How Do The Left Beat Populism?

Author, commentator and journalist Owen Jones discusses his views on the major failings of left wing politics globally and how they can overcome the populist right which has become increasingly popular in recent years.

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Economist who Predicted Trump & Brexit Explains What Happens Now

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qxBzcynHGEE
In this clip Scottish Economist & Professor at Brown University, Mark Blyth discusses the state of global politics post The U.S election. 

Arguing that this giant shift has an economic source and the demise of Greece and rise of Podemos should have been the wake up call that the world needed:

“The global economy has boomed in the last 30 years yet for most, their standard of living and access to public services has declined dramatically.”

Eloquently examining what the global order will look like with elections in Germany France, the Netherlands and possibly Italy in 2017.

Why The Left is Failing Everywhere

Slavoj Zizek discusses the demise of the Left and the rise of fascism. Exploring how the dismissal of Trump and condescending, smug attitudes adopted by liberal elites was fuel to the Trump fire.

He further describes how the Left can transform and calibrate into something which offers something radically alternative and  exciting for people rather than status quo.

 

Stand Your Ground And Fight 

I am in a genuine state of hurt and dismay but not surprise at the news of the election. I have said since The DNC disingenuously made Hillary the candidate that I didn’t think she would beat Trump.

This article is a great summation. We must now more than ever unite around Progressive politics and the movements that unite us:

“If Trump is a fascist, as liberals often said, Democrats should have put in their strongest player to stop him, not a party hack they’d chosen becauseit was her turn. 

Choosing her indicated either that Democrats didn’t mean what they said about Trump’s riskiness, that their opportunism took precedence over the country’s well-being, or maybe both.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/donald-trump-white-house-hillary-clinton-liberals

“I Don’t Vote With My Vagina” – Why You Should Vote on Policy & Not Identity Politics

Susan Sarandon speaks to BBC Newsnight on why she’s not backing Hillary Clinton in the Presidential election.

In this eloquent interview, Sarandon discusses the importance of voting your values not your fears and why she is backing Green Party Candidate Jill Stein for President.

“I don’t Vote with my Vagina” was her response when asked would she not be proud of having a first woman President, stating “I want the First Woman President to be the right Woman.”

Voicing what many millennials and progressives have said: Hillary voted for the Iraq war, The Patriot Act, lobbied for TPP 45 times, promoted fracking throughout the world and received huge donations from corporate institutions, including $600,000 for a speech at Goldman Sachs.

Sarandon believes a vote for the Third Party is a vote for the future and Americans are tired of voting for the lesser Evil.

This is a thought provoking analysis of a view that has gotten very little platform, the idea that the issues that actually matter to people are not being addressed in the election by either candidate and a third party vote is a vote for the future.

This is epitomised by her line:  “It’s important to remember, Abraham Lincoln was a third party candidate” 

When The Truth Becomes Boring

“The People of this country.. have had enough of experts”

The stunning words of Conservative MP and poster boy of the Vote Leave campaign Michael Gove when pressed on why organizations and governments were bashing his promises of a prosperous Post-Brexit Britain. His comment, while dramatic was certainly not surprising. The entire mantra of the Leave Campaign was not about facts or data but about us, about you, the “decent” “hardworking” “ordinary” people taking back control from the big boy fat cats who have trodden and left you in the dirt.

The anger at the ruling class, once whipped into frenzy by Boris and Co was directed with pinpoint precision at the E.U “Turkey is joining the EU”, “£350M to Brussels every week”. These questionable soundbites gave vent for anger, flooded the discourse and resonated with people in a way explaining the benefits of Free Movement of Goods, EU subsidies and net benefit of migration never could. It was the first piece of concrete evidence that ‘just trust your gut’ politics has made it mainstream in the UK.

Historically, since the era of the enlightenment, we as humans have developed and relied upon safeguards to provide reference point by which we can somewhat objectively agree on what is true and accurate. These include schools, science, legal systems, the media etc.
And while not perfect or always correct, this truth-producing infrastructure provides solid ground from which public discourse and debate can flow from.

Yet, there is substantial evidence to suggest – exemplified by both the U.S general election & Brexit – that we are shifting to a kind of politics in which feelings and emotions trump facts and truth.

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-prizewinning psychologist and author of a bestselling book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, says we have a natural tendency to steer clear of facts that would force our brains to work harder. People will not want to investigate questionable sweeping statements or assertions if it requires lengthy contemplation and concentration to comprehend a complex issue.

Tyranny of the Anecdote

This poses a potentially deadly threat to societal cohesion. How can we solve society’s problems if we have no common truth-providing infrastructure from which to agree on?
For example, dealing with the problems of delays and overcrowding in the NHS. There has been debate over whether immigration or a severe lack of government funding is the primary reason for its misgivings. How do we know what the root cause of the problem is? Do we look at a report by the National Care Commission or listen to a story from our grandmother that she couldn’t get a GP appointment living in an area of high immigration?

There is growing number of pundits and politicians telling us to choose the latter. This is what American comedian, Stephen Colbert describes as believing things that “feel right” or things that “should be true”.

Donald Trump is the epitome of this, notoriously describing Climate Change as a hoax created by the Chinese. And it’s impossible to rebut this ridiculous argument when his followers either don’t care about the facts or believe in a conspiracy that the science is manufactured to serve the elites.

The Economist notes:

‘“A lot of people are saying…” is one of Donald Trump’s favourite phrases and questioning the provenance, rather than accuracy, of anything that goes against him (“They would say that, wouldn’t they?”). And when the distance between what feels true and what the facts say grows too great, it can always be bridged with a handy conspiracy theory.’

#SocialMedia
And social media has become the bread to the conspiracy butter. While having many upsides and benefits, it has enabled people of like-mindedness to filter out news and media which does not align with their personal and political beliefs. One can follow news that never challenges but only reinforces their ideas about the world and tailors a narrative of events to suit its audience. Thus, once established the online community can be far more potent and important to people than their geographical one.

The priority of democratic nations therefore, must be in developing our institutions to cope and be trusted by all in the Internet age. Having a well informed public is unequivocally a common good and the issue must be treated with the sincerity it deserves.

Until now, politics, media and truth producing infrastructure have had to adapt to the structures of Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms. Often being tangled in a malaise of memes and cat videos. Perhaps having a separation between the “social” and the “news” media would be an appropriate place to start?
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Is First Lady a Demeaning Role?

 

What is the role of First Lady? Is it a dated, patriarchal role or has it evolved into something worthwhile and meaningful?

The first lady’s role has never been codified or officially defined in the U.S, yet she figures prominently in the political and social life of the nation. Since 1790s the role of first lady has changed considerably. It has come to include involvement in political campaigns, management of the White House, championship of social causes, and representation of the president at official and ceremonial occasions.

In this powerful clip, we see how Michelle Obama has evolved the role of First Lady and has been a hugely significant and resonating force of the White House. She has refused to accept that Trump bragging about sexual assault is another blip in the election campaign but has called on women and men alike to truly contemplate the horrific, magnitude of the Trump Tapes.

 

michelle-obama