Noam Chomsky on Donald Trump [November 2018]
“Trump has two constituencies. One is the actual constituency: corporate power and extreme wealth. And he’s serving them magnificently… Then there’s also a voting constituency which is actually different…Them he is actually harming seriously, but he has to find a way to mobilize them and make them believe that he is actually working for them. And a large part of the rhetorical excesses that he’s criticized for are I think quite purposely undertaken.”
An investigative report revealed that Sheryl Sandberg hired Republican operative Joel Kaplan, who pushed for a
hands-off “free speech” approach on Facebook while trolls planted conspiracy
theories that rapidly spread across the platform. Sandberg also allied
with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who raked in donations from
the company while cajoling his own caucus to lay off interrogating its
Sandberg’s book, Lean In, hit the market in 2013 with Gloria Steinem’s
endorsement and a social-media campaign featuring Beyoncé. Sandberg preached practical
solutions to navigating systemic bias in the corporate world. Her basic premise was that “more
women in power” was good for all women and, by extension, the world.
As black feminist theorist bell hooks put it in a critique of Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg’s feminism is built on working within the social and economic status quo, not dismantling it as feminist movements have long demanded.
The abuse of vulnerable communities to ensure one’s own success, happily wielding the status quo’s most violent and harmful tendencies against the most vulnerable, is the signature of the corporate ruthlessness Sandberg has long sold as a form of feminist empowerment.
Another reminder that Jeremy Corbyn was the only Labour leadership candidate to vote against austerity and the Welfare Bill. 184 Blairite/Centrist/right-wing Labour MPs chose not to vote against the Tories’ cuts. These are the same people who have spent the majority of their time bemoaning the left-wing gaining power back within the Labour Party and continually undermining the twice democratically elected leader of opposition. They would rather continue Tory austerity than have a left-wing Labour government.
Austerity has always been a political choice that dehumanizes the poor and punishes them for their poverty. Until the Tory government is voted out and a transformative left-wing Labour government is elected, these policies will continue (and that is regardless of what happens with Brexit).
The UN report by Philip Alston goes on to document a series of findings which combine to
present a withering assessment of Britain’s approach to its poorest
– 14 million people – a fifth of the UK population – live in poverty
– Child poverty is predicted to rise 7% between 2015 and 2022
– Homelessness is up 60% since 2010 and an exponential growth in
the number of food banks.
– A 49% real terms reduction in funding for local governments since 2010
“The command and control approach reflected in universal
credit is that sanctions should be harsh, immediate and painful – and
yet all of the evidence that I’ve seen indicate that sanctions are
usually counter-productive, that they create fear and loathing among
claimants and they impose immense hardship.“
When asked about the kind of future the UK faces, Mr Alston said:
“Britain is heading towards an alienated society where you have pretty
dramatic differences between the upper classes and the lower classes.”
Responding to the findings, Labour’s shadow work and pensions
secretary Margaret Greenwood urged the Tory government to listen to the
people being pushed into poverty by its policies. “Universal credit is failing miserably, leaving families in debt,
rent arrears and at risk of becoming homeless. Three million children
are growing up in poverty despite living in a working household.”
“Labour will stop the roll out of universal credit, end the
benefit freeze and transform the social security system so that it
supports people instead of punishing them.”
UN’s damning verdict on poverty in Britain, released today via Philip Alston:
“British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous approach… The Tory government has created a highly combustible situation that will have dire consequences. Poverty is a political choice. Austerity could easily have spared the poor, if the political will had existed to do so.”
The Conservative government will continue these cruel policies until they are voted out at the next general election.