Tuesday 31 January 2012

Humanism, Darwinism and the Question of Slavery

The phrase Darwinism, or sometimes Social Darwinism, is sometimes used to describe a rather ruthless `Survival of the Fittest`philosophy.

To my mind, evolution actually demonstrates `Survival of the Most Adaptable` , but let`s not get sidetracked. A quick trawl around shows us that Darwin` views have in fact been misrepresented.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Marilyn Mason`s article `Darwin, Slavery and Humanism - or What Would Darwin Do ?`, posted Wed 18 Jan 2012 at www.humanistlife.org.uk  . Ms Mason`s article, in addition to it`s merits on it`s own account, provides links to an old New Scientist article (Rowan Hooper - Hatred of Slavery Drove Darwin to Emancipate All Life - 29 January 2009 at www.newscientist.com ) and to the web site for the UK`s oldest charity, Anti Slavery , formerly known as  Anti Slavery International ( www.antislavery.org ).

Lily Brown of New York City

The name of writer/activist Lloyd L Brown (Lloyd Louis Brown, Lloyd Dight) may well be known to visitors to this blog.

His wife Lily is rather less well-known, though, based on the little I know about her,  she deserves to be remembered.

For more on Lily you might like to see my post `Meanwhile, Back in the States #3`, posted a few days ago at http://angpav.blogspot.com.

On a more general note, I freely admit that my knowledge of her is limited in the extreme. I wonder if others have more information ?

Sunday 22 January 2012

Historical Happenings ; Greensboro Sit Ins of 1960

Having mentioned Dr Tony Shaw`s blog recently (see my `A New Year, A New Approach` posted at this blog earlier today) , I`d like to give quick mention to his  `The Greensboro Sit-Ins, North Carolina, 1960`, which was posted at http://tonyshaw3.blogspot.com on 16 January 2012.

If time allows, I may return to the subject of the Greensboro sit-ins in the not too distant future.

Update ; Minority Rights and Wrongs

Following disturbances in the Sudan recently, Minority Rights Group International has issued a press release, `Urgent Measures Needed...` dated 5 January 2012, which can be found in the `News` section of their website.

This fascinating organisation always has something interesting to say, often on matters that are largely ignored by the media.

In their `Minorities in the News` section, it was sobering to see two linked reports from last month ;

`MRG condemns campaign of disinformation and threats... ` followed, unfortunately by   `MRG expresses condolences over the death of human rights activist` . I hope that anyone reading this will also take a couple of minutes to read these.

MRG has no membership and relies on sales, subscriptions and donations.   At present, it receives funding from a number of  charitable/philanthropic organisations and from some governments. While it`s true that funding from governments could be a bit of a contentious issue, particularly when an organisation has no membership and therefore by definition cannot be democratic, there`s no evidence that I know of to suggest this has actually been a problem to date.

A New Year, A New Approach

As I`ve noted before, I haven`t really been giving this blog the attention it deserves for quite a while.

Part of the problem was that my original plan (to run it as a tribute blog to the late W E B Du Bois) was a little over-ambitious, particularly given that my work and family commitments are considerable.

I`ve decided this year to turn it into something a bit more practical and achievable.

To do that, I`m returning to one of the better slogans of my mis-spent youth, `Think Globally and Act Locally` (as you might guess, I was young in the 1980s !). 

I already post some pieces on grassroots/locally based community groups etc at Angel Pavement ( http://angpav.blogspot.com ) and Bookshelves and Brown Ale ( http://bookshelvesandbrownale.blogspot.com ) so I plan to give this blog an international slant to complement those, whilst still using it now and again to comment on matters relating to Du Bois and his associates. Also, while my Angel Pavement and Bookshelves stuff tends to be newsy with little comment, this blog may well tend to be a little freer (is that a word ?) and more discussion-orientated.

I generally avoid party politics and rarely comment on the big topical issues of the day, as, quite frankly, there are more than enough self-appointed pundits cluttering up the web without me adding to their number !

Anyway, to make a positive start, I thought I`d share with you these rather fine images, which come from Dr Tony Shaw (  http://tonyshaw3.blogspot.com ) ,  and which he has kindly given me permission to use. If you have literary leanings yourself, you may well wish to give his blog a visit.