Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Andrew Jackson writes that bland centrism is no response to right-wing populism:
Right-wing populism is a complex phenomenon which varies a lot by country. But most analysts agree that it is deeply rooted in material circumstances: rising economic inequality to often obscene levels, the stagnation of middle and lower class incomes both before and after the global economic crisis, increased low wage and precarious employment, rising economic insecurity and, in much of Europe, continued very high unemployment. Many working-class voters feel, with good reason, that the system is rigged against them, and that centrist politicians have done nothing to help them weather tough economic times.
(E)mbracing discredited liberal centrist politics is the worst possible way to fight right-wing populism. Far better, argue US political voices like Robert Kuttner, Robert Frank, Jacobin magazine and the newly invigorated Democratic Socialists of America, to combat right-wing populism not just by identifying the enemy in class terms, but to identify the enemy correctly as the top 0.1% of the billionaire class who have pocketed almost all of the gains of economic expansion and wield the levers of political power in their own interests. Far better to speak to the need to rebuild a mass labour movement, including both white and racialized workers who have far more in common than what divides them. Far better to put forward a strong social democratic agenda to increase security and rebuild equality through vital public programs like health care and education, paid for from fair tax reforms, and tough labour standards.
The same broad principles apply in Canada. The populist right, which is growing in influence, similarly feeds off the growth in inequality and insecurity and the lack of an attractive and compelling vision of our collective future. 

The best antidote to right-wing populism is not centrist liberal policies which make little difference in people's lives, but a bold and self-confident social democratic party which embraces the need to seriously deal with climate change, precarious jobs and rising inequality.
- David Sessions highlights how plutocrats try to set up other groups of "elites" for abuse in order to be allowed to plunder the populace without objection. Aaron Saad comments on the campaign by the oil industry and its political puppets to dehumanize anybody who dares to point out the need to transition away from fossil fuels. And Jim Bronskill reports that the RCMP is apparently delaying the release of a report into its spying on environmental protesters by refusing to provide a response.
- Frances Bula notes that the Libs' election-year housing announcements fall far short of both their promises, and the steps needed to make a meaningful dent in the shortage of affordable homes.

- Finally, Jenna Price writes that workplaces in Australia are falling far short of accounting for the needs of employees (and primarily women) trying to fit in both work and caregiving responsibilities.

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