• Boris Johnson gave two reasons for lifting all restrictions. Both are wrong | Coronavirus | The Guardian

    At the time of writing, 52% of the UK population had been fully vaccinated. Perhaps another 20% have some immunity from one dose of vaccine or previous Covid infection. If this level of population immunity was enough to contain the pandemic alongside public health measures, cases would be falling. They aren’t falling and it isn’t enough.

  • #Covid: Children’s extremely low risk confirmed by study - BBC News

    Lead researcher Prof Russell Viner said complex decisions around vaccinating and shielding children required input from many sources - not their work alone.

    But he said if there were adequate vaccines, their research suggested certain groups of children could benefit from receiving Covid jabs.

    He added: “I think from our data, and in my entirely personal opinion, it would be very reasonable to vaccinate a number of groups we have studied, who don’t have a particularly high risk of death, but we do know that their risk of having severe illness and coming to intensive care, while still low, is higher than the general population.”

    He said further vaccine data - expected imminently from other countries, including the US and Israel - should be taken into account when making the decision.

    Dr Elizabeth Whittaker, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Imperial College London, said […] “[a]lthough this data covers up to February 2021, this hasn’t changed recently with the #Delta #variant. We hope this data will be reassuring for children and young people and their families.”

    #enfants #vaccination

  • #Covid-19 : au #Royaume-Uni, la flambée des cas ne s’accompagne pas d’une hausse des hospitalisations

    L’explication se trouve du côté de l’efficacité de la campagne de #vaccination menée outre-Manche puisque « moins d’une personne sur dix acceptées à l’hôpital à cause du variant Delta a reçu deux doses de #vaccin », se félicite le ministère de la santé britannique. Début juillet, 84 % des adultes britanniques ont reçu au moins une dose et 63 % deux doses de vaccin – un tiers avec le vaccin de Pfizer et deux tiers avec celui d’AstraZeneca.

    Cette constatation britannique est confirmée par l’Agence européenne du médicament (AEM). Son responsable de la stratégie vaccinale, Marco Cavaleri, a affirmé, jeudi 1er juillet, que les « données émergentes provenant de preuves concrètes montrent que deux doses de vaccin protègent contre le #variant Delta » avec « les quatre vaccins approuvés dans l’Union européenne ».

  • How China went from celebrating ethnic diversity to suppressing it


    Thu 10 Jun 2021 by Thomas S Mullaney - The brutal clampdown in Xinjiang represents an about-face from the communist party’s original approach to cultural differences

    China’s mass detention of Uyghur Muslims – the largest of a religio-ethnic group since the second world war – is not the inevitable or predictable outcome of Chinese communist policies towards ethnic minorities. I’ve spent the past 20 years studying ethnicity in China and, when viewing the present situation in Xinjiang through the prism of history, one thing becomes clear: this is not what was “supposed” to happen.

    In the early 1950s the Chinese Communist party (CCP) was holding on to revolutionary victory by its fingernails. The postwar economy was in shambles, and the outbreak of the Korean war brought a nuclear hegemon to its doorstep, in the form of the United States. Not the moment most regimes would choose to enlarge their to-do lists. The CCP did, however, committing to officially recognising more minority peoples than any other Chinese regime in history. While Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists had begrudgingly accepted the official existence of five groups in the 1930s and 40s, the Communists recognised 55 in all (plus the Han majority), many with populations under 10,000.

    A remarkable amount of time and capital was dedicated to the celebration and bolstering of these groups. Perhaps the largest social survey in human history sent thousands of researchers into minority communities, filling libraries with their reports. Linguists created writing systems for minorities who did not already have them. The scale of the People’s Republic of China’s investment in groups it designated as “minorities” has been staggering.

    Here’s the irony: the Chinese communists don’t believe that “ethnic identity” truly exists – not in the long run. Rooted in Marxism-Leninism, the party maintains (at least, it did) that class is the only fundamental dimension of human identity. Other collective identities, such as nationality, religion and ethnicity are long-lasting but ultimately ephemeral fictions, constructed by those at the top of the economic pyramid to distract the poor from seeking comradeship with fellow proletarians.

    Why would the party invest in something it doesn’t think exists? To neutralise it.

    While other countries have used denialism as a tactic to combat perceived threats of internal ethnic diversity – insisting on the singularity and indivisibility of one’s nation by recognising as few minorities as possible, or perhaps none at all – the Chinese communist game plan was the opposite: to recognise ethnic diversity into irrelevance. To shepherd it into extinction.

    By embracing so many ethnic identities the goal has been to preempt threats of local nationalism; to ensure that the country’s minority nationalities never aspire to national self-determination or nation states. After all, if the state was recognising and championing minority groups, what legitimate reason would anyone have to break off and form their own political entity?

    A slow-acting process of disintegration was supposed to unfold, less a fiery melting pot than a leisurely slow cooker. Identities once important enough to declare independence over, even to die for, were supposed to matter less and less in one’s daily life. The goal was technically not assimilationist. A hundred years from now – even 200 or 500 – there should still be Tibetans, Uyghur, Miao, and so on. But these monikers should not matter, except on festive occasions.

    The plan has been remarkably effective. For some minority groups, such as Manchu and Zhuang, it is not uncommon for individuals to speak nothing but flawless Mandarin. Meanwhile, the provinces of Yunnan, Guangxi and Guizhou – once sites to some of the bloodiest ethnic violence in world history – have been transformed into “colourful” and “harmonious” lands of diverse cultures ready to welcome authenticity-seeking tourists.

    This plan is not benign or nonviolent, let’s be clear. The occupation of Tibet in 1951, the suppression of the 1958 Amdo rebellion, and many other episodes demonstrate the bloody extent to which the state has gone and will go to maintain control. Ethnic violence was widespread during the Cultural Revolution in 1966, moreover, as Maoist fanatics defaced mosques, dynamited Tibetan temples, and attacked those wearing ethnic clothing – vestiges of the “old China” they sought to destroy.

    As violent as these moments were, however, they were episodic and short-lived. Each time, the state snapped back to the earlier playbook of celebration and neutralisation.

    What happened? How did mass detention, the systematic destruction of mosques, and imprisonment for showing signs of Muslim religiosity become state policy in Xinjiang? Three reasons, primarily: growing inequality, the forces unleashed by China’s experiment with capitalism, and the rise of ethnic scapegoating, fuelled by rampant Han Chinese resentment.

    The Chinese Communist party’s ethno-political game plan has always depended on the gulf between rich and poor growing smaller, not larger. Within the Han Chinese majority, as many basic aspects of the “Chinese dream” fall out of reach – as even graduates of prestigious universities huddle in cramped apartments in outskirts of cities they can’t afford to live in, for instance – resentment and intolerance has increased. It’s not uncommon to find people taking aim, online, at affirmative action policies and the celebration of minorities. While the party has long policed Han nationalism – or “chauvinism” as it still calls it – the sheer scale of this angry Han Chinese malaise is beyond anything Beijing ever planned for.

    Meanwhile, when minority regions continue to fall behind the coastal Han provinces, and when lucrative local jobs go to internal Han migrants, a tiny subset find their way back to the always present, destabilising potentials of ethnic identity: separatism, national self-determination, transnationalism, and other things that keep party members up at night. Even for those without any separatist ambitions – by far the majority of minorities – capitalist forces have turned ethnic identity into a form of commodity: a product that, in some locales, is their only “cash crop”. Capitalism has made ethnic identity both more volatile and more resistant to the party’s hoped-for disintegration.

    This is the forest fuel, collecting over many years of drought, that caught fire in the 21st century. September 11, the 2009 protests that turned into riots in Ürümqi, Xinjiang, and the 2014 Kunming rail station attack: these events provided the justification for Beijing’s brutal clampdown on Muslim Uyghurs in the name of its “People’s war on terror”. They triggered a weakening, perhaps an abandonment, of ethnic policies that served the party for half a century, and which it spent a fortune building.

    Will things snap back, as they did before? It’s doubtful. The about-face in CCP ethno-politics seems to be melding with other, powerful forces. China’s multitrillion-dollar infrastructure gamble – the “belt and road” initiative – marches straight through the north-west, where Xinjiang is. Climate migrants will need many places to go when sea water begins to fill the populous Pearl river delta, among other regions. Meanwhile, the “one country, two systems” approach to Hong Kong is de facto dead, and the PRC looks eerily close to contemplating military invasion of Taiwan. Should the party abandon the “56 nationalities of China” model, it would be just one more longstanding policy jettisoned in an already drastic list.

    So again, the situation in Xinjiang was not “supposed” to happen. It may well augur the end of China’s ethnic diversity policies. As for what could replace them, the current prospects seem grim.

    Thomas S Mullaney is professor of Chinese history at Stanford University

    #Chine #politique #histoire #marxisme

  • More than just a statue: why removing Rhodes matters

    In the context of a worldwide movement against race hate, Oriel College’s position makes no sense

    Anger is a potent, if volatile, political force. It can be channelled toward many ends. It’s often dismissed as counterproductive, but Audre Lorde, the African American writer and civil rights activist, reminds us that anger can be a powerful source of energy. It can serve progress and change, it can be liberating and clarifying.

    I remember so viscerally my own anger this time last year as I screamed Black Lives Matter in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. And I was not alone. The world witnessed a prolonged outpouring of rage. Global protests with emotionally charged testimonies and determined calls for justice abounded. These protests soon extended beyond the immediate circumstances of Floyd’s death at the knee of Derek Chauvin to challenging an array of institutions that are built on or propagate anti-Black racism. Anger had made it abundantly clear that, despite all the promises of liberal democracy, western society still has a problem with race.

    At first the message appeared to be getting across. If we were to believe the black squares on Instagram, or the spike in sales of anti-racism books, or the spread of a new mantra among white people (“I need to educate myself”), then change of some kind was afoot.

    In Oxford, the Black Lives Matter protests folded into the anti-colonial activism of Rhodes Must Fall. This is not surprising. Colonialism and racism are entwined like the strands of a double helix. In modern Britain, colonialism has transcended its historical epoch. It exists in the present as a kind of nostalgia for the country’s hegemony on the world stage, while fuelling nationalism, buttressing white supremacy and generating anxieties about immigration and cultural change. The statue of Cecil John Rhodes at Oriel College in Oxford perfectly distils this imperial nostalgia into a concrete object.

    The charge sheet against Rhodes is well documented. Rhodes’s imperial philosophy was unabashedly supremacist, and he detested Africans (“If the whites maintain their position as the supreme race, the day may come when we shall be thankful that we have the natives with us in their proper position”). At the end of the 19th century, Rhodes invaded the Ndebele kingdom in what is now Zimbabwe. His British South Africa Company mowed down soldiers, women and children with Maxim guns; it looted cattle and destroyed grain stores and crops, leaving the local population destitute; and it went on to establish the apartheid state of Rhodesia. Rhodes was often present while these atrocities were taking place, and he was involved in strategic discussions about the wars he waged against Black people in southern Africa.

    I have been part of the campaign to take down the statue of Rhodes at Oxford since 2015. In the last six years, I have seen the history of Rhodes – and indeed colonialism – sanitised, ignored, denied and distorted by critics of the campaign. Some claim that Rhodes was not a racist, others who know little of Africa have the gall to accuse people like me of erasing history. George Orwell was right when he wrote: “It is quite true that the English are hypocritical about their Empire.”

    In response to the anti-racism protests last June, Oriel College’s governing body expressed its desire to remove the statue of Rhodes subject to review by an independent commission composed of academics, city councillors, Oriel alumni, university administrators and journalists. This was the second time the college had made such a pledge. In 2016, the college had stated that it would launch a six-month “listening exercise” on the Rhodes statue, only to renege on this commitment within six weeks because it feared losing donor gifts from the college’s old boys’ network.

    I wanted to believe that the independent commission would be taken seriously this time round. The commissioners worked hard. They gathered evidence and testimonies from a wide range of perspectives for nearly a year before producing a detailed, heavily footnoted report. Ultimately, they recommended the removal of the statue and offered several other suggestions for advancing academic and public understanding of the Rhodes legacy.

    On 20 May, Oriel College finally announced its decision: it would retain the statue despite the apparent wishes of the college’s governing body and the recommendations of the independent commission. Why? The college’s website states that the governing body has “carefully considered the regulatory and financial challenges, including the expected time frame for removal, which could run into years with no certainty of outcome, together with the total cost of removal”. Like dowdy clothing, such statements conceal more than they reveal. What are these regulatory and financial challenges exactly? What is meant by “no certainty of outcome”? Even Oxford City Council was baffled.

    The statement goes on to say that “instead” of taking down the statue, the governing body will focus on contextualising Rhodes’s relationship to the college and “improving educational equality, diversity, and inclusion”. The word “instead” is doing a lot of work here: it is dissipating the core demand of the protests into an array of tiny initiatives that the college should be taking anyway. As educators, I think part of our professional mandate is to constantly improve equality, diversity and inclusion among students and colleagues. Oriel deserves no special credit for committing to this.

    Taking down the Rhodes statue might seem symbolic, but it actually represents real change. At the very least, it would demonstrate that the university is not only beholden to a group of wealthy alumni and political patrons. The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, lauded Oriel’s decision as “sensible”. More generally, arguments over statues are always about the present and not the past. They are about which aspects of our cultural heritage we choose to honour in public space and why. They are about what values we wish to promote and who has a voice in these matters.

    There is another salient lesson here. Public outrage can mobilise impassioned calls for change like an all-consuming fire, but this is difficult to sustain. Anger is potent but it is exhausting. When the temperature cools down, when energy is depleted, those opposed to change can extinguish the urgency of anti-racism agendas using bureaucracy, platitudes and obfuscation.

    Still, I don’t think the story will end here. The anger that was activated last summer has shifted the public conversation about race and colonialism. If history has taught us anything, it’s that social change is often slow and difficult. It rarely unfolds through absolute victories but through partial gains and subtle shifts in collective consciousness. It’s a matter of time before anger erupts again. The question of how that anger will ultimately be used is an open one.


    #statute #commémoration #mémoire #toponymie_politique #rage #Rhodes_Must_Fall #colonialisme #colonisation #Cecil_John_Rhodes #Oxford #Oriel_College #université

    ping @cede

  • Amazon’s Ring is the largest civilian surveillance network the US has ever seen , Lauren Bridges, TheGuardian, 18 may 2021

    One in 10 US police departments can now access videos from millions of privately owned home security cameras without a warrant

    in the past year through the end of April 2021, law enforcement have placed more than 22,000 individual requests to access content captured and recorded on Ring cameras. Ring’s cloud-based infrastructure (supported by Amazon Web Services) makes it convenient for law enforcement agencies to place mass requests for access to recordings without a warrant.

  • Academic freedom is in crisis ; free speech is not

    In August 2020, the UK think tank The Policy Exchange produced a report on Academic Freedom in the UK (https://policyexchange.org.uk/publication/academic-freedom-in-the-uk-2), alleging a chilling effect for staff and students expressing conservative opinions, particularly pro-Brexit or ‘gender critical’ ideas. This is an issue that was examined by a 2018 parliamentary committee on Human Rights which found a lack of evidence for serious infringements of free speech (https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201719/jtselect/jtrights/1279/127904.htm). In a university context, freedom of speech is protected under the Human Rights Act 1998 as long as the speech is lawful and does not contravene other university regulations on issues like harassment, bullying or inclusion. Some of these controversies have been firmly rebutted by Chris Parr (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/free-speech-crisis-uk-universities-chris-parr) and others who describe how the incidents have been over-hyped.

    Despite this, the government seems keen to appoint a free speech champion for universities (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/15/tories-war-on-the-woke-ministers-statues-protests) which continues a campaign started by #Sam_Gyimah (https://academicirregularities.wordpress.com/2018/07/06/sams-on-campus-but-is-the-campus-onto-sam) when he was minister for universities in 2018, and has been interpreted by some commentators as a ‘war on woke’. In the current climate of threats to university autonomy, many vice chancellors wonder whether this might be followed by heavy fines or reduced funding for those institutions deemed to fall on the wrong side of the culture wars.

    While public concern has been directed to an imagined crisis of free speech, there are more significant questions to answer on the separate but related issue of academic freedom. Most university statutes echo legislation and guarantee academics ‘freedom within the law to question and test received wisdom, and to put forward new ideas and controversial and unpopular opinions, without placing themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs or privileges they may have at their institutions.’ [Section 202 of the Education Reform Act 1988]. In reality, these freedoms are surrendered to the greater claims of academic capitalism, government policy, legislation, managers’ responses to the pandemic and more dirigiste approaches to academics’ work.

    Nevertheless, this government is ploughing ahead with policies designed to protect the freedom of speech that is already protected, while doing little to hold university managers to account for their very demonstrable violations of academic freedom. The government is suspicious of courses which declare a sympathy with social justice or which manifest a ‘progressive’ approach. This hostility also extends to critical race theory and black studies. Indeed, the New York Times has identified a right wing ‘Campaign to Cancel Wokeness’ (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/opinion/speech-racism-academia.html) on both sides of the Atlantic, citing a speech by the UK Equalities Minister, Kemi Badenoch, in which she said, “We do not want teachers to teach their white pupils about white privilege and inherited racial guilt…Any school which teaches these elements of critical race theory, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law.”

    This has now set a tone for ideological oversight which some university leaders seem keen to embrace. Universities will always wish to review their offerings to ensure they reflect academic currency and student choice. However, operating under the cover of emergency pandemic planning, some are now seeking to dismantle what they see as politically troublesome subject areas.

    Let’s start with the most egregious and transparent attack on academic freedom. The University of Leicester Business School, known primarily for its disdain of management orthodoxy, has announced it will no longer support research in critical management studies (https://www.uculeicester.org.uk/redundancy-briefing) and political economy, and the university has put all researchers who identify with this field, or who at some time might have published in CMS, at risk of redundancy. Among the numerous responses circulating on Twitter, nearly all point to the fact that the critical orientation made Leicester Business School distinctive and attractive to scholars wishing to study and teach there. Among those threatened with redundancy is the distinguished former dean, Professor Gibson Burrell. The sheer volume of protest at this anomaly must be an embarrassment to Leicester management. We should remember that academic freedom means that, as a scholar of proven expertise, you have the freedom to teach and research according to your own judgement. When those in a field critical of structures of power have their academic freedom removed, this is, unarguably, a breach of that expectation. Such a violation should be of concern to the new freedom of speech champion and to the regulator, the Office for Students.

    If the devastation in the School of Business were not enough humiliation for Leicester, in the department of English, there are plans to cancel scholarship and teaching in Medieval and Early Modern literature. The thoughtless stripping out of key areas that give context and coherence within a subject is not unique to Leicester – similar moves have taken place in English at University of Portsmouth. At Leicester, management have offered the justification that this realignment will allow them to put resources towards the study of gender and sexuality. After all, the Vice Chancellor, Nishan Canagarajah, offered the keynote speech at the Advance HE conference in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion on 19th March (https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/programmes-events/conferences/EDIConf20#Keynotes) and has signalled that he supports decolonising the curriculum. This might have had more credibility if he was not equally committed to extinguishing critical scholarship in the Business School. The two positions are incompatible and reveal an opportunistic attempt to reduce costs and remove signs of critical scholarship which might attract government disapproval.

    At the University of Birmingham, the response to the difficulties of maintaining teaching during the pandemic has been to issue a ruling that three academic staff must be able to teach each module. The explanation for this apparent reversal of the ‘lean’ principle of staffing efficiency, is to make modules more resilient in the face of challenges like the pandemic – or perhaps strike action. There is a consequence for academic freedom though – only the most familiar, established courses can be taught. Courses that might have been offered, which arise from the current research of the academic staff, will have to be cancelled if the material is not already familiar to other colleagues in the department. It is a way of designing innovation and advancement out of courses at the University of Birmingham.

    Still at Birmingham, UCU is contesting a proposal for a new ‘career framework’ (https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/strike-warning-over-birminghams-or-out-probation-plan) by management characterised as ‘up or out’. It will require newly appointed lecturers to achieve promotion to senior lecturer within five years or face the sort of performance management procedures that could lead to termination of their appointment. The junior academics who enter on these conditions are unlikely to gamble their careers on academic risk-taking or pursue a challenge to an established paradigm. We can only speculate how this apprenticeship in organisational obedience might restrain the pursuit of discovery, let alone achieve the management’s stated aim to “develop and maintain an academic culture of intellectual stimulation and high achievement”.

    Meanwhile at the University of Liverpool, Vice Chancellor Janet Beer is attempting to apply research metrics and measures of research income over a five-year period to select academics for redundancy in the Faculty of Life Sciences. Staff have been threatened with sacking and replacement by those felt to hold more promise. It will be an unwise scholar who chooses a niche field of research which will not elicit prime citations. Astoundingly, university mangers claim that their criteria are not in breach of their status as a signatory to the San Fransisco Declaration on Research Assessment (https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2021/03/08/project-shape-update). That is correct insofar as selection for redundancy by grant income is clearly such dishonorable practice as to have been placed beyond contemplation by the international board of DORA.

    It seems we are reaching a pivotal moment for academic freedom for higher education systems across the world. In #Arkansas and some other states in the #USA, there are efforts to prohibit the teaching of social justice (https://www.chronicle.com/article/no-social-justice-in-the-classroom-new-state-scrutiny-of-speech-at-public).

    In #France, the education minister has blamed American critical race theory (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/france-about-become-less-free/617195) for undermining France’s self-professed race-blindness and for causing the rise of “islamo-gauchisme”, a term which has been cynically deployed to blunt any critique of structural racism.

    In Greece, universities are now bound by law to ensure policing and surveillance of university campuses (https://www.crimetalk.org.uk/index.php/library/section-list/1012-exiting-democracy-entering-authoritarianism) by ‘squads for the protection of universities’ in order to suppress dissent with the Orwellian announcement that the creation of these squads and the extensive surveillance of public Universities are “a means of closing the door to violence and opening the way to freedom” and an assertion that “it is not the police who enter universities, but democracy”.


    It occurs to me that those public figures who feel deprived of a platform to express controversial views may well be outnumbered by the scholars whose universities allow their work to be suppressed by targeted intellectual purges, academic totalitarianism and metric surveillance. It is telling that assaults on academic freedom in the UK have not attracted comment or action from the organisations which might be well placed to defend this defining and essential principle of universities. I hereby call on Universities UK, the Office for Students and the freedom of speech champion to insist on an independent audit of academic freedom and autonomy for each higher education institution.

    We now know where intervention into the rights of academics to teach and research autonomously may lead. We also know that many of the candidates targeted for redundancy are UCU trade union officials; this has happened at University of East London and the University of Hull. Make no mistake, this is a PATCO moment (https://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/05/reagan-fires-11-000-striking-air-traffic-controllers-aug-5-1981-241252) for higher education in the UK as management teams try to break union support and solidarity in order to exact greater control in the future.

    Universities are the canary down the mine in an era of right-wing authoritarianism. We must ensure that they can maintain their unique responsibility to protect against the rise of populism and the dismantling of democracy. We must be assertive in protecting the rights of academics whose lawful and reasoned opinions are increasingly subject to some very sinister threats. Academic freedom needs to be fought for, just like the right to protest and the right to roam. That leaves a heavy responsibility for academics if the abolition of autonomy and academic freedom is not to be complete.

    #liberté_académique #liberté_d'expression #UK #Angleterre #université #facs #justice_sociale #black_studies #races #race #approches_critiques #études_critiques #privilège_blanc #économie_politique #Leicester_Business_School #pandémie #crise_sanitaire #Birmingham #Liverpool #Janet_Beer #concurrence #Grèce #Etats-Unis #métrique #attaques #éducation_supérieure #populisme #démocratie #autonomie #canari_dans_la_mine

    ping @isskein @cede

    • The Campaign to Cancel Wokeness. How the right is trying to censor critical race theory.

      It’s something of a truism, particularly on the right, that conservatives have claimed the mantle of free speech from an intolerant left that is afraid to engage with uncomfortable ideas. Every embarrassing example of woke overreach — each ill-considered school board decision or high-profile campus meltdown — fuels this perception.

      Yet when it comes to outright government censorship, it is the right that’s on the offense. Critical race theory, the intellectual tradition undergirding concepts like white privilege and microaggressions, is often blamed for fomenting what critics call cancel culture. And so, around America and even overseas, people who don’t like cancel culture are on an ironic quest to cancel the promotion of critical race theory in public forums.

      In September, Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget ordered federal agencies to “begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on ‘critical race theory,’” which it described as “un-American propaganda.”

      A month later, the conservative government in Britain declared some uses of critical race theory in education illegal. “We do not want teachers to teach their white pupils about white privilege and inherited racial guilt,” said the Tory equalities minister, Kemi Badenoch. “Any school which teaches these elements of critical race theory, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law.”

      Some in France took up the fight as well. “French politicians, high-profile intellectuals and journalists are warning that progressive American ideas — specifically on race, gender, post-colonialism — are undermining their society,” Norimitsu Onishi reported in The New York Times. (This is quite a reversal from the days when American conservatives warned darkly about subversive French theory.)

      Once Joe Biden became president, he undid Trump’s critical race theory ban, but lawmakers in several states have proposed their own prohibitions. An Arkansas legislator introduced a pair of bills, one banning the teaching of The Times’s 1619 Project curriculum, and the other nixing classes, events and activities that encourage “division between, resentment of, or social justice for” specific groups of people. “What is not appropriate is being able to theorize, use, specifically, critical race theory,” the bills’ sponsor told The Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

      Republicans in West Virginia and Oklahoma have introduced bills banning schools and, in West Virginia’s case, state contractors from promoting “divisive concepts,” including claims that “the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist.” A New Hampshire Republican also proposed a “divisive concepts” ban, saying in a hearing, “This bill addresses something called critical race theory.”

      Kimberlé Crenshaw, a pioneering legal scholar who teaches at both U.C.L.A. and Columbia, has watched with alarm the attempts to suppress an entire intellectual movement. It was Crenshaw who came up with the name “critical race theory” when organizing a workshop in 1989. (She also coined the term “intersectionality.”) “The commitment to free speech seems to dissipate when the people who are being gagged are folks who are demanding racial justice,” she told me.

      Many of the intellectual currents that would become critical race theory emerged in the 1970s out of disappointment with the incomplete work of the civil rights movement, and cohered among radical law professors in the 1980s.
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      The movement was ahead of its time; one of its central insights, that racism is structural rather than just a matter of interpersonal bigotry, is now conventional wisdom, at least on the left. It had concrete practical applications, leading, for example, to legal arguments that housing laws or employment criteria could be racist in practice even if they weren’t racist in intent.

      Parts of the critical race theory tradition are in tension with liberalism, particularly when it comes to issues like free speech. Richard Delgado, a key figure in the movement, has argued that people should be able to sue those who utter racist slurs. Others have played a large role in crafting campus speech codes.

      There’s plenty here for people committed to broad free speech protections to dispute. I’m persuaded by the essay Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote in the 1990s challenging the movement’s stance on the first amendment. “To remove the very formation of our identities from the messy realm of contestation and debate is an elemental, not incidental, truncation of the ideal of public discourse,” he wrote.

      Disagreeing with certain ideas, however, is very different from anathematizing the collective work of a host of paradigm-shifting thinkers. Gates’s article was effective because he took the scholarly work he engaged with seriously. “The critical race theorists must be credited with helping to reinvigorate the debate about freedom of expression; even if not ultimately persuaded to join them, the civil libertarian will be much further along for having listened to their arguments and examples,” he wrote.

      But the right, for all its chest-beating about the value of entertaining dangerous notions, is rarely interested in debating the tenets of critical race theory. It wants to eradicate them from public institutions.

      “Critical race theory is a grave threat to the American way of life,” Christopher Rufo, director of the Center on Wealth and Poverty at the Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank once known for pushing an updated form of creationism in public schools, wrote in January.

      Rufo’s been leading the conservative charge against critical race theory. Last year, during an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, he called on Trump to issue an executive order abolishing “critical race theory trainings from the federal government.” The next day, he told me, the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, called him and asked for his help putting an order together.

      Last month, Rufo announced a “new coalition of legal foundations and private attorneys that will wage relentless legal warfare against race theory in America’s institutions.” A number of House and Senate offices, he told me, are working on their own anti-critical race theory bills, though none are likely to go anywhere as long as Biden is president.

      As Rufo sees it, critical race theory is a revolutionary program that replaces the Marxist categories of the bourgeois and the proletariat with racial groups, justifying discrimination against those deemed racial oppressors. His goal, ultimately, is to get the Supreme Court to rule that school and workplace trainings based on the doctrines of critical race theory violate the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

      This inversion, casting anti-racist activists as the real racists, is familiar to Ian Haney López, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in critical race theory. “There’s a rhetoric of reaction which seeks to claim that it’s defending these higher values, which, perversely, often are the very values it’s traducing,” he said. “Whether that’s ‘In the name of free speech we’re going to persecute, we’re going to launch investigations into particular forms of speech’ or — and I think this is equally perverse — ‘In the name of fighting racism, we’re going to launch investigations into those scholars who are most serious about studying the complex forms that racism takes.’”

      Rufo insists there are no free speech implications to what he’s trying to do. “You have the freedom of speech as an individual, of course, but you don’t have the kind of entitlement to perpetuate that speech through public agencies,” he said.

      This sounds, ironically, a lot like the arguments people on the left make about de-platforming right-wingers. To Crenshaw, attempts to ban critical race theory vindicate some of the movement’s skepticism about free speech orthodoxy, showing that there were never transcendent principles at play.

      When people defend offensive speech, she said, they’re often really defending “the substance of what the speech is — because if it was really about free speech, then this censorship, people would be howling to the high heavens.” If it was really about free speech, they should be.


      #droite #gauche #censure #cancel_culture #micro-agressions #Trump #Donald_Trump #Kemi_Badenoch #division #critical_race_theory #racisme #sexisme #Kimberlé_Crenshaw #Crenshaw #racisme_structurel #libéralisme #Richard_Delgado #Christopher_Rufo #Ian_Haney_López

    • No ‘Social Justice’ in the Classroom: Statehouses Renew Scrutiny of Speech at Public Colleges

      Blocking professors from teaching social-justice issues. Asking universities how they talk about privilege. Analyzing students’ freedom of expression through regular reports. Meet the new campus-speech issues emerging in Republican-led statehouses across the country, indicating potential new frontiers for politicians to shape campus affairs.


  • Rates of Parkinson’s disease are exploding. A common chemical may be to blame | Adrienne Matei | Opinion | The Guardian

    Most cases of Parkinson’s disease are considered idiopathic – they lack a clear cause. Yet researchers increasingly believe that one factor is environmental exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical compound used in industrial degreasing, dry-cleaning and household products such as some shoe polishes and carpet cleaners.

    To date, the clearest evidence around the risk of TCE to human health is derived from workers who are exposed to the chemical in the work-place. A 2008 peer-reviewed study in the Annals of Neurology, for example, found that TCE is “a risk factor for parkinsonism.” And a 2011 study echoed those results, finding “a six-fold increase in the risk of developing Parkinson’s in individuals exposed in the workplace to trichloroethylene (TCE).”

    Dr Samuel Goldman of The Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, California, who co-led the study, which appeared in the Annals of Neurology journal, wrote: “Our study confirms that common environmental contaminants may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s, which has considerable public health implications.” It was off the back of studies like these that the US Department of Labor issued a guidance on TCE, saying: “The Board recommends [...] exposures to carbon disulfide (CS2) and trichloroethylene (TCE) be presumed to cause, contribute, or aggravate Parkinsonism.”

    TCE is a carcinogen linked to renal cell carcinoma, cancers of the cervix, liver, biliary passages, lymphatic system and male breast tissue, and fetal cardiac defects, among other effects. Its known relationship to Parkinson’s may often be overlooked due to the fact that exposure to TCE can predate the disease’s onset by decades. While some people exposed may sicken quickly, others may unknowingly work or live on contaminated sites for most of their lives before developing symptoms of Parkinson’s.

  • Bill Gates is the biggest private owner of farmland in the United States. Why? | Bill Gates | The Guardian

    The world’s richest 1% emit double the carbon of the poorest 50%, an 2020 Oxfam study found. According to Forbes, the world’s billionaires saw their wealth swell by $1.9tn in 2020, while more than 22 million US workers (mostly women) lost their jobs.

    Like wealth, land ownership is becoming concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, resulting in a greater push for monocultures and more intensive industrial farming techniques to generate greater returns. One per cent of the world’s farms control 70% of the world’s farmlands, one report found. The biggest shift in recent years from small to big farms was in the US.

    The land we all live on should not be the sole property of a few

    The principal danger of private farmland owners like Bill Gates is not their professed support of sustainable agriculture often found in philanthropic work – it’s the monopolistic role they play in determining our food systems and land use patterns.

    • Soutien du CNFG au laboratoire Pacte et à sa directrice

      Depuis près de deux semaines maintenant, le laboratoire Pacte à Grenoble et sa directrice font l’objet d’une campagne de harcèlement, d’intimidations, de menaces diverses, allant jusqu’à des menaces de mort, sur les réseaux sociaux. Ce type d’attaques, alimenté également par voie de presse, est non seulement une atteinte aux libertés académiques, qui supposent la possibilité d’échanges ouverts dans le cadre précis et rigoureux du dialogue universitaire, mais constitue également des actes extrêmement graves qui touchent directement à la sécurité même de nos collègues. Comme nous l’avons déjà souligné dans notre précédent communiqué du vendredi 12 mars, cette affaire s’inscrit dans un contexte plus général de tensions exacerbées autour des débats universitaires, qui font aujourd’hui l’objet d’interventions et de pressions inédites, sur le plan politique comme médiatique.

      Dans ce cadre, le Comité National Français de Géographie souhaite donc d’abord adresser tout son soutien à l’équipe de Pacte, laboratoire pluridisciplinaire et pluraliste, dont la qualité du travail est reconnue tant au niveau national qu’international, et à notre collègue Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary, ancienne présidente de la Commission de Géographie politique et de Géopolitique et membre active du Comité, dont la probité et la valeur ne sont pas à prouver. Ensuite, nous exprimons à nouveau notre inquiétude sur les dérives actuelles, aggravées par les déclarations récentes de Mme Frédérique Vidal remettant profondément en question des champs entiers de recherches en sciences humaines et sociales.

      En tant qu’association professionnelle regroupant des enseignant.es et des chercheur.es dans le champ de la géographie, nous appelons vivement à ce que des solutions soient trouvées pour rétablir des conditions de travail sereines pour l’ensemble des chercheurs. Celles-ci passeront nécessairement par la possibilité d’un dialogue libre et apaisé au sein de la communauté académique, que le ministère de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche comme toutes les autres institutions universitaires et de la recherche se doivent de garantir.

      Le bureau du CNFG

      Reçu par mail, le 19.03.2021

    • 19 mars 2021 – Communiqué du laboratoire Passages

      Les membres de l’Unité Mixte de Recherche Passages, laboratoire pluridisciplinaire de sciences sociales, ayant pris connaissance des violentes attaques verbales dont est victime depuis près de deux semaines - y compris par voie de presse - la directrice de l’UMR Pacte (Grenoble), explicitement menacée de mort sur les réseaux sociaux, expriment leur soutien le plus vif à leur collègue. Ils étendent ce soutien à l’ensemble du laboratoire Pacte, dont la haute qualité des travaux est connue et reconnue.

      Dans la foulée de la section de géographie du Conseil National des Universités (CNU) et du Comité national français de géographie (CNFG), et reprenant ici leurs mots, l’UMR Passages dénonce le climat hostile qui s’installe depuis plusieurs semaines à la suite des propos du Ministre de l’éducation nationale en novembre 2020 et de la Ministre de l’enseignement supérieur en février dernier, unanimement dénoncés par la Conférence des Président.e.s d’Universités (CPU), le CNRS et d’autres organisations représentatives du monde académique.

      Le laboratoire exprime sa très vive inquiétude face à ces attaques d’une extrême gravité, qui visent l’ensemble de la communauté scientifique et menacent l’indépendance de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche français ainsi que la place des sciences dans notre société.

      Reçu par email via la mailing-list geotamtam

    • [IGU-CPG] Statement of Solidarity with French geographers and academics

      Dear colleagues,

      As many academics around the world we have followed with great concern the political debate in France where members of the government, including the Minister of Education and the Minister of Higher Education, and members of the National Assembly have been attacking the social sciences and the humanities at the university and more specifically scholars working in the field of gender studies, critical race theory and postcolonial studies.

      These attacks have been criticized by many official instances including the Conseil national des universités CNU (the national agency supervising the careers of academics in France and organized in disciplinary sections), the Centre national de la recherche scientifique CNRS (the National Centre for Scientific Research), the Conférence des présidents d’université CPU (the Conference of University Presidents), professional associations such as the Comité national français de géographie CNFG (the French National Geography Commission), trade unions and many collective initiatives.

      These collective attacks have intensified since October. Recently we were made aware of the inadmissible attacks suffered by fellow teachers and researchers affiliated to several French universities (Angers, Grenoble, Sorbonne University, Tours and elsewhere). Geographers included.

      We want to call your attention to these attacks and express our solidarity with our French colleagues and our support of the Geography Section of the Conseil national des universités (CNU) and the Comité national français de géographie (CNFG.)

      Both sent a strong and clear message of support to colleagues who have been personally targeted, especially to Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary, who has been receiving countless hate messages and death threats following a mediatized conflict in which she is involved as director of the PACTE laboratory at the Université Grenoble Alpes. Anne-Laure is a political geographer and an internationally renowned border scholar. She is also a member of the steering committee of the Commission on Political Geography of the International Geographical Union.

      We therefore want also to circulate and support the message of French geographers. The CNU Geography Section and the CNFG have denounced the hostile climate which has been setting in for several weeks following the remarks of the Minister of National Education in November 2020 and of the Minister of Higher Education in February 2021, unanimously denounced by the CPU, the CNRS and other organizations representative of the academic world. Through these extremely serious attacks, the entire scientific community is targeted. It is not only the independence, transparency and quality of higher education and research that are called into question, it is also the place of the university in our society that is threatened.

      You will find additional information in English and in French, including the message of the Comité National Français de Géographie (CNFG) at bottom of this message.

      Kind regards,

      Virginie Mamadouh (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and Adriana Dorfman (UFRGS, Brazil)

      Co-Chairs of the Commission on Political Geography of the International Geography Union.


      Some reviews of the situation and statements in English


      International Statement of Solidarity with Decolonial Academics and Activists in France (google.com)





      if you read French see additional documents:






      And about the situation in Grenoble


      https://seenthis.net/messages/905509 and https://www.pacte-grenoble.fr

      Reçu par mail le 19 mars 2021

    • Solidarietà a #Rachele_Borghi, Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary e supporto alla libertà di pensiero e di ricerca

      Desideriamo esprimere la solidarietà delle geografe e dei geografi italiani alle ricercatrici e ai ricercatori bersaglio delle recenti dichiarazioni di alcuni membri del Governo francese tese a minare la libera pratica della ricerca scientifica e della produzione della conoscenza.

      I gravi attacchi indirizzati a colleghe e colleghi delle istituzioni culturali e di ricerca francesi (fra cui le Università di Angers, Grenoble, Sorbonne, Tours), colpiscono in realtà l’insieme della comunità scientifica internazionale e appaiono come un tentativo di ridurre l’indipendenza della scienza e imbavagliare la generazione e la circolazione del libero pensiero.

      Le accuse muovono, in particolare, verso i posizionamenti critici della ricerca contemporanea internazionale e agli approcci delle correnti critiche anti/; de/ e post/coloniali, anti-razziste, di genere, femministe e intersezionali. Esprimiamo piena solidarietà a Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary, minacciata di morte nel suo ruolo di direttrice del laboratorio “Pacte”, e a Rachele Borghi*, geografa colpita personalmente dall’aggressività dell’oltranzismo per le sue posizioni scientifiche e metodologiche espresse in alcune sue opere, peraltro pienamente riconosciute e validate scientificamente e internazionalmente.

      Sostenendo queste colleghe intendiamo ribadire l’importanza della diversità degli approcci in geografia (come del resto in tutta la scienza) e intendiamo tutelare gli apporti che la geografia critica, quella femminista e di genere conferiscono alla conoscenza del mondo contemporaneo.

      * Rachele Borghi è stata componente del Comitato direttivo A.Ge.I., eletta nel 2009


    • Attaques inadmissibles contre des collègues universitaires

      Les membres de la section géographie du CNU ont eu connaissance des attaques inadmissibles dont sont victimes des collègues enseignant.es chercheur.ses dans plusieurs établissements (Angers, Grenoble, Sorbonne Université, Tours et ailleurs). La section géographie du CNU envoie un message de soutien fort et clair à ces collègues, tout particulièrement à Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary, menacée de mort dans le cadre de ses fonctions de directrice du laboratoire Pacte.

      La section géographie dénonce le climat hostile qui s’installe depuis plusieurs semaines à la suite des propos du ministre de l’éducation nationale en novembre 2020 et de la ministre de l’enseignement supérieur en février dernier, unanimement dénoncés par la CPU, le CNRS et d’autres organisations représentatives du monde académique. A travers ces attaques d’une extrême gravité, c’est l’ensemble de la communauté scientifique qui est visée. Ce n’est pas seulement l’indépendance, la transparence et la qualité de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche qui sont remises en cause, c’est aussi la place des sciences dans notre société qui est menacée.

      Le bureau de la section géographie du CNU

      Reçu par mail, le 18.03.2021 via la mailing-list geotamtam

    • Motion de soutien de l’UR Discontinuités à l’UMR Pacte

      Les membres de l’Unité de Recherche Discontinuités, laboratoire de géographie de l’Université d’Artois ont pris connaissance des violentes attaques verbales dont sont victimes depuis deux semaines – y compris par voie de presse – des membres de l’UMR Pacte (Grenoble), notamment sa directrice et une autre enseignante-chercheure, explicitement menacées de mort sur les réseaux sociaux. Ils expriment leur soutien le plus vif à leurs collègues. Ils étendent ce soutien à l’ensemble du laboratoire Pacte, dont les travaux sont connus et reconnus pour leur qualité.

      Dans la foulée de la section de géographie du Conseil National des Universités (CNU), du Comité national français de géographie (CNFG), de la section 39 du CNRS et de l’UMR Passages, et reprenant ici leurs mots, l’UR Discontinuités dénonce le climat délétère qui s’installe depuis plusieurs semaines à la suite des propos du Ministre de l’éducation nationale en novembre 2020 et de la Ministre de l’enseignement supérieur en février dernier et qui ont dénoncé par la Conférence des Président.e.s d’Universités (CPU), le CNRS et d’autres organisations représentatives du monde académique.

      Le laboratoire exprime sa très vive inquiétude face à ces attaques d’une extrême gravité, qui visent l’ensemble de la communauté scientifique et menacent l’indépendance de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche français ainsi que la place des sciences dans notre société.

      reçu via la mailing-list GeoTamTam, le 24.03.2021

    • Motion de soutien de UMR LADYSS à l’UMR PACTE

      Le Ladyss exprime son soutien ferme et entier soutien aux trop nombreux collègues qui sont attaqués pour avoir exprimé de différentes manières leur attachement aux libertés académiques et s’être engagé dans des recherches sur les inégalités et les rapports de domination qui structurent les sociétés.
      Nous adressons en particulier notre soutien au laboratoire PACTE et à sa directrice Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary, non seulement agressées verbalement, mais elle-même menacée de mort. Comme l’écrit PACTE « parler d’“islamo-gauchisme” est un débat initié par l’extrême droite et aujourd’hui repris de façon abusive et instrumentalisée par des membres du gouvernement. Ce mot fait un amalgame opportuniste entre d’une part analyser scientifiquement les discriminations à l’œuvre dans la société et, d’autre part, faire le lit du terrorisme. Ce terme n’est en aucun cas un concept scientifique. »
      Ne pas laisser les sciences humaines et sociales mener leur recherche, selon une pluralité de méthodes, de concepts et de paradigmes, mettre en pâture des chercheuses et des chercheurs en dénigrant le caractère scientifique de leurs travaux au prétexte qu’ils dénoncent des ordres en puissance, est contraire aux principes qui régissent notre société, et notre République.
      Nous associant à nombre de laboratoires et instances collégiales de l’ESR, nous dénonçons l’insupportable climat qui règne suite aux propos des Ministres de l’éducation nationale et de l’enseignement supérieur, unanimement dénoncés par les instances représentant notre profession.
      Nous pourrions considérer que cette logique de petites phrases insidieuses n’est là que pour détourner l’attention du rejet massif exprimé depuis un an par la profession sur l’orientation actuelle que prend la politique en matière d’enseignement supérieur et de recherche, maltraitant l’emploi, les conditions d’étude, les libertés académiques et l’indépendance de la recherche.
      Mais ces attaques sont d’une gravité extrême, elles libèrent des forces délétères qui habitent nos sociétés. Elles visent d’abord une partie critique des SHS, puis progressivement toute la communauté de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche. Il est grand temps que nos plus hautes autorités, à commencer par les ministères de tutelle et le CNRS aient non seulement les mots, mais aussi les actes pour défendre les chercheurs et les chercheuses, et l’indépendance de la recherche qui sont des ferments de la démocratie.

      reçu via la mailing-list GeoTamTam, le 30.03.2021

    • Motion de la Commission de géographie critique du CNFG à propos des attaques indignes ayant visé nos collègues Rachele Borghi et Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary

      Motion à propos des attaques indignes ayant visé nos collègues #Rachele_Borghi et Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary, et plus largement, à propos de la détérioration de la conversation scientifique

      A la suite de la section de géographie du Conseil National des Universités (CNU), du Comité national français de géographie (CNFG), de la section 39 du CNRS, de l’UMR Passages et de l’Unité de Recherche Discontinuités, la Commission de géographie critique du CNFG souhaite exprimer son soutien à Rachele Borghi et Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary.

      Dans un contexte préoccupant de dénigrement de certains courants de recherche en sciences humaines et sociales dont plusieurs organisations représentatives du monde académique se sont alarmées, notre collègue Rachele Borghi, géographe à Sorbonne Université, a récemment fait l’objet à plusieurs reprises d’attaques indignes et infondées dans les médias[1] contre lesquelles nous nous élevons avec force. De fait, ces attaques, bien qu’émanant de pair·e·s, ne portent jamais sur la rigueur de la démarche de recherche elle-même mais visent la personne et tentent de décrédibiliser son champ d’étude. Face à ces attaques sans fondement, nous souhaitons donc témoigner que la créativité, la rigueur et l’éthique scientifiques de Rachele Borghi ne font aucun doute, ni pour celles et ceux qui ont travaillé avec elle, ni pour celles et ceux qui, depuis le début de sa carrière, ont réalisé des évaluations véritablement scientifiques de ses travaux.

      Nous avons également pris connaissance des violentes attaques verbales dont sont victimes depuis deux semaines des membres de l’UMR Pacte (Grenoble), notamment sa directrice Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary, explicitement menacée de mort sur les réseaux sociaux. Nous exprimons notre soutien le plus vif à nos collègues et au laboratoire Pacte, dont les travaux sont connus et reconnus pour leur qualité.

      Nous souhaitons également reprendre à notre compte les quelques principes de travail qui ont été rappelés par la motion du 8 mars 2021 de la section 39 du CNRS : « un principe de bienveillance vis-à-vis de toutes les démarches de recherche novatrices satisfaisant aux règles de la rigueur scientifique ; un principe de pluralité épistémologique s’opposant à toute forme de dogmatisme, fût-il scientifique ; et une exigence de réflexivité, qui nous paraît aujourd’hui plus que jamais essentielle à toute démarche de recherche ».

      La Commission de géographie critique du CNFG

      Motion adoptée le 24 mars 2021

      73% de votants : 96% oui, 4% non, 0 abstention

      24 votants sur 33 : 23 oui, 1 non

      –-> reçu par mail via la mailing-list geotamtam, le 02.04.2021

    • Statement of support with our French colleagues at PACTE / Message de soutien aux collègues français de PACTE.

      For the last few months, we have witnessed the growing tensions of political debates in France. Ultimately, these tensions have resulted in members of the French government (notably the Minister of National Education, the Minister of Higher Education and Research, and elected members of the National Assembly) attacking members of the French scientific community who critically examine questions such as gender, race, or postcoloniality.

      These attacks have triggered a strong reaction on the part of the scientific community, particularly geographers. They have been condemned at the highest instances, in France and abroad, for example, by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the Conférence des présidents d’université, le Conseil National des Universités or the International Geography Union.

      We at ACME stand by our French colleagues who have been at the receiving end of this vicious abuse. We want to show our solidarity, particularly towards Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary, an internationally recognized geographer and director of the PACTE laboratory at the CNRS and the Université Grenoble Alpes. Anne-Laure has been the victim of a coordinated online harassment campaign and has received numerous death threats. This is unacceptable.

      We denounce these grave attacks that target not just individuals whose work we respect and admire, but also a research lab whose history is deeply intertwined with that of our journal. PACTE colleagues have published work of outstanding quality in ACME. Our friend and colleague, Myriam Houssay-Holzschuch (Professor of Geography and member of PACTE), was a member of our Editorial Collective for over a decade. Our journal is what it is today thanks to her dedication, scientific rigour, and professional ethic.

      As critical geographers and members of the global scientific community, we refuse, in the strongest possible terms, any attempt at judging, delegitimizing, or intimidating our colleagues, be it from the French government or from militant groups who oppose critical research.

      For more information and to learn of ways to support our colleagues, please see the links below.

      In solidarity,

      The ACME Editorial Collective.

      In English :





      In French :









    • #PGSG Statement of Solidarity with French Geographers

      The Political Geography Specialty Group (PGSG) of the American Association of Geographers expresses concern over the recent erosion of academic freedom in France. We are particularly dismayed by public, personal attacks on the prominent political geographer Anne-Laure Amilhat Szary. Professor Amilhat Szary is a former board member of the PGSG and is currently the head of the Pacte Social Science Research Center at Grenoble Alpes University.

      The PGSG denounces the personal attacks against Professor Amilhat Szary and stands in solidarity with all French academics who are targeted for supposed “Islamo-leftist” beliefs.

      For more information on the situation in France, these resources are available:

      In English:



      In French:



      Additionally, there is a petition available for concerned academics to sign, this petition has not been endorsed by the PGSG:


      –-> via la mailing-list Political Geography Specialty Group, le 31.03.2021

    • Motion votée au dernier conseil de laboratoire du Centre Max Weber, concernant les attaques subies par de nombreuses-x collègues et dans le contexte du climat délétère suscité par les propos des ministres Blanquer et Vidal

      –-> reçu via la mailing-list geotamtam, le 8 avril 2021

    • IGU Statement in support of the community of geographers in France

      IGU Statement in support of the community of geographers in France

      Dear IGU Colleagues

      The International Geographical Union has issued a public statement (English - https://igu-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/ISC_GU_AHCRDM_Policy-Brief-1.pdf - and French - https://igu-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/IGU-support-for-French-geographers-Francais.pdf -) in which we highlight our position in relation to academic freedom. Although academic freedom is compromised in a number of countries around the world, we have taken the decision, at the request of the chair of the French National Committee, to speak out against the unfortunate developments at Universities in France that violate the principles outlined by the International Science Council (ISC) Committee for Freedom and Responsibility in Science1 which, as full Union members of the ISC, we stand by.

      The latest communiqués from the French National Committee of Geography (CNFG) may be found here:

      Professor Michael E Meadows
      President: International Geographical Union 2020-24


  • Are ’woke’ academics a threat to the French republic? Ask Macron’s ministers | Didier Fassin

    Amid the crises of the last year, certain members of Emmanuel Macron’s government have managed to identify a new threat to French society: “Islamo-leftism”. During a recent interview, the French minister of higher education, Frédérique Vidal, declared that “Islamo-leftism corrupts all of society, and universities are not impervious”. She criticised “radical” academics for always “looking at everything through the prism of their will to divide”, and announced that she would be requesting an investigation into university research on these subjects. While the meaning of the term is elusive, the political intent behind Vidal’s statement was clear. “Islamo-leftism”, which Vidal has associated with research on race, gender and social class, is indicative of a broader culture war that is sweeping both the political and academic establishment in France.

    Vidal is not the only politician in Macron’s government to have recently used the term. In a radio interview about the tragic beheading of a high-school teacher who had shown his class the Charlie Hebdo cartoons ridiculing the Prophet, Jean-Michel Blanquer, the minister of education, declared that “Islamo-leftism wreaks havoc in universities”, and blamed France’s oldest national student union for being “the intellectual perpetrator of the assassination”.

    In France’s heated political climate, the ill-defined neologism has found an audience among mainstream politicians. The growing public presence of minorities demanding that their rights be respected, together with a burgeoning interest (particularly among younger scholars) in ideas and theories that help analyse religious prejudice, racial discrimination and social injustice, have disturbed a comfortable belief in the supposedly universalist values of the French republic. In response, a reactionary movement has emerged in France that crosses ideological lines between left and right, combining anxiety about an envisioned future with nostalgia for an imagined past.

    Although Macron distanced himself from Vidal after a scathing backlash to her proposed investigation, his apparent disapproval seems feigned; indeed, the French president has also singled out scholars working on racial discrimination and the stigmatisation of Muslims. Days before huge demonstrations took place against police violence and racism that resulted in multiple unpunished deaths of Arab and Black men across France, Macron accused universities of encouraging “the ethnicisation of the social question” and “breaking the republic in two”. Three months later, he announced a new law against Islamist “separatism” that is designed to exercise greater control over Muslim schools and mosques. Although an Elysée official said the bill is “not against Islam”, but rather “against people who in the name of a wrong or reconstructed vision of a religion behave in a way contrary to the republic”, many French Muslims feel the new law will unfairly target them.

    It has been clear for some time that Macron’s machiavellian calculation (the French president wrote his undergraduate dissertation on the author of The Prince) is that leading his party on the tails of the far-right will help him win against Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National in the second round of the 2022 presidential election, which polls predict to be very close. Yet a narrowly political reading of terms such as Islamo-leftism misses the broader picture. The term is a signal not only to conservatives, but to an influential segment of French intellectuals.

    In recent years, a lively reactionary movement has taken off among French intellectuals, targeting research in a long list of fields – from ethnicity, race, gender and intersectionality to colonialism, decoloniality and Islamophobia. This movement is best understood as a rejection of the evolution of society, politics and ideas, and an endeavour to re-establish the old social and political order of things. It has rallied mostly senior or retired scholars, and while their targets are distinct, all are concerned with the same menace: the advent of what is often called “identity politics”.

    From their perspective, race studies, research on racial discrimination and the idea of white privilege all pose a threat to the universalist values of the French republic. Some even see these ideas as forms of anti-white racism. They regard analyses of France’s colonial past (which has long been a blind spot in French history and sociology) as divisive and ideological. Meanwhile, organisations such as the influential La Manif pour tous, which was founded in 2012 to oppose France’s gay marriage bill, have taken a strong stance against education programmes covering gender studies.

    Curiously, France’s culture warriors believe that these new ideas and critical theories are imported from US campuses. Yet race relations were initially studied in Britain, while the concept of “decoloniality” was created in Latin America. And, ironically, many of the ideas that have been developed in North America were influenced by French theorists. A remarkable feature of this movement is its disregard for the international literature nourishing these new ideas. Instead of understanding them, it appears more interested in caricaturing them.

    A revealing example of this intellectual moment is the recently published book Race et Sciences Sociales by the sociologist Stéphane Beaud and the historian Gérard Noiriel. These two respected scholars lament what they see as the substitution of “class struggle” with “race struggle”. They scorn the “gender bandwagon”, are dismissive of intersectionality and criticise the “racialisation” of social problems and public discourse.

    Their book begins and concludes with the death of George Floyd. Of Black Lives Matter, they write that the movement obscures “the power relations structuring our societies”,and therefore accentuates divisions among working-class people (a remarkable argument, given that Black Lives Matter has been more involved in deconstructing and denouncing power relations than any other social movement in past decades).

    By asserting the primacy of class, and an idealised account of republican values, France’s culture warriors devalue the ideas and movements that help to better understand – and act against – current social injustices. Allegations of a menacing Islamo-leftism have revealed an improbable convergence between Macron’s En Marche and Le Pen’s Rassemblement National, on the one hand, and a reactionary segment of France’s intellectual world on the other. Comparisons have been drawn by some between the term Islamo-leftism and Judeo-Bolshevism; both identify the leftwing followers of a particular religion. The latter term was however used in the 1930s to cast European Jews as dangerous subversives. Although history never repeats itself, witch hunts are never a good sign for democracy.

    Didier Fassin is an anthropologist. He is professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and professor to the annual chair in public health at the Collège de France


  • Fear itself is the real threat to democracy, not tall tales of Chinese AI | Artificial intelligence (AI) | The Guardian

    Pathological anxiety about China runs through the entire document like the words in a stick of Blackpool rock. “On a level playing field,” it burbles, “the United States is capable of out-innovating any competitor.” But apparently there is “a fundamental difference in the US and China’s approaches to AI innovation that puts American AI leadership in peril”. The playing field, it seems, is not level because US tech companies “are not instruments of state power”. Since “China is organised, resourced, and determined to win the technology competition”, the US approach has to change. What’s needed, apparently, is “a hybrid approach meshing government and private-sector efforts to win the technology competition”.

    Pause, for a moment, to extract the signal from this message. First, the gobbledegook about “AI” is in fact almost entirely about machine learning, a flaky technology that has an insatiable demand for detailed data about humans and their activities. The Chinese are ahead because their tech companies have to turn all their data over to the authorities; Americans are hobbled because, while their state can always get the data from the tech companies that hoover it up, sometimes it has to jump through legal hoops to get it. The “hybrid approach” that is deemed necessary involves “meshing” the US government with the country’s tech companies.

    Now what might that imply? You only have to ask the question to know the answer. If American tech giants are finally recognised as strategic partners of the US government in the coming existential hegemonic struggle with China, then Washington’s enthusiasm for curbing said monopolies will rapidly decrease. Indeed, this may already be happening, if an inspection of the number of tech-company insiders who have been recruited by Biden is anything to go by. And the argument made to the US Congress by, among others, Mark Zuckerberg – that shackling US tech giants will guarantee Chinese hegemony – will once again find a ready audience in Washington.

    #Chine #Nouvelle_guerre_froide #Intelligence_artificielle

  • The Guardian en pleine ébulition face à l’attaque forcenée de Google (et Facebook) contre la démocratie !

    Google threatens to shut down search in Australia if digital news code goes ahead, by Josh Taylor, 22 Jan 2021
    Google and Facebook are fighting legislation that would force them to enter into negotiations with news media companies for payment for content

    Google’s threat to withdraw its search engine from Australia is chilling to anyone who cares about democracy, by Peter Lewis, 22 Jan 2021
    The tech giant’s Senate testimony shows how far it is prepared to go to resist real regulation
    Google signage

    Google threatens to leave Australia – but its poker face is slipping, by Alex Hern UK technology editor, 22 Jan 2021
    Analysis: tech firm’s refusal to pay news publishers comes as it agrees to do exactly that in France

  • Control Facebook and mend broken societies... If only it were that simple

    Social media is not to blame for all our ills. We must delve deeper into our culture London is full of Pops. From the area around City Hall to parts of the Olympic Park, there are dozens of “privately owned public spaces”. Places that appear to be public but are owned by a private corporations and have their own regulations – many, for instance, ban the homeless or protesters – and their own forms of policing. Owners are not obliged to make public the rules by which they control their space. (...)

    #manipulation #technologisme #censure #modération #SocialNetwork


  • All I want for 2021 is to see Mark Zuckerberg up in court

    The tech giants’ law-free bonanza is coming to an end on both sides of the Atlantic, but let’s speed up the process It’s always risky making predictions about the tech industry, but this year looks like being different, at least in the sense that there are two safe bets. One is that the attempts to regulate the tech giants that began last year will intensify ; the second that we will be increasingly deluged by sanctimonious cant from Facebook & co as they seek to avoid democratic curbing (...)

    #Alphabet #Apple #Google #Amazon #Facebook #procès #criminalité #domination #fraude (...)

    ##criminalité ##bénéfices

  • To exhausted healthcare workers like me, Covid conspiracies are a kick in the teeth | NHS | The Guardian

    We are nearly a year into the pandemic, yet widespread denial of the pathogen and the crisis still persists. The hard objective truths are undeniable: millions infected globally, hundreds of thousands dead and a lightning-quick scientific breakthrough with vaccines now beginning to be rolled out around the world.

    For most healthcare workers, life is split into two: the outward reality we share with our family and friends (the Instagram fodder of home-cooked meals and time with loved ones), and the peculiar and often traumatic inner world of working in healthcare, where supposedly once-in-a-lifetime events such as births, deaths and life-changing illness occur daily.

    Right now, this second world feels darker, more chaotic and uncertain. Covid is ripping through hospitals at an unprecedented rate, while an exhausted workforce, already running on fumes not from “just another winter surge”, but due to a second wave of Covid cases worse than the first, attempts to battle it. For us, the objective truth is undeniable: patients are desperately sick. Patients who often decline quickly and suddenly, needing intensive care, ventilation and specialist support.

    And yet in the outer world, our social media and even newspapers amplify a different “truth”. That there is no major emergency, that it’s misdiagnosis or global hysteria, which every major country, and their established academic and medical bodies, has inexplicably and simultaneously fallen prey to. Perhaps it was too much to ask that the brief period of trusting and listening to experts during the early days of the first spike might last through the winter.

    These two worlds are difficult for healthcare workers to reconcile.

    Perhaps most confusingly: “It’s just like every winter for the NHS.” Firstly, winter in this country for the health service is no garden of delights. It is an ever-worsening pandemonium resulting from an underfunded, understaffed and under-resourced health service grinding on, fuelled by the goodwill of its workers. That being said, now that we face a virus that can cause such rapid deterioration on top of our annual cataclysm, and can so utterly overwhelm intensive care departments, we are indeed facing an altogether worse proposition. On Wednesday alone, 981 people died of Covid.

    The virus has returned in full and terrifying force. But public goodwill seems not to have done so to the same degree as in spring. The attacks from Covid deniers are a kick in the teeth. Their claims cause outrage among staff exhausted by shifts, only to have their lived experience, their sacrifice and their suffering, and the suffering of the patients in front of them, denied.

    #Covid-19 #Santé_publique #Personnel_santé #Complotisme

  • #Long_covid

    Les poumons sont l’organe cible de l’infection par le SRAS-CoV-2, et facteur pronostic évident.

    MAIS le virus peut se propager à de nbx organes :
    le cœur, les vaisseaux sanguins, les reins, l’intestin et le cerveau ...

    Des #symptômes persistants sont signalés après la phase aigue du COVID-19, y compris chez les personnes qui souffrent initialement d’une maladie légère.
    –au delà de 12 semaines
    –10-20% des infectés (?)
    Une approche multidisciplinaire est nécessaire


    on sait déja que
    les coronavirus (SARS COV 1 et MERS-CoV)
    Double triangle pointant vers la droite
    Double triangle pointant vers la droite
    persistance de symptômes débilitants

    cf altération des scores de qualité de vie, de santé mentale, à 1 an ds une cohorte canadienne infectée en 2003

    Tansey et al. Arch Intern Med. 2007 ;167(12):1312-1320

    Quels sont les symptômes persistants après COVID 19 ?
    La Cohorte COVICARE suisse a suivi 669 patients ambulatoires entre le 18 mars et le 15 mai.



    Parmi eux, 1/3 souffraient toujours de symptômes à 30-45 jours de l’infection initiale. Parmi les signes les plus fréquents : fatigue, dyspnée, dysosmie/dysgueusie


    mais ATTENTION.

    Il ne faut pas confondre les
    1-symptômes dûs à 1 inflammation chronique persistante
    2- conséquences (csq) des dommages aux organes (lésions de la phase aiguë au cœur / poumon/ cerveau/ reins)

    3- Csq aspécifiques de l’hospitalisation/immobilisation par la maladie/isolement social/SSPT
    4- Effets du déconditionnement périphérique lié au confinement et/ou à la maladie elle-même

    Long covid could be 4 different syndromes, review suggests


    D’ailleurs à quoi seraient dus les symptômes persistants :
    – persistance du virus dans l’organisme / les organes ?
    – réinfection ?
    – dysfonction immunitaire ( système immunitaire affaibli ou surstimulé ) ?
    On ne sait pas exactement (cf SARS)

    Les complications physiques évidentes sont de toutes façons prises en compte en sortie d’hospitalisation. Cela dirigera les patients vers un SSR (quand ils sont dénutris, ont une atteinte neuromusculaire séquellaire...)
    HAS : https://www.has-sante.fr/upload/docs/application/pdf/2020-06/rr_parcours_covid_parcours_de_readaptation_du_patient_covid_-_domicile_mel

    un bilan fonctionnel respiratoire complet est déjà recommandé pour évaluer les séquelles respiratoires (fibrose post SDRA), trois mois après la sortie de l’hôpital

    quelles sont les données de la littérature sur les symptômes de #LongCovid et leur origine/étiologie ?

    atteinte neurologique (1/2) :
    ~ 10 à 35% souffrent de symptômes persistants, principalement neurologiques : dysfonctionnement du système nerveux autonome, troubles du sommeil, syndromes douloureux, étourdissements, difficultés cognitives.


    atteinte neurologique (2/2) : origine ?

    – invasion virale directe du SNC par SARS COV2
    – réponse immunitaire à médiation virale

    Emerging Neurological and Psychobiological Aspects of COVID-19 Infection


    atteinte respiratoire (1/2) :
    ~ 30% des patients hospitalisés après la phase aigue
    * atteinte TDM et de fonction respiratoire s’améliore au cours du suivi
    Recovery after COVID-19 – an observational prospective multi-center trial


    atteinte respiratoire (2/2) :
    pour les patients ambulatoires c’est moins clair :
    *intolérance à l’effort
    *douleurs thoraciques

    dysfonction autonomique (1/2) : prévalence non connue
    ~ syndrome d’intolérance orthostatique
    – palpitations
    – dyspnée
    – douleurs thoraciques
    – hypotension orthostatique
    – syncope

    dysfonction autonomique (2/2) physiopathiologie :
    – conséquence de l’orage cytokinique ?
    – Atteinte directe du système nerveux autonome par le coronavirus ?
    – déconditionnement ou hypovolémie ?
    – neuropathie à médiation immunitaire ou virale ?


    atteinte cardiaque (1/2) : risque de maladie cardiovascu.
    Flèche nord-est
    suite à 1 infection à coronavirus, MAIS l’att. myocardique persistante n’est pas avérée pour SARS COV2 malgré la présence (autopsie) de virus dans cellules

    update on COVID-19 Myocarditis


    atteinte cardiaque (2/2) : arythmies persistantes
    ~ tachycardie sinusale inappropriée
    – hyperactivité intrinsèque du nœud sinusal,
    – dysfonctionnement autonome
    – état hyperadrénergique

    Management of Arrhythmias Associated with COVID-19

    atteinte digestive ~ 35% des patients à la phase aigue.
    tube digestif : taux élevé d’ACE2, le récepteur de liaison au SRAS-COV-2,
    = site d’infection virale efficace
    = site d’excrétion virale périodique

    Symptômes persistants peu étayés


    atteinte cutanée
    Plutôt à la phase aigue = lésions acrales ~ pseudo-engelures, éruptions érythémateuses maculopapuleuses, éruptions vésiculaires, des éruptions urticariennes, des éruptions vasculaires

    An Evidence-Based Review

    en CCL :
    –symptômes (liste non exhaustive) persistants de #LongCovid nombreux
    – physiopathologie n’est pas élucidée
    – études de cohorte sont donc NECESSAIRES
    –avec une action COORDONNEE de recherche/prise en charge sur notre territoire


    #covid-19 #covid #séquelles #maladie #coronavirus