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Teaching the political spectrum


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#16 gav

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 10:14 PM

As a History/Politics grad this was debated on a daily basis at uni. The political spectrum is a gross generalisation which is too simplistic to describe what are complex relationships. For example where would you place an anarchist on the political spectrum? It's impossible as some anarchists display so called Neo Classic liberal tendencies (extreme free markets) and some are more akin to classic Marxists. It is better to describe the characteristic features/beliefs of the particular "communists" you are looking at. The plotting of political beliefs is far too complex and time consuming for year 11s. This is the stuff of PhDs not GCSEs



It is rather pretentious to suggest that you cant introduce students to the idea of the political compass. (In fact you actually contradict yourself by initially stating it is too simplistic then later calling it too complex) You can use it in which ever way you want - teach at the level of the students. Why on earth would you want to introduce Year 11 students to the difference between anarch-capitalists, anarcho communists and libertarian ararchists. It is a good way of showing the classic left/right difference in a basic way which students can understand. You can use the political compass to show students where different ideologies fit on the spectrum - you dont have to teach it at 'PHD' level. I know because I've done it. Having a visual aid (such as the political compass) is an excellent starting point to then begin to look at the ideas that put a particular group on a particular point.

#17 Ed Waller

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 11:11 PM

What do you with the bullies who choose to use a hammer and a sickle as their weapons of choice?


Simple enough - they are bullies, so far right. Communists are not bullies; bullies are far right. These ones you imagine with the hammer and sickle belong with the ones using the swastika and strikebreaker.

If they happen to be using these to redistribute the sweets to make it 2 each, then they are not bullies at all, merely seeking to prevent iniquitous distributions of goods and services from the greedy (who by implication won't share the sweets voluntarily, even if they might sell them to the needy at inflated prices and thus be in a position to acquire more in the next round of sweet bargaining all thanks to their privileged position). It is hoped that should they realise that everyone needs sweets, they would participate in the sharing in the subsequent round.

:D
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#18 mikel

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 05:37 AM


What do you with the bullies who choose to use a hammer and a sickle as their weapons of choice?


Simple enough - they are bullies, so far right. Communists are not bullies; bullies are far right. These ones you imagine with the hammer and sickle belong with the ones using the swastika and strikebreaker.

If they happen to be using these to redistribute the sweets to make it 2 each, then they are not bullies at all, merely seeking to prevent iniquitous distributions of goods and services from the greedy (who by implication won't share the sweets voluntarily, even if they might sell them to the needy at inflated prices and thus be in a position to acquire more in the next round of sweet bargaining all thanks to their privileged position). It is hoped that should they realise that everyone needs sweets, they would participate in the sharing in the subsequent round.

:D


How about if they take three each because they are the vanguard of the people and have to be supported by the masses who must make sacrifices for the achievement of Socialism?

Isn't this a bit Orwellian? If he's authoritarian, he can't be communist because communists aren't authoritarian...

I think it all comes down to one's interpretation of the concept of liberty.

Plato reckoned that the masses couldn't be expected to know what was best for them and had therefore to be guided by a specially-trained cadre of "Guardians". Along the same lines came JJ Rousseau who claimed that the masses were blinded by their immediate lusts and desires (forced on them by a corrupt society) to their own best interests (the General Will). The enlightened governors, therefore, were justified in "forcing men to be free" since true freedom could only be achieved through obedience to the General Will. The Marxist-Leninist "dictatorship of the proletariat" similarly conceives of forcing men to be free, as do the confused ramblings of fascists like Mussolini and Hitler. That's the origin of the confusion between extreme left and extreme right -- both reckon they know better than the "brainwashed" masses and therefore have the right to rule them...
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#19 Ed Waller

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 06:33 AM

Isn't this a bit Orwellian? If he's authoritarian, he can't be communist because communists aren't authoritarian...

I'd have gone for "logical". It's of the same order as: A giraffe is a quadruped. If it has eight legs, it isn't a giraffe.

I think it all comes down to one's interpretation of the concept of liberty.

Freedom to exploit or not...?

The Marxist-Leninist "dictatorship of the proletariat" similarly conceives of forcing men to be free

Or just perhaps forces others not to enslave/exploit etc. people as they have for generations.

Another version of the hegemony issue, if one's looking at brainwashing, is given by Gramsci - it's what Marx referred to as the "muck of ages". For an enjoyable version of something similar, Barthes's "Mythologies", is a great read, too.

However, all this banter aside, I wonder if this is actually helping DS and his spectrum. I suspect the above thread is a fascinating debate for use with some classes, but suspect further that a lot of it could be moved to a different thread in Cafe or PH. (and recognise 'mea culper' in all this too, btw)
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#20 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 06:47 AM

What do you with the bullies who choose to use a hammer and a sickle as their weapons of choice?


Give them a nice shiny gold star for their anti-bullying deeds. Do you defend playground bullies and thieves? :crazy: :angry:
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#21 AdamCrawte

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 09:01 AM


As a History/Politics grad this was debated on a daily basis at uni. The political spectrum is a gross generalisation which is too simplistic to describe what are complex relationships. For example where would you place an anarchist on the political spectrum? It's impossible as some anarchists display so called Neo Classic liberal tendencies (extreme free markets) and some are more akin to classic Marxists. It is better to describe the characteristic features/beliefs of the particular "communists" you are looking at. The plotting of political beliefs is far too complex and time consuming for year 11s. This is the stuff of PhDs not GCSEs



It is rather pretentious to suggest that you cant introduce students to the idea of the political compass. (In fact you actually contradict yourself by initially stating it is too simplistic then later calling it too complex) You can use it in which ever way you want - teach at the level of the students. Why on earth would you want to introduce Year 11 students to the difference between anarch-capitalists, anarcho communists and libertarian ararchists. It is a good way of showing the classic left/right difference in a basic way which students can understand. You can use the political compass to show students where different ideologies fit on the spectrum - you dont have to teach it at 'PHD' level. I know because I've done it. Having a visual aid (such as the political compass) is an excellent starting point to then begin to look at the ideas that put a particular group on a particular point.



What I actually said was a political spectrum (eg classic left and right) is too simplistic and raises far too many questions which are just a waste of precious class time at GCSE. I then went on to say that plotting political beliefs was too complex, especially on a linear graph which is a simplistic tool. I see your point of view about how it is a simple way of showing classic left/right but just confuses the issues once they start to question the concept.
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#22 DaveStacey

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 09:23 AM

:blink:

:unsure:

:surrender:

I'll have another look at the politial compass, but I'm a little concerned that I'm setting up an exercise that rubbishes the system and terms I'm then going to tell them to use!

The coursework looks at different interpretations of why 174 Welshmen went and fought in the SCW. My class are a small group that has been targeted to try and get them up to C grade, so I'm looking for basic and to the point stuff. We've actually got a semi-circle diagram similar to the one Derek suggests. I'll try that and report back on how well we get on!

#23 Ed Waller

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 09:50 AM

The coursework looks at different interpretations of why 174 Welshmen went and fought in the SCW.

If this is the mining/communism/int.brig link, then some sections of "Land and Freedom" might help, and the 'shell' story is v similar, if memory serves... especially the first few minutes in which Granddaughter finds memorabilia and begins to wonder, and thence the film about Grandfather's SCW experiences...
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#24 DaveStacey

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 10:18 AM

Cheers Ed, I'll fish a copy out!

#25 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 10:28 AM

Is that a GCSE coursework? I'd love to see a copy of the task/sources.
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#26 mikel

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 11:10 AM

Juan Carlos Ocana's site also has really good and easily comprehensible stuff on the SCW...

____________________________

Edited to add the link to Juan Carlos' site for those who don't know it:
http://www.historiasiglo20.org/

Carole F.
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#27 alison denton

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 08:07 PM

Help!

I need to teach my year 11 GCSE group about the political spectrum and I can hear the choruses of 'we don't get it sir' from here.

So, does anyone have any good, inciteful, but not too active ways of getting this over I'd love to hear them.

Cheers.



bet you wish you hadn't asked now .......

#28 kblaza

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:53 AM

Hi all - Found this old thread and thought I may revive it.

I am due to teach the political spectrum to a Year 9 class, and wondered if anyone has any tips to help. I was going to use the 'horse shoe' idea, rather than the simple left and right line, but I don't want to get too bogged down in the kind of debate that was sparked here.

Any ideas greatly appreciated.

Karl

#29 Geoff Thomas

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:15 AM

I think you need a pair of perpendicular axes one left - right and the other authoritarian - libertarian

My own political views are left and libertarian, which means I have some things in common with left authoritarians and other things in common with right libertarians.

Ah! A quick Google search comes up with http://www.politicalcompass.org/


And I've just done the quiz and find I am -7.00 left-right and -7.13 libertarian-authoritarian.

Edited by Geoff Thomas, 11 October 2012 - 10:21 AM.


#30 Ed Waller

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:40 PM

First time tragedy....
A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. - Groucho Marx




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