Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- John Harris discusses the appeal of Jeremy Corbyn's tendency toward genuine conversation rather than soundbites. And Gary Younge notes that the pundit class' dismissal of Corbyn has proven to say a lot more about their faulty assumptions than about the prospects of progressive politics:
The economic crash and the austerity that followed caused a tectonic shift in our political culture; what people wanted from a centre-left party changed. But the received wisdom about electability did not. Its high priests kept insisting elections are won in the centre, without any apparent understanding that the centre can move and, in times of extreme polarisation, disappear. The pragmatists turned dogmatic; the modernisers became conservative.

But the principal problem with the notion of electability is that it is promoted on the premise that what has not been tried cannot possibly succeed. It suggests the way people see the world at any given moment cannot be changed through argument and activism and instead erects borders for what is permissible discussion and polices them determinedly. Those who dream outside those borders are utopian; those who speak outside them are fools.

The trouble is that in times of crisis, like this, the cost of thinking outside those borders becomes lower for many than the price of living within them. While received wisdom comes with no receipt, it’s always the same people who pick up the tab. A candidate who has connected domestic terrorism and foreign wars and argued for the redistribution of wealth to shore up public services has been surging. This, we were told, was not possible. It’s why, for the first time in a long time, a significant number of people are excited about an election.

We don’t know if his party will win. We will find that out on Thursday. The only way to truly know if something is electable is to fight for it and vote for it.
- Meanwhile, Steve Thrasher argues that if we face any real threat to free speech, it's the violent reaction of reactionary elements against the prospect that women and people of colour could seek to exercise it. And CBC reports on how Regina Mayor Michael Fougere and two City Councillors are seeking to stifle civil disobedience. 

- Crawford Kilian makes the case to put terrorism in perspective as an extremely small factor compared to many other causes of avoidable harm. Which makes for a needed contrast against John Ivison, who seems outraged that anybody would look behind "but terrorism!" as an excuse for an expansive and unaccountable security state.

- Finally, Jordan Press reveals how the Libs' infrastructure bank plan is intended to include having the public bear the risk of projects even as private financiers take any profits.

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