Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Thomas Frank writes that a progressive party can only expect to succeed if it places principles of equality and workers' interests at the core of everything it does - rather than serving mostly as the voice of a wealthy professional class:
Somewhere in a sunny corner of the country, either right now or very shortly, a group of tech tycoons or well-meaning private equity investors will meet to discuss what went wrong in this election cycle. They will consider many things: the sexism and racism of Trump voters, the fundamental foreignness of the flyover, the problems one encounters when dealing with evangelicals. They will celebrate some activist they learned about from NPR, they will enjoy some certified artisanal cuisine, they will hand out prizes to the same people that got prizes at the last event they attended, and they will go back to their comfortable rooms at the resort and sleep ever so soundly.

These people think they know what liberalism includes and what it doesn’t include. And in the latter category fall the concerns that made up the heart and soul of liberal politics a few decades ago: labor and work and exploitation and economic equality.

To dedicate your life to concerns like these today is to sign up for obscurity and frustration. It’s to enter a world without foundation grants, without appearances on MSNBC, and without much job security. Nothing about this sphere of liberal activism is fashionable or attractive. Books on its subjects go unreviewed and unread. Strikes drag on for weeks before they are noticed by the national media. Labor organizers are some of the hardest-working but least-thanked people I know. Labor reporters are just about extinct. Promises to labor unions are voided almost as soon as they leave a politician’s lips.
- Meanwhile, Tom Parkin discusses how the NDP - and Jagmeet Singh in particular - may serve as Canada's antidote to the Trump brand of politics.

- Chuck Collins, Helen Flannery and Josh Hoxie examine the toxic effects of relying on gilded giving from a small number of extremely wealthy individuals to support services, rather than being able to build a base of broader funding (whether public or charitable). And Cathy Crowe makes the case for a push toward building affordable housing.

- Daniel Leblanc reports on the CRA's long-awaited progress in cracking down on offshore tax havens.

- Kevin Metcalf discusses how the new surveillance state established by C-51 is only criminalizing and isolating youth while offering no real security benefit. And Justin Ling notes that the RCMP's response to the repeated rejection of "lawful access" legislation is to push for the same powers under a different name - with Ralph Goodale and the Libs only enabling them in the cause.

- Finally, John Doyle writes about the blatant elitism behind Kellie Leitch's drive to destroy Canada's only major media outlet which isn't ultimately answerable to corporate interests.

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