Category Archives: Conservatism

Jokers to the Right

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Frecycledsurfboards.com%2Farchie-bunker-quotes-on-race-119.jpg&f=1It’s time we learn more lessons from Archie Bunker. While the right wing continues to become increasingly clownish, we need to go back to Norman Lear’s classic 1970s sitcom, All in the Family, to get re-acquainted with Archie Bunker’s willful embrace of ignorance and bigotry to learn where he’s coming from and how to protect our world.

So let’s look at the threats lurking underneath the clownish behaviour of right wing politicians, and examine how a visionary, progressive, engaged labour movement can confront it. This trip takes us from the new Manitoba government to Brazil, to Donald Trump to Kevin O’Leary to Austria, and ends with Justin Trudeau.

Let’s start with a warning. These clowns and buffoons we are enduring, Trump and O’Leary jump to mind, are not to be underestimated. There is analysis suggesting that the ridiculous behaviour and ignorant policy statements are just an act to get free media coverage and attract votes. But we can’t let this possibility make us complacent.

The increasing prevalence of right wing clowns is designed to normalize these radical and offensive social, economic and political attitudes. We cannot let the evaporation and resignation of Stephen Harper make us content.

So let’s stroll around the world to see what we are up against.

The Manitoba NDP recently lost government, replaced with the Progressive Conservatives, who are not progressive. The new government caucus is 80% men. They appointed an Anglophone woman to be minister responsible for the francophone as well as sports, heritage, women and culture. Hers will be the ministry of “all the things the government doesn’t care about.”

Brazil has stepped back to the right wing privatization of the 1980s and maybe a touch of Chile in 1973. The right wing coup/impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff is class warfare. The new president immediately established a cabinet of only white men, and dissolved progressive ministries dealing with food, women, culture, science, racial equality, and human rights.

Then, the new president contacted the International Monetary Fund and Goldman Sachs to create a neoliberal structural adjustment program for the country, a tool that has decimated rich and poor nations around the world for two generations. This program is about destroying the progressive capacity of governments, in part by privatizing government services and corporations. So we need to monitor Canadian pension funds to make sure they don’t try to buy parts of Brazil’s public infrastructure at low, neoliberal prices.

Donald Trump is no clown. He’s a poster boy for white, male, corporate, 1% entitlement and backlash against recent generations of progressive change in society. He also resonates so well with people who have learned to keep their bigotry to themselves. Trump is popular because he is affirming their ideas and giving them license to revel in them, publicly.

Kevin O’Leary has long annoyed progressive Canadians because of his reactionary opposition to people who are not rich, white and entitled. His spirits have been buoyed recently with Stephen Harper’s resignation as party leader and Trump’s success in channeling anti-social views. Even if he never becomes leader of the Conservative/Reform Party of Canada, we need to be wary of whatever higher profile he may drift into in the near future.

A Green Party-supported independent candidate narrowly won Austria’s presidency in May in a run-off against and anti-immigration far right candidate with—take a deep breath—massive support from blue collar workers. Trump also has massive blue collar support.

Back in Canada, Trudeau has been in office for half a year and is already living up to the Liberal cliché of campaigning from the left and governing from the right. You can track how he is rapidly breaking election promises at Trudeaumetre.ca as he is framing himself as the new Harper with regressive trade, environmental and social policies.

So how do we confront these increasingly desperate right wing tactics and behaviours?

Archie Bunker taught us that providing a voice of ignorance and bigotry in a sitcom character keeps it from festering in back alleys. It also lets society see what debating controversial issues looks like.

And while it also seemed useful to mock Archie Bunker, that kind of mockery seems to have helped drive people with bigoted sentiments underground, until they began emerging recently, like with the “election” of George W. Bush.

So how should the labour movement contend with this new right?

1.       We need to start with our values: dignity, respect, equity, responsibility and accountability. These should frame how we engage with right wing issues. So let’s make sure we stop referring to Trump and O’Leary as clowns and buffoons.

2.       Since ignorance and bigotry are based in fear, we need to leverage our particular skills and insight as a labour movement to address what makes people afraid: insecure and precarious work, underemployment, vulnerable housing, social insecurity, inability to feel confident about being able to raise our families, equity, dignity, human rights.

3.       Since working people are resonating well with both Trump and Bernie Sanders, we can see they’re desperate for change, however it gets expressed. Our movement must more effectively engage with our members to help them see how progressive changes address their fears as well as improve society. Part of how we do this is to leave the political rhetoric and statistics aside and champion people in the labour movement to tell their stories about how progressive change has helped them.

 

On Tuesday, Corporate Media Played You. Did You Catch It?

Is this from the movie" UP " awesome :3 I miss those days (\o|o/) Lawl ...Which was the most important news story on Tuesday this week? And which news story was overshadowed by corporate media coverage of the other 3?

  1. Donald Trump was officially nominated and elected as the Republican candidate for president, despite attempts to derail that surreal event.
  2. Donald Trump’s wife plagiarized Michelle Obama in her speech.
  3. There was something going on between Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. I still don’t know what. And no, I won’t seek a link for this. Please.
  4. And the soon to be big[ger] story that Mrs. Trump Rickrolled the Republican convention and the country.

The answer to both questions, obviously[?], is #1.

But the media pointed out some squirrels with which to distract us from the torturous reality that a major American political party is in such a state of delusion that Mr. Trump is their gift to the White House.

This is something we should all be debating and planning to avert! But we can’t if the Kanye/Kim/Taylor/Melania show is on.

So. Did you catch it? Or did corporate media get you again on Tuesday? If you caught it, you are allowed to like us in the Facebook.

Spoiler: yesterday we learned that Trump thinks the president’s job is to Make America Great Again while letting his vice-president take care of domestic and international policy. It’s now the Texas Bush-Cheney Chainsaw Massacre, Part Deux!

Oh. And here’s your Easter Egg.

Parlez-Vous Contempt?

Comment?

PC diversity
Anti-diversity!

Conservative contempt for democracy, representation, culture, and people not like themselves [really really white!] does not end with Harper or #TheNewHarper.

This new francophone minister, the anglophone Squires, not only clings to her talking points as if her political life depends on it [which it does], but she also waxes unironically about herself, showing how giddy she is to get into the cabinet room and get an office.

Watch her spinning and weaving here:

https://www.facebook.com/cbcmanitoba/videos/10154088305714400/

The biggest punch in the throat to non-anglos, though–beyond her being responsible for sports, culture, heritage, women and the franco universe, all lumped together–is that this anglo represents the riding of Riel!

Do they have no one elected who could speak French?

Is there no Quebecois Harperite senator they could fly in and appoint to cabinet?

Or are they just content with cultivating disdain from people who would generally never vote for them anyway.

Right, the latter.

So Squires, with a distinctly English last name [but French-ish first name], is basically minister of people the government doesn’t care about.

Residents in St. Boniface are raising questions about Premier Brian Pallister’s choice to oversee francophone affairs in Manitoba — because the minister he chose does not speak French.

Rochelle Squires is a unilingual anglophone who represents the Winnipeg electoral district of Riel. She has a background in communications, journalism and fine arts and along with francophone affairs, she will oversee sport, culture and heritage as well as status of women in Pallister’s new cabinet.

Source: St. Boniface not impressed with English-speaking francophone affairs minister