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#1 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 12:36 AM

Anyone got any good/new ideas for explaining political concepts to Year 10s?

Especially the differences between communism and fascism? (extreme right/extreme left wings). I've tried putting political parties round a horseshoe shape rather than along a straight line - but some still haven't 'got it'.

How do other people tackle this? Anyone got anything online or that they'd be prepared to email me? I need inspiration :idea:

#2 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 01:36 AM

Fascism is controlled by the businesses and corporations and the aristocracy.
Communism is the people in control (the majority, the workers, the lifeblood)
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#3 pbargery

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 09:14 AM

there is a really good worksheet available int he cold war section of GCSE history on this site.


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#4 Guest_andy_walker_*

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 09:15 AM

Well said comrade!
how about Fascism is a high stage of capitalism in crisis, whereas communism represents the highest stage of human development?

Seriously there appears to be a dearth of decent accessible material on political theory, even at A level. If I find anything I'll post it.

#5 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:14 AM

There used to be a site called 'Marxism made simple' but I don't know if it is still around.

How about as well:

Fascism is Capitalism with the gloves off.
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#6 Richard Drew

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:44 AM

there are some rteally good 'cartoons' in the Ben Walsh GCSE modern world history textbook that explain fascism, communism & capitalism very simply
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#7 Nichola Boughey

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 11:03 AM

I think we've got some good worksheets explaining these political contexts to Yr. 10 in school. They are Social Science I think though not History. But I will try and dig them out on Monday and if they look useful I can always post them to you! :halo:

You might also get a laugh out of this site Carole: :lol:

Two Cows and Politics

(Tongue firmly in my cheek here) :D

Edited by Nichola Boughey, 08 February 2003 - 11:06 AM.


#8 A Finemess

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:15 PM

Communism - get the kids to turn out their pockets! Write up on the board what each kid has in cash. Do a total and divide by the number of kids! (Numeracy thrown in for free!) Now explain that this is the amount each will have in future. Go round the class - who's a winner and who's a loser? OK, its not Ricardo or Marx / labour theory of value but it gets the key idea over in a simple way!

I also usually do a variation on the Jack Lemmon / courtroom scene from "How to Murder your wife". Imagine you are convinced, really convinced that you can create the perfect world, no poverty, no injustice etc. (PLay John Lennon "Imagine"?) To do so, you need only push a button on the desk in front of you. There's a catch - when you push the button an unknown number of people will suffer - could be 1, could be 1 000 000. What do you do?

Fascism - Conduct a mock election? Among the options put a new party with slogans such as ... We will be one people! No social strife! No selfishness! No crime! You could show them a clip from Ant Z the Woody Allen voiced insect cartoon. There's a bit where the General Ant does a peroration along those lines?.

I often think the whole Left / Right bit is a bit meaningless nowadays when the Liberal Democrats are further to the Left than Labour! If I'm teaching it I tend to do it a bit like feudalism - no connection with the modern world. Left used to mean those parties who wanted to use the power of the state to re-distribute wealth. Right meant those groups who tried to resist this.
“All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out otheir dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”.(T.E. Lawrence)
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#9 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:20 PM

Left and right is not meaningless - just because the Blair regime has hijacked the Labour Party backed by Rupert Murdoch!

This works as a great lesson for the Industrial Age:

[SIZE=1]The Great Money Trick

Taken from The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist by Robert Tressel
"Money is the real cause of poverty," said Owen.

"Prove it," repeated Crass.

"Money is the cause of poverty because it is the device by which those who are too lazy to work are enabled to rob the workers of the fruits of their labour."

"Prove it," said Crass.

Owen slowly folded up the piece of newspaper he had been reading and put it in his pocket.

"All right," he replied. "I'll show you how the Great Money Trick is worked."

Owen opened his dinner basket and took from it two slices of bread, but as these where not sufficient, he requested that anyone who had some bread left should give it to him. They gave him several pieces, which he placed in a heap on a clean piece of paper, and, having borrowed the pocket knives of Easton, Harlow and Philpot, he addressed the, as follows:

"These pieces of bread represent the raw materials which exist naturally in and on the earth for the use of mankind; they were not made by any human being, but were created for the benefit and sustenance of all, the same as were the air and the light of the sun."

"Now," continued Owen, "I am a capitalist; or rather I represent the landlord and capitalist class. That is to say, all these raw materials belong to me. It does not matter for our present arguement how I obtained possession of them, the only thing that matters now is the admitted fact that all the raw materials which are necessary for the production of the necessaries of life are now the property of the landlord and capitalist class. I am that class; all these raw materials belong to me."

"Now you three represent the working class. You have nothing, and, for my part, although I have these raw materials, they are of no use to me. What I need is the things that can be made out of these raw materials by work; but I am too lazy to work for me. But first I must explain that I possess something else beside the raw materials. These three knives represent all the machinery of production; the factories, tools, railways, and so forth, without which the necessaries of life cannot be produced in abundance. And these three coins" - taking three half pennies from his pocket - "represent my money, capital."

"But before we go any further," said Owen, interrupting himself, "it is important to remember that I am not supposed to be merely a capitalist. I represent the whole capitalist class. You are not supposed to be just three workers, you represent the whole working class."

Owen proceeded to cut up one of the slices of bread into a number of little square blocks.

"These represent the things which are produced by labour, aided by machinery, from the raw materials. We will suppose that three of these blocks represent a week's work. We will suppose that a week's work is worth one pund."

Owen now addressed himself to the working class as represented by Philpot, Harlow and Easton.

"You say that you are all in need of employment, and as I am the kind-hearted capitalist class I am going to invest all my money in variuos industries, so as to give you plenty of work. I shall pay each of you one pound per week, and a week's work is that you must each produce three of these square blocks. For doing this work you will each recieve your wages; the money will be your own, to do as you like with, and the things you produce will of course be mine to do as I like with. You will each take one of these machines and as soon as you have done a week's work, you shall have your money."

The working classes accordingly set to work, and the capitalist class sat down and watched them. As soon as they had finished, they passed the nine little blocks to Owen, who placed them on a piece of paper by his side and paid the workers their wages.

"These blocks represent the necessaries of life. You can't live without some of these things, but as they belong to me, you will have to buy them from me: my price for these blocks is,one pound each."

As the working classes were in need of the necessaries of life and as they could not eat, drink or wear the useless money, they were compelled to agree to the capitalist's terms. They each bought back, and at once consumed, one-third of the produce of their labour. The capitalist class also devoured two of the square blocks, and so the net result of the week's work was that the kind capitalist had consumed two pounds worth of things produced by the labour of others, and reckoning the squares at their market value of one pound each, he had more than doubled his capital, for he still possessed the three poinds in money and in addition four pounds worth of goods. As for the working classes, Philpot, Harlow and Easton, having each consumed the pound's worth of necessaries they had bought with their wages, they were agin in precisely the same condition as when they had started work - they had nothing.

This process was repeated several times; for each weeks work the producers were paid their wages. They kept on working and spending all their earnings. The kind-hearted capitalist consumed twice as much as any one of them and his pool of wealth continually increased. In a little while, reckoning the little squares at their market value of one pound each, he was worth about one hundred pounds, and the working classes were still in the same condition as when they began, and were still tearing into their work as if their lives depended on it.

After a while the rest of the crowd began to laugh, and their meriment increased when the kind-hearted capitalist, just after having sold a pound's worth of necessaries to each of his workers, suddenly took their tools, the machinery of production, the knives, away from them, and informed them that as owing to over production all his store-houses were glutted with the necessaries of life, he had decided to close down the works.

"Well, and wot the bloody 'ell are we to do now ?" demanded Philpot.

"That's not my business," replied the kind-hearted capitalist. "I've paid your wages, and provided you with plenty of work for a long time past. I have no more work for you to do at the present. Come round again in a few months time and I'll see what I can do."

"But what about the necessaries of life?" Demanded Harlow. "we must have something to eat."

"Of course you must," replied the capitalist, affably; "and I shall be very pleased to sell you some." "But we ain't got no bloody money!"

"Well, you cant expect me to give you my goods for nothing! You didn't work for nothing, you know. I paid you for your work and you should have saved something: you should have been thrifty like me. Look how I have got on by being thrifty!"

The unemployed looked blankly at each other, but the rest of the crowd only laughed; and then the three unemployed began to abuse the kind-hearted capitalist, demanding that he should give them some of the necessaries of life that he had piled up in his warehouses, or to be allowed to work and produce some more for their own needs; and even threated to take some of the things by force if he did not comply with their demands. But the kind-hearted capitalist told them not to be insolent, and spoke to them about honesty, and said if they were not carefule he would have their faces battered in for them by the police, or if necessary he would call out the military and have them shot down like dogs, the same as he had done before at Featherstone and Belfast.
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#10 Stephen Drew

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:27 PM

And I assume at this point the lesson turns to Stalin and Mao Tse Tung as examples of the success and wholehearted goodness of the Communist way?
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

#11 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:27 PM

The Parable of the Water Tank is also an old classic which makes it simple.
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#12 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 10:29 PM

And I assume at this point the lesson turns to Stalin and Mao Tse Tung as examples of the success and wholehearted goodness of the Communist way?

Actually it leads directly into the causes of the Great War and the fight between capitalist/imperialist power blocks.
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#13 A Finemess

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 09:55 AM

Sheesh! Lighten up guys! As it happens, I tend to your point of view Dafydd but I was speaking factually - terms like "left" and "right" are increasingly meaningless today - especially to young people with little interest in politics - hence the original post!
“All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out otheir dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”.(T.E. Lawrence)
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#14 Richard Drew

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 10:03 AM

kids today do find it really hard to get these concepts. no more iron curtain means we have to try to explain it rather than having it already in the kids minds. i was teaching coursework on kennedy last term, explaining the berlin wall and cuba. one y11 piped up "my grandad fought in the cold war sir"

the ben walsh cartoon i referred to explains it this way:

communism
elections:
Communist []
Communist []

Industry: owned and run by the state

Individual right: a table of people all eating identical food on their plates

USA capitalism:
Elections:
Republican []
Democrat[]

Industry: private ownership

Individual rights: a big bloke with a huge plate full of food, a small many with a slice of bread

the images hit it point home easily, and then move on
user posted image

#15 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 06:07 PM

Thank you very much to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to respond. I'm especially grateful for the practical suggestions.

Richard:

Which page is the Ben Walsh cartoon on (is it the 2nd edition? or the 1st?)?

Nicky:
I'll PM you with my school address and would be pleased to see the worksheets you refer to if you can track thenm down.

I was interested to see the Two Cows and Politics page; this is an interesting development of a 'joke' which I think first saw light of day in Roosevelt's USA.

A Finemess and Richard are right, I think. Kids these days (post Cold War and post-Blair) find the concepts very difficult to grasp. My mistake has been not to recognise that sufficiently.




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