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Citizenship Curriculum

— abelard

25-year update

Citizenship curriculum is one in a series of documents examining how to improve public behaviour in society.
introduction to franchise discussion documents citizenship curriculum The logic of ethics
franchise by examination, education and intelligence power, ownership and freedom
The Curious Republic of Gondour by Mark Twain
from Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
Kantsaywhere by Francis Galton
from In the Wet by Neville Shute
historic UK vote allocation
how to teach a child to read using phonics how to teach a person number, arithmetic, mathematics
for related short briefing documents examining the world’s growing crisis, start at
replacing fossil fuels, the scale of the problem
While, for convenience and clarity, this document is broken into categories by various means, it is essential to keep in mind the seamless and interactive nature of all education and knowledge. All ‘subjects’ interact and it is important that all educators make this clear to any persons that they intend to enlighten and enable.


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Areas of study
Politics and law
Detailed curriculum (under development)
Values and dispositions: what is ‘good’?
Developing skills – how to achieve change?
General knowledge, discussion and understanding society as it is at present

Brain washing—otherwise known as bias
The nature of the institution
Education Otherwise
Teacher training

Reference material
End notes

related background reading
establishment psycho-bunk
or psychobabble n°s 1 to 9
starting with
1 'Lie detection


  1. To encourage awareness of the central importance of citizenship training as an essential foundation for effective learning.
  2. To forward the establishment of citizenship education as a central core subject in education, to be treated on a par with related communication skills such as math/english.
  3. To lay a basic curriculum for effective education for citizenship.

Areas of study

Psychology: [5]
The idea of the other. Who and what am I? See Laying the foundations for sound education - abelard.
Health and mental health.
Working and living with others, social arrangements.

Communicating and learning to think clearly. Key guide document at Why Aristotelian logic does not work.
A more general, and easier, guide to some of the appropriate documents on logic can be found at Categories, analogy and reification

Money as a store of value. See The mechanics of inflation.
Money as a medium of communication and exchange.
Money as an accounting unit.
Money for consumption. Money for power.

Politics and Law:
Laws are rules made by majorities to exploit minorities – discuss. See also The logic of ethics.return to contents


Detailed curriculum (currently under development)

Key to link buttons in the curriculum sections.
These divisions should be taken as no more than a rough guide.

theory practice bacground for dicussion
Theory Practice Background Discussion

Concepts theory practice

1 Theory and action. citizenship curriculum - abelard theory and reality  
2 Being calm. citizenship curriculum - abelard Regular moments of calm. Practice in the context of excitability.
3 Blame and excuses. citizenship curriculum - abelard discuss There is no blame, there is no excuse.
4 ‘Equality’ and diversity. citizenship curriculum - abelard the error called 'equality'  
5 Fairness, justice, the rule of law, rules, law and human rights. citizenship curriculum - abelard the logic of ethics charters for human rights  
6 Freedom and order. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
7 Ownership and independence citizenship curriculum - abelard the error called the law of the excluded middle  
8 Individual and community. Collectivism, statism, liberalism. citizenship curriculum - abelard for background reading discuss  
9 Power and authority. Problems are linked to over control and will to power. links under development understanding the current political world
10 Rights and responsibilities. citizenship curriculum - abelard Your right to receive goods on purchase, your duty to supply.
Do you have the right to walk through a wall.
A right implies an ability to enforce that right.

Democracy and autocracy.

citizenship curriculum - abelard link between education and freedom  
12 Co-operation and conflict. citizenship curriculum - abelard 'people skills' See humans killing humans
13 Controlling anger. Instinct. Force.   See understanding a species under stress
14 Foresight. citizenship curriculum - abelard time - 2  
15 Negotiating. Telling people what you want. citizenship curriculum - abelard 'getting the love you want'  
16 Parenting. citizenship curriculum - abelard laying the foundations for sound education 'the heart of parenting' - more technical

Useful book for discussing parenting with children.

17 Analysing. citizenship curriculum - abelard learn chess What is a just war.
18 ‘Work’ and money. Why are you paid? citizenship curriculum - abelard Why are you paid?
Is it more costly to interact with pleasant people or with nasty ones?
19 Reason is possible in relationships, just as it is in the natural sciences. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
20 Externalised costs, evolution and co-operation, consciousness. citizenship curriculum - abelard 'factor four: doubling wealth, halving resource use'  
21 What is the common good? Forms of government. citizenship curriculum - abelard 'democracy and elections' See authoritarianism and liberty
22 The way things are. The way we want things to be. How we get from one to the other. citizenship curriculum - abelard If I wanted to go to Land’s End, I wouldn’t be starting from here.
‘Thinking’ and ‘fact’.
citizenship curriculum - abelard why Aristotelian logic does not work  

return to contents

Values and dispositions: what is ‘good’?

24 Looking ahead.
citizenship curriculum - abelard time2 box in 'Metalogic B1: decision processes'
Statistics. Bayes theory (probability and observation).
Processing and analysing information.
25 One universal ‘rule’ is balance. citizenship curriculum - abelard  

Human rights.
Non-intrusion, leaving others alone.

citizenship curriculum - abelard  
27 What is law? Why obey laws? Legitimacy of laws. citizenship curriculum - abelard the logic of ethics - abelard: dogma and tolerance
Witness reliability.

Concern for the environment. Why bother?

citizenship curriculum - abelard  
29 Calm – humility – tolerance. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
30 Kindness. (See Jeremy Bentham). citizenship curriculum - abelard Utilitarianism.
31 Time to think. Patience. Trusting. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
32 Concern to resolve. A disposition to work with, and for, others with sympathetic understanding, kindness. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
33 Proclivity to act responsibly: that is care for others and oneself; pre-meditation and calculations about the effect actions are likely to have on others. citizenship curriculum - abelard Acceptance of responsibility for unintended or unfortunate consequences (COBA – Cost-benefit Analysis).
What does reflection mean? What is a responsible act?
34 Practice of tolerance. Why be tolerant? citizenship curriculum - abelard the logic of ethics - abelard: tolerance as a social imperative

It is common that minorities preach tolerance, on becoming a majority groups tend not to practise tolerance.


Judging and acting by a moral code. What is a moral/ethical code?

citizenship curriculum - abelard Religions as social codes. Rigidity/precedents. Rules as a substitute for thought.
36 Why and how does such a code arise (see Good Natured). citizenship curriculum - abelard power, ownership and freedom - abelard
See Power, ownership and freedom

Courage to defend a point of view. What is courage?

citizenship curriculum - abelard Being courageous does not mean lacking fear.
“As an old soldier I admit the cowardice: it’s as universal as sea sickness, and matters just as little.” [2a]
38 Is it OK to be frightened? Going with the crowd. citizenship curriculum - abelard  

Dangers of crowd psychology.

citizenship curriculum - abelard Konrad Lorenz.
War (?), peer pressure, excitement and panic of crowds.
See herds and the individual - sociology, the ephemeral nature of groups
40 Individual initiative and effort. Responsibility. citizenship curriculum - abelard Self-defence.
41 Run, fight, withdraw (that is, see the enemy and run). citizenship curriculum - abelard See Gangs, war, and excitement, under development.
42 Willingness to be open to changing one's opinions and attitudes, in the light of discussion and evidence. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
  Determination to act justly. What does ‘just’ mean? citizenship curriculum - abelard See 'just war'
44 Commitment to ‘equal’ opportunities. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
45 What does ‘equality’ mean? Does it mean anything? citizenship curriculum - abelard  
46 Active citizenship. ‘Improving’ the world. citizenship curriculum - abelard See 'And Then There Were None' by Eric Frank Russell
47 Voluntary service. citizenship curriculum - abelard power, ownership and freedom - abelard



Meaning of human dignity. Acting well out of self-respect.

citizenship curriculum - abelard "What you avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose on others."
Seneca, On Anger, 3.12  
49 Sentience. citizenship curriculum - abelard consciousness 1 consciousness 2

Study to be carried out in context of power, ownership and freedom


return to contents

Developing skills – how to achieve change?

50 Anticipating outcomes. Making thinking through problems a habit. citizenship curriculum - abelard References to this course - learning ways to think through problems.
51 Making a reasoned argument both verbally and in writing. citizenship curriculum - abelard Understanding the nature of ‘rules’, and how to break them. Using information and experience to make decisions.
52 A critical approach to presented evidence and an ability to look for fresh evidence. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
53 What is a ‘fact’? Compare news stories, what is the agenda of the writers? citizenship curriculum - abelard See Deconstruction series of news items.
54 Numeracy and statistics. Numbers will set you free.
citizenship curriculum - abelard See sums will set you free - maths zone at abelard.org
55 Ability to use modern media and technology critically to gather information. Disseminating messages or information via media. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
56 Recognising forms of manipulation and persuasion. citizenship curriculum - abelard See language for manipulation, exaggeration and hypocrisy
57 How to recognise rhetoric. citizenship curriculum - abelard adjectives
58 Social pressures. Saying no. Asserting yourself. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
59 Accepting your own weaknesses calmly, while seeking to expand your understanding. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
60 Protecting your health and safety. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
61 It is your body, no-one, but no-one, has rights over it but you. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
62 Co-operating and working effectively with others. citizenship curriculum - abelard  


Anger management, negotiation, ‘bullying’. Conflicts, negotiation. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
64 Keeping calm. The nature of force. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
65 Understanding the experience and perspective of others. What do they want? citizenship curriculum - abelard  
66 Toleration of other view points, what is the point? citizenship curriculum - abelard facts and ‘points of view’
67 Problem-solving approach, what is a ‘problem’? citizenship curriculum - abelard  
68 How to use media to promote an agenda. citizenship curriculum - abelard chain reactions
69 Using the Internet, using libraries, using catalogues and reference works. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
70 Trading. The nature of money. Establishing a money system. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
71 Practical skills, not just theory. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
72 Looking after others, including the young, and how to educate. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
73 Educating ‘children’, what is education? And so on. citizenship curriculum - abelard Pre- and post-natal health of the child

return to contents

General knowledge, discussion and
understanding society as it is at present

74 Contemporary issues and events at local, national, EU, Commonwealth and international levels; corporations. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
75 Democratic communities, including how they function and change. citizenship curriculum - abelard For contrast, see for Socialism and peace: the Labour Party's programme of action, 1934
76 The interdependence of individuals. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
77 Local voluntary communities and organisations. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
78 Diversity, dissent and social conflict. citizenship curriculum - abelard the illusion of groups
79 Why do people argue? Language, resources. citizenship curriculum - abelard referring to reality
80 Legal and moral rights and responsibilities of individuals and communities. citizenship curriculum - abelard intrusive ‘help’
81 Britain’s parliamentary and legal systems at local, national, European, Commonwealth and international level, including how they function and change. citizenship curriculum - abelard
See authoritarianism and liberty,
Socialist mindset versus moderate mindset
82 International law and international bodies, Amnesty International. citizenship curriculum - abelard
83 Human rights charters and issues. European Bill of Rights. United Nations rights charters. United States constitution. (Links to copies of these documents are available on-line at Declarations.) citizenship curriculum - abelard
84 The rights and responsibilities of citizens as consumers, employees and community members. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
85 The economic system as it relates to individuals and communities. and then there was none by eric frank russell See Citizen’s wage, with commentary on the misconstruing of property, ownership and subsidy
86 International comparisons. The nature of corporations and businesses. citizenship curriculum - abelard
See Henry Ford
corporate corruption, politics and the law,
87 War and police. The social use of force. Is force effective? citizenship curriculum - abelard Legitimacy
88 Sustainable development and environmental issues.[3] citizenship curriculum - abelard
See short briefing documents
on energy,
on global warming,
on sustainable futures
89 Living in groups. Nation, community, ‘family’, monastic, recluse. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
90 Freedom of information. Bill of rights. How they relate to education and to law. citizenship curriculum - abelard  
91 Keeping reasonably fit and safe. Not becoming a burden upon yourself and others,
because of carelessness and irresponsibility.
citizenship curriculum - abelard  
return to contents

Brain washing—otherwise known as bias

The following is verbatim from Education for citizenship and the teaching of democracy in schools[1]:

Summary of the Statutory Requirements

“The Education Act 1996 aims to ensure that children are not presented by their teachers with only one side of political or controversial issues. Section 406 of the Act requires school governing bodies, head teachers and local education authorities to forbid the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in schools; and to forbid the pursuit of partisan political activities by pupils under age 12 while in school. Section 407 requires them to take all reasonably practical steps to ensure that, where political or controversial issues are brought to pupils’ attention, they are offered a balanced presentation or opposing views. (See also Power, ownership and freedom.)

“If anyone has reason to believe that a school is not complying with these requirements, they may make a formal complaint to the governing body under statutory local arrangements for considering complaints about curricular matters. If dissatisfied with the governors' response they may refer the complaint to the local education authority, in the case of an LEA-maintained school, and, ultimately, to the Secretary of State (in the case of either an LEA-maintained or grant-maintained school).”

This is followed by the next note:

“10.8 Such fears, while common, are largely unfounded and greatly underestimate both the professionalism and the prudence of teachers. In the early 1980s, when some attention was being given in schools to particularly sensitive issues such as Peace Studies, advisers and inspectors were required to be alert to the possibility of teachers abusing their position to persuade pupils to their point of view, and to investigate complaints. Verified examples were extremely rare and a senior staff inspector of HMI was able to reassure the then Secretary of State for Education that there was no evidence to substantiate such fears.”


Later, Education for citizenship etc [1] goes on to suggest three approaches to teaching:

“(a) The ‘Neutral Chairman’ This requires the teacher not to express any personal views or allegiances whatsoever, but to act only as the facilitator of a discussion, ensuring that a wide variety of evidence is considered and that opinions of all kinds are expressed.”

I thoroughly disapprove of such a stance. I regard it as an abnegation of responsibility. A teacher’s job is to widen the world of the young, not seek merely to keep out of trouble. Teachers have a duty to bring knowledge to the young, not to just stand idly by, while the young discuss their own limited world and prejudices.

“(b) The ‘Balanced’ approach by which, as teachers ensure that all aspects of an issue are covered, they are expected to express their own opinions on a number of alternative views to encourage pupils to form their own judgements. This requires teachers to ensure that views with which they themselves may disagree, or with which the class as a whole may disagree, are also presented as persuasively as possible – in other words, to act on occasion if necessary, as ‘Devil’s Advocate’.”

While I regard this as a considerable improvement, I object to the pretence and dishonesty involved in the ‘devil’s advocate’ stance. I also object to ‘persuasively as possible’. A teacher owes absolute honesty to others: the ‘devil’s advocate’ stance confuses that necessity. Further, a teacher’s duty is to teach people how to recognise and allow for advocacy, not to implicitly teach a promotion of rhetoric and other dishonesty.

Unfortunately in this primitive culture, teachers are not able to be entirely truthful towards others, for they are quickly likely to find vested interests exploiting honesty as a weakness. For adequate professional standards in teaching it will be needful to introduce a Hippocratic-type oath and special privileges of the type presently accorded to law courts and parliament.

When education was in the hands of the Church, teachers were subject to clerical law, separate from the state. Such a system should be reconsidered.

“(c) The ‘Stated Commitment’ approach in which teachers openly express their own views from the outset, as a means of encouraging discussion, during which pupils are encouraged to express their own agreement or disagreement with the teacher’s views.”

This approach is a necessity to good teaching, for all people including teachers have their own interests and views. The educational system should offset problems of bias by opening education to a wide variety of advocates with varying views, all the while encouraging ‘pupils’ to discuss and analyse different options and approaches to life. Trust the young to learn. Do not wrap them in cotton wool.

Education for citizenship etc [1] then continues in the following manner in an attempt to avoid as much responsibility as possible, by sitting firmly on the fence. Such is our ‘culture’.

“10.13 It seems to us that if used in isolation, rigidly or alone, each of these approaches contains significant shortcomings. A teacher using only the ‘Neutral Chairman’ approach is likely to find pupils are unconvinced by her or his ‘neutral’ stance, perhaps because of what they know and observe about the teacher during the rest of school life. There is also some evidence from the evaluation of the HCP pilot materials on race, that this approach may lead pupils to hear only what they wish to hear, thereby reinforcing their prejudices. The ‘Balanced’ approach runs the obvious risk that as a teacher strives to ensure every point of view is given equal attention in the classroom.[6] The pupils themselves, already subject to a barrage of partisan opinions from the mass media, may not be adequately equipped with ideas and information which counteract those that they get from the media. And the ‘Stated Commitment’ approach alone carries with it, from the start, the grave risk that teachers who use it may well be accused of bias and attempting to indoctrinate those whom they are teaching.[7]return to contents

Teacher training

  1. Adequate teacher training will take five to ten years. For the first five years, it is unlikely that any but the most talented, or the most experienced, are capable of managing the education of others without supervision and help. During this time, they should be regarded as classroom assistants, under a form of apprenticeship and guidance. It is my view that it will usually take ten years for an intelligent and capable teacher to be in a strong position to supervise new assistant teachers. See also theory and reality.
  2. The level of teacher training is currently inadequate to the purpose of teaching able and professional lead teachers
  3. A central part of the problem is a poorly taught or non-existent fundamental philosophical basis for the educational process. I am dealing with these technical issues in other writing, primarily via active participation in appropriate news groups uk.politics.misc, uk.education.misc and alt.politics.british, and via other documents on this web-site. I am working through this new technology, as it is by far the best means of reaching a wider audience without the self-congratulatory and inward looking self-censoring ‘educational’ establishment.
  4. For all the problems, education is slowly improving. There is growing efficiency in teaching methods, however a great deal remains to be done. Idiotic and ill informed whining about how much better education was in days of yore should be entirely ignored. Our schools of fifty years ago were sinks of bullying, incompetence and oppression on a criminal scale.
  5. Effective heads should be given charge over the educational colleges and given supervision over groups of schools, while the least able should be demoted or sacked.
  6. Every act to protect a lame dog teacher, rather than educate or remove them, is to leave pupils with an oppressive, boring and ineffectual learning environment. return to contents

The nature of the institution

Integrating the school with the community instead of accepting school as a dumping ground for children. Refusal to accept a forbidding and insular response from schools.

Intrinsic nature of being in a social situation, for instance like a school.


Education Otherwise

No, you are not forced to send ‘your’ young to school.

The ‘law’ states that:

“Every child must be educated in accord with its age, aptitude and ability in school or otherwise.” 
(Education Act 1944.)

For those who are interested, Joy Baker categorically established this right in the early 60s. She bravely fought the attacks on civil liberty by a previous generation of politicians, to the extent of going to prison. To read about her fight and her experiences, read Children in Chancery.[4]

See the web page of Education Otherwise, a self-help group for home education.
Also see who owns the child: hampshire jobsworths seem to believe they doreturn to contents

There is a squishy but useful review article on fact-based strategies for the prevention of failure from early childhood (55-page .pdf, with references).

End notes


Education for citizenship and the teaching of democracy in schools [88-page .pdf, with added slush in the form of appendices]
Previously available free from the Qualifications And Curriculum Authority (QCA), 29 Bolton St. London, W1Y 7PD, Tel: 01787 884444.

This is a very useful summary introduction from which I have cribbed at will and then hacked, improved and expanded while building this document.

Any person interested in education should download a copy of this document.

The terms of reference for this publication follow:

[Note very carefully the highlighted sections.]

On 19 November 1997, following proposals in the education White Paper; Excellence in Schools, the Secretary of State for Education and Employment pledged ‘to strengthen education for citizenship and the teaching of democracy in schools’, and to that end set up this Advisory Group with the following terms of reference:

“To provide advice on effective education for citizenship in schools - to include the nature and practises of participation in democracy; the duties, responsibilities and rights of individuals as citizens; and the value to individuals and society of community activity.”

The framework document setting out the Group’s terms of reference explained that it would cover:

“The teaching of civics, participative democracy and citizenship, and may be taken to include some understanding of democratic practices and institutions, including parties, pressure groups and voluntary bodies, and the relationship of formal political activity with civic society in the context of the UK, Europe and the wider world […] and […] an element of the way in which expenditure and taxation work, together with a grasp of the underlying economic realities of adult life [...].”

The framework document also made clear that the Secretary of State expected the main outcomes of the Group's work to be:

“a broad framework for what good citizenship education in schools might look like, and how it can be successfully delivered - covering opportunities for teaching about citizenship within and outside the formal curriculum and the development of personal and social skills through projects linking schools and the community, volunteering and the involvement of pupils in the development of school rules and policies.”

From the preface I quote the following:

1.1 We unanimously advise the Secretary of State that citizenship and the teaching of democracy, construed in a broad sense that we will define, is so important both for schools and the life of the nation that there must be a statutory requirement on schools to ensure that it is part of the entitlement of all pupils. It can no longer sensibly be left as uncoordinated local initiatives which vary greatly in number content and method. This is an inadequate basis for animating the idea of a common citizenship with democratic values.

1.5 We aim at no less than a change in the political culture of this country both nationally and locally: for people to think of themselves as active citizens, willing, able and equipped to have an influence in public life and with the critical capacities to weigh evidence before speaking and acting; to build on and to extend radically to young people the best in existing traditions of community involvement and public service, and to make them individually confident in finding new forms of involvement and action among themselves There are worrying levels of apathy, ignorance and cynicism about public life. These, unless tackled at every level, could well diminish the hoped-for benefits both of constitutional reform and of the changing nature of the welfare state. To quote from a speech by the Lord Chancellor earlier this year (on which we end this report): 'We should not, must not, dare not, be complacent about the health and future of British democracy. Unless we become a nation of engaged citizens, our democracy is not secure.'

1.6 Citizenship education is an unfulfilled expectation in a national agenda established by the previous Government in Clause 2 of the first paragraph of the 1988 Education Reform Act. That required a 'balanced and broadly based curriculum' which 'promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils' and also 'prepares such pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life'. Citizenship education in a parliamentary democracy is also part of preparation for adult life, just as the activity of acting as a citizen, not just as a subject, is part of adult life. Following the 1997 White Paper; Excellence in Schools, we were set the task of advising how to fulfil this expectation.

1.7 Citizenship education must be education for citizenship. It is not an end in itself, even if it will involve learning a body of knowledge, as well as the development of skills and values. Such knowledge is as interesting, as intellectually demanding and as capable as any other subject of being taught and assessed at any level. The study of politics and civil life, concerned with both institutions and ideas, began with Aristotle, has continued ever since, and flourishes today in our universities.
2 Democracy and Elections, R.S. Katz, 1997, OUP, (approx. £40, 0195044290)
2a George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950), Man and Superman, 1903, act 3

from amazon.co.uk

Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use, von Weizsacker, Lovins and Lovins,
1998, Earthscan Publications Ltd., 1853834068, £12.95 (amazon.co.uk)
four GoldenYak (tm) award

 three and half GoldenYak (tm) award     A green history of the world by C. Ponting
[the GoldenYak rating would be substantially higher, but for the criticisms noted in review at abelard.org.]

$11.20 (amazon.com)
Reprint edition (April 1993), Penguin USA , 0140176608 pbk

10.13 (amazon.co.uk)
Reprint edition (April 1993), Penguin, 0140176608 pbk

from amazon

For subsidiary discussion on the replacement of fossil fuels; where there are also further links.

There is a growing bank of resources regarding the environment in the abelard.org news zone, see in particular ecology, oil, science, (associated archives index).

4 Children in Chancery, Joy Baker, Hutchinson & Co. Ltd., 1964
5 For expanded related information, refer to Reading References on this web-site
under the heading, Relational Training.
6 Note the implicit suggestion that points of view should not be given ‘equal attention’.
Note the overt fear of accusation.return to contents

email abelard email email_abelard [at] abelard.org

© abelard, 1999, draft release 4.1
Major update 11 may 2024

all rights reserved

the address for this document is https://www.abelard.org/civil/civil.htm

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