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China warns foreign Olympic athletes against speaking out on politics at Winter Games – The Washington Post



A member of China’s Olympics organizing committee warned that foreign athletes may face punishment for speech that violates Chinese law at the 2022 Winter Games, spotlighting concerns about the country’s restrictions on political expression.

“Any expression that is in line with the Olympic spirit I’m sure will be protected,” Yang Shu, deputy director general of international relations for the Beijing Organizing Committee, said in a news conference Tuesday. “Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against the Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment.”

In broad strokes, China’s stance falls in line with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) established rule against political protest at the Games. The IOC also announced before last year’s Summer Games in Tokyo that athletes who staged protests there would be punished, ignoring U.S. calls to allow respectful protest for human rights issues.

But China’s formulation of its rule appeared to be a shade stricter than the IOC’s, raising questions about how Beijing plans to interpret and enforce it. Rule 50 of the IOC charter forbids “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” at Olympic venues. Yang said Tuesday that “speech” could be subject to punishment and cited Chinese law, which is far more restrictive than many countries’.

Beijing’s warning came amid discussion in the West over expected political restrictions and surveillance at the Games, which will take place next month. Speakers at a seminar hosted by Human Rights Watch on Tuesday said they were advising athletes against criticizing China’s human rights record while in Beijing for their own safety, according to Reuters.

In China, critics of the government have routinely been sentenced to prison for staging political protests, or for comments they made on social media. While it’s unlikely Beijing would risk international ire to severely punish an athlete at the Olympics for speech, Yang declined to answer on Tuesday what the maximum punishment could be for political demonstration at the Games.

China’s human rights record has come under heavy scrutiny ahead of the Olympics, with the United States and several other countries announcing a diplomatic boycott of the event as a statement against China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.”

Athletes’ freedom of speech in China has also become a flash point, after Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai made explosive allegations against China’s former vice premier Zhang Gaoli in November, saying he coerced her into sex. Peng disappeared from public view, prompting international expressions of concern for her safety.

The Canadian cybersecurity research group Citizen Lab reported Tuesday that the health-tracking smartphone app that Olympics attendees are required to download has security flaws that made users’ personal data vulnerable. The app’s code included a list of political keywords and a feature that allows users to report “politically sensitive” content, Citizen Lab’s report said.

A representative of the Beijing Organizing Committee said at Tuesday’s news conference they were not aware of the political keyword list and would look into the matter. The official said they were working to patch any security vulnerabilities in the app.

China’s Foreign Ministry also fielded questions on Tuesday about reports that the United States and other countries have advised athletes to take “burner phones” to Beijing to avoid surveillance. Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian dismissed the concerns, saying those countries “who are guilty of the charge themselves are accusing the innocent party without any evidence.”

Beijing announced on Monday it was canceling public ticket sales to the Games, as the city recorded its first case of the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus. Jing Quan, an official at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said at Tuesday’s news conference that only a few direct flights will remain between the United States and China next week, with others canceled because of coronavirus cases among passengers.

Yang said “dedicated departments” will evaluate punishment for athletes who violate the IOC political protest ban.

“I think for the athletes to participate in the Olympic Games, they should follow the spirit and requirements provided by the Olympic Charter,” he said. “The politicization of sports is one of the things opposed by the Olympic Charter.”

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Politics Briefing: Western premiers to press Ottawa for more sustainable health care funding – The Globe and Mail




Western premiers decided at their meeting in Regina on Friday to press Ottawa for more sustainable health care funding, with British Columbia’s John Horgan expressing hope that momentum from the gathering will help make that happen.

The issue will be on the table this July when the 13 provincial and territorial premiers in the Council of the Federation meet in Victoria. Premiers have said Ottawa should increase its contribution to the Canada Health Transfer at a level that would amount to about $28-billion more this year.

“We’ll see what the council comes up with in July,” Mr. Horgan said in an interview Friday. “But the message coming out of Regina is really clear, and is consistent with where we’ve been for a long, long time: Ottawa, you need to get to a table. We need to sit down and work these things out.”

Friday’s annual meeting was convened for representatives from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier this year that discussion on the issue should wait until the pandemic is over.

Mr. Horgan, the chair of the Council of the Federation, said at the conclusion of the Friday meeting that he is “optimistic,” noting he has met with federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Domenic LeBlanc and Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

“We’re making progress, but it’s just not fast enough to meet the emerging crises we’re finding in virtually every element of our delivery and in every part of the country,” said Mr. Horgan.

“We need to address these issues and now we’re being clear we need to address them now, not next year, not the year after that.”

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said additional federal health care funding would ensure that existing services are sustainable into the future.

“I think, in fairness, the federal government agrees on the priorities. What we need to do now and sit down and agree on what the funding level is to ensure these are sustainable into the future,” he told a news conference earlier Friday.

Parliamentary Reporter Kristy Kirkup looked here into the issue of the premiers intensifying their campaign for an increase to the Canada Health Transfer.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


NO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR MASS MURDERERS: SUPREME COURT – The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously struck down the punishment of life without parole for mass murderers, retroactive to the time it was enacted in 2011 – giving a large number of sentenced killers hope of release some day. Story here..

DION TO BE NEW AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE – Former federal foreign affairs minister Stéphane Dion is to be Canada’s new ambassador to France, according to a report here in La Presse. Mr. Dion, also a former federal Liberal leader, has been Canada’s ambassador to Germany since 2017. The ambassador’s post in France has been vacant for about a year.

NEW FIREARMS LEGISLATION TO BE INTRODUCED MONDAY: LAMETTI – Justice Minister David Lametti is telling CTV that his cabinet colleague Marco Mendicino, the public safety minister, will table new firearms legislation on Monday. The plan is to see the new bill unveiled shortly after MPs return to the Commons on May 30 to kick off their last four-week stretch of sitting before adjourning for the summer. Story here from CTV.

TUMULTUOUS SPRING SETTING ENDS IN ALBERTA – Alberta’s legislature has wrapped up a tumultuous spring sitting highlighted by a balanced budget and overshadowed by Premier Jason Kenney announcing his long goodbye. Story here.

TORONTO AIRPORT CEO ASKS FOR FEDERAL ACTION ON MOVING PEOPLE – Deborah Flint, the CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, is calling on the government to streamline the movement of people through the terminals by such measures as dropping some of the checks for COVID-19, and using biometrics to identify and expedite check-ins for trusted travellers. Story here.

TARGETED GOODS RELEASED – The only shipment of goods impounded by Canadian authorities since Ottawa banned imports made with forced labour in 2020 was later released after the importer successfully challenged the seizure. Story here.

LUXURY TAX TO HAVE $600-MILLION IMPACT: PBO – Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux says the federal government’s planned luxury tax will reduce sales of autos, boats and planes by more than $600-million a year. Story here.

ONTARIO ELECTION – Kelly Cryderman reports here on Ontario’s Doug Ford, a polarizing politician who has positioned himself as a steady leader and a friend of the working class. Meanwhile, in the ONTARIO ELECTION TODAY: Party leaders on the campaign trail are focusing on the Greater Toronto Area, and Hamilton region. And, in a bit of Ontario election history: TVO’s Jamie Bradburn here looks at how a “petulant and nasty” half-hour shouting match debate between Progressive Conservative leader Bill Davis and Ontario Liberal leader Robert Nixon changed the 1975 election. “


CAMPAIGN TRAIL – Scott Aitchison is in Toronto. Roman Baber is campaigning in the Vancouver region over the weekend, with a Saturday meet and greet in Vancouver and a second event in Coquitlam. Jean Charest is campaigning in Montreal. Leslyn Lewis, on Friday, is in Woodstock, Ontario. On Saturday, Ms. Lewis is going on to campaign in St. Catherines. And Mr. Poilievre is campaigning Friday in Woodstock, New Brunswick and then holding an event in Edmunston at the Grey Rock Casino at the Maliseet First Nation. There’s no word on the whereabouts of Patrick Brown.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS – The House is adjourned until Monday, May. 30.

APPOINTMENTS TO NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a series of appointments and changes at the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency. Matthew Cassar and Foluke Laosebikan have been named members for five-year terms. Meanwhile, Craig Forcese becomes Vice-Chair for the remainder of his current term ending in 2024, and John Davies has been reappointed executive director. Details here.

TEACHING ASSIGNMENT FOR FORMER PRIVY COUNCIL CLERK – Ian Shugart, the former clerk of the Privy Council and secretary to cabinet, is to take on a new role as an educator, teaching in the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy’s Master of Global Affairs & Master of Public Policy programs. He begins his assignment, in a part-time capacity, in September 2022. Details here.


Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast features Dr. Kisha Supernant , one of the people at the forefront of the effort to look for unmarked graves at former residential schools. She’s a Métis archaeologist and chair of Unmarked Graves Working Group with the Canadian Archaeological Association. She explains how she does this work, what happens after potential graves are found, and what needs to happen next. The Decibel is here.


The Prime Minister has a “Personal” day in Nova Scotia according to the itinerary provided by his office.


No schedules released for party leaders.


The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how Ottawa wants to search your phone at the border, but its proposed rules are unreasonably suspicious: “Reasonable general concern” is the Trudeau government’s proposed threshold for allowing a border guard to access the contents of your cellphone, laptop or other digital device, any time you enter the country. It’s in a bill, S-7, that the government has weirdly introduced in the Senate rather than the Commons, provoking the first of many questions about this legislation. The proposal has also raised eyebrows for the fact that the legal standard it applies appears to have been created out of thin air. Unlike “reasonable suspicion” or “reasonable grounds to believe,” which are well established legal standards that police must meet in order to arrest someone or conduct a search, “reasonable general concern” is making its international debut. And it’s already not earning rave reviews.”

Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on the notion of getting rid of gatekeepers, for real: The thing is, Pierre Poilievre has a point about the “gatekeepers.” Only it’s about much more than just a few blinkered municipal bureaucrats standing in the way of needed housing development. If he were serious, and not just test-driving applause lines, he’d broaden the discussion out to the other gatekeepers at work in other areas of the economy. As with housing, their function is to protect the interests of those already in the market at the expense of those who would like to enter it. Or, as the economists Assar Lindbeck and Dennis Snower have put it, of insiders over outsiders.”

John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on Canada being inexcusably absent from another Indo-Pacific initiative: “Once again, governments of the Indo-Pacific region have agreed to co-operate with each other to contain China’s influence. Once again, Canada has been left out of the agreement. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is responsible. He must fix this.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on the inexcusable gong show at our passport offices:As COVID-19 vaccines began to do their work last year, more Canadians began to venture out and allow themselves to imagine vacations to exotic locales – or even just to the United States. Surely, the federal government was aware of this. It must have known that the demand for travel after two years of being cooped up at home would be unprecedented. Airlines began preparing for this eventuality months ago, when it was evident COVID-related travel restrictions were being lifted around the world. You would assume the federal government would have brainstormed as well: What should we be prepared for, when the travel surge occurs?”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how Quebec could play kingmaker in a Conservative leadership race: “Now, as Conservatives prepare yet again to choose a new leader, Quebec could play kingmaker anew, with surprising results. While former premier Jean Charest’s political network in the province should make him the hands-down favourite among Quebec Tories, Pierre Poilievre is catching the same populist wave that has turned the formerly fledgling Parti conservateur du Québec (which is independent from its federal Conservative Party namesake) into a player on the provincial scene.”

Grant Bishop (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Alberta Court of Appeal ruling is preview of future constitutional challenges for Ottawa’s climate policy: “The Alberta appeal court’s opinion raises nagging questions about the extent of federal jurisdiction to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs). Indeed, this case is likely a preview of further constitutional challenges, as Ottawa pushes ahead on a Clean Electricity Standard and a cap on oil and gas emissions. A critical unresolved issue is whether the federal government has jurisdiction to micromanage industries and projects in pursuit of national climate goals.”

Tony Farrell, Tillmann J. Benfey, Mark Fast, Kurt Gamperl, Ian Gardner, Jim Powell, Crawford Revie, Spencer Russell, and Ahmed Siah (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on a defence of Canada’s peer-reviewed science advisory process on salmon farming: As scientists who have contributed to many peer-reviewed analyses on salmon conservation and farming for the DFO, we’re compelled to respond to prevent propagation of any misinformation. Canadians can trust the scientific facts and advice presented by CSAS, the science evaluation body of the DFO. Home-grown, ocean-farmed salmon is a valuable food resource for Canadians. It is an affordable, highly nutritious protein with year-round access. Such salmon – which is currently front and centre as the federal government is deciding whether to renew British Columbia salmon-farming licences – is affordable, in part, because it taps into renewable and free tidal power (driven by lunar cycles) for renewing oxygen and seawater.”

Shachi Kurl (The Ottawa Citizen) on how the Ontario election 2022 will be remembered as the Battle of the Bleah: “If Doug Ford’s ludicrous insistence that the building of highways somehow combats climate change has you worn down; if the Ontario Liberals’ bizarre fixation on chicken (the rotisserie kind, the seizure-inducing six-foot dancing, trolling kind) has you fed up; if you too, were tempted, every time you heard Andrea Horwath utter the words “fix what’s broken” to take a drink — take heart, dear readers. This campaign is almost over.”

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Did Elites Really Take Over Identity Politics? – Jacobin magazine



Did Elites Really Take Over Identity Politics?

In his new book, Elite Capture, Olúfémi Táíwò argues that elites have hijacked identity politics — but what if it belonged to them all along?

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, June 27, 2008. (Marc Nozell / Flickr)

Across the political spectrum, it has become difficult to engage in any discussion without running into the subject of identity politics. Its definition and its value — progressive force or enemy of egalitarianism — are hotly contested. What were previously niche academic debates have now become mainstream talking points. Somehow millions now seem to have a view on critical race theory, wokeness, and the 1619 Project.

Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (and Everything Else) by Olúfémi Táíwò, a political philosopher at Georgetown University, is his second book-length intervention in these debates. The first, Reconsidering Reparations, published by Oxford University Press in January, provided a sweeping defense of reparations, reinterpreted as climate justice. Working within the tradition of liberal political philosophy, Táíwò advanced a critique of liberalism’s nationalistic assumptions.

By focusing on distributive justice within idealized closed communities, theorists working within the tradition of the American political philosopher John Rawls fail to think globally about the relationship between nation-states and historically about the causes of inequalities, Táíwò argued. The result of this shortsightedness is that Rawlsianism is incapable of developing a theory of justice that seeks to address historical wrongdoing across borders. As an alternative, Táíwò proposed what he termed a “constructive” theory of reparations, the aim of which was to organize a political project seeking to create a more just world order rather than simply distribute cash or goods to victims of oppression. An attentive look at history, he showed, reveals a picture too complex for identarian blame games. The most urgent goal of this project is nothing less than a global coordinated response to climate change, targeting the world’s poorest nations.

Unlike mainstream philosophy, largely bogged down in provincial puzzles, Táíwò’s work has always been characterized by an engagement with history and the social sciences. Though idiosyncratic and selective in its focus, his attention to postcolonial movements has put some meat on what are often abstract discussions about concepts like justice. The aim of Reconsidering Reparations is constructive — offering an account of what Táíwò calls a world-making project. In his second book, Táíwò attempts to outline the practical hurdles to accomplishing this task.

Táíwò’s chief explanation for the weakness of coalitions in favor of redistribution and against oppression is what he calls elite capture. The generality of this term is, in his view, its strength. Where Táíwò seeks to distinguish his essay from previous criticisms of identity politics is by attempting to show that the supposed conservative turn in identity politics is not unique to it but rather a subspecies of a more general phenomenon. This is a compelling line of argument. But Elite Capture does not deliver on its promise. Instead, Táíwò’s essay describes a series of problems without providing a plausible explanation of their cause.

Who Are the Elites?

Divided into five sections, Elite Capture outlines its title concept and then attempts to apply it to a series of cases — focusing largely on weaponization of marginal status by certain identarians. At the heart of the book are three chapters, all structured around an architectural metaphor: “Reading the Room,” “Being in the Room,” “Building a New House.” In these sections he applies a conceptual framework largely taken from the philosophy of language, which sees social structures as governed by rules of communication, to the institutions that he sees as falling victim to elite capture.

Whereas mainstream liberal understandings of social structures interpret society as, to quote Rawls, a “cooperative venture for mutual advantage,” Táíwò’s more critical variant recognizes that societies structured around relations of oppression are anything but. In this respect, his work develops on a line of argument advanced most notably by the late Charles Mills, a former Marxist who felt that liberalism offered better resources for addressing racialized and gendered forms of oppression than his old ideology. Similarly, Táíwò’s aim is “to change the common ground — to change what information [is] usable by people in their daily interactions.”

His understanding of this common ground or social system is decidedly vague; so too is his conception of an elite. The latter he defines as a small group of people who have power over a larger group. Crucial to this definition is that the concept of an elite is nonessentialist: there is nothing about a specific racial or ethnic group that classifies it as an elite. This is a good corrective to the excesses of identity politics, which encourage an obsession with combating the dangers of “whiteness” and men, heterosexual or otherwise. It is, nevertheless, hard to avoid asking the question: Where does this broad notion of an elite leave the Marxist definition of capitalists, defined by control over the means of production?

In providing an account of elite capture, Táíwò relies on a number of theoretical approaches, some of which are liberal and others Marxist. Undoubtedly, pluralism can be a virtue, but it is unclear exactly in what mechanism he locates the cause of elite capture.

Is it, as Wolfgang Streeck, who he makes references to suggests, that decades of slow growth have hollowed out the capacity of liberal states, providing them with no means of ensuring profitability to capitalists other than by directly distributing resources to them via tax cuts and other forms of corporate welfare? Is elite capture a contingent phenomenon, resulting from the continued existence of predemocratic institutions within democratic states who seize power during moments of crisis, as another of Táíwò’s sources suggests? Is elite capture another term for antidemocratic tendencies and institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, which Táíwò blames for the indebtedness of nations in the Global South? Or is elite capture a cultural phenomenon, referring to the ways the formerly radical movements for queer or minority liberation have been defanged by conservatives?

Táíwò answer is, dubiously, all of the above. Elite capture is a general term that describes these disparate phenomena. Yet the effects of any of these processes would be felt so differently that comparison only serves to obscure what distinguishes the mechanisms underlying global stagnation or the continued existence of predemocratic institutions. The aim of social theory should be to home in on differences, producing as conceptually rich a picture of reality as possible, rather than to provide general terms for describing at times unrelated phenomena.

Identitarian Fashions

Carrying forward this nebulous definition of elite capture into the essay’s main sections, Táíwò then seeks to lay out tools that activists can use to check if elite capture is happening and to combat it. His arguments in these sections are informed by a combination of structuralism and voluntarism. In everything from social media to “capitalism” — understood as just another system among others — elites structure what is and is not acceptable to do or say. Táíwò makes this point through an extended “Emperor’s New Clothes” metaphor, where he tells us that “perhaps [the citizens can] see the emperor’s ass quite clearly — but change their behavior anyway because their livelihoods depend on it.” Similarly, social media influencers “structure which topics are trending” so that when “the rest of us make choices about what to watch or read or respond to, we’re mostly making choices in an environment shaped by elites.”

The idea here is that social interactions are organized around rules, similar to a game. “The game objective may be viscerally and irreducibly personal for each player,” Táíwò tells us; its goals may be “self-esteem, security, life itself — but the rules and the context that determine which actions make sense have been created by others who benefit from the outcome of those rigged systems.” Again, broadness of definition and generality of application make it difficult to assess the value of these insights. What is gained by comparing the “game” that social media users play for esteem with the “game” that workers “play” on entering the labor market?

Much of Táíwò’s discussion speaks to an activist milieu in which using perceived microaggressions as currency for social advantage has become an acceptable form of intraorganizational politics. Diplomatically, he seeks to disabuse his readers of the belief that they ought to kowtow to the platitudes built on standpoint epistemology. The theory, which draws attention to the subjective origin of knowledge claims, is one that Táíwò takes to be justified but often overextended.

Deference to perceived minorities or marginal groups can, Táíwò argues, serve to further social oppression. “Centering the most marginalized” in practice usually means “handing conversational authority” and what he, referring to esteem and recognition, strangely calls “attentional goods,” “to whoever is already in the room and appears to fit a social category associated with some form of oppression — regardless of what they have or have not actually experienced.”

These prescriptions serve as helpful guides for activists negotiating many left-wing spaces in which working-class members are few in number. Their primary aim is to draw the attention of “thought leaders” and “change makers” away from a politics that will further entrench the marginality of these organizations. The world of Elite Capture is, like our own, one in which the popular classes have been thoroughly expunged from the political stage. Subsequently, the task which Táíwò sets himself is to provide a way of pushing back against anti-majoritarian tendencies given this political climate. In this regard, Táíwò’s arguments are well taken and should prove useful to the social cohort to which they are directed, well-meaning activists easily led astray by the latest identarian fashions.

Liberal Abstractions

More broadly, however, one may wonder if the painstaking work of engaging with the misconceptions of identitarians is worth the effort. The pathologies of these forms of politics — well observed by Táíwò — result from their marginality. It is, as he makes clear, because these organizations do not have a foothold in any popular constituency that they allow themselves to be held hostage by deference politics and other elite fads. Without a proper analysis of the social and economic structures that have locked the working class out of power, Táíwò’s theory comes across as one-sided.

A tendency to flatten the differences between social structures, itself a hallmark of liberal political theory, runs through Táíwò’s essay. This explains why he can so easily jump from discussions of capitalism to discussions of systems of affirmation and recognition. Ontological pluralism of this kind is ill-suited to adjudicating which social structure has priority over another, a problem that comes to the fore when one enquires into the ultimate cause of elite capture.

The malleable understanding of social structures presumed throughout Táíwò’s analysis encourages the conclusion that bad decisions and choices on the part of individuals are to blame. Although reference is made to capitalism, Táíwò’s conception of agency relies on a view of constraining structures incompatible with the dull compulsion of the market. In the essay’s concluding sections he writes:

Creatures like us have a special power. Despite all our social programming, we can just do things. We can ignore the sidewalk and walk in the street; we can carry the bag with handles from its underside. We can do the thing that will be punished; we can ignore the potential reward, choose the smaller prize. Moreover, we can accept the rewards and the punishments without accepting the “lessons” they are meant to teach us about who and what is worthy. . . .

This power is one of the many that helps explain why our social systems are not fixed — even ones as complicated as our current global system of capitalism.

As with many of Táíwò’s claims, it is hard to disagree with them, made as they are at such a high level of abstraction.

Changing the Subject

More important, from the perspective of socialists today, is how to understand the emergence of the outlook and set of problems to which Táíwò wishes to respond. His own theory is too unreflexive to answer this question. This shortcoming is not a unique feature of his work. Over the past few years, a number of books have sought to figure out what’s wrong with, or what has happened to, identity politics.

Predominantly written by authors on the Left, these outpourings have all taken as their starting point a recognition of separate forms of oppression. Often, this position has been used to then problematize the assumptions of mainstream liberalism, as is the case in Táíwò’s work. However, the fact that this set of issues have come to concern the Left in the first place is worthy of explanation.

A plausible explanation of this phenomena is that politics, at least in the lifetime of most of the pro–Bernie Sanders left, has existed in conditions of economic stagnation after the end of what Adolph Reed has termed “growth liberalism.” Within the context of slow growth, the redistribution of an ever-increasing pie — the economic model on which social democracy was dependent — is harder for progressive forces to ensure. In place of a politics of growth-based redistribution, what exists is one concerned with the allocation of ever-decreasing resources to specific sections of society.

On the Right, attacks on citizenship, subsidies for unproductive small businesses, and tariffs, are policies created to direct resources to a Republican base without a growth model of its own. The Democrats have also advanced their own redistributive agenda, supporting a wave of neoliberal initiatives aimed at different parts of their voting base. Identity politics has come under criticism not because it is some key to unlocking a new socialist movement — as some of its more sanguine defenders allege — but because it has been the means through which the Democratic Party has sought to maintain its legitimacy.

In this context, the excesses of identity politics should not be understood, as Táíwò suggests, as an error in need of correction. A politics that seeks to redistribute resources and power to minority groups, defined in increasingly arbitrary ways, is a rational response to a world plagued by stagnation and the defeat of class solutions to social inequality. If there is no way to put out the fire inside of a burning house, the second-best thing to do is get out.

Yet there is still, though increasingly distant, hope for a different sort of politics. If socialist policies are able to put redistribution, spurred on by productive investment, back on the agenda, then the forms of identity politics that have come to dominate our politics may recede. This will at least give us something else to talk about, and a new, more promising battleground on which fight.

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Trump's obsession with 2020 weighs on his political power — and his political future – CNN



(CNN)Fixated on relitigating the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump has often argued since leaving office that Republicans cannot have a successful future — either at the ballot box or legislatively — if they turn a blind eye to the past.

But this week, primary voters in Georgia appeared to firmly reject that approach. Voting overwhelmingly for two key Republicans — Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger — who have flatly dismissed Trump’s false claims about election fraud, Republicans in the Peach State sent a clear signal to the former President that his continued obsession with 2020 is not only bad for his preferred candidates but could be a liability for him in key battleground states as he considers another presidential bid in 2024.
“Georgia was a valuable lesson. Trump has found that he’s altered the rules of politics, but not all the rules of politics,” said Bryan Lanza, a former Trump aide who remains close to the ex-President.
Whether Trump internalizes any critical lessons at this juncture remains to be seen, however. Although he is far less likely “to stick his neck out” with endorsements in upcoming primaries following a string of defeats and the still-uncertain outcome of Pennsylvania’s Senate GOP primary, said one former Trump aide, he has shown no indication that he intends to recalibrate his approach amid Tuesday’s setbacks — even as those around him admit that a course correction might be necessary if he wants to stand a chance in a future presidential contest.
“A very big and successful evening of political Endorsements,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social website Wednesday, hours after Kemp and Raffensberger soundly defeated their Trump-backed challengers, former Sen. David Perdue and Rep. Jody Hice.
“It was a bad night for revenge and Georgia was his ultimate revenge stop,” said one Trump adviser.
The adviser also noted that Trump “made a strategic mistake abandoning Mo Brooks,” the Alabama Senate GOP candidate who advanced to a runoff contest on Tuesday despite losing the former President’s endorsement just two months prior over his repeated calls for Republican voters to move beyond the 2020 election.
Multiple Trump allies and advisers who spoke with CNN on the condition of anonymity said the defeats the former President has suffered this month — in Georgia, Idaho, Nebraska and North Carolina — would typically force anyone to reevaluate their strategy, but that Trump is notoriously resistant to acknowledging weakness or error.
He will “just plow forward like he always does,” said one former Trump campaign official.
Another former top campaign aide to Trump said Georgia should teach the former President that he can’t deploy a one-size-fits-all approach to every Republican primary, especially when he is going up against popular incumbents. A Fox News poll released just days before Tuesday’s primary showed Kemp with a net-positive approval rating of 46 percent among Republican primary voters in the state.
“Going after an incumbent in a southern state like Georgia is fraught with danger. Local politics matter and dominate,” the aide said.
“Some states are so insular politically,” this person added, “that voters take exception to anyone trying to come into their state and tell them what to do.”
Meanwhile, the former head of Trump’s 2016 Georgia campaign operation had some choice words for MAGA candidates who centered their campaigns around the former President instead of local and statewide issues.
“So come to find out, running an issueless campaign… isn’t a winning strategy,” tweeted Seth Weathers, a Georgia Republican strategist who oversaw Trump’s field effort in Georgia during his first presidential run.
Weathers also criticized Hice, Trump’s pick in the secretary of state race. While Hice followed the former President’s lead, Raffensberger described Trump’s claims about fraudulent election activities in Georgia as “just plain wrong” in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election and held to it in the year and a half since. His office has also cooperated with a special grand jury that is investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results in Georgia.
Raffensperger won the primary handily.
“[Hice] seemed to take the same bad strategy, just not as bad as Perdue,” Weathers said, adding that Raffensberger “also ran nonstop ads trashing [Hice] and I didn’t see him respond in kind.”
Trump, who boasted about “record turnout” in Georgia ahead of the primary on Tuesday, has not yet commented on the collapse of his preferred statewide candidates. In addition to Hice and Perdue, Trump-backed challengers to Insurance Commissioner John King and Attorney General Chris Carr failed to oust their opponents.

Looking ahead to a potential run

Despite Trump’s continuous peddling of lies about the past election and his resistance to a midterm message that is less backwards-looking, there is one notable area where he has been eager to talk about the future.
Over the past few weeks, the former President has been chatting up friends and advisers about the looming 2024 presidential contest, including taking their temperature on an earlier-than-expected campaign announcement.
Trump has repeatedly told his supporters — from the throngs of MAGA devotees who have shown up at his midterm rallies to top allies in conservative media — that they will be very happy with his ultimate decision on 2024. And aides to the former President, who would be 76 years old during a third presidential campaign, tend to universally agree that he will run again barring any major changes to his health.
While many of those same aides were under the impression that Trump would wait until after the November midterms to reveal his next move, he has recently solicited their thoughts on entering the fray sooner. One Trump adviser, who noted that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced he would “actively explore” a presidential bid just one month after the 2014 midterms, said Trump has been thinking about launching an exploratory committee in October — just before this year’s midterm contest.
“In the last month, people have been telling him it may be smart to announce in October because we will be pretty certain by then whether Republicans are going to take over both chambers and he will become more of a topic related to the midterms and how he helped make that happen,” the adviser said.
This person said Trump already plans to be on the campaign trail frequently later this summer “and it wouldn’t be difficult to add a campaign rollout to all of that.”
“He’s always been an impatient person and he wants to start his political operation sooner,” the adviser added.
A second Trump adviser, who said the odds of Trump launching an exploratory committee prior to the November 8 midterm elections were “50/50,” claimed the former President remains in the early stages of determining the best timing for such an announcement. Trump has been closely tracking President Joe Biden’s poll numbers as he looks for any openings with independents and suburban voters who fled the GOP in 2020.
“If he thinks it will help him, he will do it before November. If he concludes it’s better for him to wait, he’ll wait,” the adviser said.
But there may be a second reason for Trump’s impatience.
As his once sterling endorsement record has unraveled this month, Trump has grown increasingly aware of the other GOP power players who are eyeing the party’s presidential nomination in two years. In addition to Kemp and Raffensberger defeating their Trump-endorsed opponents on Tuesday, Trump’s picks in gubernatorial primaries in Nebraska and Idaho earlier this month also lost, and he was dealt another unexpected blow when Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who Trump had publicly vouched for as the freshman congressman battled numerous scandals, lost his primary to North Carolina state Sen. Chuck Edwards.
In the midst of these defeats, the former President has been paying close attention to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose popularity has soared among Trump’s own base amid his recent clashes with the progressive left.
Trump has also kept watch on his one-time vice president, Mike Pence, who actively campaigned for Kemp in the closing days of the Georgia gubernatorial primary, and his former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who endorsed David McCormick in the Pennsylvania Senate primary, which is heading to a recount as McCormick remains deadlocked against his Trump-endorsed opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
“Having read ‘The Art of War,’ one of the rules there is that the greatest victory is defeating your opponents without having to have a fight. Trump is well aware of that passage,” one of the Trump advisers said.

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