Connect with us

Politics

Bernie's Revolution Needs to Transform America's Political Institutions – Jacobin magazine

Published

 on


Bernie’s Revolution Needs to Transform America’s Political Institutions

If we want to make Bernie Sanders’s political revolution a reality, we can’t just propose bold policies to make people’s lives better — we have to rebuild popular confidence in the possibilities of politics itself. And we can’t rebuild that confidence without democratizing the United States’s decidedly undemocratic political institutions.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a New Year’s Eve campaign event on December 31, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Stephen Maturen / Getty

If Labour’s crushing loss in the recent British election taught us anything, it’s not that left-wing economic ideas are unpopular. The specific policy proposals in Labour’s election manifesto, as well as its overarching vision for a green industrial revolution, resonated widely among the British electorate. From nationalizations to tax increases on the rich to worker representation on corporate boards, the popularity of the policies that comprised Jeremy Corbyn’s program ranged, in the words of one preelection report, “from quite popular to ridiculously popular.”

Nonetheless, Labour suffered its worst defeat since the 1930s as the vaunted “red wall” fell before the Tory onslaught. The election was effectively a second referendum on Brexit, which unified and energized voters on the Right while splitting Labour’s base along class and geographic lines. Corbyn attempted to displace the Brexit question with his unabashedly radical manifesto, but the gambit didn’t work, and Labour was left without any clear policy on the campaign’s most important and divisive issue.

In retrospect, there was no easy answer to this problem. Two-thirds of Labour MPs were Remainers representing Leave-voting constituencies, and any clear-cut Brexit policy the leadership might have adopted would have alienated a substantial section of its electoral base. In any case, as Richard Seymour has bluntly put it, “the options were bad and we chose badly.”

Brexit was not, however, simply a matter of tactical or conjunctural importance. Nor is its relevance limited to the British political context. The fact that Labour’s fortunes were dashed on the rocks of Brexit should give US socialists working to elect Bernie Sanders pause.

Like Corbyn, Sanders raises economic policy demands that enjoy widespread popular support. Years of unremitting class war from above have made the need for a radical redistribution of wealth and income plainer than ever. The problem for us is that this same phenomenon has lowered people’s expectations and shattered their faith in the possibilities of collective action, not least because New Democrats and New Labour alike did so much to disorganize the working class and facilitate the rule of the 1 percent.

The resurgent left has no trouble offering an economic program that would substantially improve the lives of the vast majority. But in electoral oligarchies like the US and UK, a decisive swathe of the public has become fundamentally mistrustful of politics, politicians, parties, and government action in general. The drive to Brexit is one of the main symptoms of this transatlantic anti-political mood.

Socialists want to use politics and state power as a vehicle for improving people’s lives. But so many of us — particularly those who would benefit the most from a radical governing program — look askance at such a seemingly hopeless prospect. Considering the low, dishonest decades we’ve lived through, when government action has so often been reduced to politically constituted rip-offs for the wealthy and well-connected, who can blame them?

We cannot overcome this basic dilemma simply by making bigger and better appeals to material interest, as important as that is.

The US left’s problem has never been that our economic proposals are unpopular. There is a long-standing gap between public support for progressive policy measures and the actual content of government policy, which tends to reflect the wildly unrepresentative preferences of the wealthy. In order to make good on the unprecedented political opening before us, we have to restore people’s faith in the idea that politics and collective action can give genuine substance to the all-too-effective Brexit slogan “take back control.”

For all Corbyn’s radicalism, the Labour Party he led tended not to foreground a vision of radical democratic reform and popular political empowerment. The slogan “For the many, not the few” certainly gestured in this direction, and some left-wing MPs like Jon Trickett raised the banner of democratic revolution. But for the most part, the party’s electoral appeals tended to focus on ending Tory austerity and massively increasing government expenditures.

These proposals were broadly popular and sorely needed, and Labour was undoubtedly right to make them an important part of its campaign manifesto. But as Duncan Thomas observed in one of the most incisive election postmortems, the huge spending figures that garnered headlines and excited grassroots party activists simply did not seem credible to many voters on the doorsteps. The erosion Labour’s social substratum, the encompassing web of trade unions, local party branches, and associations which inculcated the notion that working-class people could in fact build a world of their own making, has also eroded popular confidence in the possibility of making radical change through collective action.

Here in the United States, we don’t even have the memory of a deeply rooted mass labor party to mourn. Our country has long been distinguished by, in the words of Engels, its “purely bourgeois culture” and corresponding lack of a mass working-class counterculture, even at the height of the US labor movement’s organizational and political strength. The last forty years of neoliberalism pulverized the limited institutional and cultural resources built up during earlier periods of working-class and popular struggle and cast people adrift on a sea of private misery. Politicians and political institutions are held in widespread contempt, and rightfully so.

Officeholders from both major parties don’t just fail to act on the needs and interests of the vast majority. They simply have no idea what people actually want in the first place.

Bernie Sanders is well aware of how deep the rot goes. His current campaign, even more so than the 2016 campaign, is doing everything it can to spark what C. Wright Mills called the sociological imagination — the connection of private troubles to public issues — in millions of Americans. This is absolutely indispensable work in a country marred by profound social disorganization and political disillusionment, the first step in creating the conditions for a new period of mass popular struggle and organization. This is why participating wholeheartedly in his campaign for as long as it lasts is the single most important immediate task for American socialists today.

Sanders has made a massive contribution to the cause of political regeneration by introducing the concept of “political revolution” to American political discourse. This is the sort of overarching, integrating theme the Corbynite project lacked and which the British right found in Brexit. It also differentiates him from Democratic Party politicians who have no problem proposing ambitious spending programs but lack Bernie’s lifelong commitment to a genuinely insurgent, anti-establishment brand of politics.

Even so, Bernie’s conception of political revolution is not without its silences and limitations. He tends to define it as big economic demands — Medicare for All, tuition-free public education, a jobs guarantee — plus increased voter turnout. This is, of course, a vast improvement on everything else that’s been on offer in the last forty years.

But the movement behind Sanders must reckon with the fact that even if a demand like Medicare for All enjoys widespread favorability, many people still don’t think that a victory on that scale can be won through the fundamentally anti-democratic institutions of the existing political system. Cynical as this may be, they are probably right, even if a President Sanders tries to use his bully pulpit to rally popular support for his policy agenda.

It therefore falls to the democratic-socialist left to develop Bernie’s call for a political revolution into a movement to radically transform the political system.

Leading figures on Britain’s Labour left seem to have taken up the challenge in the wake of Corbyn’s defeat. As Rebecca Long-Bailey, the socialist standard bearer in the party’s leadership election, put it in her rousing Tribune pitch, “people across these islands are sick of the British state’s distant and undemocratic institutions. They have no trust in politicians to deliver, and have a deep desire for political as well as economic transformation.”

She’s calling for a war on the British political establishment, a “constitutional revolution” to redistribute power downward and outward, away from the seat of government in London. This is a welcome echo of Jon Trickett’s plan for a participatory constitutional convention that would lead a reconstruction Britain’s archaic political institutions.

By contrast, Sanders tends not to highlight the challenge of state transformation. As he began to bow out of the 2016 campaign, he called on his supporters to “start running for school boards, city councils, county commissions, state legislatures and governorships” as well as seats in Congress. The Squad heeded the call, and their emergence has had a dramatic impact on the Democratic Party and the national political debate in short order.

Fortunately, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seems willing to take the idea of political revolution further, into hitherto uncharted territory. Her common-sense observation that “in any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party” set off a storm of controversy which, to her credit, she has not backed away from.

There is consistent public support for a transformation of the electoral system, but it’s largely passive. Sentiment will be turned into action only if leading political figures like AOC and Bernie put it on the agenda, and democratic socialists and our allies work to organize a movement behind it.

How might we start making “government of the people, by the people, for the people” a substantive reality and not just a line from a textbook? One possibility is the formation of a convention movement to discuss and promote measures for overhauling our country’s broken political system. It would take inspiration from the Colored Conventions Movement that swept northern black communities before the Civil War, which articulated numerous demands and promoted the establishment of new political organizations. These would be informal gatherings lacking official sanction, but over time they could potentially gain legitimacy and serve as a source of popular pressure and demands that politicians would ignore at their peril.

The Left has grown unaccustomed to addressing these kinds of political and constitutional questions. But if we want to make Bernie’s political revolution a reality, these are the kinds of questions we need to start asking and giving answers to. If we don’t, other more destructive forces won’t hesitate to offer answers of their own.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Politics

Canada’s Trudeau to unveil Cabinet amid push to fight climate change

Published

 on

 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who fell short of a majority in last month’s election, will introduce a Cabinet on Tuesday that analysts say should hone in on the fight against climate change.

Trudeau’s Liberals gained four seats to 159, but fell short of the 170 needed to pass legislation without the support of an opposition party. Minority governments normally last about two years instead of a full, four-year term.

Trudeau, 49, has promised to spend tens of billions of extra dollars over five years to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. But analysts said Ottawa should narrow its focus and make fighting climate change a clear priority.

Peter Donolo, a political strategist at Hill+Knowlton who was communications director for Liberal former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, said the campaign had “a very ambitious agenda.”

“I would simplify it … on how to position Canada as a winner in the greener global economy over the longer term, and then on how to ensure that those benefits are shared more equitably,” he said by phone.

One option Trudeau is considering is a climate portfolio that pulls together some policies normally handled by several ministries, according to one Liberal source.

The new Cabinet will be sworn in at 10:30 a.m. (1430 GMT). Trudeau says it will be composed of an equal number of men and women, a pattern he set when first taking office in 2015.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will keep her job, Trudeau said shortly after the vote, and has begun to reduce https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canada-govt-provinces-agree-covid-19-vaccine-travel-passport-officials-2021-10-21 COVID-19 support programs as the economy recovers and inflation https://www.reuters.com/business/canadas-annual-inflation-rate-hits-44-september-highest-since-2003-2021-10-20 hovers at an 18-year high.

Last month’s vote marked Trudeau’s third win as Liberal leader. Unhappiness over his decision to call an early election during the pandemic left him short https://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-election-idAFKBN2GG06L of a majority.

Trudeau’s priorities are managing COVID-19, bolstering healthcare, fighting climate change and fostering a green economy, supporting economic growth, delivering national childcare and affordable housing plans, and following through on reconciliation with indigenous Canadians, a separate source with direct knowledge of the Cabinet said.

“This is only an 18- to 24-month government, so the idea that you can address all four or five or six or seven of those issues … is preposterous,” said Ian Lee, a business professor at Ottawa’s Carleton University.

Lee said growing the green economy should be a priority and merited a U.S.-style climate czar “with gravitas and with skill, and who has sharp elbows and is not afraid.”

Liberal officials say Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand, who played a major role in obtaining COVID-19 vaccines, is set for a promotion, and Tourism Minister Melanie Joly also might get a more important role.

Anand could replace Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who has been widely assailed over what critics say has been a lackluster effort to address allegations of sexual assault in the military, two Liberal sources said.

 

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Continue Reading

Politics

Class Politics in America Is Far From Dead – Jacobin magazine

Published

 on


Class Politics in America Is Far From Dead

A venerable theory about people’s political values is making a comeback: the theory of “postmaterialism.” But despite what you may have heard, the theory doesn’t say class politics is doomed in rich countries — and neither did the scholar who created it.

If the Democrats’ very existence as a governing party depends on reversing at least some share of their losses with working-class whites, how should it go about trying? But more fundamentally — is it even possible? (Brick Broadcasting / Flickr)

In his much-talked-about New York Times profile of Democratic data scientist David Shor last month, Ezra Klein dropped a G-bomb. That’s right. Götterdämmerung.

The word — which comes to us from the composer Richard Wagner and means “cataclysm,” basically —  is an apt summary of the long-term disaster now looming for Democrats in the Senate,  a threat Shor has been warning about for some time.

Klein relayed the jaw-dropping figures: If the Democrats perform as expected in next year’s midterms and then win 51 percent of the vote in the 2024 Senate elections — not an easy feat given the list of states that happen to have Senate elections that year — the party will walk away with just forty-three of the 100 Senate seats, seven less than they have now.

The cause of the Democrats’ brutal math has to do with the geography and demography of the world’s greatest — if, by greatest, one means sixth-most-malapportioned — deliberative body. The chamber’s one-state-one-vote scheme of representation (or two votes, in this case) vastly overrepresents the inhabitants of the states with the smallest populations — populations that happen to comprise far more “noncollege whites” (in pollster patois) than the general population.

Since this is a demographic group that’s been trending away from the Democrats for decades — once at the pace of a trickle, but growing into a flood since the emergence of Donald Trump — the upper chamber is rapidly becoming hostile, if not impermeable, terrain for the Democrats.

The problem is serious: Shor is basically suggesting that, barring some impossible-to-foresee twist in history, one can reasonably question whether the Democrats will ever obtain a governing majority again.

As the implications of this predicament have dawned on Democratic-aligned commentators and political operators over the past year, it’s had the notable effect of sparking a mini-revival of the hoary “white working class” debate, which, in its modern form, might be said to date back to George W. Bush–era books like John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira’s The Emerging Democratic Majority and Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas.

The question has suddenly gained urgency: If the Democrats’ very existence as a governing party depends on reversing at least some share of their losses with working-class whites, how should it go about trying?

But more fundamentally — is it even possible?

Immaterial Politics

Enter science. In a long article last month, New York magazine’s Eric Levitz, who has made a beat out of covering the Democratic Party’s numerous dilemmas and conundrums, riffed on an academic paper titled “Morals as Luxury Goods and Political Polarization” by political scientists Mattias Polborn of Vanderbilt University and Benjamin Enke and Alex A. Wu of Harvard. A symphony of equations and model-building, with a wan kazoo’s worth of empirical evidence thrown in, the paper is meant to advance the authors’ hypothesis that, as the title suggests, “moral values are a luxury good” — that is, as their incomes rise, the “relative weight that voters place on moral rather than material considerations increases.”

This was how the authors proposed to explain the puzzle of a rising tide of rich Democrats and poor Republicans in the US electorate. Although not true to the same extent for all Americans (poor Americans are still poorer than rich Americans, after all), as a group, the authors argue, Americans have reached such a pitch of affluence that they can afford not to care any longer which party or policy would benefit them in grubby material terms. They have slipped the surly bonds of kitchen-table concerns and now float freely in that rarefied stratum of the political universe — the Greater Bannon Cluster — where politics is pure culture war.

And there’s no going back: Since per capita income, the authors’ preferred proxy for affluence, is what’s driving this trend, and since, in the long run, per capita income almost always rises, it means the era of class politics — at least in the traditional sense of those at the bottom struggling to wrest wealth and power from those at the top — lies permanently behind us, extruded from history by the workings of an iron law.

But, as Levitz notes, and as the paper’s authors acknowledge, the underlying idea here is not new. It’s an extension, or application, or revision, of one of the most venerable research traditions in the past half-century of social science: the theory of postmaterialism.

Levitz wrote:

The political scientist Ronald Inglehart put forward a similar theory of why voters had started to prioritize “postmaterialist values” decades ago. And the World Values Survey has consistently substantiated Inglehart’s theory: In any given year, rich survey respondents tend to report greater concern with values and rights than with material security, while poor respondents evince the opposite preference. Further, as average incomes have increased over time, the American population as a whole has grown more post-material in its concerns.

The “Morals As Luxury Goods” paper’s original contribution is to show that post-materialism can explain a wide variety of oddities in contemporary politics.

Levitz’s article is just one example of a noticeable uptick in invocations of postmaterialism that has accompanied the resurgence of “white working-class” political discourse. For those who want to argue for the permanent irrelevance of class politics — whether as something to regret or as something to celebrate — it can serve as a tempting crutch, a supposedly scientific basis for the claim that politics is destined to descend more and more into a permanent culture war.

There are two major problems with the use of postmaterialism as a theory of the inevitable disappearance of class politics. The first is that it gets the theory wrong. But that’s just my non-expert opinion, so it’s not nearly as important as the second problem, which is that Ronald Inglehart himself —the political scientist who originated the postmaterialism thesis — thought it gets the theory wrong, too.

Time Out of Mind

When Inglehart developed the idea in the 1970s, his starting point was the observation that, thanks to economic growth on the one hand, and the expansion of welfare states on the other, the postwar baby boom generation had spent their formative childhood and teenage years in a material environment far more comfortable and secure — that is, sheltered from primal, physical threats to life and limb, like malnutrition or intercommunal violence — than any previous generation.

If you coupled that observation with the predictions of Albert Maslow’s famous hypothesis about a “hierarchy of needs” — the idea of a universal sequence of human priorities, with “higher” needs, like self-actualization, that individuals only start to care about once the “lower,” more basic needs, like food, have been satisfied — you could be led to suppose that the postwar generation’s ideas and assumptions about politics and society would be substantially different, in predictable ways, from those of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

That’s just what Inglehart found in the survey data of the 1970s: an accumulation of evidence that younger cohorts born in the rich countries after the war were, in relative terms, less focused on issues related to mere “survival,” like the cost of living or street crime — and therefore less accepting of “survival-oriented” values like loyalty and conformity to the norms of one’s group — and more preoccupied with issues of individual autonomy and self-realization, like the rights of sexual minorities or environmentalism.

Postmaterialism was one of the great success stories of postwar US social science. Starting with his 1971 article “The Silent Revolution in Europe: Intergenerational Change in Post-Industrial Societies,” Inglehart — the quintessential academic entrepreneur — defended, refined, extended, and restated his theory in dozens of books and reports and hundreds of articles, aided by regular infusions of data from the massive World Values Survey, which he founded in 1981. By the end of his life — he died in May of this year — he was the most-cited living political scientist in the English-speaking world.

Although Inglehart regarded postmaterialism as having broad implications for a range of questions in the social sciences, citations to his work (in my impressionistic judgment) tend to focus disproportionately on just one narrow application of the theory: its use as an explanation for the unraveling of traditional class-party alignments in Europe amid the emergence of the “new social issues” and the rise of green and right-wing populist parties in the 1970s and 1980s.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that postmaterialism has at times been mistaken for a universal “theory of the death of class politics,” wherein the demise is shown to be the inevitable outcome of some law of history whose inner workings Inglehart laid bare. In reality, the theory, in itself, makes no fixed predictions one way or the other about future prospects for class politics. Inglehart himself was very explicit about this, as I’ll show in a minute.

But even without an appeal to Inglehartian authority, there are achingly obvious reasons to question the logic of such arguments. For one thing, the logic of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is that it’s a hierarchy: It predicts that people will not prioritize the higher needs unless the lower needs are taken care of — not that people will ever stop caring about the lower needs.

One could easily imagine a world in which people become more, rather than less, sensitized to threats to their economic security — the foundation all their “higher” pursuits depend upon — once they’ve tasted the emancipatory fruits of affluence. That was, more or less, the dynamic said to be at work in another golden oldie of postwar social science — the “revolution of rising expectations,” also known as the “J-curve” hypothesis, which posited that rapid economic growth and modernization in developing countries were intensifying class-based politics centered around material demands.

And then, there’s, like — actual history?

Even the most fleeting consideration of the historical record — pick any country you like, whichever time period you prefer — should leave you in a state of bafflement that anyone could think there was ever some era in the past when politics focused on material issues because the polity was too poor to indulge a taste for culture war.

I mean, where does the term “culture war” come from? It comes from the German Kulturkampf of the 1870s, the Imperial campaign of state repression against German Catholicism, a social bloc whose insistence on “traditional values” and opposition to political and social reform was seen by Prussia’s liberal middle classes as an obstacle to every kind of moral and material progress, whether concerning education, artistic and intellectual freedom, the status of women, or the freedom of conscience. (Otto von Bismarck, who launched the campaign, was not himself a liberal, of course, but he waged it in part to solidify the liberals’ support for the new German Empire and for himself personally.) The German Catholic masses, predictably, took political shelter in a confessional Catholic political party, the Zentrum.

You may be unfamiliar with the old cliché about Whigs and Tories in postreform Britain — that theirs was a clash “between Church and chapel” (i.e., Anglicans and Dissenters). But maybe you’ve heard of the Dreyfus Affair?

If none of those ring a bell, there’s literally the whole political history of the United States before the advent of the New Deal to consider. Though it hasn’t been a hot topic in academia for decades, the dominant school of thought among historians who study nineteenth-century parties and elections — basically the only school of thought, inasmuch as no one any longer challenges its main empirical claims — is called “the ethnocultural interpretation,” and when summarized (the summary below is by the labor historian Richard Oestreicher), it refutes the premise of “Morals as Luxury Goods” point by point.

Here’s what politics was like, according to a broad consensus of historians, in a country where the per capita GDP for 1880 is estimated at $7,600 in today’s dollars, less than in today’s Guatemala, Jamaica, or Vietnam:

Americans, contrary to consensus theorists, were bitterly divided about basic values and loyalties. But until the 1930s cultural issues aroused voters more consistently than economic issues or class interests. Class identities did not determine votes for most voters in most elections. . . .

Political parties, nonetheless, symbolized “irreconcilable belief systems” and resembled “political churches” mobilized around diametrically opposed reactions to the “strident Yankee moralism” of pietistic Protestants. . . . The Republican party, the political vehicle for that crusade in the late nineteenth century, could depend on the support of the overwhelming majority of northern native Protestants as well as immigrant Protestants with a similar theological orientation. Workers, farmers, and businessmen of such ethnocultural backgrounds supported the Republicans in similar proportions.

Arrayed against these cultural imperialists was a Democratic coalition of the targets of pietistic wrath: slaveholders and later most white southerners, Catholics, nonpietistic Protestant immigrants . . . drinkers, and the wider urban subcultures of plebeian sensual pleasures. . . .  Immigrant and Catholic businessmen were just as ready as their working-class neighbors to man Democratic barricades of cultural defense.

I’ve run through these examples not to score cheap debating points, but because they cut to the heart of the issue. If it turns out that history isn’t, in fact, a one-way march from the politics of scarcity to the politics of self-expression, pushed along by rising GDP — if it drifts back and forth between conflict over the material demands of the dispossessed and arguments about the symbolic and the sacred — then we’re left with no particular reason to accept the insistently proffered brief for the futility of class politics (unless we choose to commit the Journalist’s Fallacy of deducing the future from the present).

Back to the Future

And this was Inglehart’s view, too. From Silent Revolution (1977), his first book about value change, he was at pains to emphasize that, while he believed his theory could explain the ongoing scrambling of class-party alignments in Europe — and, in part, the gradual decentering of class issues that went with it — one could not draw a straight line from the 1980s indefinitely into the future, for two reasons.

First, the declining centrality of class was caused, in his theory, by the rise of a competing dimension of conflict, the materialist/postmaterialist divide. But if current trends continued, and the number of postmaterialists kept growing, eventually there would be too few materialists left to have a conflict with.

Second, while it might, arguably, be a safe bet that per capita GDP would keep rising indefinitely, the theory never held rising GDP per se to be responsible for the rising share of postmaterialists.

“Per capita income and educational levels are among the best readily available indicators of the conditions leading to the shift from materialist to postmaterialist goals,” he and Pippa Norris wrote in 2016, “but the­ theoretically crucial factor is not per capita income itself, but one’s sense of existential secu­rity — which means that the impact of economic and physical security is mediated by the given society’s social security system.”

It can’t be stressed enough that the public opinion data Inglehart analyzed in his initial works, in which he discovered the existence of a sharp and growing materialist/postmaterialist cleavage in rich countries, reflected the divergence in values between a generation that had been raised in the most cataclysmic era of modern history and a generation raised in what was, on average, probably the least threatening of all time.

But that is no longer true today. The end of rising security has, as Inglehart’s theory always predicted it would, brought the postmaterialist tide to a halt in country after country. In Inglehart’s cowritten book on the Trump-Brexit populism phenomenon, again with Pippa Norris, the authors trace out the underlying reasons for the reversal. They note that while

intergenerational population replacement is still taking place, in recent years it seems to have been offset by powerful period-effects linked with declining economic security. Millennials face greater risk of unemployment, stagnant wages, welfare cuts, and growing levels of student debt, so they are no longer growing up under dramatically more secure conditions than their elders. The declining strength of organized labor, economic liberalization, and the opening of borders to the free flow of labor, goods, trade, and services, has brought falling real income and the loss of job security to unskilled workers and the less educated populations in Western societies.

And what would a true believer in postmaterialism expect to happen under those conditions? What else, if not a return of class struggle?

In a 2016 article in Foreign Affairs, Inglehart laid out the reasons he believed the political shifts caused by postmaterialism’s ascent, which he’d been documenting uninterruptedly for virtually the whole of his long career, would go into reverse.

What had happened, he explained, was that

the success of the modern welfare state made further redistribution seem less urgent. . . . Globalization and deindustrialization undermined the strength of unions. And the information revolution helped establish a winner-take-all economy. Together these eroded the political base for redistributive policies, and as those policies fell out of favor, economic inequality rose once more.

Today, large economic gains are still being made in developed countries, but they are going primarily to those at the very top of the income distribution, whereas those lower down have seen their real incomes stagnate or even diminish. The rich, in turn, have used their privilege to shape policies that further increase the concentration of wealth, often against the wishes and interests of the middle and lower classes.

The “crucial questions for future politics in the developed world,” he reflected, were “how and when that majority develops a sense of common interest.” Would a sufficient number of “today’s dispossessed” come to “develop what Marx might have called ‘class consciousness’” and transform themselves into “a decisive political force?”

It wouldn’t happen overnight, he suspected, given how “crosscutting cultural divisions still exist and can still divert attention from common economic interests.” But Inglehart saw clear signs that cultural issues were already losing their potency — pointing to the unexpected implosion of the anti-same-sex-marriage crusade, whose comprehensive defeat no one would have predicted just a few years earlier.

Moreover, this time the fight would be “between a tiny elite and the great majority of citizens,” so that “the more current trends continue, the more pressure will build up to tackle inequality once again.”

“The signs of such a stirring are already visible,” wrote the father of postmaterialism, a few years before he died, “and in time, the practical consequences will be as well.”

This might seem sudden and unexpected; just a few years earlier, the idea of class struggle returning to the center of politics would have seemed absurd. But the story Inglehart tells is a tale as old as time.

“Postmaterialism,” he concluded, “eventually became its own gravedigger.”

Well burrowed, old mole!

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Edward Rogers saga involving Ujiri extension a reminder politics is intertwined in sports – CBC.ca

Published

 on


Despite the prolonged negotiation of Toronto Raptors vice-chairman and president Masai Ujiri’s contract, the real drama behind the scenes has reportedly come to light.

The Toronto Star exclusively reported on Monday that Edward Rogers, former chairman of Rogers Communications Inc., had “actively fought plans” to re-sign Ujiri, feeling as though he was not worth the amount offered to him.

Rogers Communications Inc. owns 37.5 per cent of the Raptors organization.

On the latest episode of CBC Sports video series Bring It In, host Morgan Campbell is joined by panellists Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin to discuss what Ujiri has meant to the Raptors, as well as taking a closer look into the deep-rooted issues that led to Rogers’ stance on Ujiri.

WATCH | Bring It In panel discusses Edward Rodgers saga involving Ujiri:

Edward Rogers attempted to force Masai Ujiri out of Toronto | Bring It In

7 hours ago

The Bring It In panel reacts to The Toronto Star’s report that MLSE executive Edward Rogers did not want Masai Ujiri to return as Raptors president. 10:41

Regarding the situation, Rogers had reportedly referred to Ujiri as being arrogant and not wanting to share his vision for the Raptors franchise. Campbell made note of Rogers’ admiration for Donald Trump and how he’s similar to that of the former U.S. President.

“All of these machinations seem Trumpian. You don’t really have a plan, someone rubs you the wrong way, or questions your authority, ‘fire him, fire him, fire him, fire her, hire a bunch of people who are going to be loyal to me whether or not they know how to do the job,'” Campbell said.

Zirin noted that although he should be aware of what his words mean, Rogers knew what he was doing when making that statement and also exhibited his own arrogance.

“When you have people born on third base and think they hit a triple, they tend to be arrogant themselves and say and do things that are not in the best interest of the franchise.

“If you’re willing to give Masai Ujiri the stiff-arm after all we’ve seen over the last couple of years, you really don’t belong in any position of authority of an NBA franchise.”

McPeak went on to highlight Ujiri’s foundational work that has helped elevate the franchise and league as a whole.

“I think the most obvious one, the elephant in the room if you will, is the 2019 championship run,” McPeak said, highlighting everything he’s done on and off the court, for and with the team.

“You think of all his philanthropy that he does off the court through Giants of Africa … people within MLSE and the Raptors organization are a lot of the people who help him on the Giants of Africa trips that he takes.”

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending