Seit Sommer 2015 führt der türkische Präsident Erdogan Krieg gegen die kurdische Bevölkerung. Beinahe täglich massakriert die türkische Armee ZivilistInnen und zerstört ganze Wohngebiete. Mit dieser Strategie möchte Erdogan seine Alleinherrschaft weiter ausbauen und eine Präsidialdiktatur errichten.
Am Samstag, den 25. Juni 2016, versammelten sich kurdische und linke Aktivistinnen zu einer gemeinsamen Kundgebung auf dem Rotebühlplatz in Stuttgart – organisiert durch die Initiative Kurdistan Solidarität Stuttgart. Thematisiert wurden der Krieg Erdogans gegen die kurdische Selbstverwaltung, die Repressionsschläge gegen kurdische und linke AktivistInnen und das Wiedererstarken türkischer Faschisten hier in Deutschland.
Die seit den Anschlägen vom 11. September 2001 international als terroristisch geächtete Organisation Abu Sayyaf steigt offiziell zur südostasiatischen Dependence des „Islamischen Staates“ auf -
Von RAINER WERNING, 28. Juni 2016 -IS-Kämpfer Mohd Rafi Udin aus dem malaysischen Bundesstaat Negri Sembilan ruft in einem Video zur Stärkung der neuen IS-Provinz im Süden der Philippinen auf. Anschließend wird er gemeinsam mit Gesinnungsgenossen drei syrische Soldaten exekutieren.
Nach Monaten gezielter Vorbereitung ist es offensichtlich dem „Islamischen Staat“ unter Führung des selbsternannten Kalifen Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gelungen, sein Einflussgebiet auf
The chief executive of the largest private prison company in America reassured investors earlier this month that with either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the White House, his firm will be “just fine.” Damon Hininger, the chief executive of Corrections Corporation of America, was speaking at the REITWeek investor forum.
Private prisons have received a great deal of criticism this election cycle, first with Bernie Sanders campaigning to end for-profit incarceration, followed by Clinton taking up a similar pledge.
After The Intercept revealed that the Clinton campaign had received campaign donations from private prison lobbyists, a number of activist groups confronted Clinton, leading her to announce that she would no longer accept the money and later declaring that “we should end private prisons and private detention centers.”
But Corrections Corporation is apparently not concerned. Asked about prospects under Trump or Clinton, Hininger argued that his company has prospered through political turnover by taking advantage of the government’s quest for lower costs.
“I would say that being around 30 years and being in operation in many, many states, and also doing work with the federal government going back to the 1980s, where you had Clinton White House, you had a Bush White House, you had Obama White House, we’ve done very, very well,” Hininger said.
“If we continue to do a good job on the quality, and with that, we can demonstrate savings both on capital voids, but also cost savings in our services, then I think we’ll be just fine,” he said.
“I think about the next President, whoever that is, if it’s Hillary Clinton or if it’s Donald Trump, there’s be going to be so many things that he or she are going to have to deal with next year or next administration, both nationally and internationally, that I think having a view on our business, our industry is going to be really, really low on the priority list,” Hininger said.
Listen to his June 8 comments below:
Corrections Corporation was founded in 1983 by the former chair of the Tennessee Republican Party, who leveraged his political ties to win a number of government contracts to operate prison and immigrant detention facilities. The company has used its political influence to shape its rapid growth. Corrections Corporation used a third party advocacy group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, to lobby for “three strikes” and “truth-in-sentencing” laws that fueled the growth of prison populations, as well as for privatization laws that handed control of federal and state prison facilities to private operators. In recent years, the company’s lobbyists played a role in promoting state laws that encourage local police to arrest undocumented immigrants.
The firm, which brought in $1.7 billion in revenue for the last fiscal year, has succeeded financially through aggressive cost-cutting measures. But critics say Corrections Corporation has endangered both prison guards and inmates by under staffing and failing to train employees, leading to multiple incidents of rape and killings at CCA-run prisons.
Corrections Corporation is receiving renewed attention this week as Mother Jones publishes a 35,000-word investigation of a CCA-operated prison in Louisiana. Reporter Shane Bauer spent four months working as a prison guard at the facility, documenting systematic neglect of medical care and rampant violence. Robert Scott, an inmate in the prison, lost fingers and limbs to gangrene after the prison largely ignored his requests for serious treatment. Bauer, who worked at $9 an hour with little formal training, found that the company failed to report multiple stabbings to the state government, despite laws that require documentation of such incidents.
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DNC Platform Leaves Door Open for No-Fly Zone in Syria, Refuses to Call for End to Israeli Occupation
The Democratic National Committee’s Platform Drafting Committee quashed efforts by the Bernie Sanders campaign last week to insert language in the platform opposing a U.S.-led no-fly zone in Syria and calling for an end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The deliberations, which took place in St. Louis last week as part of a multi-step process to write the party’s nonbinding platform, represent a tilt to a more hawkish direction for Democrats under presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. The final platform will not be written until the convention in Philadelphia next month – a process that could possibly open it to votes from a much wider pool of delegates on the floor.
Arab American Institute President Jim Zogby, a Sanders appointee to the platform committee, explained that he was introducing an amendment that would, in part, read: “To this end, the Democratic Party does not support direct U.S. military intervention against the Assad regime, including the imposition of no-fly zones or safe zones.”
This is also the current position of President Barack Obama, who while bombing ISIS units in Syria has rejected direct strikes against the Syrian government, saying that “we have learned over the last 10, 12, 13 years is that unless we can get the parties on the ground to agree to live together in some fashion, then no amount of U.S. military engagement will solve the problem.”
Zogby’s amendment faced opposition from a number of Clinton appointees to the committee. “I don’t think we should define such decisions for the future president,” said Wendy Sherman, a former senior State Department official. “I strongly urge that we oppose this amendment.”
Former California Democratic Congressman Howard Berman, another Clinton appointee, also joined in opposition. “I don’t think the platform looking at, and if it makes sense, pursuing that option,” he said of the no-fly zone.
In the face of this opposition, Zogby withdrew the amendment.
Sanders’s team also introduced an amendment to the draft platform’s text on Israel and Palestine. The amendment affirmed U.S. support for Israel and the two-state solution, but also asked for the deletion of language condemning the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign and affirming an “undivided” Jerusalem.
The amendment also called for giving Palestinians “an end to occupation and illegal settlements so that they may live in independence, sovereignty, and dignity,” as well as rebuilding Gaza.
“We have an opportunity here to send a message to the world … that America hears the cries of both sides. That America wants to actually move people towards a real peace.” Zogby said, explaining that Sanders was personally involved in the writing of this amendment.
“It is an occupation, occupation is evil,” academic Cornel West, a Sanders appointee, retorted, insisting that the Sanders camp only wanted both sides to be treated equally.
The Sanders campaign, however, did not ask for references to Palestinian terrorism or delegitimizing Israel to be deleted.
Philanthropist Bonnie Schaefer, who was appointed to the committee by the DNC, protested the language. “As a Jew, as a gay Jew, a Zionist, Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East as we all know. The only place in the Middle East where I can walk down the street with my wife, hand in hand, and not be afraid,” she said.
Shortly before it was voted on, Zogby made one final plea.
“You can go and walk down the street of Tel Aviv holding the hand of your wife. I can’t get in the airport without seven hours of harassment because I’m of Arab descent,” Zogby said, addressing Schaefer’s comments. “The treatment of people of Arab descent just going there is discriminatory, the people who live there suffer horrific discrimination. We have to be able to call it what it is. It’s an occupation that humiliates people.”
The amendment was voted down five to eight. Only Sanders’s appointees voted for it.
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Im Westen der Ex-Sowjetrepublik Ukraine hat das jährliche US-geführte Militärmanöver „Rapid Trident“ („Schneller Dreizack“) begonnen. Bis zum 8. Juli üben rund 1800 Soldaten aus vierzehn Staaten einschließlich des Gastlandes mit schwerer Kriegstechnik, wie Präsidialamtssprecher Andrej Lyssenko am Montag in Kiew mitteilte. Mit insgesamt vierhundert Soldaten stellen die USA und Kanada den größten Teil ausländischer Truppenkontingente.
Für die Ukraine nehmen vor allem erfahrene Kämpfer aus dem Kriegsgebiet im Osten teil, teilte die prowestliche Führung in Kiew mit. Die Ostukraine wird von einem bewaffneten Konflikt zwischen Regierungseinheiten und rechtsradikalen Milizen auf der einen und prorussischen Aufständischen auf der anderen Seite erschüttert.
Im größten Flächenstaat
Nach Moskauer Angaben hat sich der türkische Präsident Recep Ayyip Erdoğan für den Abschuss eines russischen Kampfflugzeugs entschuldigt. Erdoğan habe an den russischen Präsidenten Wladimir Putin geschrieben, dass der Abschuss keine Absicht gewesen sei. Das sagte Kremlsprecher Dmitri Peskow am Montag in Moskau. In der Türkei kündigte die Regierung eine eigene Erklärung an. Die türkische Luftwaffe hatte im vergangenen November ein russisches Kampflugzeug Suchoi Su-24 abgeschossen, das aus Syrien angeblich kurz in den Luftraum der Türkei eingedrungen war. Ein Pilot kam ums Leben. Danach hatte Russland die Beziehungen zur Türkei weitgehend eingefroren. Präsident Erdoğan sowie der damalige türkische Außenminister
Mit dem Wahlsieg der Konservativen in Spanien brechen für die linken kommunalen „Regierungen des Wandels“ noch härtere Zeiten an –
VON CARMELA NEGRETE, 27. Juni 2016 –
Die Wahlen am Sonntag in Spanien haben gezeigt, dass das Schüren von Ängsten vor einer möglichen Regierungsbeteiligung von Podemos ihre Wirkung auf das Wahlvolk nicht verfehlt hat. Bürgerliche Medien beschworen venezolanische Verhältnisse im Fall eines Wahlsieges der Linkspartei herauf. Auch die aktuelle Debatte um den Brexit und eine generelle Angst vor Veränderung haben wohl viele Spanier – entgegen den anderslautenden Umfragen im Vorfeld der Wahlen – davon abgehalten, ihr Kreuz
Hillary Clinton gave a big speech in Raleigh on her plans for the economy on June 22. It was full of Bernie Sanders-like rhetoric about “outrageous behavior” by business and Wall Street.
But it also included a dog whistle that only huge multinational corporations would hear, telling them that she plans to deliver on one of their greatest dreams and slash their longterm taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars.
Here’s what Clinton said:
Let’s break through the dysfunction in Washington to make the biggest investment in new, good-paying jobs since World War II. … In my first 100 days as president, I will work with both parties to pass a comprehensive plan to create the next generation of good-paying jobs. Now, the heart of my plan will be the biggest investment in American infrastructure in decades, including establishing an infrastructure bank that will bring private sector dollars off the sidelines and put them to work here.
An infrastructure bank to rebuild America’s tattered infrastructure is a reasonable idea, and was also proposed by Barack Obama when he was running for president in 2008. Certainly America’s tattered roads, bridges and sewers desperately need an upgrade.
The question is where the money for it would come from. Republicans would never let it be paid for with borrowed money, and in 2011 they blocked a proposal by Obama to fund it with a surtax of 0.7 percent on incomes over $1 million.
But last year, behind the scenes, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., quietly tried to lay the groundwork for a classic Washington, D.C., bipartisan solution — i.e., the kind of deal that both parties’ big donors adore and regular Americans would despise, if they ever heard about it.
Under U.S. law, multinational corporations based here theoretically must pay taxes on their profits earned anywhere around the world at a rate of 35 percent. However, they don’t have to pay U.S. taxes on overseas profits until they repatriate the money back to the U.S.
This creates incentives for U.S. multinationals to use financial engineering to appear to earn their profits in low-tax countries — for instance, Apple’s tiny Irish subsidiary is bizarrely profitable — and then leave the money overseas.
Congress granted corporations a tax holiday in 2004 that let them bring back their profits at a tax rate of about 5 percent, or one-seventh of what the normal tax law required. Clinton, then a senator from New York, voted for it, as did Schumer.
The incentives haven’t changed since then, so profits held overseas by U.S. multinationals have accumulated again and have now reached an incredible $2.4 trillion. That’s about 65 percent of the 2015 federal budget and 13 percent of the entire U.S. economy. If U.S. multinationals had to pay the statutory tax rate on that, they’d owe the government about $695 billion.
The prospective Ryan-Schumer deal doesn’t have many details. But it would change the law so that profits earned by U.S. multinationals overseas, including the $2.4 trillion overseas now, would be taxed whether or not they were brought back to the U.S. — while also radically reducing the tax rate on those overseas profits. This would essentially make the 2004 tax holiday permanent. That’s why Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has called such plans “a giant wet kiss for the tax dodgers.”
In the short run, both Trump’s plan and the Ryan-Schumer framework would provide a burst of tax revenue from the money collected on the $2.4 trillion currently overseas. In the long run they would significantly reduce U.S. taxes on multinationals. They would also, if they instituted lower tax rates for overseas profits than for those earned in the U.S., provide an even greater incentive for big corporations to use accounting shenanigans to appear to “earn” profits in other countries.
But how do we know this is what Clinton was talking about?
According to her platform, she will pay for increased infrastructure spending via some unspecified “business tax reform.” Despite promises back in December that she “will have more to say on her vision” about business tax reform, she’s been curiously silent.
However, when she met with the New York Daily News editorial board in April, she explained that the source of the infrastructure money “may be repatriation.”
Then there’s her statement this week that her infrastructure bank would “will bring private sector dollars off the sidelines and put them to work here.” That phrase — bringing corporate money “off the sidelines” — is a favorite of both Democratic and Republican elites to describe slashing the tax rate on overseas profits. For instance, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., used it in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, as did economists writing for the New America Foundation, a liberal think tank.
That’s why Clinton can honestly predict that she will “break through the dysfunction in Washington” and “work with both parties.” Both parties want to deliver a massive tax cut to their huge corporate patrons.
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Der palästinensiche Artist Abu Sakha sitzt seit über einem halben Jahr in sogenannter Verwaltungshaft – einer Maßnahme der israelischen Justiz, die ohne Anklage, Prozess und Urteil auskommt.
Von KLAUS PETRUS, 27. Juni 2016 -„Die Zirkusschule hat mir gegeben, was ich als Kind nie hatte: Selbstbewusstsein, Vertrauen, Respekt.“ Mohammad Faisal Abu Sakha bei einem Training der Palestinian Circus School in Bir Zeit bei Ramallah. Foto: KLAUS PETRUS
Montag, der 14. Dezember 2015: Ein damals 23-jähriger Palästinenser verlässt sein Elternhaus in Jenin und wartet auf
Ein muslimischer Attentäter hat im amerikanischen Orlando 49 Besucher eines Schwulenclubs regelrecht hingerichtet. Das hat etwas mit dem heutigen Islam zu tun. Vergessen wird dabei, dass der Islam eine Jahrhunderte andauernde Tradition sexueller Freiheiten besaß. Sie wurde nicht zuletzt durch den Einfluss des christlich-westlichen Abendlandes zunichte gemacht. -
Von FABIAN KÖHLER, 27. Juni 2016 -Abu Nawas 757 bis † 815) ist ein Vertreter der klassischen arabischen Literatur. Foto: Wikipedia
Hätte Abu Nuwas seine Liebesgedichte ein paar tausend Kilometer weiter westlich und ein paar Jahrhunderte später geschrieben,
The decision by UK voters to leave the EU is such a glaring repudiation of the wisdom and relevance of elite political and media institutions that – for once – their failures have become a prominent part of the storyline. Media reaction to the Brexit vote falls into two general categories: (1) earnest, candid attempts to understand what motivated voters to make this choice, even if that means indicting one’s own establishment circles, and (2) petulant, self-serving, simple-minded attacks on disobedient pro-leave voters for being primitive, xenophobic bigots (and stupid to boot), all to evade any reckoning with their own responsibility. Virtually every reaction that falls into the former category emphasizes the profound failures of western establishment factions; these institutions have spawned pervasive misery and inequality, only to spew condescending scorn at their victims when they object.
The Los Angeles Times‘ Vincent Bevins, in an outstanding and concise analysis, wrote that “both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very, wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for thirty years”; in particular, “since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt.” The British journalist Tom Ewing, in a comprehensive Brexit explanation, said the same dynamic driving the UK vote prevails in Europe and North American as well: “the arrogance of neoliberal elites in constructing a politics designed to sideline and work around democracy while leaving democracy formally intact.”
In an interview with The New Statesman, the political philosopher Michael Sandel also said that the dynamics driving the pro-Brexit sentiment were now dominant throughout the west generally: “a large constituency of working-class voters feel that not only has the economy left them behind, but so has the culture, that the sources of their dignity, the dignity of labour, have been eroded and mocked by developments with globalisation, the rise of finance, the attention that is lavished by parties across the political spectrum on economic and financial elites, the technocratic emphasis of the established political parties.” After the market-venerating radicalism of Reagan and Thatcher, he said, “the centre left” – Blair and Clinton and various European parties – “managed to regain political office but failed to reimagine the mission and purpose of social democracy, which became empty and obsolete.”
Three Guardian writers sounded the similar themes about elite media ignorance, stemming from their homogeneity and detachment from the citizenry. John Harris quoted a Manchester voter as explaining that “if you’ve got money, you vote in. If you haven’t got money, you vote out,” and Harris added: “most of the media . . . failed to see this coming. . . . The alienation of the people charged with documenting the national mood from the people who actually define it is one of the ruptures that has led to this moment.” Gary Younge similarly denounced “a section of the London-based commentariat [that] anthropologised the British working class as though they were a lesser evolved breed from distant parts, all too often portraying them as bigots who did not know what was good for them.” Ian Jack’s article was headlined “In this Brexit vote, the poor turned on an elite who ignored them,” and he described how “gradually the sight of empty towns and shuttered shops became normalised or forgotten.” Headlines like this one from The Guardian were prescient but largely ignored:
Though there were some exceptions, establishment political and media elites in the UK were vehemently united against Brexit, but their decreed wisdom was ignored, even scorned. That has happened time and again. As their fundamental failures become more evident to all, these elites have lost credibility, lost influence, and lost the ability to dictate outcomes.
Just last year in the UK, Labour members chose someone to lead Tony Blair’s party – the authentically left-wing Jeremy Corbyn – who could not have been more intensely despised and patronized by almost every leading light of the British media and political class. In the U.S., the joyful rejection by Trump voters of the collective wisdom of the conservative establishment evidenced the same contempt for elite consensus. The enthusiastic and sustained rallying, especially by young voters, against beloved-by-the-establishment Hillary Clinton in favor of a 74-year-old socialist taken seriously by almost no DC elites reflected the same dynamic. Elite denunciations of the right-wing parties of Europe fall on deaf ears. Elites can’t stop, or even affect, any of these movements because they are, at bottom, revolts against their wisdom, authority and virtue.
In sum, the west’s establishment credibility is dying, and their influence is precipitously eroding – all deservedly so. The frenetic pace of online media makes even the most recent events feel distant, like ancient history. That, in turn, makes it easy to lose sight of how many catastrophic and devastating failures western elites have produced in a remarkably short period of time.
In 2003, U.S. and British elites joined together to advocate one of the most heinous and immoral aggressive wars in decades: the destruction of Iraq; that it turned out to be centrally based on falsehoods that were ratified by the most trusted institutions, as well as a complete policy failure even on its own terms, gutted public trust.
In 2008, their economic worldview and unrestrained corruption precipitated a global economic crisis that literally caused, and is still causing, billions of people to suffer – in response, they quickly protected the plutocrats who caused the crisis while leaving the victimized masses to cope with the generational fallout. Even now, western elites continue to proselytize markets and impose free trade and globalization without the slightest concern for the vast inequality and destruction of economic security those policies generate.
In 2011, NATO bombed Libya by pretending it was motivated by humanitarianism, only to ignore that country once the fun military triumph was celebrated, thus leaving a vacuum of anarchy and milita rule for years that spread instability through the region and fueled the refugee crisis. The U.S. and its European allies continue to invade, occupy and bomb predominantly Muslim countries while propping up their most brutal tyrants, then feign befuddlement about why anyone would want to attack them back, justifying erosions of basic liberties and more bombing campaigns each time someone does. The rise of ISIS and the foothold it seized in Iraq and Libya were the direct by-products of the west’s military actions (as even Tony Blair admitted regarding Iraq). Western societies continue to divert massive resources into military weaponry and prisons for their citizens, enriching the most powerful factions in the process, all while imposing harsh austerity on already suffering masses. In sum, western elites thrive while everyone else loses hope.
These are not random, isolated mistakes. They are the by-product of fundamental cultural pathologies within western elite circles – a deep rot. Why should institutions that have repeatedly authored such travesties, and spread such misery, continue to command respect and credibility? They shouldn’t, and they’re not. As Chris Hayes warned in his 2012 book Twilight of the Elites, “given both the scope and depth of this distrust [in elite institutions], it’s clear that we’re in the midst of something far grander and more perilous than just a crisis of government or a crisis of capitalism. We are in the midst of a broad and devastating crisis of authority.”
It’s natural – and inevitable – that malignant figures will try to exploit this vacuum of authority. All sorts of demagogues and extremists will try to re-direct mass anger for their own ends. Revolts against corrupt elite institutions can usher in reform and progress, but they can also create a space for the ugliest tribal impulses: xenophobia, authoritarianism, racism, fascism. One sees all of that, both good and bad, manifesting in the anti-establishment movements throughout the U.S., Europe, and the UK: including Brexit. All of this can be invigorating, or promising, or destabilizing, or dangerous: most likely a combination of all that.
The solution is not to subserviently cling to corrupt elite institutions out of fear of the alternatives. It is, instead, to help bury those institutions and their elite mavens and then fight for superior replacements. As Hayes put it in his book, the challenge is “directing the frustration, anger, and alienation we all feel into building a trans-ideological coalition that can actually dislodge the power of the post-meritocratic elite. One that marshals insurrectionist sentiment without succumbing to nihilism and manic, paranoid distrust.”
Corrupt elites always try to persuade people to continue to submit to their dominance in exchange for protection from forces that are even worse. That’s their game. But at some point, they themselves, and their prevailing order, become so destructive, so deceitful, so toxic, that their victims are willing to gamble that the alternatives will not be worse, or at least, they decide to embrace the satisfaction of spitting in the faces of those who have displayed nothing but contempt and condescension for them.
There is no one, unifying explanation for Brexit, or Trumpism, or the growing extremism of various stripes throughout the west, but this sense of angry impotence – an inability to see any option other than smashing those responsible for their plight – is undoubtedly a major factor. As Bevins put it, supporters of Trump, and Brexit, and other anti-establishment movements “are motivated not so much by whether they think the projects will actually work, but more by their desire to say FUCK YOU” to those they believe (with very good reason) have failed them.
Obviously, those who are the target of this anti-establishment rage – political, economic and media elites – are desperate to exonerate themselves, to demonstrate that they bear no responsibility for the suffering masses that are now refusing to be compliant and silent. The easiest course to achieve that goal is simply to demonize those with little power, wealth or possibility as stupid and racist: this is only happening because they are primitive and ignorant and hateful, not because they have any legitimate grievances or because I or my friends or my elite institutions have done anything wrong. As Vice’s Michael Tracy put it:
Elites' reaction to Brexit mimics their reaction to Trump: blame the amorality of ordinary people rather than reckon with elite failure
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) June 24, 2016
Because that reaction is so self-protective and self-glorifying, many U.S. media elites – including those who knew almost nothing about Brexit until 48 hours ago – instantly adopted it as their preferred narrative for explaining what happened, just as they’ve done with Trump, Corbyn, Sanders and any number of other instances where their entitlement to rule has been disregarded. They are so persuaded of their own natural superiority that any factions who refuse to see it and submit to it prove themselves, by definition, to be regressive, stunted and amoral.
Indeed, media reaction to the Brexit vote – filled with unreflective rage, condescension and contempt toward those who voted wrong – perfectly illustrates the dynamics that caused all of this in the first place. Media elites, by virtue of their position, adore the status quo. It rewards them, vests them with prestige and position, welcomes them into exclusive circles, allows them to be close to (if not themselves wielding) great power while traveling their country and the world, provides them with a platform, fills them with esteem and purpose. The same is true of academic elites, and financial elites, and political elites. Elites love the status quo that has given them, and then protected, their elite position.
Because of how generally satisfied they are with their lot, they regard with affection and respect the internationalist institutions that safeguard the west’s prevailing order: the World Bank and IMF, NATO and the west’s military forces, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, the EU. While they express some piecemeal criticisms of each, they literally cannot comprehend how anyone would be fundamentally disillusioned by and angry with these institutions, let alone want to break from them. They are far removed from the suffering that causes those anti-establishment sentiments. So they search and search in vein for some rationale that could explain something like Brexit, or the establishment-condemning movements on the right and left, and can find only one way to process it: these people are not motivated by any legitimate grievances or economic suffering, but instead they are just broken, ungrateful, immoral, hateful, racist and ignorant.
Of course it is the case that some, perhaps much, of the support given to these anti-establishment movements is grounded in those sorts of ugly sentiments. But it’s also the case that their revered elite establishment institutions in finance, media and politics are driven by all sorts of equally ugly impulses, as the rotted fruit of their actions conclusively prove.
Even more important, the mechanism that western citizens are expected to use to express and rectify dissatisfaction – elections – has largely ceased to serve any correction function. As Hayes, in a widely cited tweet, put it this week about Brexit:
I don't want a future in which politics is primarily a battle between cosmopolitan finance capitalism and ethno-nationalist backlash.
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 24, 2016
But that is exactly the choice presented not only by Brexit but also western elections generally, including the 2016 Clinton v. Trump General Election (just look at the powerful array of Wall Street tycoons and war-loving neocons which – long before Trump – viewed the former Democratic New York Senator and Secretary of State as their best hope for having their agenda and interests served). When democracy is preserved only in form, structured to change little to nothing about power distribution, people naturally seeks alternatives for the redress of their grievances, particularly when they suffer.
More importantly still – and directly contrary to what establishment liberals love to claim in order to demonize all who reject their authority – economic suffering and xenophobia/racism are not mutually exclusive; the opposite is true: the former fuels the latter, as sustained economic misery makes people more receptive to tribalistic scapegoating. That’s precisely why plutocratic policies that deprive huge portions of the population of basic opportunity and hope are so dangerous. Claiming that supporters of Brexit or Trump or Corbyn or Sanders or anti-establishment European parties on the left and right are motivated only by hatred but not genuine economic suffering and political oppression is a transparent tactic for exonerating status quo institutions and evading responsibility for doing anything about their core corruption.
Part of this spiteful media reaction to Brexit is grounded in a dreary combination of sloth and habit: a sizable portion of the establishment-liberal commentariat in the west has completely lost the ability to engage with any sort of dissent from their orthodoxies, or even to understand those who disagree with them. They are capable of nothing beyond adopting the most smug and self-satisfied posture, then spouting clichés to dismiss their critics as ignorant, benighted bigots. Like the people of the west who bomb Muslim countries and then express confusion that anyone wants to attack them back, the most simple-minded of these establishment media liberals are constantly enraged that the people they endlessly malign as ignorant haters refuse to vest them with the respect and credibility to which they are naturally entitled.
But there’s something deeper and more interesting driving the media reaction here. Establishment journalistic outlets are not outsiders. They’re the opposite: they are fully integrated into elite institutions, are tools of those institutions, and thus identify fully with them. Of course they do not share, and cannot understand, anti-establishment sentiments: they are the targets of this establishment-hating revolt as much as anyone else. These journalists’ reaction to this anti-establishment backlash is a form of self-defense. As NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen put it last night, “journalists today report on hostility to the political class, as if they had nothing to do with it”; but they are a key part of that political class and, for that reason, “if the population — or part of it — is in revolt against the political class, this is a problem for journalism.”
There are many factors explaining why establishment journalists now have almost no ability to stem the tide of anti-establishment rage, even when it’s irrational and driven by ignoble impulses. Part of it is that the internet and social media have rendered them irrelevant, unnecessary to disseminate ideas. Part of it is that – due their distance from them – they have nothing to say to people who are suffering and angry about it other than to scorn them as hateful losers. Part of it is that journalists – like anyone else – tend to react with bitterness and rage, not self-assessment, as they lose influence and stature.
But a major factor is that many people recognize that establishment journalists are an integral part of the very institutions and corrupted elite circles that are authors of their plight. Rather than being people who mediate or inform these political conflicts, journalists are agents of the forces that are oppressing them. And when journalists react to their anger and suffering by telling them that it’s invalid and merely the by-product of their stupidity and primitive resentments, that only reinforces the perception that journalists are their enemy, thus rendering journalistic opinion increasingly irrelevant.
Elites are usually elite for good reason, and tend to have better judgment than the average person. #confessyourunpopularopinion
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) December 4, 2013
Brexit was a tantrum — British voters had good reason to be angry, but what they did won't make anything better. https://t.co/41AIMdVTv8
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) June 24, 2016
Brexit – despite all of the harm it is likely to cause and despite all of the malicious politicians it will empower – could have been a positive development. But that would require that elites (and their media outlets) react to the shock of this repudiation by spending some time reflecting on their own flaws, analyzing what they have done to contribute to such mass outrage and deprivation, in order to engage in course correction. Exactly the same potential benefit was generated by the Iraq debacle, the 2008 financial crisis, the rise of Trumpism and other anti-establishment movements: this is all compelling evidence that things have gone very wrong with those who wield the greatest power, that self-critique in elite circles is more vital than anything.
But, as usual, that’s exactly what they most refuse to do. Instead of acknowledging and addressing the fundamental flaws within themselves, they are devoting their energies to demonizing the victims of their corruption, all in order to de-legitimize those grievances and thus relieve themselves of responsibility to meaningfully address them. That reaction only serves to bolster, if not vindicate, the animating perceptions that these elite institutions are hopelessly self-interested, toxic and destructive and thus cannot be reformed but rather must be destroyed. That, in turn, only ensures that there will be many more Brexits, and Trumps, in our collective future.
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