Barry Conway

The day the Zulus beat the British Empire

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The Zulu victory over British forces at Isandlwana in southern Africa 140 years ago profoundly shocked a Victorian society ideologically bound to the notion of white superiority over black "barbarism". Barry Conway explains why the victory should be celebrated by every socialist.

This month sees the 140th anniversary of the Battle at Isandlwana. This, the first major encounter in the Anglo-Zulu War and a decisive win for the Zulu, will be commemorated and celebrated across KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. Isandlwana brought the name “Zulu” to the attention of the world and established them as the paramount native force on the African continent.

Rhodes must fall - and the rest

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Over at the privileged cloisters of Oxford University there’s a bit of bother over the statue of Cecil Rhodes. On one side are those who want it removed as an icon of racism and oppression, and on the other there are those who are horrified at the suggestion, arguing that its removal will suppress serious and impartial debate on the rights and wrongs of imperialism.

Wallace's evolution

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Much as I have always admired Stephen Jay Gould's insights, I cannot agree that Alfred Wallace was a proponent of what we now call intelligent design (Feedback, Socialist Review, March 2009).

Wallace dabbled in phrenology and mesmerist experiments as part of his own evolution towards naturalism, but discarded these in favour of spiritualism as a means of trying to develop a theory of human evolution distinct from the evolution of other animals. (He had dumped religion long before his travels in the Spice Islands.) I think much of his error emanated from his particular brand of Owenite socialism and its emphasis on political evolution towards a moral state, free of religion and oppression.

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