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Dear all The working group I proposed is rapidly gained members and has evolved as follows. Please forward to anyone you think may be interested. Thanks Eric NETWORK OF ACTIVIST SCHOLARS OF POLITICS AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS British politics and international relations academia has been almost completely silent about Britain's arming of murderous repression around the world by states such as Indonesia and Turkey. There has never been a single article on these British-sponsored wars of terror in a mainstream British politics or international relations journal. Some have even lauded Britain for a 'humanitarian intervention' in East Timor. How can Britain reduce the amount of terrorism in the world? By ceasing to sponsor it - a view that is rarely expressed in British academia. The silence is almost total about the shattering of Iraqi society under the weight of twelve years of economic sanctions which have been the main factor in killing around 500,000 Iraqi children under five. Britain is on the brink of going to war against Iraq again, with Tony Blair declaring that he will not allow Parliament to vote on this momentous choice and also adopting the illegal position that he is prepared to go to war without a UN Security Council Resolution explicitly authorising it. In this dangerous time, only a handful of British politics and international relations academics are speaking out or working with those organising anti-war activities. Domestic developments are just as important and are intertwined with international ones. The British state is committed to subsidising and extending corporate power. It treats real democracy - meaning popular control exercised on the basis of accurate information - within Britain with a mixture of fear and contempt. It propagandises constantly and attacks civil liberties in the name of the defence of freedom. In contrast to academia, in a wide range of spheres groups have sprung up to combat oppression in Britain and by Britain. They are struggling for civil liberties, accountability, and decent pay and working conditions. The anti-war movement in Britain is doing something unique - trying, through the whole range of non-violent means available to it, to prevent an illegal war on Iraq before it starts, rejecting it on principle rather than because it does not serve some mythical 'national interest'. The purpose of the Network is to promote scholarship which supports non-violent action to end the involvement of Britain and its allies in oppression. The allies are mainly corporations and states, principally the United States. The oppression can be domestic or international, and it can take many forms, including physical violence or denial of economic, social, cultural or political rights. The Network also promotes the development of mutually supportive links with activist scholars in other disciplines. Its bedrock is the universal application of moral principle. If you would like to join the Network, please send an email to: email@example.com. You will then become a member of the group email list. Please note that this is a public forum with public membership. Message the entire list using firstname.lastname@example.org. To unsubscribe, email email@example.com. To contact the list owner firstname.lastname@example.org. The current website is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/naspir/. This will soon change to http://www.naspir.org. These are early days for the Network: the idea was first circulated on 7 December 2002. The Network's members already include Dibyesh Anand, Ruth Blakeley, Jeff Bowers, Mark Curtis, Simon Chouffot, Lara Coleman, John Cowley, Clorinda Goodman, Eric Herring, Vernon Hewitt, Katie McDowell, Milan Rai, Geoff Norburn, Emma Sangster, Jeff Schmidt, John Sloboda, Doug Stokes, Jutta Weldes and Richard Wyn Jones. Its shape is very much a matter for discussion, and all input is welcome. If you wish to get involved in setting up and running an aspect of the Network's activities, please let us know. The activities of the Network are likely to include the following: · Mapping out of relevant research agendas. Students could be encouraged to write undergraduate, Masters and PhD dissertations on these. Or they could become individual or collaborative research projects. The collaboration could be amongst academics or could include non-academic activists. · Developing specialist groups within politics and international relations or across disciplinary boundaries. · Securing funding for research projects or for the network's other activities. This could involve mutual support in working out how to retain a normatively worthwhile research agenda while still securing funding from bodies such as the Economic and Social Research Council. · Developing resources for monitoring news media coverage of current issues on which Network members have expertise. · Exchanging information about how to develop contacts with and provide support for sympathetic journalists, NGOs, officials and MPs. · Putting together special issues and special sections of academic journals. It will be important to create political space in leading mainstream journals. This will probably be more valuable than setting up a separate Network journal. · Organising sets of panels for the main academic conferences. · Developing ongoing working relationships between Network groups who specialise in particular issues and the relevant activist organisations. · Establishing a Network website hosting draft papers, information on relevant events, commentaries on current events, calls for project collaborators and many other things. ZNet is a wonderfully successful example of what can be done. See http://www.zmag,org/. · Maintaining a list of volunteers willing to offer research assistance. These volunteers may be students or they may be non-student activists. · Maintaining a list of speakers with speaking tours of institutions. The speakers may be academics and non-academic activists. · Developing a library of syllabi and bibliographies. · Providing a forum to discuss how to ensure that scholarship will be enhanced by its engagement with activism and its abandonment of the myth that academia can be objective. · Developing our own 'indicators of esteem' as they were called in the Research Assessment Exercise, such as annual prizes for best thesis, article, book and scholarly contribution to activism. · Coordinatiing rebuttal in the media or in academic journals to misrepresentations of the roles of Britain and its allies in world politics. · Running launch events for noteworthy books, articles, reports or other actions which promote the purpose of the Network. · Writing a textbook. · Linking up to groups such as the American Political Science Association's Caucus for a New Political Science. Its website http://www.apsanet.org/about/sections/section27.cfm says 'The purpose of this section is to help make the study of politics relevant to the struggle for a better world.' · Developing online study resources and promoting them outside formal education · Working towards an understanding of what makes some academics keep quiet and others speak out, and the actions which suggest themselves to encourage more to speak out. This needs to include an exploration of the extent to which professional training generally represents a process of ideological disciplining. ---------------------- Dr. Eric Herring Department of Politics University of Bristol 10 Priory Road Bristol BS8 1TU England, UK Office tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582 Mobile tel. +44-(0)7771-966608 Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133 email@example.com http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Politics/ http://www.ericherring.com/ _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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