Monday, April 16, 2018

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Tom Parkin discusses the Libs' identity politics - and how they endanger people's substantive interests both in what the Libs fail to do, and in the predictable reaction from right-wing populists:
For Liberals, identity politics is a distraction from economic policies that are very hard on many people. Trudeau won’t increase the federal minimum wage. He sells off public assets through his Infrastructure Bank. Ignores looming personal debts. Weakens private pension plans. Lets Sears default on their promises to workers. Cuts Canadians’ healthcare funding. Spends billions on tax cuts that give the biggest benefit to incomes over $90,000.

There’s no solution to economic insecurity and inequality — it’s just extend old policies that don’t work and pretend everything’s alright.

So it should be no surprise if Canadians — especially poor and working class people who are most affected — now reject Trudeau and, with him, the empty identity politics he uses as cover.
The hollowness of liberal identity politics has Trudeau recognizing the wrongs of colonialism, sexism and racism — then letting the people who have all the power and money keep all the power and money. That’s the hijacking of the political left.

But liberal identity politics also empowers the most enduring form of identity politics — conservative identity politics.

If we are all essentially different and stranded on our little islands of identity, then the point of the alt-right is proven: we are all just tribes in a constant state of war. So every time Trudeau says it’s our differences that make us stronger, he sets the table for the alt-right to feed at. And they gorged.
Since the last economic recession there’ve been two great games — the economic game of extend and pretend and the distraction game of identity politics. Both urgently need credible replacements.
- Meanwhile, David Gray-Donald documents how the right-wing hate machine targeted Nora Loreto for daring to mention the disparity in public reactions between tragedies. 

- Mark Rank offers a reminder that immediate investments in eliminating child poverty produce dramatic returns over time. And Cherise Seucharan writes about the need to expand public health care, rather than allowing profiteers to take it over.

- Jeffrey Sachs writes that we should be investing in sustainable, clean infrastructure, not throwing public money into fossil fuels.

- Finally, Thomas Walkom points out Donald Trump's predictable decision to favour the wealthy over everybody else through the Trans-Pacific Partnership - and how it renders futile any attempt to rely on NAFTA to protect citizens from corporate control.

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