Saturday, January 05, 2019

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Dennis Gruending writes about the difference between genuine populism focused on the interests of the public at large, and the discriminatory politics of the right which are often given the same label:
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a populist as someone who is “a member or adherent of a political party seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people.” That is just what Douglas and others, such as Ontario MP Agnes Macphail, were doing in the early to middling years of the 20th century. The rural community was being exploited by banks, railroads, grain buyers and farm machinery companies, with the complicity of most politicians in the old line parties.
Populists, including Douglas and Macphail, were engaged in movements to bring about economic and social reforms which were badly needed. They were also dedicated to winning those reforms through the ballot box. As democratic socialists they pushed the limits of liberal democracy while remaining committed to its structures and practices.
There remains a need today for popular movements to challenge elites – including Canada’s 100 highest paid CEOs who, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, took home salaries and benefits equal to 197 times more than the average worker in 2017. The pursuit of economic and environmental justice demands research, organization, and yes, appeals to emotion. But let’s not confuse those efforts with incitements by today’s demagogues to greed, violence and racism.
[Update: IP's Twitter response is worth a look in clarifying the academic definition of "populism" to include elements of both left and right.]

- Molly McCluskey discusses the lasting positive effects of Quebec's affordable child care program - along with the fact that there's room for improvement in ensuring that everybody has access to quality public care.

- Reuters reports on Google's offshoring of tens of billions of dollars in 2017 alone. Jeff Stein examines how much more revenue the U.S. would have to improve people's lives if it applied reasonable tax rates on extreme income and wealth, while William Horobin writes that a crackdown on tax compliance has become one of the latest achievements of France's gilets jaunes protests. And Owen Jones comments on the need for the UK's fat cats to start paying their fair share.

- Aimee Picchi reports on the thousands of U.S. drug price increases resulting from the Trump administration's willingness to let big pharma dictate the terms for access to necessary medication. And Aris Folley reports on just one tragic example of a 26-year-old diabetic who died for lack of access to insulin.

- Finally, Duane Bratt writes that while anger may be a useful tool as part of an effort to take power, it's useless as a guide to exercising it.

No comments:

Post a Comment