Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Revamping History....

Some curriculum reforms are currently being discussed in the UK. Not surprisingly, Stop the War (the "peace activists") links to this article opposing such reforms on their main website:

The British empire was, after all, an avowedly racist despotism built on ethnic cleansing, enslavement, continual wars and savage repression, land theft and merciless exploitation. Far from bringing good governance, democracy or economic progress, the empire undeveloped vast areas, executed and jailed hundreds of thousands for fighting for self-rule, ran concentration camps, carried out medical experiments on prisoners and oversaw famines that killed tens of millions of people. (Warning: If you click here to read the rest of the article, you will be linking to The Guardian where you will see a great example of what Kathy Shaidle would call the media incest lottery.)

You see Comrade Seumas Milne, who wrote the above, would prefer British students learn about the glories of Communism:
Communism, which came to control a third of the planet in a generation, was the most important political movement of the past century. It carried out what other socialists had only talked about, abolishing capitalism and creating publicly owned, planned economies. Its crimes and failures are now so well rehearsed that they are in danger of obliterating any understanding of its achievements - both of which have lessons for the future of progressive politics and the search for a social alternative to globalised capitalism. It was a communist state, after all, that played the decisive role in the defeat of Nazi Germany, and communists who led the resistance in occupied Europe (something Service skips over in a few sentences); along with its brutalities and authoritarianism, communism delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, full employment and unprecedented advances in social and gender equality. Its collapse, by contrast, has brought an explosion of poverty and inequality and, in Russia, a retreat from the democratisation of the last years of the communist regime.

You see kids, comparing Communism to Nazism is not fair. (Actually, he might be onto something there since Communism has killed more people.) What educators should really be doing, according to Milne, is looking at the links between Big Bad Britain, Evil America and Nazis. I think there is a cabana in Cuba with Milne's name on it. Perhaps he should go there and enjoy some of these "unprecedented advances."