Naomi Klein V Trump 3

Politics is riven across the globe just like between Klein and Trump which makes things jolly-dee for the elite. Therefore, The Economist must make good reading when it writes that America is divided. It suggests a political gridlock and economic inequality. A huge disturbance for the ‘left’ is the New York Times report that 53% of white female voters put their mark for Trump and, 30% of Hispanics did likewise. There doesn’t seem to be a clear road ahead.

www.economist.com/news/21723797-the-future-of-america

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/22/us/after-success-of-womens-march-a-question-remains-whats-next.html?

Any unifying organisation has the problem from the contentious question of how many suitcases each individual organisation should bring with them. Therefore, the argument that ‘Indigenous peoples rights are sacrosanct’ (242) and individual movements must be ‘protected’ (243) and ‘identity politics’ (91) must be supported and ‘reparations for slavery’ (125) is a weakness. Ms Klein commits the crime of playing to the gallery.

“… to have hope of changing the world, we’re going to have to be willing to change ourselves.” (261)

If the movement for change is to take us to a better society for all, then we must – start as one- not as a host each with baggage; because somewhere down the line factions will peel off. They still might!

The Big Q. Do I stand for all or do I stand for me?

The driving force must be equality of opportunity; from there we work out what is needed to make it a reality: better welfare system, free education, medical care and nursery places for all etc.

Ha-Joon Chang, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism – Thing 20 (210-220)

We cannot right the wrongs of the past no matter how heinous. The best that can be offered is to come along and help decide. That’s democracy! There are some on the ‘left’ that want the frog-march as the compulsory dance. I prefer, slow, slow, quick, quick slow waltz. It’s more fun.

Thanks…
for my world

Unfortunately, there will be no ‘leap’ on climate change, though it is necessary. In an article for the UN April 2016, How to Finance Global Reflation, Andrew Sheng wrote, “An estimated $6 trillion in infrastructure investment will be needed annually over the next 15 years just to address global warming.”

James Rickards, The Road to Ruin (87)

Ms Klein has looked at this question of finance and come up with some figures (247). However, the guardian newspaper suggests that subsidies for the fossil fuel industry were around $5.3 trillion in 2015. The problem is how to get that money used for renewables? We can’t just slice it off, though that would be nice. It would have to be weaned off as thousands of jobs are tied up with the money. The argument for a waltz is really powerful.

www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/01/

Nonetheless, some problems are more pressing and require immediate attention. “We are, it bears repeating, out of time.” (235) But ‘superhuman speed’ might not be possible. (69-70)Paul Mason Postcapitalism (250) using the IEA data that suggests we must cut CO2 emissions by 50% by the year 2050 and that is only possible if we arrest it by 2020. A very tall order! The game is afoot. Mason (262) makes this point:

“So we need to inject into the environment and social justice movements things that have for twenty-five years seemed the sole property of the right: willpower, confidence and design.”

People around the world are already aware of climate issues but there needs to be a concerted effort, a ‘superhuman’ push to bring coordination to a campaign. It’s called marketing; the wherewithal is out there it just needs wakening. There is no shortage of evidence:

Europe –

  • UK – London pollution levels breached for 79 days 2016 even though it has a charge £.
  • France – Paris is to introduce stickers for cars based on the age of the vehicle at €3.50 each
  • Germany – Stuttgart worse pollution in the country. Citizen groups taking the state to court. City to introduce ‘fine dust’ days.

America – A mountain of evidence! www.uk.reuters.com  June 2017 reports thousands of extra deaths annually. A study by Harvard School of Public Health states, “…this is not just a health issue, but a social equality issue as well.” Study by Qian Di et al. Other sites include cbsnews.com/news and Health.com and many more.

Drivers are prosecuted while the real criminals go free. The injustice of it all!

The material is available it comes down to focus, presentation and access. What is needed is a sponsor: an organisation, a newspaper, a charity or all three. Reaching out to the wealth of talent that is out there and a multitude of possible approaches can be taken.

 

Banksy

I’m always amazed looking out of the train window at the effort and sheer class of some of the graffiti. It needs to be harnessed. Likewise, the creative expertise of video makers utilizing their skills to get a positive message across. Add the array of other talent within social media working on a campaign. Of course there will be trolls and hackers out to mess it up. Some probably paid by the big boys to do exactly that.

Is it possible? Willpower! One possible script would be a competition of graffiti artists to submit their design by photograph having done their art on a 6 x 4 canvass. Not Trump Tower! The designs would be collated by the sponsor and the artists themselves would choose the winner. It would take a few months to complete but that’s exactly what is needed. It could generate a great deal of interest. A similar exercise can be employed for video makers. It’s about releasing the creative juices.

  1. Slogan writers; who knows what talent is out there. People might get involved just for the hell of it. Creating some weird and wonderful crap but they’re participating and having fun doing it.
  2. Pollution masks with the tag – end fossil fuel subsidies. People can make their own, groups, organisations etc. use an old scarf; put it on a pinny (apron). Have a fun time on social media. Have a facemask day, mask party, mask rally, fashion show, international day. It’s a policy of keeping the momentum. It’s about generating wider public awareness.
  3. Have a talent show of the worse and best song about pollution. Viewed online!
  4. Produce a cartoon or comic strip of 5 plates.
  5. Its E-Mail Day every 3 months send an email to your politician: end fossil fuel subsidies – make it happen or GO.

To local rags /national rags – Government are paying hitmen to bump us off –                   end fossil fuel subsidies.

The winners of graffiti, video caption, and slogan, can have their entry made into an email postcard that can be downloaded and sent to…..

  1. Recycling, already up and running but still a good avenue to increase awareness. ALL packaging must be recyclable!!!

Release the juices, let the vats flow! Be ambitious, be confident and release the creative powers of the people.

Generate the scale of numbers, and politicians will cause a rush on toilet paper! Let the ‘powers that be’ try to spoil the party.

 

The Jink Gang

CHARGE! And they roar as they stampede towards the enemy. Suddenly they come to a halt at the moat, hurdle their abuse, stomp their rage, and make threats they cannot impose. Just then someone shouts – another fight! and off they run. Charge!

Meanwhile, the residents of the castle carry on; as do the folks on the bailey, little changed. In the distance if you strain your hearing there’s a faint echo of: charge! The stumbling, fumbling ‘Jink Gang’ push on.

Gradually some will tire as other commitments surface and the mantle is passed to the blood of youth. Others will stay for they wish to retain the notion of youth and have no ambition to accept responsibility. Love, marriage, home and kids take centre stage. Having a job and keeping it becomes a major priority.

HORROR! There is no remorse as they meld into the society they abhor to become castle dwellers or ambitious folk from the bailey. Gone is their naked rage to be replaced by a conscious awareness that needs change. It is not their war anymore. And the carousel continues to turn.

Such is the existence of the liberal left. With no clear plan, and little understanding of how to attack the castle stronghold or gain the support of the bailey folk, they tread on. Busily, they chase after every concept of injustice believing that they, are the acorns of change.

Taking sides is part of the ‘must plan’, embracing any group perceived to be downtrodden. Thus they have pigeon-holed minorities as the only true sufferers, all others are fakers. Unfortunately, there is no big picture for that would spoil the view and it takes time to draw such a picture. And haste is of the essence.

Fighting fascism is a pivotal rule of the ‘must plan’ but questioning the fascist tendencies of communism is so blasé. If you cannot abide by the rules don’t apply to join.

After the dinner party at the theatre the entourage, behind the canvas throw, demand a uniformity of approach to all injustice they identify. There are rules for a purpose: listen, learn, and adopt the new language, let us speak in neutral terms in all conversation.

Accept the new thinking, it would be boorish not to. Pay heed to the wisdom of our leadership and the world will achieve a new harmony where all will be at peace.  We shall build from the bottom up so that all benefit. Just follow our lead. You know we are right.

You cram these words into mine ears against

The stomach of my sense.” Alonso. The Tempest (11.i.)

Out of context but sharp and to the point on sentiment.

Excuse me Sir/Madam/ Neutral person, what about capitalism?

*Don’t trivialise our movement with unanswerable questions!

In our world the individual is supreme; their needs are paramount. We show our humanity by such actions.

Excuse me Sir/Madam/ Neutral person, which individuals?

*You are a peevish little sod!

Excuse me Sir/Madam/ Neutral person, where do I fit in? I’m a poor working class person and suffer from ego-depletion1 (42) which means I’m more likely just to give up. You see, most who live in poverty suffer from these symptoms and when you live in my world misfortune walks with you every day.

You may not know but I have a high U-index which means I spend a lot of time in an unpleasant state of mind. (393)Another thing Mr Kahneman2, points out when studying the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (396-397) is that:

“The objective of policy should be to reduce human suffering. We aim for a lower U-index in society. Dealing with depression and extreme poverty should be a priority.”

I may be wrong but Mr Kahneman’s view seems to be very broad and means everybody in those circumstances. And do you know what – everybody includes me!

1 & 2 Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow               Penguin Books

Excuse me Sir/Madam/Neutral person, can I ask a few questions?

  1. What makes you think your way is better than any other?
  2. How do you differ in approach from fascists?
  3. Will we still be living under the capitalist system?
  4. How do you plan to control the underbelly of sex and money?
  5. If you believe in a better world with decent welfare for all; why do you have a tax avoidance business arrangement?

*Nosy little shit!

 

Klein V Trump 2

It’s time to reflect.

Naomi Klein berates Trump for using the rage and despair of the people to get elected (27). The same can be said for almost any politician. If there is a flow in opinion they start to paddle in that direction to try to keep abreast of the current. Most politicians speak with a forked-tongue.

For decades the elite aided by their bovver boys have done whatever they deemed necessary to make a profit. This led to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1999, which freed the money men to make honey in a desert. Thank you to the democrats!

The ‘left’ have either been acquiescent or asleep. Some were to be found hopping-mad at Davos screaming themselves hoarse. Anarchists wore their masks, not the superhero variety, to fight the class war. The poor, they struggled on trying to make ends meet.

A massive cash bonanza for the big boys was globalization. A nice big can of gloss was used to paint a picture of relieving poverty worldwide by taking jobs to the poorer regions. Yes, the number of recorded poor did drop but that was conditional on what a living wage was deemed to be: $1 or $2 a day. Workers in the west could not compete against cheap or slave labour.

Factories closed, tens of thousands were thrown out of work. Some districts began to look like ramshackle places and hope went whistling with the wind (27). However, the big boys made a killing. Globalization was neatly summed up by John J. Sweeney labour leader of the AFL-CIO 1955-2009:

“In the ‘Nike Economy’ there are no standards, no borders and no rules. Clearly, the global economy isn’t working for the workers in China and Indonesia and Burma anymore than it is for the workers here in the United States.”

www.azquotes.com/author/14360-John_J_Sweeney

The ‘left’? They were absorbed in their new quest; identity politics. The ‘left’/liberal’s had no reasoned argument to overcome the horrors of capitalism and so sought to stamp on the toes of the elite. Multiculturalism and Political Correctness were unleashed with some fanatical adherents rattling on every door locked or ajar. (91)

Note the words of Trevor Phillips, former head of the Commission for Racial Equality writing in the Daily Mail newspaper. (16/08/17)

My comrades on the Left flaunt their moral superiority. But many of them are the most racist and sexist of all.

 

Unfortunately, there was little consideration given to the bulk of the population in particular the poor. There are a horde of issues out there that directly affect millions of poor folks. To many people the sweeping changes of the liberal/left took on the role of a drill sergeant: Attention! About Turn! Forward – March! It proved a very divisive policy. Those who would not be regimented were castigated as bigots, Neanderthals and trash etc. The louder they were screamed at the more entrenched they became. Surprise!!!

‘Audite et alteram partem’.

Listen even to the other side

Cited by Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: the User’s Guide (458)

The poor were facing a barrage of economic woe: globalization, wage freezes, benefit cuts, the full bucket of austerity. On top of that they faced a tsunami of political dogma. Add to the mix their main source of information, the cheap tabloid press and you start to see where confusion nests.

Between a rock and a hard place ordinary Joe starts to shimmy towards the ones who seem to understand and who make good promises. It’s the WIIFM! What’s in it for me?

Throughout the world we have witnessed the movement of ordinary Joe, fed up to the back teeth with the establishment and hearing nothing but abuse from the liberal/left. America, France, the UK and in South America people are searching for direction.

Yes, people can regress at times of crisis (192) but what helps them get back some dignity is understanding and assistance. And yes, encouragement can be taken from ‘- explosions of utopian imagination’ (217) of the 60s and 70s, but.

The radicals of Chicago and Paris 1968 are silent now. The peaceniks and the make-love-not-war army of self-indulgence have all gone to the care home. Well, that’s how it seems. The huge movement in the UK, CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) failed. There are a whole tranche of organisations and committed folks willing to help but there is no unity of purpose. Initially (228)!

Let’s be clear, you cannot build a better society without the majority of the population in support. Crucially there has to be an acknowledgement of the significance of the WIIFM for ordinary Joe no matter his/her race. Anything that creates a barrier lessens the opportunity to advance change.

Trump surfed the waves like a seasoned pro (119) but what was the alternative? The Democratic Party snuffed that out! So it’s not about, “…being willing to engage in a battle of ideas-.” It is about proposing new alternatives, being open (243) and willing to discuss what makes some so angry. Perhaps you start from the basis that they are lost in a no-mans-land.

It was not the “…wealth-worshipping world view that created the backlash in the first place.” We have always had bling since the earliest of times. It was that most people were not engaged in political life. Many simply viewed it as distasteful. We need to reconnect!! Dogma is still dogma if you are being forced to accept it.

Therefore it is about the ‘injustice of it all’. (119) It’s about fairness and how it is perceived. My perception might be overshadowed by my politics.

Johnathan Wolff, Political Philosophy (85) in discussing Rousseau’s polity:

“…without rough equality of wealth, factions will form. This would not only cloud the judgement of the voters but perhaps create an obstacle to the existence of a general will; a policy equally in the interests of all voters.”                             

The Great EU Swindle

I witnessed first hand what I can only describe as a naked class war that targeted the weak and scandalously favoured the ruling class. Yanis Varoufakis

Trust is a dead word! The EU political elite have sapped the hopes and aspirations of millions of ordinary people throughout Europe. Nearly a decade of austerity has cheated them out of €billions to save the French and German banks.

In a stampede to maximise their profit the European banks lead the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ into the cesspit of derivatives. They wanted their cut, to cash in in the quick buck world of finance. They stood to make €millions but, there is always a but, the 2008 financial crash squeezed their balls till they screamed.

Thoughtless in their pursuit of dosh (€/£/$) and fearing they might lose out and look like idiots to the rest of the financial mob, they galloped headlong into the fray. BOOM! BOOM! Their bonuses blowing in the wind they trundled back to beg governments to bail them out. Governments did at phenomenal cost and then passed the bill to the ordinary people. Austerity!

“I witnessed first-hand what I can only describe as a naked class war that targeted the weak and scandalously favoured the ruling class.”1

The Double Whammy

The people were bludgeoned twice. This was a heartless mugging; the subprime mortgage crisis left millions without homes, struggling to survive and then came a decade of austerity. Such is irony. Joseph Stiglitz shoots with both barrels when he states, “…U.S. subprime crisis meant exploiting the poorest and least-educated among us.”2

As the 2008 crisis hit the governments of the EU passed power over to the troika: the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). All decisions about bailing-out fell to them. The crisis appeared to suggest the collapse of the EU.

Angela Merkel berated the Americans for causing the debacle but soon had to eat her words as she handed over an initial €406 billion to German banks. She hadn’t realised they were burst too. Moreover, the German banks had previously loaned $477 billion to the weaker states of the EU.  Later, Merkel would hand over another huge amount.

The banks of France, Germany, Netherlands and UK had a $30 trillion exposure, which meant that if the slightest thing went wrong they would collapse. A massive bailout was needed and quick.3 The troika with their gang of technocrats were called to action.

The Sting

Five countries needed transfusions: Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Greece. In 2010 Greece received a €110bn loan from the troika. “As soon as the bailout loans gushed into the Greek finance ministry, ‘Operation Offload’ began: the process of immediately siphoning the money back to the French and German banks.”4

Of the money given over some 66% came from the EU taxpayer and 33% from taxpayers throughout the world. Thus the banks were salvaged at the expense of the people. Greece was left to cope. During the period 2010 – 2012 Greek government spending dropped by 15%. More bailouts required.5

A second then a third bailout was needed in 2012 and 2015. The Greeks got the blame for mishandling their finances as the people of Europe made snide remarks about the Greeks, not realising that it was Merkel and gang passing it on to the banks.

Little Cyprus suffered too at the hands of the troika. In 2013 Cyprus got a 10bn bailout but the strings attached were severe, the Popular Bank (Laiki Bank) was forced to close. Like other countries within the block Cyprus had to accept austerity. Wikipedia March 2013

Outside of the corridors of power the deal was condemned.

  1. Paul Mason, then a reporter for BBC Newsnight queried,

    “What is Germany doing? It triggered the Cyprus crisis and is playing hardball,…”

  2. Economist Richard D. Wolff described it as “blackmail”.
  3. Dr Jeffery Stacy believed “…it hurt Cyprus and Europe”.
  4. The economist magazine described the deal as, “…short-sighted and self-defeating.”

They were small, they were weak, they were used as a lesson plan to the rest; don’t step out of line! Democracy be damned – and it was! The BBC put the blame firmly in Merkel’s corner. While the Guardian newspaper warned that Cyprus would suffer.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18586532

www.theguardian.com/money/blog/2012/may/18/euro-crisis-cyprus-next

The bailout of Cyprus, “… raised profound questions about the democratic nature of EU decision-making.”

www.Ise.ac.uk/

The people had no say, democracy was ignored, the needs of the elite were met. Meanwhile the poor had to take the medicine without exhibiting any symptoms.

Anyone who reads Yanis Varoufakis book Adults in the Room and still believes in the EU need to see someone!!! But don’t take the word of Varoufakis. The German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble makes it as plain as daylight when speaking to Varoufakis:

“In the Eurogroup you are probably the one who understands that the eurozone is unsustainable. The eurozone is constructed wrongly.”6

The ‘powers’ may argue that they done what they did to save Europe for democracy. It was merely a temporary suspension and, strong arm tactics were necessary to achieve restitution. BUT!

  1. The cost was one-sided. Ordinary Joe paid in full.
  2. Banks were saved without consequential costs.
  3. Banks continue to make huge profits and top employees to make awesome bonuses.
  4. The ‘powers’ never explained their actions
  5. The ‘powers’ succeeded in smashing the concept of fairness.
  6. And succeeded in destroying trust.
  7. Political leaders could not think of an alternative plan.
  8. The elite went scot free!!!

Democracy was cast aside; kicked in the balls and dismissed as a troublesome kid. There can be no clearer evidence that the people were used as pawns to benefit the elite.

“It is unfair to accept benefits but refuse to pay.” The bankers did!!! Johnathan Wolff  7

  1. Yanis Varoufakis, Adults in the Room (481)
  2. Joseph Stiglitz, The price of Inequality (xlv11)
  3. Y V (38)
  4. YV (27)
  5. YV (19 + 499 note)
  6. YV (407)
  7. J. Wolff, Political Philosophy Third Edition (59)

 

 

Drawbridge Brothers (2) Diversity

Banksy

Diversity ‘the great leap forward’ engineered by the Liberal elite was set to lead the whole population in a new and dynamic direction. But, they didn’t bother or merely forgot to invite the rest of us on their planned run. Now we have to be corralled. Little wonder therefore that there’s been a backlash.

Being intimidated to follow a diktat rubs most people up the wrong way. Especially so, when they have to consider every utterance they make for fear that someone will report them to the politically correct (PC) Stasi.

However, it’s more than just being PC:

  1. University of Edinburgh – “Diversity aims to recognize, respect and value people’s differences to contribute and realize their full potential by promoting an inclusive culture…”
  2. University of Oregon – “It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences”. E.g. race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs etc.

http://www.ed.ac.uk/equality-diversity/about/equality-diversity

http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~asuomca/diversityinit/definition.html

It would seem that the advocates of diversity do not fully comprehend their own philosophy as they find it difficult to talk of opponents without the use of abuse (racists, bigots and Neanderthals). In doing so they fail to:

  • Build an inclusive culture
  • Recognize individual differences.
  • Others political and religious beliefs.

A question arises as to, which ‘individual difference’ takes preference, e.g. if a Christian landlord refuses to have a homosexual guest; which has precedence? If a religious body cannot accept homosexuality as an ‘individual difference’, which has precedence?  If women in a certain section of society are downtrodden, which has precedence?

We fast move along to a political hierarchy! So, are we recognizing that the other ‘differences’ are more important than religious belief? In that case should we not have a prescribed list in order of importance? But wait, if we have a list of preference are we not moving away from an ‘inclusive culture’?

  1. So is religious tolerance in or out? Or must it conform to the ideological script to be allowed on board?

Let’s leave it to the courts and sneak further from democracy.

  1. Is it justified to put right yesterday’s wrongs by over indulgence of the present generation of minorities?
  • Justification?……….. Leave a reply!
  • What of equality before the law? Has it been kicked into the long grass temporarily or permanently?

Political belief is a hot potato and many on the right-wing do not like the concept of diversity and so, should be – disenfranchised – allow only Labour and Liberal and, maybe a smattering of Conservatives – but only if they denounce Thatcherism! That darn woman!

In America the concept is wrapped up in the political agenda of Affirmative Action (AA) which has been in force for over 50 years. Again the term ‘inclusive’ strikes a hypocritical chord with many because they feel excluded. Since the 1940s the U.S. government has issued executive orders to ensure that sub-contractors are employing workers on an equal opportunity basis. This has led to cries of ‘reverse discrimination’.

Others, such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggests it creates a “cult of victimization” because it implies that black people need a leg up. It has also met with political opposition with the states of: California, Washington, Michigan, and Nebraska refusing to implement AA.

A study by Thomas Espenshade and Chang Y. Chung (2005) found a bias against white and Asian students trying to enrol in ‘highly selective private research universities’. A further study carried out by T. Espenshade (2009) found a similar bias in college intake, with Asians at the bottom of the pile.

Such has been the build-up of resentment that a survey in 2007 found that 52% of whites thought that AA should be abolished. Of course this could be as a result of better right-wing propaganda or worryingly, a strong feeling of being left out. The latter is certainly the case among Asians as in 2015 a coalition of 60+ Asian-American groups filed legal battles to gain equal opportunities. Up to the present law cases are pending.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action_in_the_United_States#Arguments_against_affirmative_action

It is true to say that AA has helped a lot of people and was perhaps, the best option at the time. This is the attitude of Noam Chomsky, but he also recognizes that, “… you find plenty of things to criticize”.

Noam Chomsky, How The World Works (pp211-212)

Some may argue that only the negative view has been expressed. However, if the intention of diversity is ‘inclusive’ then surely we must examine the voices of discord to ascertain where things are going wrong.

In the UK in recent times we have witnessed the Labour and Liberal parties institute an all-female panel for the election of prospective Members of Parliament (MP’s).

  • Is this justified?
  • Is it legal under equal opportunity?
  • Is it patronizing?
  • Will it cause any resentment?
  • Will the candidate have the respect of her fellows?
  • How will having more females in parliament make it more democratic or work better?
  • Is it all a cynical ploy to garner the female vote?

I suspect that many of the issues concerning women have more to do with the economic demands of the capitalist system than the backwardness of male MP’s. I could of course be wrong! It may be a combination of both.

The introduction of diversity was an attempt to dictate the thinking, acts and actions of the people. Which other regimes tried to dictate the thinking, acts and actions of their population? I’m thinking Germany and Russia, China etc.

It is a tough ask to change people’s thinking, acts and actions especially if it must be done now. There is nothing wrong with the concept, if we walk together. It’s just the terrible hash made of its introduction. It can only be considered thoughtless in the extreme. The Liberal elite and the political class have learned nothing from business that has long been aware that the top-down approach has serious drawbacks.

The political class have set back any hope of achieving diversity by their lack of vision and their childish rush. It may take two maybe three generations for it to take a hold on the psyche. Of course there’s always the possibility that it was a purposeful screw up!

A blanket approach to diversity as has been adopted is a severe weakness; pampering to every group and the individualist outlook is much too general. Individualism can only exist as long as the great majority are tolerant.

Moreover, a set agenda is a blind spot. Though it does lead to a piece of clarity from Karl Popper, “Who plans the planners”? Because, “…our actions in any case are likely to have unintended consequences”. Does this strike a chord??

Bryan Magee, Popper (p100)

Diversity was born of intolerance of others bias and grew in intolerance. Such was the zeal of improving the lot of many; it produced an army of zealots. That’s the nature of political emotion. The army of zealots and the patronizing attitude of the politicians played a major role in the advent of populism. Reap…..

The Drawbridge Brothers

There are an enormous number of hurdles and barriers that prevent the people of the globe from acting as a homogeneous tribe. We are a long way away from achieving such a goal – even if we consciously recognised it as a goal. Three mammoths stand in our way; I have called them the Drawbridge Brothers: Nationalism, Diversity and Religion. We have allowed them to dictate our existence.

·         There will be a separate post for each ‘brother’.

They are not in any order of importance because they each serve as a shackle. The three brothers are linked by diversity but can stand independently. They are a huge mental block on our ability to think but ironically they shelter us from the harsh decision making that is necessary if we are to progress as a society. The basic question is how the world population can move forward to become humankind? In my humble opinion all three must be banished into the dustbin of history.

The hatred out there is tangible and is found in every country. Without relying on glib answers we need to think and reflect on why and on how we can find a solution as to why there is this latest intensity of hatred. Those whose life is determined by glib will automatically point to the Drawbridge Brothers as the answer and in the same action blame those who do not agree with them as the main cause of the division between people.

Of course we can point to poverty as a cause of division which is right. We can point to the super rich, particularly the nouveau riche, who rub the noses of the poor in it. We can point to:

·         Large scale immigration.

·         Lack of jobs.

·         The galling disrespect showered on the general populace by the establishment which treats them as ne’er-do-wells for questioning such ideological diktats as diversity.

·         We can point because that’s what we do when we don’t have an answer.

You can point, I can point, and we can ride point to point and, then dance the paso doble. Alternatively, we can start to question and keep questioning until we find answers based on reason. Maybe Socrates should be compulsory in schools.

Unfortunately, the establishment have an agenda which they are committed to and for many their political careers and wealth depends on raising their hand at appropriate times. They do have the support of the left-wing middle classes – the, I’m alright jack mob – an alternative jibe to the Peter Seller’s movie.

This grouping feels somewhat obliged to help the poor; know what I mean darling. They will adopt any ruse to make themselves appear caring and cosmopolitan in outlook. What’s informally known as the ‘luvvie mob’. Without thought they bandy their latest credentials as an armband of, so-in-crowd, and think nothing of any hangover from consequence.

It’s the lack of thought, of reflection that keeps the well-meaning shackled to their visions. If they believe it and those around them believe it too, well, it must be right, mustn’t! They do not understand that having a set political agenda is a blind spot.

Walk into a church on a Sunday morning whilst the congregation is dutifully listening to the preacher. Then step aside and let the beggar behind you walk down the aisle and note the number who; clasp their noses, move visibly away from the aisle and, the number who look to the preacher to take control of the situation. The distaste will be palpable. Let those who are without sin cast the first stone.

Watch as the vaunted raise their flag; listen to their vehemence as their voice catches the cords of their anthem. The beast inside roars and beats his chest and the feeling of euphoria banishes rational thought. We cannot converse with these persons; they have been inhabited by a different personality. However, talk is what we must do and talk and talk if necessary.

Meanwhile, in the wilderness the howls of reason are deadened by the sound of the sleeping multitude.  Emotion rides past and gives a two-finger gesture to intellect, rational and reflection.

Marchers Against Trump

Of course it is early days but can the movement set up to oppose Donald Trump, the new President of the United States be successful. Or is it all much ado about nothing? The turnout for the marches was very impressive. The question is whether it can be maintained. According to the NY times there was a four (4) hour meeting directly afterward in New York by the organisers to think of ways to keep and build on the momentum. The danger is that it will frizzle out like so many other spontaneous movements.

An article in the NY Times by Farah Stockman makes disturbing reading as it points out that the issue of race was raised almost immediately by black activists.  A comment by one such activist from Brooklyn wrote on the Facebook page encouraging participation, “…white allies. Listen more and talk less.”

On reading the above quote a wedding planner, Jennifer Willis from South Carolina was put off attending the rally. She had planned to do so with her daughters but felt that the message did not make her feel welcome.

While we may understand to a degree the activist’s attitude as black people are on the bottom rung in American society. Nonetheless, her belligerence put Jennifer Willis off. This was not an isolated incident as Stockman pointed out that the issue of race “erupted every day, exhilarating some and alienating others”. Tension was also visible in Tennessee and Louisiana.

Another damning point raised by Stockman was that Trump campaigned against ‘political correctness’ and won with half of white female voters supporting him. I’m sure that Trump had more than one issue on which he campaigned. However, the article highlights the divisions in American society which make it almost impossible to build a cohesive movement against his brand of politics.

A further divisive illustration comes from the Portland NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). The body refused to become a part of, “…a white – women kumbaya march”. The main grievance was that the organising committee was not diverse enough and no speaker was arranged on the question of race. www.wweek.com/2017/01/11

Nonetheless, the march did go ahead and 100,000 turned out in the pouring rain to show their opinion. It is unclear whether the NAACP found a solution and participated.

Division was also evident in the choice of partner organisations. It appears that pro-life groups were not welcomed as found by the New Wave Feminists whose stance includes: anti-abortion, anti-war and against the death penalty. The complaint of the group was that they had been accepted onto the rooster but later ‘kicked off’, as were similar groups; ‘Students for Life of America’ and ‘And Then There Were None’. They joined the march anyway. www.catholichearld.co.uk

One group Planned Parenthood, who had carried out 324,000 abortions (2014 Annual Report), was accepted as a partner organisation. Therefore from the outset a political agenda was formed. Thus it is no longer a women’s movement but a political one. It may appear as a decisive step but if it leads to alienation then it is non inclusive. This is a sizable weakness. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_Parenthood

The problem surrounding the abortion debate is the entrenchment on both sides. They are the ‘Bubble People’ they see only their point of view ergo there is no room for a cosy chat over a mug of coffee to find common ground.

The NY times also reported that minority women feared that any success for the movement would only benefit the white working class. While this would not be true it is illustrative of the hurdles that must be gone over.

The article in the Times also mentioned that, “Now a wide range of groups”, are trying to keep the movement going. At first glance such a coming together can appear as a sign of strength; rather, it’s a weakness. It is a weakness that can unravel the movement at any given time. Each group may come to a meeting not to find a common objective but to promote their own agenda.

Individual groups may argue that their programme for change is one that promotes all women. One could condemn any such group as wearing blinkers or of being politically naïve. Any bid to promote a singular issue is wrong on several levels:

  • I have highlighted two contentious standpoints that of race and pro-life. Both of these areas have multiple bodies claiming to represent the whole and within their field there will be factions that want a more confrontational approach, while others will abhor any hint of violence.
  • A place at the top table and how it will be manufactured can be a very divisive block. The question of representation can be critical as noted above. Will it be by quota, e.g. said amount of black people – Asian – Hispanics – Latino – white? What of partner organisations, will their size determine their quota or seat at the top table? How will this reflect on the political stance of the movement? Many questions, there resolution will be critical.
  • Any attempt to list their priorities can also be fraught with problems. A danger rests in trying to accommodate all the partner organisations and thus the demands become too numerous to gain political traction. Some groups may feel that their particular issue has not been given sufficient prominence.
  • In future demonstrations will the organisers insist on ‘passive resistance’ (Mahatma Ghandi & Martin Luther King) or allow each group to form their own policy. Another problem is keeping anarchists and others from trying to usurp the demos. Therefore who will police any future protests?
  • It will be assumed that the organisation will be democratic; the problem will come in unrolling equal participation. How will they prevent any one group becoming dominant? Therefore causing others to walk away.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/22/us/after-success-of-womens-march-a-question-remains-whats-next.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-2&action=click&contentCollection=U.S.&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/09/us/womens-march-on-washington-opens-contentious-dialogues-about-race.html?_r=1

 

There are so many hurdles, so many pitfalls that it will be incredibly difficult to maintain a united stance. Some inspiration may be found in the Shriver Report of 2014 written by Sonia Pressman Fuentes of NOW (National Organisation for Women). The report highlights eighteen (18) issues that women should fight to implement.

www.shriverreport.org/top-18-issues-challenging-women-today

  1. Poverty: I was surprised to read that in 2014 some 70million women and their children live in poverty in the U.S. That America has the largest number of homeless women and children of any industrialised country. Who could not lift their banner of protest against such a picture of despair?
  2. Wages: It is a universal truth that women are disproportionately found in low-paying jobs. But according to Harvard economist Claudia Goldin if employers showed more flexibility on hours and location the pay gap could be greatly reduced. This would help women everywhere.
  3. Violence: I was staggered by the numbers -270,000 rapes or sexual assaults annually in USA. That 1 in 3 females murdered is killed by a partner. Of course this is a world issue so perhaps the ‘movement’ in the U.S. could link up with Ni Una Menos (Not One Less) who have held large demonstrations in Argentina in a struggle against a culture of machismo. The fight in Argentina has been followed by groups in Uruguay and Chile.
  4. Abortion Rights
  5. Maternal Mortality Rates
  6. Sick pay and parental leave
  7. Pregnant Workers Fairness Act – needs to be enforced.
  8. Affordable Child Care: This like some others is a world problem. Johnathan Cohn cited in the report, states, “The lack of quality, affordable day care is arguably the most significant barrier to full equality for women in the workplace.”
  9. Women in prison and their horrid treatment.
  10. Human Trafficking: where nightmares are 24/7.
  11. Female representation in many aspects of society. A world problem.
  12. Discrimination in academia.
  13. Under representation in the Justice system.
  14. Under representation in large companies.
  15. Under representation and unequal pay in entertainment industry.
  16. Keeping women in high tech jobs.
  17. Lack of health insurance, affects 30m women and girls in U.S.
  18. CEDAW Treaty – an international bill of rights for women. USA only major country that has not ratified it.

They are all good causes though some are U.S. specific. I have chosen five (5) issues which I believe are uncontentious but significantly are world issues that could help galvanize women everywhere.

Poverty: Nobody can deny that poverty affects millions all over the world and if women didn’t cope our global society would fall apart. By embracing the cause of poverty and, the numbers in America are significant, a message of hope is sent wherever the internet reaches.

Wages: An issue that women in the Western World can readily agree with. It is in the West that the cudgel can be thrown down. If women in the West are not to be trifled with a message of hope flies around the world faster than a jet.

Violence: Where in the world have women not been acquainted with violence? The fight back in South America can only be uplifting for women everywhere. The culture of machismo is world-wide. Men are conditioned towards violence and especially when they feel inadequate. It needs a massive input into education.

Child care: Governments keep talking about getting more women into the workplace but do little to encourage or enforce businesses to cater for those with children. The quote by Johnathan Cohn above tells us just how big an issue it is.

Human Trafficking: The powerlessness of these women and children surely has a resonance with all women to some extent. A global business generating some $32 billion annually: what price misery. What cost men’s libido? It’s a tsunami of barbarity, women and children used worse than pigs in a pen. There is no bright star in their sky. Unless….

Equality of Burden

By accepting the premise that all women, no matter their status, are treated as second class citizens in some aspect of their life then you have equality of burden. There is no race, no religious or class issues; these are barriers to unity. If women can see beyond their present status and they can on many issues, then they can organise/vote for change as a singular body.

America has pole position in the chase for change. However, much will depend on their ability to overcome their biases. It’s a huge problem as bias can debilitate any organisation. As noted earlier tensions arose immediately concerning race, while some minority groups feared that it may become a programme for the white working class.

However, any change in working conditions would by necessity of law include all who work in that environment. What has emerged is just how divided American society is and how perceptions can be skewed. It is a massive task for the women’s movement but a unique opportunity to transform society.

A further testing case for the organisers of the women’s movement will be their attitude to the 53% of white females who voted but voted for Trump. (NY times & Newsweek) Two points can be raised immediately e.g. will they be welcomed to participate in subsequent action or simply dismissed as beyond exorcizing.

Unfortunately, some will dismiss them as right-wing fascists and want nothing to do with them. Others will recognise that if you nick them they will bleed. Surely there are issues on which the vast majority of women can agree? It would be a failure of magnitude not to invite the Trump supporters to participate. The opposition would correctly admonish the women’s campaign as not representative of all women.

Not to welcome, not to embrace the white women who voted Trump would be akin to railroading yourself into a cul-de-sac. It must also be remembered that around 30% of Hispanics voted Trump. If women are to make a credible difference, a long lasting difference, then they need the overwhelming majority on their ticket. This necessitates that some, perhaps more than some, will have to burst their bubble and walk out into the sun to welcome the warmth that camaraderie brings.

And thus it has to be noted that abortion is an extremely contentious issue and organisers must be cognizant of the millions of Catholic women and other religious groups that cannot accept abortion on demand. It is in recognising differences that we gain strength. As a fillip to the abortionist lobby I would recommend, the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.”

We Will Vote IF…

That is why non-contentious issues are vital. One such is violence. State the case by issuing an ultimatum: we will vote if your party will sanction stiffer penalties for violence against women and a fully paid programme in schools to educate about such violence.  If not fully implemented we will vote against you or abstain in the mid-term elections. Therefore you pick the battles you want to fight.

We will vote, IF… the government puts forward a programme to smash poverty by introducing legislation to build homeless shelters in every state. Produce a remit to subsidize specific charities to provide food and clothing to the most needy. No child should go hungry in America! No child should go without an equal chance in America! The same applies for the whole of the western world. A minimum wage can be a crucial element.

The issue of a minimum wage can be a winner as evidence shows it already has support from both Democrat and Republican women. At present the minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25. A proposition in 2014 to increase it to $10.10 over a two year period was defeated in the Senate by the Republicans.

However, the Republican states of: Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota all elected to increase their minimum wage.  This is a clear illustration that certain issues can bridge the gulf between the classes and race to gain cross political support. The measure would have affected 16.5 m workers and lifted 900,000 out of the poverty trap. A study of Claudia Goldin’s research might reveal a second route forward.

Furthermore, to have someone’s living standard dependant on the size of a tip is monstrous. It means that tipping becomes an expectation and a must, and, is thus an unfair burden on both the waiter and the diner. Surely the amount of a tip should be based on the quality of the meal and the standard of service and not as an obligation to help the worker survive.

It’s unbelievable that the worker gets around $2.13 an hour and has to make the rest up by tips. Does the owner of the establishment then take a cut if the tips go beyond the national minimum wage? The owner must be sitting in the back of the premises counting up his profit. Scrooge lives!

Further up the ladder would require legislative change to enforce employers to act accordingly with severe penalties if they do not. Example: Any employer found to be breaking the law should be made to pay full compensation to the employee- X – by the number of year’s service and face a fine of the equivalent of one year’s income for each employee affected, plus the cost of bringing the action.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimum_wage_in_the_United_States

child care

A simple must!

Child care is the one issue that affects every family though some much more than others. I was drawn to a TV news programme the 51% on France24.com. 31/01/17 The programme which focusses on women’s issues worldwide highlighted a growing dilemma for nations in Europe. Apparently women are having fewer children and a growing number are having none. This can be construed as a matter of choice but it has long term consequences.

The obvious downside is fewer young people which equates with less taxes = less to pay for pensions + less workers = less people available in care industry etc. The main solution was to greatly increase provision of affordable child care allowing more women to have a career and a family. It gives considerable credence to the view expressed by Johnathan Cohn cited earlier.

Discrimination against pregnant workers and new mothers is an ongoing problem. It should be a matter of law, an obligation of society, taken for granted that such provision is given. After all, were would we be without pregnant women? Again it requires government to get tough but it will only do so with your vote or threat of abstention.

Child care generally is patchy, haphazard and chaotic in places but its importance cannot be underestimated, “High quality early childhood programs are viewed by many educators as a critical way to help overcome the learning deficit many low-income kids face when they start kindergarten – an obstacle many never overcome”.

While 1.6 million families use federal subsidies the facilities and teaching are not always up to scratch. Overall there is $5 billion spent on subsidies but few reports on inspection or on background checks of the workers. www.cbsnews.com/news/review-finds-lax-child-care-rules-across-us

This investigation took place in 2013 and since then Obama has instituted a programme, Preschool for All with an estimated cost of $75bn over ten years, paid for by a tax increase on cigarettes. At the time over one (1) million were not receiving any preschool. The take up figures for those living below the poverty line was less than 50%. U.S. is one of the worse industrialised countries for preschool education and especially if your poor.

Moreover, Obama’s scheme has come under serious criticism from an educational specialist, Grover J. Whitehurst who argues that a study in Tennessee has more of, “…a positive effect on children’s social/emotional development”. He argues that Obama’s plan is lacklustre at best. Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K Program (TN – VPK) is aimed at 4 year olds from low-income families.

https://thinkprogress.org/update-obama-budget-includes-75-billion-to-fund-preschool-for-all-initiative-83a77a17d8d8#.pe1z6ghdx

https://www.brookings.edu/research/new-evidence-raises-doubts-on-obamas-preschool-for-all/

Exploitation

There is a road so dark that only evil walks there, it’s the route of the people traffickers. It has to be the most despicable of all trades and this should be reflected in the punishment. A minimum of 30yrs in prison and all assets seized. Every nation should have special units that cooperate worldwide.

Any politician found to be involved must immediately stand down and all their assets seized even if it leaves their family without a home. Tough, but then they are the perpetrators of unimaginable misery.

This is a long term proposal over a ten (10) year period but action must be seen to be taken. It is also a critical issue because it mainly affects women and girls. If you can’t send out that message of hope – then go home.

The NOW organisation was founded in 1966 by 49 members of whom two were male. Only nine of the stalwarts are still active but seem to have their finger on the pulse.

Moreover, the folks at NOW might have a lot more to contribute to today’s organisers. What has inspired them to keep going all these years? What have they learned and what can they impart. There must be many stories about achievements and disappointments. There will also be lots of contacts; not forgetting the stored ability of those still standing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Organization_for_Women

http://now.org/

 

If the road was clear, with no traffic, then the women’s movement could march straight ahead gaining momentum as they pass each village and town. (Ghandi’s Salt March) Unfortunately, there are many actors who are cocksure of their direction and are adamant that their voice should rise above all others. They are a hindrance because they cannot hear the others sing. They are the soloist who feels superior to the choir.

It is these soloists that will hold back and eventually break a movement that holds a mountain of promise. They must be told to leave their baggage at the door. If they cannot burst their own bubble it must be broken for them.

There is abundant evidence that at grassroots there is massive support to push forward women’s issues. It is the collective noun that is the vital ingredient to the mix. There is an overwhelming wealth of talent out there, it would be a catastrophic failure to restrict it or allow it to fritter away. There is also solid evidence that a victory can be won by promoting a National Minimum Wage.

This is a win – win issue that can galvanize the whole movement and give heart to those on both sides of the track that all can contribute. It can be a significant stepping stone. Be careful Donald, there’s an army on your doorstep!

Vote or Abstain:  the power lies with you!