Feature

Secondary schooling and the new futures for education

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Lisa Tunnell draws out the lessons from the pandemic

The Covid-19 crisis has exposed the faults and inequalities of the system we live under. This is as true of the education systems as in other areas of life. Many educational issues have been exposed, such as the unequal access to distance learning, the poor provision of Free School Meals and the push for an unsafe wider reopening of schools. However, the pandemic has also shown the importance of schools, not just as places of learning, but as hubs of the community.

Vygotsky, social environment and development

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The 1917 Revolution created a breakthough in materialist theory of learning, writes Shirley Franklin

Vygotsky lived in Russia between 1896 and 1934. He was driven by his commitment to promote the development of children and adults and to create the best possible educational opportunities for the population of revolutionary Russia. All aspects of his approach to psychology and theory of children’s development — play, thinking, learning, language, the zone of proximal development, working with people with learning difficulties, mental health issues and more — are rooted in a social and materialist theory of learning.

Intelligence and the human spirit

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Fraudulent IQ tests, rote learning and unimaginative teaching shape modern education but, argues John Parrington, playtime, culture and imagination are the true foundations of creativity.

The ability to think rationally is an essential feature of being human, but it is hard to imagine how our species could have gone from living in caves to sending rovers to Mars in the space of 40,000 years without another crucial element — our creative impulse. Both Einstein and Picasso believed that their respective genius in science and art was based upon an ability to view the world as would a child. But clearly there is a difference between an adult with a childlike ability to think outside the box, and actually being a child.

How we can defund the racist police

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The death of George Floyd catapulted the demand to abolish the police into the mainstream of US politics, writes Thomas Hummel. It is a call that all socialists support, but the changes do not run deep enough.

The roots of the police in the United States reach back in two directions. On the one hand, their formation is directly connected to pre-Civil War slave patrols. These armed groups of white men would hunt down runaway slaves trying to make their way north. On the other, their origin traces back to the growth of large industrial centres in the north. With the rapid expansion of these cities the rich needed to protect their wealth and property from the poor immigrants they employed who lived in conditions of deprivation.

China’s rise and the threat of a new cold war

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The phenomenal growth of Chinese military power is challenging the post-war hegemony in the Pacific, but it remains dependent on the US for its future economic stability, writes Adrian Budd

The Phase One Trade Deal signed by Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in January marked a cease-fire in the twoyear tariff war between the US and China, the world’s major economic powers. The US reduced tariffs on certain Chinese exports while China agreed to increase imports from the US and improve protection of US intellectual property rights. Since then US-China relations have unravelled rapidly and are at their lowest ebb since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

Will a vaccine save us from Covid-19 and future epidemics?

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biomedicine

Lee Humber completes the fourth part of his analysis of medicine’s response to the pandemic with a critique of the global machine that more and more dominates our healthcare

The Swine Flu epidemic of 2009, and the Ebola crisis still active in West Africa after nearly seven years, both attest to the problems and unknowns regarding vaccine development and deployment. With Swine Flu, not only were supplies of the vaccine extremely limited, there were a range of short- and longer-term side effects causing, in some cases, years of suffering. These included arthritis, fibromyalgia, lymphadenopathy, rashes, photosensitive rashes, to name but a few.

The legacy of Darcus Howe

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anti-racism

Darcus Howe was a towering figure both in Britain and internationally. Possessed of a sonorous voice and sharp intellect, he edited the journal Race Today and remained deeply committed to race equality and social justice right up until his death in 2018. The Mangrove Nine Case that he was centrally involved in features in the forthcoming BBC series Small Axe, directed by Oscar winner Steve McQueen. Socialist Review spoke to Leila Hassan, who succeeded Darcus as Race Today’s editor in 1985, and writer and broadcaster Farrukh Dhondy, about the work of the Race Today Collective and what the Darcus Howe Legacy initiative can offer the movements of today.

SR: What are the origins of Race Today?
Race Today began as the house journal of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) and had been edited Peter Watson. The IRR was originally funded by companies such as Booker Brother and Lonrho, which had investments in former colonial territories. After a “palace revolution” its council was replaced by more liberal and radical people. The Rev Kirby became editor under the organisation of Towards Racial Justice and funded by the World Council of Churches.

The uprisings that ended slavery

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anti-racism

The uprisings that ended slavery
We are told William Wilberforce brought about the abolition of slavery. As John Newsinger explains, it was the slaves themselves that fought bloody rebellions in order to win their freedom
‘I Would Rather Die On Yonder Gallows Than Live In Slavery”. These were the words of Sam Sharpe, the leader of the great Jamaican slave revolt of 1831, shortly before he was hanged on 23 May 1832. This was the spirit that abolished slavery in Britain’s Caribbean colonies.

BLM rebellion is a mass movement

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Protests that swept the US have deepened to involve pro-migrant campaigns and trade unionists from a host of associations. Iannis Delatolas of Marx 21 in the US reports on changing times

There is a photo of a nurse from a demonstration going around the internet holding a sign that reads: “We fought Covid, now we will fight the police”. This captures what is happening in the United States today. Race and class are central in this anti-racist rebellion. There have been demonstrations in all major cities and even small towns with no history of protests, even in the south in Texas, Alabama, Tennessee and many other cities and states.

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