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Jeremy Corbyn is leading the left out of the wilderness and toward power

THANK YOU, Jeremy Corbyn.

It is no exaggeration to say that the British Labour Party leader has changed progressive politics in the UK, and perhaps the wider West too, for a generation. The bearded, 68-year-old, self-declared socialist has proved that an unashamedly, unabashedly, unapologetically left-wing offer is not the politics of the impossible but, rather, a politics of the very much possible. Last Thursday’s election result in the UK is a ringing confirmation that stirring idealism need not be sacrificed at the altar of political pragmatism.

https://theintercept.com/2017/06/11/jeremy-corbyn-is-leading-the-left-out-of-the-wilderness-and-toward-power/

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2017 in Europe

 

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The secret to Corbyn’s success was rejecting PC culture as much as he rejected rabble-rousing populism 

The unexpected electoral success of the Labour Party has put to shame the predominant cynical wisdom of the connoisseurs, even those who pretended to sympathise with Corbyn and whose preferred excuse was: “Yes, I would vote for him, but he is unelectable, the people are too manipulated and afraid, the moment is not yet right for such a radical move.”

Recall Tony Blair’s claim that under Corbyn the Labour Party is irredeemably marginalised, no longer a potential party of government. The hypocrisy of such statements is that they mask their own political stance as a resigned insight into the objective state of things.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jeremy-corbyn-success-general-election-theresa-may-pc-culture-reject-populism-a7785611.html

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2017 in Europe

 

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Why the ‘alt-left’ will succeed where centrists fail 

Could you be a member of a political conspiracy without even knowing it? I’ve found out in recent months that I’m a member of the “alt-left”. Commentators like Vanity Fair’s James Wolcott try to break down the movement’s main currents: a handful of randos on Twitter, Glenn Greenwald, Susan Sarandon, Tulsi Gabbard and Cornel West.Not bad company, if I do say so myself. For Wolcott, what we all share is a soft spot for Russia, a kind of “Trumpian” rhetoric that attacks cultural liberalism and a shocking opposition to the “CIA/FBI/NSA alphabet-soup national-security matrix” he so trusts.

Source: Why the ‘alt-left’ will succeed where centrists fail | Bhaskar Sunkara | Opinion | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2017 in North America

 

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The End of the Left/Right Divide?

After the French Revolution of 1789, deputies in the National Assembly who supported the revolutionary gains sat on the left, while those who opposed them and hankered after the old order of monarchy and church congregated on the right. Hence the political terms “left” and “right.” Many commentators on the French presidential election have pointed out that these categories no longer fit contemporary politics in France – or, indeed, anywhere else. Emmanuel Macron prides himself on being neither right nor left.Marine Le Pen, whose National Front is associated with the far right, disagrees: to her, Macron, who was a minister in a Socialist government, is a leftist. But, like Donald Trump, it was Le Pen who ran as the “voice of the people,” whereas Macron, like Hillary Clinton, was depicted as a puppet of bankers, cultural elites, and international plutocrats.

Source: The End of the Left/Right Divide? by Ian Buruma – Project Syndicate

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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World leaders from May to Trump to Erdogan are all promising to unite their countries while doing the exact opposite

Suddenly the world is full of leaders from Theresa May to President Erdogan of Turkey claiming to unite their countries while visibly deepening their divisions. Denunciations of supposed threats at home and abroad are a common feature of this new political style, whether they are tweeted from the White House or spoken at the podium outside 10 Downing Street.

“Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials,” said May this week, accusing them of deliberately trying to influence the results of the general election on 8 June. All this sounded very like Hillary Clinton convinced that Russia helped lose her the presidential election, though in the case of Britain any such calculation is highly unlikely given the common European assumption that Mrs May is going to win a landslide victory.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/may-erdogan-trump-nationalism-racism-history-brexit-a7719176.html

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2017 in Europe

 

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Don’t believe the liberals – there is no real choice between Le Pen and Macron

The title of a comment piece which appeared in The Guardian, the UK voice of the anti-Assange-pro-Hillary liberal left, says it all: “Le Pen is a far-right Holocaust revisionist. Macron isn’t. Hard choice?”

Predictably, the text proper begins with: “Is being an investment banker analogous with being a Holocaust revisionist? Is neoliberalism on a par with neofascism?” and mockingly dismisses even the conditional leftist support for the second-round Macron vote, the stance of: “I’d now vote Macron – VERY reluctantly.”

This is liberal blackmail at its worst: one should support Macron unconditionally; it doesn’t matter that he is a neoliberal centrist, just that he is against Le Pen. It’s the old story of Hillary versus Trump: in the face of the fascist threat, we should all gather around her banner (and conveniently forget how her side brutally outmanoeuvred Sanders and thus contributed to losing the election).

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2017 in European Union

 

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Women in Power

In 1915 Charlotte Perkins Gilman published a funny but unsettling story called Herland. As the title hints, it’s a fantasy about a nation of women – and women only – that has existed for two thousand years in some remote, still unexplored part of the globe. A magnificent utopia: clean and tidy, collaborative, peaceful (even the cats have stopped killing the birds), brilliantly organised in everything from its sustainable agriculture and delicious food to its social services and education. And it all depends on one miraculous innovation. At the very beginning of its history, the founding mothers had somehow perfected the technique of parthenogenesis. The practical details are a bit unclear, but the women somehow just gave birth to baby girls, with no intervention from men at all. There was no sex in Herland.

The story is all about the disruption of this world when three American males discover it: Vandyck Jennings, the nice-guy narrator; Jeff Margrave, a man whose gallantry is almost the undoing of him in the face of all these ladies; and the truly appalling Terry Nicholson. When they first arrive, Terry refuses to believe that there aren’t some men around somewhere, pulling the strings – because how, after all, could you imagine women running anything? When eventually he has to accept that this is exactly what they are doing, he decides that what Herland needs is a bit of sex and a bit of male mastery. The story ends with Terry unceremoniously deported after one of his bids for mastery, in the bedroom, goes horribly wrong.

There are all kinds of irony to this tale. One joke that Perkins Gilman plays throughout is that the women simply don’t recognise their own achievements. They have independently created an exemplary state, one to be proud of, but when confronted by their three uninvited male visitors, who lie somewhere on the spectrum between spineless and scumbag, they tend to defer to the men’s competence, knowledge and expertise; and they are slightly in awe of the male world outside. Although they have made a utopia, they think they have messed it all up.

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n06/mary-beard/women-in-power

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Bloodstained Rise of Global Populism

In 2016, something extraordinary happened in the politics of diverse countries around the world. With surprising speed and simultaneity, a new generation of populist leaders emerged from the margins of nominally democratic nations to win power. In doing so, they gave voice, often in virulent fashion, to public concerns about the social costs of globalization.Even in societies as disparate as the affluent United States and the impoverished Philippines, similarly violent strains of populist rhetoric carried two unlikely candidates from the political margins to the presidency. On opposite sides of the Pacific, these outsider campaigns were framed by lurid calls for violence and even murder.As his insurgent crusade gained momentum, billionaire Donald Trump moved beyond his repeated promises to fight Islamic terror with torture and brutal bombing by also advocating the murder of women and children. “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” he told Fox News. “They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.”

Source: The Bloodstained Rise of Global Populism | By Alfred W. McCoy | Common Dreams

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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It wasn’t just hate. Fascism offered robust social welfare

Note of the blogger: It’s a painful title to post on my blog because of my strong antifascist beliefs. I believe robust social welfare has been built in Scandinavia without resorting to racism, hate, discipline and the murder of fantasy, freedom, play and many other essential traits of what make us human. We should always learn from societies who promote respect for other human beings not from societies that live and thrive on finding every reason to denigrate whoever and whatever is different.

Still this article is worth reading because it takes a different angle from which to observe the rise of Right in Europe, in the US and elsewhere in the world.

 

An analogy is haunting the United States – the analogy of fascism. It is virtually impossible (outside certain parts of the Right-wing itself) to try to understand the resurgent Right without hearing it described as – or compared with – 20th-century interwar fascism. Like fascism, the resurgent Right is irrational, close-minded, violent and racist. So goes the analogy, and there’s truth to it. But fascism did not become powerful simply by appealing to citizens’ darkest instincts. Fascism also, crucially, spoke to the social and psychological needs of citizens to be protected from the ravages of capitalism at a time when other political actors were offering little help.

Source: It wasn’t just hate. Fascism offered robust social welfare | Aeon Ideas

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next 

In theory, statistics should help settle arguments. They ought to provide stable reference points that everyone – no matter what their politics – can agree on. Yet in recent years, divergent levels of trust in statistics has become one of the key schisms that have opened up in western liberal democracies. Shortly before the November presidential election, a study in the US discovered that 68% of Trump supporters distrusted the economic data published by the federal government. In the UK, a research project by Cambridge University and YouGov looking at conspiracy theories discovered that 55% of the population believes that the government “is hiding the truth about the number of immigrants living here”.
https:/www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/19/crisis-of-statistics-big-data-democracy

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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