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UK's prevent program inadvertently blocks socialist academic paper from students at one university

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posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 07:14 AM
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So, a quick brush up for those who don't live in the UK, as I had to read into this more myself to truly understand it.

The UK made something like that of the NSA/Homeland security to deal with terrorism.

The strategy for addressing it is laid out into four categories, the four P's, Prevent, Pursue, Protect, Prepare. Prevent has gotten the most criticism as it ties in the spy apparatus and also classifies some literature as sensitive (I'm assuming that means red flags someone in the US.

The purpose of Prevent is to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. This includes countering terrorist ideology and challenging those who promote it, supporting individuals who are especially vulnerable to becoming radicalized, and working with sectors and institutions where the risk of radicalization is assessed to be high
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Some of the Universities are starting to self censor in what appears to be an effort to protect the students, and in this case, censored a prominent professors academic paper labeling it sensitive.


An essay by a prominent leftwing academic that examines the ethics of socialist revolution has been targeted by a leading university using the government’s counter-terrorism strategy.



Students at the University of Reading have been told to take care when reading an essay by the late Professor Norman Geras, in order to avoid falling foul of Prevent.



Third-year politics undergraduates have been warned not to access it on personal devices, to read it only in a secure setting, and not to leave it lying around where it might be spotted “inadvertently or otherwise, by those who are not prepared to view it”. The alert came after the text was flagged by the university as “sensitive” under the Prevent programme.



The essay, listed as “essential” reading for the university’s Justice and Injustice politics module last year, is titled Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution. Geras was professor emeritus of government at the University of Manchester until his death in 2013. He rejected terrorism but argued that violence could be justified in the case of grave social injustices.
The Gaurdian

I included the important parts, but I do suggest a full read.

Now I think this is significant for many reasons. For one, wherever you are ideologically on the spectrum, anyone should have a voice, even if it is deemed extreme. Beyond just freedom of speech, making words taboo only makes them more attractive to some.

Secondly, people will start asking for a tit for tat response when their side is targeted, weaponizing the apparatus.

Unfortunately this looks to be the start of a trend, for many western nations. Terrorism isn't even that big of a threat if you play with the numbers, but the west is falling in line of the US for using it as justification for power grabs by the government to bolster their range of operation.

Edit: I forgot one of the most damning ramifications of these procedures.

The University of Reading said: “Lecturers must inform students in writing if their course includes a text deemed security-sensitive, and then list which students they expect will have to access the material.

edit on 13-11-2018 by CriticalStinker because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 07:26 AM
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All thats gonna do is make people want to read it more. Sort of like how i had to have the anarchists cookbook because it was naughty.

Prevent should be worried about whats happening in its prisons.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 07:27 AM
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a reply to: CriticalStinker

Universities used to be respected seats of learning where the accepted was challenged and new thoughts and ideas blossomed.

Seems to me they are developing in to anything but and are becoming the preserve of the PC Brigade and their overly sensitive offspring Generation Snowflake.

I hope I'm wrong or that this trend is reversed.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 07:34 AM
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a reply to: Freeborn

I've seen both sides celebrating when the other side is demonized/silenced.

Many have been adopting the school of thought that other people's ideas can be offensive or dangerous.

It's sad, because while painting the other side as the enemy, we all will lose.

I figure it's not but a few years off until we see the first rounds of justification for policing how citizens criticize their "free country's" government.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 07:44 AM
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prevent should be worrying about Brixet and being able to defend it's own boarders

it probably means "prevent" conservatives



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 07:49 AM
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a reply to: CriticalStinker



I figure it's not but a few years off until we see the first rounds of justification for policing how citizens criticize their "free country's" government.


Sadly I too don't think we're that far off from that now.

We have people advocating censorship of the media for them daring to criticise elected officials or express 'leftist' or right wing opinions.
We have the PC and Snowflakes wishing anything that they feel may offend or upset someone to be banned.

I could ramble on but I know you get my point.

Censorship of anything must be resisted.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 07:52 AM
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a reply to: CriticalStinker

The United Kingdom is one of the most, if not the most, heavily surveyed nations on the planet. Just look at the amount of CCTV doing the rounds if anyone needs convincing. So its not surprising really that our Gooberment and academic institutions choose to censor socialist academic papers.

Fact is through those Tory bastards time will come, and when it does the streets will run blue with their inbreed manky blood down to the likes of Brexit and austerity.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 07:53 AM
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originally posted by: SocratesJohnson
prevent should be worrying about Brixet and being able to defend it's own boarders

it probably means "prevent" conservatives


I think you're missing the big picture here.

Interesting choice on how you decided to frame this when the case study presented was that of the left being targeted.

That said, you'll have no problem trying to fight the right or left targeted by this, hence why I tried to make the OP as neutral as possible.

If you look at it in terms of which side is targeted more, you lose site of the scope of possibilities for their power, and you head into the tit for tat realm I spoke of towards the bottom of OP.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 07:56 AM
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a reply to: Freeborn


Censorship of anything must be resisted.


The way you know you have a strong convicted ideology is when you can hear others and you don't exhibit an emotional response.

The west used to champion individualism and diversity of thoughts and ideas.

We're entering an era where we literally teach the kids to play the game and don't go against the grain.

We could just as easily teach our children the difference between right and wrong, and let them choose their path and they'll be just fine.

This comes down to who are the role models for our children's minds? Parents or Government?



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 08:01 AM
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a reply to: andy06shake


So its not surprising really that our Gooberment and academic institutions choose to censor socialist academic papers.


I haven't read the piece that has been banned myself, but the article referenced portrays the justification as he does not support terrorism but says violence may be justified in instances of grave social injustice.

While many would take that in a SJW context, I think it is what every ideology is in search for, some equilibrium for those in power, and the normal citizen.

The American revolution used the above to justify their actions.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 08:32 AM
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originally posted by: andy06shake
a reply to: CriticalStinker

So its not surprising really that our Gooberment and academic institutions choose to censor socialist academic papers.

It's actually a little bit surprising because the MSM and academic institutions often allow violent rhetoric so long as it has a leftist slant. Judging by the title of the essay, "Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution", I'd say the fundamental issue here is that it promotes the idea that violent revolution against a government is justified in certain situations, and that's something the left and right tend to agree on, it's basically how the U.S. was formed. Once a government becomes too corrupt a revolution because necessary imo, and any government which is rapidly turning into a totalitarian nanny state would fear such a philosophy.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 08:40 AM
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a reply to: CriticalStinker

Parents obviously, but not to the Gooberment.

Fact is our respective governments and the agencies they have in tow have been attempting to undermine the family unit for quite some time.

It started with forcing Woman into employment under the guise of equality but at the expense of our children's well being and decent upbringing.

Not that we are not equal, both sexes can do the job of bringing up kids, but when both parents work, where the hell do you realistically find the time to bring up children?



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 08:48 AM
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a reply to: ChaoticOrder

Most governments are corrupt by default as soon as they attain control.

Truth is we have yet to devise a form of governance that actually serves and facilitates the needs and requirements of the masses.

Governments cater to the select few that wish to maintain the status quo, democracy is a sham and simple window dressing for the masses.

Money talks and the rest of us simply do the walk.
edit on 13-11-2018 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 08:51 AM
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a reply to: andy06shake

Interesting point. I've never thought about it that way.

It also doubled the work force and under the guise of equal pay, the illusion of raising income, and inflation lowering purchasing power, family units work more for less.

I'll have to think on that further though.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 09:36 AM
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The inevitable conclusion of censorship is that it eventually comes around to suppress things you agree with.

It’s a little too late for the free speech battle in the UK. You should have defended free speech before it was cool to do so.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 10:00 AM
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originally posted by: Propagandalf
The inevitable conclusion of censorship is that it eventually comes around to suppress things you agree with.

It’s a little too late for the free speech battle in the UK. You should have defended free speech before it was cool to do so.


From what I've seen I'd agree, that said I don't keep up with them too much and have never been.

Unfortunately I don't think we're too far behind.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 10:16 AM
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originally posted by: CriticalStinker

originally posted by: Propagandalf
The inevitable conclusion of censorship is that it eventually comes around to suppress things you agree with.

It’s a little too late for the free speech battle in the UK. You should have defended free speech before it was cool to do so.


From what I've seen I'd agree, that said I don't keep up with them too much and have never been.

Unfortunately I don't think we're too far behind.


I take it you are American? If so, defend free speech with your life, my friend, even if it means defending people you hate. The Brits didn’t defend the speech of people like Anjem Choudry or that Robinson guy, and now that it comes around to suppress their own they can finally feel it, but it is too late.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 10:20 AM
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a reply to: Propagandalf


I take it you are American? If so, defend free speech with your life, my friend, even if it means defending people you hate.


What life is worth having if you are required to go by the script or follow a predetermined path?

None in my book.

I not only defend people I disagree with, I listen to them.

I find being able to listen to other viewpoints solidify your own.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 10:25 AM
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a reply to: Propagandalf



It’s a little too late for the free speech battle in the UK. You should have defended free speech before it was cool to do so.


Typical example of the crap that is increasingly becoming the norm here on ATS.

Yes, there are issues here in the UK - the example given in the OP is proof of that.

But to imply that we have no free speech here in the UK is simply complete nonsense.
Nearly every day I say what I want, when I want and to I want.
Much of it is very un-PC, much of what I say is critical of the government, our current political system and those who exploit and benefit from it.
On only one occasion, as detailed in a thread I started quite a few years ago, have I ever been approached by anyone.

Yes, we have issues - but to imply and believe we have no free speech etc is complete and utter bollocks.



posted on Nov, 13 2018 @ 10:31 AM
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originally posted by: Freeborn
a reply to: Propagandalf



It’s a little too late for the free speech battle in the UK. You should have defended free speech before it was cool to do so.


Typical example of the crap that is increasingly becoming the norm here on ATS.

Yes, there are issues here in the UK - the example given in the OP is proof of that.

But to imply that we have no free speech here in the UK is simply complete nonsense.
Nearly every day I say what I want, when I want and to I want.
Much of it is very un-PC, much of what I say is critical of the government, our current political system and those who exploit and benefit from it.
On only one occasion, as detailed in a thread I started quite a few years ago, have I ever been approached by anyone.

Yes, we have issues - but to imply and believe we have no free speech etc is complete and utter bollocks.



No, sorry, that boat has sailed. Your little personal anecdotes are refuted by a growing number of cases proving the opposite.

Here’s a recent example
edit on 13-11-2018 by Propagandalf because: (no reason given)



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