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We Can Work It Out - Politics & Philosophy
13 September 2020
7.51am
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CakeMaestor
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Ron Nasty said

@Dark Overlord said

To be fair, Trump isn't the sole person to blame in this scenario, as his son in-law Jared Kushner also played a big part in downplaying the virus.

However, Kushner is not the President, the Commander-in-Chief. Many of those closest to Trump have parroted his approach. Had Trump had a different approach to the virus, taking it more seriously, it seems unthinkable that those around him, especially family members, would have contradicted him by saying it wasn't that dangerous. He set the playbook.

I'm not a politician, nor an American citizen so I cannot confirm this; but I perhaps the American government practices what is known as 'collective responsibility'. This practice or mandate states that all cabinet members must support any motions or practices that are being pushed by the cabinet publically, even if they disagree with it themselves. So I don't think that those who disagree really has a choice.  

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13 September 2020
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Ron Nasty
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Thanks for explaining how much of a lockdown there was where you are, @WeepingAtlasCedars. About two seconds after I'd pressed "Submit Reply" I knew I should asked you as well as VB.

@Dark Overlord said
Interesting WeepyC it's not too different from our restrictions except that there wasn't a stay at home order and restaurants were allowed to stay open for take out (us Americans had to rely solely on the drive thru).

There was a stay at home order in Canada, DL, for instance, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told citizens on 23 March (the same day we in the UK went into total lockdown):

We've all seen the pictures online of people who seem to think they are invincible. Well, you're not.

Enough is enough. Go home and stay home ... we're going to make sure this happens, whether by educating people more on the risks or by enforcing the rules if that's needed.

Canada wanted to avoid using their "Emergency Powers Act" for the first time, which they would've needed to to make the stay at home message mandatory, but Canadians definitely got strong messages from their powers that be to stay at home.

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13 September 2020
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@CakeMaestor said

Ron Nasty said

Dark Overlord said

To be fair, Trump isn't the sole person to blame in this scenario, as his son in-law Jared Kushner also played a big part in downplaying the virus.

However, Kushner is not the President, the Commander-in-Chief. Many of those closest to Trump have parroted his approach. Had Trump had a different approach to the virus, taking it more seriously, it seems unthinkable that those around him, especially family members, would have contradicted him by saying it wasn't that dangerous. He set the playbook.

I'm not a politician, nor an American citizen so I cannot confirm this; but I perhaps the American government practices what is known as 'collective responsibility'. This practice or mandate states that all cabinet members must support any motions or practices that are being pushed by the cabinet publically, even if they disagree with it themselves. So I don't think that those who disagree really has a choice. 

Collective Responsibility is only really used in Parliamentary democracies, when the Cabinet are made up of elected politicians who have a vote in the legislature. It's primary role is to allow politicians to argue policy until it's decided, and that then they must back the Government.

In the US the President's Cabinet is not made up of serving politicians, and while the President may work with his Party to get legislation through that they want, no member of the President's team has a vote in the House, so have no say on getting it through, with the exception of the Vice-President who has a vote should Congress be deadlocked.

Many around Trump, whether Inner Circle or Cabinet members, have found themselves out in the cold and either sacked or resigning because they've disagreed with or questioned Trump's positions or policies.

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15 September 2020
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So this morning's newsfeed was fun

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15 September 2020
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Ron Nasty said
There was a stay at home order in Canada, DL, for instance, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told citizens on 23 March (the same day we in the UK went into total lockdown):

We've all seen the pictures online of people who seem to think they are invincible. Well, you're not.

Enough is enough. Go home and stay home ... we're going to make sure this happens, whether by educating people more on the risks or by enforcing the rules if that's needed.

Canada wanted to avoid using their "Emergency Powers Act" for the first time, which they would've needed to to make the stay at home message mandatory, but Canadians definitely got strong messages from their powers that be to stay at home.

Good point. However, that's an advisory, not an order, as an order would give police the authority to fine or arrest violators.

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21 September 2020
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I thought i'd move this discussion here to avoid the COVID thread from becoming too political:

@The Hole Got Fixed said
Well... The government could help its citizens and enact legislation to prevent that from happening? It would impact the economy short term but long term would really help... Not to mention being in the interest of all the American people...

I dunno, just a thought.mccartney-shrug_01_gif

I cannot comprehend why all the politicians are hung up on the economy. Just shows their values, that they'd value a few bucks over many, many people's lives. a-hard-days-night-ringo-14blue-meanie

As much as i hate to say it, most American politicians are fueled by moneyed interests. Occasionally, you'll get someone like Ron Paul or Bernie Sanders who genuinely care about the people but typically, both Republicans and Democrats are WAY more concerned about their bank accounts than the people they represent.

A great example of this is Medicare for all, which has overwhelming bipartisan opposition among American politicians despite overwhelming bipartisan support among the American people, including 88% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans. But because the politicians are the only ones with a say in the matter, we instead funnel that money into the military industrial complex, making us the only developed country in the world that doesn't give it's citizens free healthcare despite having a larger military than the next 10 countries COMBINED.

This is why America can't handle a lockdown without disastrous economic consequences for the bottom ~90%.

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21 September 2020
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If only we had nominated Bernie ahdn_george_05 there could have been hope

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23 September 2020
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On the plus side, both Andrew Yang and Nina Turner have suggested that they will challenge Biden during the 2024 primaries and since Biden's so hated by his own supporters, i can see a successful 3rd party run in 2024 by Yang or Turner if Biden (or another corporatist) becomes the Democratic nominee.

Of course, there's also the possibility of Howard Schultz running as an independent if a progressive wins the Democratic nomination, but since corporatist Democrats are mainly popular in states like Alabama and Mississippi where Republicans always win, he has no chance of winning.

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23 September 2020
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As much as I would like it, I highly doubt there will be a successful third party run for the presidency anytime soon. There quite simply isn't any other party in the US with the national infrastructure or funding to be able to pull off something like that soon, and it's not easy to build that kind of thing in only four years. In the long term, I'd like to see progressive Democrats build their own party in unity with the Democratic Socialists of America or a similar organisation, but I doubt that could happen by 2024.

In my opinion, progressives should mostly be focused on down-ballot primaries and elections so as to establish a real presence within state legislatures and Congress itself, as this seems to be where they are most effective. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I can't help but feel that concentrating so much on trying to get Bernie the nomination did the left a disservice this year - the presidency was always going to be a longshot, whereas winning congressional primaries seems to be going pretty well and if it continues will allow the left to become a voting bloc significant enough to start affecting real change. 

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23 September 2020
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I mostly agree but if you look at the 2 most successful 3rd party campaigns in American history (Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 and Ross Perot in 1992), they pretty much came out of nowhere (with the latter lacking any political experience whatsoever) and won tons of votes, with Roosevelt getting 27% and Perot getting 19%, so i wouldn't be surprised if the Green Party got 15% of the popular vote in 2024 with someone popular like Andrew Yang or AOC, especially with Trump out of the picture.

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23 September 2020
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Ok, but Teddy Roosevelt ran more than a century ago and Perot didn't even win any electoral votes... and 15% of the vote won't get someone elected, it'll just take away votes from Biden.

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24 September 2020
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At this stage it seems like Trump is going to refuse to leave office if he loses the election, but assuming he does lose and then leave office quietly, it's very much up in the air where thinks could go on the Democratic/third party side of things. Biden is pretty old and senile, so I wouldn't be surprised if he steps aside for Kamala by 2024, and then hopefully we'll have a more progressive challenger to either of them for the nomination in that year (though I wouldn't be confident about their chances).

On the Republican side I can see it going one of three ways by the time Trump's out of the picture - one of Trump's kids continues the dynasty, Tucker Carlson or someone similar runs on a more populist platform for continuity there, or it'll return to someone like Marco Rubio who is much more of a polished and presentable neocon. If the latter scenario pans out, I could see it as part of a long term Republican strategy to expand their coalition into a Latino base, as right now their wedge issue that holds their coalition together (abortion) is looking like it could be dealt with by SCOTUS and thus no longer be a viable way of uniting a winning coalition. 

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25 September 2020
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50yearslate said
Ok, but Teddy Roosevelt ran more than a century ago and Perot didn't even win any electoral votes... and 15% of the vote won't get someone elected, it'll just take away votes from Biden.  

Good point but the goal would be to both scare the living hell out of the corporatist duopoly and gain traction over time until you win.

QuarryMan said
At this stage it seems like Trump is going to refuse to leave office if he loses the election, but assuming he does lose and then leave office quietly, it's very much up in the air where thinks could go on the Democratic/third party side of things.

While i think he'll try to steal the election by limiting the number of mail-in votes counted, i don't see him refusing to leave office. If he loses, he'll probably just claim that he has better things to do and just leave peacefully.

Biden is pretty old and senile, so I wouldn't be surprised if he steps aside for Kamala by 2024, and then hopefully we'll have a more progressive challenger to either of them for the nomination in that year (though I wouldn't be confident about their chances).

While it's certainly possible, i don't think it'll happen since presidents rarely choose not to seek re-election and even if it does, the DNC has a long history of making sure neoliberal corporatists get the nomination, so Kamala will likely narrowly win.

On the Republican side I can see it going one of three ways by the time Trump's out of the picture - one of Trump's kids continues the dynasty, Tucker Carlson or someone similar runs on a more populist platform for continuity there, or it'll return to someone like Marco Rubio who is much more of a polished and presentable neocon. If the latter scenario pans out, I could see it as part of a long term Republican strategy to expand their coalition into a Latino base, as right now their wedge issue that holds their coalition together (abortion) is looking like it could be dealt with by SCOTUS and thus no longer be a viable way of uniting a winning coalition.

I really hope it's the 3rd one since the left would be much more willing to vote Green if it was Kasich or Romney vs Biden vs AOC than if it were Trump Jr. or Carlson vs Biden vs AOC due to establishment Republicans being very similar to establishment Democrats.

As for your last point, i don't see the Supreme Court overturning Roe V. Wade since neither Reagan nor Bush was able to in their 8 years in office and even if they do, it would leave the decision to the states so the Republicans would still be able to unite on a federal abortion ban.

However, it would be really nice if the issue of abortion stopped becoming a key issue for both parties since there's a lot of pro-choice Republicans and pro-life Democrats who are completely ostracized from their party due to their disagreement on this one issue.

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26 September 2020
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I don't know the full history of SCOTUS during the Reagan and Bush years, but all it would take would be a relevant case on abortion to make it to the court for them to be able to rule that a state totally banning abortion is constitutional. Once that happens, it'll just be a matter of individual Republican states pushing for it, I expect.

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26 September 2020
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The closest we got was Planned Parenthood V. Casey in 1992 when we had 8 Republicans and Byron White, a pro-life Democrat, in the courts.

However, even this wasn't enough to overturn Roe V. Wade, although it modified it so states are only required to allow abortions until fetal viability.

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22 October 2020
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What are your thoughts on neoliberalism:

Before i dive in, i'm going to give a brief definition in spoilers, as it's very difficult to find an accurate definition online:

Neoliberalism (AKA Corporatism or Neoconservatism) is a right-leaning ideology rooted in liberalism with an emphasis on economic freedom and maximizing one's profits. However, neoliberals differ from classical liberals in their support for taxation and curtailing social freedoms, so long as it's financially beneficial.

Prominent examples include Hillary Clinton, Howard Schultz, and Ben Shapiro.

Personally, i don't like neoliberalism for a variety of reasons:

1. It's used by our corporate duopoly to create the false illusion of choice where there is none:

Despite both major parties in the US supporting this ideology, the duopoly has successfully convinced most Americans that the Republicans and Democrats are polar opposites by differing greatly on 4 key issues (abortion, LGBT+ rights, gun control, and taxation), as well as some minor cultural issues.

However, on the issues that matter like foreign policy and healthcare, they almost always agree and are typically against the will of the people because they financially benefit from things like endless wars and overpriced medical bills.

Of course, it's worth pointing out that Republicans tend to be more neoliberal than Democrats since the latter prefer higher taxes and more social programs. However, this is slight, as Republicans aren't entirely against these programs and Democrats are well known for working across the aisle and compromising.

2. It gave us Trump:

If it weren't for all of the people dissatisfied with the neoliberalism we had under Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama, as well as all of the disenfranchised Bernie Bros. that went to Trump because the DNC wanted Hillary (a textbook neoliberal), we wouldn't have a former reality TV star running our country.

3. It's built around maximizing profit rather than actually caring about people:

I can't think of any ideology more selfish than neoliberalism. Even fascists (as awful as they are) care about their people but to neoliberals, you're worthless unless they can financially benefit from your existence.

4. Identity politics:

While classical liberals despise identity politics, neoliberals love it because it distracts people while they do horrible things.

For example, the Democrats recently went after the left for not wanting corporate lobbyists in the Biden administration, arguing that it's "racist" because not all corporate lobbyists are white. However, the left wants to ban all lobbyists (regardless of race) because lobbyists are almost always hardcore neoliberals who seek to implement right-wing policies that will financially benefit them while the people suffer.

5. Hypocrisy:

Neoliberalism's goal of maximizing profits also has the negative side effect of regular hypocrisy. For example, Ben Shapiro constantly claims to be pro-free speech but supports the Patriot act and even wrote an article in 2006 asking for the US government to prosecute those who are critical of our military.

6. It's tarnished the good name of liberalism:

Before neoliberalism became the status quo, a liberal was someone who wanted to maximize both social and economic freedoms, as well as a limited government solely to protect those freedoms. However, liberal now means someone who's motivated by their bank account rather than the will of the people.

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I think personally if I could snap my fingers and make everyone in the world instantly understand just one concept, it would be that of neoliberalism. In my opinion, it's the most crucial piece of the puzzle if you want to understand the history of the last fifty years. 

I would posit a different definition, however. Based on my understanding, neoliberalism is a style of economics based around the belief that the free market is the best way to run the economy. In practice, it represents a push towards a specific set of policies, including but not limited to deregulation, austerity, privatisation, globalisation and financialisation, with the overall goals of reducing the role of government in the economy and letting the market work unrestricted. 

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24 October 2020
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In regards to the question about our thoughts on neoliberalism, I'm not a big fan at all (*glances at the rose in my sig*) for most if not all the reasons that @Dark Overlord stated in his post.

Dark Overlord said
1. It's used by our corporate duopoly to create the false illusion of choice where there is none:

 

Despite both major parties in the US supporting this ideology, the duopoly has successfully convinced most Americans that the Republicans and Democrats are polar opposites by differing greatly on 4 key issues (abortion, LGBT+ rights, gun control, and taxation), as well as some minor cultural issues.

 

However, on the issues that matter like foreign policy and healthcare, they almost always agree and are typically against the will of the people because they financially benefit from things like endless wars and overpriced medical bills.

Agree. One of my most favorite memes is the one where it's someone asking for more workers' rights and free healthcare, and the Repubs responding just with "No" and the Dems responding with "No <3 #BLM #GirlBoss #Pride"

 

3. It's built around maximizing profit rather than actually caring about people:

 

I can't think of any ideology more selfish than neoliberalism. Even fascists (as awful as they are) care about their people but to neoliberals, you're worthless unless they can financially benefit from your existence.

Yep. The whole "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality that comes with neoliberalism is entirely toxic, especially for those who don't have the privilege of being able to do so. You here these "inspirational" stories of Americans getting out of decrepit socioeconomic conditions just with "hard work" and "motivation", but these are cherry-picked just for the defense of neoliberalism-- "you don't like being homeless and starving? Can't find a job/can't work because of a disability? Can't afford the skyrocketing prices of privatized healthcare? Just work harder! Stop being lazy!" It's these ideas that really make me fume.

 

 

4. Identity politics:

 

While classical liberals despise identity politics, neoliberals love it because it distracts people while they do horrible things.

Yep-- its all a performance for them. Neoliberal feminism especially gets on my nerves.

QuarryMan said

I would posit a different definition, however. Based on my understanding, neoliberalism is a style of economics based around the belief that the free market is the best way to run the economy. In practice, it represents a push towards a specific set of policies, including but not limited to deregulation, austerity, privatisation, globalisation and financialisation, with the overall goals of reducing the role of government in the economy and letting the market work unrestricted.

While I do think this definition is mostly accurate, I would argue that some of the elements included more define anarcho-capitalism more than neoliberalism-- which isn't the biggest fallacy, since ancap ideology is rooted deeply in the basic principles of neoliberalism, but with emphasis on a limited or nonexistent state that is run completely on free market standards and self-ownership.

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24 October 2020
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QuarryMan said
I think personally if I could snap my fingers and make everyone in the world instantly understand just one concept, it would be that of neoliberalism. In my opinion, it's the most crucial piece of the puzzle if you want to understand the history of the last fifty years.

I would posit a different definition, however. Based on my understanding, neoliberalism is a style of economics based around the belief that the free market is the best way to run the economy. In practice, it represents a push towards a specific set of policies, including but not limited to deregulation, austerity, privatisation, globalisation and financialisation, with the overall goals of reducing the role of government in the economy and letting the market work unrestricted.

Looking back, that's probably a better definition than mine.

What's confusing about defining neoliberalism is that they're liberal (AKA libertarian) on regulation but not necessarily on taxation, so a lot of the definitions online that describe it as liberalism with an emphasis on economic freedom are misleading because neoliberalism actually split the economic portion of the political compass in two.

lovelyritametermaid said

3. It's built around maximizing profit rather than actually caring about people:

I can't think of any ideology more selfish than neoliberalism. Even fascists (as awful as they are) care about their people but to neoliberals, you're worthless unless they can financially benefit from your existence.

Yep. The whole "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality that comes with neoliberalism is entirely toxic, especially for those who don't have the privilege of being able to do so. You here these "inspirational" stories of Americans getting out of decrepit socioeconomic conditions just with "hard work" and "motivation", but these are cherry-picked just for the defense of neoliberalism-- "you don't like being homeless and starving? Can't find a job/can't work because of a disability? Can't afford the skyrocketing prices of privatized healthcare? Just work harder! Stop being lazy!" It's these ideas that really make me fume.

Couldn't agree more, they'll gladly show off that 1 person who went from being homeless to a CEO like as if it's the norm but ignore the millions of people struggling to afford rent or the millions that can't afford their medical bills (with some losing their house or even going to prison over it).

4. Identity politics:

While classical liberals despise identity politics, neoliberals love it because it distracts people while they do horrible things.

Yep-- its all a performance for them. Neoliberal feminism especially gets on my nerves.

Definitely, pop feminism pushes all real women's issues aside and instead focuses on nonsense like complaining about cartoon characters not wearing enough clothing and even on the rare occasion where they talk about a real issue, they use so much hyperbole that the issue no longer seems genuine.

For example, women make less on average over men because they're often discouraged from entering higher paying fields. If you explain the wage gap like this, it seems like a pretty reasonable point and it's much easier to convince people that the wage gap exists.

However, pop feminists like to claim that women get paid less FOR THE SAME WORK, which discourages people from believing that there's a wage gap because this rarely (if ever) happens and has been illegal since 1963 so even if it were true, there's nothing that can be done about it.

In fact, neoliberal identity politics are a great recruitment tool for the alt-right, as having women and minorities complain about trivial nonsense makes them look bad and also discourages many on the right from caring about genuine examples of bigotry because they spent too much time crying wolf.

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lovelyritametermaid said 

While I do think this definition is mostly accurate, I would argue that some of the elements included more define anarcho-capitalism more than neoliberalism-- which isn't the biggest fallacy, since ancap ideology is rooted deeply in the basic principles of neoliberalism, but with emphasis on a limited or nonexistent state that is run completely on free market standards and self-ownership.

  

Anarcho-capitalism (or even right libertarianism, to be honest) isn't really a real ideology, though, it's mostly just a meme that 15 year olds get into when they first discover politics. The actual policy record of neoliberalism is essentially the promotion of these economic principles wherever possible, both internally within the western nations propagating them (e.g. Thatcher, Reagan, Clinton, Blair, Macron and so on) and second world/third world nations in a neo-colonial exploitative relationship, often enforced by anti-democratic measures or even violence. If anarcho-capitalism was a serious school of thought beyond the internet and Ayn Rand novels, then the difference between the two would be that neoliberals are smart enough to realise that they need a strong (and often authoritarian) state in order to prevent popular revolt against their policies.

The results are visible all around us - at least here in the UK a lot of the places where the Brexit vote was strongest and where the likes of Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage have their most support are often post-industrial towns. Forty years ago, these places had reliable employment through industries like manufacturing or mining and a real community spirit through the presence of strong trade unions, but that's all gone now, thanks to the brutal policies of Thatcher and her successors who let all those jobs go to China and other places where they can be done more cheaply, leaving many of these parts of the UK in a state of what her government called 'managed decline'. Nowadays they are wastelands with high unemployment, little to no investment and little of the community solidarity they used to have, and that's exactly why the ideology of the far right can become so popular there. Essentially, while the brutal reality of neoliberal capitalism creates a tremendous amount of wealth for some, for those lower down the ladder it creates the material conditions for hatred and intolerance to thrive. 

That's not to say that racism hasn't always been prevalent in the UK, given our colonial past. In 1968, the Conservative politician Enoch Powell delivered his infamous 'Rivers of Blood' speech in which he argued that by allowing immigration from the Commonwealth, the UK was in the process of building its own funeral pyre and that a race war was inevitable. This speech made Enoch Powell extremely controversial, and he was henceforth blocked from any positions in Ted Heath's Cabinet, but it also made him one of the most popular politicians in the country. However, the difference between the Keynesian postwar consensus years and the neoliberal years of British history in this regard is that prior to Thatcher's dismantling of trade union power, the political energy of the working classes was concentrated in economic struggle to ensure better pay and working conditions, whereas after this point, with no real way to fight for economic justice available to them, that same energy is now being concentrated in large part on reactionary political projects based on racial division. 

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lovelyritametermaid

¡No pasarán!

 

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