achieve political or other change? Hardly. The submission will be read by someone at the journal, some of it, anyway, perhaps by more than one person. If accepted, the piece will be read by very, very few people. Is it for altruistic reasons of a different kind, to aid understanding of an issue, to bring clarity, to give possible explanations? Hardly. Altruism isn't the main motive of the publishers or the readers in this field, surely.

 

The main reasons for submission are far mare likely to be these: (1)  To demonstrate that the writer is progressive, an all round wonderful person. In particular, to consolidate the writer's reputation in this small community. (2) To get one step higher on the career ladder, for promotion, more money and possible fame, fame as perceived by this community of like-minded academics.

 

I want to offer encouragement, not to deepen despondency. Provided a person follows the unwritten rules and shows absolutely no spirit of independence, provided a person writes for conformists rather than for readers with independent minds, then the difficulties are few - after all, these are journals prepared to publish anything, bad as well as indifferent, provided, again, that the unwritten rules of the game are followed. And it is a game rather than an activity  to be taken seriously, or 'seriously' in the wrong sense, not the right sense.

 

It may be helpful to have a visual image of an author of a submission which has made it, which has received the accolade of publication. I sometimes think of the writer not as a person but as a poor firefly, a firefly in a bad way or even dead - a low wattage or no wattage illuminator, casting next to no light on things or, more likely, no light at all. That firefly is the person you're competing against for space in that insignificant journal.

 

If you like the idea of writing pieces with a bit of bite, you could imagine yourself as a midge, biting people who don't have your advanced ideas and your insights into stuff.

 

Here, the advice ends. I'll make this comment:

 

I think of these people  in these terms - not as people who contribute nothing to the problems the world faces and the problems of the intellect and emotions but as actively harmful, disastrously misguided, their harm only lessened by the fact that these people are outnumbered - but not in all societies - by people who have far more sense.

 

Wittgenstein, 'Philosophical Investigations:' the unbalanced diet of the Signers

 

Section 593
'A main cause of philosophical diseases - a one-sided diet: one nourishes one's thinking with only one kind of example.'

 

'Eine Hauptursache philosophische Krankheiten - einseitige Diät: man nährt sein Denken wit nur eine Art von Beispielen.'

 

The material conditions of life are of fundamental importance. It's overwhelmingly common for feminists to neglect them. The section below  Feminism and the material conditions of life provides argument and evidence. Feminists haven't found in the least congenial an examination or appreciation of the  work of constructing reservoirs (before the hardest manual work was partly replaced by machinery, itself the product of immensely long and arduous work, including intellectual work of a very high order), or the mining of copper to make copper pipes to bring  water to the feminist. Feminists in general find it much more congenial to criticize male plumbers for what they claim is 'patronising' language (their own virtue being supposedly unquestionable) than to empathize with the Chilean copper-miners, trapped undergound by a rock fall. In general, who are the most important people, to feminists? Not the men who discovered laws of chemical combination, for example, and made other advances in chemistry, bringing to an end the Malthusian nightmare which involved the death of countless women in childbirth.  The most important people to so many feminists are feminists, who claim such skill in detecting 'sexism' and 'gender stereotyping.'

My criticism isn't directed at all women, and men, who have described themselves as feminists - for example, women and men who campaigned for the extension of the suffrage to women by more or less rational means, and women and men  who describe themselves as feminists who campaign against abuses to be found in some parts of the Moslem  world, such as female genital circumcision (which, however, is usually performed by women), honour killings, and others. More often than not, the majority of feminists and radical feminists 'play safe:' they neglect these outright abuses, cruelties and injustices and prefer to criticize what  they call 'sexism' in societies with strong legal and other safeguards. This often amounts to outright cowardice. Some information about just one case (from my page Israel, Islamism and Palestinian ideology.)

The easiest targets are the most deranged feminists and the most deranged feminist claims, such as Sandra Harding's claim  that  Newton's Principia Mathematica is a 'rape manual' because 'science is a male rape of female nature.' Or Susan Brownmiller's 'From prehistoric times to the present, rape has played a critical function. It is nothing more nor less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear. ('Against our Will.') Or Sally Miller Gearhart's ''The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10 percent of the human race.'  I don't give much space to such feminists as these.
 
An example of a statement which isn't obviously deranged but  a generalization which amounts to gross falsification: the claim of Susan James and the claim of Quentin Skinner criticized in the third column of the page.

Before the modern era, there were many immensely powerful and immensely wealthy women - I examine a few of them - empresses, queens, heiresses, property owners on a massive scale. And I examine property-owners on a modest scale, such as the black women in Louisiana who owned slaves. It has been convenient for feminists to overlook them, just as it has been convenient to overlook the very hard lives of innumerable men, including the backbreaking work of manual workers.

I outline another fundamental error: treating the linkage between women as usually the most important, whereas in many situations there are other linkages which are often far more important. To make gender the overwhelmingly important criterion  is a reckless distortion in most circumstances. I point out, for example, the stupidity of singling out and emphasizing  the linkage of gender between the Nazi Frau Goebbels and Sophie Scholl, executed for anti-Nazi activity.

The feminist myth of woman, all or nearly all women virtuous and all or nearly all women downtrodden, in the present as in the past, is an outrageous distortion. What? Women don't include in their number many trivial-minded people,  greedy, incorrigibly self-centred people, pampered people,  and people with other  faults? Or is it to be supposed that a woman's faults must always be the fault of a man? Many feminists obviously believe that women are very malleable, very easily influenced, very easily controlled by men - not in the least a robust view of female strength. Of course, not all feminists do believe in the myth.

I discuss and comment on many feminist writers and feminist views here. None of my discussions are very extensive. My objective isn't scholarly exposition but presenting arguments and evidence against which lose nothing by presentation in fairly concise form. 
 
There are more important and less important necessities. I regard scholarship as one of the most important necessities of cultural and intellectual life. Its value at a time of trivialization and short attention spans is greater than ever. But scholarship doesn't guarantee truth, of course.

If feminist scholars have a 'poor impression' of the arguments and evidence I give here, I hope that some of them will be able to explain exactly what faults are to be found in the arguments and evidence.

An aphorism of mine: 'Ideologists' disdain for answering objections: the need for a clashing of minds if a meeting of minds is impossible.' (Aphorisms: religion, ideology and honesty.)

'

Anyone using the language of oppression  should have the insight, the knowledge and the honesty to distinguish degrees of oppression, so different in intensity that they belong to  different worlds: the 'oppression' a women's studies professor with tenure in the United States claims to be suffering, for example, or the 'oppression' of Professor Susan James at a British university, and the back-breaking work of women in Scottish coal mines in the eighteenth century, carrying on their backs massive loads from the coal face to the mine-shaft, carrying the massive loads up ladders to the pithead again and again, day after day.

Robert Bald wrote, in a 'General View of the Coal-Trade of Scotland,' 'it is no uncommon thing to see them, when ascending the pit, weeping most bitterly, from the excessive severity of the labour.' And he writes of a woman, 'groaning under an excessive weight of coals, trembling in every nerve, and almost unable to keep her knees from sinking under her. On coming up, she said in a most plaintive and melancholy voice: "O Sir, this is sore, sore work. I wish to God that the first woman who tried to bear coals had broke her back, and none would have tried it again." ' (Quoted in Anthony Burton's 'The Miners.' All the unattributed quotations in this section come from this compelling, deeply humane, outstanding book.)

Historical study is one of the best defences against parochialism.

In Britain, women hauled coal on their backs only in Scotland and the practice was banned in the Glasgow region by the end of the eighteenth century. In other parts of Britain, men, women and children generally hauled coal in waggons.

 '... between 1841 and 1843, the Reports of the Royal Commission on the Employment of Children in Mines appeared ... It was the illustrations, more even than the words, the interviews, and descriptions, that made an immense impact. Here were portrayed men and women and small children living the life of beasts: a teenage girl struggling on all fours harnessed to a waggon of coal that she was pulling along a narrow seam; little children clinging to a rope as they were lowered down a shaft by an old woman whose rags told of her poverty: boys chained to heavy corves, with only a single candle to light the dark roadways ... In one mine, near Chesterfield, boys had to pull corves weighing at least 1/2 ton and sometimes as heavy as 1 ton, for 60 yards along a roadway that was only 2 feet high ... The boys who worked as hauliers might work as many as fourteen hours a day, from six in the morning to eight at night, and on top of that they would have an often lengthy journey to and from work. (See my poem Mines in the poetry section 'Child Labour.') The pages of the Royal Commission Reports are full of accounts of children returning home too tired to eat, who fell asleep as soon as they sat at table an had to be carried to bed. Some were not even able to walk the distance to their homes, and parents would find them asleep by the roadside.'

Children as young as four, five or six would not have been able to do the back-breaking work of hauling coal, of course. There were various ways to be killed by working in the coal mines - drowning, crushing, or the much slower clogging up of the lungs with coal dust -but the leading cause of death was explosions resulting from the explosive gases of the mines. They accounted for about 90 per cent of deaths.

 'Continuing explosions soon convinced colliery managers that the only solution was to ventilate the the whole pit, so the galleries and roads were turned into a vast labyrinth, along the whole length of which the air was coursed by using a system of trapdoors to keep the air current in its right path.' The system was only effective if the doors were kept shut, except when a waggon was passing through. The youngest children opened and closed these ventilation doors, hour after hour, in deepest darkness.

 Extracts from the 1842 Report:

 'We find in regard to COAL MINES

 1. That instances occur in which children are taken into these mines to work as early as four years of age ...
3. That in several districts female children begin to work in these mines at the same early ages as the males.
8. [Of operating the trapdoors] That although this employment scarcely deserves the name of labour, yet, as the children engaged in it are commonly excluded from light and are always without companions, it would, were it not for the passing and repassing of the coal carriages, amount to solitary confinement of the worst order.

 Susan James writes that 'Feminism is grounded on the belief that women are oppressed or disadvantaged by comparison with men' but here we have suffering in common, the suffering of men and women together, boys and girls together - like the suffering of American slaves, the suffering of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto or Jews walking towards the gas-chambers at Auschwitz or Treblinka. Sometimes men suffer disproportionately, sometimes women, but a very great deal of human suffering - oppression, disadvantage - is like this, inflicted no more on women than on men.

This common suffering of men and women in the mines of this country was ended by The Mines Act of 1842, which prohibited the employment underground of girls and women (and boys under 10 years old). After this time, girls and women were exempted from the dangers and back-breaking work deep underground. After this time, gender equality was replaced by gender inequality. Only males faced the backbreaking work and the dangers. Feminists don't in general acknowledge at all any of the significant ways in which women have been exempted from particular hardships and dangers and men not at all.

 

 Patriarchy got things done, it achieved, in the area of humanitarian legislation, just as it overcame the barriers of wide rivers, hills and mountains by building massive bridges, constructing massive tunnels, without which travel and transportation of the necessities of life would have been difficult or impossible, constructed thousands of miles of railway line, developed all the techniques of converting iron ore into iron and steel for the achievement of these and many other things. Any feminist travelling by rail in this country to attend a meeting at which 'patriarchy' is denounced is benefitting from such engineering triumphs as these.

 

  These are a few examples of British legislation (from Key dates in Working Conditions.) Patriarchy, whatever the accusations levelled against it, wasn't selective, it didn't ignore in this legislation the harsh and dangerous working conditions of girls and women, in fact in many cases it exempted girls and women from harsh and dangerous working conditions which continued for males.

1802 Health and Morals of Apprentices Act limited the work of children in textile mills to 12 hours per day; prohibited night work; required minimum standards of accommodation; some elementary education to be provided; factories to be periodically lime washed; and infectious diseases attended to and reported. The act attempted to enforce on all employers the conditions provided by the more humane mill-owners.

1819 Cotton Mills and Factories Act prohibited children under the age of nine years from working in cotton mills, and restricted those over the age of nine to a 12 hour day. Enforcement was in the hands of local magistrates. The act owed much to the efforts of Robert Owen.

1844 Labour in Factories Act amended the regulations concerning factory inspectors and certifying surgeons; for the first time machinery was required to be guarded; the age at which children may be employed was reduced from nine to eight years; and the maximum hours of work for children and women was prescribed.

  1847 Hours of Labour of Young Persons and Females in Factories Act, the Ten Hours Act, reduced the permitted maximum hours of work for women and children to 10
hours per day and 58 hours in any one week.

1850 Coal Mines Inspection Act introduced the appointment of inspectors of coal mines and set out their powers and duties.

1862 John Simon in his fourth annual report to the Privy Council drew attention to the ill effects of much factory work and concluded that "to be able to redress that wrong is perhaps among the greatest opportunities for good which human institutions can afford".

1868 First report of the Royal Commission on the Employment of Children, Young Persons and Women in Agriculture published.

1872 Metalliferous Mines Regulation Act prohibited the employment in the mines of all girls, women and boys under the age of 12 years; introduced powers to appoint inspectors of mines; and set out rules regarding ventilation, blasting and machinery.

1874 Factory Act raised the minimum working age to nine; limited the working day for women and young people to 10 hours in the textile industry, to be between 6 am and 6 pm; and reduced the working week to 56½ hours.

1880 Employers Liability Act extended the law regarding injuries to employees.

1883 Factory and Workshop Act set standards for all white lead factories.

1886 Shop Hours Regulation Act attempted to regulate the hours of work of children and young persons in shops; the hours of work were not to exceed 74 per week, including meal times.

1891 Factory and Workshop Act consolidated and extended safety and sanitary regulations; transferred enforcement in regard to some workshops from the factory inspectors to the local authorities; raised the minimum age for employment in factories to 11 years; prohibited the owner of a factory from knowingly employing a woman within four weeks of giving birth; and introduced some measures to control conditions of “outworkers”.

1893 Women factory inspectors introduced.

1895 Factory and Workshop Act amended and extended previous acts regarding sanitary provisions, safety, employment of children, holidays and accidents; and made certain industrial diseases (lead, phosphorus, arsenic and anthrax) notifiable for the first time.

1897 Workmen’s Compensation Act established the principle that persons injured at work should be compensated.1898 Thomas M Legge (later Sir, 1863-1932), appointed as the first medical inspector of factories.

 Is it true that the few feminists of that age only paid attention to the suffering of the girls and women and had no further interest in conditions in the coal mines once the 1842 Act had been passed? No, it wouldn't be true. It's true to say that most feminists showed no interest in conditions in the mines before the passing of the Act. The suffering of girls and women was invisible to them. They belonged to a section of society which had no interest in such things, except for the 'immorality' of girls and boys working together, half-naked. Nor could they imagine all the other intensely difficult, dirty or dangerous trades. 'There were many occupations as likely to end in fatality - the grinders in Sheffield or Redditch could look forward to no longer life than the miners before they succumbed to chest disease; the lead-glazers of the Potteries needed to spend little time at their trade before the symptoms of poisoning appeared.'

When women were working in the mines, 'At the end of a shift the family had the walk home to the cottage. They were still in their pit clothes and pit dirt, soaked with water, covered in mud and, in winter, their clothes all but froze stiff as they walked. Once home, there was no brightness, only the deserted house. The babies had to be collected and fed first before life could return slowly to the house.' Once the system of horse-drawn corves was adopted, women in all the Scottish mines stayed at home. The men and boys worked in the mine and at the end of a shift 'they were still in their pit clothes and pit dirt, soaked with water, covered in mud and, in winter, their clothes all but froze still as they walked' but once they reached the house 'the men and boys returned to a warm fire and a hot meal instead of cold and desolation.' How would radical feminists interpret the 'sexual politics' of this? The 'sexism' of women as home-makers rather than working, the 'sexism' of women not admitted to the working world of men?

Susan James ignores the overwhelming importance of innovation in science and technology which has reduced so much human suffering. Feminists who claim that many of these innovations were due to women should provide the necessary evidence.

Some of the suffering in the mines was eventually lessened by developments in bulk-handling, innovations which of course needed innovators - people who actually produced innovations and actually reduced suffering, not people who might have produced innovations but were prevented by 'prejudice' or 'stereotyping.' An early innovation was introduced by John Curr, who described a system of 'corves' in 1797: four-wheeled vehicles running on iron rails or plates. 'One horse, he reckoned, could shift as much as 150 tons a day along a 250-yard roadway. This was very evidently a much more efficient and economical method of moving coal.' Often, though, there was insufficient height for a horse, and man-hauling continued.

 Successive innovations, using increasingly sophisticated advances in engineering based upon increasingly sophisticated advances in Physics and Chemistry, made coal-mining less and less arduous. By the time that George Orwell visited coal-mines in the twentieth century, the work was still desperately hard, impossible for the majority of non-miners to imagine let alone to carry out, but not as degradingly hard as work in an eighteenth century mine. Alongside innovations in bulk-handling which reduced and eventually eliminated the back-breaking work of hauling coal (and freed pit-ponies from a grim life spent entirely or almost entirely underground) there were innovations at the coal-face, such as the technology of compressed air, which reduced and eventually eliminated the back-breaking work of extracting coal at the coal-face with hand-pick and crowbar, although these innovations were much more difficult to implement. Well into the twentieth century, hacking at coal was back-breaking work even when the miner could stand. It was even harder when the seam was narrower and he had to kneel. It was hardest when the seam was very narrow and he had to lie down, contorted. The work was harder, more unpleasant still if this was a 'wet' pit, one in which water was a constant problem.

 In the mines, 'after-damp,' the explosive gas which was a mixture of air and methane, was the cause of many catastrophic mine accidents. Naked flames needed for illumination could ignite the gas very easily. 'The Davy lamp wasn't 'the perfect solution to the problem,' but it was revolutionary in its benefits even so. 'The Davy lamp, because it was invented by the leading chemist of the day, is something of a landmark in the relations between science and technology, as also in the use of technology to serve humanitarian rather than purely economic purposes.' (T K Derry and Trevor I Williams, 'A Short History of Technology.')

 The light from the Davy lamp was not very bright. A better solution to the problem of lighting mines (and the problem of lighting rooms so that feminists could compose their tracts against patriarchy during the hours of darkness) was only found with a spectacular, and spectacularly complex, series of innovations, acts of genius, such as those which made electricity generation practicable.

 The claim that none of the 'humanitarian blessings' of feminism have come anywhere near to equalling the humanitarian blessings of modern contraception isn't an original one. Effective contraception depends on the innovations of scientists and technologists, including the chemical engineers and production engineers who make it possible to manufacture on a large scale.

In nature, there are many progeny but only a few survive. Animals living in the wild are still subject to these harsh Malthusian laws of nature, and so were human societies for so many millennia. As a matter of strict fact, the scientists and technologists who dramatically reduced infant mortality and dramatically reduced the risks of a woman dying in childbirth have almost all been men.

 The material conditions of life, such as water supply and sewage, are almost entirely ignored by feminists. The most significant cause of ill-health and premature death by far has always been failure in supplying water and disposing of sewage, a simple problem with a very complex solution: such as the development by organic chemists of techniques in molecular architecture, a precondition for manufacturing modern pipework, without which modern water supply and sewage systems aren't feasible, more generally advances in iron and steel manufacturing, the manufacture of components for hydraulic drills, petrol and diesel engines, needed for laying the pipes and and maintaining the pipes.

  Water, although not an element, is elemental, a basic requirement of life, but providing this basic requirement isn't at all simple. Water illustrates the complexity of reality. It can carry disease organisms, such as those that cause cholera. The cholera-causing organisms are just as much part of nature as plants and trees, but it's vital to control nature by eradicating them from drinking water. Any notion that 'nature' is feminine, control over nature masculine, to be opposed by feminists, is obviously ridiculous.

 The separation of water for drinking and water for disposal of faeces poses immense practical problems. Gratitude is the only proper response for the work of the engineers who designed dams, for those who built the dams and made the bricks and the materials for the pipes which led the water from the dams, for the foundries and other factories which manufactured the taps, the pumps, for the mathematical and scientific innovators who developed the techniques in calculus, fluid mechanics and the other techniques needed for supplying water efficiently.

Radical feminists have made spectacular use of generalization, as in 'all men are useless' or 'all men are rapists, or potentially rapists.' John Snow is a man who led a blameless life and a man whose contribution to human welfare was surely greater than that of any radical feminist. He was one of the founders of epidemiology. He identified the source of a cholera outbreak in 1854, without the use of any advanced scientific ideas. There was a miasma or 'bad air' theory of cholera: the disease entered the body through the mouth. He disputed this. He investigated the cholera outbreak of 1854 in Soho, London and plotted cholera cases on a map. He identified a water pump in a particular street as the source of the disease. As soon as he had the handle of the pump removed, cases of cholera began to decline. He also used more advanced science. He was a pioneer in the use of anaesthetics and made anaesthetics safer and more effective. But control of life-threatening diseases such as cholera and control of pain by means of anaesthetics aren't high in the priorities of most radical feminists, who would far sooner attack men, any men, such as John Snow.

Earthquakes show that control over nature is sometimes impossible. Patriarchy has developed a method of delaying the crushing effects of a building collapsing so that the occupants have enough time to escape to safety - the technological / humanitarian innovation of metal ties connecting together walls and roof. When victims are trapped under rubble, then of course technological techniques are the only effective ones - the use of heavy lifting equipment, made up of a very large number of separate components, ultimately derived from metal ores, crude oil and other raw materials, which demand techniques of very great complexity, even the screw-threads of the fixings. The precise engineering essential for manufacturing these components wasn't inevitable or easily gained. It was due to the achievements of such particular men - again, representatives of 'patriarchy' - such as Joseph Whitworth, who by 1856 'was regularly using in his workshops a machine capable of measuring to one-millionth part of an inch.' ('A Short History of Technology.') Without the work of Joseph Whitworth and many other innovators, earthquake victims would have to be rescued by bare hands and the simplest of tools. Precision engineering and scientific and technological advances in general, again, almost unimaginably complex, are needed, of course, to transport food and other relief supplies to earthquake zones by air, road or sea. In the absence of these, human labour and pack animals will give aid to only a tiny fraction of those in need.

 Feminists not only fail to acknowledge the work of scientists and technologists working at a high intellectual level, they fail to acknowledge the work of men doing far more humble work. George Orwell, in 'Marrakech:' 'All people who work with their hands are partly invisible, and the more important the work they do, the less visible they are.'

 Unless the sick are to be looked after in simple shelters or in the open, the work of roofers and scaffolders and other manual workers in building hospitals is so important that they deserve heartfelt appreciation - and proper pay and working conditions - but the work of roofers and scaffolders is almost invisible, their work taken for granted. The average roofer or scaffolder lacks refinements and many would fail any tests for political correctness, but few people in possession of those advantages would choose to do physically demanding work at a height in almost all weathers.

 The industrial revolution was harsh, as harsh as the pre-industrial age, but a necessary prelude to this age of comfort and comfortable assumptions and illusions.

 The harshness of the industrial age, like the comfort of this age, wasn't, of course, shared by everyone. The harshness was experienced by people who really are all but invisible today, all but forgotten, such as the navvies.

 'Men of Iron,' the superb book by Sally Dugan, is mainly concerned with the audacious work of the engineers Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Robert Stephenson (she also does justice to the genius of their fathers, Marc Brunel and George Stephenson).

 She writes of the navvies' work, 'Maiming or mutilation came with the job, and navvies were lucky if they escaped with nothing more than the loss of a limb. They worked using picks and shovels, crowbars and wheelbarrows, and their bare hands; the only other aid they had was the occasional blast of gunpowder. Some were blinded by explosions; others were buried in rock falls. All led a life of hard, grinding physical toil, tramping from one construction site to another in search of work. Their reputation for violence and drunkenness made them a frequent focus for missionaries and temperance society members, as well as turning them into the bogeymen of folk myth.' Elizabeth Garnett was the secretary of the Navvy Mission Society and might have been expected to give a harsh verdict on their uncouthness and worse. Far from it. 'Men of Iron' quotes her words: 'Certainly no men in all the world so improve their country as Navvies do England. Their work will last for ages, and if the world remains so long, people will come hundreds of years hence to look at it and wonder at what they have done.'

There are many people who like their reality smoothed out, comfortable, free of unsettling paradoxes and contradictions. How could such people, sometimes drunken and violent people, generally, to a feminist, sexist people, no doubt, have done so much to reduce human suffering, and far, far more, in general, than the genteel and the anti-sexist? The human suffering they reduced was not their own, but the suffering of the wider population, including the suffering of their critics, in far more comfortable circumstances.

 The phrase 'control over nature' offers so much scope to radical feminist interpretation - nature viewed as female, control as male, 'control over nature' as male supremacy and exploitation, to be opposed by radical feminism, as in the 'thought' of Carolyn Merchant.  A little thought shows that this amounts to complete distortion. In this section, as in most of the others, anti-feminists will be familiar with the arguments I use, but not, probably, with all the illustrative examples and the evidence.

Nature offers no easy way of heating rooms or heating water, or constructing rooms or effective shelters against the forces of nature, such as wind, rain and snow. Radical feminists, in societies where the control over nature is at a high level, get up in the morning in modern buildings or older buildings with modern conveniences. Putting on the electric kettle for a first cup of tea or coffee in a centrally heated room after a warm shower has advantages over waking up on a winter morning in a simple shelter constructed of natural materials with only natural fuel, such as branches or logs (cut with a stone-age axe) no obvious or easy way of lighting them, and no convenient source of water, in the absence of technological achievement (if rainwater is collected, in what kind of container? Not one made of PVC, polyvinylchloride) other than the water in streams and rivers probably polluted by human waste, and nowhere to wash away dirt from body and clothes, whatever natural clothes may be available, except for the icy water of those same streams and rivers.

Control over nature, which has given the benefits taken for granted by feminists and others, has required immense human effort and creativity of a very high order, the creativity which for once isn't misnamed - in organic chemistry, physical chemistry, heavy electrical engineering, quantum theory, seemingly remote fields such as the mathematical calculus and linear algebra, and many other fields. It's a matter of strict fact that the contribution of men to all of these has been overwhelmingly important.

For a long period of time, it was coal in this and other countries which offered the only practicable way in most cases to heat homes and heat water and cook food, to carry out innumerable other jobs, such as relieving agricultural workers of a significant part of the back-breaking work on the land by means of steam-driven machinery, pumping water, and of course transporting goods and people on the railways and over the oceans. In 'On the Road to Wigan Pier,' George Orwell wrote, in connection with society's indebtedness to miners at that time, 'all of us really owe the comparative decency of our lives to poor drudges underground, blackened to the eyes, with their throats full of coal dust, driving their shovels forward ...'

 Mining - for lead, copper and other metals as well as for coal - gives illuminating insights into feminism. It illustrates the intersection of humanitarian history and technological history. It illustrates the fact that most human suffering has been caused by nature, not by men, and that the achievement of men in overcoming the harshness of nature is incalculable. The world isn't nearly so dependent on coal mining now, but it's still dependent on technology. Modifying what George Orwell wrote to take account of changed conditions, 'You and I and the radical feminists who write about 'phallocentric' society and 'patriarchal society' and the defects of men really owe the comparative decency of our lives to a large extent to the scientists and technologists, far more often than not representatives of 'phallocentric and patriarchal' society, far more often than not men, who made the innovations which lessened the impact on human life of nature's harshness, and to the labourers who did the hard, often dangerous and dirty work needed to implement their ideas.'

 

 We're encouraged to 'celebrate' so many things now other than the traditional objects of celebration such as Christmas, weddings and birthdays. 'Celebrating' now often means showing respect for, and more than that, admiring. The great achievements of the pre-industrial age in wood and stone, the great achievements of the industrial age in stone, iron, steel and all the new materials which were created during the industrial age - these and other achievements should give rise to awe as well as respect and admiration.

 Anyone looking at rocky outcrops and quarries can understand that the rock was shaped by cutting and incorporated into buildings and bridges, although the tools used and the explosives now used involve less straightforward transformations. The intricate fan-vaulting of King's College Chapel, Cambridge, was achieved by precise cutting and the lifting into position of heavy loads, but no prosaic account can possibly do justice to the sublime achievement, which gives the appearance of effortlessness despite the enormous difficulties, overcome with enormous effort, the quarrying and transporting and lifting of stone.

 The massive stone blocks which make up the aqueducts which carrying canals over valleys, the railway bridges and road bridges, the massive stone blocks which are used in harbours and ports - how many travellers notice them and 'celebrate' the extraordinary achievement by which these blocks were placed one above another with such precision, sometimes submerged, starting from the sea-bed?


Anyone looking at rocks, fields, the natural or semi-natural world, and then looking at iron or steel should understand that the process by which the ores were converted into iron and steel was a massive human achievement. The uses of iron and steel represent an achievement which couldn't possibly be adequately 'celebrated.'

 How to 'celebrate' the Forth Railway Bridge, which was completed in 1890, the first major bridge made of steel? A recital of some statistics is a tribute, too, to the achievement of the men who played a part in its construction, and for some at the cost of their lives. Although there were boats under each cantilever for rescue, 57 men were killed during construction.

 The bridge is 2.5 km (1.5 miles) long. The spans of the girders are gigantic - 521m (1710 feet). The ties and struts of the bridge are the setting for enormous, balanced forces - tension in the ties and compression in the tubes. Each of the cantilevers, 110 m (361 feet) high is supported on massive granite piers. Granite is a particularly hard rock and the difficulties in cutting and shaping it are extreme. 54 160 tonnes of steel were used, and 4 200 tonnes of rivets. Steel plates were shaped using a 2 000 tonne hydraulic press. The bridge was constructed simultaneously on both sides of the three massive main piers. 'The precision of the assembly, using hydraulic cranes and riveting machines, was such that, when the work from the two sides was to be joined up, it required only hastily improvised fires of wood-shavings and waste to expand it by 1/4 in. for the final bolts to be inserted.' (T K Derry and Trevor I Williams, 'A Short History of Technology.'

 Rail travellers, including feminists, headed for Northern Scotland still use this bridge - but its achievement, like other great bridges, goes far, far beyond usefulness.

 Here, I directly compare 'patriarchy's' attitude to obstacles and that of feminists. Above, in connection with the 'patriarchy' of the first industrial age, I show that patriarchy 'got things done, it achieved, in the area of humanitarian legislation,' just as it overcame, but far more dramatically, natural obstacles.

 In a speech at Newcastle, the great engineer Robert Stephenson said, 'It seems to me but as yesterday that I was engaged as an assistant in laying out the Stockton and Darlington Railway. Since then, the Liverpool & Manchester and a hundred other great works have sprung into existence. As I look back upon these stupendous undertakings, accomplished in so short a time, it seems as if we have realized in our generation the fabled powers of the magician's wand. Hills have been cut down and valleys filled up; and when these simple expedients have not sufficed high and magnificent viaducts have been raised and, if mountains stood in the way, tunnels of unexampled magnitude have pierced them through, bearing their triumphant attestation to the indomitable energy of the nation and the unrivalled skill of our artisans.'

 At the time he spoke, the railway age had been in existence for only twenty years. By then there were 6 084 miles of railway in Great Britain. The achievement is directly relevant to our own age and its concern for sustainability and climate change. Once railway lines have been electrified - another achievement of patriarchy - trains can use, of course, electric current produced by any means, including renewable sources. The cutting down of hills and the filling up of valleys was carried out for one purpose only - to achieve a level foundation. Without it, the railway line could not have been used at all. This was not patriarchal despoliation of nature.

 Robert Stephenson's did far more than assist in laying out the Stockton and Darlington Railway. He built (with the assistance of navvies, of course) the first main railway line to serve London, the London and Birmingham railway. It was completed in 1838 and Thomas Roscoe described it as 'unquestionably the greatest public work ever executed, either in ancient or modern times.' He built the great High Level Bridge, opened in 1849, which links Newcastle-upon-Tyne with Gateshead. He built the Royal Border Bridge, carrying the North Eastern Railway across the River Tweed. This formed the last permanent link in the continuous line of East Coast Railway between London and Edinburgh. His tubular railway bridge by Conway castle was completed in 1848. Each of the wrought-iron tubes weighs more than 1000 tonnes. Robert Stephenson had taken his railway along the coast of North Wales. To take the railway into the island of Anglesey and then to the port of Holyhead, where ships left for Dublin, it was necessary to bridge the natural obstacle of the Menai strait. He did this with his Britannia Bridge, completed in 1850. This was a major advance in engineering. Earlier girders had not exceeded 35 feet but the main spans of this bridge were much longer, 460 feet.

 The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia, edited by David Crystal, 'celebrates' Robert Stephenson's achievements in 11 lines, and the engineering achievements of Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 12 lines, whereas their contemporary Horace Bushnell, 'Congregational minister and theologian,' who published Christian nurture in 1847 is given 15 lines.

'Railway mileage in Great Britain reached its peak with 20 443 route-miles of which a total length of about 310 miles was in 1 085 tunnels (excluding the London Underground). The longest was the Severn Tunnel (4 miles 628 yards) and in addition there were eleven tunnels over two miles long and a further forty-five over one mile long. Bridges totalled 62 244 ...' (Charles E Lee, 'Railways,' in 'The Archaeology of the Industrial Revolution,' edited by Brian Bracegirdle.)

 The obstacles overcome by the civil engineer John Metcalf were first of all severe personal ones. 'One of the few civilian road builders of ability active in the eighteen century was the remarkable Yorkshireman, 'Blind Jack of Knaresborough ... born in 1717 and blinded by smallpox at the age of six. Despite this disability he grew up strong and active ... Metcalf's road making career began in 1765, when he succeeded in winning a contract to construct three miles of the new turnpike from Harrogate to Boroughbridge. So superior was his stretch of road that fresh work came pouring in. Altogether he built about 180 miles of road, mostly in Yorkshire and Lancashire but also extending into Derbyshire.' (Anthony Ridley, 'Other Means of Communication,' in 'The Archaeology of the Industrial Revolution.') He built bridges too to carry his roads over rivers.

 Many or most radical feminists claim that 'gender' is socially constructed, they would claim that women have just as much interest as men in technical matters and are just as good as men at solving technical problems, the major technical problems of civil and mechanical engineering and the much smaller technical problems involved in working on car engines, that it's only patriarchal oppression and patriarchal stereotyping which could explain women's seeming lack of interest in technical matters, compared with men.

 Feminists should have realized that the recital of these 'facts' was no substitute for actual achievement, for overcoming obstacles. The obstacles were not so very great, after all. By now, feminists should have organized in every town and city women-only garages, for example, proof that women were not at all dependent on men for servicing cars, for carrying out minor and major repairs on cars. This would not have involved the difficulty of developing the techniques and designing and manufacturing the tools and heavy equipment and the specialist chemical products needed to do the work, the obstacles to be overcome would have amounted to only a tiny fraction of the obstacles overcome by patriarchy, but it would have earned them respect. As it is, feminist talk is cheap, available in vast quantities. It talks about obstacles and how enormous the obstacles are, but the triumphant overcoming of obstacles isn't much in evidence.

 

Israel and armaments

 

 

There's more on Israel and its opponents in the profile on this page of one particular determined, ineffectual opponent, Mona Baker.

 

 

 

Above, from a pro-Palestinian event in New York

 

The Open Letter was general, not in the least specific. Israel wasn't mentioned as a manufacture, buyer, seller or user of armaments. It wasn't mentioned at all. The Open Letter was about an Arms Fair but it was clear that there was general opposition to the manufacture, buying, selling or use of armaments, by any country.

 

If the academics (and others) who protested against the Arms Fair in person had brought a wide range of placards or banners, each one naming (and, they would have us believe) shaming a particular country, one or more would certainly have been directed at Israel. The Arms Fair wasn't an isolated event but one in a series. There will be future Arms Fair and almost certainly protest against them. If the conflict in Ukraine is still raging at the time of the next arms fair, nobody, I think, would dare to bring a placard or banner with this slogan:

 

'STOP ARMING UKRAINE'

 

But objecting to the supply of weapons to Ukraine so that Ukraine could defend itself against unprovoked Russian aggression would be completely in accordance with the views o the signers. They were disastrously misguided in signing up to this futile, farcical but very disturbing Open Letter.

 

A suggestion for a realistic placard, a lengthy message::

 

THE COUNTRIES OCCUPIED BY THE NAZIS WERE LIBERATED BY ARMED FORCES, NOT GROUPS OF CONCERNED PEOPLE WITHOUT ARMS, THE CONCENTRATION CAMPS AND THE EXTERMINATION CAMPS WERE LIBERATED BY ARMED FORCES, NOT BY PEOPLE WHO TRIED TO USE THE POWER OF PERSUASION, OR DEMONSTRATED AGAINST THE NAZIS WITH PLACARDS IN LONDON AND OTHER PLACES.

 

A suggestion for sloganizing on two hypothetical placards, unrealistic, deluded (and quite long):

 

RUSSIA WILL NEVER INVADE THE UNITED KINGDOM. THE UNITED KINGDOM HAS NO USE FOR ARMAMENTS. ARMAMENTS ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION.

 

PUTIN WILL NEVER POSE A  THREAT TO THE UNITED KINGDOM OR POLAND, OR THE BALTIC STATES, OR ANYWHERE ELSE. PUTIN IS A MAN WHO CAN BE RELIED UPON TO KEEP HIS WORD.

 

Academics (and non-academics) who share the views of the signers quite often mention 'resistance.' They seem to think that the only possible response to their views (if a person shares their 'enlightened' view of things) is to accept their views. I think very differently. On this page, and in other places on the site, I show some resistance.

 

 

I'd add this, a question for the academics (and non-academics) who signed. Palestinians make use of armaments. From time to time, they fire rockets at Israel, and it gets them nowhere. Do you include Palestinians in your attempted prohibition of armaments?

 

On this page I give  arguments and evidence as to why Israel deserves support. This is some more, an  extract from my page on Israel:

 

Hamas is a radical Islamist organization but a substantial section of Palestinian society has radical Islamist views. Percentages below are from the Pew Research Center's extensive surveys of attitudes in Islamic countries.  'Labour Party Friends of Palestine, members of Palestine Solidarity Campaign groups and others - what do you make of the startling information below? I'm simply giving the findings of an established organization with a high reputation. What do you make of the arguments I give, such as the one concerning the overwhelmingly likely results if the slogan 'Stop arming Israel'  was ever put into practice?

 

Some findings of the Pew Research Center:

Stoning to death for adultery may not be practised in the Palestinian territories but 84% of Palestinians support the punishment. 

The conviction that a woman must always obey her husband is widely held, with 87% support in the Palestinian territories.

Support in Gaza for suicide bombings has declined but 62% of people in Gaza still believe that suicide bombings are often justified or sometimes justified to protect Islam. This is the highest level of support in the Islamic world.

66% of people in the Palestinian territories believe in execution for those who leave Islam.

There is widespread Palestinian support for such cruel punishments as amputation of the hand. 76% of people in the Palestinian territories support these punishments.

(The statistics relate to opinions at the time of the survey, conducted in 2013.)

The death penalty in the Palestinian territories may be imposed after a very brief trial, lasting only a day, or no trial at all, as in the case of some of the people executed by Hamas for alleged 'collaboration with Israel.' Israel has used the death penalty only twice in its modern history - including the execution of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann. 

Palestinian sanctions against unmarried women who have children can be severe. A Palestinian woman was sentenced to six years imprisonment for having an illegitimate child, whose formative years have now been spent in prison.

Honour killings have increased dramatically in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian Minister of Women's Affairs, Rabiha Diab, blamed Israel for the increase in honour killings. Claims to victimhood will do nothing to solve the problem.

...

Hamas and very many Palestinians have  refused again and again to recognize harsh realities, such as this one - attacking Israel with rockets or other weapons will be followed by retaliation, just as attacks upon Britain during the Second World War were followed by retaliation. Casualties in Gaza during  recent conflicts -  and material damage - would have been very light if only this principle had been followed: stop firing rockets, stop breaking ceasefires.

 

 

Gaza has been  confident that whenever it went to war, the international community would pay for reconstruction but now, donor countries are less ready to contribute. Meanwhile, building materials intended to be used for reconstruction are diverted to the construction of more tunnels for terrorist action and the Palestinian Authority continues to give financial support to people convicted of terrorist action by the Israelis - the worst terrorists receive a salary which is ten times the average Palestinian wage.

There are many extenuating circumstances in the case of Israeli use of force, such as the issuing of warnings before attack in innumerable instances. There are no extenuating circumstances which could possibly excuse Hamas' indiscriminate use of rockets against Israel.

Anti-Israel action, including BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) action, would almost certainly have these results, if successful: the replacement of Israel by a state with vastly less enlightened policies in such areas as the ones mentioned above, a state which would be militarily very weak - unable to prevent invasion by  forces which are completely ruthless - and the  slaughter of Jews on a massive scale.

Israeli power prevents the incursion of forces into the Palestinian territories which are vastly less enlightened than the Israeli state, just as British power prevented the invasion of the Irish Republic by the Nazis during the Second World War. Irish nationalist ideology ('nobody has suffered like the Irish and there are no oppressors as bad as the British') and Palestinian ideology ('nobody has suffered like the Palestinians and there are no oppressors as bad as the Israelis') have significant linkages.

The evidence is that the conditions needed for the establishment of a successful democratic Palestinian state, such as a concern for freedom of speech, are largely lacking. If the external enemy, Israel, were ever to  disappear and a Palestinian state became a reality, then it's likely that there would be internal conflict and power struggles within the Palestinian state, perhaps pursued by violent means, such as suicide bombing, rather than peaceful decision-making after free debate.

A Palestinian state  would still be vulnerable, at risk of invasion by a much stronger state or organization. The call to 'stop arming Israel,' if successful, would be disastrous for Palestinians as well as Israelis. An Israel without the means to defend itself would be attacked very quickly, to be followed by slaughter of Jews on a massive scale. It's overwhelmingly unlikely that the territory of a Palestinian state with only its own forces available for defence, in the absence of powerful Israeli forces, would be respected. It's overwhelmingly likely that in this volatile region, a Palestinian state denied the power of the Israeli forces would be invaded, by another state or by a non-state power. People who have lived under the domination of ISIS will have no illusions about the barbarities which are possible when a non-state power takes control of a territory. Anti-Israel activists and their uncritical supporters are in the grip of illusion: they ignore political and military realities in the region.

All the criticisms of Palestinian society and policies I make on this page are with the recognition that Palestinian society isn't remotely as barbaric in its practice as Iran, in such areas as the  criminal law and punishment. To consider that Israel is a country which is much worse than Iran is contemptible. To compare Israel with Nazi Germany is contemptible. Nazi Germany, like Stalinist Russia, is in a category of its own.

 

 

 

Above, a Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv, Israel. In Israel, same sex relations are completely legal and the gay sceni is thriving. In Gaza, same-sex relations between men are illegal, punishable with imprisonment for up to ten years. In Iran, they are punishable with death by hanging. If Israel didn't have the means to defend itself, it would be certain that Israel would be invaded by a hostile power, perhaps ISIS or some other terrorist organization, very likely backed by Iran or with Iranian connections. The plight of gay people would be horrendous. The plight of so many others would be horrendous.

 

In Israeli territory occupied by Palestinians, Hamas, ISIS or Iran a scene such as this, again, from Tel Aviv, would be unthinkable and anybody who thinks differently has a view which is impossible to defend. Anyone who takes that view is welcome to try defending it. Anyone who thinks that Israel can defend itself without armaments is deluded. Gay Pride events in Israel can only continue because Israel has the weapons to defend itself and is willing to use them if necessary.

 

 

 

The Republic of Ireland's defence policy and defence forces, present and past, merit very close attention from the pacifists at 'Campaign against Arms Trade Universities Network,' the signers of the open letter, anybody harbouring shallow illusions about defence matters. An extract from my page www.linkagenet.com/themes/Ireland.htm

 

There are startling gaps and omissions in the Irish nationalist view of history. The most important single omission is The Second World War - not, obviously, a minor one. According to the mythology of Irish nationalists,  nobody has suffered like the Irish, nobody has exploited others like the English. But in a conflict which was more devastating than any other in history, which inflicted suffering on a greater scale than any other, the English, and the other countries of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, a constituent part of the United Kingdom, carried on the war against Hitler alone, for a time, with exiled groups from many countries and volunteers from many countries, including volunteers from the Irish Republic, who served in large numbers.

 

Irish nationalism and the Irish Free State stood aside and did nothing. The IRA actively sought help from the Germans. During The Second World War, the Irish Free State was neutral. After the death of Hitler, condolences were offered from only two sources, Portugal and the government of The Irish Republic.

 

'The Cruel Sea' is a popular novel by Nicholas Monsarrat.' The factual claims here are confirmed by Brian Girvin in his scholarly 'The Emergency: Neutral Ireland 1939 - 1945).

 

'...it was difficult to withhold one's contempt from a country such as Ireland, whose battle this was and whose chances of freedom and independence in the event of a German victory were nil. The fact that Ireland was standing aside from the conflict at this moment posed, from the naval angle, special problems which affected, sometimes mortally, all sailors engaged in the Atlantic, and earned their particular loathing.

 

'Irish neutrality, on which she placed a generous interpretation, permitted the Germans to maintain in Dublin an espionage-centre, a window into Britain, which operated throughout the war and did incalculable harm to the Allied cause. But from the naval point of view there was an even more deadly factor: this was the loss of the naval bases in southern and western Ireland, which had been available to the Royal Navy during the first world war but were now forbidden them. To compute how many men and how many ships this denial was costing, month after month, was hardly possible; but the total was substantial and tragic.

 

'From a narrow legal angle, Ireland was within her rights: she had opted for neutrality, and the rest of the story flowed from this decision. She was in fact at liberty to stand aside from the struggle, whatever harm this did to the Allied cause. But sailors, watching the ships go down and counting the number of their friends who might have been alive instead of dead, saw the thing in simpler terms. They saw Ireland safe under the British umbrella, fed by her convoys, and protected by her air force, her very neutrality guaranteed by the British armed forces: they saw no return for this protection save a condoned sabotage of the Allied war effort: and they were angry - permanently angry. As they sailed past this smug coastline, past people who did not give a damn how the war went as long as they could live on in their fairy-tale world, they had time to ponder a new aspect of indecency. In the list of people you were prepared to like when the war was over, the man who stood by and watched while you were getting your throat cut could not figure very high.'



The Irish Republic is one of  many freeloaders, one of the many countries which do hardly anything to defend themselves. They rely on other countries to maintain their security. However, none of the countries whose defence expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) is given has a defence expenditure as low as the Irish Republic's. Military expenditure (% of GDP) in Ireland was reported at 0.2899 % in 2019, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources.

 

The police force and the armed forces are primary responsibilities of government: protection against internal threats and protection against external threats. The Irish republic has an effective police force but its defence forces are pitifully inadequate. It makes next to no attempt to contribute to collective security. Like so many European countries, its defence expenditure is a tiny proportion of GDP. It isn't a member of NATO. In a dangerous world, with threats from Russia and the deranged Iranian regime, which threatens the supply of oil to Ireland as well as Britain, it relies for its protection upon Britain, the United States and other countries which take seriously defence of the non-totalitarian world.

 

Below: NATO members in Europe shown in blue. Missing: the Irish republic. Membership of NATO would have symbolic importance, it would demonstrate that it takes the threat of Russian aggression seriously and has a serious interest in contributing to collective security, even if its armed forces would make a negligible contribution.

 

 

'Anti-woke' people and organizations.

 

The material here is wide-ranging. It includes, for example, this 'The pretence that British history has been overwhelmingly or almost always a a force for good is is contradicted by many, many events.'  And this, '[woke views] are less ridiculous and less harmful than the views of orthodox  Christian doctrine.'

 

Here, I quote some comments I've posted in the comments sections of some anti-woke You tube videos and an anti-woke Website, the site of 'Conservative Woman.' Over the years, I've posted only a limited number of comments, although some of them are very long, much longer than most comments. I don't give the Web address in most cases. Fuller information will follow. The sites where I've left very critical comments include the sites of Conservative Woman, Simon Webb's 'History Debunked,' The New Culture Forum, GB News, Sky News Australia (an anti- woke news outlet which has no connection with Sky News in the UK.) The quoted comments here are numbered.

 

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I'll give an assortment of evidence to justify the claim that Christianity is a liability for anti-woke sites, that although  woke views are in general ridiculous and harmful, they are less ridiculous and less harmful than the views of orthodox  Christian doctrine.  It's a long comment  but it could easily be much, much longer. Anti-woke people who find it too much effort to follow discussions which are thorough - nobody is forcing you to read any of this. Post your complaints if you feel inclined - if, that is, you can summon up the energy to post a one-or-two liner, probably not more, but nobody is compelled to read your complaints either ... [The remainder of the comment is provided as the last comment in this section. Not all the comments in this section are about Christianity. The material on Christianity is quite detailed - but may be useful as background information, and it leaves no room for doubt as to my reasons for thinking that orthodox Christian belief is vastly more ridiculous and harmful than the views of 'woke' people. I'm sure I can assume that all the people who signed the Open Letter are 'woke' people. ]


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https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/mocked-reviled-and-pelted-with-eggs-a-christian-on-the-pride-front-line/

[The 'mocked, reviled and pelted with eggs Pastor here was protesting against a Gay Pride Event.]

From the Pastor's article: 'A video report on Sky News used the term ‘religious bigotry’ to describe our Christian testimony. Whatever happened to impartial reporting? Why did the reporter not come over to us and ask some questions? She would have found out that we are perfectly capable of engaging in civilised debate.

If the Pastor ever made use of the opportunity to have a 'civilized debate' with Sky News about homosexuality, I'd recommend to Sky News asking him for a comment on the material to be found in the Wikipedia 'List of people executed for homosexuality in Europe.'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

If homosexuals loathe his orthodox views on homosexuality, it has something to do with awareness of what orthodox Christians have done to homosexuals over the centuries. They would loathe them even more the more they know about the horrific facts. Among the punishments mentioned in the article, including some from this country:

A German cross-dressing lesbian executed for heresy against nature
They were pierced in their tongues, hanged and burned; they were also charged with blasphemy.
German from Augsburg; burned in Rome with 3 heretics
From Augsburg; one burned, other 4 (all ecclesiastics) bound hand and foot in a wooden cage to starve[
both drowned in a barrel
Lesbian, drowned
Burned at Tudela for "heresy with his body"

And from the UK:

His trial was at the Old Bailey in November, where he was convicted of having "a venereal affair" with James Hankinson. He was hanged at Newgate. He was hanged with a forger, Ann Hurle - they were led out of Debtor's Door and rather than the New Drop they were hanged by a cart being driven from under them.
"Spershott's hanging was perhaps the last occasion at which was performed the folk ritual of the hangman passing the dead man's hands over the neck and bosoms of young women as a cure for glandular enlargements."
The last two men to be hanged for homosexuality in England. [1835]

Is Pastor Peter Simpson perfectly capable of engaging in civilized debate or perfectly capable of becoming evasive when confronted by harsh realities?

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Simon Webb has been praised by a substantial number of commenters who are a liability, commenters who should be an embarrassment to him. Given the views of these commentators, The New Culture Forum, which has invited him to to a discussion, should ask some probing questions about the issues if they ever invite him again. Simon Webb has a video on the invitation, 'A discussion with Peter Whittle of the New Culture Forum.' Peter Whittle founded the organization and plays a very prominent part in its activities.

These are two hideous comments that follow a You Tube video of Simon Webb, 'How two Jewish academics in America created the modern concept of anti-racism.' More comments are quoted later on: in all the comments quoted, spelling, punctuation and grammar as in the original.

 

'thank you so much for being such a brave fellow this needs to be heard the truth will finally be revealed to the public one of these days the german man [obviously a reference to Hitler] tried to warn us but nobody listened people like you are so brave thank you so much sir for making this video god bless''

 

They [an obvious reference to Jews] even managed to make a teetotal vegetarian who loved animals and who enjoyed painting as a pastime ... into evil incarnate.' [an obvious reference to Hitler.]

 

Anti-semitism takes different forms, obnoxious but comparatively mild and forms which are much worse than obnoxious. The antisemitic language of the Nazis was terrifying, the kind that led to the policy and practice of annihilation. The comments of these people on the Simon Webb page aren't in that category but they are surely much worse than obnoxious.

The two academics who according to Simon Webb created 'the modern concept of anti-racism' are Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict. According to the evidence available to me, neither of them were observant Jews. Even if they had been observant Jews, the description Jewish academics would have been completely unnecessary. If Simon Webb thinks that no objection can be taken to the description Jewish academics, a large number of the commenters thought that the mention of 'Jewish' was very, very significant and responded, in some cases like Nazis, in others like easily-led sheep.

It's very, very disturbing that Simon Webb never intervened and responded to the antisemitism of so many of the comments. He did respond to a single comment, which wasn't antisemitic. The comment: 'Did your wife write this one?' Writing as 'History Debunked,' the title of his You Tube channel, Simon Webb responded with 'That is an odd question! No, I wrote it myself.' The question posed in this comment was odd, but he preferred to be silent about the hideous spectacle which was playing out on this You Tube page of his. I find it impossible to believe that the only comment he read was this one about his wife. He must have known that vile claims were being made but chose to do nothing about it.

 

In a matter as important as this, responsibility doesn't end with posting a video. He should have known the likely response or a possible response from antisemites before posting the video. If his historian's judgment failed him and he had no idea of what could happen, the evidence soon came flooding in - and still he did nothing. He was culpable, he failed. He's welcome to come up with explanations or excuses, if he can think of any.

 

The New Culture Forum needs to consider this possibility: that the support of Simon Webb in opposing mistaken illusions and delusions and ideologies, including so-called 'woke' views, doesn't enhance the reputation of the Forum, that Simon Webb has become a liability to 'the cause' - except that there isn't a single, monolithic cause, even if many 'anti-woke' people have different ideas.  There are nuances, small differences and, also some major differences, with the possibility of the contradictions, unexpected events, grotesque complications which are common in human life. And, contrary to the view of some neo-Neanderthal types to be found in our cause or causes, I think that fair-minded but not particularly gentle presentation of argument and evidence wherever possible.

 

The comments of what I call 'the rabble,' the rabble enthused or inspired by if not incited by Simon Webb, included these:

'Europe and the US would truly be something magnificent without them.' [i.e., the Jews. And the Nazis believed that Germany would be something magnificent without the Jews.]

 

'Good work here Simon, finally calling them out.' [Again, 'them' obviously refers to the Jews.] 'Oh yes he's finally addressing the tribe [obviously the reference intended is to Israel] ... Many other things they inflicted on the west.' [No attempt made to give examples. The Nazis did, of course, come up with examples of alleged harm to justify their policy of exclusion and then extermination.]

 

'I always appreciate your honesty Simon.' [Perhaps someone who is easily pleased - by, for example, an affable manner, by appearances, without delving any deeper.]

 

'The thanks we get for saving them.' [The commenter would find in Martin Gilbert's book 'The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust' a great deal of information about 'Yad Vashem,' based in Jerusalem, which amongst other things honours, commemorates and makes completely clear the gratitude of the state of Israel for the many people who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. There are countless other pieces of evidence which could be cited.]

 

'Who would have guessed, a concept invented by the 'chosen' people.'

 

'It's always them. The same group behind everything.' [The Nazis had the same deluded conviction.]

 

This [the thesis which the writer of the comment finds in the video and found by so many others who added a comment to the video] is explained in 'Culture of Critique' by Macdonald.' [Wikipedia gives this information, 'The Culture of Critique series is a trilogy of books by Kevin B. MacDonald, an antisemitic conspiracy theorist, white supremacist and a retired professor of evolutionary psychology. MacDonald claims that evolutionary psychology provides the motivations behind Jewish group behaviour and culture. Through the series, MacDonald asserts that Jews as a group have biologically evolved to be highly ethnocentric and hostile to the interests of white people. He asserts Jewish behaviour and culture are central causes of antisemitism, and promotes conspiracy theories about alleged Jewish control and influence in government policy and political movements.' ]

 

'15.2 million Jews in the world. 6.3 million of those are in Israel. Therefore, there are only 8.9 million Jews in the entire world outside of Israel. Smaller than the population of London. They've got a lot to say haven't they? They do seem to be at the root of much of christian society's problems. I've never held antisemitic thoughts. I worked on a kibbutz in Israel when I was a teenager. However, even I am beginning to see a pattern here.'

 

'Oh yes he's finally addressing the tribe...Many other things they inflicted on the west.'

 

'Perhaps just perhaps that little fella with the strange moustache knew something all along ?' [Another obvious reference to Hitler.]

 

'Youll get the clicks. Thanks for sticking for the truth.' [Present statistics: 9,600 likes, no dislikes. It would have been far, far better for the reputation of his followers and admirers if for this video, there had been far less likes.]

 

'Your channel could be taken down soon if you keep this up. It's not worth the risk. It's sad that merely speaking verifiable information with proof is this risky.'

'But isn't it strange that they never insisted on equality between Jews and Palestinians?' A reply to this comment: 'They don't consider anyone else to be their equals. Their sense of worth is vastly out of proportion to their contributions to humanity.'

Is the penny or should that be shekel starting to drop for Simon after all these years?'

'Universal troublemakers' 'I don't hate them, but they've pulled the wool over our children's eyes, enough is enough.'

'WOAH 6 MILLION JEWS WERE MURDERED BRUTALLY IN YHE HOLOCAUST HOW DARE YOU CRITICIZE GODS CHOSEN PEOPLE.' [I take the view for a variety of reasons, including stylistic reasons, that this wasn't a genuine expression of dismay that Simon Webb had criticized Jews but a facetious comment posing as a genuine expression of dismay. As such, given the use of the shocking statistic that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust - or rather misuse - this could be called a particularly shocking comment on the part of whoever wrote the comment.]

 

And with that, I leave Simon Webb and the New Culture Forum to think about the implications of all these comments, if they're so minded, and to consider their responses, if any. Perhaps any people who recorded their appreciations of the wonderful talents, the wonderful gifts, the wonderful personality of Simon Webb in many of the comments on that You Tube page and who find out about this dissenting view may like to think about the issues and consider this possibility: that this is a man less wonderful than they supposed, a man with some very substantial flaws. I think that Peter Whittle would benefit by reconsidering his obviously high opinion of Simon Webb. No professional historian who values his reputation would or should allow what Simon Webb did, complacently allowing so many of his admirers and followers to run riot, in effect.

 

(4)
Comment posted in the Comments section of a video of Sky News Australia.


Hampshire Police has blundered, Laurence Fox (who manipulated a gay pride flag to form a swastika) has blundered, the veteran was badly mistaken, so many anti-woke sites are badly mistaken in their interpretation of the events and now you're badly mistaken as well. The anti-woke sites and Sky News Australia are badly mistaken not about every aspect of the case but about a central aspect of the case.

 

Without thinking, you were quick to see the case with anti-woke vision - but the case raised issues which needed a very different perspective.

 

A central issue which has been neglected by the anti-woke media: it's essential not to equate the Nazis with people who are obviously not Nazis, such as people involved with gay pride events. To use the word 'Nazi' indiscriminately, negligently, without giving any thought to the barbarities which put the Nazis in a category apart - their cruelties rivalled by the cruelties which occurred in Stalinist Russia but exceeding them - has to be condemned. People generally know about Auschwitz and Belsen and Dachau and perhaps more concentration and extermination camps, and about some of the horrors which took place during the Nazi domination of Europe, but might benefit by enlarging their knowledge. The mobile killing units, the Einsatzgruppen, which accompanied Nazi forces during the invasion of Russia, are not common knowledge, perhaps, but their contribution to the horrors which took place under Nazi domination was immense.

 

To equate the men of the Einsatzgruppen who shot vast numbers of people, including babies and their mothers, in some cases, for bravado, killing both with a single bullet, with the actions (and antics) of gay pride is very wrong - despicable. It would be like saying of a gay activist, 'he's the worst person whose ever lived.' It would be an abandonment of all balance and fair-mindedness, completely ridiculous but also very disturbing.

 

I live in a country, England, whose wartime achievements are reason for intense pride, without forgetting that we were aided by people from many other countries. You Australians live in a country whose wartime achievements are reason for intense pride. Your achievements are beyond praise. 'Pride' is a word which tends to be overused and misused, like the word 'celebrate.' Limited achievements, very limited achievements, non-existent achievements are so often treated as 'awesome.' Some people seem to be forever 'celebrating' this and that.

 

To give just one example of those wartime achievements, the perilous low-level attack by RAF Mosquito planes on the Gestapo headquarters at Aarhus, Denmark which freed members of the Danish resistance in Gestapo captivity, which killed many members of the Gestapo and which destroyed Gestapo files, including ones on the Danish resistance. The attack has been described as the most successful one of its kind during the Second World War. But obviously there are countless more. Pride in the part played by Britain and Australia, and New Zealand and other countries in the Second World War is not just justifiable but to be encouraged.

 

The arrest of the veteran was obviously not just counter-productive but wrong, but anyone who supposes that being arrested by Hampshire Police can be equated with being arrested by the Gestapo is badly mistaken. The members of the allied armed forces who faced flame-throwers in battle, who risked being torn limb from limb, who faced all kinds of other dangers, dangers, in the Atlantic and Pacific, in all spheres of action, deserve not to have their achievements diminished by comparing the swastika, the symbol of hideous Nazi brutality, with the Gay Pride Flag. Hampshire Police mishandled the matter and made bad mistakes but they are no more Nazis than the Gay Pride people.

 

The Swastika is an ugly, hideous symbol of fanaticism and cruelty. It's not a symbol which lends itself to a Laurence Fox publicity stunt. There are different ways of regarding his manipulation of the images but I think they must all amount to adverse judgment on him. I get the impression that there's complacency in many parts of the anti-woke camp. Someone who is anti-woke may even believe that the anti-woke cause matters more than any other cause, or most other causes - another bad mistake.

 

 Democratic, advanced societies face a vast range of problems, call upon a vast range of skills, are intrinsically intricate. Woke mistakes are only part of the whole and anti-woke activity is only part of the whole. Police forces may be sadly deficient in some respects whilst being efficient, good, perhaps outstanding in so many others. To suppose that they should be judged primarily for their action or lack of action in aiding the anti-woke movement is very wide of the mark. To overlook the fact that they face violence often, that they are sometimes injured in the course of duty, that a significant part of their work is unpleasant and intensely difficult is mistaken. It's essential to take into account the fact that their work often calls for great versatility and that inevitably, some or many members of police forces will be found wanting. It's essential to view these issues without smugness, without the delusions and illusions which can easily occur when people are sitting at their computers in a place of safety judging people who often have to work in conditions which aren't safe.

 

The atrocious misuse by woke people of 'safe,' as in 'safe spaces,' has to be condemned severely, but anti-woke people may lack appreciation of physical dangers, the kind that the police often have to face. The police forces which protect society against all kinds of threats can't, realistically, protect society against all threats.

 

Anti-woke candidates in elections are never or hardly ever electable, because their speciality, anti-woke studies, doesn't address so many of the problems which societies face. Anti-woke people can't possibly claim immunity from reasonable, fair-minded criticism. There is such a person as the anti-woke 'snowflake,' who can't face criticism. Anti-woke people who can dish out criticism but can't take it should try a different field for their talents, if they have any. I certainly don't claim immunity from criticism myself. I won't give any details here, but over the years, I've worked energetically to oppose 'woke' views (I'm not at all keen on the word 'woke,' but for convenience, I've used it.) If anyone wants to make criticisms of my views, go ahead.


(5)

Simon Webb is short on specifics - not when it comes to criticism of 'woke' views, but when it comes to his own 'faith,' his own 'beliefs,' such as his Christian beliefs. He makes no attempt to clarify 'homogeneous.' Is a 'Christian society' homogeneous? or is that not homogenous enough? He mentions 'Arabs and Jews murdering each other' but what of Protestants and Catholics murdering each other? 

 

He's happy to put up a superficially convincing view when it comes to elementary cosmology and particle physics but getting him to put on record his view of Christianity will perhaps take him well beyond his comfort zone. I used the word 'disturbing.'

 

His most disturbing video has the title 'How two Jewish academics in America created the modern concept of anti-racism.' Here, he was playing with fire. It was his commenters, or many of them or the majority of them, who showed what his followers are capable of. One of them, 'Joe Shmoe,' commented on the video, 'This is explained in 'Culture of Critique' by Macdonald.

 

Wikipedia gives this information, 'The Culture of Critique series is a trilogy of books by Kevin B. MacDonald, an antisemitic conspiracy theorist, white supremacist and a retired professor of evolutionary psychology. MacDonald claims that evolutionary psychology provides the motivations behind Jewish group behavior and culture. Through the series, MacDonald asserts that Jews as a group have biologically evolved to be highly ethnocentric and hostile to the interests of white people. He asserts Jewish behavior and culture are central causes of antisemitism, and promotes conspiracy theories about alleged Jewish control and influence in government policy and political movements.' I've saved a copy of the comments on this video on the 'two Jewish academics ... ' I suppose that Simon Webb won't remove the video. If he ever does, I've taken copies of the comments

 

. None of the comments amount to Holocaust denial but they do amount to anti-historical propaganda. Commenters on Simon Webb's output - does he read your comments? If he read the comments on his 'two Jewish academics' video, he should have taken steps to distance himself from the hideous views expressed in so many of them.


(6)

You've left out one one prime example of the effect that non-British people and foreign influences can have on a homogenous society - Christianity! Pagan Britain was a relatively homogeneous society, no more than that, but after the waves of missionaries reached these shores, Britain was exposed to a wide range of foreign influences which made it far less homogeneous. You mention 'speaking different languages' as a factor which reduces homogeneity (a bad thing, you think.) You also mention Jews as one of the groups which reduce the diversity of the country. You obviously think that's regrettable as well (Some of the people who admire you would use a much, much more extreme word than 'regrettable.')

 

The missionaries claimed that Jesus, an Aramaic-speaking Jew, was the son of god. The 'good news' of the gospel (which turned out to be very bad news for all the victims of Christian persecution) wasn't written in Anglo-Saxon or English, of course, but Greek. The Old Testament, which in some passage supposedly prophesied the coming of the Messiah was written in Hebrew.

 

The names of the majority of British Churches are named after non-British people, to give just one example, St Augustine, born in North Africa. This is the Augustine who taught that unbaptized babies go to Hell. Another 'saint' called Augustine was born in Italy and came to this country to convert the natives. Later, with the development and intellectualizing of Christianity, there were many more foreign influences.

 

St Thomas Aquinas, born in Italy, revered the pagan Greek philosopher Aristotle. In his Summa Theologiae, written in Latin, not English, St Thomas Aquinas wrote, 'With regard to heretics two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith which quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life. Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death.' This saint of the Roman Catholic Church is known as the 'Angelic Doctor.'

 

The Church of England and the Protestant Churches owe their origins to foreign 'reformers' such as the German Luther (born in the Holy Roman Empire of the time) and Calvin, born in France and active in Geneva. Calvin denounced the 'heretic' Servetus, who was burned alive. I loathe political correctness but in any fair-minded survey of the issues, the cruelties perpetrated by so many Christians have to be taken into account, as well as the Church's interference with free and reasonable expression - well into the 19th Century, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge were only open to people willing to subscribe to the Thirty Nine Articles, the Anglican statement of doctrine. Compare and contrast 'Woke' attempts to suppress free and reasonable expression. I wouldn't say that the Anglican impact was less harmful than the 'woke' impact.

 

Simon Webb seems actually to believe that Christianity is part of the fabric of this country and is not just a beneficial influence but vital to British identity. Any chance of fuller explanation from him in a future video? But I think he's much too prolific already and instead of offering so many bite-sized You Tube offerings to people hungry to hear his views, he would benefit by doing more thinking, more reflecting. He seems to take the view that again and again, history confirms his views. Perhaps he would benefit by reading much more history, but with a chastened, more critical viewpoint.


(7)

At one point in the discussion, Peter Kiszely said, with reference to the use and misuse of the word 'safe,' 'We all know you can see it in the language.' Whatever good sense and sensitivity the host and guests showed when discussing the mistakes of the woke, their actions as well as the language they use so often, was nowhere to be found when it came to discussing the 'flag and the swastika' episode. On the evidence available, it seems that Hampshire Police blundered - a comical act with serious, even sinister overtones. But when Emma Webb gave her own interpretation, it was very disturbing, conniving in hideous misuse of language, and those highly accomplished bullshit detectors Rafe Heydel-Mankoo and Philip Kiszely seemed to find nothing wrong. Their minds, or their nostrils, perhaps, failed them, it seems.

 

Has there ever been a time when the word 'love' has been used and misused so often? Connotations of intense emotion seem to have disappeared. I remember seeing an advertising poster put out by the British Conifer association, 'Love me, love my conifer.' Equating a man's love for a woman or a woman's love for a man (or, of course, a man's love for a man or a woman's love for a woman) with loving a fir tree or a yew tree or a juniper bush seems ridiculous to me but the priorities of the people who grow and sell conifers are obviously different.

 

The word 'love' may be a lost cause, or largely lost cause, but it's essential not to equate the Nazis with people who are obviously not Nazis, to use the word 'Nazi' indiscriminately, negligently, without giving any thought to the barbarities which put the Nazis, probably, in a category apart - their cruelties rivalled by the cruelties which occurred in Stalinist Russia but exceeding them by quite a margin. If people know about Auschwitz and Belsen and Dachau and perhaps a few more concentration and extermination camps, and about some of the horrors which took place in the Nazi domination of Europe, they may not know enough. The mobile killing units, the Einsatzgruppen, which accompanied Nazi forces during the invasion of Russia, are not common knowledge, perhaps, but their contribution to the horrors which took place under Nazi domination was immense. To equate the men who shot babies and their mothers, in some cases, for bravado, with a single bullet, with the actions (and antics) of gay pride is horrible. For Emma Webb to equate Hampshire police with the Gestapo is horrible - a mistake, a bad mistake, a deeply disturbing mistake. Adolf Eichmann was a member of the Gestapo.


Peter Whittle, the founder of the New Culture Forum, declares that he isn't 'a religious man' but adds, 'That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the extraordinary works that churches do.' His comments appear on the Website of 'Premier Christian News,'

 

 https://premierchristian.news/en/news/article/peter-whittle-i-m-amazed-by-the-work-of-churches-in-london  

 

His comment is bland, almost formulaic, but is completely understandable, given the circumstances. The issue of the Churches and their contribution, not just their contribution now but in past centuries - the New Culture Forum has quite a developed historical sense - merits a much closer examination.   I can't possibly give an adequate examination here but I think this outline should provide, not unexpected insights but material that contradicts any naive view of the 'wonderful work that churches do.' Peter Whittle may well be unaware that many, many Christians won't have nearly as favourable view of him as he has of the Churches. Here, I discuss not 'churches' in general but particular versions of christian faith. Their differences are often very significant.  

 

 It would be impossible to do more than touch upon the ridiculousness and harmful effects of Roman Catholicism over the years, over the centuries, which I would claim exceed the ridiculousness and harmful effects of 'woke' views, and not by a small margin. For the record, I've been and still am an opponent of 'woke' views, an energetic opponent, I could claim, but I can't possibly provide much evidence here. This comment is long enough as it is. All I can do is give a few snippets of information but I'll include comments on the ridiculousness and harmful effects of evangelical and other protestant views, a few comments on the Anglican Church's very substantial contribution (as the Established Church for centuries, it has had plenty of practice). I'll begin, though, with the Roman Catholic Church.

 

 The Roman Catholic Church has few rivals, or no rivals, for ridiculousness but as a source of harm, it's far from being one of the worst perpetrators. Nazism and Stalinism have been vastly worse. I don't in the least claim that individual Roman Catholics and other Christians are always negligible people, quite the opposite. There are many, many Roman Catholics and other Christians known to me with substantial strengths - massive strengths. The teaching of 'Saint' Thomas Aquinas, the 'Doctor Angelicus' ('Angelic Doctor') of the Roman Catholic Church: 'With regard to heretics,' the Angelic Doctor writes, 'two points must be observed: one, on their own side; the other, on the side of the Church. On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith which quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life. Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death.' The burning alive of heretics and execution by other means constitutes a hideous episode of Roman Catholic history.

 

 A well known example: Giordano Bruno, who denied such Catholic doctrines as eternal damnation, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the virginity of Mary and transubstantiation. He was found guilty and burned at the stake in 1600.

 

 Protestants have also dealt with failures to conform to Protestant orthodoxy by methods far in excess of any used by 'woke' people. To give just one, well-known example, Michael Servetus rejected the doctrine and other Roman Catholic doctrines. He was condemned by the Catholic Church in France and fled to Calvinist Geneva. He was denounced by Calvin and burned at the stake for heresy in 1553, by the order of the governing council of Geneva.

 

The pretence that British history has been overwhelmingly or almost always a a force for good is is contradicted by many, many events.

 

I'd include in the ong list of exceptions this, the execution of Thomas Aikenhead for blasphemy, but this execution was as long ago as 1697. So far as I'm aware, the much more recent phenomenon of 'wokeism,' for all its harmful effects, has never executed anyone. Censoring of books has been an established, official practice of the R.C Church. The 'Index Librorum Prohibitorum' ('List of Prohibited Books') contained books which Catholics were forbidden to read. It included books deemed heretical or contrary to morals.

 

Books placed on the prohibited list included Kant's monumental 'Critique of Pure Reason,' Pascal's ' Penseés' (with notes by Voltaire), Spinoza's 'Tractatus Theologico-Politicus,' Locke's 'An Essay Concerning Human Understanding,' John Stuart Mill's 'Principles of Political Economy,' Edward Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary' - and all the works of the philosopher David Hume, all the works of Zola and all the works of Sartre.  

 

Here, in its zealous pursuit of 'error,' wokeism comes close to the hideous record of the Roman Catholic Church or even surpasses it in some ways. The penalties for offending may be severe, if nowhere near as severe as execution. Over the centuries, Roman Catholics have persecuted orthodox protestants and orthodox protestants have persecuted Roman Catholics, often forcing them into hiding and often executing them when discovered.   Well into the 19th century, members of Oxford and Cambridge University were required to subscribe to the Thirty-Nine articles of the Church of England, the statement of faith and practice which amongst much else articulated the doctrine of the Trinity and doctrines of sin and salvation which have hideous implications - I touch upon this briefly below. The universities were far from being havens of sanity and unfettered debate before the advent of 'wokeism.'  

 

It would take a long time to give a summary of the ridiculous aspects and harmful effects associated with one Roman Catholic doctrine alone, baptism. Here, Protestant views are surely less ridiculous, less harmful (but, as I explain later, Protestant doctrines of salvation and redemption are very often much more ridiculous and harmful than Roman Catholic doctrines: the contrast between salvation by faith and salvation by works.  

 

As in other parts of this comment, I must be brief, in full awareness that this collection of brief comments is adding up to a very long comment as things usually go in You Tube comment sections.   Roman Catholic doctrines of the sacraments are markedly different from Protestant doctrines. The sacrament of baptism has very often been thought essential for salvation in the Roman Catholic Church.   Augustine (the Augustine of Hippo, North Africa, not the Augustine of Canterbury) seems to have changed his views on baptism. In one sermon of his, he claimed that only people who had received baptism could be saved, a belief shared by many early Christians. A passage in 'City of God' may possibly indicate a belief that children born of Christian parents who died unbaptized were not necessarily doomed to hell. The Roman Catholic Church has in general shown the utmost reluctance to concede that unbaptized children could be admitted to heaven, hence the extension of doctrine to include the state of 'Limbo' for unbaptized babies, neither heaven nor hell. I'd say that 'woke' beliefs in general don't quite reach the ridiculousness of all this.   Modern Catholic discussions of baptism equal or surpass in ridiculousness 'woke' views. A short extract from an article on the site

 

 https://angelusnews.com/faith/emergencies-and-baptism-will-soda-water-do/

 

  with a title which reflects the Website address, 'Emergencies and baptism: will soda water do?'   'A red pickup truck was overturned by the side of the road. The driver lay on the grass, thrown clear of the vehicle, crumpled, bleeding and unresponsive. A young man pulled his car off the road and sprinted to the side of the dying man.  He called 911, then rushed back to his car and grabbed the waxed cup from a fast-food restaurant that was in the cup holder of his car. It held some melting ice and water, left over from a soda he’d drank earlier in the day. He poured the water from the melted ice over the man’s forehead with the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” The man died a few minutes before the ambulance arrived.    'The next day, the young man posted the question on a Catholic Q&A site: “I’m just wondering — was it a valid baptism?”   The helpful advice offered in the article included this, 'For a valid baptism of an adult, the Church requires an unbaptized person and pure water.' It gives this quotation from the 'Catholic Encyclopedia:'   Water derived from melted ice, snow, or hail is ... valid. … As to a mixture of water and some other material, it is held as proper matter, provided the water certainly predominates and the mixture would still be called water. Invalid matter is every liquid that is not usually designated true water. Such are oil, saliva, wine, tears, milk, sweat, beer, soup, the juice of fruits and any mixture containing water which men would no longer call water.'  

 

As for doctrines of salvation, redemption, orthodox evangelical views are unsurpassed for their hideous implications, but are widely shared by other Christians. 'Saint' Paul taught that the eternal destiny of a person is decided by faith or lack of faith in Jesus Christ as 'personal lord and saviour.' There are countless statements of Christian faith which present this bleak view. This is from a page of the Christian Police Association with the title 'Faith.'   'We Believe ... that 'those who have died having believed and received forgiveness will be raised, and together with those believers who are still alive, will be taken to live with Christ forever. Those who have refused to believe will be condemned from God’s presence forever.'  

 

The Oakes Holiday Centre in Sheffield, which tries to mix fun with Christianity, can find no fun in this 'Statement of Belief' on their Website: 'The Lord Jesus Christ will return in person, to judge everyone, to execute God's just condemnation on those who have not repented and to receive the redeemed to eternal glory.'  

 

These are some implications of these statements and similar statements from Christian Churches all over the country, all over the world. The list could be extended indefinitely. According to this doctrine of redemption, commonplace in Christian circles:   All police officers are doomed to spend eternity in hell, except for the minority of police officers who have accepted Jesus Christ as personal lord and saviour, including police officers killed in action.   All the troops who liberated the concentration camps and extermination camps are consigned to hell, except for the minority of Jesus Christ accepters.   All the people executed by the Nazis for saving the lives of Jews are consigned to hell, except for that minority.   Time to mention the case of one person, Ernst Biberstein, who studied theology and became a pastor. During the Second World War, he was the commanding officer of Einsatktommando 6, which executed thousands of people. The Einsatzkommandos were a sub-group of the Einsatzgruppen, mobile killing squads, who exterminated Jews and others in the territories captured by the German forces as they advanced Eastwards. After the war, he was tried and sentenced to death but the sentence was commuted. He was released in 1958 and returned to the clergy.   There seems reason to believe that he was a committed Christian and qualified for salvation according to the orthodox Christian view, or one view of the orthodox Christian view. There's every reason to believe that virtually all the people massacred by his execution squads and the other Einsatzgruppen were not qualified for salvation according to the orthodox Christian view, every reason to believe that virtually all the people killed in the Nazi gas chambers were unqualified for salvation, according to this deranged doctrine. There may well have been some Christian converts amongst them, but the victims were overwhelmingly Jews, without a belief in Christ as Lord and Saviour.   Loving mothers and fathers, loving mothers and fathers who have looked after disabled children, are all consigned to hell, unless they belong to that minority of believers. And what of the fate of the disabled children themselves - are they saved or damned? The Bible gives no information about an age above which young people qualify for damnation. I know of no Christian discussions of the issue, although there must surely be some.  

 

And this: all supporters of the New Culture Forum are consigned to hell according to these doctrines, unless, again, they belong that minority of believers. Peter Whittle, who says that he isn't a religious man, is certainly destined for hellfire, according to orthodox evangelical belief and not just evangelical belief - unless he changes his mind, perhaps as a result of a miraculous conversion. Many, many Christians pray for that kind of thing.  

 

The belief that all composers go to hell is yet another consequence. So, to give just one example, Dmitri Shostakovich: hell. Johann Sebastian Bach, heaven.   All the working people who have done backbreaking and dangerous work - or backbreaking and dangerous work - are damned, including ones killed in pit disasters, in industrial accidents, all doomed - apart from the believing minority. The Christian Police Association also has this belief: 'We Believe that the Bible, as originally given, is the inspired Word of God without error and is the only complete authority in all matters of faith and doctrine.'  

 

What are people who have this belief in the inerrancy of the Bible to make of these Biblical texts? Just a few examples.   Psalm 137: 8-9 in the 'Good News (!)' translation:   Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy are those who pay you back for what you have done to us - who take your babies and smash them against a rock.    Exodus 22: 18-19, again, in the 'Good News' translation:   'Put to death any woman who practices magic.'   By the way, this is Exodus 22: 20   'Condemn to death anyone who offers sacrifices to any god except to me, the Lord.'   The Authorized version of the Bible gives this as the translation for another verse from a book supposedly 'without error,' Exodus 22: 18:   'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.'   King James - the King James of the King James version of the Bible - believed that witches deserved death. His book on witchcraft, 'The Demonology' gives revealing insights into his state of mind. He was a ferocious persecutor of women he thought of as witches, and under his jurisdiction, many women were put to death.   Simon Webb of 'History Debunked' has declared his belief in 'The Lord,' so his eternal destiny is secure, unless he loses his faith for any reason.   On to other matters in this brisk tour of Christian theological artefacts.

 

A fascinating/ridiculous page   https://anglican.ink/2022/05/21/growth-decline-and-extinction-of-uk-churches/

 

  gives 'Estimated Extinction Dates for UK Churches.'   'The Church of England and Catholics should last until the second half of the century. However, they need to take urgent action now. Stemming losses is not enough. None of us can prevent ageing! Whatever their current denominational emphases, they should put all aside to encourage members to make new disciples who can replicate themselves. Praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit would not go amiss either.

 

'Sadly, the immediate future looks bleak for the Church in Wales, Church of Scotland, Episcopalians, Methodists, and older Welsh nonconformists. They need to seriously ask themselves how they have gotten themselves into a situation where extinction is less than 30 years away.' Extinction is hardly likely to be complete extinction. There will surely be isorated Christian believers and pockets of Christian believers and larger groups, although not numerically very large. The consequence, if orthodox Christians are to be believed (but they shouldn't be believed, not for one moment) is that the percentage of people headed for hell will increase enormously - an enormous contrast with the situation in the ages of faith, when Christians persecuted ferociously Christians with different shades of belief and non-Christians but there were so many people who did accept Christ as their Saviour.

 

There is no necessary linkage between conservative views and 'anti-woke' views and Christian belief. To very different extents, Simon Webb's 'History Debunked,' the New Culture Forum, GB News, the Daily Telegraph and the Spectator support or even endorse Christianity. I've particular knowledge of the Daily Telegraph and the Spectator because I regularly bought the newspaper and subscribed to the magazine over a long period of time and got used to seeing pieces which assumed the importance of Christianity in the country's national life, even if they were never very frequent.

...

 

'Christian Woman' is yet another conservative outfit which treats Christianity as beyond scrutiny. I disagree with this view and many of the other views to be found on the site.   There has been comment on the increase in numbers of working class conservative supporters and the possibility of losing that support, of course. If some conservative supporters want to lost that support, then taking for granted and promoting the Christian view of things may well contribute to that debacle. It won't influence me. I'm in no danger of voting for the greens, the Labour Party, the Women's Equality Party or any of the alternatives, including the candidates who fully expect to lose their deposits.   Limitations of space have prevented me from discussing the views of Calvin Robinson and the New Culture Forum video '

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw3jl0Tckh8

 

 'How to Return the Church to God & Reverse Its Wokery? My Conservative Views Stopped My Ordination.'   I take it that he's not one of those people who identify with the conservative anti-woke brigade but seem very vague about these matters. Their Christian belief is an identification with village churches, immemorial traditions, vague uplift and the rest. He will have a belief in a selection of the orthodox Christian views at least.   I'd be interested to find out about Calvin Robinson's Christian views, about the Christian doctrines he accepts or doesn't accept. There may well be sources of information which would provide some answers.

 

I've tried to argue that woke views are far from unique in their ridiculousness, far from unique in their harmfulness. It's essential to put 'wokeism' in a wider context. Here, I've made comparisons with Christian belief and practice. Comparisons with Nazi and Stalinist ideology and practice would show more far graphically that 'wokeism' may be a scourge but is far from being the worst of the worst belief systems to afflict humanity. Anyone who believes that 'wokeism' is just that is, I'd claim, deluded.

 

(8)
Simon Webb has been careless - reckless - in presenting his 'Homogeneity Thesis.' He hasn't thought things through. He doesn't seem to understand the difficulties in restoring homogeneity to a society which has become far less homogeneous. (His understanding of practical politics, of the realities of political action seems to me grossly deficient.) He doesn't seem to have realized that attempts to bring about homogeneity in societies have sometimes had catastrophic results.

 One comment below - I don't name the commenter but it's easy to find on the page was obviously addressed to Simon Webb: 'You overlooked two other examples - Germany [Jews] and United Kingdom [Catholics].' This loathsome comment unwittingly draws attention to some of the dangers of the 'Webb Homogeneity Thesis.' The Nazis wanted a homogeneous, Aryan Germany and saw the Jews as an obstacle, so they used extermination to remove the Jews, killing about 6 million before the war ended and the camps were liberated. Protestants who wanted a homogeneous Protestant society without the 'contagion' of the Catholics sometimes executed Catholics or went to war against them. Catholics who wanted a homogeneous Catholic society without the 'contagion' of the Protestants sometimes executed Protestants or went to war against them. In both cases, this led not to thousands of deaths but many millions, in the 17th century alone.

For the record, I don't in the least regard greater diversity as automatically enriching a society, to be advocated in all circumstances. For one thing, I support stringent and effective border controls, for a variety of reasons. One is the extreme importance of doing everything possible to keep out Islamist extremists. I was surprised to find a Simon Webb video which gives a very relaxed view of some aspects of Islamism, called 'Why some people have a bee in their bonnet about Islam,' with this amplification, 'One religion [Islam] seems to be the focus of a good deal of negativity.' I was glad to find that a large number of commenters took issue with his view of the matter.

 

 The site of Migration Watch UK (an outstanding site, I think) includes a summary page 'What is the problem?' I agree with Migration Watch's approach to the massive problem -of mass immigration into this country. Intentional attempts to increase diversity can have a range of unintended consequences. For obvious reasons - the space which would be needed to discuss the issues - I can't give further details about my reasons here.


The terrorist group Al-Shabaab

 

Do the countries plagued by Al-Shabaab, Islamic state and other terrorist groups rely on weapons and armaments to defeat these terrorist groups or do they rely on a very different approach to issues of conflict? The one implicitly advocated by the signatories in their naive innocence, belief that to rely upon armaments, weapons and military methods is to be 'part of the problem, not the solution.' The 'solution' relies upon changing attitudes - these academics (and others) would claim to have distinctive skills here - rather than upon military skills, weapons and armaments.

 

Extract from material provided by the Counter Extremism Project, 24 August, 2022.

 

'Somali security forces ended a 30-hour assault by al-Shabab militants on the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu last weekend that left 21 people dead and 117 wounded ...

 

'Al-Shabaab is responsible for the deaths of thousands in violent attacks across Africa over the last decade ... the targets include ... those states, such as Uganda and Kenya, who have contributed to troops to the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and its successor, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

 

'Designated as a terrorist group by the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Norway, New Zealand, the EU, and U.N. Security Council, al-Shabaab aims to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state in Somalia, which it hopes will ultimately expand to encompass the whole Horn of Africa. The group is responsible for major terrorist attacks including the 2013 Westgate Mall attacks in Nairobi, Kenya, which killed 68 people and wounded 175 more; the 2015 attack on Kenya’s Garrisa University that left 150 dead; and truck bombings in Mogadishu in 2017 and 2019 that killed more than 500 people combined.'


“In a televised speech Tuesday night, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced that his government will launch a “total war” against al-Qaida-affiliated militant group al-Shabab, after the group staged a deadly hotel siege in Mogadishu on Friday, killing at least 21 people and wounding more than 100. Mohamud said that it is time to come together to defeat the enemy and said the military’s recent operations in parts of the country gained significant ground, including in central Galmudug state and Southwest state. His remarks were made after he met with the country’s security council to discuss the latest attack on Hotel Hayat in the capital. He said that he knows that the Somali people are tired of the endless mourning and that people lose their loved ones in every attack carried out by the terrorists. He urged people to be prepared for an all-out war against the ruthless terrorists who are hostile to the country’s peace. He added that al-Shabab's only principle is killing, intimidation, humiliation and carrying out atrocities against the civilians. He said when he assumed the office of the presidency, he promised that he would launch a fight against al-Shabab to end the scourge of terrorism. There have been tangible victories, especially in Galmudug, Southwest and Hirshabele, he said.”

 

Comments and questions. Al-Shabaab has ready access to weapons and obviously the ruthlessness to use them. How do Academics against Armaments approach the issue, what are their suggestions for combatting this and similar terrorist organizations? By denying the governments of countries plagued by terrorism action the weapons to counter the terrorists? By telling them that the use of armaments to fight terrorist action is 'part of the problem, not the solution? What exactly is 'the solution?' Could you explain what you mean? Could you give some concrete examples? Organizing academic seminars, parading with placards for a few hours - are these part of the solution? Is the takeover by Al-SHabaab of large areas of Africa and the imposition of  fundamentalist Islamist rule preferable to the rule of existing governments in these areas? Do you seriously expect these governments to dispose of the armaments they have and not to acquire any new ones? These questions raise very serious issues and amongst the issues is this - the reputation of politics, international relations and similar departments in universities and the reputation of academics in these departments, reputation -  not, in this instance, reputation as measured by output and quality of academic publications, but reputation which depends upon wider values.

 

Report from the Counter Extremism Project 10 August, 2022:

 

The threat from the Islamic State extremist group is growing by the day in Africa and the continent could be “the future of the caliphate,” an African security expert warned the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. Martin Ewi said the Islamic State “has expanded its influence beyond measure” in Africa, with at least 20 countries directly experiencing the extremist group’s activity and more than 20 others “being used for logistics and to mobilize funds and other resources.” “They are now regional hubs, which have become corridors of instability in Africa,” said Ewi, who coordinates a transnational organized crime project at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa’s capital Pretoria and was previously in charge of the African Union Commission’s counter-terrorism program. He said the Lake Chad Basin -- which borders Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon -- is the extremist group’s biggest area of operation, areas in the Sahel are now “ungovernable” and Somalia remains the IS “hotspot” in the Horn of Africa. A recent attempt to take over or destabilize Uganda failed, but Ewi said an IS affiliate, the Allied Democratic Forces, “remains a serious threat.” In addition, he said, the Islamic State Central Africa has made some regions of Congo and Mozambique “human slaughterhouses.”

 

Preliminary profile of Professor Matthew Flinders, Sheffield University Department of Politics and International Relations

 

 

Professor Flinders wasn't one of the signers of the Open Letter: Academics against the Arms Fair, so this profile isn't included in the list of profiles of signers, the black list to the left. He did sign another proclamation, signed by a large number of academics (and non-academics). As in the case of the Open Letter: Academics against the Arms Fair, I provide here a copy of the proclamation, a list of signatories and comment. After the copy of the proclamation, I provide a document with a very different perspective on migrants and migration, from the organization 'Migration Watch.' This is the newest profile of the newest section of the site. In its present form, it doesn't offer a balanced view of Professor Flinders in the least.

 

He's the author of 'Defending Politics: Why Democracy Matters in the 21st Century.' I haven't read the book yet. It's on order. (Since writing this, there have been unexpected difficulties in the supply of the book and it's likely to be quite some time before I receive the book, before I read it, before I have time to consider carefully its merits and any faults and before I'm able to write a review and publish it on this page.)

 

I've a strong belief in the importance of supporting book publication, including, of course, the publications of academics. If I've reason to believe that a publication is very flawed for one reason or another, or if the book is out of print, then I'll buy a second hand copy. Otherwise, I'll buy it new. The author won't benefit financially to more than a negligible extent, but at least I've supported a branch of business which is far more than simply a branch of business but a necessity. From what I know of the book, its aims and the case it presents are ones I can endorse wholeheartedly. I'm sure there will be some reservations,  but I'll wait and see.

 

The only material here - for the time being - is critical. I include it because I think this is a very important issue too - encouraging universities to avoid bloated, vacuous claims to attract students. These are screenshots from the video

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amOXSRga0nM
''

Meet our academic staff from the Department of Politics and International Relations.

 

The face of Professor Flinders, as in the case of similar images on the page, is blocked for one reason only, to avoid infringement of copyright.

 

Without further comment, an image, with text generated to supply subtitles. After the image with subtitles, the text is given again (with punctuation supplied by me) together with the following subtitles, to form a message which is surely 'standard stuff.' The expectation of a 'fun' time in the department may well be far from the reality. The reality does include, of course, the pressures of assessment, the pressure of examinations but more importantly, the study of Politics, like the study of Military History, but not to the same extent, can never be viewed in a purely hedonistic way. Some of the subject is necessarily far from comforting, does nothing to confirm over-optimistic views of people and societies.

 

 

Professor Flinders says,

 

 'What makes Sheffield a special Department of Politics? Well, there are lots of things and I would just reduce them down to one thing. [This isn't strictly true or true in a much looser sense - there's more than one thing.] I think it's got a really good culture or vibe, it's a very inclusive, dynamic, engaging and optimistic department to be part of whether you're an undergraduate or postgraduate, member of staff, member of support staff, a member of alumni, there's a lot going on and it's very exciting and it's just a fun place to be. So there you go -  I go with the vibe and I think we've got a pretty good one.'

 

This is a set of empty claims, a generic piece with no individuality at all. Innumerable other departments of politics and international relations could make the claims but if they have any sense, wouldn't. Leave out the first sentence here, omit the mention of undergraduates, postgraduates and alumni and this piece could be used for a different purpose, to attract new staff to companies and organizations with no connection with education. By making a few changes, using some capital letters for emphasis, a different font, perhaps, and some exclamation marks, it could be used by a department which is part of a fizzy drinks company:

 

What makes Fizz-U-like a SPECIAL company?

 

Well, there are LOTS of things and I'd reduce them down to one thing - it's got a really good culture or VIBE, it's a very inclusive, dynamic, engaging and optimistic department to be part of, whether you're a skilled bottle-filling machine operator, a member of our warehouse team or a manager, there's a lot going on and it's VERY exciting and it's just a FUN place to be!!!

 

So there you go - I go with the vibe and I think we've got a pretty good one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 









 



 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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Academics against the Arms Fair: an Open Letter


In this column, introductory material on the Open Letter. In the column to the right, profiles of some of the academics who signed the letter, an extroct from the site 'The disorder of things' and a full list of the signatories. The profiles, like other material on the page, will be extended. In the case of the profiles, they will be extended by adding more profiles at intervals. The material here began as an entry to my page Cambridge University: excellence, mediocrity, stupidity  With material on other universities. At the time, the page on Cambridge and other universities already had more than 100,000 words. I decided that a new page was called for to house this material on 'academics against armaments.' I've preserved the original starting point, criticism of Sheffield University academics who signed the Open Letter. I added a further entry on the architecture of some Sheffield University buildings. That has been left in its original place.

 

The signatories to the profoundly disturbing - more exactly, shallowly disturbing 'Academics Against the Arms Fair: An Open Letter,' published September 18, 2017, that is, well before the Russian aggression against Ukraine,  these Sheffield University academics. By signing this naive letter, these academics haven't enhanced the reputation of Sheffield University in the least, as a place where there's some appreciation at least of realities to do with defence.

 

The academics:

 

Adam Ferhani
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/politics/people/academic-staff/adam-ferhani
 


Jonna Nyman
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/politics/people/academic-staff/jonna-nyman.


Owen Parker

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/politics/people/academic-staff/owen-parker


Melanie Richter-Montpetit (a member of Sheffield University at the time of signing, now at Sussex University.)
https://profiles.sussex.ac.uk/p349663-melanie-richter-montpetit


Jonathan Silver
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/urban-institute/who-we-are/jonathan-silver


Liam Stanley
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/politics/people/academic-staff/liam-stanley

 

Joanna Tidy
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/politics/people/academic-staff/joanna-tidy


The list of signatories is preceded by a fatuous and misleading introduction. Amongst its distortions, the claim that 

 

'As academics working on topics related to war, conflict, security, human rights, and international relations, we are opposed to the presence of this arms fair in London ... '

 

This is an inflated claim. I haven't checked all the signatories, of course, but already, I've found many signatories who are academics but not in the least working on topics relating to these issues. To give just one example, Dr Sita Balani, Lecturer in Contemporary Literature and Culture at King's College, London. I

 

I've found many signatories who aren't academics at all,  including a number of signers described as 'independent,' Dr Al Williams of 'Rewilding Wales,' Hazel Perry of the 'Anarchist Studies Network,' Neil Stamper of Wordpower, Colin Millen of the 'Campaign for Unity in Practice and Self-Governance'  and Sanaz Raji of an outfit called 'Unis Resist Border Controls.' I look forward to reading the organization's arguments and evidence for doing without border controls. I haven't made the attempt so far. I haven't found out more about the 'Independents.' The may be Independents, but are the conformist or non-conformist Independents?

 

It can't possibly be assumed that academics who do work on 'topics related to war, conflict, security, human rights, and international relations'  reliable in their pronouncements on armaments and war in general, that they are incapable of overlooking fundamentals or the most elementary objections to their views, or that their views are based on wide-ranging argument and evidence. Again and again, I've found that they give their attention to matters which are far removed from central issues to do with war studies as usually understood. A reading of the profile of Signatory Dr Lola Frost on the King's College site is recommended:

 

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/people/dr-lola-frost

 

In the section 'Art Practice and Research Interests we find this:

 

Lola Frost’s painting practice lays claim to an anti-identarian ethos that contests the demands and values of the phallogocentric order. For more information please visit www.lolafrost.net

 

and this, 'Working with Dr Aggie Hirst KCL and with Prof Fiona Jenkins ANU on the role of practices of recognition within aesthetic sociality.

 

Lola Frost could consider this consideration: that victory in the Second World War, the liberation of the occupied countries of Europe and other countries, the liberation of the prisoners at Nazi concentration camps, the ending of the Nazi genocide, owed nothing to considerations to do with contesting the demands and values of the phallogocentric order or work on the role and practices of recognition within aesthetic sociality, that Ukraine will not drive the Russians from their country by paying any attention to this playing with language, that no conflict at all - I concentrate all my attention here on conflicts where the better cause can be distinguished from the worse cause, the far worse cause - could possibly be won by using the 'research' of people who are poor theoreticians, people with apparently no appreciation of realities.

 

After I've brought this section on Sheffield University academics to a state that satisfies me, more or less, I'll turn my attention to the King's College London contingent of signatories, although there's likely to be a delay and probably quite a long delay before I can turn my attention to this far from congenial work. I intend to provide profiles of a number of The King's College Signers. Far more people from King's College signed up than from any other academic institution. I give a full list of signatories at the end of this section. Lola Frost's Website, ideological to the core, will need quite lengthy treatment. Throughout, the fanciful and elaborate commentaries have no  obvious linkage at all with the images shown.

 

Immersion in this pretentious world ('My painting practice, I understand, contests such phallocentric regulation by mobilising a transformative, subversive and affectively saturated aesthetic process ... ') Anyone who disagrees is welcome to offer their own appreciative analysis but her writing and the images I've seen give no support to the view  that Lola Frost has an appreciation of the tools and technology and the organized use of power to win a war against an aggressor. The Ukrainians would surely treat here views as a complete irrelevance. That's my opinion of her views too, but again, I intend to offer a more thorough set of comments eventually. Commenting in detail can't possibly be a priority of mine.

 

The mention of 'institution' prompts this thought: so many academics, but mainly in certain subject areas, seem 'institutionalized.' This, like other comments here, will need further explanation at some point when the section is extended.

 

The letter was published on September 18, 2017, and so, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has led for many requests from Ukraine for provision of weaponry to defend itself against the unprovoked attack. These requests are surely fully justifiable.

 

The introduction to the Open Letter includes these claims:

 

'Last week, about 1500 weapons manufacturers and representatives of more than 100 states descended on London for Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) – the world’s largest arms fair. The companies have exhibited products ranging from crowd control equipment and ammunition to fighter jets and military vehicles, which they displayed to militaries, police forces and border agencies from around the world. DSEI is a major event for the international arms trade, and the deals done there play a major role in reinforcing Western militarism, fuelling conflict, repressing dissent and strengthening authoritarian regimes.'

 

To suppose that weapons are always used 'in reinforcing Western militarism, fuelling conflict, repressing dissent and strengthening authoritarian regimes' is a shockingly naive generalisation.

 

The resistance of Ukraine to Russian aggression shines a very harsh light on the deluded fallacies of the open letter. Deterring aggression and opposing aggression and reducing and ending the human costs of aggression are impossible without armaments. Amongst the innumerable instances of the human costs of the unprovoked Russian invasion is this well-known example, from the site

 


https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/ukrainian-pregnant-woman-pictured-hospital-shelled-russia-dies-rcna19873

A pregnant woman pictured being carried from a Ukrainian maternity hospital after it was badly shelled by Russian forces has died along with her unborn baby, Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Ministry said Monday.

 

The woman, who hasn’t been named publicly, was photographed Wednesday on a stretcher as she was being taken to an ambulance in the devastation and ruin of the besieged city of Mariupol.

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the attack “an atrocity” ...  It is unclear whether the unnamed woman was one of them ...

Dr. Timur Marin, the surgeon who tried to save the woman’s life ... said her pelvis had been crushed and a hip had been detached. The baby was delivered by cesarean section but showed “no signs of life,” he said.

“More than 30 minutes of resuscitation of the mother didn’t produce results,” Marin said told the AP. “Both died.”

 

Deliveries of weapons to Ukraine markedly increased after NATO member states announced they would send weapons such as thes to Ukraine in early July: HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, M777 howitzers, PzH 2000 howitzers, Zuzana and Krab self-propelled artillery, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

 

From the site

 

https://ecfr.eu/article/immediate-impact-how-western-heavy-weapons-are-already-helping-ukraine-halt-russia/  (5 July, 2022)

 

'It appears, the new supplies are starting to swing the balance of military power in Ukraine’s favour.'

 

In fact, the effect was almost immediate: following receipt, the Ukrainian military soon began to hit military targets located at a fairly significant distance. It had rarely managed to do this prior to the arrival of the modern heavy Western weapons. Until recently, most Ukrainian artillery could strike at a distance only of up to 30-40 km. The longest-range weapon – the Tochka-U missile complex – had a range of up to 120 km. However, Ukraine had only up to two dozen Tochka-U complexes in service.

 

But in the last week alone, in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions Ukraine’s armed forces destroyed two Russian army ammunition depots in occupied Zymohirya, Perevalsk, Snizhne, Popasna, and Donetsk. These cities are approximately 50 km from the front line and sources suggest they were destroyed using HIMARS. Moreover, according to military observers, Ukraine used HIMARS against the Russian air base in the occupied city of Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region. The United States’ provision of just four units of this equipment has therefore already enabled the destruction of a substantial part of Russian army logistics in its rear.'

 

At the time that this open letter was published, there were countless uses of armaments which demonstrated that weapons are not just important in defeating a barbaric enemy and restoring peace but essential, fundamental. The impossibility of doing justice to the use of weapons by the allies to defeat the Nazis should be obvious - but perhaps not obvious to the signatories, or most of them.

 

Before commenting on the vastly more precise equipment and techniques available now and their uses to deter and prevent terrorist action, I'll mention some uses of Mosquito bombers to release prisoners held by the Nazis. When these operations took place, bombing was vastly more precise than at the beginning of the war. The developments in technology enabled Nazi targets to be hit with far less risk of hitting people and places which were not targetted, but in war, risk of varying degrees is almost always inevitable. The academic (and other) signers may not to be able to grasp the fact that war zones are very different places from the settings for academic (or pseudo academic) activities.

 

In the Aarhus Air Raid of 31 October 1944,  after meticulous planning, 25 Mosquito aircraft bombed the Gestapo headquarters at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. The RAF described the mission as the most successful of its kind during the war.

 

There were civilian casualties but they were far exceeded by Nazi casualties. The Danish underground press estimated that 150 - 200 Gestapo members were killed in the attack. Most of the Gestapo archival material, including many files on the Danish resistance, were destroyed. The loss Gestapo members and Gestapo files had a severe, and very welcome, impact on Gestapo activity in Denmark.

 

A later raid, on 21 March 1945, on the Copenhagen Gestapo, was far less successful. The raid was requested by members of the Danish resistance to free imprisoned members and to destroy the records of the Gestapo, to disrupt their operations. The RAF at first turned down the request as too dangerous, due to the location of the target, the Shelhus, the Gestapo headquarters, in a crowded city centre and the need for low-level bombing but after repeated requests they agreed.

 

This image shows on the left side a Mosquito bomber pulling away from its bombing run on the Shelhus:

 

 

 

Operation Jericho took place on 18 February 1944, an action intended to release prisoners held by the Nazis.  As the action took place, the French resistance was waiting outside, ready to take prisoners released by the bombing damage and take them to a place of safety. Mosquito bombers were used with Typhoon fighter escorts. Of the 832 prisoners at the gaol, 255 men escaped. They included half of the men due to be executed by the Nazis. Resistance prisoners who escaped gave information which exposed over 60 Gestapo agents and informers. There has been controversy concerning some aspects of the raid but it remains an immense feat of daring. The raid was filmed by one of the Mosquito bombers. Images from the raid:

 

 

 

 

Above, smoke rising from the prison during the raid

 

 

 

Above, Mosquitoes over Amiens prison, set in a snow-covered landscape

 

 

 

Above, a photograph taken two days after the raid, showing damage to the prison and a hole in the perimeter wall

 

The Mosquito bomber was a remarkable aircraft. Its development, its engineering achievement and its achievements in action are well worth investigating. The signatories should realize, of course, that to do just that would take them away from, leave less time for, the network of beliefs which for some reason they find so fascinating and I find so stale.

 

From the page


https://stopthearmsfair.org.uk/about/dsei/

219 DSEI brought together 36,000+ arms buyers and dealers from 114 countries to network and make deals.  In 2021, governments and military delegations will be browsing the wares of 1,600+ arms companies selling everything from guns and bombs to fighter jets and warships, with live action demos promised to take place in the Royal Victoria Dock.

They will be joined by companies selling surveillance equipment, drones and other tools of repression to police and state agencies, as Counter Terror Expo takes place alongside DSEI. 'Bombs kill people, isn't that so?' an academic (or other) signer of the Open Letter thinks, 'so sales of bombs should be stopped. Our protests are intended to stop DSEI so that bombing can be stopped.' The organizers of this fatuous and futile protest hadn't the least chance of stopping the event from taking place. Action with no chance of success have an honoured place in the history of authentic struggle, but actions which are based on the values of a dream world are in a different category completely.

Counter Terror Expo is in red for emphasis in the original. Do the academics (and others) who signed have difficulties with deterring and preventing terrorism? If they do, but not just for this reason, then I would maintain that they're too limited as people to take on the responsibility of educating the young people (not forgetting the mature students) who throng the lecture theatres and seminar rooms of universities. What can students learn of real value from people whose ability to distinguish sense from garbage is drastically limited. Their senses are far less acute than those of many, many ordinary people, non-academic people. Many of these academics give a convincing show of being thoughtful people who are capable of energetic action when called for, according to their view of things - such as the hopelessly misguided, ineffectual, doomed action to STOP!!! the arms fair. What would be the result if the arms trade were stopped? Of course, it would only be stopped in the case of buyers of arms in liberal democracies. Authoritarian regimes would go on sourcing and buying arms without the least difficulty - and would then use the weapons on their own people and on other countries. In very little time, the liberal democracies which stopped buying arms would be invaded by ruthless very well-armed countries. Why would young people (and mature students) study politics and other subjects at university departments which are surely in a state of denial? (Allowing for academics in the department with far more sense.) Why listen to such people as the ignorant academics? Why be examined by them? What do they hope to achieve? Massive, far reaching transformation of societies, leading to a semi-utopia, no doubt. Have they the least chance of achieving it? Based on the sobering list of historical failures, disappointments, catastrophes, no chance at all. So why indulge the fantasies of these narcissists? Aren't they indoctrinators rather than educators? Students - they need you but you don't need them. This is for the benefit of future, students, people who still have to make a decision as to what to study and where to study, not people already in the system, with no obvious way out.

Counter-terrorist action is impossible without the equipment to conduct counter-terrorist action. The idea that counter-terrorist action is repressive and that sales of counter-terrorist equipment should be stopped obviously appeals to the academic (and other) signers of the Open Letter. Policing - effective policing, policing with the right equipment - to stop violent criminals and terrorists doesn't meet the approval of the signers.

Any idea that drones are always used for repressive purposes is contradicted by events such as this:

A U.S. missile launched from a drone in Afghanistan killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri, a founding member of the jihadist movement and one of the trategists behind an international campaign of terror that culminated in the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. The U.S. strike targeted a safe house in a residential area in central Kabul on Sunday morning, in what was the first known counterterrorism operation in the country since U.S. forces withdrew last year. The Biden administration said the Taliban was aware that al Zawahiri was hiding in Kabul, the clearest display of the continuing alliance between al Qaeda and the group now ruling Afghanistan. Speaking from the White House balcony on Monday, President Biden announced the strike, describing al Zawahiri as a terror leader who for decades 'was the mastermind behind the attacks against Americans.” Those attacks included the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, which killed 17 sailors and wounded dozens of others and 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people and injured more than 4,500.'

My page on Israel gives arguments and evidence that if Israel were unable to defend itself with advanced armaments - but this is not a situation which the Israelis would ever allow to occur - then this would quickly lead to the incursion of forces into Israeli territory. Palestinians would enter in large numbers but a Palestinian state would not emerge, or if it did, would not survive for long. ISIS or similar ruthless terrorist groups would move in and, the plight of women and non-heterosexuals would be extreme, the plight of other groups also.

 

The role of weapons in protecting the right to dissent, in preventing authoritarian regimes from destroying democratic societies, is obviously something which the signatories prefer not to dwell upon. The supposition that only the West should be regarded as militaristic, or that only the West engages in militarism of the worst kind, is profoundly ignorant - or rather, shallowly ignorant. The actions of China, including China's threats against Taiwan, which may one day lead to invasion, should have been taken into account by the signatories before they signed this grossly distorted document.

 

I think that hard questions need to be asked about some aspects of politics education at Sheffield University, as wall as some wider issues at Sheffield University, as well as at other universities, including the general issue of academic ideologists, academic indoctrinators, academics who select students carefully and who are also very careful in their use of argument and evidence, very, very selective in their use of argument and evidence. Fashion-conscious academics, academics who put academic fashions and fads first, have to be seen for what they are.

 

The coat of arms of Sheffield University:

 

 

The motto of Sheffield University (and of various other organizations, as well as the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, comes from ''Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas,' verse 490 of Book 2 of 'Georgics' by the Roman poet Virgil. A literal translation, 'Fortunate, who was able to know the causes of things.' A translation of the motto: 'to know the causes of things.'

 

A translation of the words in the open book, also in Latin: 'Learn. Teach.' Unless I'm mistaken, many academics would take the view that the student knows far less about the subject being taught than the academic who does the teaching - a completely justifiable view in so many cases. Quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, organic chemistry - in science, engineering, medicine, law and other fields, the teacher does know more. In Arts and Social Science subjects, subjects where value judgements are an intrinsic part of what is conveyed by teaching, the supposition may be wide of the mark. It may happen that it's a poor student who isn't superior to the teacher - vastly superior, even.

 

There are many examples of the pitiful rubbish which academics sometimes produce in the pages of this Website, not just on this page, which is all about Academia, of course, but not just about Academia. 

 

The white rose of Yorkshire also appears on the coat of arms. This too calls for comment. Yorkshire folk are often thought of as straightforward, straight talking folk who can be relied upon. This is sometimes the view of people outside the county and more often the view of Yorkshire people. This is sometimes true, sometimes not true at all.

 

If Yorkshire universities such as Sheffield University benefit at all from this common perception, if they are thought of as straightforward places which can be relied upon, then this perception would be erroneous in many, many cases. Sheffield University academics may be subject to gross illusions, they may lack any awareness of their faults, they may not have the sense which so many ordinary Yorkshire people have. If they did have that basic sense, it would save them from some of their ridiculous mistakes.

 

All this is written with awareness of the massive strengths of Sheffield University. I don't have nearly as much knowledge of other Yorkshire Universities but I've no the least reason to suppose that they are without massive strengths too. Similarly for the many universities which appear in this

 

In this column:

 

List of profiles of academics (and others) who signed, with links to the profiles below

 

The profiles (other profiles to follow)

Complete list of academics (and others) who signed  the Open Letter against the Defence and Security Equipment event

 

Extract from document giving supposed reasons for signing

List of profiles

 

Some entries in the list of profiles have a
Trigger Warning:  Gobbledygook
to signal an academic's 'obscure and pretentious language,' a dictionary definition of  the word. The profile will comment. on the Gobbledygook.

Mona Baker, Professor of Translation Studies (Emerita), Manchester University: Mona Baker and half-baked monomania.

 

Catherine Baker, Hull University on jihad and peacekeeping: her pure and putrid view

 

Adam Ferhani, Postdoctoral Fellow, Sheffield
 University Department of Politics and International Relations


Professor Claudia Aradau, King's College London: deployment of conceptual toolboxes

 

Professor Luke Martell, University of Sussex: dystopian

 

Dr Liam Stanley, Sheffield University Department of Politics and International Relations

 

Gobbledygook

 Dr Sarah Bulmer  Exeter University: 'an attempt to go beyond using notions of “embodiment” as a heuristic device, and to operationalize this analytic in a challenge to the limits and possibilities of academic forms of representation.'

Dr John McTague, Bristol University Department of English: a false claim

 

Dr David Wearing, SOAS


Gobbledygook
Professor Lou Harvey, Leeds University Department of Education:

 The Translator:
A public intercultural performance
pedagogy of solidarity?

 

Gobbledygook

Lola Frost, Visiting Fellow, Department of War Studies, King's College London: 'the role of practices of recognition within aesthetic sociality.'

 

Gobbledygook

Cody Jackson, Texas Woman's University: Slavery, the American Civil War, armaments in the American Civil War, Texas the Executioner: 'working toward a liberatory praxis that necessitates a constant self-reflexive mode of accountability.'

 

Alexandre Christoyannopoulos, Loughborough University, and 'the right to silence'

 

Jon Bigger, Loughborough University: Degree collector and Superprof

 

Professor Ruth Kinna, Loughborough University: anarchism, anarchy, chaos, confusion, inefficiency, incompetence and their role in the triumph of totalitarianism, genocide and gross injustice

 

 
An extract from the article  which was published, with the List of Signatories, on the sites 'The Disorder of Things' and 'Campaign against Arms Trade Universities Network.'
 

Profiles of academics (and others) who signed the Open Letter

These profiles will be revised and extended. There are only a  few profiles for the time being - the page was added to the site not long ago and it's  the newest on the site, but I intend to add more and more profiles,  and, also comments on 'The Disorder of Things' and 'Campaign against Arms Trade Universities Network.' 

Reasons for including profiles - on this page and some other pages of the site. The world has often been transformed by concepts and ideas - although none of the concepts and ideas promoted by the signers seem in the least likely to transform the world - but this world is a material world and a living world, and a world of action, not just the setting for concepts and ideas, even when they lead to action. Ideas and concepts are very, very varied, of course - hideous, bad, beautiful, useful, dangerous, negligible, very impressive  - but, of course, don't have an existence only in the realm of ideas and concepts. They are accepted by people, rejected by people, used by people in multifarious ways, sometimes very constructively, sometimes destructively, and of course the people are of the utmost variety. Focusing attention on the person, even when the attention is very critical, can emphasize human values and the complexity of values. One very significant fact - and it is a fact, I think - is this: human strengths are often accompanied by weaknesses, the grotesque contradictions of human nature are so often in evidence. This could be regarded as a truism, except that it's often ignored - again and again, people think in terms of absolutes, of people as wholly good or almost completely good, or wholly bad, or almost completely bad.

There are two profiles on this page which particularly illustrate this dichotomy, the profiles of Liam Stanley and Professor Matthew Flinders. Professor Flinders isn't one of the signers and I regret including a short profile of him but since he illustrates the co-existence of strength and (comparative) weakness, I think I can justify his inclusion. He doesn't appear in the black list below, which is a list of signers, but in the column to the right.

Mona Baker, Professor of Translation Studies (Emerita), Manchester University: Mona Baker and half-baked monomania.

Monomania: 'exaggerated or obsessive  preoccupation with one thing.'
Example of usage: 'Although Mona Baker has a wide range of interests and prejudices, her preoccupation with Israel and its actions amounts to monomania.'

Half-baked: not fully thought through: lacking a sound basis.
Examples of usage: 'A half-baked conspiracy theory. By failing to take account of a wide range of evidence, such as the legality of same-sex relations in Israel, gay pride events in Israel and the criminality of same sex relations in Gaza and the execution of individuals for same sex relations in Iran, Mona Baker demonstrates that again and again, her thinking is naive, distorted and half-baked.'

Some background information from Wikipedia followed by background information of mine.

Wikipedia:

In 2002, Mona Baker removed two Israeli academics, Dr. Miriam Shlesinger of Bar-Ilan University and Professor Gideon Toury of Tel Aviv University, Israel, from the editorial boards of her journals Translator and Translation Studies Abstracts, based on their affiliation to Israeli institutions.

...

Subsequently, Baker announced that Translator will no longer publish any research by Israeli scholars and will refuse to sell books and journals to Israeli libraries.

Response from Professors

In an email sent to Professor Toury on 8 June 2002, Baker asked him to resign and warned him that she would "unappoint you" if he refused. Baker justified her action by stating that "I do not wish to continue an official association with any Israeli under the present circumstances", although she also stated that her decision was "political, not personal" and that she still regarded Professor Toury and Professor Shlesinger as friends.

Professor Toury subsequently responded that "I would appreciate it if the announcement made it clear that 'he' (that is, I) was appointed as a scholar and unappointed as an Israeli." Toury also stated that "I am certainly worried, not because of the boycott itself but because it may get bigger and bigger so that people will not be invited to conferences or lectures, or periodicals will be judged not on merit, but the identity of the place where the author lives."

Dr Shlesinger responded that: "I don't think [Israeli prime minister] Ariel Sharon is going to withdraw from the West Bank because Israeli academics are being boycotted. The idea is to boycott me as an Israeli, but I don't think it achieves anything."

Criticism

Baker's actions were sharply criticised by Professor Stephen Greenblatt of Harvard University and the president of the Modern Language Association of America, who called the firings "repellent", "dangerous" and "morally bankrupt". Greenblatt described Baker's actions as an "attack on cultural cooperation" which "violates the essential spirit of scholarly freedom and the pursuit of truth" ...

In the British House of Commons, an Early Day Motion (EDM 1590) condemning Baker's actions was passed, stating that Parliament "deplores discrimination against academics of any nationality, as being inconsistent with the principle of academic freedom, regards such discrimination as downright anti-semitic while pretending simply to be opposed to Israeli government policy... and calls upon UMIST to apologise for this disgusting act and to dismiss Professor Baker."

...

The National Union of Students (NUS), in addition to condemning academic boycotts as a whole, specifically condemning Baker's sackings of the two Israeli professors as "racist." Mandy Telford, president of the NUS, stated that "The National Union of Students stands firmly against all forms of discrimination. This is an abuse of academic freedom that can only have a negative impact on students at Umist...

In 2002 the European Society for Translation Studies condemned the ousting of Toury and Shlesinger, both members of the Society, arguing that "in their intellectual work they are not representatives of their country but individuals who are known for their research, their desire to develop translation studies and to promote translation and intercultural dialogue."

 

From my page on Israel:

An extract from an article by Robert L. Bernstein published in the 'New York Times,'

 

'As the founder of Human Rights Watch, its active chairman for 20 years and now founding chairman emeritus, I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join the group’s critics. Human Rights Watch had as its original mission to pry open closed societies, advocate basic freedoms and support dissenters. But recently it has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.

'At Human Rights Watch, we always recognized that open, democratic societies have faults and commit abuses. But we saw that they have the ability to correct them — through vigorous public debate, an adversarial press and many other mechanisms that encourage reform.

 

'That is why we sought to draw a sharp line between the democratic and nondemocratic worlds, in an effort to create clarity in human rights. We wanted to prevent the Soviet Union and its followers from playing a moral equivalence game with the West and to encourage liberalization by drawing attention to dissidents like Andrei Sakharov, Natan Sharansky and those in the Soviet gulag — and the millions in China’s laogai, or labor camps.

 

'When I stepped aside in 1998, Human Rights Watch was active in 70 countries, most of them closed societies. Now the organization, with increasing frequency, casts aside its important distinction between open and closed societies.

 

'Nowhere is this more evident than in its work in the Middle East. The region is populated by authoritarian regimes with appalling human rights records. Yet in recent years Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region.

 

'Israel, with a population of 7.4 million, is home to at least 80 human rights organizations, a vibrant free press, a democratically elected government, a judiciary that frequently rules against the government, a politically active academia, multiple political parties and, judging by the amount of news coverage, probably more journalists per capita than any other country in the world — many of whom are there expressly to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

'Meanwhile, the Arab and Iranian regimes rule over some 350 million people, and most remain brutal, closed and autocratic, permitting little or no internal dissent. The plight of their citizens who would most benefit from the kind of attention a large and well-financed international human rights organization can provide is being ignored as Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division prepares report after report on Israel.

 

'Human Rights Watch has lost critical perspective on a conflict in which Israel has been repeatedly attacked by Hamas and Hezbollah, organizations that go after Israeli citizens and use their own people as human shields. These groups are supported by the government of Iran, which has openly declared its intention not just to destroy Israel but to murder Jews everywhere. This incitement to genocide is a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

'Leaders of Human Rights Watch know that Hamas and Hezbollah chose to wage war from densely populated areas, deliberately transforming neighborhoods into battlefields.'

 

 


Above, gay pride event in Tel Aviv. The events are attended by about 250,000 people annually.

In Gaza, 'homosexual activity' (fully legal in Israel) is illegal and can be punished by imprisonment for ten years. In Iran, it can be punished with death by hanging.

Professor Baker and other signers: if Israel were unable to defend its borders with advanced weapons, it would be invaded by ISIS or another radical group that would make the situation for gay people impossible, with arbitrary killing not just of these people but of other Israelis, including Israelis of Arab origin. Advanced weaponry protects Israel. The signers, with no weapon but words (and platitudes) offer no protection to anyone. Their claim that only something amounting to a revolution of ideas offers effective protection is simply false. When the protection of weapons is removed, there is no chance at all for their words to have any impact at all. The signers' ability to make their pleas would be at an end. If anyone wants to come to the aid of Mona Baker, to argue in her defence, then I'd be glad if they could publicize their arguments. I'd be glad to make this site available for the purpose but this shouldn't be necessary, given the resources available to the signers and other people who share their views.

Catherine Baker, University of Hull on jihad and peacekeeping: her pure and putrid view


Above, screen shots from the LSE Sociology video published on YouTube, 'On Jihad, Empire and Solidarity,' published March 30, 2021. Top left, Mahvish Ahmad. Top right, Catherine Baker. Bottom left, Tarak Barkawi. Bottom right, Darryl Li. The faces have been blocked out here for one reason only: so as not to infringe copyright. I take the view that the images here amount to 'fair dealing.'

The text in the images comes from the sub-titles to the video. Watching a video with subtitles turned on - when the option is available - can be an instructive way of watching. The extract / transcript below of what Catherine Baker had to say comes from the imperfect subtitles, making corrections where the subtitles are obviously in error about the wording.

I've promoted the video in a very restricted sense by watching it, taking the page views to the current total of 141 views but this is a video which has to be criticized very severely: amongst other things, Catherine Baker finds an equivalence between jihadis and peacekeers. This video shown vividly, depressingly the debased values, distortions and illusions to be found in some sectors of 'higher' education.

But I'd have to put it much more strongly than that: Dr Baker talks and talks and talks, in a calm and measured way, giving the impression, but only for people who are easily fooled, that this is a person with a pure, uncontaminated vision. Her 'vision' is uncontaminated by messy and harsh realities, certainly, but this is someone with a hideous view of these issues, foul and putrid, not in the least pure. As becomes clear at the end of her contribution, whilst showering praise on the ridiculous Tarak Barkawi, she has been steadily promoting herself. She may not have the skills of a self-publicist but that is what she is, a self-publicist - pure and simple, or not in the least pure and simple-minded in her distorted approach to these realities.

This is the transcript, followed by material on jihadism in Bosnia which is very, very different from the version supplied by Catherine Baker, ideologist.

From the introduction to the video:

No contemporary figure is more demonized than the Islamist foreign fighter who wages jihad around the world. Spreading violence, disregarding national borders, and rejecting secular norms, so-called jihadists seem opposed to universalism itself. In a radical departure from conventional wisdom on the topic, Dr Darryl Li's new book, The Universal Enemy: Jihad, Empire and the Challenge of Solidarity argues that transnational jihadists are engaged in their own form of universalism: these fighters struggle to realize an Islamist vision directed at all of humanity, transcending racial and cultural difference. In this event, Dr Li discusses his new book with Prof Tarak Barkawi (LSE) and Dr Catherine Baker (Hull), with questions and answers from the audience. The discussion is moderated by Dr Mahvish Ahmad (LSE).

The video promotes a view of people engaged in violent jihad as people struggling 'to realize an Islamist vision directed at all of humanity, transcending racial and cultural difference.' This is a despicable view, not one I share in the least or the people whose lives have been damaged by jihadi terrorism would share.

Catherine Baker, the signer of the Open Letter which opposes arms and armaments, is also the  Catherine Baker who makes excuses for violent jihad, who seems to find no objection to their use of arms and armaments. This blatant contradiction is surely obvious. The peacekeepers she never praises in the video have to be armed to defend themselves and to defend the people they are trying to protect. Are the peacekeepers to be denied arms? She's oblivious to the implications of her views. Recommended: a viewing of the video. Look at the expression on the face of Darryl Li. Doesn't he look utterly bored?

Transcript (hesitations, repetitions, awkward phrasing, copying of fashionable phrases as in the words spoken):

16.36: 'First of all, Daryl, I really need to congratulate you on this book. This is the kind of book I've wanted to exist for many years.' [At the end of the transcript is one reason for welcoming the book: so congratulations on this book and may it inspire others as I've found that my work has been able to help inspire yours.' Catherine Baker as inspirational thinker, or Catherine Baker the self-promoter.]  I think I thought if I make a contribution to theorizing this step where I try to do in that book it makes status like this more possible' this particular theoretical contribution together  'so you know this was one of the many questions which was sort of eating away at the veiling kind of frameworks for the anthropology of post-socialism and you know of course the mujahid whose mobilities you explore so sensitively here are another example of mobilities which even the new anthropology of post-socialist post-conflict Bosnia and the rest of the region we're still being slow to recognize even a decade or so ago despite all the advances that has been made in deconstructing the politics of ethnicity which of course was such an essential step in de-centering the primacy of ethnopolitics in how researchers understand the region when we're only looking for ethnic relations between South Slav ethnic groups in Bosnia we miss these global connections and we miss as well the ability to connect the region into the contemporary racialized global politics of security which has been so urgent to do or indeed into the global history of anti-colonialism which connected Yugoslavia and the countries of origin of many of the M. through the non-line movement and we see this in the book's first example you know of Iraqi and Baghdadi former M. who came to Bosnia not as   Marzan Guatanamo

What's the difference indeed between foreign mujadin travelling to a region and foreign peacekeepers travelling to a region who do both exercise power across boundaries. Do both have visions of social transformation to implement and do both get into awkward and asymmetric intercultural and interlinguistic encounters with the local population. I'm so glad you're asking by the way well where is all the translation and interpreting happening because that's you know one of the most basic everyday questions you know that we need to ask you know about peacekeeping or you know any other kind of military contact so we know if we find you know that kind of juxtaposition unsettling between mujadin and peacekeepers as we might do we need to ask ourselves why and perhaps we might reply well the difference lies in the legitimacy and statehood of the entities which sent their troops as peacekeepers or the endorsement of the u.n. security council gave to these peacekeeping operations but we can't deny once you've put it in these terms that non-alignment international peacekeeping and the international jihad in Bosnia all invoked universalism of a kind and how we morally regard each one forces us to articulate what we believe are tacit principles of international order are now these are only some of the contributions of this frame-changing book it does so much more than document the mobilities of the jihad and bosnia even though it does that with incredible richness and nuance it globalizes how we can think about mobilities of security in the post-Yugoslav space and it de-centres western order? how we think about peacekeeping there it makes non-white peacekeepers from the global south central to the history of  ? it helps write religious mobilities back into the non-aligned movement it creates more space for future scholars who aren't racialized as white to see themselves as potential ethnographers in Bosnia and it explicitly names coloniality and the global hierarchies of race as part of the context of the Yugoslav wars and what happened next in Bosnia so congratulations on this book and may it inspire others as I've found that my work has been able to help inspire yours.'

Another perspective, from Wikipedia:

[The jihadis quickly attracted heavy criticism from people who claimed their presence was evidence of violent Islamic fundamentalism in Europe. The foreign volunteers even became unpopular with many of the Bosniak population, because the Bosnian army had thousands of troops and had no need for more soldiers, but rather for arms.

US intelligence and phone calls intercepted by the Bosnian government show communication between Al-Qaeda commanders and Bosnian mujahideen.Several of the mujahideen were connected to Al-Qaeda.Osama Bin Laden sent resources to the Bosnian mujahideen.Two of the five 9/11 hijackers, ... had fought in Bosnia in 1995. Bosnian Salafi leader and mujahideen veteran Bilal Bosnić was in 2015 sentenced to seven years in prison for public incitement to terrorist activities, recruitment of terrorists to fight with ISIS in Syria.

In a 2005 interview with U.S. journalist Jim Lehrer, Richard Holbrooke said:

There were over 1,000 people in the country who belonged to what we then called Mujahideen freedom fighters. We now know that that was al-Qaida. I'd never heard the word before, but we knew who they were. And if you look at the 9/11 hijackers, several of those hijackers were trained or fought in Bosnia. We cleaned them out, and they had to move much further east into Afghanistan. So if it hadn't been for Dayton, we would have been fighting the terrorists deep in the ravines and caves of Central Bosnia in the heart of Europe.

Evan Kohlmann wrote: "Some of the most important factors behind the contemporary radicalization of European Muslim youth can be found in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the cream of the Arab mujahideen from Afghanistan tested their battle skills in the post-Soviet era and mobilized a new generation of pan-Islamic revolutionaries".

Adam Ferhani, Postdoctoral Fellow, Sheffield University Department of Politics and International Relations

I've done my best to find out as much as I possibly can - or as much as I practically can - about Adam Ferhani. I've had an exchange of emails with him, which has confirmed the adverse view in the heading above. All the same, this is a tentative judgement. He may have many strengths, but I've not been able to find many and none of them distinctive or far greater than the ordinary skills to be expected of any academic in his field. His abilities as a speaker and explainer are poor. This video,

Simon Rushton and Adam Ferhani on Bordering Practices and Global Heath Governance During Covid-19

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfOz4JQs3Tk&t=138s

 

gives evidence. He's far less accomplished than Simon Rushton. He stumbles often and repeats himself often:

 

'I mean ... you know ... you know ... you know ... if that makes sense... I'm not sure I've explained that very well.

 

He wasn't very articulate in giving answers concerned with his specialism, border controls during the Coronavirus epidemic. He has opinions on other issues to do with border controls, surely, such as management of migration. (This is supplementary material, before I come to the issue of borders and armaments.) I'd be interested to hear his answers if asked direct questions such as these: should the people who cross the channel in rubber dinghies, people who fail to claim asylum in the first country of safety, all be allowed to stay in this country? If not, what criteria should be used to determine who is allowed to stay? The cross-channel journey has obvious dangers. Should people be deterred from risking the journey? If so, what methods would you suggest?

 

When it came to the issue of signing up to the Open Letter, like all the people who signed, he didn't need to answer direct questions, questions he might find difficult to answer. He obviously felt he knew enough about military matters and armaments and this further aspect of border security to sign. What would be his answer to these direct, difficult questions?

 

Are there effective ways of deterring an aggressor from crossing the border into a country which make no use of armaments?

Are there effective ways of deterring an aggressor from crossing the border into a country which make no use of armaments?

Is transforming attitudes throughout the world, including attitudes in totalitarian countries so that the leaderships of these countries in future decide never to invade?
Is it an achievable objective to ban armaments throughout the world so that the leadership of these countries aren't able to obtain armaments even if they wanted them?
Is Ukraine justified in fighting Russian forces - using, of course, armaments?

Would Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland be justified in opposing a Russian incursion into their borders using armaments?

Would Israel be justified in using armaments to oppose an incursion into Israeli territory through their border with armaments - assuming the invading force to be ISIS or an Iranian-backed terrorist force, which would impose a radical fundamentalist regime if it got the chance?

 

I wonder how effective Adam Ferhani would be in answering questions like those. I wonder how the other signers would cope.


The expertise which is valued in universities is necessarily in limited areas. In such fields as quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, atomic and molecular structure, biosynthesis and all the other fields which contribute to the massive, overwhelmingly impressive achievement of science, extreme specialization is essential. In the social sciences too, academics have their specialisms, perhaps with the hope that one day, it will be their claim to fame, or at least wider recognition by the academic community.

Many of the contributions of these social science academics are impressive for one reason or another,  or for many reasons. The analytic skills on display may be substantial. Sometimes, their contributions are genuinely useful.

But in science, impressive achievement in one minute area isn't usually taken as an indication that the scientist has anything of value to contribute to science generally or to the world of value judgments, political decisions, ethical issues. In the social sciences, all too often, people with achievement in one limited sphere are eager to show that they can 'make a difference' in the wider world.

All too often - very often - the expert in one field is shown up as a dilettante in another. War studies - an intensely demanding field, demanding a detailed knowledge of military history in modern times, surely. This is a golden age of military history writing, and has been for a long time. There are many non-academics in the field but the achievement of academics has been massive.

The academic dabblers who wander into the field and who think they can stake their claim are deluded. They underestimate the scale of the challenge.

Whatever gave Adam Ferhani the idea that he should sign up to this deluded manifesto? His specialism, or one of his specialisms, is in a field far removed from the harsh world of military realities.

This is from one of his publications (written in collaboration with Professor Simon Rushton):

The International Health Regulations, COVID-19, and bordering practices: Who gets in, what gets out, and who gets rescued?

 

Abstract

 

Bringing insights from critical border studies and exploring the varied ways in which the response to the COVID-19 crisis has been “bordered,” we argue that a much broader understanding of “borders” is required in the IHR and by the WHO, given that much of the exclusionary bordering we find takes place away from physical points of entry.

 

The language of this, ' ... much of the exclusionary bordering we find takes place away from physical points of entry' is far removed from the extremities of language and experience necessary to do justice to such events as the Battle of Stalingrad, the bombardment of Ukrainian cities by the Russians, the mass executions which have taken place in their millions when a state has not had the necessary military power to withstand the actions of aggressors. And those aggressors obviously aren't open to persuasion by anything that appears in 'The Disorder of Things' or by such trivial-disturbing events as the Signing of the Open Letter.


I'll give my conclusion: Adam Ferhani was one of seven people from Sheffield University who signed the Open Letter. Sheffield University, in particular, the Department of Politics and International Relations, contributed a larger number of signers than any other institution apart from King's College, London. Given the gross irresponsibility of the manifesto, its refusal to recognize realities - the case argued on this page - I think that anyone thinking of applying to this Department would be well advised to think of again.

Professor Claudia Aradau, King's College, London: deployment of conceptual toolboxes

Above, screenshot from a video promoting the MA in International Conflict Studies - Dept of War Studies at King's College London

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDBxL-o0VFc&t=46s

Professor Aradau's face has been blocked out here for one reason only: so as not to infringe copyright. I take the view that the image here amounts to 'fair dealing.'

King's College, London provided the greatest number of signors to the naive / disturbing Open Letter which invited the democracies of the world in effect to abandon armaments - which are, the introductory material accompanying the Open Letter claims - 'part of the problem, not the solution.'

Various people took part in the video. I confine my attention to Professor Aradau. Watching Professor Aradau's contribution with subtitles turned on - not possible with all videos, of course - makes the occasion even more informative and off-putting. I found the content very off-putting, and not because I have an aversion to theory - but I do have a knowledge of the kind of theoretical approach she uses.

A transcription of Professor Aradau in action at two places in the video. Did she have to repeat herself to such an extent, did she have to make the false claim to uniqueness, did she have to give so much Standard Stuff, did she have to give routine information served up in such a routine way? And did she have to produce an insipid offering of almost complete generality?

This is it:

'What makes the programme in international conflict studies unique is the way in which it brings together innovative conceptual and theoretical approaches with an understanding and practice of method. So basically how do you deploy conceptual toolboxes, how do you deploy concepts that you learn about in particular empirical sites of conflict, violence and insecurity?

And later:

'In this programme you will be introduced to a whole series of innovative and critical methods to give just a few examples ethnographic methods, discourse analysis, visual methods, historical methods. These are skills of analysis that you can deploy that you can use in your future careers.'

But no matter how off-putting this is, the most off-putting thing by far about Professor Aradau is the fact that she, and so many others at King's College London signed a letter which raises very disturbing questions about  King's College London - not all of its teaching and  research but some of it, a very important part.

Students of biological science, in such branches of the subject as ecology, often go on field courses to give them practical experience. It's often unthinkable for King's College Students in the Department of War Studies to go on fieldwork - to a battlefield or an active conflict zone, where opposing forces are on active service, or to territory subject to severe terrorist action. But if, hypothetically, they ever did, what lessons they would learn! Lessons about harsh realities and the naive irrelevance of a substantial part of what the curriculum has served up. I put it cautiously. It may well be that most of what they have been expected to take seriously has none of the seriousness of witnessing life and death in these places, that the 'conceptual toolboxes' they have taken with them are stuffed full of irrelevancies.

Professor Luke Martell, University of Sussex: dystopian

Blocking of part of the image is for one reason only - to comply with copyright. The image comes from a You Tube video, 'University of Sussex Professorial Lecture: Luke Martell - Alternative Societies.' Watching videos of this kind with subtitles (where available) turned on can be recommended - not so as to appreciate more fully the nuances, so as to miss any of them - there are no nuances - but to realize even more fully the mediocrity of the performance. It can't be claimed that this is any more than a performance, a poor performance. There's drudgery here, no exhilaration at all. It would be pleasant to report that there was a trace of exhilaration, the exhilaration of ideas which had at least a trace - even a faint trace - of originality, but I couldn't find any. However, I must admit that I didn't stay until the end. I gave up, I'd had enough.

This is yet another academic falsely claimed by the organizers of the Open Letter to have expertise in matters to do with security.

Professor Martell's exploration of utopianism is extraordinary. He seems not to realize the difference between 'difficult to achieve' and 'impossible,' between thought experiments and actions in the real world.

Signing a letter which in effect calls upon democracies to do without armaments to defend themselves isn't an optimistic move, undertaken in the hope of creating a much better world. It would abruptly lead to a world in which the democracies go under and the victory of tyrannies. His utopian hopes are futile. If he and the other signers had any power to influence events, they would be very harmful. Their actions - if you can call signing a letter and play-acting, trying to acting the part of responsible academics outside the venue of the Arms Fair- are much closer to dystopian than utopian.

From Karl Popper's 'Conjectures and Refutations,' Chapter 18, 'Utopia and Violence'

'I consider what I call Utopianism [this is surprising and unnecessary, since the term  'utopianism' was one with a long history before Karl Popper wrote - this was obviously not a term he coined himself] an attractive and, indeed, all too attractive theory; for I also consider it dangerous and pernicious. It is, I believe, self-defeating, and it leads to violence.' [the expression is obviously too strong: 'it may lead to violence' would be preferable.]

'That it is self-defeating is connected with the fact that it is impossible to determine ends scientifically. There is no scientific way of choosing between two ends. Some people, for example, love and venerate violence. For them a life without violence would be shallow and trivial. Many others, of whom I am one, hate violence. This is a quarrel about ends. It cannot be decided by science. This does not mean that the attempt to argue against violence is necessarily a waste of time. It only means that you may not be able to argue with the admirer of violence. He has a way of answering an argument with a bullet if he is not kept under control by the threat of counter-violence ... you cannot, by means of argument, make people listen to argument, you cannot, by means of argument, convert those who suspect all argument, and who prefer violent decisions to rational decisions. You cannot prove to them that they are wrong ...

...

'That the Utopian method, which chooses an ideal state of society as the aim which all of our political actions should serve, is likely to produce violence can be shown thus. Since we cannot determine the ultimate ends of political action scientifically, or by purely rational methods, differences of opinion concerning what the ideal state should be like cannot always be smoothed out by the method of argument. They will at least partly have the character of religious differences. And there can hardly be tolerance between these different Utopian religions.'

Recommended: a reading of the complete chapter, which includes these recommendations:

'Work for the elimination of concrete evils rather than for the realization of abstract goods. Do not aim at establishing happiness by political means. Rather aim at the elimination of concrete miseries ... fight for the elimination of poverty by direct means ... or fight against epidemics and disease by erecting hospitals and schools of medicine ... But do not try to realize these aims indirectly by designing and working for a distant ideal of society which is wholly good.'

Te return to the superficial video. The slogan to the right in the image above reads,
you + us
Making the future
Help us attract the best people, deliver world-leading programmes and create inspiring places to learn, work and live.

These are weary aspirational platitudes that you find again and again. Is Professor Martell is one of those 'best' people, able to play a part in delivering world-leading programmes and creating inspiring places, on the evidence of this lecture? Surely, not. His plodding style does put him at a disadvantage but the vacuous content is a much greater disadvantage.

However, this is an impression based on his public face and on the evidence of one video. I don't discount the possibility that he has hidden depths, that he has had to work hard and to struggle against disadvantages, that he has many virtues.

Dr Liam Stanley, Sheffield University Department of Politics and International Relations


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWl9niwIFf0&t=327

In this video, Dr Stanley introduces his book, 'Britain Alone: How a decade of conflict remade the nation.' His presentation is impressive: a thinker in action, a clear and incisive thinker with obvious strengths in analysis - on the evidence of the video.

 

Another video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?

introducing the MA in International Political Economy at Sheffield gives a very different impression, of a presenter of routine academic platitudes which may fool a prospective student and get one more paying student to sign up but which don't enhance the academic's reputation in the least. But his own signing up to the disastrously misguided Open Letter on the Armaments Fair calls his reputation into question more fundamentally. Can he really have been so naive? He really was, it seems. This is one piece of evidence, one of many, that should discourage thoughtful students from studying Politics and International Relations at Sheffield, I believe. Here, as often, the combination of strengths and weaknesses is very striking - almost grotesque.


Dr Sarah Bulmer, Exeter University: 'an attempt to go beyond using notions of “embodiment” as a heuristic device, and to operationalize this analytic in a challenge to the limits and possibilities of academic forms of representation.'

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/
304364044_You_do_not_live_in_my_skin
_Embodiment_voice_and_the_veteran


If the fragmentary sentence embedded in the heading here stirs the imagination, rouses the passions, if it appeals strongly to your analytical faculties and makes you determined to find out more about the author so that you can read more of their work and know the unalloyed joy that comes from discovering new insights, finding fresh opportunities for intellectual, ethical - aesthetic - exploration, then you're in the right place. I give the information that there's not just one author but two. You'll already have surmised, perhaps, that work of this quality often requires more than a single author. To expect a single author to carry out strenuous intellectual labours of this importance would be asking too much.

The authors are Sarah Bulmer of Exeter University and David Jackson. Here, I address only Sarah Bulmer, since it was Sarah Bulmer who signed the Open Letter: Academics against the Arms Fair. You'll be eager to know the title of the piece. It's this, in its stark simplicity a contrast with the dense prose of that resonant, fragmentary sentence I've quoted: ' 'You do not live in my skin: ' Embodiment, voice, and the veteran.' It was published in 'Critical Military Studies.'

This  will cause deep disappointment, I'm sure, but all I can make available here is a brief abstract, too brief by far to satisfy the demands of Dr Sarah Bulmer's readers, followers and admirers.

I have to concede that the use of the word 'fundaments' in the first sentence of the Abstract is perhaps unfortunate, a slight flaw in an otherwise finely judged piece in an inimitable prose style. 'Fundaments,' in its euphemistic or facetious sense, refers to the buttocks. The authors meant, no doubt, 'the fundamentals of academic engagement ... '

That slight quibble, however, led to more deep seated dissatisfaction with the abstract.  In the event, dissatisfaction grew: the incoherent wording, the mangling of English, the traces of derangement in the tone of the whole. Here, I've highlighted the parts of the Abstract which give me cause for particular concern. Other readers are free to draw their own conclusions.

So, the Abstract:

In this paper we challenge the fundaments of academic engagement with, and representation of, veterans’ embodied experiences. Drawing on work we have undertaken at a number of recent conferences to open up the format of academic discourse to a more dialogue-oriented form of engagement, we try to bring the same principles and problems into written discourse. This paper weaves between the monologic form of academic argument, and the open explorative form of the dialogue, in an attempt to question core assumptions about veteran identity. Both of us are concerned with the politics of claims to “know” the veteran experience by researchers, policymakers, and the media. The paper is an attempt to take seriously a politics of embodiment, of voice, and of listening as a way of fundamentally reorienting what we think we “know” about veteran experience and how we go about our research. Above all, this paper is an intervention. It is an attempt to go beyond using notions of “embodiment” as a heuristic device, and to operationalize this analytic in a challenge to the limits and possibilities of academic forms of representation. We argue that we need new ways of generating knowledge about embodied experience and a different understanding of what knowing means in this context. We propose “the conversation” as an alternative mode of research praxis.

Is there any possibility that the abstract is a hoax and that the complete paper is a hoax? Before I give my answer to this question, I'll outline the story of the celebrated 'Sokal hoax.' (But the editors of the 'learned' journal which published the piece submitted by Alan Sokal won't have 'celebrated' it.) Another possibility - that the abstract is the product of a Paper Generator.' I'll give my view after I've outlined the uses of a Paper Generator. For information on the hoax, I make use of the account in Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair

 

The Sokal affair, also called the Sokal hoax,[was a demonstrative scholarly hoax performed by Alan Sokal, a physics professor at New York University and University College London. In 1996, Sokal submitted an article to Social Text, an academic journal of postmodern cultural studies. The submission was an experiment to test the journal's intellectual rigor, specifically to investigate whether "a leading North American journal of cultural studies—whose editorial collective includes such luminaries as Fredric Jameson and Andrew Ross—[would] publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions."

The article, "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity", was published in the journal's spring/summer 1996 "Science Wars" issue. It proposed that quantum gravity is a social and linguistic construct. 

Sokal reasoned that if the presumption of editorial laziness was correct, the nonsensical content of his article would be irrelevant to whether the editors would publish it. What would matter would be ideological obsequiousness, fawning references to deconstructionist writers, and sufficient quantities of the appropriate jargon. After the article was published and the hoax revealed, he wrote:  The results of my little experiment demonstrate, at the very least, that some fashionable sectors of the American academic Left have been getting intellectually lazy. The editors of Social Text liked my article because they liked its conclusion: that "the content and methodology of postmodern science provide powerful intellectual support for the progressive political project" [sec. 6]. They apparently felt no need to analyze the quality of the evidence, the cogency of the arguments, or even the relevance of the arguments to the purported conclusion:

Content of the article

"Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity"[3] proposed that quantum gravity has progressive political implications, and that the "morphogenetic field" could be a valid theory of quantum gravity. (A morphogenetic field is a concept adapted by Rupert Sheldrake in a way that Sokal characterized in the affair's aftermath as "a bizarre New Age idea.") Sokal wrote that the concept of "an external world whose properties are independent of any individual human being" was "dogma imposed by the long post-Enlightenment hegemony over the Western intellectual outlook."

After referring skeptically to the "so-called scientific method", the article declared that "it is becoming increasingly apparent that physical 'reality'" is fundamentally "a social and linguistic construct." It went on to state that because scientific research is "inherently theory-laden and self-referential", it "cannot assert a privileged epistemological status with respect to counterhegemonic narratives emanating from dissident or marginalized communities", and that therefore a "liberatory science" and an "emancipatory mathematics", spurning "the elite caste canon of 'high science'", needed to be established for a "postmodern science [that] provide[s] powerful intellectual support for the progressive political project."

Now for some information on the Paper Generator. 

A paper generator is computer software that composes scholarly papers in the style of those that appear in academic journals or conference proceedings. Typically, the generator uses technical jargon from the field to compose sentences that are grammatically correct and seem erudite but are actually nonsensical. The prose is supported by tables, figures, and references that may be valid in themselves, but are randomly inserted rather than relevant.

Examples include the Postmodernism Generator.

Many papers generated in this way have been accepted for publication.

So, do I think that the abstract is a hoax or the product of a paper generator? I've reasons for thinking that the production of the abstract by a computer program which has been supplied with the necessary arcane jargon is far more likely than the abstract as someone's hoax but I have to make it clear that I believe that the abstract was actually written by human agency. Although the information isn't supplied on the Web page where the abstract is published, I have very good reason to believe that Sarah Bulmer was the Lead Author.

 

Dr John McTague, Bristol University Department of English: a false claim


The false claim wasn't made by him. I'm referring to this, from the introductory verbiage appended to the Open Letter: Academics against Armaments.

'As academics working on topics related to war, conflict, security, human rights, and international relations ... '

Many, many of the academics who signed are doing no such thing. His field is English literature and his specialities include Restoration and 18th Century literature. He does have an interest in politics but politics in the era of the musket, cannon and hand weapons. He declares an interest in British politics between 1660 and 1740.

Many academics who do work on topics related to war, conflict and the rest signed the letter. They were naive and thoughtless and showed not nearly enough awareness of the threats faced by this country and countries all over the world. He too was naive and thoughtless and showed not nearly enough awareness of the threats faced by this country and countries all over the world. He should be ashamed.

Dr David Wearing, SAAS


This section is the newest section of the page, which is the newest page of the site. The section is far from finished. It will be revised and extended.

There are realities and contradictions - I list some below - which undermine some convictions of Dr David Wearing, which falsify them or show how limited is his scope.  It isn't that he  can't come to terms with, can't bear to think about, finds it difficult to understand these realities and contradictions it's simply the fact that his ideology doesn't allow these issues to be raised at all. His understanding of what's possible and impossible in politics, his understanding of possible solutions and solutions which are overwhelmingly unlikely to to succeed, of solutions which have next to no chance of being implemented, are all too obvious, but equally obviously, I need to give evidence. I'd say that on this site, I've already given a great deal of evidence, in my pages on Israel and Palestinian issues, feminism, Universities (the page Universities: excellence, mediocrity and stupidity, as well as this page.) In so many places, there's evidence which challenges his thinking and writing and actions, such as the action of signing the Open Letter. All I'm going to do now is supply a few more instances, A profile like this isn't the place for a long and detailed discussion of the issues.

Next, some assorted issues, some realities and contradictions which David Wearing overlooks and some reasons why David Wearing's view in his article

https://novaramedia.com/2020/06/18/this-isnt-a-culture-war-its-a-battle-over-the-terms-of-solidarity/

is so limited - he overlooks so much. His leaving out and overlooking amount to persistent distortion, making his proposed remedies hopelessly wrong-headed. Again, what's here is just a very brief reminder of issues I've discussed in far more detail in other places on the site.

For twenty years, I was the death penalty co-ordinator for Sheffield Amnesty International group but in that time I worked on issues to do with general human rights. I'm not homosexual / gay but I have a strong interest in the protection of homosexual / gay people. I regard slavery as one of the worst injustices of all - as my page on feminism will make clear. My page on Christian religion has similar material on slavery which makes clear the strength of my feeling. I regard Nazi Germany as the worst oppressor of the twentieth century. I regard Stalinist Russia as second only to Nazi Germany as the worst oppressor of the twentieth century. I make it clear that I regard the Iranian regime as barbaric, despicable, that I loathe the Saudi Arabian regime and regard the treatment of homosexual / gay people in Gaza as unjust, badly in need of reform. I regard the invasion of Ukraine by Putin's forces as abhorrent. Then there are central human needs and threats to humanity of a different kind - threats to food supplies as a result of drought, for example, the need for safe drinking water and the crisis of increasing water shortage.

To begin with a conflict which doesn't fall within David Wearing's academic specialities but which has relevance to them, the Second World War.

Nazi Germany was opposed and defeated by countries which were flawed or very flawed democracies and included a country which was a tyranny itself, Stalinist Russia. Without Stalinist Russia, it would have been impossible to defeat Nazi Germany. The choice for the democracies was stark - accept Stalinist Russia as an ally or reject Stalinist Russia and allow Nazi Germany to go undefeated. Accepting or rejecting Saudi Arabia as an ally for limited purposes poses the same dilemma, but Saudi Arabia's power is too great to be ignored.

At the time of the Second World War, Great Britain was no safe haven for LBQT people. Homesexuality was punished severely. After the war, Alan Turing, the mathematician of genius who almost certainly shortened the war by his contribution to breaking the German codes, was subjected to chemical castration. A factor which is important to me but not to many people - Great Britain's system of criminal justice made use of the death penalty by hanging.

The United States was a prolific user of the death penalty too, but executions carried out in Great Britain and the United States were completely eclipsed by the number carried out by Nazi Germany.

Of course, the issue of armaments has a close linkage with the issue of defence of Israel against the threats it faces. Israel is a manufacturer of advanced armaments and advanced armaments are an absolute necessity for Israel if it's to withstand those threats. It has withstood those threats for a long time and it's overwhelmingly likely that it will in the future.

All the posturing, all the anti-Israel demonstrations, the collected writings of Dr David Collier on the issues, will have absolutely no impact.

From a report in 'Morning Star' ('For peace and socialism')

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/activists-shut-down-an-arms-factory-in-staffordshire

'Members of the Palestine Action group joined forces with Animal Rebellion — the animal-rights wing of Extinction Rebellion — to storm the Elite KL factory in Tamworth this morning.'

Activists 'occupied the roof while others chained themselves to the gates ... as part of an escalating campaign to kick Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapons firm, out of Britain.'

The effect of this action on the  problems of this part of the Middle East will have been precisely none, likewise the action of the naive academics who signed or held mock academic activities by the site of the Arms Fair.

There's an account of my experiences of the world of protest, demonstrations  and activism in a page of this site:

www.linkagenet.com/themes/arrest.htm

The title gives a clue about some of the content. The cause is a different one - animal rights is the common description but I describe it as animal welfare.

-

Professor Lou Harvey, Leeds University School of Education

 

Shown on the screen in the image above, underneath 'University of Leeds:'

The Translator:

A public intercultural performance
pedagogy of solidarity?

Lou Harvey
School of Education, University of Leeds

Does language have anything to do with education?
Does misuse of language, meaningless language,
have anything to do with education? Does the
School of Education at Leeds University have any
interest in the misuse of language, in meaningless
language?

Screenshot taken from You Tube video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-yxt8d3waU

 

May 11, 2018  so far: 30 views

 

Lola Frost, King's College London

 

Extract from

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/people/dr-lola-frost

 

Art Practice and Research Interests:

Lola Frost’s painting practice lays claim to an anti-identarian ethos that contests the demands and values of the phallogocentric order. For more information please visit www.lolafrost.net

Lola Frost’s research interests for this Visiting Fellowship extend to:

Working with Dr Aggie Hirst KCL and with Prof Fiona Jenkins ANU on the role of practices of recognition within aesthetic sociality.

 

Extracts from the Website of Lola Frost:

 

' ... or conversely where Deconstructive aesthetics are implicated in the crisis of representation, experiential affect is side-lined. Instead for O’Sullivan affects occur in an a-signifying register, operating at an intensive ‘molecular level’ beneath and parallel to signification.'

 

'I am interested in how processes of traversal and attunement motivate this practice: both in relation to mobilising a transformative matrix through the interplay of multiple oppositions, but also towards the disaggregation of the self/other, subject/object anthropocentric distinctions ...'

(With grateful thanks to 'Roget's Thesaurus,' including the antique charms of an older version of 'Roget's Thesaurus.' Reading too much Gobledygook can give a yearning for prose of much greater variety, with a much wider choice of words):

 

Gobbledygook, the ludicrous, risible, bombastic,  funny-peculiar, farcical, flaunting, excessive, overdone, beyond the pale, crass, ersatz, gross tawdry, uninteresting, dreary, tedious, vapid, insipid, uninventive, derivative, clod-hopping, ponderous, stodgy, pedestrian, turgid, stale, banal, inane, wearisome, irksome, repetitive nonsense, utter nonsense, gibberish; jargon, jabber, mere words, hocus-pocus, fustian, rant, bombast, balderdash, palaver, flummery, verbiage, babble, twaddle, garbage, humbug; poppy-cock, stuff and nonsense moonshine,  absurdity of many academics who use Gobbledygook - their posing, posturing, attitudinizing, affectation, grandiloquence, theatricality, charlatanism, have to be criticized very severely.

 

They will typically have spent six or seven years at least before they land an academic job and are expected to foster the development of young minds (or the minds of mature students.) And all to bring these minds to their level? What a waste of time - particularly the students' time! What a waste of grants, subsidies, public money! Pitiful - but these academics aren't to be pitied. They should be opposed whenever possible and, when that's not possible, ignored, to correct the imbalance to be found in so many universities, to favour the reputable studies - which are the majority and thoroughly deserve to be, with massive achievements to their credit, and to lessen the influence of the gobbledygookers on the reputable studies, to put them at a disadvantage, to reduce drastically the habitats of the gobbledygookers. And to disadvantage similarly the academics who are not  gobbledygookers, or not that often, but who use meaningful language to convey  meanings which are grossly distorted and unsupported by argument and evidence. Argument and evidence not supplied at this point but supplied in other parts of the page and other parts of the site.

 

Lorna Frost may not have followed the typical career path of her fellow Gobbledygookers but she seems to be as fond of Gobbledygook as they are. I'd claim that it's a lazy way of writing, using a selection of ideologically-charged words without the need for much thought, by a kind of 'reflex' thinking or automatic thinking which makes too little demands on the mind.

 

Lola Frost's makes this claim for some paintings of hers, 'shimmering, beautiful and challenging paintings:' Unfortunately, her lavish praise is accompanied by by images of some of these paintings and I for one find the claim impossible to take seriously:

 

https://www.lolafrost.net/undone-ecstasies-and-events.html


 'Double Desire 2018
Shimmering, beautiful and challenging paintings, whose energies, folds and intensities shape an embodied, subliminal inwardness, and invite a process for becoming undone by the play of differences.'

 

Here, the first part is in normal English -  used, of course, for flagrant, shameless self-promotion. She quickly turns to something milder than typical  Gobbledygook but just as meaningless.

 

Cody Jackson, Texas Woman's University: Slavery, the American Civil War, armaments in the American Civil War, Texas the Executioner

 

 

Above, an American slave, mid-nineteenth Century: after a flogging. From  Chapter 2, 'The Colonial Era' of 'American Slavery' by Peter Kolchin, one of the vast number of exemplary publications by academics which have contributed to our understanding of people, societies, events as well as to our knowledge of science, technology, a vast range of subjects:

 

' Born in violence, slavery survived by the lash .. Slaves who transgressed could look forward to a wide range of gruesome punisments ... including branding; nose slitting; amputation of ears, toes, and fingers (and less often of hands and feet): castration; and burning at the stake.'

 

Some forms of punishment were inflcted well after the colonial era, as in the case of flogging, and, in some cases, burning alive.

 

President Abraham Lincoln issued The Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. At once, the legal status of three million slaves in designated areas of the Confederacy, which included Texas, of course, from 'slave' to 'free.' If a slave could escape and reach the forces of the advancing Union army, then the slave became legally free, actually free.

 

By June 1865, the Union Army  By June 1865, the Union Army  controlled all of the Confederacy and had liberated all of the designated slaves.

 

Nearly 200,000 African-American men served with the Union forces. Most were escaped slaves. The Confederacy was outraged and usually refused to treat them as prisoners of war. They murdered many and re-enslaved others.

 

The Civil War was one of the earliest 'industrial wars,' wars which are won by technological superiority. The Civil War was fought in the firs.t phase of a process which has developed enormously. A major reason for the success of the Union army against the Confederacy was the technological superiority of the North, reliant upon the economic superiority of the North.

 

The train speeded up delivery of munitions, armaments and soldiers. The telegraph made communications easier and more efficient and was a powerful means of communicating information of military significance.   Reconnaisance balloons were used, the first stage in the developmen of aerial warfare, which, of course, has had incalculable effects since then, beneficial and harmful. Use was made of firearms of revolutionary design, including machine guns such as the Gatling gun. 

 

Now, as then, armies and navies,  armaments and explosives can be used for good purposes, purposes unachievable in many cases by means other than military action, and for bad purposes. Examples of the first, the Union forces in the American Civil War, the Allied forces fighting Nazi Germany. An examples of the second, obviously Nazi Germany.

 

If reliance had been placed upon persuasion in the first part of the 19th Century in America, the slaves would have remained enslaved for much, much longer. Persuasion would have failed. The slave owners had too much to lose to give up their 'property' voluntarily. Similarly, the terrorist organizations which inflict such suffering aren't open to persuasion. Putin's Russia is not open to persuasion. They won't give up their weapons voluntarily and if this country and other democracies gave up their means of defence - means of defence which rely upon advanced technology necessarily - then they will go under, they will be overwhelmed. Utopia, a World Without War will never come. Non-proliferation treaties and other ways of reducing conflict or attempting to reduce conflict are not a waste of time - but the demands of utopians, insatiable, unachievable, are a waste of time.

 

Cody Jackson, what do you think? I don't, of course, expect reply to that. Do you still think it was worth your time signing that Open Letter? Do you think you and the others had any chance of achieving anything? Or was it no more than a token gesture?

 

I would say that you should give some thought to an issue in your State of Texas. Making a stand, working for this cause, would have more chance of making a difference than signing a futile letter. I'm referring to the death penalty in Texas.

 

For twenty years, I was the death penalty co-ordinator for Amnesty International in Sheffield. (I worked on a wide variety of other cases which had nothing to do with the death penalty.) I was shocked and angered - I still am shocked and angered - by the fact that Texas has been the most prolific executioner in the United States.


The only country in Europe which still executes is Belarus. In all the other countries, the death penalty was last used long ago. It isn't so long ago that Texas was executing juvenile offenders, people under the age of 18 at the time of the offence.

 

I won't write much more here. I've a page on the death penalty:

 

www.linkagenet.com/themes/deathpenalty.htm

 

Looking at some writings of Cody Jackson, his mind is on other things, on a range of issues which are distant from the extinguishing of a life in the execution chamber of Huntsville Penitentiary, Texas. Isn't he shocked, ashamed when he hears about an execution due to take place in the state where he lives? Academics who get enraged about gender disparities and the issues that preoccupy him can be completely complacent - are completely complacent, more often than not - about the persistence of these barbaric acts. Are you complacent, Cody Jackson?

 

Cody Jackson certainly qualifies for a trigger warning for gobbledygook, even if generally, it's not difficult to understand what he's getting at, or trying to.

 

Examples from the page

 

https://cjacksontcu.wixsite.com/76104/cody-jackson

 

I understand (and misunderstand, at times) intersectionality to be, more than anything else, a method or tool of analysis that resists essentialist notions of identity and foregrounds the racialized mobilizations of power relations that impact multiply-marginalized bodyminds, 

 

How can we continue to learn from and work alongside the Combahee River Collective in working toward a liberatory praxis that necessitates a constant self-reflexive mode of accountability? 

 

Cody Jackson has taught courses in 'Written Communication' at a university in recent years. Amazing! Depressing!

 

Alexandre Christoyannopoulos, University of Loughborough, Christian anarchist

 

There must surely be many adolescents, young people, struggling with personal problems, perhaps,  not yet in a position to give much thought to the problems of the wider world, perhaps, whose political maturity is far greater than the political maturity of Alexandre C., a cipher who earns his living at a university - if it can be said that he 'earns' his living. I don't suppose for one moment that he does.

 

 I ake the view that anarchism is a viewpoint that can't be taken seriously. I've no material on this site setting out my reasons. I could easily give wide-ranging arguments against anarchism but to do that wouldn't be a good use of my time, as I see it. I take the view that Christianity is a viewpoint that can't be taken seriously but here, I've taken the trouble to argue the case, thoroughly, in various pages of the site.

 

 There's a short anti-Christian section on this page.  I won't give objections to A.C.'s anarchist beliefs here. I won't give objections to A.C.'s Christian beliefs here. There would be no need. Pages such as

 

www.linkagenet.com/themes/christian-religion.htm

make the case. Is A.C. able to answer objections? He's obviously a big believer in Christian religion. Is he a believer in answering objections to his views? Not impossible, but unlikely.

 

Dr A.C. is the author of Christian Anarchism: a Political Commentary on the Gospel.' It takes further the 'theorising' that resulted in  his PhD thesis, which had the title 'Theorising Christian anarchism : a political commentary on the Gospel.  Extract from the Abstract provided by

 

https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.499822

'Christian anarchist thinkers' critique of the current order and appeal to follow God's radical
 commandments echoes the voices of the prophets of old, calling society to return to God's covenant. By weaving their scattered voices together -
by theorising Christian anarchism - this thesis provides a political commentary on the Gospel which contributes as much to political theory as it does to political theology
.' He's still theorising, still contributing just as little to political theory.

 

As for 'political theolgy,' I find it difficult to imagine what would count as a substantial contribution. That would be a contradiction in terms.

 

Jon Bigger, Loughborough University: Degree Collector and Superprof

 

His degree collecting, in various branches and aspects of politics, must have taken up at least 8 years. Was it worth it? Did he gain substantial knowledge from all those years of effort? He has been described as possessing 'knowledge of the British and American political systems [which]is second to none.' Is this a claim to be taken seriously, a claim about a serious scholar? A relevant fact: it was Jon Bigger who made the claim, about himself, on the Website 'Superprof.' More about that very soon.

 

A summary of his academic career:

 

J. Bigger Esq studied Politics at London Guildhall, becoming J. Bigger BA, then worked for an MA in Democratic Studies at Leeds University. Not content with a single MA, he worked for yet another MA, in International Labour and Trade Union  Studies, at Ruskin College, Oxford. After that, he worked for a PhD at Loughborough University.

 

From the page

 

https://www.superprof.com/jon-bigger-top-doctorate-researching-anarchism-and-elections-have-degree-politics-and-two-mas-one.html

 

I'm Dr Jon Bigger. On top of my doctorate, researching anarchism and elections, I have a degree in politics and two MAs, one in democracy and the other in international trade unionism.

 

'I help students understand the syllabus and crucially interpret events in the news for extra marks.'

 

'I have taught at Loughborough University in their Politics department. My knowledge of the British and American political systems is second to none.' I also tutor undergraduates in politics too.

 

[The 'too' is obviously superfluous. It adds nothing to 'also.']

 

His hourly rate for lessons by Webcam is  given as $54.

 

From the Superprof page 'About us,'

 

https://www.superprof.com/about-us.html

 

a community of20738668tutors

a community of20738668tutors

'A community of 20738668 tutors.'
The Superprof team: 'Passionate, Dreamy, Utopic, Caring, Involved, Serious ... '

 

See also

 

https://jonbiggerpoliticstuition.co.uk/

 

 which gives the information that Loughborough University admitted Jonathan Bigger to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

 

http://re-photo.co.uk/?tag=jon-bigger

 

This is from a Website page of 'International Relations, Politics and History on Jonathan Bigger as Postgraduate Researcher:

 

'Jonathan is researching the British anarchist group Class War with a specific focus on their approach to the general election of 2015. Class War stood seven candidates in the election, one of whom was Jonathan, who is now studying them from the inside. As anarchists tend to shun concepts like representation, even within their own ranks, as well as working towards the ending of the state, the groups' electoral behavior is worthy of close investigation. The study is ethnographic in nature providing a detailed account of how the group operates, its norms, values, structure and methods of organising.
 
'The thesis considers the notion that true liberation comes from below, from the people acting collectively to challenge authority rather than being handed from above by an elite who retain power. It investigates Class War's direct action and assesses their effectiveness in achieving liberation. In this context it considers their election campaign as a form of direct action in itself; one that ruptures the norms of electoral campaigning, providing the group with new avenues for activity.

Below, 'Class War' propadanda stunt in Downing Street in 2016, the year after the general election and the year after the Signing of the Letter.

 

 

 

The extracts below were written by a supporter of Class War, not by an opponent of Class War ridiculing Jon Bigger and Class War.

 

 

Class War had decided to stand candidates in the 2015 General Election, and among those who volunteered to stand was Jon Bigger, now Dr John Bigger and the publisher of The Journal of Anarchy 

 

 

(Croydon South was one of the lucky seats, so the Class War Warriors descended in South Croydon),  'one of the Conservatives' safest seats in London.'

 

It wasn’t a very successful visit as although we went to what was considered to be the centre of Purley there were very few people about, and Bigger’s campaign speech was delivered to the small group of Class War supporters and one rather confused elderly gentleman at the Conservative Party Office. We found only a few more outside a nearby supermarket, where most customers seemed to be in two much of a hurry to get back into large cars to hear anything political.

 

Class War made the best of it, handing out their election flyer to the police posse still devotedly following their progress (though mainly sitting in their van enjoying the overtime), the occasional local youth and elderly demented.” Perhaps some of them were among the 65 who voted for Jonathan Bigger, but somehow 31,448 came out of the woods to vote for the Tory.

 

Professor Ruth Kinna, Loughborough University: anarchism, anarchy, chaos, confusion, inefficiency, incompetence and their role in the triumph of totalitarianism, genocide and gross injustice

 

This profile - the newst in the section on 'Academics against armaments,' is incomplete. It will be revised and extended. Most of this profile will be concerned with matters other than episodes from the Second World War. I'll touch upon the Spanish Civil War. One of Professor Kinna's specialisms is the anarchist contribution during the conflict.  I'll begin with this, though, as an introduction to the confusions and oversights and distortions of Professor Kinna, an extensive field of study. In this short profile, I can only give a very basic, introductory account.

 

 

Liberation of Mauthausen Concentration Camp, 6 May, 1945. Tanks of U.S. 11th Armored Division entering the camp. Translation of the message in Spanish on the banner above the gate: 'Antifascist Spaniards greet the forces of liberation.'

 

Extract from a wondrously misguided  article by Professor Kinna


https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/professor-ruth-kinna-the-theory-and-practice-of-anarchism


 

List of Signatories to the Open Letter

 

I point out in the introductory material in the column to the left that the claim made by the organizers of the open letter that the signatories were all academics is false. Scanning the list will show that this is so. The majority of the people who signed the list were academics but the claim that they are all 'academics working on topics related to war, conflict, security, human rights, and international relations' is false.

Signed by,

Professor Sara Ahmed, Independent

Professor Nadje Al-Ali, SOAS

Professor Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley

Professor Boaventura de Sousa Santos, University of Coimbra

Professor Lisa Duggan, New York University

Professor Cynthia Enloe, Clark University

Professor Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina

Professor Lewis Gordon, Global Centre for Advanced Study; UCONN-Storrs; Rhodes University

Professor David Graeber, LSE

Professor Derek Gregory, University of British Colombia

Professor John Holloway, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Puebla

Professor Richard Jackson, University of Otago

Professor Laleh Khalili, SOAS, University of London

Professor Saskia Sassen, Colombia University, New York

Professor Vron Ware, Kingston University

Siân Addicott, Swansea College of Art

Dr Linda Åhäll, Keele University

Dr Kirsten Ainley, LSE

Hilary Aked, University of Bath

Simona Alexandra, Demilitarise King’s

Mehmet Ali, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna

Dr Jamie Allinson, University of Edinburgh

James Angel, King’s College London

Dr Leonie Ansems de Vries, King’s College London

Dr Claudia Aradau, King’s College London

Dr Gordon Asher, University of the West of Scotland

Dr Grietje Baars, City University of London

Dr Catherine Baker, University of Hull

Professor Mona Baker, University of Manchester

Dr Sita Balani, King’s College London

Dr Victoria Basham, Cardiff University

Mareike Beck, University of Sussex

Dr Laurie Benson, King’s College London

Professor G. K. Bhambra, University of Warwick

Jon Bigger, Loughborough University

Dr Ira Bliatka, Independent

Professor Lindsey Blumell, City University London

Dr Shannon Brincat, Griffith University

Dr Maria Brock, Södertörn University College

Dr Christopher Browning, University of Warwick

Dr Ian Bruff, University of Manchester

Mirjam Büdenbender, KU Leuven

Dr Sarah Bulmer, University of Exeter

Olimpia Burchiellaro, University of Westminster

Dr Rosalind Carr, University of East London

Dr Veronique Chance, Anglia Ruskin University

Dr Catherine Charrett, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Simon Choat, Kingston University

Dr Alex Christoyannopoulos, Loughborough University

Dr Chris Clarke, University of Warwick

Rosalie Clarke, NTU

Dr Thomas Clément Mercier, King’s College London

Professor Cynthia Cockburn, Retired

Lydia Cole, Aberystwyth University

Sam Cook, University of California, Santa Cruz

Amy Cooper, Birkbeck, University of London

Amy Corcoran, Queen Mary University of London

Clare Coultas, LSE

Thomas Cowan, King’s College London

Dr Ruth Craggs, King’s College London

Dr Rhys Crilley, University of Warwick

Dr Giran A. Cutanda, University of Granada

Ida Danewid, LSE

Kelcy Davenport, Anglia Ruskin University

Lou Dear, University of Glasgow

Dr Carl Death, University of Manchester

Dr Maria del Carmen Garcia Alonso, University of Kent

Dr Helen Dexter, The University of Leicester

Sam Donaldson, Solidarity

Jack Doyle, University of Oxford

Dr Synne Dyvik, University of Sussex

Elizabeth Eade, Brighton University

Dr Cassie Earl, University of Bristol

Dr James Eastwood, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Nathan Eisenstadt, University of Bristol

Dr Emmy Eklundh, King’s College London

Professor Miriam Estrada-Castillo, United Nations University for Peace

Catrin Evans, University of Glasgow

Dr Jonathan Evershed, Queen’s University Belfast

Syada Fatima Dastagir, Birkbeck, University of London

Adam Ferhani, University of Sheffield

Peter Finn, Kingston University

Kathrin Fischer, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Adam Fishwick, De Montfort University

Matthew Flinders, UCL

Dr Ludovic Foster, Independent

Dr Maria Fotou, University of Leicester

Guillaume Foulquie, University of Worcester

Dr Sylvia C. Frain, University of Otago & University of Guam

Dr Lola Frost, War Studies, King’s College London

Dr Sol Gamsu, University of Bath

Santiago García de Leaniz, EFA European Film Academy

Craig Gent, University of Warwick

Dr Jill Gibbon, Leeds Beckett University

Professor Emily Gilbert, University of Toronto

Dr Ciaran Gillespie, University of Surrey

Dr Rebecca Gould, University of Bristol

Leslie Gonzalez, University of Bristol

Dr Uri Gordon, University of Nottingham

Chloe Gott, University of Kent

Dr Sofa Gradin, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Harriet Gray, University of Gothenburg

Savannah Green, University of York

A Gregg, Independent

Dr Thomas Gregory, University of Auckland

Dr Mark Griffiths, Northumbria University

Dr Sandy Hager, City University of London

Jo Hague, Independent

Joseph Haigh, University of Warwick

Professor Janet Hargreaves, University of Huddersfield

Dr Sophie Harman, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Jason Hart, University of Bath

Dr Lou Harvey, University of Leeds

Dr Susanna Hast, University of Helsinki

Josefin Hedlund, King’s College London

Sita Hidayah, University of Freiburg

Dr Andy Higginbottom, Kingston University

Dr Peter Hill, Christ Church, University of Oxford

Dr Michael Hirsch, STFC

Dr Aggie Hirst, Kings College London

Jennifer Hobbs, University of Manchester

Dr Stephen Hobden, University of East London

Professor Jana Hoenke, University of Groningen

Dr Alison Howell, Rutgers University

Professor Jef Huysmans, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Marta Iñiguez de Heredia, Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals

Cody Jackson, Texas Women’s University

Louisa Jane Di Felice, Autonomous University of Barcelona

Professor Christina Jarvis, State University of New York

Dr Jamie M. Johnson, University of Leicester

Dr Katharina Karcher, University of Cambridge

Dr Oliver Kearns, Independent

Dr Paul Kelemen, University of Manchester

Margareta Kern, University of the Arts London

Professor Ruth Kinna, Loughborough University

Dr Paul Kirby, University of Sussex

Dr Sara Koopman, Kent State University

Dr Daniela Lai, UCL

Imane Lauraux, Independent

Dr Andrew Law, Newcastle University

Dr Sophie Lewis, University of Manchester

Matheus Lock Santos, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Matt Lee, Free University Brighton

Iris Loukopoulos, TansActional Athens

Dr Paulette Luff, Anglia Ruskin University

Julian Mair, MCI Management Centre

Dr Nivi Manchanda, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Tracy Marafiote, State University of New York

Professor Luke Martell, University of Sussex

Dr Maria Martin de Almagro Iniesta, University of Cambridge

Nicholas Martindale, University of Oxford

Dr Rachel Massey, University of Manchester

Dr Cristina Masters, University of Manchester

Dr Lauren McCarthy, Royal Holloway University of London

Dr Trevor McCrisken, University of Warwick

Dr Kevin McSorley, University of Portsmouth

Dr John McTague, University of Bristol

Angus McNelly, Queen Mary University of London

Rasika Meena Kaushik, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Dr Akanksha Mehta, University of Sussex

Dr Isabel Meier, University of East London

Dr Katharine Millar, LSE

Colin Millen, Campaign for Unity in Practice and Self-Governance

Amanda Mills, London College of Communication

Dr Laura Mills, University of St Andrews

Dr Lara Montesinos Coleman, University of Sussex

Lena Moore, University of Cambridge

Dr Dalia Mostafa, University of Manchester

Professor Josepa Munoz, Artist

Professor Peter Newell, University of Sussex

Dr Marijn Nieuwenhuis, University of Warwick

Dr Kerem Nisancioglu, SOAS, University of London

Dr Jonna Nyman, University of Sheffield

Dr Ronan O’Callaghan, University of Central Lancashire

Dr Kieran Oberman, Edinburgh University

Dr Louiza Odysseos, University of Sussex

Sofia Olsson, University of Brighton

Dr Ajay Parasram, Dalhousie University

Dr Owen Parker, University of Sheffield

Dr Katy Parry, University of Leeds

Dr Ruth Pearce, University of Leeds

Hazel Perry, Anarchist Studies Network

Dr Simon Philpott, Newcastle University

Dr Veronique Pin-Fat, University of Manchester

Dr Nicola Pratt, University of Warwick

Dr Kandida Purnell, University of Aberdeen

Nat Raha, University of Sussex

Sanaz Raji, Unis Resist Border Controls

Dr Elisa Randazzo, University of Hertfordshire

Dr Rahul Rao, SOAS University of London

George Renshaw, Reading University

Dr Matthew Rech, Plymouth University

Henry Redwood, King’s College London

Anastasia Siniori, Westminster University

Professor Dee Reynolds, University of Manchester

Hannah Richter, University of Hertfordshire

Dr Melanie Richter-Montpetit, University of Sheffield

Dr Judith Roads, Retired

Professor Bruce Robbins, Columbia University

Dr Roberto Roccu, King’s College London

Dr Chris Rossdale, LSE

Professor Eugene E. Ruyle, California State University, Long Beach

Dr Caitlin Ryan, University of Groningen

Dr Myriam Salama-Carr, University of Manchester

Dr Leon Sealey-Huggins, University of Warwick

Paschal Somers, Coventry Justice and Peace Group

Neil Stamper, Wordpower

Lucy Stroud, Aberdeen University

Professor Paulette Swartzfager, Rochester Institute of Technology

Dr Thomas Swann, Loughborough University

Dr Meera Sabaratnam, SOAS, University of London

Dr Elke Schwarz, University of Leicester

Professor Lynne Segal, Birkbeck, University of London

Rasha Shaheen, Academy of Contemporary Music

Dr Laura J. Shepherd, UNSW Sydney

Dr Jonathan Silver, Sheffield University

Dr Tom Smith, University of Portsmouth

Dr Nick Srnicek, King’s College London

Dr Liam Stanley, University of Sheffield

Dr Anna Stavrianakis, University of Sussex

Dr Maurice Stierl, University of California Davis

Dr Henrique Tavares Furtado, University of the West of England

Dr Nicholas Taylor, Goldsmiths, University of London

Sahra Taylor, City, University of London

Diana Teggi, University of Bath

Dr Lasse Thomassen, Queen Mary University of London

Professor Charles Thorpe, University of California, San Diego

Dr Joanna Tidy, University of Sheffield

Dr Lisa Tilley, University of Warwick

Dave Tinham, Kingston University

Dr Rebecca Tipton, University of Manchester

Dr Alen Toplisek, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Cornelis van der Haven, Ghent University

Mijke van der Drift, Goldsmiths, University of London

Sara Van Goozen, University of Manchester

Tom Vaughan, Aberystwyth University

Professor Stellan Vinthagen, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Eliana Voutsadakis, London Southbank University

Dr Dereck Wall, Goldsmiths College

Dr David Wearing, Royal Holloway University of London

Alister Wedderburn, King’s College London/Australian National University

Dr Julia Welland, University of Warwick

Dr Ben Whitham, De Montfort University

Professor Annick Wibben, University of San Francisco

Dr Jeremy Wildeman, University of Bath

Dr Joanie Willett, University of Exeter

Dr Al Williams, Rewilding Wales

Dr Elisa Wynne-Hughes, Cardiff University

Jakub Zahora, Charles University, Prague

Dr Chris Zebrowski, Loughborough University

 

Extract from the article published on the site 'The Disorder of Things' and 'Campaign Against Arms Trade Universities Network'

 

https://thedisorderofthings.com/2017/09/18/
academics-against-the-arms-fair/

 

https://caatunis.net/academics-against-the-arms-fair-an-open-letter/

 

Before giving an extract from the introductory material published on those sites, a short extract from Karl Popper's 'Conjectures and Refutations' (Chapter 18, 'Utopia and Violence.) Karl Popper, one of the most influential writers on scientific method, best known for his work in the philosophy of science and in particular for his book 'The Logic of Scientific Discovery' ('Die Logik der Forschung') wrote on many other subjects, including social and political issues. This is from his book 'Conjectures and Refutations:'

 

' ... we must not allow the distinction between attack and defence to become blurred. We must insist upon this distinction, and support and develop institutions (national as well as international) whose function is to discriminate between aggression and resistance to aggression.'

 

The organizers of the Open Letter, the two sites which publicized and promoted the letter and the naive signers of the letter overlooked this crucial distinction.

 

Academics Against the Arms Fair: An Open Letter

Last week, about 1500 weapons manufacturers and representatives of more than 100 states descended on London for Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) – the world’s largest arms fair. The companies have exhibited products ranging from crowd control equipment and ammunition to fighter jets and military vehicles, which they displayed to militaries, police forces and border agencies from around the world. DSEI is a major event for the international arms trade, and the deals done there play a major role in reinforcing Western militarism, fuelling conflict, repressing dissent and strengthening authoritarian regimes.

Two weeks ago, the Stop the Arms Fair coalition held a week of action in an attempt to prevent the arms fair from taking place. Anti-militarist groups, working in solidarity with activists from countries which have suffered the brutal consequences of the arms trade, held a series of events to disrupt the setup of DSEI. One event during this week was ‘Conference at the Gates’, an academic conference held in front of the arms fair, where participants debated ideas about militarism while taking action to resist it.

We support this week of action and Conference at the Gates, and call on the UK government to end its support for DSEI. As academics working on topics related to war, conflict, security, human rights, and international relations, we are opposed to the presence of this arms fair in London, and to the substantial support provided by the UK government to make it happen. It is wrong to argue, as the government does, that the arms trade contributes to security – it fuels conflict, facilitates repression, and makes the world a more dangerous place. In a world of complex challenges militarism should be regarded as part of the problem, not the solution.

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this column, images of some naive and clueless people taking part in the 'Festival of Resistance' followed by a different issue: migration and asylum. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below, from the YouTube video on the 'Festival of Resistance' (aka the 'Festival of Fun and Futility.')

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNnFOpp9iBQ

 

 The caption, 'We are War Resisters, we don't believe in war, we believe in alternatives to conflict.' Part of the image blocked so as not to infringe copyright.

 

 

Recommended, viewing all the video and viewing other videos on the event. Using the search term YouTube arms fair festival of resistance will uncover more fun-filled / dismal and depressing documentary evidence. The title of the video

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TycoeujynCs

 

is 'Stop DSEI [Defence and Security Equipment International] Day 1: Stop Arming Israel.' On this page, in various places, argument and evidence to show the crucial importance of Israel in protecting this part of the Middle East against terrorist action. A question for the anti-Israel protestors: Why are same sex relations (completely legal in Israel} illegal in Gaza and punishable by imprisonment for up to ten years?

 

Short term aim of the Festival of Resistance: stopping the Defence and Security Equipment event from taking place. Long term aim: to bring peace to the world. Some of the methods used: holding placards, chanting slogans, lying down in the street, in general, methods which haven't the slightest hope of success. The organizers have to realize that their methods need to be used in conflict zones. Perhaps they could consider Rapid Alert Stop War Missions to places in imminent danger of invasion, to active war zones, to places devastated by ISIS and other terrorist organizations, to see if signs and slogans have any effect at all, if lying down in a road where tanks are advancing stops the tanks or simply results in the crushing of protestors.

 

Preparatory: profile of Professor Matthew Flinders, Sheffield University Department of Politics and International Relations

 

Let them come.' Open Democracy Document: Refugees and Asylum seekers

 

Why the Open Democracy Document is grossly unfair

 

Migration Watch Document: 'What is the problem?'


Open Democracy Document: List of Signers


'Let them come.' Open Democracy Document: Refugees and Asylum seekers

 

The current government position is bad policy, bad politics and a betrayal of what is best in Britain's history of providing sanctuary to those in need.

 

14 September 2015

Dear Prime Minister and Home Secretary,

We the undersigned are dedicated to creating a socially just world.  We spend our working lives supporting and promoting research, initiatives, and projects which will create a fairer and more equitable society for everyone.  Among our number are many leading experts on community cohesion, asylum, refugees, migration, politics, public opinion, policy and law.  We believe the Government’s current position on the European refugee crisis is misguided and requires urgent change.

 

Britain has a long and proud tradition of providing sanctuary to those in need. Thousands of European Jews were taken in by the governments of the 1930s and 1940s, saved from the horrors of fascism and Nazi extermination. Britain was one of the founding signatories of the post-war Geneva Convention on refugees in 1951. Tens of thousands of Ugandan Asians were saved from the tyranny of Idi Amin in the 1970s, while in the 1980s we accepted thousands of boat people fleeing Vietnam. More recently, we have given sanctuary to thousands of refugees fleeing conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.

 

You do not need to look far to find the beneficiaries of this proud tradition. Some sit with you on the benches of the House of Commons. Priti Patel, your employment minister, whose parents fled the tyranny of Idi Amin's Uganda. Nadeem Zahawi, the MP for Stratford-upon-Avon, who came to Britain as a nine year old child from Iraq, one of many families escaping Saddam Hussein. On the opposition benches, your former sparring partner Ed Miliband, whose father caught the last boat to Britain when the Nazis invaded Belgium. In the House of Lords, Lord Finkelstein, Lord Howard and others are the children of refugees given sanctuary by previous British governments.

 

Refugees and their descendents have made great contributions in all walks of British life. Some are famous on the national and international stage, others quietly contribute to British society and build lives for themselves and their families. All of them owe everything to the principled generosity of past Prime Ministers. That generosity is urgently needed again now.

 

You are right to point to our significant financial contribution of £900 million to help the governments of Syria, Lebanon and Turkey cope with the regional refugee crisis, a contribution you have recently increased by a further £100 million. Yet on the urgent issue of providing sanctuary to those who have arrived in Europe, it is clear we are failing to do our part. Germany has shown real leadership in response to this crisis, unilaterally lifting the Dublin regulation requiring refugees to be accommodated in their country of first entry, pledging to resettle up to 35,000 Syrian refugees under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS) and leading efforts to build a co-ordinated European response. While Chancellor Merkel has responded with bold leadership, our own government response has been reluctant and insufficient. We have accepted only a tiny handful of VPRS refugees and, while your recent pledge to increase this commitment to several thousand is welcome, it is not equal to the task before us. For every refugee we currently accept, Germany accepts thirty five.

 

Some have argued that the British public are opposed to a larger effort to help, and that in any event such efforts are futile as we cannot hope to support all those displaced by this conflict, nor can support for refugees resolve the crisis that has led them to flee in the first place. We reject these arguments. Opinion polling shows that British voters backed the principle of asylum even before the current crisis - in a May poll by YouGov supporters outnumbered opponents by a margin of two to one. The terrible images of recent days can only have further reinforced this public support. The argument that we should not help anyone because we cannot help everyone is illogical and a historical betrayal. The governments of the 1930s and 1940s could not hope to help everyone displaced by global conflict, but they did what they could, saving thousands of lives. The situation is no different now. There is also no logic of refusing to help those fleeing conflict because doing so will not resolve the conflict. It is akin to leaving people in a burning building because rescuing them won't help put out the fire. We do need to do more to resolve the conflicts in the region. But first we must help more of those put at risk by these conflicts.

 

The chorus of political voices calling for greater action is growing rapidly, and crosses all traditional party lines. Conservative MPs Nicola Blackwood, David Burrowes, Jonny Mercer, Tom Tugendhat, Nadeem Zahawi and Jeremy Lefroy have all called for us to do more as a nation, as have Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, former party chairman. Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has joined SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale in calling for more to be done. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has joined these calls, as have the interim Labour Leader Harriet Harman and all the candidates in the Labour leadership contest.

 

The current government position is bad policy, bad politics and a betrayal of a proud British tradition. It shames us as a nation that we have done so little, and there is clear support for a change of stance from across the political spectrum. We urge you to live up to Britain's proud humanitarian traditions, and increase Britain's commitment to give sanctuary to those in urgent need on Europe's borders. This crisis is a chance to challenge the growing cynicism of voters who feel that politicians are crooked and politics doesn't matter. Show those who are pouring out their support for those in desperate need but feel powerless to help them that the British government is still a force for good in the world. We can do more. We should do more. We must do more. Prime Minister and Home Secretary, listen to the voices of your colleagues in Europe, the voices of colleagues in your parties and other parties, and the voices of your voters when we say: Let them come.

 

Why the Open Democracy Document is grossly unfair

 

The current government position is bad policy, bad politics and a betrayal of a proud British tradition. It shames us as a nation that we have done so little, and there is clear support for a change of stance from across the political spectrum. We urge you to live up to Britain's proud humanitarian traditions, and increase Britain's commitment to give sanctuary to those in urgent need on Europe's borders. This crisis is a chance to challenge the growing cynicism of voters who feel that politicians are crooked and politics doesn't matter. Show those who are pouring out their support for those in desperate need but feel powerless to help them that the British government is still a force for good in the world. We can do more. We should do more. We must do more. Prime Minister and Home Secretary, listen to the voices of your colleagues in Europe, the voices of colleagues in your parties and other parties, and the voices of your voters when we say: Let them come.

 

Migration Watch Document: 'What is the problem?'

 

From the page

https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/what-is-the-problem

(Figures provided with the document omitted.)


  • The issue is the huge scale of immigration (para 2)

  • It is now massive compared to the past (para 6)

  • It is adding more than a million to the UK population every three years (para 11)

  • Mass immigration places major pressure on public services. There were an average of 2,000 new GP registrations by migrants per day in 2016/17 (para 15)

  • Current levels of immigration to England will require a home to be built every six minutes, night and day (para 16)

  • Immigrants overall were a net fiscal cost to the Exchequer of £4.3 billion in 2016/17

  • Nearly three-quarters of the public supports a large reduction in immigration levels, according to a 2018 Deltapoll (para 20)

  • Demos found that about three-quarters of the public considered that immigration had increased divisions (para 23)

Introduction

1. Immigration is a natural part of an open economy and society. The problem for the UK is that the current level of immigration is much too high. There needs to be a significant reduction in the level of international net migration (the number of immigrants minus the number of emigrants) which has averaged nearly 300,000 per annum since 2014 – equivalent to the population of Newcastle arriving each year.

2. Opponents of tighter immigration control often try to present the debate as being either ‘for’ or ‘against’ migration. That is quite wrong. The issue is with its scale and with the dismissal of the public’s views on a matter of vital importance. A country has the right to decide who to allow in. Accordingly, all countries have border controls and all face legitimate questions over who to admit and who to turn away. The key question is who and how many people are good for our economy and society. Immigration policy, like any other policy, needs to be managed in the best interests of the UK and of its citizens.

3. As is befitting an organisation that is chaired by a first-generation migrant, we at Migration Watch UK know only too well that most migrants come here for an admirable reason, to try to better their lives. A huge number of those from overseas make a positive contribution to our society. However, as many migrants themselves recognise, the current pace of immigration-driven population growth is placing serious pressure on our roads, trains, hospitals, GP surgeries, schools and natural resources – all of which are struggling to cope.

4. Many people are also concerned about the way in which immigration is leading to rapid cultural change. Indeed, some communities have been transformed forever and the local way of life has now been largely displaced.

5. Many also believe that the ongoing process of mass immigration is having a harmful impact on fundamental British values such as freedom of expression and freedom of religion, and equality of opportunity for women and those in the LGBT community.

The scale of immigration

6. The scale of immigration over the past 20 years is unprecedented in our history. The UK has always experienced periods of immigration never on remotely the same scale as that which we have witnessed over the past two decades or so (see a history of immigration to the UK here).

7. In 1997, net migration was just 47,000. In the years that followed it rose to well over 200,000 and reached 320,000 in 2005. Under the last Labour government (1997-2010) an extra 3.6 million foreign migrants arrived, while one million British citizens left. (Read more about Labour’s record on immigration from 1997 to 2010).

8. The coalition government elected in 2010 pledged to reduce net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ (a promise that was repeated in 2015 and 2017). However, overall net migration rose to a third of a million – even higher than under Labour. This is largely because net migration from the EU doubled over the last Parliament due to the ongoing disparity in wealth between Eastern Europe and the UK together and the impact of the Eurozone crisis on Southern Europe (See here). This no doubt contributed significantly to the June 2016 referendum result

9. The current Conservative government has failed to reduce immigration as it has promised to do. According to the most recent estimates, net migration stood at just over 250,000 in the year 2018. Although EU net migration has fallen substantially in recent years, non-EU net migration remains at historically high levels (over 230,000 per year). See figure 1 below and read more about the latest net migration estimates.

Why is the current level of immigration a problem?

10. The UK (and especially England) is already densely populated by international standards. At 430 people per square kilometre, England is nearly twice as crowded as Germany (227) people per sq/km) and more than three times as crowded as France (117 people per sq/km).

11. High immigration is driving rapid population growth. Immigration added one million to the population every three years during the period 2001-2016. The current rate of UK population growth is higher than in 47 out of the past 65 years (read this paper on immigration and population growth).

12. In 2016, nearly three-quarters of people said Britain was already crowded (YouGov, May 2016). In 2018, 64% of the public said the level of projected population growth was too high (YouGov, July 2018).

13. The UK population stood at 66.4 million in mid-2018 (see figure 2 below) and has risen by more than 7.7 million over the past twenty years.

14. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) projects that, if net migration remains at about the current level of nearly 250,000 per year, the UK population will increase by a total just under 400,000 per year until 2041. In the long term this would lead to growth of 9.7 million people over a 25-year period. We would surpass 70 million in 2026. ONS projections show that around 82% of the total increase by 2041 would be the result of immigration (see the official ONS population projections).

15. The ONS has said that ‘in addition to the direct impact of migration on the size of the population, current and past international migration also has indirect effects on the size of the population as it changes the numbers of births and deaths in the UK’. In 2017, 28.4% of all births in England and Wales were to mothers born outside of the UK. Meanwhile, in 2016/17, there were 730,000 new registrations with GPs by those from overseas in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – or an average of 2,000 per day. While a note of caution is required in that some migrants may have been here short-term or could have moved between homes in the UK and been double counted in the statistics, most registrations were more likely to have been new arrivals, here for protracted periods.

16. To cope with this population increase huge amounts will have to be spent on the expansion of school places, roads, rail, health and other infrastructure (read more about the impact of immigration on public services and infrastructure). Well over half of the public (58%) think immigration already places a large amount of pressure on public services (Ipsos MORI, 2017). There is one new GP registration by someone from overseas every minute (ONS statistics).

17. Mass immigration is clearly worsening the housing crisis. It has ‘increased the overall demand for housing’ (says the ONS) and ‘increases house prices’ (according to the Journal of Housing Economics - July 2019). One home will have to be built every six minutes, night and day, just to cope with the current level of net immigration to England (ONS projections). Unless immigration is brought sharply down the housing crisis will continue indefinitely, largely to the detriment of our young people. At the same time the UK’s precious green countryside will continue to be swallowed up by construction of the extra housing required (Read more about the impact of immigration on housing).

Little benefit for the UK population and harmful for the poorest

18. Claims that immigration represents a fiscal benefit to the UK are false (for more here is our economics briefing). The academic research points to immigration resulting in a clear fiscal cost to the UK. Between 1995 and 2011, immigrants in the UK cost at least £114 billion, or about £18m a day (University College London research, 2014). More recently, for the year 2016/17, a 2018 report for the Migration Advisory Committee estimated that immigrants overall cost the Exchequer £4.3 billion, adding to the UK's fiscal deficit (with a net contribution of £4.7bn by EEA migrants considerably outweighed by a cost of £9bn for non-EEA migrants - - see par. 4.11 of MAC report). On this evidence, immigration does not generate the tax receipts needed for migrants to 'pay their way' let alone to finance the new infrastructure or anything else required by rapid population growth.

19. The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast that the UK economy will continue to grow at a modest rate into 2021 (see Financial Times report). Mass immigration is a factor in this because more people make for a larger economy. However, immigration does not seem to have had any clear beneficial impact the UK’s GDP per head so has not necessarily made for a better economy. Indeed, growth in GDP per capita has effectively stalled over the past decade. Additionally, despite the number of immigrant workers growing by over two million since 2006, productivity (key to economic performance) has essentially flat-lined (for more, read this May 2019 paper: ‘Immigration and UK productivity’). As the MAC has said: “The impact of migration on aggregate productivity may be mixed”.

20. The numbers of both UK-born and non-UK born people in employment continues to grow (see ONS statistics). However, the availability of a large pool of labour from abroad has taken the pressure off employers to raise wages (see Blanchflower, National Institute Economic Review, 2015). Mass immigration is likely to be holding back wages for those in direct competition for work, which is often those who are already on low pay – both UK-born and previous migrants. A 2015 Bank of England studyfound a negative impact on the wages of those in the lower skilled services sector in which millions of UK workers are employed. Meanwhile, the Resolution Foundationfound in 2016 that immigration over the period 2009-2016 ‘resulted in native wages for those in skilled trades occupations [electricians, plumbers and bricklayers] being 2.1% lower’ (pp. 16-17 of their report).

Public Opinion 

21. While the public have a nuanced view on different types of immigration, Ipsos MORI have found that three in every five UK adults supports a reduction in immigration levels. Deltapoll finds that nearly three quarters of those surveyed in 2018 wanted a significant reduction. In addition, a 2019 YouGov-Cambridge Globalism poll found that 72% of respondents did not say that the benefits of immigration outweighed the costs (read more about public opinion regarding immigration).

22. In its 2017 election manifesto the Conservative Partystated (see p.48) that it would bring net migration down ‘to the tens of thousands’ and ‘bear down on immigration from outside the EU’. A failure to deliver on such promises has undoubtedly contributed to public disillusionment and distrust on this topic. Only 17% of the public think that the government tells the truth on the issue either all or most of the time (British Future). Only by delivering a major reduction in immigration can the government begin to remedy what has become a huge credibility gap. In a democracy, it is essential that public policy is responsive to the public’s wishes and that election promises are honoured.

The unity of our society

23. “Too many people coming too quickly into a society makes it difficult to retain a sense of cohesion and stability” (Policy Exchange, 2017): This suggests that immigration levels needs to be reduced. In 2016, Dame Louise Casey reported that some areas of the UK were struggling to cope with the pace and scale of change while pointing to a growth in ‘regressive ideologies’. These included religious and cultural practices targeting women and children (female genital mutilation, forced marriage, 'honour' based crime, educational segregation and stultification) and the ‘hate and stigmatisation’ of LGBT people.

24. Polling also indicates that UK society is becoming more fractured as the result of immigration. Demos foundthat around three quarters of the public said in 2018 that immigration had increased divisions. According to Eurofound, around half of the public believe immigration has led to a high level of tension. Bringing the level of immigration down by a large amount is crucial to ensuring a cohesive community in which all are treated with dignity and British culture and values are protected and enriched.

25. Our paper “What should be done” explains what steps need to be taken to bring immigration down.

Updated 11 July 2019

 

Open Democracy Document: List of Signers

 

 

 

Dr Robert Ford, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Maria Sobolewska, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Professor Matthew Flinders, Chair, Political Studies Association and Director of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre for Promoting the Public Understanding of Politics

Dr Rosie Campbell, Vice Chair, Political Studies Association and Reader in Politics, Birkbeck College

Dr Vicky Randall, Vice Chair, Political Studies Association and Emeritus Professor in Politics, University of Essex

Helena Djurkovic, CEO, Political Studies Association

Professor Francesca Gains, Head of Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Manchester

Dr Tariq Modood, MBA FAcSS, Founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship and Professor of Sociology, Public Policy and Politics, University of Bristol

Dr Liz Frazer, Head of Department of Politics and Official Fellow of New College, University of Oxford

Frances O'Grady, General Secretary, Trades Union Congress

Dr Ailsa Henderson, Professor of Politics and Head of Department of Politics and International Relations

Dr Simon Hix, Head of Department of Government and Harold Laski Professor of Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science

Dr Mike Savage FBA, Head of Department of Sociology and Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science

Professor Emma Murphy, Head of School of Government and International Affairs, University of Durham

Dr Nick Vaughan-Williams, Professor of Politics and Head of Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

Dr Melissa Mills, Head of Department of Sociology and Nuffield Professor of Sociology, University of Oxford

Professor Claudio Radaelli, Director, Centre of European Governance, University of Exeter

Dr Anthony Heath FBA CBE, Director of the Centre for Social Investigation and Professor of Sociology, University of Oxford

Dr Michael Keith, Director of the Centre on Migration Policy and Society (COMPAS) and Professorial Fellow, Merton College, Oxford University

Dr Patrick Sturgis, Director of ESRC National Centre for Research Methods and Professor of Research Methodology, University of Southampton

Dr Andrew Sanders, Head of School of Law, Politics and Sociology Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology,  University of Sussex

Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive, Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Debbie Pippard, Head of Programmes, Barrow Cadbury Trust

Nick Perks, Trust Secretary, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

Omar Khan, Director, Runnymede Trust

Michael McTernan, Director, Policy Network

Don Flynn, Director, Migrants' Rights Network

Sunder Katwala, Director, British Future

Will Somerville, Director, UK Programme, Unbound Philanthropy

Andy Gregg, Chief Executive, Race on the Agenda

Jehangir Malik OBE, UK Director, Islamic Relief

Nero Ughwujabo,  Chief Executive , Croydon BME Forum

Jabeer Butt, Deputy Chief Executive, Race Equality Foundation

Alexandra Runswick, Director, Unlock Democracy

Patrick Yu, Executive Director, Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities

Nick Lowles, Chief Executive, Hope not Hate

Dr Edie Friedman, Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality

Ratna Lachman, Director, JUST West Yorkshire

S Chelvan, Barrister, No5 Chambers

Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE, Chairman, Arab-Jewis Forum

Mark Tilki, Chair, Irish in Britain

Michael Newman, Vice-chair, Discrimination Law Association

Dr Anoush Ehteshami  Joint Director of the RCUK Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World and Professor of International Relations, University of Durham

Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia, Senior Lecturer in Politics and Director of the UCL Institute for Human Rights, University College London

Dr David Feldman, Direct, Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism and Professor of History, Birkbeck, University of London

Dr Bridget Anderson, Deputy Director of COMPAS and Professor of Migration and Citizenship, University of Oxford

Dr Virginia Mantouvalou, Co-Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Reader in Human Rights and Labour Law, University College London

Dr Patrick Baert, Head of Department of Sociology and Professor of Sociology, University of Cambridge

Dr Simon Parker, Director of School of Social and Political Sciences and Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of York

Dr Fiona Mackay, Head of School of Social and Political Science and Professor of Politics, University of Edinburgh

Dr Claire Annesley, Head of Department of Politics and Professor of Politics, University of Sussex

Dr Valsamis Mitsilegas, Head of the Department of Law and Professor of Law,

Queen Mary University of London

Dr Dibyesh Anand, Head of Department and Reader in Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster

Dr Albert Weale CBE FBA, Emeritus Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy, University College London

Dr Ben Bowling, Deputy Dean and Professor of Law, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London

Dr Colin Clark, Professor of Sociology & Social Policy, Research Director of the Public Policy, Governance & Social Justice hub, The University of the West of Scotland

Dr Patrick Hayden, Director of Research, School of International Relations and Professor of Politics, University of Edinburgh

Dr Reenske Doorenspleet, Director of the Centre for Studies in Democratisation and Associate Professor of Politics, University of Warwick

Dr Alan Ware, Professor of Politics and Emeritus Fellow, Worcester College, University of Oxford

Dr Robin Cohen, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies and former Director, International Migration Institute, University of Oxford

Dr Deborah Johnston, Head of Department of Economics and Reader in Economics, SOAS, University of London

Dr Ben Clift, Deputy Head of Department of Politics, and Professor of Politics, University of Warwick

Dr Sally Munt, Director, Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies and Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sussex

Dr Ben Rogaly, Head of Department of Geography and Professor of Geography, University of Sussex

Dr Alan Lester, Co-Director of Centre for Colonial and Post-colonial studies and Professor of Historical Geography, University of Sussex

Dr Harris Beider, Head of Social Relations Team and Professor of Community Cohesion, Coventry University

Dr Phil Henry, Director, The Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Derby

Dr Alison Phipps, Director of Gender Studies & Reader in Sociology, University of Sussex

Dr Eleonore Kofman, Co-Director Social Policy Research Centre and Professor of Social Policy, Middlesex University

Professor David Held, Master of University College, Durham

Dr Sam Raphael, Co-Director, The Rendition Project and Senior Lecturer, Politics, International Relations and Human Rights, Kingston University

Dr Jennifer Van Heerde-Hudson, Director, UCL Q-Step Centre and Senior Lecturer in Political Behaviour, University College London

Dr Navtej Purewal, Deputy Director, South Asia Institute, SOAS, University of London

Dr Margaret Greenfields, Director: Institute for Diversity Research, Inclusivity, Communities and Society (IDRICS) and Professor of Social Policy & Community Engagement, Buckinghamshire New University

Dr Louise Ryan, Co-Director of the Social Policy Research Centre and Professor of Sociology, Middlesex University

Dr Daniel Butt, Director of the Centre for the Study of Social Justice and Associate Professor in Political Theory, Oxford University

Dr Stuart White, Director of the Public Policy Unit, Associate Professor in Politics and Fellow of Jesus College, University of Oxford

Dr Vanja Hamzic, co-Chair, Centre for Ottomoan Studies, SOAS, University of London

Dr Ana Contandi, Head of the School of Arts, SOAS, University of London

Dr Francesco Billari FBA, Professor of Sociology, University of Oxford

Dr Cecile Laborde, FBA, Professor of Political Theory, University College London

Dr Edward Fieldhouse, Director of the British Election Study and Professor of Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Hermann Schmitt, Director of the British Election Study and Professor of Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Jane Green, Director of the British Election Study and Professor of Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Heaven Crawley, Professor of International Migration, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations

Dr Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs, Kings College London

Dr Andew Thompson, Professor of Public Policy and Citizenship, University of Edinburgh

Dr Colin Talbot, Professor of Politics, University of Manchester

Dr David Richards, Professor of Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Andrew Russell, Professor of Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Ludi Simpson, Professor of Population Studies, University of Manchester

Dr Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics, University of Bristol

Dr Joni Lovenduski, Professor of Politics, Birkbeck College University of London

Dr Gerry Stoker, Professor of Politics and Governance, University of Southampton

Dr Paul Whiteley, Professor of Politics, University of Essex

Dr Andrew Geddes, Professor of Politics, University of Sheffield

Dr Jan Toporowski, Professor of Economics, SOAS, University of London

Dr Guy Standing FAcSS, Professor in Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Mr Chris Bertram, Professor of Social and Political Philosophy, University of Bristol

Dr Satvinder Juss FRSA, Professor of Law, King's College London

Dr Mike Smith, Professor in European Politics, University of Warwick

Dr Peter Fitzpatrick, Anniversary Professor of Law, Birkbeck College University of London

Dr Ian Law, Professor of Sociology,  School of Sociology and Social Policy University of Leeds

Dr Yunas Samad, Professor of South Asian Studies, University of Bradford

Dr Shirin Rai, Professor of Politics, Warwick University

Dr Peter Humphreys, Professor of Politics, Manchester University

Dr Eleanor Nesbitt, Professor Emeritus, Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit

Dr Peter Ratcliffe, Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick

Dr Anthony Good, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh

Dr Marie-Benedicte Dembour, Professor of Law and Anthropology, University of Brighton

Dr Raminder Kaur, Professor of Anthropology, University of Sussex

Dr Rachel Gibson, Professor of Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Bernard Ryan, Professor of Migration Law, University of Leicester

Dr Gideon Calder, Professor of Social Ethics, University of South Wales

Dr Clive Jones,  F.R.Hist.Soc, Professor of Regional Security, University of Durham

Dr James Fairhead, Professor of Anthropology, University of Sussex

Dr Salwa Ismail, Professor of Politics with Reference to the Middle East, SOAS, University of London

Dr Alan Renwick, Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit, University College London

Dr Stephen Fielding, Professor of Politics, University of Nottingham

Dr Colin Hay, Professor of Politics, Sciences-Po, Paris

Dr Matthew Goodwin, Professor of Politics, University of Kent

Dr Julia Strauss, Professor of Politics, SOAS, University of London

Dr Francesca Bray, Professor of Anthropology, University of Edinburgh

Dr Les Back, Professor of Sociology, Goldsmiths College University of London

Dr Ben Highmore, Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sussex

Dr Anshuman Mondal, Professor of English, College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences, Brunel University

Dr Hakim Adi, Professor of the History of Africa and the African Diaspora,University of Chichester

Dr Jane Cowan, Professor of social anthropology at the University of Sussex;  also Professor for the International Summer School, 'Cultures, Migrations, Borders' in Plomari, Lesbos,

Dr Gill Crozier, Professor of Education, University of Roehampton, London

Dr Floya Anthias, Professor of Sociology and Social Justice (Emeritus), Roehampton University

Dr David Owen, Professor of Social and Political Philosophy, University of Southampton

Dr Simon Caney, Professor in Political Theory, Magdalen College, Oxford

Dr Ben Highmore, Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Sussex.

Dr Peter Muchlinski, Professor in International Commercial Law, The School of Law, SOAS, University of London

Dr Christina Boswell, Director of Research and Professor of Politics, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh

Dr Nicola McEwen, Professor of Territorial Politics, University of Edinburgh

Dr Alfredo Saad Filho, Professor of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Dr Christopher Cramer, Professor of the Political Economy of Development, SOAS, University of London

Dr Marc Stears, Professor of Political Theory and Fellow of University College, University of Oxford

Dr Mark Hobart, Emeritus Professor of Critical Media and Cultural Studies, SOAS, University of London

Dr Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London

Dr Michael Jennings, Senior Lecturer in Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Dr Oliver Heath, Reader in Politics, Royal Holloway University of London

Dr Maria Koinova, Reader in International Relations, Warwick University

Dr Miriam Ronzoni, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Eddie Bruce-Jones, Senior Lecturer in Law, Birkbeck College University of London

Dr Piers Robinson, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Matthias Thaler, Chancellor's Fellow in Politics, University of Edinburgh

Dr Louiza Odysseos, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex

Dr Martin O'Neill, Senior Lecturer in Political Philosophy, University of York

Dr Sian Hawthorne, Director of Studies MA Religion and Global Politics, SOAS, University of London

Dr Delwar Hussain, Chancellor's Fellow in Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh

Dr Gerard McCann, Senior Lecturer in International Studies, St Mary’s University College, Belfast

Dr. Theofanis Exadaktylos, Lecturer in European Politics, University of Surrey

Dr Tereza Capelos, Lecturer in Politics, University of Surrey

Dr Liz Richardson, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Christian Schemmel, Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Marta Cantijoch, Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Aoileann Ni Mhurchu, Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Alistair Clark, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Newcastle

Dr Liam Shields, Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Manchester

Dr Helena Wray, Associate Professor in Law, Middlesex University

Dr Jonathan Seglow, Reader in Political Theory, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Bridget Byrne, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Manchester

Dr. Leandro Vergara-Camus, Lecturer in Theory, Policy and Practice of Development, SOAS, University of London

Dr Nicola Pratt, Reader, International Politics of the Middle East, University of Warwick

Dr Ana Lindley, Lecturer in Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Dr Vicki Squire, Associate Professor of International Security, University of Warwick

Dr Steve Bastow, Director of Teaching and Learning, School of Economics, History and Politics

Kingston University

Dr Nicola Furrie Senior Lecturer in Political Communication and Public Affairs, Aberdeen Business School

Dr Ben Gidley, Associate Professor,  School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford

Dr Sundari Anitha, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln

Dr Peter McLaverty, Reader in Public Policy, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University

Dr Elizabeth Evans, Lecturer in Politics, University of Bristol

Dr Barbara Zollner, Lecturer in Politics, Birkbeck College

Dr Kieran Oberman, Chancellor's Research Fellow in Politics, Edinburgh University

Rebecca Parto, Chair, Political Studies Association Postgraduate Network

Professor David Owen, University of Southampton

Dr Meera Sabaratnam, Lecturer in Politics, SOAS, University of London

Dr Amrita, Senior Teaching Fellow in History, SOAS, University of London

Dr Mihaela Mihai, Lecturer in Politics, University of Edinburgh

Dr Paul O'Connell, Reader in Law, SOAS, University of London

Dr Ian Bruff, Lecturer in European Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Lars Laamann, Lecturer in History, SOAS, University of London

Dr Hedi Viterbo, Lecturer in Politics, SOAS, University of London

Dr Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee, Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies

Dr Michael Buehler, Lecturer in Comparative Politics, SOAS, University of London

Dr Judith Bara, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Queen Mary, Univerity of London

Dr Louise Thompson, Lecturer in British Politics, University of Surrey

Dr Leslie Vinjamuri, Senior Lecturer in Politics, SOAS, University of London

Dr Pontus Odmalm, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Edinburgh

Dr Pierre-Philippe Fraiture Head of French Studies and Professor of French, University of Warwick

Dr Mulaika Hijjas, Lecturer in South East Asian Studies, SOAS, University of London

Dr Kevin Millar, Teaching Fellow in Politics, University of Durham

Dr Frauke Urban, Senior Lecturer in Environment and Development, SOAS, University of London

Lucy Hatton, PhD researcher in Politics, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

Dr Elizabeth Kahn, Lecturer in Political Theory, School of Politics and International Affairs, University of Durham

Dr Carly Beckerman-Boys, Lecture in the International Relations of the Middle East, School of Politics and International Affairs, University of Durham

Dr Kamran Khan, Lecturer in Politics, University of Leicester

Eloise Bertrand, PhD researcher in Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

Dr Julia Welland, Teaching Fellow, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

Dr Laia Becares, Joint ESRC/Hallsworth Research Fellow, Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity, University of Manchester

Dr Carl Death, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Federico Mucciarelli Reader in Financial Law SOAS, University of London,

Dr James Caron, Lecturer in Islamicate South Asia, Faculty of Languages and Cultures, SOAS - University of London

Dr Lucy Lowe, Lecturer in Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh

Dr Robert Jump, Lecturer in Economic, University of Kingston

Dr Nick Turnbull, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Stuart Shields, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Olga Onuch, Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Anastasia Taryn, Lecturer in Law, University of Liverpool

Lauren Tooker, Erasmus Mundus Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Warwick

Dr Steve Ketterell, Associate Professor in Politics, University of Warwick

Dr Veronique Pin-Fat, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Daniel Fitzpatrick, Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Neophytos Loizides, Reader in International Conflict Analysis, University of Kent

Dr. Bridget Cotter, Lecturer in Politics, University of Westminster

Dr Nic Cheeseman, Associate Professor in African Politics, University of Oxford

Dr Vikki Boliver, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Durham

Dr Anita Schrader-McMillan, Senior Research Fellow, Warwick Medical School

Dr David Hudson, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy, University College London

Dr Tom Dannenbaum, Lecturer in Human Rights, University College London

Dr Christina Achinger, Associate Professor in German Studies, University of Warwick

Dr Edyta Roszko, Marie Curie Research Fellow in Politics, University of Durham

Dr Sarah Fine, Lecturer in Philosophy, Kings College London

Dr Sam Freiedman, Assistant Professor in Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science

Dr Anita Schrader-McMillan, Senior Research Fellow, Warwick Medical School

Dr Sara Dorman, Lecturer in Politics, University of Edinburgh

Dr Richard Child, Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Laura McLeod, Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Gunvor Jónsson,  Departmental Lecturer in Migration and Development

Dept. of International Development University of Oxford

Dr Adrienne Roberts, Lecturer in International Politics, University of Manchester

Dr Rainbow Murray, Reader in Politics, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Robin Pettit, Lecturer in Politics, Kingston University

Dr Naomi Wells, Research Fellow, Italian Studies, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Warwick

Dr Subir Sinha, Senior Lecturer, Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Dr Oz Hassan, Associate Professor in National Security, University of Warwick

Dr. Rashmi Varma, Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies

Dr Stephanie Collins, Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Manchester

Dr Cristina Masters, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Manchester

Dr Alexandra Homolar, Associate Professor of International Security, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick.

Dr Stephen Dr Wizje, Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Manchester

Dr Rachel Seoighe, Research Fellow in Law, University of Warwick

Dr Claire Blencowe, Associate Professor of Sociology University of Warwick

Dr Samantha Ashenden, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Birkbeck College University of London

Dr David Cutts, Reader in Politics, University of Bath

Dr Trevor McCrisken, Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

Dr Ruvi Ziegler, Lecturer in Law, University of Reading

Dr Emily McTernan, Lecturer in Political Theory, University College London

Dr Fiona Adamson, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, SOAS, University of London

Dr Avia Pasternak, Lecturer in Global Ethics, University College London

Jennifer Brown, PhD Researcher, University College London

Dr Manjeet Ramgotra, Senior Teaching Fellow in Politics, SOAS, University of London

Anca Gheaus, Doctoral Researcher in Philosophy, University of Sheffield

Alan Anstead, UK Race and Equality Network

Dr Khursheed Wadia, Principal Research Fellow in Ethnic Relations, University of Warwick

Dr Ugur Ozdemir, Lecturer in Quantitative Political Science

Dr Christopher Browning, Lecturer in Politics, University of Warwick

Dr Stephen Kettell, Associate Professor in Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

Dr Patrick Burke, Lecturer in Politics, University of Westminster

Dr Ruth Wittlinger, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Durham

Dr Zoe Marriage, Reader in Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Dr Zakia Shiraz, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick

Dr Madeline Fagan, Global Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick

Dr Reem Abou-El-Fadl, Lecturer in Comparative Politics of the Middle East, SOAS, University of London

Dr Ian O'Flynn, Lecturer in Politics, Newcastle University

Dr Simon Choat, Senior Lecturer in Politics, University of Kingston

Dr Carmen Gebhard, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh

Dženeta Karabegović, PhD Candidate, Politics and International Studies
Department, University of Warwick

Dr Loredana Polezzi, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Warwick

Dr Khursheed Wadia, Principal Research Fellow in Ethnic Relations, University of Warwick

Dr. Juanita Elias, Associate Professor, Politics & International Studies, University of Warwick

Dr Lena Rethel, Associate Professor, Politics & International Studies, University of Warwick

Dr Sutha Nadarajah, Lecturer in International Relations, SOAS, University of London

Dr Dalal Stevens, Director of Research, School of Law and Reader in Law

Dr Ingrid Storm, British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity, University of Manchester

Dr Nissa Finney, Reader in Human Geography, University of St Andrews

David Wearing, Doctoral Researcher, SOAS, University of London

Dr Chege Githoria, Senior Lecturer in Swahili, SOAS, University of London

Dr John Harries, Teaching Fellow in Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh

Ragnar Wielandt, Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh

Tufyal Choudhury , Lecturer in Law, Director of Student Support, School of Law, Durham University

Dr Mohammed Alam, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Bradford

Dr. Catherine Goetze Senior Lecturer in International Relations, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex

Dr Patrick McGovern, Department of Sociology, London School of Economics & Political Science

Dr Francesca Salvi, Lecturer in Childhood Studies, School of Education and Continuing Studies (SECS), University of Portsmouth

Dr James Hampshire, Senior Lecture in Politics, University of Sussex

Dr Tessa Lewin, Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

Dr Olli Hellmann Lecturer in Politics, University of Sussex

Dr. Stephanie E. Berry Lecturer in Public Law,School of Law, Politics and Sociology,University of Sussex

Dr Sabrina Gilani, University of Sussex, Sussex Law School

Dr Elizabeth David-Barrett, Lecturer in Politics, University of Sussex

Dr Edward Guntrip, Lecturer in Law, Sussex Law School, University of Sussex

Dr Steven Colburn, University of Sussex

Dr Miranda Alison, Associate Professor in Politics and International Studies, University of Sussex

Dr Sarita Malik, Brunel University London

Dr Victoria Redclift, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Surrey

Ms Anneke Newman, PhD candidate, University of Sussex

Dr Fabio Petito, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex

Dr Dinah Rajak, Senior Lecturer in International Development, University of Sussex

Ana Porroche-Escudero, Lancaster University

Dr Leon Wainwright, Reader in Art History, Department of Art History, The Open University

Dr Stefanie Ortmann, Lecturer in International Relations, Department of International Relations, University of Sussex

David Axelsen, Doctoral Researcher, London School of Economics and Political Science

Dr Nicola Montagna, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, School of Law, Middlesex University

Dr. Pamela Kea, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex

Dr Zahidul Quayyum, Health Economics & Health Technology

Assessment Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow

Suzanne Hall , Assistant Professor in Sociology , London School of Economics and Political Science

Andy Pennington, Research Fellow, Department of Public Health and Policy, University of Liverpool

Dr Erica Consterdine, Research Fellow, Department of Politics and Contemporary European Studies, University of Sussex

Dr Jennifer Diggins, Lecturer in Social/Cultural Anthropology,  Oxford Brookes University.

Dr Lauren Greenwood, University of Sussex.

Tereza Germanova, doctoral researcher in Politics, University of Warwick

Dr Paul Warmington, Senior Lecturer in Education, Centre for Research in Race & Education, University of Birmingham

Dr. John Filling, Lecturer in Political Theory and Fellow of King's College, University of Cambridge

Oula Kadhum, doctoral research fellow in Politics, University of Warwick

Dr Jamie Allinson, Lecturer in International Relations (Middle East), University of Edinburgh

Dr Andrea Birdsall, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Edinburgh

Dr Philip Cook, Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Edinburgh

Dr Elizabeth Cripps, Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Edinburgh

Dr Jens Lerche, Reader in Agrarian and Labour Studies, SOAS, University of London

Dr Lynn Dobson, Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Edinburgh

Dr Claire Duncanson, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Edinburgh

Dr Oliver Escobar, Lecturer in Public Policy, University of Edinburgh

Dr Kristen Hopewell, Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Edinburgh

Dr Meryl Kenny, Lecturer in Gender Politics, University of Edinburgh

Dr Luke March, Senior Lecturer in Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics, University of Edinburgh

Dr Andrew Neal, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Edinburgh

Dr Tanya Palmer, Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex

Dr Ghazala Mir, Associate Professor, University of Leeds

Varun Uberoi, Senior Lecturer in Political Theory and Public Policy at Brunel University

Dr Charlotte Helen Skeet, Sussex Law School, University of Sussex

Elizabeth Dowler, Emeritus Professor in Food & Social Policy, University of Warwick

Andrea Brock, Associate Tutor and Doctoral Researcher, University of Sussex

Dr Barbara Crossouard, Senior Lecturer in Education, University of Sussex

Dr Claire Moon, Associate Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science

Dr Jonathan Havercroft,  Associate Professor, Politics and International Relations, University of Southampton

Carrie Friese, London School of Economics and Political Science

Dr Emily Robinson , Lecturer in Politics, University of Sussex

Martin Hedemann-Robinson, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Kent

Dr Cristiana Olcese, Fellow in Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science

Dr Ipshita Basu, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Westminster

Dr Keith Hyams, Associate Professor in Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

Dr Cosimo Zene, Reader in the Study of Religions, SOAS, University of London

Dr Diego Acosta Arcarazo Senior Lecturer in European and Migration LawUniversity of Bristol.

Dr Nick Vivyan, Lecturer in Politics, University of Durham.

 

 

 

 

 





  {}  Academics against armaments and academics and migration