10 July

'Your honor, I feel that I have been convicted of violating an unjust statute. I will continue in the future, as I have in the past, to oppose this law in any way I can. Any other action would be in violation of my ideal of academic freedom - that is, to teach the truth as guaranteed in our constitution, of personal and religious freedom.' John Scopes

July 10, 2009 · 2 min read

Today in 1925, the Scopes ‘Monkey’ trial opened. John Scopes, a high school teacher, was prosecuted by the Tennessee State for teaching evolution based on Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. This was in defiance of the recently introduced Butler Act which forbade the teaching, in any state-funded educational establishment in Tennessee, ‘of any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.’

After eight days of intensive arguing, Scopes was found guilty and the monkeys lost out in Tennessee.

…I have never known what freedom is. I keep on working for it and hoping for it and wanting it, but I know that I never shall have it. In this, no doubt, my life has been like the life of every being that ever lived … I remember reading a while ago a statement of Anatole France. He said that the chief business of life is “killing time.” And so it is. What is the difference if we gather all the facts of the universe into our brains for the worms to eat? They might give the worms indigestion …’

Clarence Darrow, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyer for the defence


The NHS has become complicit in the exploitation of migrant workers

As a wave of strikes is planned across London, Petros Elia – an organiser with the United Voices of the World Union, outlines racist outsourcing practices that implicate some of our biggest ‘socially responsible’ employers

Global Justice Rebellion activists

It’s time to add global justice to XR’s demands

Extinction Rebellion must recognise the impacts of colonialism and capitalism, and demand a just transition for all, argues Aranyo Aarjan

Pride in an Irish border town

This summer, Irish LGBTQ campaigner Joseph Healy joined the Pride march in his home town of Newry. Here, he explains how life on the border has changed - and the stakes of Brexit installing a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic


Are community land trusts a way out of the system?

People are taking charge of land and housing across the UK, posing an alternative to the commercial market. But is it enough? Hazel Sheffield reports

Real Zero

2019 has seen climate consciousness reshape the political conversation around the world, but for this new awareness to make a difference, we need to get real about targets and timescale, write Souparna Lahiri, Niclas Hällström and Rachel Rose Jackson. 

The great British land sell

Austerity and neoliberal policy-making has led to the loss of some of our greatest assets and restricted the potential for social housing. Samir Jeraj explores how this has happened and ideas of how to stop it


Radical Roots – Corbyn and the Tradition of English Radicalism

The ideas underpinning Corbynism are deeply embedded in the English radical tradition. Reclaiming this tradition can play a key part in reinvigorating our ambitions for the future. By MICHAEL CALDERBANK with HILARY WAINWRIGHT