universities

Private Eye’s Ian Hislop Pushes the Anti-Semitism Smears on Have I Got News For You

This is another issue that I couldn’t let pass without comment. On Friday on the Beeb’s satirical news quiz show, Have I Got News For You, Ian Hislop took it upon himself once more to push the establishment smear that anti-Semitism is rife in Labour. The editor of Private Eye was responding to a question about the expulsion of Alistair Campbell, Blair’s former spin doctor, by the party for saying he voted Lib Dem in the elections. As Mike and Martin Odoni have shown on their blogs, Labour has Campbell bang to rights. What he’s done is very much against Labour party regulations. And Martin has further pointed out that there is no hypocrisy on Jeremy Corbyn’s part for his congratulation of George Galloway when he won Bradford West for the Respect Party. He was only doing what other Labour leaders have done before, such as Neil Kinnock when he congratulated John Major on becoming leader of the Tories. There really isn’t any comparison of the two cases. See

https://thegreatcritique.wordpress.com/2019/05/29/reaction-to-alastair-campbells-expulsion-from-labour-demonstrates-how-pathetically-easily-led-centrists-are/

Campbell whined about how there was a difference between his case and those of members accused of anti-Semitism. Mike pointed out that Campbell’s whinge was a case of sour grapes, and there were differences between his and other Labour party members. Like Kerry-Ann Mendoza, the mighty chief of The Canary, had been thrown out of the party for admitting she voted Green before she joined the Labour party. As for those accuse of anti-Semitism, if they are high-up in the Labour party, and aren’t supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, an excuse will be found not to investigate them and exonerate them. If they’re high-profile supporters of Corbyn, any excuse will be found to expel them. As happened to Mike, who didn’t get any right to appeal.

Alastair Campbell expelled from Labour – but he thinks HE has been mistreated

Hislop, however, is ignorant of all of this, and followed Campbell’s line, ranting that no-one had been expelled for anti-Semitism with a sneer at Ken Livingstone. Livingstone, he claimed, was particularly foul because he had said that Hitler was ‘a little bit Zionist’. 

This comes just after the Equalities and Human Rights Commission announced it was investigating Labour for anti-Semitism, and the MP, Peter Willsman, was suspended on anti-Semitism charges. Why? He claimed quite reasonably that the Israeli embassy may be interfering in the internal politics of the Labour Party. It is an entirely reasonable question, given that Shai Masot, the Israeli embassy official guilty of plotting to decide with British civil servants which Tories would serve in May’s cabinet, offered Joan Ryan of Labour Friends of Israel £1 million in funding at a Labour conference. See

The Peter Willsman debate is a parade of ignorance

As for the assertion that Livingstone was somehow lying about Hitler’s support for Zionism, no, it’s historical fact. Mike, Tony Greenstein, myself and many, many other bloggers have made it very clear that this is so, quoting chapter and verse from the relevant sources. As has John Newsinger, a historian at one Bath’s excellent universities, who is a regular contributor to the conspiracy magazine, Lobster. Hitler and the Nazis did indeed initially support the Zionists from the cynical motive of simply wishing to get the Jews out of Germany. It’s called the Ha’avara Agreement, and there’s even a page about it on the website of the Holocaust Memorial at Yad Vashem, in Israel.

But history, genuine history, in this case, rather than establishment smears, appears to be utterly foreign to Hislop in this issue.

Just as it is to his magazine, Private Eye. I still read it, and it contains much excellent material, but it has consistently smeared Corbyn and his supporters as anti-Semites. These have included smear pieces from its correspondent ‘Ratbiter’, alias the Groaniad’s Nick Cohen. Like the rest of the lamestream media, it completely accepts the anti-Semitism smear unquestioningly. And it has never, ever interviewed anyone on the receiving end of those smears, like Mike, Martin, Tony, Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Cyril Chilson and on and on.

If you’re falsely smeared as an anti-Semite, Ian Hislop and his magazine were support the smear and the smearers, not you.

Which gives the lie to his claim that his magazine is somehow anti-establishment and brings you the stories the other parts of the media won’t touch. Admittedly, this is often true, but on certain issues Hislop, Private Eye and Have I Got News For You solidly toe the establishment line. The anti-Semitism smears about the Labour party is one case. The claim that Putin is the aggressor in the Ukraine and a threat to the freedom of the eastern European states is another.

I’ve been tempted many times to write a letter of complaint to Private Eye about their promotion of the anti-Semitism smears, but I’m afraid it would do no good. They either wouldn’t publish it, or would publish it in a very carefully edited form that would deliberately weaken my argument and allow them to publish a reply that appeared to refute it completely. Or else I’d find that my details had been passed on to the CAA or other Zionist smear merchants and trolls, and I’d be accused in turn of being an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier like Mike. Are Hislop and his crew at Private Eye that nasty? I hope not, but as they are part of the media establishment, and the media establishment is that vicious, I’d rather not find out.

As for Have I Got News For You, Hislop and the Beeb were boasting a few months ago that people trust it more than the ordinary newspapers, especially asylum seekers, who come from countries where the state heavily controls and censors the news. This is dangerous, because the BBC itself is very heavily biased against Labour, and consistently follows the Tory, government line. Which is unsurprising, given the number of Beeb newsroom staff, who left to find jobs working as the Tories’ spin doctors. Have I Got News For You appears to be impartial, but it also follows the government line in pushing certain interpretations of news stories. The fact that the Maidan Revolution in the Ukraine in 2012 was carefully orchestrated by the American State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy, will definitely not be covered, either by the mainstream British news or by Have I Got News For You and Hislop’s mighty organ, Private Eye. And neither will they ever publish the truth behind the anti-Semitism smears.

Hislop once again ignores history to smear Livingstone, the Labour Party, and everyone, who has been false accused of anti-Semitism. And despite the satire, Have I Got News For You is, like much of the Beeb’s news coverage when it comes to Labour, fake news.

Book Review: The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students by Anthony Abraham Jack

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 27/05/2019 - 8:00pm in

In The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, Anthony Abraham Jack seeks to better comprehend the unnoticed heterogeneous experiences of first-generation, low-income students navigating campus life at elite universities in the United States. This is a significant contribution to debates on class and mobility, writes Malik Fercovic, that compels us to think carefully about the responsibilities of elite […]

Game of Thrones Quotes for Academic Contexts

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 20/05/2019 - 1:07am in

Game of Thrones, a well-acted and beautifully filmed sprawling television fantasy of political ambition, royal lineage, revenge, zombies, surprising deaths, random magic, and dragons—entertaining and big but also silly and superficial—is ending tonight. People can’t stop talking about it.

Philosophers are people, too, and so my social media feeds have been abuzz with philosophers analyzing and speculating about the wrap up of the show. The most widely circulated of these has been a viral tweet thread from Daniel Silvermint (Connecticut) that was picked up by a number of outlets and ultimately republished as an article in Wired.

For what it’s worth, my guess, which I will put very vaguely so as to not spoil much for those who have not been watching, is that the show will ultimately end up being circular, with the major families occupying roughly the same positions they did several years prior to the start of the series, with future conflict looming, conveying a message pessimistic about humanity and its governance. (I did not read the books on which the series is based, nor am I an obsessive fan, so this prediction probably misses something.)

The show has had some good one-liners, and it struck me that some of it is spot-on for certain academic contexts. Here are ten:

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” — Cersei
The tenure-track.

 “Everyone is mine to torment.” — Joffrey
When the provost has a new initiative.

“The day will come when you think you are safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth.” — Tyrion
Post-tenure letdown.

“You know nothing, Jon Snow.” — Ygritte
Why you shouldn’t talk in faculty meetings your first year on the job.

“Night gathers, and now my watch begins” — Various members of the Night’s Watch
It’s late, the presentation is tomorrow, and you are still working on your slides.

“That’s what I do: I drink and I know things.” — Tyrion
At the bar after the presentation has gone well.

“Winter is coming” — Pretty much everyone
There is some news concerning the budget.

“I read it in a book.” — Samwell Tarly
When you find that one tiny detail that changes the discussion.

“I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me.” — Lyanna Mormont
When the person in the audience who is knitting asks the most devastating question.

“The big fish eat the little fish and I keep on paddling.” — Varys
Just stay off Twitter and do your work.

Feel free to add your own.

The post Game of Thrones Quotes for Academic Contexts appeared first on Daily Nous.

Safety Fears over Brexit Debate with Sargon at Bristol’s UWE

This was on the local news for Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire, Points West, this morning. The debating society at the University of the West of England here in Bristol has been warned by the uni and the rozzers not to go ahead with a planned debate about Brexit because of concerns about people’s safety. The debate is due to include Carl Benjamin, aka ‘Sargon of Akkad’, the notorious far right candidate for UKIP in the southwest.

This is the notorious Sargon, who has made numerous videos attacking feminism, supporting the use of offensive epithets against Blacks, Jews, gays, Asians and the mentally challenged. The vlogger, who said that he could be quoted as saying it’s all right to sodomise young boys, because they did it in ancient Greece. Who answered a question about whether sex with underage children was right or wrong by saying ‘it depends on the child’. The guy, who sent a tweet to Labour’s Jess Philips saying ‘I wouldn’t even rape you’. The same Sargon, who seems to believe he’s centre left, when in actual fact he’s a complete libertarian, who would like to see all public enterprises privatised, including the NHS, and the welfare state dismantled. And when asked what his policies were by a reporter for Sky News, couldn’t find an answer except to say that he opposed political correctness and Islam.

As a result of his antics, the head of UKIP in Swindon wants him deselected and the party’s Gloucestershire branch has closed down. When he traveled to Gibraltar on his campaigning tour, the country’s governor, Fabian Picardo, refused to meet him and tweeted that Sargon’s comments were hate speech, which had no place there. He has been refused entry to a restaurant because of his vile views in one of the cities in which he campaign, and a protester threw a milkshake at him in Cornwall.

And then there’s the question of the hatred and threats spewed on social media by some of the Brexit crowd. You can understand why the University and police fear violence at the debate if it goes ahead.

I think the debate is also overshadowed by a disturbance at another university event featuring Sargon a few years ago. As Sargon was speaking, a load of black clad people in balaclavas waving an Antifa flag rushed in, only to be beaten off by Sargon and his supporters. Who captured their flag. There are clips of the incident on the Net, and many commenters have suggested that the incident was fake. It may have been staged to make Sargon look good, as the brave defender of free speech against anti-racist intolerance.

Despite this the debating society has said that they intend to go ahead with debate on Friday. If it does, I hope it all goes well for them, and that Sargon gets a sound intellectual and verbal, but not physical, drubbing. 

In the meantime, here’s another video from Kevin Logan briefly showing some of the highlights of Sargon’s campaigning so far to suitable musical accompaniment. This includes Sargon having fish and the milkshake thrown at him. It ends with a statement of where UKIP now lies in the polls – 2% – accompanied by Woody Guthrie’s ‘All You Fascists Bound to Lose’.

Enjoy!

American Philosophical Association and Other Groups Protest Brazilian Academic Defunding Proposal

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 04/05/2019 - 5:05am in

The American Philosophical Association (APA), the American Sociological Association (ASA), the Associação Nacional de Pós-Gradiação em Filosofia (Brazil), and several other academic organizations have published a letter protesting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s proposed defunding of philosophy and sociology in his country’s institutions of higher education. 


Rodrigo Torres, “Tornado”

This letter joins an open letter that is currently gathering signatures (as of the writing of this post over 2,500 people have signed it), as well as statements from other organizations,

It reads:

Dear President Bolsonaro and Minister Weintraub,

We write on behalf of professional societies of sociologists and philosophers representing tens of thousands of people around the world to strongly protest your efforts to defund university departments of sociology and philosophy.

We certainly understand the importance of ensuring that college graduates are well-equipped to enter the workforce. What we write to convey is that a strong liberal arts education, including humanistic and social scientific study, indeed provides a very strong basis for both professional and civic endeavors. Graduates with degrees in disciplines like sociology and philosophy are trained to think critically, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively in teams, for example. These skills are fundamental in all workplaces, and this intellectual orientation provides practical expertise that can be deployed in all sectors to strengthen Brazil’s economy.

This effort to defund academic departments interferes with the academic independence and freedom of inquiry that are so crucial to the productivity of a nation’s higher education system and will tarnish Brazil’s standing for research and scholarship. We respectfully urge you to ensure that Brazilian students and scholars are able to pursue their teaching, research, and studies fully protected from governmental influence, and that both sociology and philosophy remain respected and supported fields of study.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

American Philosophical Association
American Sociological Association
Associação Nacional de Pós-Graduação em Filosofia
Association of American Colleges and Universities
Australasian Association of Philosophy
British Philosophical Association
Canadian Philosophical Association
International Sociological Association
Sociedade Brasileira de Sociologia

(via Erin Shepherd)

The post American Philosophical Association and Other Groups Protest Brazilian Academic Defunding Proposal appeared first on Daily Nous.

Fresh audio product

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/05/2019 - 7:28am in

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link):

May 2, 2019 David Palumbo-Liu on the culture of Stanford University, and why it wants to shut its press • Natasha Lennard, author of Being Numerous, on protest, rights, the state, social media, privacy, individuality…

Russia: Russian universities are embarking in UBI discussions

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 9:22pm in

Speaking panel at the Lomonosov Moscow State University. There is a growing interest about basic income in Russia, at least on the academic level. Leading Russian Universities have been organizing discussions around the issue, with the support and participation of the movement Basic Income Russia Tomorrow. Given the world-leading recognition Russian universities enjoy, this may be a fact of central

Open Letter Regarding President Bolsonaro’s Recent Pronouncements on Defunding Philosophy and Sociology (updated)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 3:27am in

(UPDATE (5/5/19): I’m bringing this post back up to the top of the main page to increase its visibility. The letter now has over 3,000 signatures. Academics in all disciplines are encouraged to sign.)

Below is a letter responding to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s recent declarations that he is considering a plan to withdraw funding for the study and teaching of philosophy and sociology at public universities in Brazil.

Written by Sergio Tenenbaum (University of Toronto), Alice Pinheiro Walla (University of Bayreuth), and Catarina Dulith Novaes (VU Amsterdam), the letter is open for academics from around the world to sign. (To sign, use the form at the end of the letter.)


Open Letter Regarding President Bolsonaro’s Recent Pronouncements on Defunding Philosophy and Sociology

We, the undersigned academics around the world, would like to express our alarm and concern about President Bolsonaro’s recent claims that he is planning to defund Philosophy and Sociology (and possibly other areas in the Humanities and social sciences). Brazilian public universities have produced internationally recognized major research in both of these areas. Philosophy and Sociology are fundamental disciplines of any modern university, and, given the interdisciplinary nature of the university, defunding them will affect not only research in these specific areas, but also the reputation, and the quality of research and teaching, of Brazilian universities across all areas. In fact, it is ironic that Philosophy is singled out in this respect, as philosophers in Brazil were among the pioneers of paraconsistent logic, a research program that has had impact in such diverse areas as robotics and expert systems for medical diagnosis.

President Bolsonaro implies in his remarks that public funding should flow exclusively to professional schools. These are certainly important programs. However, a democratic society depends not only on its commercial productive output, but also on its social institutions, its understanding of their foundations and governing principles, as well as its understanding of how these policies and institutions affect its population. Research in social sciences and humanities, and especially Philosophy and Sociology, is vital to such an understanding. The contribution of academics to public debates is also of crucial importance to a well functioning democracy.

Students taking courses in these areas learn to think critically about their conditions, and the broader condition of the society and the world around them. But also the wider public and Brazilian society benefit from the intellectual expertise from philosophers and sociologists.

Thus an attack on Philosophy and Sociology, as well as the humanities and social sciences more generally, is an attack on the very fabric of a democratic society. We call on the Bolsonaro government to reconsider such proposals, and we call on all citizens of Brazil to join us in preserving public support of the social sciences and humanities in Brazil.

Regarding President Bolsonaro's Recent Pronouncements on Defunding Philosophy and Sociology

Read the petition

Title  

Ms
Mr
Mrs
Miss
Mx.
Dr.

First Name

Last Name

Institutional Affiliation (optional)

Email

OPEN LETTER REGARDING PRESIDENT BOLSONARO RECENT PRONOUNCEMENTS ON DEFUNDING PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIOLOGY

We, the undersigned academics around the world, would like to express our alarm and concern about President Bolsonaro’s recent claims that he is planning to defund Philosophy and Sociology (and possibly other areas in the Humanities and social sciences). Brazilian public universities have produced internationally recognized major research in both of these areas. Philosophy and Sociology are fundamental disciplines of any modern university, and, given the interdisciplinary nature of the university, defunding them will affect not only research in these specific areas, but also the reputation, and the quality of research and teaching, of Brazilian universities across all areas. In fact, it is ironic that Philosophy is singled out in this respect, as philosophers in Brazil were among the pioneers of paraconsistent logic, a research program that has had impact in such diverse areas as robotics and expert systems for medical diagnosis.

President Bolsonaro implies in his remarks that public funding should flow exclusively to professional schools. These are certainly important programs. However, a democratic society depends not only on its commercial productive output, but also on its social institutions, its understanding of their foundations and governing principles, as well as its understanding of how these policies and institutions affect its population. Research in social sciences and humanities, and especially Philosophy and Sociology, is vital to such an understanding. The contribution of academics to public debates is also of crucial importance to a well functioning democracy.

Students taking courses in these areas learn to think critically about their conditions, and the broader condition of the society and the world around them. But also the wider public and Brazilian society benefit from the intellectual expertise from philosophers and sociologists.

Thus an attack on Philosophy and Sociology, as well as the humanities and social sciences more generally, is an attack on the very fabric of a democratic society. We call on the Bolsonaro government to reconsider such proposals, and we call on all citizens of Brazil to join us in preserving public support of the social sciences and humanities in Brazil.

**your signature**

 
Sign Now

4,860 signatures

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Please sign the open letter using the above form. Note that though a valid email is required, your email address will not be publicly displayed nor used for any other purpose.

(Note: I have been informed that upon initially opening this page, in some browsers the above widget states that zero people have signed the letter. This is false. As of May 5th, there are over 3000 signatories. For those experiencing this problem, the actual number of signatories, as well as their names, will be visible after you sign the letter and refresh the page. Thanks to those who reported this issue.)

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The post Open Letter Regarding President Bolsonaro’s Recent Pronouncements on Defunding Philosophy and Sociology (updated) appeared first on Daily Nous.

Brazilian Government To Defund Philosophy in Public Universities

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 27/04/2019 - 3:17am in

Jair M. Bolsonaro, the current president of Brazil, has announced on Twitter his plans to stop government funding of philosophy and sociology in the nation’s public universities.

A rough translation is: “The Minister of Education, Abraham Weintraub, is studying how to decentralize investment in philosophy and sociology at universities. Students who have already enrolled will not be affected. The objective is to focus on areas that generate immediate return to the taxpayer, such as: veterinary, engineering, and medicine.”

By way of explanation, he added:

Again, roughly translated, this says: “The role of the Government is to respect the taxpayer’s money, teaching young people to read, write, and learn job skills that generates income for the person and well-being for the family, which improves the society around them.”

Those with more knowledge of the situation are encouraged to share what they know in the comments here, or by email to dailynouseditor@gmail.com.

(Thanks to Danielle Wenner and Chris Bertram for the tip)

UPDATE (5/1/19): Please consider signing the open letter protesting this proposal.

Related: Philosophers and Welders and PoliticiansPhilosophy Majors Make More Money Than Majors in any other Humanities Field

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Radio 4 Programme on Journalistic Impartiality

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/04/2019 - 9:15pm in

According to next week’s Radio Times, for 20th-26th April 2019, Radio 4 are due to broadcast a programme questioning the notion of journalistic impartiality, ‘Call Yourself an Impartial Journalist?’, hosted by Jonathan Coffey. The blurb for the programme by Simon O’Hagan on page 138 of the magazine runs

In a febrile political age, fuelled by social media, the BBC has felt the heat as possibly never before – guilty, in its accusers’ eyes, of failing to reflect the full spectrum of opinion over not just Brexit but such culture-wars issues as transgenderism. With the BBC due to publish a new set of editorial guidelines in June (the first since 2010), Jonathan Coffey explores the idea of impartiality and whether any sort of consensus around it is possible. Contributors include the Spectator columnist Rod Liddle, the BBC’s director of editorial and policy standards, David Jordan, and Kerry-Anne Mendoza, the editor of online media The Canary.

The programme’s on at 11.00 am.

I don’t think there’s much doubt about the Beeb’s political bias. Academics at the media monitoring units of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cardiff universities found that the Beeb was twice as likely to seek the opinions of Conservative MPs and financial experts as Labour MPs and trade unionists. Barry and Savile Kushner also describe how the Beeb pushed the austerity agenda in their book, Who Needs the Cuts?, to the point that the opponents of austerity were rarely invited onto their news and politics programmes to put their case. When they were, the presenters actually tried to silence them, even by shouting them down. And years ago Tony Benn in one of his books said that the Beeb considered itself impartial, because its bias was largely slightly to the left of the Tories at the time, but way to right of everyone else.

There could be some interesting things said on the programme, particularly by the excellent Kerry-Anne Mendoza, but my fear is that it’s going to be like the Beeb’s programme, Points of View, and just be an exercise in the corporation justifying itself and its own bias. 

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