Category Archives: Politics

Get Uppity, BC, or Get Screwed Again

I’ve written about being “uppity” many times before.

It’s a controversial word. UppityNegroLab

  1. It’s been used to insult women and people of colour who don’t know their place. Who don’t know they should keep quiet and not try to cut back on white male entitlement. Don’t ya know.
  2. The fear of being uppity creates a chill that discourages many people from trying to upset the social order.

Image result for uppityBut really, British Columbians, if you want BC to slink even deeper into the right-wing neoliberal sewer, you better get uppity, and fast. Because you didn’t in 2005, 2009 and 2013.

Complacency and apathy are awesome goals of contemptuous politicians.

If you think the current government has any interest in making BC better for anyone other than the 1% and carbon energy corporations in particular, you may be complacent or apathetic.

For instance, if you think a BC Liberal cabinet minister should be applauded for winning medals at the Paralympic Games, you may not realize that maybe you should be stunned at how hatred of the poor and disabled shouldn’t be government policy.

But there’s a cure!

It’s here. Get uppity and read this:

We Must Completely Obliterate the BC Liberal Party

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.

 

The DNC Superdelegates Can Fix Party Corruption This Week

superdelegatesIn case you missed it, Clinton and the DNC are corrupt, and have been for a long time. They and their media partners have worked hard to keep Bernie Sanders from becoming the Democratic nominee for president.

And still, he almost won in the primaries and caucuses. What could he have accomplished if the DNC wasn’t corrupt. How much earlier would he have become the presumptive nominee if the media gave him more than a tiny fraction of coverage compared to what Clinton received.

And what about those anti-democratic superdelegates, many of whom had sided with Clinton before anyone else had even started a campaign?

It turns out that the superdelegates are in a unique positions to fix the corruption of the Democratic Party by switching their choice to Sanders.

How? It’s easy. Look at the math in the graphic above, sourced just today.

Sanders already has 47 superdelegates. He needs 504 of Clinton’s 604 superdelegates to flip to him to win the nomination.

So the “how” isn’t the problem. The problem is the “why.”

These superdelegates are in that position because they’re loyal to the DNC and its cabal of operators and insiders. THEY are embedded in the corruption of the party itself, and their inherent anti-democratic status just reinforces that.

So why would they throw their political masters under the bus?

  1. Trump’s convention bump is massive. And disturbing. But it does reinforce the view that Americans are sick of corrupt, rigged, insider politics. Unfortunately, they see Trump as the one to burn down that house, as opposed to Sanders who could help rebuild America and democracy differently from how Trump would. Check out Turkey this month to see how Trump would wield power.
  2. Clinton dodged an indictment on her email server scandal, but her trustworthiness continues to suffer, especially among key demographics. The leaked emails only reinforce how she likes to cheat. And the party does too: serious credibility and legitimacy problem.
  3. Trump now polls ahead of Clinton. Sanders polled further ahead of Trump than Clinton did.
  4. If the DNC crisis inflames further this week, perhaps with more Wikileaks emails, the “party establishment” may have to call in more fire trucks to put out the fire, right up to throwing Clinton under the bus. They would do that by making the superdelegates flip to Sanders.
  5. If the Democrats are betting that people vote for Clinton to keep Trump from winning, they’re seeing that as every hour goes by, that hope is transforming into delusion. It’s no empty threat that people will vote Trump because Clinton and the DNC are so corrupt.

The party may figure this all out. If they feel the pressure enough this week, and they can see a strongly credible route to defeat by Trump, even Clinton is expendable.

Remember, political parties want power more than anything else. Even a Sanders Democratic presidency would allow the people really in charge of the DNC to control the country.

And in the end, they want it not because they can’t stand Trump. They want it because they want power, with whatever horse can get them across the finish line.

And here’s your Easter Egg: the DNC’s non-apology apology. So galling.