RIP Nelson Mandela

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RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Angua » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:26 pm UTC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25249520

He will be missed, but at least he lived to a good age, and departed from this world peacefully.
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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Red Hal » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:31 pm UTC

/bows head.
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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby poxic » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:09 pm UTC

Wow. I was just thinking about him yesterday. Peace and rest, good sir.
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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:20 pm UTC

He managed to guide SA from Apartheid to a functioning democracy without the entire country with relatively little bloodshed. That is no small accomplishment.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:21 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Negated » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:21 pm UTC

R.I.P.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Thesh » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:42 am UTC

I think the onion had a nice take on this:

Nelson Mandela Becomes First Politician To Be Missed
Summum ius, summa iniuria.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby PolakoVoador » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:08 am UTC

Mandela was awesome. That his life story inspire many others.

We could say that men like him achieve immortality. He will always be there, in the memory of the people. RIP, Madiba

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:27 am UTC

He was not without his flaws (the Umkhonto We was NOT peaceful and Mandela was NOT Ghandhi (who himself had flaws)), but overall he was a positive force.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Paul in Saudi » Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:07 am UTC

Certainly we shall never see his kind again.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Djehutynakht » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:37 am UTC

We must see his kind again.

His kind was not reactionary, it did not simply seek to overthrow an oppressor to put the oppressed in their place. It was one who sought simple and brilliant peace and unity.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Jplus » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:24 am UTC

Deep respect.
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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby iChef » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:24 pm UTC

Mandela was really two different men. The young man who was a revolutionary and had his hand in several dozen bombings who today we would surely call a terrorist. Not that what he was fighting against was right but his methods were very severe. Then there is the older man who emerged after he got out of prison who did the almost impossible task of leading post apartheid South Africa.
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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:32 pm UTC

Yeah, I always found it funny that had Mandela done what he had done in the US instead of SA, he would've fried. It's kind of discomforting to know that there are places in the US that make Apartheid look reasonable...

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:09 am UTC

Nonviolence isn't always the answer. If the powers that be only respond to protest with massacres and mass-imprisonment, with no intention of compromise, and no pressure from the political majority for change--except for more exclusion-oriented policies, making things worse--what else remains in your power?

And anyways the Umkhonto we Sizwe didn't commit anything but sabotage while Nelson Mandela was a free man--no outright acts of terrorism (AFAIK) until the 1980s.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby johnie104 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:33 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Yeah, I always found it funny that had Mandela done what he had done in the US instead of SA, he would've fried. It's kind of discomforting to know that there are places in the US that make Apartheid look reasonable...


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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Diadem » Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:38 pm UTC

iChef wrote:Mandela was really two different men. The young man who was a revolutionary and had his hand in several dozen bombings who today we would surely call a terrorist. Not that what he was fighting against was right but his methods were very severe. Then there is the older man who emerged after he got out of prison who did the almost impossible task of leading post apartheid South Africa.

But it's not two different men, and it's important to realize that.

Mandela was a terrorist. He used violence to achieve political goals, he supported others who used violence. And it was this violence that caused Apartheid to collapse. If Mandela (et al) hadn't been a terrorist, he would still be in jail, and Apartheid would still be there. The violence was necessary and just. And if you look at Mandela and only see a peace leader, you are selling him short. Of course if you look at Mandela and only see a terrorist, you are also selling him short. What makes Mandela unique is that he was able to transform himself. He was able to move beyond the hate, to set out on a path of reconciliation. By choosing this path, he was able to avoid a civil war. The transition from Apartheid to democracy was instead a peaceful one, ultimately supported by even the white minority.

Violent revolutionaries can be found on very street corner. Peaceful political leaders are a bit more rare, but still plenty common. But someone who can be both, and can do it at the right time, that is truly unique.

Throughout the history of the world there have been lots and lots of violent revolutions. But how many transformed into peaceful nations with former enemies living together in, well, perhaps not harmony but at least mutual tolerance. I can't think of many.
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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Mambrino » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:49 pm UTC

While I (mostly) agree with Diadem (without Mandela being such a president he was, South Africa could have been far worse), this caught my eye:
Diadem wrote:Throughout the history of the world there have been lots and lots of violent revolutions. But how many transformed into peaceful nations with former enemies living together in, well, perhaps not harmony but at least mutual tolerance. I can't think of many.

Is it that uncommon in general? There's been so many civil wars that there are quite a lot of countries which have experienced them, and some of them are relatively peaceful today. Of course, quite a many are not, especially if the war was in relatively recent past and was waged between different ethnicities, instead of, say, over mere political differences.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:54 pm UTC

I was under the impression that Apartheid collapsed not from the violence, but from the international sanctions. It was to the point where everything was so backwards in South Africa that when Apartheid did collapse, the economy had a massive economic boom as a result of modernization in spite of the general incompetence of the new government*, which is probably the biggest reason SA didn't turn into Mad Max as feared. SA gave up Apartheid because it was in even the plutocract's best interests to give it up.

*Seriously, read up on Jacob "It's OK to rape AIDS victims if you shower afterwards" Zuma.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby poxic » Sat Dec 07, 2013 7:08 pm UTC

I think the sanctions made the Afrikaaners willing to negotiate with Mandela, but Mandela set the tone for the talks.

Going by memory from a video I watched last night (not specifically about Mandela, but using him as an example of "non-kinship bonding" or whatever that is called):
- First, while in prison he learned to speak Afrikaans. Very important to be able to speak to one's enemies in their own language.
- He insisted that negotiations happen in his house, not in a conference room.
- Rather than sitting around the kitchen table, he got everyone into the living room.
- He sat on the couch and called over whoever he thought looked least friendly to sit beside him.
- From time to time, he jumped up and asked that person if he could get them more tea or a biscuit, or whatever.

His strategy was to not appear to be the evil terrorist the white men were expecting, but rather like a neighbour or friend. The process of reintegration went forward along the same lines, with perpetrators and victims of violence often facing each other and telling their stories (Truth and Reconciliation Commission).

It was hardly utopia on wheels, but it got the job done. I can respect the parties to that process and how hard it must have been on all sides.
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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Diadem » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:37 am UTC

Mambrino wrote:Throughout the history of the world there have been lots and lots of violent revolutions. But how many transformed into peaceful nations with former enemies living together in, well, perhaps not harmony but at least mutual tolerance. I can't think of many.

Is it that uncommon in general? There's been so many civil wars that there are quite a lot of countries which have experienced them, and some of them are relatively peaceful today. Of course, quite a many are not, especially if the war was in relatively recent past and was waged between different ethnicities, instead of, say, over mere political differences.[/quote]
Well yes, many are peaceful today, but that doesn't say much. Germany is very peaceful now, but the 30 year war was one of the bloodiest and most destructive conflicts in all of history.

There are definitely conflicts where eventually a peaceful solution was negotiated. But generally when there was some kind of stalemate, or at least a difficult situation for both parties. That's not really what happened in South Africa. After the end of Apartheid, the ANC was in a position where they could have ruthlessly persecuted the former Apartheid leaders. And I think historically that is what generally happens. It's also what most people would have done, we're a pretty vindictive species. But in South Africa they instead choose the path of reconciliation, the path of forgiveness. That was a really important part of making the transition peaceful, and it happened because of Mandela.

It's not entirely unique. The allies did mostly the same thing after the end of World War II - they took out the nazi leadership, but left most of the middle ranks alone, and actively supported rebuilding efforts in Germany. And that arguably turned out even better than it did in South Africa, turning former enemies into steadfast allies within a few years, and friends within a few decades. So it's not entirely unique, but I can certainly think of many more conflicts where something like that never happened, then where it did.

CorruptUser wrote:I was under the impression that Apartheid collapsed not from the violence, but from the international sanctions. It was to the point where everything was so backwards in South Africa that when Apartheid did collapse, the economy had a massive economic boom as a result of modernization in spite of the general incompetence of the new government*, which is probably the biggest reason SA didn't turn into Mad Max as feared. SA gave up Apartheid because it was in even the plutocract's best interests to give it up.

Oh yes, of course. How could I forget the role of the noble white nations in ending apartheid. Apartheid would never have disappeared if it wasn't for white people working tirelessly against it!
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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:30 am UTC

Yeah, that's right, since trade sanctions and boycotts have no effect, Europe and the US should either not give a fuck and just keep buying from slave labor countries or invade them and force them to be free. Because violence works so well, we should bomb everyone into Liberty!

The reality is that while the terrorist acts of the ANC did put pressure on SA, it only caused SA to push back harder. The Nationalist party at every event would turn around and say "Look at how violent they are! Do you want to have these violent people anywhere near your children? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!"; the violence was counterproductive. The more people were convinced that letting black people back into society would end in disaster, the more unwilling they were to end Apartheid. When the US finally agreed to boycotts of SA, that's when the equation changed enough to make ending Apartheid favorable to the ruling white people. Keep in mind that the South African government willingly ended Apartheid.

And if anything, it's a massive criticism of the US that the US refused to make a stand until after the Cold War. That in order to protect the "Free World" from the tyranny of Communism we were supporting a regime that was a few very short steps away from Godwin's.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby BattleMoose » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:49 am UTC

The trade sanctions did play an important part in ending apartheid. But the violence, or more importantly the threat of violence, was certainly in my opinion the critical factor in forcing the white government to step down. And the struggle to end apartheid should be viewed in context of the South African Border War, where the South African defence force was fighting and expending much of its resources.

Fighting is expensive and with the threat of a whole scale uprising at home, the South African army just simply wasn't big enough to handle all the threats. And because of the sanctions, it wasn't possible to give the defence force the resources it needed.

Apartheid ended because of a fear of a whole scale uprising of violence and genocide. There as a pragmatic acceptance form the government at the time, that such an eventuality if they continued with apartheid, would be inevitable. Sanctions helped to create this situation by hurting the economy and thus depriving the defence forces from resources.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Zamfir » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:52 am UTC

@ BattleMoose, there's something about the timing there that I never understood, perhaps you can explain.

I would have thought that the the Soviet troubles in Eastern Europe should have bolstered the confidence of the South African army. Just a few years later, neither the Russians nor the Cubans were in a position to supply arms and forces to southern Africa. But instead, the South African army and government seemed to lose its confidence, seemed to accept that they could not keep fighting for more decades. How did that happen?

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Grishnakh » Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:18 am UTC

@Zamfir, regarding the timing of the fall of Apartheid.

This is not Official History, but a theory based on a conversation I've had with a man who played a small but not insignificant role in the Liberation Struggle, and somewhat supported by a radio interview I heard with some of those arrested at Liliesleaf Farm.

While the cold war was silently raging, it was in the interest of the American and British governments to support Apartheid. If the Apartheid government were to fall, the replacement government was very likely to be communist.

The correspondents in the Liliesleaf Farm interview alleged that British MI6 agents were present at their arrest, and further alluded that the CIA played a role in Mandela's arrest. When asked about this later on, Mandela apparently stated that international relations is more important than dwelling on US and British involvement in Apartheid.

The man I spoke to alleged that, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Margaret Thatcher gave FW de Klerk a call, saying "You can let him out now."

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:18 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:@ BattleMoose, there's something about the timing there that I never understood, perhaps you can explain.

I would have thought that the the Soviet troubles in Eastern Europe should have bolstered the confidence of the South African army. Just a few years later, neither the Russians nor the Cubans were in a position to supply arms and forces to southern Africa. But instead, the South African army and government seemed to lose its confidence, seemed to accept that they could not keep fighting for more decades. How did that happen?


I am actually a bit embarrassed to admit that I really don't know all that much about the South African Border Wars.

Withdrawal of Cuban forces and Soviet military aid was actually part of an agreement requiring the South Africa to withdrawal from Namibia. Namibia which was originally a mandate awarded to South Africa by the League of Nations at the end of WWI, South Africa occupied it during the war which was a German colony.

Growing up in post apartheid South Africa, it is pretty bizarre how little attention the Border Wars received, literally barely none. No documentaries, very few books and never appears in the media in any capacity. That in itself probably speak volumes.

I've always understood the end to apartheid really came about as a result of the increasing organisation of the resistance movements. In 1960 the white population of South Africa was only 19.3% and in 2011 was 8.8%! (Can't find data for the 1980s/90s) A white minority no matter how skilled just can't maintain control over such a large majority. And the resistance was becoming more organised. With many receiving military training in neighbouring countries.

Rhodesia was also fighting for white minority control and they fought a civil war from 1964 to 1979 at which point it became Zimbabwe under control of Mugabe. Umkhonto we Sizwe actually taking part in military actions against the Rhodesian army. In many ways Zimbabwe represented an alternative reality in which South Africa could have progressed to.

The Soweto Uprising of students, while in 1976, consisted of an estimated 20 000 students, with 176-700 being killed. Some of it was formally organised but many who weren't even aware of it, simply just joined in. The real threat to white minority rule wasn't international but domestic. Even though the SADF no longer had to fight in Nambia and Angola it was now much more preoccupied with internal affairs.

At some point about 1990, the white government must have recognised that civil war was inevitable and it was a war they simply could not win. And began negotiating for a transition to a true democracy. And I do think civil war was inevitable and am personally extremely grateful to all those involved in negotiating a peaceful transition. And Mandela and De Klerk certainly earned their joint Nobel Peace Prize.

And I also think that the violence used by the ANC in order to coerce the white government into negotiations was fundamentally necessary. Whether it was morally or ethically acceptable for the violence from the ANC, particularly on innocent civilians, is not a question I would attempt to try answer. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was really Mandelas doing was just such a brilliant thing. And I certainly didn't appreciate it at the time but it was a way of trying to accept what had happened and move forward together.

The real tragedy though is that the vision of the ANC and particularly Mandela's vision and that of the ANC freedom charter have been completely betrayed by those who followed him. There is still so much racial hate and violence right now in South Africa, that its difficult to see how the different races could actually integrate into a truly peaceful and cooperate coexistence. I actually live in Melbourne now.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:01 pm UTC

Small minorities have managed to control countries throughout all of history. Take, for example, the Spartans. In Spartan culture, all free men were soldiers. Everyone else, even the highly skilled bronze workers and metalsmiths, were slaves. And none of this Roman "slaves can have minimal rights and money" nonsense; slaves were routinely killed as a rite of passage (Spartan boys could skip half their training from hell if they killed a person instead). And yet, the Spartan soldiers were what, 3% of the population?

Of course, what we actually know about the Spartans may very well be Athenian propaganda, perhaps to tell their own slaves "listen, you REALLY don't want Sparta to win".

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby engr » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:32 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:He managed to guide SA from Apartheid to a functioning democracy without the entire country with relatively little bloodshed


Yeah. No bloodshed, just burning people (mostly other blacks, who weren't radical enough) alive in the name of ANC, with silent approval of Nelson Mandela and open approval of his wife.
I think Inquisition in Europe practiced something similar - IIRC, they asked the civil authorities to punish heretics "without spilling blood".
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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:22 pm UTC

Relatively little bloodshed. Can you name some massive societal changes on the scale of the End of Apartheid that didn't involve a blood orgy? The fact that Apartheid didn't end in the genocide of the upper class a la Rwanda, Haiti, France, and Zimbabwe is actually somewhat impressive.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby sardia » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:02 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Relatively little bloodshed. Can you name some massive societal changes on the scale of the End of Apartheid that didn't involve a blood orgy? The fact that Apartheid didn't end in the genocide of the upper class a la Rwanda, Haiti, France, and Zimbabwe is actually somewhat impressive.

Canada?

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby BattleMoose » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:12 am UTC

sardia wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Relatively little bloodshed. Can you name some massive societal changes on the scale of the End of Apartheid that didn't involve a blood orgy? The fact that Apartheid didn't end in the genocide of the upper class a la Rwanda, Haiti, France, and Zimbabwe is actually somewhat impressive.

Canada?


For those of us not so familiar with Canada's history, which massive societal change would you be referring to?

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby sardia » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:49 pm UTC

They broke away from the crown peacefully in contrast to the rebellion to the south. Both countries were pretty similar in circumstances.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:18 pm UTC

Mandela was a wonderful human being. The world was a better place with him in it.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:05 pm UTC

Was Britain resisting Canada's independence?

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:44 pm UTC

Off-topic thoughts on the American Revolution....
Spoiler:
So the actual timeline of the Revolution is pretty interesting.

First off, in the mid-60s, Britain passed a bunch of unpopular levies to help pay for the last war, but didn't really take the economic situation of the colonies into account and pissed everybody off. Most notably, these laws essentially said the colonists didn't have all the rights of Englishmen as British subjects. Since most of the colonial leaders were Englishmen and British subjects, this was a sore point.

In '65, the colonial leaders sent Britain the Declaration of Rights and Grievances, basically saying "Sure, we owe you guys allegiance and stuff, but you've got to give us the same rights as other Englishmen in exchange for that."

Britain repealed some of the more odious laws, but added others, like the Quartering Act which smelled suspiciously like the first steps toward martial law. British troops dissolved local colonial governments, and in '66 Parliament issued the Declaratory Act, saying "Shut up, you are our bitches and you can't do anything about it."

Things got more and more sour, and more and more businesses were boycotting British-taxed stuff. Local assemblies kept clashing with new British laws, and Britain kept sending more troops and warships in. Which is kind of a jerk move, especially after the Declaration of Rights and Grievances was all "Look, seriously, we want to work this out."

From the end of the '60s through the beginning of the '70s, things kept getting worse as Britain sent more and more troops and passed more laws and skirmishes started cropping up between organized citizens and the regular British army. In '74, the colonists sent over a Petition to the King, saying they wanted to work things out and would really really like it if the crown stopped with the whole standing-army-occupation business. This petition was ignored, and skirmishes began escalating. In July of '75, the colonists sent their final petition for peace and resolution, the Olive Branch Petition. But Britain had already decided to fight it out (given that things were getting kind of bloody) and issued the Proclamation of Rebellion the next month along with another surge of troops. The colonists took this to be Britain's declaration of war on its own subjects. After the swelling British army was involved in several pitched battles with colonists in early '76, the colonial leaders threw up their hands and issued the Declaration of Independence, saying "Screw your Proclamation of Rebellion and screw your Declaratory Act; you've declared war on your own people so we're going to form our own country."

I'd say the American Revolution was bloody and the Canadian independence wasn't simply because the British crown had a standing army hanging out in the American colonies following the recent war and decided to use this army to enforce its side in disagreements. To my knowledge, Canadian independence didn't happen during a time when Britain had a standing army hanging around on its soil.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:10 pm UTC

Off topic a bit, but more on the American Revolution. The economics side anyway.

Spoiler:
The Boston Tea Party was protesting, of all things, a tax cut. Specifically, the East India Company (yes the villains from Pirates of the Caribbean movies) was given a huge tax break for the importation of tea. In other words, the UK had decided to hand over a huge chunk of the entire economy to a single corporation.

As for more economic crap, Britain had a law in place that gold and silver coins could not be traded to the colonies. This was somewhat annoying, but it's kind of irrelevant what you use as currency and the colonists just used their own pseudo currencies such as tobacco leaves and buckskins. But when Britain decided to collect taxes after the French and Indian (7 Years) War, what did they demand as payment? Gold and silver that was illegal for colonists to receive from Britain. On top of this, it was quasi-illegal to sell to the French and Spanish, making it virtually impossible to legally gather the funds necessary to pay the taxes to fight the wars you didn't benefit from.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:38 pm UTC

Revolution discussion:
Spoiler:
CorruptUser wrote:As for more economic crap, Britain had a law in place that gold and silver coins could not be traded to the colonies. This was somewhat annoying, but it's kind of irrelevant what you use as currency and the colonists just used their own pseudo currencies such as tobacco leaves and buckskins. But when Britain decided to collect taxes after the French and Indian (7 Years) War, what did they demand as payment? Gold and silver that was illegal for colonists to receive from Britain. On top of this, it was quasi-illegal to sell to the French and Spanish, making it virtually impossible to legally gather the funds necessary to pay the taxes to fight the wars you didn't benefit from.
And let's not forget that the Currency Act of 1964 prohibited the colonies from issuing paper money, further screwing things up.

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Re: RIP Nelson Mandela

Postby BattleMoose » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:42 am UTC

sardia wrote:They broke away from the crown peacefully in contrast to the rebellion to the south. Both countries were pretty similar in circumstances.


What nonsense.

The people who were living in what is now Canada, fought a number of rebellions against British Rule and for independence, and lost all of them. You know, with people shooting at each other, violently.

The USA earned complete independence in 1783. Canada only obtained effective independence in 1931!


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