06 October 2013

Digest - Politics, Art & Politics, Political Inquiry

Charter 77 emerged as an opposition movement in communist Czechoslovakia; it recently announced that Georgian human rights activist Ales Byalyatski has been awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize for 2013.

City officials in Newport, Wales have begun demolishing a mural (detail above) commemorating an uprising of Chartists in 1839. (Chartism being perhaps the first modern mass political movement - pressing 'the People's Charter' consisting of radical demands for expanded franchise and political representation.) There has been significant opposition to the demolition. Here is a report from the BBC and here is another from The Independent.

A review here at The Guardian of a London exhibition of work by German artist George Grosz, a socialist, whose work captures the despair and mayhem of post-WWI Berlin.

George Grosz ~ Down with Liebknecht (1918). 

In 1984 the British government established a special committee - COBRA (or Cabinet Office briefing room A) - that meets to address quickly political emergencies perceived or actual. The Guardian reports here on a newer, parallel COBRA, consisting of artists aiming "to engage critically and creatively with the increased use of aesthetics and performance by the UK government to promote, explain and justify its labelling of an event as 'an emergency'." The parallel entity meets whenever the official COBRA does in order to formulate a creative response to the the putative emergency.

Finally, I recommend this brief blog post at The New York Times by philosopher Alva Noë on the entanglement of facts and values in science generally. That means, by implication, in political science in particular. And, of course, that flies in the face of virtually the entire discipline which still embraces a rigid fact-value dichotomy. Ooops.

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