The British government led by Prime Minister Brown has today apologized for the murderous treatment of the famous gay computer scientist Alan Turing, following a petitition by a number of well-known British public figures, among whom Sir Ian McKellen and Richard Dawkins. Not only has it indicated regret for the events, but it has in no uncertain terms rejected the attitude underlying the persecution of Turing as well.
This is an important fact, since the British government had maintained anti-homosexual laws on the books until 2003 (2000 in Scotland). Similarly, in the United States a significant number of states banned homosexual sex, until the Supreme Court of the United States voided these laws in the decision Lawrence vs. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003). Just very recently, even the High Court in Delhi has voided the colonial-era Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibited “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”. Even nations such as China and Singapore are becoming more lax on this topic. Continue reading “Alan Turing Vindicated”
This is a transcript of an interview with the famous British historian E.H. Carr as done by New Left Review in the year 1978, under the title “The Left Today”. Carr, one of the early serious specialists in Russian and Soviet history (a little outdated now but still very useful and readable) was at the time 86 years old. Although he was never a Communist, he clearly identified with the political left, and spent much of his academic efforts combating conservative and liberal (Whiggish) historiography. Nonetheless, for a significant of his career he was not an academic, but worked at the Foreign Office, and later as assistant editor of The Times, neither of which are exactly known for being left-wing. This gave him a broad and nonsectarian perspective on events. Continue reading “Edward Hallett Carr on History and Revolution”
In American popular culture, the comic strip is one of the most favored media, to the extent that both American and British (and sometimes both) works have recently often found a welcome audience when presented in movie format. This indicates that their popularity is not just based on the medium itself being appreciated by certain groups of people, mostly youth, but also on the content of the comics. Continue reading “The Concept of the ‘Superhero Comic’”
The Presidential elections in occupied Afghanistan have proven themselves to be as fraudulent as could be expected from a corrupt regime with little legitimacy or authority outside the nation’s capital, propped up by a national army led by one of the worst warlords of the nation’s past. Indeed, although the United Nations praised the fact the elections were held at all, the turnout was significantly lower than during the last elections under American occupation in 2004 (1). Then, some 70% of registered voters were estimated to have shown up, a number which has now dropped to an expected 40-50%. (2)
The widespread expectations of fraud, due to the manner in which the Karzai government has delegated its authority to local warlords in exchange for favors (presumably including favorable election results), so far look to have been justified. Continue reading “More Hypocrisy from the Imperialists”
It is, or ought to be, by now a familiar fact that the world is in a state of great environmental crisis. While there is no need to believe in the myth of the perfectly virtuous native living in complete harmony with his environment, it is clear that the development of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution so-called have drastically and fundamentally altered the relationship of man to his biosphere. In fact, so much so that it is estimated this century may see the greatest single increase in man-made global warming in all of the memory of humanity as a species, as a result of processes begun only two centuries ago at most. Our impact upon the global network of ecosystems is now so great that the current period of civilization is now by biologists considered to be a Great Extinction Event, one of the very few in our planet’s entire history – the last one took place approximately 65 million years ago. Moreover, the current Extinction Event is also the fastest ever recorded. A consensus predicts a future scenario in which between 20% and 50% of all species on Earth may go extinct.1 Continue reading “The Red and the Green I: Capitalism and Ecology”