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The Evolutionary Perspective
Daily Archives: February 8, 2021
Posted: February 8, 2021 at 11:43 am
WASHINGTON, D.C. President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon that the United States will designate antifa as a terrorist organization, although some say the U.S. government doesn't have the legal authority to do so.
The State Department can designate foreign organizations as terrorist groups, but the United States has no domestic terrorism statute, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Let's be clear: There is no legal authority for designating a domestic group," the ACLU tweeted Sunday. "Any such designation would raise significant due process and First Amendment concerns."
On Tuesday, Twitter announced that a white nationalist group had been posing as antifa, presumably to cause dissension.
For those who might be a little unsure as to what and who antifa is, here are five things to know about the movement of militant activists.
1. What does Antifa stand for and what are their general beliefs?
Antifa, short for anti-facists, is an umbrella description for a broad group of people whose political beliefs often fall to the far left but do not conform with the Democratic Party.
Antifa members stand against what they view as authoritarian, homophobic and racist systems, according to The New York Times.
2. How long has antifa existed?
The original antifa groups date back to fights against European fascists in the 1940s. The modern antifa movement in America began in the 1980s with a group called Anti-Racist Action, according to the "Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook."
3. Who is in antifa?
Part of the issue with Trump's claim that he will designate antifa as a terrorist organization is that it's difficult to label antifa as an organization at all.
The movement has no official leaders or headquarters. Over the past decade, antifa has worked with other local activist networks that are rallying around shared beliefs, such as Black Lives Matter, but it's impossible to know how many members there are, according to The New York Times.
4. What does antifa protest, and what are its tactics?
Antifa members take part in protests and rallies aimed at disrupting authoritative speakers and actions. Many antifa organizers participate in peaceful forms of community organizing, but what sets the group is apart is its willingness to use violence.
Antifa members say they use violence as a means of self-defense and that property destruction does not equate to violence, according to CNN.
"There is a place for violence," Scott Crow, a former Antifa organizer, told CNN. "Is that the world that we want to live in? No. Is it the world we want to inhabit? No. Is it the world we want to create? No. But will we push back? Yes."
5. Why do antifa members dress in all black?
Antifa members will often dress in all black, sometimes also covering their faces with masks, so they can't be identified by opposing groups or the police.
The all-black uniform is also an intimidation tactic, which allows members to move through a protest as one uniformed group.
Posted: at 11:43 am
When Antifa radicals gathered in Tacoma, Wash. on January 24, fights erupted, storefronts were destroyed, flags burned and cops were threatened. I had a front-row seat, embedded within the throngs of roughly 150 black bloc thugs ready to leave their mark. But I also became a would-be target.
I thought I would escape attention so that I could avoid a potentially violent confrontation. I was wrong. Antifa knew I was amongst them.
Democratic lawmakers have demanded social media crackdown on online, right-wing violence. Overstated claims that Parler was used to coordinate the January 6th riot at the Capitol led to its demise.
The problem was never Parler. Its Twitter.
JASON RANTZ: I WAS INSIDE ANTIFA RIOTS IN TACOMA -- THIS IS WHAT I SAW
Antifa uses Twitter to threaten or harass media members. If youre deemed unfriendly, for either openly criticizing Antifa tactics or filming their violence and vandalism, activists will distribute your picture and location with a warning to fellow comrades to be on the lookout. They do not hide their tactics.
I am proudly unfriendly to Antifa. Consequently, Ive been a victim of their tactics.
Antifas black bloc uniforms, meant to obscure the identities of criminals, and the pandemic, has made reporting from the mob much easier. Being able to cover most identifying features lets you blend in. But its not always enough to avoid detection.
Inside the Antifa mob, scouts look for perceived enemies filming faces. And they get help online.
Activists monitor Twitter to see if anyone is in or around the Antifa marches, then relay intel to the mob via hashtags. The communication is not sophisticated. Nevertheless, it puts media members in danger and Twitter does virtually nothing to intervene.
About an hour into the march in Tacoma, Antifa knew I was present because I tweeted from the scene.
SEATTLE ANTIFA RIOTER CLAIMS DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY ISN'T VIOLENCE
March with the mob and youre bound to see someone recording Antifa destroying businesses or tagging property. They are immediately swarmed by two or three Antifa who threaten and demand the footage be deleted. If you talk back, you risk being pushed and punched or having your equipment stolen or destroyed.
I rarely post my footage in real-time, instead of waiting upwards of 30 minutes to give the impression that Im not actively within the group, but just working the periphery. Thats generally considered safe. But this time, it got attention.
Portland-based Griffin Malone identifies as an independent journalist who says the AP and PBS has used his work. Online, he alerted the mob that I was amongst them.
JASON RANTZ: IN WASHINGTON STATE, RADICALS ARE USING HOMELESS AS PAWNS IN HOTEL TAKEOVERS
Malone tweeted my photo and noted, "Jason Rantz is also in Tacoma tonight recording crowds." He denied that he meant me harm, he was just highlighting my coverage. Thats how he escapes Twitter consequences. But a screenshot of my photo, without a link to my Twitter feed, makes his intentions clear. He alerted the mob that I was "recording crowds". That posed a risk to the criminals that surrounded me.
Moments later, I heard someone from the mob say my name, clearly looking for me. A colleague I was with asked if we should leave. But we were in the middle of a neighborhood I had never visited, with police nowhere in sight. Leaving could bring attention. For 15 tense minutes, I kept my head down and my phone out of sight until we got closer to Tacoma Police.
I wasnt the only one they targeted.
Freelancer Talia Jane, who has written for Teen Vogue and describes herself on Twitter as an "independent conflict reporter," tweeted that streamer James Klug was filming the crowd. He was spotted, harassed, and forced to retreat. Jane gleefully tweeted the news.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE OPINION NEWSLETTER
Antifa-supporter Alissa Azar from Portland was on-site. She photographed streamers, telling her radical Twitter followers they "just thanked the cops for their service and for being out."
While national media outlets decried President Donald Trumps war on the media for merely criticizing coverage he didnt like, a small army of Antifa went to literal war with media members. Reporters are routinely assaulted or harassed for merely covering the mobs lawlessness. It happened frequently at the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in Seattle last year. The liberal national media was almost completely silent to the threat.
When I discreetly walked past armed Antifa guards into the autonomous zone, head down with a mask covering my face, I thought I was in the clear. But about 20 minutes into my adventure at CHAZ, an activist outed me, tweeting a photo of me listening to a speech. Next, a scout stalked me, standing in front of me or bumping me as I tried to document what was happening on the ground.
While Twitter has recently taken some action against Antifa accounts, many users still get away with media threats and harassment.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Democrats who claim concern over domestic terrorism and political violence lean on social media to singularly target the right. Its politically expedient. Democrats dont even acknowledge Antifa exists, let alone lobby Twitter to take action.
Consequently, media members are at risk when we bring you images of Antifa anarchy.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM JASON RANTZ
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HUDSON | Conspiracy theories abound even in Colorado | Opinion | coloradopolitics.com – coloradopolitics.com
Posted: at 11:43 am
Its appealing to hope Colorado is insulated from the worst of conspiracy theology. We are, after all, better educated, more practical, better grounded, borderline pantheist and, lets just say it, for the most part smarter than denizens of our crumbling industrial centers as well as scattered apostles of grievance infuriated by those who enjoy lives less precarious than their own. Until 2020, Colorado hadnt elected a politician who might claim laser firing Jewish satellites were igniting wildfires to clear rights-of-way for high-speed rail projects. Thats crazy, crazy!
When we take a closer look, however, there are symptoms of insanity appearing across the Centennial state. At least two communities, including ex-urban Elizabeth, and likely others that went unreported have reacted to internet rumors of impending Antifa invasions. Burly residents wearing camouflage gear and toting powerful rifles have rushed to Main Street to defend against leftist guerrillas they were warned would arrive by bus. You dont have to be Sherlock Holmes to detect how utterly preposterous these alarms were.
Set aside the fact that Antifa has no hierarchy, no treasury and no offices nor a discernible strategy other than spontaneous anarchy. What possible reason would there be for vandalizing the commercial strip in a community of a few hundred souls where their depredations would go unseen, unfilmed and unreported? Even Proud Boys are better organized and media savvy than that. Yet we are urged to believe Antifa is so clever, so psychologically adept and tactically malevolent that they can readily infiltrate patriotic rallies, rousing peaceful conservatives into a violent mob.
These claims feel like an embarrassing confession that right wing protesters are puzzlingly clueless and readily duped. False flag insurrection makes some sense in the chaos that characterizes a failed state where multiple militias are competing for political control. Under such conditions misdirection and confusion can serve a purpose. While American may soon splinter into multiple factions, were not there yet. Hundreds of rioters have been arrested since the Jan. 6 invasion of Congress and not one has proven an infiltrator.
Closer to home, El Paso County Republican Chair Vickie Tonkins suggested her party should recruit the 3% United Patriots militia to safeguard its delegate assembly in Colorado Springs this past Saturday against a threatened Antifa invasion. Disregarding the fact that heavily armed security forces wearing full battle gear provide a bad look for democracy, what is the real chance leftist agitators might actually bother to disturb the deliberations of El Paso County Republicans? Tonkins narrowly won re-election while her challenger is alleging voting fraud. It sounds like intra-mural strife will do greater damage than anything Antifa could do.
Its worth noting that El Paso county delivered Republican margins of more than 200,000 votes only a decade ago, often matching Democratic majorities in Denver. Last year they won by just 40,000 votes. A president who spent four years trashing our troops and their commanders as complicit in the deep state didnt help in a military town. Polling finds Democrats expressing greater confidence in the military and intelligence communities today than Republicans.
Q-Anons fear-peddling nonsense is also percolating in Colorados political ecosystem. It flares up periodically, forcing adherents to disavow the "Democrats are Satan worshipping pedophiles who cannibalize children they kidnap" charges. The FBI was able to successfully identify the Russian hackers who meddled in the 2016 election and indict them by name. Its hard to believe they dont know precisely who the Q-Anon mythologists are. (Wired magazine reports their emails originate from a pig farm in the Philippines.) Since first appearing in 2017 Trump had little reason to unmask them. It is well past time to identify Q.
Following the Munich Conference in the 1930s, British historian John Gwyer observed that, One is reluctant to think the average intelligence of mankind is really so low that it cannot distinguish between plain truth and fantastic falsehood. Sad to say, a century later weve failed to make significant progress in this regard. I suspect its less a question of IQ than it is of willful ignorance.
Renegade Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who voted for Trumps impeachment and has formed a Country First PAC, explains, Republicans must say enough is enough. Its time to unplug the outrage machine, reject the politics of personality and cast aside the conspiracy theories and the rage.
Following the insurrection on Jan. 6, I was not cheered by presidential historian Michael Beschloss observation that for democracies the best predictor of a successful coup is a recently failed coup. The deep state doesnt scare me half as much as shallow thinking. Why is it that those who bleat the loudest about their constitutional right to carry firearms wherever they please object so vociferously to my right to disagree with them? That sounds a lot like cancel culture, just nastier.
Miller Hudson is a public affairs consultant and a former Colorado legislator.
Posted: at 11:43 am
Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters marched in the streets of Washington, D.C., where demonstrators scuffled with police officers and the crowd shouted threats to "burn down" the nation's capital.
On Saturday night, members of BLM and Antifa protested in D.C., where they regularly chanted, "If we don't get it, burn it down!"
Independent photojournalist Brendan Gutenschwager shared videos from the protest in D.C., where Antifa members waived an "Antifascist Action" flag as they marched.
The crowd yelled the popular Black Lives Matter phrase, "Whose streets? Our streets! Whose streets? Our streets!"
During the "FTP March" (an acronym for "F*** The Police"), the mob shouted the anti-police battle cry, "A.C.A.B. All cops are bastards!"
The demonstrators stopped near a row of restaurants, where protest leaders delivered lectures about "race, Black and Indigenous lives" to nearby diners.
At one point, things escalated after a black bloc protester shined a light into the face of a police officer, who then slapped away the flashlight. The black bloc member retaliated and smacked the police officer. The officer then pushed the crowd back by using his bicycle. The black bloc protester then slaps another cop. The officer thrusts his bike even more aggressively into the crowd dressed in all black. During the tense situation, a female in the crowd tells the officer to put his face mask on.
The BLM march ended with a speech honoring Eric Garner, according to Gutenschwager.
"We are here tonight because black lives matter," the BLM crowd repeated after the main speaker. "Despite black lives mattering, black people are still dying at the hands of the police paid for by our tax dollars."
The group recited the story of Eric Garner, a New York man who died while in police custody in 2014. During the story, the crowd called police officers the derogatory name of "pigs" on multiple occasions.
There were then several chants of "I can't breathe!"
Washington, D.C., has been heavily guarded since the Capitol riots on Jan. 6. There were more than 26,000 National Guard troops in D.C. before President Joe Biden's inauguration.
"There are currently about 7,000 National Guard members in the city providing security," ABC News reported. "That number is expected to slowly go down to 5,000, and they are set to stay until about mid-March. The total cost for the deployment is expected to be close to $500 million."
The U.S. Capitol building has been fortified with barricades and fencing, which many are calling for the structures to be removed.
Posted: at 11:43 am
Andy Ngo, journalist and author of the recent statement Unmasked: Inside Antifas Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, told NTD that Antifa is not going away simply because former President Donald Trump has left office.
Speaking about his investigation into the internal mechanics and goals of Antifa, Ngo said that Antifa capitalized on claims in 2016 that Trumps term was a fascist regime to claim his group was trying to oppose American fascism.
But according to Ngo, That was always just a pretext for them to cause misery and carry out killings and attacks, Ngo said. Now, they say they are simply opposing the United States, because the United States defends systems of fascism that are interconnected with white supremacy and racism.
Andy Ngo. (NTD)
Ngo said the perception that Antifa was fading with the announcement of a Biden election victory was incorrect.
They rioted in Portland, for example, on November 4. There have been about a dozen riots in Portland and Seattle since then, he said. The day Biden took office, more importantly, they destroyed the headquarters of the Oregon Democratic Party. And in Seattle, there were also some riots.
Andy believes that the Democratic Party is not as closely related to Antifa as some people believe. Rather, they only had one common enemy (Trump) who temporarily allied them.
Antifa has existed on the fringes of the far left in the United States, actually, since the 1980s, Ngo said. But in the wake of recent events, Democrats have helped Antifa gain space on the majority left.
They were both using irresponsible language and talking about how this [the Trump administration] It was ascendant American fascism, that we were on the cusp of another Holocaust, Ngo said.
Ngo said the idea of opposing white supremacy and neo-Nazis gave Antifa a chance to get in, but according to his observations, the groups violent attacks have been indiscriminate.
What I was witnessing on the ground in my hometown, Portland, the epicenter of American Antifa, was that they were carrying out indiscriminate acts of violence, not just against property but against people. And they kept increasing and escalating, he told NTD.
Members of Antifa prepare to clash with Patriot Prayer protesters during a rally in Portland, Oregon, on August 4, 2018 (John Rudoff / AP Photo)
It was embedding itself in Portland. It was becoming routine for us to have political violence in the streets, fights for several years. And then in 2020, they exploited George Floyds death to carry out acts of carnage, not just in Portland but in dozens of other American cities where they literally burned down neighborhoods, destroyed numerous lives, destroyed livelihoods, Ngo said. .
The mainstream media have not done a good job of explaining exactly what Antifa is, Ngo said, leading many to perhaps sympathize with the group that described itself as anti-fascist protesters who oppose racists and the far right. and white supremacists.
It sounds very noble and it makes people want to join in, because it sounds completely reasonable, Ngo said. But then as I write in my book, you immerse yourself in the Antifa ideology. And you look at the literature, you look at the thinkers they admire, the texts that form the basis of the tenants of their ideology. You see very clearly that these are anarchists, communists .
Nazism, fascism and socialism are rooted in communism
Andy said his students go through extensive ideological indoctrination, lasting for months at a time, and are also taught in his curriculum how to make homemade guns, how to use guns and how to shoot.
Andy Ngo, a Portland journalist, is seen covered in an unknown substance after Antifa extremists attacked him in Portland, Oregon, on June 29, 2019 (Moriah Ratner / .).
Ngo continued: When they talk about wanting to burn down the system, they mean it literally. They want to destroy the United States, and not just destroy the nation-state, but all of its founding ideals. They consider, for example, property rights and freedom of speech, and other important foundational ideas that make up American philosophy, as actors of fascism.
Ngo said that from records of detainees after many months of unrest in Portland, he found that the people who joined Antifa were primarily from two groups: white-collar professionals; Like academia, journalism, some were lawyers, and those who are extremely vulnerable, such as the homeless who may have been attracted to the food and shelter camps set up by the group.
These vulnerable people are then given riot gear and told and instructed to engage in violence.
These are generally the people who are first victimized and arrested and all that and are injured or charged, Ngo said. And the people who are pulling the strings in the background, like those who are making homemade weapons and homemade improvised explosive devices, and handing them out and handing them over to people, those people are not apprehended. So I have a certain sympathy for people who are victims, because they are pushed into this extremist ideology and used as fodder for a broader political agenda.
A man later assaulted by Antifa, second from left, confronts members of Rose City Antifa at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, Oregon, on June 29, 2019 (Moriah Ratner / .).An unidentified protester injured by Antifa extremists in Pioneer Courthouse Square on June 29, 2019 (Moriah Ratner / .).
Americans have to understand that Antifa has a fairly broad appeal among the educated, Ngo said, because the ideological theoretical frameworks that form the basis of ideologies are based on historical thinkers, anarchists and communist thinkers. And thats why it attracts those who are educated.
So it should come as no surprise that some of the people who have been convicted or accused of being part of the Antifa violence have been academics, he added.
The rest is here:
Covid-19: Thailand implements ‘seal and bubble’ strategy to curb transmission in factories – The Edge Markets MY
Posted: at 11:42 am
BANGKOK (Feb 6):Thailand is implementing the seal and bubble strategy to curb the spread of Covid-19 in factories in Samut Sakhon, the epicentre of the latest outbreak in the kingdom.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesmanNatapanu Nopakun said for factories providingon-site accommodation for their workers, the seal method would be used to prevent the workers from leaving the factory compound.
For workers staying outside the factorycompound, thebubble method would be used to allow officials toregulate the workersmovements between theirdormitories andworkplaceto prevent them from wandering off to other locations.
The seal and bubble strategy is expected to bring local transmission under control within 28 days, he said at a daily Covid-19 briefing here today.
Besides that, Natapanu said public health officials would scaleup active case detection in Samut Sakhon.
To date, he said, more than 140,000 workers at 845 factories in Samut Sakhon had undergoneCovid-19 tests.
Samut Sakhon, a province south of Bangkok, has recorded 18,897 cases and 19 fatalities since it was hit by the pandemic inmid-December .
Over the last 24 hours, Thailand recorded 490 new Covid-19 cases and zero deaths,bringing the cumulative figures in the kingdom to 23,134 cases and 79 fatalities.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) assistant spokesmanDr Panprapa Yongtrakul said 412 of the new cases were confirmed through active case detection, with410 in Samut Sakhon and one case each inSamut Songkhram and Samut Prakan.
She said 67 new cases were from those seeking treatment at hospitals and another11 cases were imported, including one illegal entry.
After the fresh wave of Covid-19 in Thailand since mid-December last year,14 provinces are still free from Covid-19, while 47 provinces havenot reported new cases for at least seven days, she said.
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Former Navy SEAL commander says Putin has outplayed the US and Russia is the greatest external security threat – We Are The Mighty
Posted: at 11:42 am
During a recent discussion of the challenges the new Biden administration faces, retired Adm. William McRaven said Russian President Vladimir Putin has outplayed the US and that Russia is the greatest external security threat.
I am often asked where do I think the greatest external security threat is, and I always point to Russia, McRaven, a former Navy SEAL and special-operations commander, said at a Chatham House event on Tuesday. A lot of people think about China, but Russia jumps to mind first.
While he acknowledged that Russia is not the superpower it once was, he stressed that Putin has outplayed us.
He has played the great game better than anyone on the world stage, McRaven said of the Russian president. Pointing to Russian actions in Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, and even the US that were detrimental to American interests, he said: Putin is a very dangerous person.
China is often regarded as the pacing threat for the US, and during the Trump administration, tremendous emphasis was put on countering China with less attention paid to Russia.
Nonetheless, Russia is a great power rival, listed as a leading threat alongside China in the 2018 National Defense Strategy.
We do need to find areas where we can partner with the Russians, McRaven said, but make no mistake about it, I think we need to take a hard line with respect to Russia We need to let Putin know that there are lines you just shouldnt cross.
McRaven praised President Joe Bidens first phone call with Putin, in which the president,according to a White House readout, made clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies.
Biden is said to have discussed arms-control concerns, asserted US support for Ukraine, and pressed Putin on the massive SolarWinds cyberattack that affected a number of federal government agencies and bureaus, election interference, and the poisoning of the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
I was pleased to see the president in his first phone call with President Putin addressed Alexei Navalny issue, McRaven said. I dont think President Trump would have done that.
As president, Donald Trump did not condemn Russia over the poisoning of Navalny, whom Russia recently put in prison.
Commenting on his discussion with Putin, Biden said Thursday that he made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russias aggressive actions interfering with our election, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens are over.
We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interests and our people, he added.
McRaven said Tuesday that the US needed to not only make its position clear to Russia but also rebuild and leverage alliances to make sure that Russia understands how they need to play.
The Biden administration has made priorities of rebuilding alliances, reengaging in international affairs, and leading with confidence and humility. The presidents foreign-policy approach stands in stark contrast with Trumps America First policies.
During his presidency, Trump was criticized by Democrats and some Republicans for pushing away allies and partners while at times cozying up to adversaries.
In particular, critics expressed concern as Trump struck a conciliatory tone toward Russia, despite warnings from across the intelligence community and other parts of the US government that Russia was engaged in activities that harmed US interests.
McRaven,who voted for Biden despite considering himself a conservative, was an outspoken critic of Trumps policies.
In anopinion columnpublished in August, McRaven wrote that Trump was actively working to undermine every major institution in this country as the US struggled with rising threats from China and Russia, among other challenges.
One of hismore famous op-eds was a 2019 articletitled Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President, in which he said: If this president doesnt demonstrate the leadership that America needs, both domestically and abroad, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office.
He said Trumps actions threatened the trust of Americans allies and partners.
If our promises are meaningless, how will our allies ever trust us? If we cant have faith in our nations principles, why would the men and women of this nation join the military, McRaven wrote. And if they dont join, who will protect us? If we are not the champions of the good and the right, then who will follow us? And if no one follows us where will the world end up?
McRaven served nearly four decades in the military. As the commander of Joint Special Operations Command,he oversaw Operation Neptune Spear, the successful military raid that killed the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Ladenin 2011.
After retiring from the Navy in 2014, he went into academia and has written best-selling books on leadership, including Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life and Maybe the World and Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations.
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Remembering David Washbrook, and His Historical Insights on Class Relations in South Asia – The Wire
Posted: at 11:41 am
The death of Professor David Washbrook (b. April 25, 1948 d. January 24, 2021) has robbed South Asian history of one of its most incisive and robust voices. Over a career spanning five decades, Washbrook was a significant figure in many of the key debates that animated the field. And in many ways, his intellectual trajectory reflects the shifts in its historiography.
Washbrooks career as an historian of colonial South Asia began and ended at Trinity College, Cambridge. As an undergraduate, he became drawn to the study of colonial India under the tutelage of Anil Seal; and, as a Junior Research Fellow at the college (1971-74), he completed a doctorate on the politics of the Madras Presidency. In 2007, he returned to Trinity as a Senior Research Fellow, after holding academic positions at the universities of Warwick (1975-1993), Harvard (1986) and Oxford (1993-2007).
Washbrooks early books South India: Political Institutions and Political Change (1975, co-edited with Christopher Baker) and The Emergence of Provincial Politics: The Madras Presidency, 1870-1920 (1976) swiftly established him as one of the rising stars of the so-called Cambridge School. This new approach to the study of Indian nationalism sought to set aside its high flown rhetoric and uncover the underlying material imperatives that drove politicians and their local patrons. Understandably, the Cambridge approach was met with criticism, especially in India, where it was seen as a Namierite reading of Indian politics, downplaying the ideology, norms and values of the anti-colonial struggle. Yet even in his early writings, Washbrook was not the cynically detached analyst conjured by his critics. He had already begun to draw important connections between ecology, agrarian class relations and the political economy of colonialism.
These themes were to inform the next phase of his scholarly career, which saw him move back in time to 18th-century South India. The shift in research focus yielded essays that contributed to a new account of late pre-colonial South Asia and its transition to colonialism. Notably, Washbrooks interventions highlighted the significance of an incipient capitalism and its impact on class formation and corporate institutions prior to the English East India Companys rise to political power. Moreover, he argued, the early colonial state consolidated the practices of state mercantilism that it had inherited from pre-colonial regimes. Two major essays published in Modern Asian Studies Law, State and Agrarian Society in Colonial India (1981) and Progress and Problems: South Asian Economic and Social History, c. 1720-1860 (1988) offer richly suggestive distillations of the revisionist perspectives that transformed South Asian historiography in the 1980s. As with his earlier writings on Indian nationalism, Washbrooks arguments about the colonial transition had its critics, especially scholars of the Subaltern Studies collective. And as before, the ensuing debates drew a new generation of scholars to the study of South Asian history.
Also read: Syud Hossain: A Fascinating Footnote from Indias Freedom Struggle
Washbrooks turn to the study of 18th-century South India also led him to frame the regions past within the history of the evolving capitalist world economy. In the mid-1980s, he critiqued Immanuel Wallerstein and his world systems analysis for its ahistorical assumptions about South Asias economic past. Over time, this critique paved the way for a series of essays in which Washbrook located India firmly at the centre of the early modern global world.
The final decade of his scholarly career saw Washbrook expand his scholarly interests in new directions. There were forays into the intellectual and cultural worlds of 18th-century South India, the history of the scribal classes in early modern India, and the role of princely states in the making of Indian modernity. Some of this work was published over the last decade, but it would not be surprising if the scholars proverbial bottom drawer contains much that was being worked up for publication.
Yet for all the shifts, there were enduring continuities in Washbrooks oeuvre as a historian. For one, there was the deep investment in the study of South India, the vast and varied region that was his favoured unit of historical analysis. Equally, one can discern a constant preoccupation with the social history of capitalism and class relations. Indeed, Washbrooks focus on class prompted some to consider him a Marxist. (I once asked him if this was the case; I am all for the Marx of the 18th Brumaire, he responded.) This perception was strengthened by his methodological approach, which tended to combine astute sociological analysis with a sharp sense of historical conjunctures and structural contradictions. And finally, much of his best work was conducted in dialogue and partnership with colleagues who shared his concerns and interests: the early publications on Madras with Chris Baker; the revisionist perspective on the 18th century with Chris Bayly; the writings on South Asian historiography with Rosalind (Polly) OHanlon; and the essays on transnational and global history through his engagement with the scholarship of Joya Chatterji, Prasannan Parthasarthi and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, as well as the activities of the Global Economic History Network (GEHN). The range of his scholarly collaborators and interlocutors, and the high regard and affection that they had for him, was fully in evidence at the conference held in his honour at Trinity College, Cambridge, in May 2014.
Also read: A Tribute to D.N. Jha, a Historian Who Will Be Remembered for Treasuring Plurality
Alongside his considerable achievements as a historian, Washbrook taught, supervised, mentored and examined two generations of scholars working on South Asia. I became his doctoral student shortly after he succeeded Tapan Raychaudhuri as Reader in Indian History at Oxford. As a supervisor, he was generous, patient and wise. He wore lightly both his erudition and his authority. One looked forward to supervision sessions with him at St. Antonys, not only to receive feedback but also to feed off the throwaway remarks that came thick and fast on such occasions.
Above all, it was hard to reconcile the pugnacious writer with the affably avuncular figure, radiating reassurance and good humour, that one encountered in person.
Prashant Kidambi, Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester, United Kingdom.
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Native American mascots under spotlight as Massachusetts bill proposes eliminating their use in public schools – MassLive.com
Posted: at 11:41 am
The use of Native American mascots at public schools has again come into question as a Massachusetts bill proposes eliminating the practice, which Native Americans say mocks their culture.
Sen. Jo Comerford, a Northampton Democrat, refiled a Senate bill, SD 417, that would make the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education create regulations prohibiting public schools from using Native American epithets in team names, logos or mascots, as well as references to Native culture or specific tribes. Rep. Nika Elugardo, a Boston Democrat, and Tami Gouveia, an Acton Democrat, refiled the House version.
Native American leaders who for years have advocated for the bill say its a matter of increasing racial equity.
Native mascots hurt everyone, said Elizabeth Solomon of the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag in a statement. Their negative effects on Native peoples are most evident but, because they promulgate and reinforce stereotypes about Native Americans, they are damaging to anyone who aspires to an equitable and just society.
The mascot bill is part of a larger agenda pushed by Native leaders in Massachusetts, Comerford told MassLive last month. Lawmakers passed another proposal under that agenda at the end of the legislative session the morning of Jan. 6, a bill that launched a commission to review and change the state seal.
The seal shows a hand holding a sword believed to belong to English militia leader Myles Standish hovering over the head of a Native person with the Latin motto that translates to, by the sword we seek peace. Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill to review the seal and motto into law on Jan. 11, according to the Legislatures website.
The work to rethink the commonwealths seal is important, but its not the only thing we have to do, the Northampton Democrat said at the time. Native leaders have laid out a number of steps for us in the indigenous agenda. Theres this bill, theres a bill to ban Native mascots, theres a bill to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, so theres a number of things theyd want to see.
School officials in Pittsfield, Athol and other Massachusetts communities have retired athletic team mascots and teams, while others doubled down. In September, the Agawam City Council voted to keep the Agawam High Schools sports team name, The Brownies, as well as its caricature of a Native American as the mascot.
At least 26 schools in Massachusetts have mascots or logos that reference Native Americans.
Shawna Newcomb, a Mashpee Wampanoag tribal member who teaches at Hanover Public Schools, said she sees schoolchildren growing up seeing their heritage derided through mascots and logos.
It is nearly impossible for Indigenous students to thrive and feel confident in their skin when their heritage is mocked and continuously stereotyped by their school mascot, Newcomb said.
The bill would require the states school board to set a deadline for schools in violation of the regulations to choose a new athletic team name, logo or mascot.
Schools would be allowed to keep the old name, logo or mascot on its signs or marquees until the district is scheduled to replace those items under its maintenance schedules. That means any new marquee, sign or fixture would need the new name, logo or mascot.
Schools would be allowed to continue using uniforms or other materials with the old markers if they were bought before the deadline, according to the bill. But those schools would have to have picked a new name, logo or mascot and refrain from buying materials with the old name, logo or mascot. They also would have to refrain from replacing any signs or buying yearbooks with the old name, logo or mascot.
The bill states it does not prohibit Native American tribes identified by the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs from choosing a Native name or logo for a sports team, including tribal schools or intramural leagues.
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Posted: at 11:41 am
Astrology, card-reading, auras and energieswhen it comes to such interests, I'm a skeptic, admittedly dismissing much of these subjects as "woo woo" fiction. But, as a journalist, I'm also curious. So, when an email landed in my inbox from a company selling reiki-charged candles and offering to perform a tarot card reading to determine the correct candle (and energy) for me, I admit I was intrigued.
Les Loups de La Lune is a new candle company based in New York's Hudson Valley, and the brainchild of Reiki masters Steven Gray, Chad Wagner, and Manu Del Prete. Each candle is hand-poured in the company's studio and contains a crystal, which the trio has "charged" ahead of time. In keeping with the founders' belief in the importance of energyas well as the company name, which translates to "wolves of the moon" candles are only poured on new moons, full moons, and solar eclipses.
Les Loups de La Lune
After I take the founders up on their offer of a tarot reading, I dial inlooking harried, no doubt, on my 8th Zoom meeting of the dayto see Gray and Wagner (who are partners in business and life) looking calm and collected in front of the exposed brick wall of their loft space, crystals arranged on the coffee table before them and a tiny dog napping on a furry throw between them. "Okay," I admit. "I already want their energy."
Gray and Wagner met through their Reiki master and, shortly thereafter, began making Reiki-charged candles for friends and family. This year, after relocating upstate from Long Island City, they turned that passion into a business with Les Loups.
Reiki, Gray tells me, "can essentially rework all your energy in your physical body, your spiritual body, and your energetic body." (And here I thought candles were just for a nice ambience! ) The candle collection is a way of translating that energy reworking into a more portable form, with each candle symbolizing a different goal or ambition and packaged with a different spell to recite when lighting.
The tarot readingwhich is offered on the Les Loups site for $110, including a candlewill determine which candle best suits me. Wagner leaves the screen for my reading: "I think it's important to not have muddled energy," he explains. While he and Gray both practice Reiki, the cards are Gray's game alone. "I channel through my mind," not through cards, says Wagner.
After instructing me to set my mind on some kind of goal, Gray begins shuffling. He walks me through ten minutes of card reading before recommending "The Familiar" candle from the company's "Witch, Please" line. Its purpose"to connect with your spirit guides"seems appropriate for a novice like me.
Gray has specific instructions for lighting the candle: "Hold your candle with an intention, a wish," he instructs. "Let the energy flow from your third eye through your heart and into your hands. Imagine that that wish and when your spirit feels that it's at ease, recite your spell and light your candle."
The concept, alongside the clever names, is just cheeky enough to be funwithout the kitsch of some crystal offerings, but also doesn't take itself entirely too seriously.
When my candle arrivespackaged in a black box with a wax seal and accompanied by a box of matches decorated with a lunar designI diligently wait until the full moon, as Wagner and Gray advised, then imagine my intention, recite my spell, and set it aglow. I'm not sure if it's the spiritual energy, the witchcraft, or just the rare moment of quiet and reflection amidst the business of the day, but I feel a special kind of calm. Maybe I'm not such a skeptic after all.
Intrigued? Shop Les Loups candles here; House Beautiful readers can use the code MYHOUSE for 15% off site-wide.
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