Making the Future Female

EDUCATION

DIFFERENT BUT EQUAL Revisited


THE MOST DIVERSE CLASSES ARE THE BEST

Me with some colleagues from around the world

Gender and International Human Rights MA 

Coventry University 2010


THREE CHEERS FOR THE BRAVE CANADIAN STUDENTS!


THREE CHEERS FOR THE BRAVE CANADIAN STUDENTS!

What fantastic news!

Everyone, quick, let’s take to the streets!

After a year of revolt which became known as the “Maple Spring”—including massive street protests that received global attention—university students across Quebec were celebrating victory on Thursday night following the announcement from newly elected Premier Pauline Marois that the government was cancelling the proposed tuition hike that led to the student uprising and nullifying the contentious Bill 78 law which was introduced to curb the powerful protests.

STUDENTS ACROSS THE WORLD WILL TAKE GREAT  COMFORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT FROM THIS AND WILL SOON BE DEMONSTRATING IN A CITY NEAR YOU FOR THEIR RIGHTS TO AN EDUCATION

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/09/21-1


OCCUPY – ONE YEAR ON


Connections…

One Brilliant Life

12 months ago, a group of angry people decided to direct a protest at those they held most accountable for the current economic crisis: the bankers, the stock brokers, the mega-corporations.  The protesters were, on the whole, ordinary people bewildered to find themselves struggling to keep their heads above water through no fault of their own.  Educated people, hard-working people shocked into the realisation that they were not in full control of their own lives, but were at the mercy of  financial institutions and global businesses whose only goal is to drive profits.  People angered by the realisation that the government they thought existed to protect their rights is more concerned with protecting the status quo.

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GOT MY FIRST CHINESE READER!


I’ve been asking bloggers about where their viewers originate  recently and although between us we’ve had folk from most of the world stop by, none had seen anyone from China

“They’re no doubt blocking their citizens…” we mumbled to each other. “Same as with Facebook,” my erudite Pink mate suggested  and I assumed he was right without checking.

But this week I had my first person from the world’s most populous nation come to this blog.

And it set me thinking: who writes about Chinese issues? I certainly haven’t, and to be fair I don’t go to Chinese sites. So why should they come to me? I’ve always followed US people, politics and news because it affects all the world. Well now I’m going to read more and learn more about Chinese culture because pretty soon they’ll be vying with the US for top dog status.

So bloggers, why not consider how to attract folks from other cultures and language groups? English speakers are very fortunate in that much of the world has to learn our native tongue – perhaps we should show more respect to them and write something of interest to other cultures more often 🙂



This is truly shocking – young kids are being tortured in the USA

Eideard

In my public school 40 years ago, teachers didn’t lay their hands on students for bad behavior. They sent them to the principal’s office. But in today’s often overcrowded and underfunded schools, where one in eight students receive help for special learning needs, the use of physical restraints and seclusion rooms has become a common way to maintain order.

It’s a dangerous development, as I know from my daughter’s experience. At the age of 5, she was kept in a seclusion room for up to an hour at a time over the course of three months, until we discovered what was happening. The trauma was severe.

According to national Department of Education data, most of the nearly 40,000 students who were restrained or isolated in seclusion rooms during the 2009-10 school year had learning, behavioral, physical or developmental needs, even though students with those issues represented just 12 percent of…

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UK ACADEMY SCHOOLS FEED KIDS SHIT TO SAVE MONEY SHOCKER


Channel 4 investigative programme Dispatches exposes what Michael “Groper” Gove and his rich chums are doing to kid’s dinners.

As usual with the ConDems, it’s all about saving money to give to the rich.

After Jamie Oliver’s high-profile campaign to improve school meals, millions of pounds were pumped into improving school canteens and tough minimum standards on food and nutrition were set and enforced. Reporter Tazeen Ahmad examines evidence that strategies to improve the food served in all our schools are fast coming undone.

A hundred and ninety local authorities and 108 Academy schools responded to a survey by the programme, which found massive variations in the amount spent on dinners, with some schools opting out of providing a daily hot meal altogether.

Dispatches visits one English primary school where the only hot food available to children is supplied by volunteers working from the local village hall.

Around half of our children now attend Academy Schools, free from local control. Education Secretary Michael Gove exempted them from nutritional standards introduced by the last government, promising that standards would not deteriorate.

However, the Dispatches survey provides worrying new evidence about previously banned products being made available to pupils. The programme speaks to one catering supplier who says that once again many schools are now looking to source cheap, low-quality products.

One parent did his own detective work to discover out of the £2.10 per meal charged by one council, only 59 pence was being spent on ingredients.

As a consequence many children are voting with their feet, either bringing their own packed lunches or going outside school and eating from take-aways.

Dispatches examines the councils trying to fight back and restrict the growth of fast food outlets near schools, and reveals the national chain reluctant to take no for an answer.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-115/episode-2


LET’S TALK ABOUT DRUGS…


So what does the word “DRUGS” mean to you?

What do you imagine when you hear the phrase “WAR ON DRUGS“?

Why have governments launched this action?

How much does it cost?

What are the statistics?

Who benefits and who suffers?

Let’s start with Deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales, 2011

There were 2,652 drug poisoning deaths registered in 2011, and as in previous years, the majority of these deaths were in males. There were 1,772 male deaths from drug poisoning in 2011, a decrease of 6 % since 2010, and the lowest since 2006. However female fatalities rose to 880, an increase of 3 % since 2010, and the highest since 2004. In 2011 there were 1,605 drug misuse deaths. The number of male deaths decreased by 14 % from 1,382 in 2010 to 1,192 in 2011. However over the same period the number of female deaths rose by 3 % from 402 to 413.

Over half (57 %) of all deaths related to drug poisoning involved an opiate drug. In 2011, as in previous years, the most commonly mentioned opiates were heroin and/or morphine, which were involved in 596 deaths. In 2011 there were 486 deaths involving methadone (an opiate substance used to treat heroin addiction, which is sometimes abused).

There were 112 deaths involving cocaine in 2011. The male mortality rate was 3.2 deaths per million population in 2011, which continues a significant downward trend since the peak in 2008. The equivalent rates for females were lower than for males, rising slightly from 0.7 deaths per million population in 2010 to 0.9 in 2011.

Over the past few years a number of new drugs have been controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, including synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists, for example, ‘spice’, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and its precursor gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), piperazines such as (benzylpiperazine – BZP and trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine – TFMPP), cathinones such as mephedrone, and pipradrols such as desoxypipradrol. The number of deaths involving so-called  ‘legal highs’ are low compared with the number of deaths from heroin/morphine, and have been relatively stable over the last few years.

Deaths involving cannabis were also very low (7 in 2011) and usually involved more than one substance.

There were 293 drug poisoning deaths involving benzodiazepines in 2011.

There were 393 deaths involving antidepressants in 2011.

The number of deaths involving antipsychotic medication reached a record high of 104 deaths in 2011, which is a 20 % increase since 2010.

There were 207 deaths involving paracetamol and its compounds in 2011. The mortality rates for males and females were similar, and both increased slightly between 2010 -11.

Deaths involving Tramadol hydrochloride (a synthetic opioid analgesic) have increased steadily from the first recorded death in 1996 to 154 deaths in 2011. This increase in mortality may be partly explained by a 42 % increase in prescriptions for tramadol hydrochloride over the last five years.

I take Tramadol hydrochloride… for chronic pain.

But what about legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco?

And Tobacco? Who dies and who profits?

So over seven million people die each year from Alcohol and Tobacco use.

When does the WAR ON ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO START?


$


Wealth – a terrible disease that can be easily cured…
Much respect to Nonviolent Conflict for excellent blogging to save the world x



More bad news about modern Britain…
Thanks to Dear Kitty. Some blog for her dedication and work x

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video is called Pupils speak out about UK child poverty.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Parents going hungry! – to help feed their children

THE parents of Britain’s poorest children are going hungry so that their children have some food on the table.

Both parents and children are missing regular hot meals, unable to afford warm coats and new shoes and suffering enormous emotional strain, according to a new report from the Child Poverty Action Group.

Child Poverty 2012: It Shouldn’t Happen Here‘ reveals the extent to which poverty is blighting young lives.

One in eight of the poorest children in the UK go without at least one hot meal a day and one in ten of the UK’s poorest parents cut back on food to make sure their children have enough to eat, the report reveals.

The survey…

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BOOK REVIEW – SHIFTY GRADES OF FEY by Billy Spooner


SHIFTY GRADES OF FEY by Billy Spooner (2012 The Satirical Press) is a hugely readable trilogy based loosely on the life and times of the UK education secretary Michael Gove. In this fast paced story, author Billy Spooner paints a nightmarish picture of a government department gone mad. The protagonist, Mickey Grope, is a demon-worshipping former News International executive that sells his soul to the Devil in the hope of becoming Prime Minister. Clearly the plot owes much to the classic Doctor Faustus, but Spooner kicks this timeless tale smack into the zeitgeist of the postmodern era and will no doubt leave readers clamouring for the next instalment. This is such an important book for so many reasons, and in this reviewer’s opinion, probably the best of its type since Jeffry Archer literally resuscitated the publishing world with his world-changing Cain and Unable.

The plot hinges on the decision of Grope to fiddle with a million school kid’s exam grades. However, unbeknownst to the evil EdSec (surely an allusion to Orwell’s 1984) a coven of white witches has taken over the leadership of the National Union of Teachers (NUTS) and plan to dance sky clad down Whitehall and confront Grope in his dungeon hidden beneath the department offices. Without spoiling the tremendously gripping denouement, suffice it to say the greasy Grope gets his comeuppance when the neo-pagan ladies utilise their magic broomsticks in a manner perhaps best left to the reader’s imagination in a family-oriented publication such as this.

This book will certainly generate massive controversy and conservatives, religious folk and those with a gentle disposition are warned to keep well away, but if you like your fantasy raw and close to the knuckle it’s a rollercoaster read you will return to again and again.

Available now at all good bookshops.

What they’re saying about Shifty Grades of Fey by Billy Spooner

“We can clearly see in Shifty Grades of Fey that there is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifying links or archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multireferential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: all these dimensions remove us from the logic of the excluded middle and reinforce us in our dismissal of the ontological binarism we criticised previously.”  Postmodernist Psychoanalyst Félix Guattari.

“Pass the Biltong…” Rush Limbaugh

“I laughed until I was wet!” Sarah Palin

“In Shifty Grades of Fey, singularities-events correspond to heterogeneous series which are organized into a system which is neither stable nor unstable, but rather ‘metastable’, endowed with a potential energy wherein the differences between series are distributed… In the second place, singularities possess a process of auto-unification, always mobile and displaced to the extent that a paradoxical element traverses the series and makes them resonate, enveloping the corresponding singular points in a single aleatory point and all the emissions, all dice throws, in a single cast.”  Gilles Deleuze

“Gott in Himmel!” Angela Merkel

“Better than being married to Peter Andre…” Katy Perry

“The meta-narrative of Shifty Grades of Fey is subsumed in the luminal attraction to the association of fluidity with femininity. Whereas men have sex organs that protrude and become rigid, women have openings that leak menstrual blood and vaginal fluids… From this perspective it is no wonder that so-called fiction has not been able to arrive at a successful model for neo-pagan vicissitudes. The lacunae raised in Shifty Grades of Fey cannot be further illuminated because the conceptions of fictions (and of women) have been formulated so as necessarily to leave unarticulated remainders.” Katherine Hayles

“Should make millions!” Books and Bookmen

“I wish I’d written it…” Dan Brown

“This disgusting tome, this depraved story, this worthless piece of junk entitled Shifty Grades of Fey is yet another example of what soon-to-be-ex-President Obama has done to the once proud North American tradition of literary culture and academic learning. When I have the privilege to this lead this great Nation, then this sort of Godless scribbling will be quickly made illegal and those that write, if write is not too strong a word, such garbage will be judged by God Almighty, and surely fade and fall into Eternal Hellfire where they so rightly belong. Amen!” Mitt Romney

“Cor blimey!” Margaret Thatcher

“Perhaps Shifty Grades of Fey should be regarded as a chaotic formation, in which acceleration puts an end to linearity and the turbulence created by acceleration deflects history definitively from its end, just as such turbulence distances effects from their causes.” Richard Dawkins

“Billy’s really gone and done it now..!”  Quentin Jerome Tarantino

“The main theme of Shifty Grades of Fey is sexual identity and the common ground between class and art. Therefore, a number of deappropriations concerning poststructural objectivism may be found.” Stephen Hanfkopf – Dept. of Literature Yale University


I’VE LEARNED A LOT FROM ROBERT ANTON WILSON


“The human brain, which loves to read descriptions of itself as the universe’s most marvelous organ of perception, is an even more marvelous organ of rejection. The naked facts of our economic game are easily discoverable and undeniable once stated, but conservatives – who are usually individuals who profit every day of their lives from these facts – manage to remain oblivious to them or to see them through a very rose-tinted lens.

Similarly, the revolutionary ignores the total testimony of history about the natural course of revolution, through violence, to chaos and then back to the starting point.” 

ROBERT ANTON WILSON


CULTURE IN DECLINE – PETER JOSEPH


Click here to watch a brilliant short film by Peter Joseph, creator of the Zeitgeist movies.

In US election year, Peter sardonically examines American democracy and shows how the capitalist system controls our thoughts and actions so there are no real choices. He shows how puppet politicians are bankrolled by corporations and asks why we need these leaders at all. This is the same point I make in Womanifesto and we agree that modern leaders play the same role as kings, emperors and dictators did formerly.

For democracy to work, all citizens must be educated to understand the issues, yet critical thinking and logic are ignored and learning by rote is taught to millions. Joseph argues the US two party political system is a con – there is no real choice and all good change derives from pressure from below – not the Republican and Democratic parties.

He also shows how the big parties came together to set up and control the Presidential debates so killing intelligent discussion and stopping smaller parties getting airtime. This is exactly the same as in the UK and most other so-called democracies. Noam Chomsky has been saying this for years.

Even now as more and more species become extinct, the climate changes to who knows what and humanity teeters on the brink of disaster, most folk are more interested in inane celebrities, fashion and consumerism.

Peter also shows how religion creates an unthinking populace who do as they are told rather than questioning everything.

So if you care about the future, the ecosystem and your own minds – watch and engage with this film – what could be more important?


SOCIAL MEDIA BIGGER THAN PORN (and a lot of other things)


This may be old hat to many people, but I know many folks weren’t aware of these stats.

Check out this short film for some amazing facts about what you’re doing right now.  No, not that – using social media of course. Now wash your hands and watch…

http://mashable.com/2010/05/07/social-media-stats-video/


A Few Minutes of Sanity from a Child


This is truly amazing – please reblog xx



The filmmakers are eager to showcase the bio-political movements of metropolitan order, authority, and control

GREY COAST ANARCHIST NEWS

Urban Film blog MIT. Aug 22:

Kickstart This Film: Metropolis (2012), by Tides of Flame

Most of the reviews on this site describe films that already exist, but from time to time we highlight stories on upcoming or proposed projects. One particularly exciting development in recent years is the potential for “crowd-sourced film production” enabled by sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Unfortunately, it can also be time-consuming to sift through all the projects listed to find those of real interest to viewers of urban film. Here’s one that’s worth a quick look, and possibly even a small donation.

With a Kickstarter pitch-page that reads like a cross between a prophetic bible tract and the out-takes from a William S. Burroughs rant, this film was bound to catch my attention. Requesting only an extremely modest (and symbolically spooky!) budget of $666, the filmmakers — known only as Tides of…

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Border Agency decision threatens thousands of international students


In a scary, racist and xenophobic action by the UK Border Agency, London Metropolitan University has had power to teach or recruit non-EU students revoked, leaving many facing deportation.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has revoked London Metropolitan University‘s power to teach or recruit international students, leaving nearly 3,000 students facing deportation unless they can find another place to study within 60 days.

The university’s vice-chancellor, Malcolm Gillies, has warned that the decision to revoke its licence to take non-EU students would create a £30m loss – equal to nearly a fifth of the university’s budget – and threatens the institution’s future. Of the 30,000 students expected at the university in the new academic year, about 2,700 from outside the EU.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/aug/30/border-agency-international-students-threat

This is the same bunch of thugs that were recently rapped for failing to act on allegations of torture and not keeping proper records and details of evidence of mistreatment.

“Detainees who claimed they had been tortured were treated dismissively by officers at Dover immigration removal centre, prisons inspectors have said. Reports by officers at the Kent centre lacked photographs, body maps and judgements on whether scarring matched alleged abuse, inspectors found.”  Guardian 

Compare this response to how government officials act on terrorism and organised crime, yet torture is illegal in any circumstances under international law. The UK Government’s attitudes are disgusting and illegal under international law.



Important info from Dear Kitty showing that when it comes to Creationist nonsense the Fundamentalist Christians don’t have all the bullshit – Islam, Hinduism and Judaism want a piece of the action as well…

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from the USA says about itself:

Two Creationists take home schooled kids on a tour of a natural history museum filling their minds with Young Earth Creationist Bullshit.

25 June 2011.

On a world scale, the most important opposition to evolution biological science comes from Christian creationists; who are influential especially in the economically and militarily most powerful country of the world, the USA. They claim to draw the only correct conclusions from the comparatively long and detailed creation narrative in the Bible book Genesis.

Less importantly, there is opposition to evolution science from within other religions. In Hinduism, eg, the Hare Krishna organization attacks the “materialistic” theories of Charles Darwin and later biologists. This is not that surprising, as the Hare Krishna organization is rather extreme within Hinduism. The organization developed at first not in India, but in the USA, with influences from US American fundamentalist…

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TOP DOCUMENTARY FILMS – My fave site on the Web


This is the place to while away the hours and get educated into the bargain. It’s the equivalent of going to university, but you can stay at home and there’s no fees. Remember to say thanks to Vlatko if you visit ’cause it’s his place.

We saw a short film earlier and it’s well worth watching – it’s entitled “9/11 The Sensible Doubt” and below is the blurb:

What happened on September 11, 2001? All over the world, people question the official story and explanation about the events that took place in USA more than 10 years ago.

In this Danish documentary you will meet architect Jan Utzon, MP Benny Engelbrecht, professor Niels Harrit, airline captain Niels Studstrup, journalist Tommy Hansen and artist Jacob Fuglsang.

They will talk about their doubt and skepticism and explain why they have come to feel and think this way. The film is in Danish with English subtitles.



It’s always the kids that suffer…



One of the greatest


How Long Does It Take to Realize That You Are On the Wrong Side of History?


Great poster!



There are two kinds of people – those who admit to mental problems and those that don’t. Which kind are YOU?

HARLAN DIDRICKSON

No rhetoric; no sublime style; no lexicons or etymology.  Pure and simple disclosure of disquieting issues.

Please, REPOST THIS ON YOUR BLOG.  Personally, I prefer privacy over publicity; I exposed my life in the hope that the stigmas of mental illness, obesity, and homosexuality might be reconsidered to be human conditions worthy of respect and empathy.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-met-bipolar-20120824,0,3948031.story

Bipolar II disorder: Another Chicagoan’s story

Like Jesse Jackson Jr., Harlan Didrickson has the illness and has had weight-loss surgery

 Harlan Didrickson poses outside his Rogers Park home. (Chris Walker, Tribune photo / August 17, 2012)
By Barbara Brotman, Chicago Tribune reporter, August 26, 2012
Harlan Didrickson was a model of middle-class stability.He lived with his partner of more than two decades in a handsome Victorian on a leafy North Side street. He worked as manager of executive and administrative services for a high-powered architectural firm, where he made hospitality and travel arrangements for large meetings and…

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The most important video you wish you’d never watched


Heavy but crucial to understand the state human society’s in. Exactly the argument contained in my novel – DOG Sharon: The Future is Female


Danilo Dolci – the Sicilian Gandhi Part 1


Danilo Dolci (June 28, 1924 – December 30, 1997) was an Italian social activistsociologist, popular educator and poet. He is best known for his opposition to povertysocial exclusion and the Mafia on Sicily, and is considered to be one of the protagonists of the non-violence movement in Italy. He became known as the “Gandhi of Sicily”. Wikipedia

Danilo Dolci was born near Trieste, northern Italy in 1927, a son of a devout Slav mother and a sceptical Italian father who worked for the railways and became a station master. Dolci originally studied architecture in Rome, Milan, Switzerland, and also trained as an engineer. As a student he published works on the science of construction and the theory of reinforced concrete. He was hailed as a man with a brilliant future.

Dolci first came to Sicily because of its ancient beauty, in particular its Greek buildings, spending time studying the ruins.

In 1954 he returned to rural western Sicily and stayed for the rest of his life, throwing away a professional future. He settled in Trappeto – a slum area of Partinico, a province of Palermo – in an area notorious for banditry and poverty. Dolci married one of his neighbours, a widow with five children. From their small house with none of the usual conveniences he launched his campaign against the misery that surrounded him.

Dolci, his family and followers faced the hostility of the church, the government, landowners and the mafia. He charted his work in a book – The Outlaws of Partinico.

“The illness of violence cannot be cured by greater violence”

Dolci could see that men became bandits because they had no money for medicines and started committing kidnappings and robberies. Generally, he said, local people thought it was wrong to deny a person the right to risk their lives for their family as they were expected to do so in the armed forces for their country.

“There was no law and order”, which meant that the local people had to become a law unto themselves. Once people had sold all of their possessions to buy food, they were forced to break the law. Because of the poverty there were countless robberies. Every new day brought hundreds more as everybody was forced to steal. Times were so hard that the poor even stole from each other. Because the police were not respected and could make matters worse, much crime was not reported. “The people lost all self control” and “the hungry became bandits.”

Another big problem was that of police persecution. Dolci claimed this was “at the bottom of the banditry” in the area, made worse because the people were so hungry. Abuses committed by the forces of law and order included summary arrest, torture, thievery, bribery and other forms of corruption. In chilling accounts of police brutality, Dolci recorded how Sicilians were tortured with water-boarding, electric shocks, beatings, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, burning with cigarettes, suffocation and summary execution. Also the police would rob ordinary people’s houses. Once corrupt officers knew there was food or resources at a particular location they were likely to continue until it was all gone.

The police occasionally arrested suspects and after torture and other interrogation techniques produced a confession. Often, after months or years in jail, many suspects were found not guilty and released by the courts. Faced with this, the Carabinieri took to arresting whole families in an attempt to force wanted men out of hiding. On one occasion, the police rounded up everybody they could across a huge area of the countryside. So many contadini were detained that the police barracks was full and many suspects were locked up in a disused distillery.

In this way, many bandits – in reality, the rural poor – were forced into exile and lived as “wild beasts.” So the poor peasants were caught between the law, landowners and Cosa Nostra. However, thieves that were protected by the mafia were able to prosper, while others were turned into the police or murdered.

Animals that were stolen by the mafia were often disguised by the thieves so their original owners would never recognise them again. Also, Cosa Nostra had contacts with other criminal organisations on the mainland and would regularly ship stolen animals to them for distribution or the knacker’s yard.

Yet “The police knew all about the mafia and were sometimes hand in glove with them.” Not surprisingly, the links between politicians and the mafia were more obvious during election periods. Across the whole of Sicily Cosa Nostra exercised an intimidating influence on politics. Although many of the mafia were very powerful, most of them were uneducated and had never been to school. They often had to get their sons and daughters to keep their accounts and read letters and communicate with them when they were in prison.

Partinico, Trappeto and Montlepre had a combined population of approximately 33,000 yet only one of the 350 outlaws from the area was raised in a family with both parents reaching past the third elementary grade of school. Dolci calculated that the ‘bandits’ he studied completed 650 years at school compared to more than 3000 years in prison.

“There is a world of the condemned in our midst; condemned to death by we ourselves.”

In a cost benefit analysis, Dolci noted that it cost 13 million lire per month to pay for the prison service, security forces and police force on Sicily, yet there was no provision for relief for families of men in prison or who had been killed. In less than 10 years over 4 ½ billion lire was spent on repressive actions while over 4000 people were unemployed.

In an attempt to work out the scale of the problem, Dolci and his followers began to measure all kinds of social facts in the area. They counted people, families, the unemployed and land. They quickly realised that underemployment and unemployment were serious ills and this was made worse by the seasonal nature of the work – men might only get paid for 6-8 months. Other important issues identified by Dolci were waste and inefficiency. For example, agriculture suffered greatly from lack of water and fertilizer.

The whole island suffered from lack of educational attainment. Dolci noted there was significant under-attendance at schools, no public library or theatre in the town, and in the poorer areas, no running water or drains. The area had hardly any poor relief, a very high infant mortality and a very low standard of education. Medical care was poor or nonexistent, and what there was suffered from a shortage of staff, equipment and medicine.

One of Dolci’s great achievements was to chart the actual deprivation in Sicily. One of the ways he and his helpers did this was to go out and interview ordinary people about their lives. This work produced some fantastic accounts of ordinary Sicilian life and they also created tables showing the lack of schooling of so-called bandits and their parents. The tables recorded time in prison, exile and on probation and comments show many were killed or injured through their encounters with the police.

Dolci argued that if real efforts had been made to find gainful work for the people of Sicily then most criminal acts would have been avoided. In an area where land is scarce and unemployment and underemployment is common, it was not surprising that men were prepared to steal to save the children from starvation. People in the area were so desperate, that Dolci recounts how they were stealing metal from an ammunition dump when a shell exploded and killed 23 people including children. In Montelpre there were no public lavatories or showers and Dolci said the children mostly ran “wild in the streets.”

Dolci suggested using the money for the upkeep of the police to build the dam on the river Jato which would enable the local people to irrigate their land without paying the mafia for the privilege.

Dolci estimated the money spent in10 years on the legal system, prisons and the police force and argued that if this had been spent on supporting the population then law and order would have been maintained. He also suggested there should have been one social worker for every police officer.

Dolci argued that we must work towards the truth – to bring transparency and light into the dark places – to show up the poverty and the desperation. To achieve this end, Dolci deliberately exposed volunteers to some of the worst slums Sicily had to offer – often the sights and smells were too much for educated westerners to bear.

He recorded stories of child abuse at the hands of nuns at the religious schools in Sicily. Children recounted being locked in small dark rooms, being beaten and tied up, made to stand in cold places, being sent to bed hungry and being made to stand on sharp objects.

As can be seen from the above, to be a poor child in Sicily was to be at risk of abuse from many sources. Child prisoners suffered especially. With no social security and any provision for families of convicted men, they were at great risk of starvation and ultimately death. Not surprisingly, prostitution flourished with the poorest women being bought and sold for a small amount of money. As usual, violence was employed to keep women in line and make them work for their mafia bosses. Echoing Jesus’s words, “Forgive them lord they know not what they do”, Dolci claimed we hurt each other and damaged the planet because “We know not what we do”.

“Perhaps we are beginning to believe, at last, that to sow good is to reap good.”

Dolci realized that Partinico, the small town he was working with, was a microcosm of the whole world. The conflicts and challenges he found there were repeated a billion times over globally. Evidence for this can be seen in the title of another brilliant book, The World Is One Creature (1984).

There are similarities in Dolci’s approach to World Systems Analysis – the perspective developed by Immanuel Wallenstein (2004).

Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein (born September 28, 1930) is a US sociologist, historical social scientist, and world-systems analyst. Wikipdia

Throughout the Cold War period, most commentators focused on the division between capitalism and communism and their two ideological camps. The alternative perspective, where the world was split into rich and poor rather than the dominant economic system, was developed by people working on the left and with radical traditions. A good example of this was the World Systems Analysis developed by Wallerstein.

Similarities between World Systems Analysis and Dolci’s perspective include the idea that community is organic, that Sicily’s issues were because of a structural problem not due to some inherent weakness of the population and that the powerful use their advantage to further abuse the weak and poor.

In Wallerstein’s view, the world system distributes resources from the periphery to the core. Core or centre corresponds with the developed nations and the periphery equates to the underdeveloped parts of the global economy. Wallerstein argues that the world economy has a tripartite division of labour between core, semi-peripheral and peripheral nations. He developed the concept of domination to explain the unequal relations between nations at different levels of this tripartite system. Sicily would be considered peripheral in this perspective, both within Italy and Europe.