Sir Ian McKellen with a placard showing his friend and colleague, Sir Patrick Stewart, in the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation ‘facepalm’ meme. “Not my own – I found it at the end of the march in Trafalgar Square,” he admitted on Twitter.
I really hope the Women’s Marches, not only in Washington DC, or London, but everywhere they happened across the world, were declarations of intent, rather than end in themselves.
I don’t think anybody is safer from the ravages of Donald Trump (in the States), Brexit (in the UK) or any of the other evils taking place in the world right now, as a result of taking a weekend walk.
The events were tremendous outpourings of feeling – against oppression, “for the protection of our fundamental rights and for the safeguarding of freedoms threatened by recent political events; for the dignity and equality of all peoples, for the safety and health of our planet and for the strength of our vibrant and diverse communities” according to the Women’s March London website.
Those things are no safer today than they were on Friday.
I hope that everybody, who marched with placards held high, was also looking at the people around them, making connections, forming networks, and planning the steps that will need to be taken after the marches ended.
It was great to see so many celebrities taking part as well. I sincerely hope that they, with their much higher public profiles, will continue to support the rest of us. Ultimately, we are no different from them and the changes being inflicted on our way of life will harm them as well as us.
Those placards really were great, though. Let’s have a look at some of them, and some of the celebs who took part.
Carrie Fisher may have passed on but she has also passed into legend. This was just one of the many images based on her character, Princess/General Leia, from Star Wars. Many marchers turned up in costume as her.
Protesters called themselves ‘nasty women’ in reference to Donald Trump’s attack on Hillary Clinton:
American poverty: Hillary Clinton would have done nothing for these people. But will Donald Trump be any better for them?
The claim that there is no left/right divide in politics anymore, and it has been replaced by neoliberalism and neoconservatism is the sort of thing that many might dismiss as conspiracy theory nonsense.
But it is close enough to accurate in the USA, where they have only ever really had a right/right divide in any case, and was accurate in the UK when the Labour Party was run by Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband. Why else would Margaret Thatcher have said her greatest achievement was New Labour?
Jeremy Corbyn has drawn a line under that and is pushing back towards “traditional” Labour Party values – and the mass media reaction in the UK tends to confirm the claims in this article, that they will support gross lies in order to maintain a status quo that lowers living standards for the poor domestically and starts wars abroad.
From the evidence, Donald Trump is a raging racist, sexist, xenophobe, liar, cheat, and narcissist – but I also agree that most of his supporters want “real social justice” as defined here, although they’ll be out of luck when it comes to healthcare.
I also agree that “any woman [or indeed anyone] who finds herself having to work three jobs and [is] still unable to adequately feed her children or to have enough ‘disposable income’ to feel she has a decent standard of living, will have little problem overlooking sexist remarks or racist hyperbole by a potential president if he promises to address the serious issues that concern her and do away with the kleptocratic policies pursued by Obama (and by Clinton, and by the Bush administration).”
The article goes on to say, “most of this underclass in the US are unlikely to be savvy political analysts with a deep understanding of the nature of the rapacious neoliberal/neoconservative agenda. But what they do understand is that if their living standards have continued to fall under one government, then that government is responsible, and a change is in order.”
That is something we are told the electorate here in the UK has yet to grasp.
But we are told it via opinion polls that do not reflect what is actually happening at polling stations, where Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has been making very strong headway with double-figure increases in the percentage of people voting for the party. Here’s a typical example:
The conclusion – that fascism isn’t on the American agenda because of Trump but “has been your bread-and-butter for decades” – is eerily similar to my own, in an article late yesterday.
The difference is that, while Jeremy Corbyn has a proven Parliamentary record against which we can judge his choices, Mr Trump does not. I think this is why we have seen some abominable behaviour in the United States since his victory.
We will know him by his actions. He has a lot to disprove.
The fact that Donald Trump was elected President of the USA is largely irrelevant. What is relevant is the conditions that allowed for him to be elected President of the USA.
So what drove Americans to vote for either Trump or Hillary in this week’s US presidential election? Ask the mainstream media, or any Hillary supporter, and they’ll probably tell you it was issues like liberal values and social justice. They’ll also tell you that Trump supporters were motivated primarily by racism, sexism, and hatred. In reality, Trump voters were just as concerned about social injustice. In fact, this is the issue behind most popular votes around the world these days. And ironically, Trump voters were arguably more concerned about social justice than the liberals who voted Hillary because the social justice that drove millions to vote for Trump is very different to the ‘social justice’ that concerned Hillary supporters.
Here we need to note the clear distinction between the working-class ‘rednecks’ in the USA, and some of those in a more upwardly mobile financial position. Most people who voted for Trump were the ‘rednecks’ and they did so because they are feeling the negative effects of 8 years of the Obama government’s ‘liberal’ economic and foreign policies that have continued unchanged since the ‘conservative’ Bush years (you might wonder why that is and how it works – hint: the president isn’t the ‘decider’, by a long shot). Those policies coincided with the 2008 ‘crash’ and the bank ‘bailouts’ that saw millions of American homes repossessed and many traditional manufacturing job losses, both of which disproportionately affected the poor.
It was precisely this marginalization of the most vulnerable in society that was behind the Brexit vote in the UK earlier this year. Both the British people’s vote to leave the EU and American people’s vote for Trump were not primarily votes for racism or xenophobia but votes against the neoliberal status quo under which the poor saw their living standards drop further and everyone saw war and death abroad increase.
To underline the bipartisan nature of these protest votes; in the US it was the nominally ‘left’ government candidate that was rejected while in the UK the protest vote occurred under the nominally ‘right’ Conservative government. The point being; the supposed ‘left’/’right’ political paradigm in Western democracies no longer exists. It has been replaced by a combination of neoliberalism and neoconservatism, two fancy words that describe ideologies that together form the ‘elite’ project for transnational globalization and domination of the world’s resources by corporations and their political friends through the ‘projection’ of US military power around the world.
So while the mainstream media, largely supportive of Hillary as the establishment candidate, spent the last 12 months spreading the line that Trump supporters are ‘deplorables’ and that Trump himself is a raging racist, sexist, xenophobe, liar, cheat, and narcissist, this was a gross lie that hid the truth that most Trump supporters were motivated by a desperate desire for better jobs, better wages, better health care (or any health care), etc. In other words, real social justice.
Considering the evidence here, it seems Hillary Clinton’s failure to gain the US Presidency is a lucky escape for us all.
You need to visit the Beast’s blog, just to read his opinion on Iain Duncan Smith, which is extremely – and amusingly – harsh while also being fair.
Counterpunch on Monday published an article by Luciana Bohne that made it very plain that not only was Hillary Clinton risking nuclear war with Russia by pressing for a no-fly zone in Syria, she was also lying when she claimed that it would save lives.
She also makes the point that no-fly zones are illegal under international law, are not recognised by the UN, and that the Russians are in Syria perfectly legally, as they have been invited in by the internationally recognised, legitimate government of Assad.
I mention this because on Saturday, Mike [that’s me] posted a piece commenting on an article by Iain Duncan Smith, which called for Britain and the West to arm the people of Aleppo so that they could shoot down the Russian warplanes.
Mike makes the same points Bohne does in her article. He states that Aleppo is being pummeled because it does contain real terrorists. Assad and the Putin are not attacking it for no reason. Furthermore, if British arms were used to shoot down a Russian plane, this would result in the escalation of further Russian attacks in Syria, as well as demands by Russia for restitution from Britain. And, he asks rhetorically, who knows what form that would take?
And in answer to Mike’s other rhetorical question, whether IDS wants us to fund terrorists – the answer is ‘yes’.
Yes, America is already funding Islamist terror groups in Syria in order to oust Assad, and yes, IDS wants to give the weapons if he really believes in this stupid, murderous policy.
I assume that Smitty already knows that the US and our ally, Saudi Arabia, are funding the Islamists if he has seriously studied the situation in the region.
Of course, this might be demanding too much of a moral and intellectual vacuity like Smith. He showed absolutely no sense of any kind of critical intelligence when he led the Tory party and even less when he was head of the DWP.
He doesn’t think about the consequences of his actions or policies, just blindly follows them no matter how many thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands may be harmed.
Rather than change these policies, his strategy is to start denying his critics access to information on them, and lie through his teeth.
Donald Trump’s election as US President is not a victory for working people.
It is a victory for a very rich businessman who certainly doesn’t have the interests of the poor at heart.
The majority of people earning less than $50,000 a year voted Clinton – although, as a candidate, she was almost as bad as him.
Was this a victory for misogyny? That’s debatable.
Certainly it seems likely some people will have voted against Hillary Clinton because she is female. That would reflect very poorly on the American people.
But the same American people also knew that her selection as the Democrat candidate was based on who she knew within the party, and not on what she could do for the people of the United States.
She was seen as someone who had played the system, whereas the common perception of Mr Trump was of a man who had fought the system and won. In the face of that, allegations about him grabbing women inappropriately were ignored – and America will have to face up to the uncomfortable meaning of that at some point in the future.
Was it a victory for racism? That’s debatable too. I’ve seen the word “isolationism” bandied about this morning and that seems to fit the bill more appropriately.
What about the media? Well, the Trump campaign faced a huge amount of opposition from a mass media that wanted more of the current (failed) political consensus. We were told he couldn’t win the Republican nomination, but he did. Polls were carried out to show he couldn’t win, but he has.
If this election has achieved anything, perhaps it is that people will not trust the established news sources as much as may have previously been the case.
In This Writer’s opinion, that’s a step forward. You shouldn’t trust anybody who has a vested interest in any issue while saying they report it impartially. Conversely, I could earn more money as a babysitter than I do working on Vox Political – so you know the opinions here are my own, and I based them on the best facts I can get.
As for the future: Everybody is keen to write off Donald Trump’s presidency before it starts, but let’s not forget he’ll have a huge administrative machine behind him, and it is to be hoped that they will be able to guide him away from some of the more obvious disasters that we all fear.
That doesn’t mean America – and the world – isn’t in for a bumpy ride. But it is better to live in hope than in fear.
Taking a wider view, people seem to be realising that if Trump’s election is a disaster for democracy, it is one that was decades in the making – and a symptom of a failed political system.
If it shakes people out of their complacency – not just in the States but across the world – that will be a good thing, in the long run.
That’s just about the best that can be said.
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Bill Clinton at a campaign rally at North Carolina State University – with Lady Gaga, whose stage name is highly appropriate to the comments attributed to the ex-president [Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images].
Ex-President Bill Clinton’s comments, made at a speech last October, have to be taken in the context of the US election taking place at the moment.
If I recall correctly, Bernie Sanders was a candidate for the Democrat nomination at the time, and Mr Corbyn has expressed support for him in the past. Mr Sanders was the closest the US has come to nominating a socialist presidential candidate (although that’s not saying much).
Also, of course, Donald Trump was seeking the Republican nomination, which he eventually secured.
And Mr Clinton was speaking in support of his own wife Hillary.
But he has also undermined himself by referring to a conversation with a former Northern Ireland Secretary who praised Mrs Clinton for helping him through a different period for that part of the UK.
Mr Clinton seems to have assumed it was a cabinet minister in David Cameron’s Coalition government but, according to The Guardian, it is more likely to have been Shaun Woodward, who was NI secretary under Gordon Brown.
So Mr Clinton seems more than a little confused and Jeremy Corbyn’s office is probably right to ignore what he says.
Jeremy Corbyn was chosen as Labour’s leader because he was “the maddest person in the room”, former US President Bill Clinton has declared.
Documents published by Wikileaks reveal that Clinton claimed Labour party members were so furious at being “shafted” by Tony Blair that “they went out and practically got a guy off the street” instead.
The explosive remarks, to a private dinner of wealthy donors in October 2015, show the former President comparing Corbyn to leaders of anti-austerity parties like Greece’s Syriza.
The documents – part of a raft of leaks designed to undermine Hillary Clinton’s Presidential bid – reveal that he also attacked Ed Miliband for being too left wing for British voters.
When contacted by HuffPost UK, Corbyn’s office refused to comment on the remarks.
Corbyn has in the past voiced his support for Bernie Sanders, and claimed that he had helped shift Hillary leftwards on issues such as free trade.
Force for change: Bernie Sanders has overwhelmingly won the support of young and low-income Democratic Party voters [Image: Getty].
Is anybody else seeing encouraging parallels between the rise of Bernie Sanders and that of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK?
Both unashamedly describe themselves as “socialist”. Both have won the support and enthusiasm of people on low incomes and young voters, despite being much older men themselves.
Both are challenging the current political and economic consensus.
In the States, Mr Sanders’ challenge to Hillary Clinton is being taken seriously, with her campaign taking a swing to the left-wing in response – but this shows that all the initiative is on his side.
Here, the Tory-owned press has been slow to accept that Mr Corbyn poses any real challenge, despite the fact that the Conservative Government’s policies have proven to be self-serving foolishness.
It will be interesting, therefore, to observe the progress of the US election campaign.
While Mr Sanders has a huge amount of grassroots support, and it is growing, Ms Clinton has arranged for a large number of delegates to support her at the nominating convention, when the name of the Democratic Presidential candidate will be decided.
She has stronger connections with the Democratic Party establishment, you see – having been the wife of one president, and having held an office in the administration of another.
You may feel that this is an underhand, un-Democratic way to win a nomination, if it succeeds. Also, would the Democrats lose popular support if they name Hillary Clinton over the man who is making all the headway?
More importantly for those of us on the eastern side of the Atlantic, will Jeremy Corbyn’s fortunes echo those of Bernie Sanders – for better or worse?
Bernie Sanders is beating Hillary Clinton in a nationwide opinion poll of likely Democratic primary voters for the first time.
The Fox News survey has Mr Sanders on 47 per cent among likely voters and Ms Clinton trailing three points behind on 44 per cent.
The independent socialist senator from Vermont is up from ten points from 37 per cent in January while the former First Lady and Secretary of State is down five points from 49 per cent a month ago.
The poll is by definition an outlier – but suggests a closing gap between the two candidates in the race.
Ms Clinton’s overall lead in news network CNN’s polling average has narrowed to just six points.
Mr Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, has ridden a wave of support from young and low income people to run the Demoratic establishment candidate favourite close.
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