Where is politics going?

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Where is politics going?

Post by individualmember » Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:18 pm

There’s been a question in a basefook group I’m in that was posed of Christmas Day, this:

Do you see antisemitism as a issue in your community. As a young Jewish woman I see it everywhere from conspiracy theories to the way we are portrayed in the media even in children’s shows and films it’s everywhere in my eyes. I’m also more then happy to share what happened around the world on Hanukkah this year if anyone wants more examples.

And this morning I replied. Reading it back I’m a bit surprised by myself. I’m not ejicated in this kind of thing (or anything much, to be fair, I dropped out of formal education after A levels and I did those on autopilot). Anyway, my reply:

I’ve been thinking about this question for a couple of days, and I would say first that in my circle of friends and family and in my profession (I work in tv), it is not an issue. When acquaintances have linked to stories (seen on Facebook or Twitter) about Soros and I point out that the stories are simply the latest incarnation of long standing antisemitic conspiracy theories, they are horrified.
However, when one looks at what’s been going on in the wider world, particularly in politics, it’s hard not to think “uh oh it’s happening again”.
Take the appeal to a mythological image of ones country, slogans like Take Back Control and Make America Great Again, it’s straight out of fascism 101. See the verbal attacks on those things that are basic to the functioning of a free society; the civil service, the courts, non-partisan media such as the BBC, universities. The ‘othering’ of out-groups; feminists, liberals, experts. None individually enough to declare the re-arrival of the far right in the mainstream, but all very worrying and together it’s frightening.


So, what do people think? Am I anywhere near anything useful?
Obviously I’m coming from a very specific point of view, my own personal experience (it’s always been difficult for me to see context from outside it). But am I too introspective to know what’s going on outside my own enclosed space?

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by bjn » Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:51 pm

Short answer for me is populism is back, and back with a terrifying strength. People are being fed and accepting simple but wrong solutions to complex problems, or worse, non-even-wrong answers to complex fictitious problems. The people driving this are deeply cynical lying bastards who are doing it opportunistically, c.f. Trump, Johnson, Salvini and Morrison.

One of the perennial parts of populism is that it's always someone else's fault, generally someone who is 'not one of us', and thats when antisemitism gets to barge through the door, along with general xenophobia.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by individualmember » Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:13 pm

TBH, I have been involved in some current affairs documentaries for tv about Poland and Hungary (plus a few others) and I have a couple of friends who live in Minsk and those are rather behind my thoughts. Plus the most bizarre crap coming out of the USA where Trump supporters are convinced that he is the rightful next president and will be declared so next month.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Martin Y » Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:36 pm

I think I agree with Bjorn; populism is back, with its nasty reek of fascism, but I think that's a separate issue from antisemitism since that was a feature of German fascism and not intrinsic to right-wing, intolerant nationalism.

The present Indian government seems pretty close to fascist but the "others" they want to blame and persecute are Muslims, not Jews. It's more of a problem in Europe and the US as wannabe-fascists in the West like to model themselves on Nazis, having presumably hardly heard of Mussolini or Franco, and of course antisemitism never really went away here, it just became unfashionable to be an outright c.nt for a generation or two. But now we've all forgotten that the Nazis were actually the baddies, we may be edging towards being doomed to repeat the lesson.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by cvb » Wed Dec 30, 2020 11:08 am

I certainly think that antisemitism is just a by product of populism and it had never really gone away anyway.

I had thought the world was becoming more educated and liberal but I was obviously wrong.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Grumble » Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:10 pm

cvb wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 11:08 am
I certainly think that antisemitism is just a by product of populism and it had never really gone away anyway.

I had thought the world was becoming more educated and liberal but I was obviously wrong.
Surely anti-semitism is a by-product of the diaspora?
I know this is vitriol, no solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed, don’t you?

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by dyqik » Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:20 pm

I'd suggest that both the gains of populism and anti-semitism/racism elements are symptoms of a wider problem: the loss of "trusted"/agreed upon sources of factual reporting. Without shared facts, then othering via partisan popularism or racism is easier.

With the balkanization and self-selection of media, there is more disagreement about what actually is happening and what politicians etc. actually said or did. That's what allows popularism etc. to gain a more of a foothold.

That's what allows 30% (or whatever number) of Americans to believe they Joe Biden is a communist that will allow the Chinese to invade the US via Maine, or allow 30% (again, or whatever the real number is) of Brits to believe that the EU is building an army to suppress dissenting member states.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Herainestold » Thu Dec 31, 2020 4:13 am

The big trends of the latter half of the 20th century are becoming ancient history. Unfettered free trade, mass migration and democracy are all declining. Free trade wrecked the industrial worlds' economies by addicting us to cheap imported crap and hollowing out our own industries and destroying working class jobs. Immigration further weakened the working class by bringing in cheap foreign labour. The rich took control of democracy for themselves, while the middle classes saw their propspects decline even further. No wonder so many have turned to demagogues and bigots, when their traditional leaders have let them down. The problem is that it is too late to rebuild the UK as a self sufficient economic power, we had much better propsects inside the EU than we will have outside. There is not much hope of an economic resurgence, so the elites will continue to encourage
bigotry and hatred of minorities as a scapegoat to distract the people as the 1% ers at the top continue their looting of the economy.
I think we are going to end up with some kind of ill liberal right wing regime -maybe that is what we have now- not really fascism, but just grubby and sordid, with manipulated elections and racism and a declining standard of living.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Herainestold » Thu Dec 31, 2020 4:20 am

dyqik wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:20 pm
I'd suggest that both the gains of populism and anti-semitism/racism elements are symptoms of a wider problem: the loss of "trusted"/agreed upon sources of factual reporting. Without shared facts, then othering via partisan popularism or racism is easier.

With the balkanization and self-selection of media, there is more disagreement about what actually is happening and what politicians etc. actually said or did. That's what allows popularism etc. to gain a more of a foothold.

That's what allows 30% (or whatever number) of Americans to believe they Joe Biden is a communist that will allow the Chinese to invade the US via Maine, or allow 30% (again, or whatever the real number is) of Brits to believe that the EU is building an army to suppress dissenting member states.
Its facebook and social media instead of broad based factual media based newspapers and the BBC. There have always been big differences in outlook from various sectors, but in the past if you read the paper or watched the news on the telly, you at least were exposed to the whole spectrum instead of stuck in your own little echo chamber. The big tech and media companies control our information for their own profit. In the past a government could manage information through the broadsheets or the BBC, but it s much more challenging in this modern high tech age where everybody has their own reality.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by OneOffDave » Thu Dec 31, 2020 9:11 am

I'm seeing a lot more "Lockdown is driven by angents of the CCP to destroy the economies in the West" and stuff about sacrificing the vulnerable so that "normal" people can get on with life and lots of the "they're going to die within 6 months anyway so what's the point of saving them"

I got called a mongol for the first time in about 20 years yesterday and there's a lot more open abuse of disabled people on line than I've seen for quite some time. Esp people telling us to kill ourselves or that we should have been euthanised. If a politician ran with a "useless eaters" campaign, I'm sure it would gain significant traction

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by FlammableFlower » Thu Dec 31, 2020 10:18 am

That is seriously disturbing.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by individualmember » Thu Dec 31, 2020 11:38 am

OneOffDave wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 9:11 am
I'm seeing a lot more "Lockdown is driven by angents of the CCP to destroy the economies in the West" and stuff about sacrificing the vulnerable so that "normal" people can get on with life and lots of the "they're going to die within 6 months anyway so what's the point of saving them"

I got called a mongol for the first time in about 20 years yesterday and there's a lot more open abuse of disabled people on line than I've seen for quite some time. Esp people telling us to kill ourselves or that we should have been euthanised. If a politician ran with a "useless eaters" campaign, I'm sure it would gain significant traction
That is appalling.

Back in about November, whatever the date it was in between lockdowns, I was in a cafe in the west end (Govinda’s, Soho Street) with a friend/colleague when a woman came in from the street and ranted at the top of her voice about these immigrants and how terrible they are, and how they stink. It went on for a couple of minutes and I was the one who challenged her. I’m obviously a local (as soon as an Englishman opens his mouth another Englishman will... y’know) she asked what I was doing there, ‘do you eat that foreign muck’ and I said calmly that I liked it. She pointed to my stomach and said yeah that’s ‘f.cking obvious’. (I’m still laughing at that).

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by individualmember » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:00 pm

Grumble wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:10 pm
cvb wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 11:08 am
I certainly think that antisemitism is just a by product of populism and it had never really gone away anyway.

I had thought the world was becoming more educated and liberal but I was obviously wrong.
Surely anti-semitism is a by-product of the diaspora?
What is specific about that particular diaspora, compared to other diasporas?

I suppose any minority group can be made a scapegoat, but of all the many groups that have migrated to the UK over centuries, there’s something particularly long lasting about antisemitism. I’ve seen pre war (silent) movies where the bad guys were Chinese, they were the out-group to be feared (opium dens, white slavery and so on) for a while in the early 20th century but it didn’t last. I mean there’s a lot of suspicion, even hatred, of the Chinese Communist Party around but in my experience we don’t project the actions of the Chinese government on anyone who looks East Asian. Well, mostly anyway.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Squeak » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:07 pm

OOD, I'm so sorry that you've been on the receiving end of that sh.t. I saw a very minor version of the amplification of bigots here a few years ago with the marriage equality referendum and politicians making public homophobia acceptable again and it wasn't a lot of fun.

I kind of wish I could pretend that you're just being over-sensitive because that would make my world nicer and fluffier, but I know that you're not. The ableism on display this year is particularly horrific. :(

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Fishnut » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:14 pm

OneOffDave wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 9:11 am
I'm seeing a lot more "Lockdown is driven by angents of the CCP to destroy the economies in the West" and stuff about sacrificing the vulnerable so that "normal" people can get on with life and lots of the "they're going to die within 6 months anyway so what's the point of saving them"

I got called a mongol for the first time in about 20 years yesterday and there's a lot more open abuse of disabled people on line than I've seen for quite some time. Esp people telling us to kill ourselves or that we should have been euthanised. If a politician ran with a "useless eaters" campaign, I'm sure it would gain significant traction
f.cking hell Dave, that's awful. I am so f.cking fed up and really rather horrified at the callous disregard people seem to have for other people's lives. We've gone from being fairly united as a country at the start of the first lockdown to debating who's unworthy of continued existence. Strangely enough the ones doing the debating never seem to think they're the unworthy ones.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:38 pm

One thing that's sorely needed is a compelling alternative vision of the country.

It shouldn't be hard, as the status quo only works for a tiny elite minority and most people are dissatisfied.

But all the self-styled "sensible" people on the left seem to want to suggest is minor tweaks to whatever hellish dystopia the right has foisted upon us.

I know the British (and USians) hate considering how other countries do things, but there's a whole range of other Western democracies doing things in all sorts of ways from which inspiration could be drawn and presented as a tangible, positive vision. But even the British left can be rather parochial and even xenophobic.

Without that, the inexorable slide rightwards will continue. Whatever the politics du jour - neoliberalism, globalisation, populism, neofascism - what underpins it is an increasing concentration of wealth (and other forms of power) in the hands of a minority. I suspect that without drastically reversing that trend the slide-to-the-right will continue, and we'll never get to cha-cha real smooth :(
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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by plodder » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:57 pm


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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by plodder » Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:59 pm

On social media: The big problem (in my view) is simply that they’re not treated as publishers. Therefore they’re not responsible for the garbage on their platform in the same way that a traditional media outlet is.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Dec 31, 2020 2:00 pm

Yes.

If you want to store things permanently and broadcast them globally you're a publisher.

If the messages are between pre-determined participants and self-destruct after reading, it's a conversation.

Of course, like a lot of internet businesses, the model doesn't work if they're regulated like traditional businesses - see e.g. the "gig economy" erosion of workers' rights, AirBnB getting around restrictions on operating businesses, etc. Facebook et al couldn't survive if they had to check the stuff they published, and they're billionaires now so nobody will want to stand up to them.
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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by JQH » Thu Dec 31, 2020 2:25 pm

OneOffDave wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 9:11 am
I'm seeing a lot more "Lockdown is driven by angents of the CCP to destroy the economies in the West" and stuff about sacrificing the vulnerable so that "normal" people can get on with life and lots of the "they're going to die within 6 months anyway so what's the point of saving them"

I've just been arguing with some covid denialists on my local community FaceBook page. Not quite as bad as that but they still think over 60s should stay permanently indoors so younger folk can carry on as normal - based on blatantly made up statistics. That's interspaced with claims that covid deaths are lower than flu and telling me to "calm down you're not on Crown Court" when I present evidence to back up my calling out their bogus statistics.
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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Herainestold » Thu Dec 31, 2020 2:30 pm

plodder wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:59 pm
On social media: The big problem (in my view) is simply that they’re not treated as publishers. Therefore they’re not responsible for the garbage on their platform in the same way that a traditional media outlet is.
Isn't that exactly what the Section 230 debate in America is all about?

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Grumble » Thu Dec 31, 2020 4:28 pm

individualmember wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:00 pm
Grumble wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:10 pm
cvb wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 11:08 am
I certainly think that antisemitism is just a by product of populism and it had never really gone away anyway.

I had thought the world was becoming more educated and liberal but I was obviously wrong.
Surely anti-semitism is a by-product of the diaspora?
What is specific about that particular diaspora, compared to other diasporas?

I suppose any minority group can be made a scapegoat, but of all the many groups that have migrated to the UK over centuries, there’s something particularly long lasting about antisemitism. I’ve seen pre war (silent) movies where the bad guys were Chinese, they were the out-group to be feared (opium dens, white slavery and so on) for a while in the early 20th century but it didn’t last. I mean there’s a lot of suspicion, even hatred, of the Chinese Communist Party around but in my experience we don’t project the actions of the Chinese government on anyone who looks East Asian. Well, mostly anyway.
I’m no expert, but surely the special aspect of the Jewish diaspora was that it happened not long before the religion of Europe changed to Christianity, and it was Christian dogma for many years that the Jews betrayed Jesus. Having an out group scattered throughout Europe that was distinctly different made them an easy target before you even get into the money lending etc making them a convenient scapegoat for the likes of Edward I. It’s deep rooted, far more so than anti-Chinese sentiment.
I know this is vitriol, no solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed, don’t you?

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by dyqik » Thu Dec 31, 2020 4:54 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:38 pm
One thing that's sorely needed is a compelling alternative vision of the country.

It shouldn't be hard, as the status quo only works for a tiny elite minority and most people are dissatisfied.

But all the self-styled "sensible" people on the left seem to want to suggest is minor tweaks to whatever hellish dystopia the right has foisted upon us.
The sensible people on the left want fairly major changes to the actual status quo. The problem that divides the left is that those changes are only small changes to how the current status quo is sold by the right: essentially what the right sells is the high government spending, highly unionized, highly regulated capitalism of the post-war period as a golden age to go back to. But the right uses that sales pitch as an excuse to push 80s laissez faire capitalism further, rather than trying to do what made the economic gains of the 40s and 50s work.

The really major changes required to the post-war consensus are to reduce the systematic racism, classism and other bigotries of that period. There doesn't need to be enormous economic changes from that period of high government spending on infrastructure, education, creation of the NHS, etc. But that's still a massive change from the past 40 years of conservative economics.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Herainestold » Thu Dec 31, 2020 5:21 pm

The racism, classism, anti-semitism and general bigotry has gotten much worse, but unfortunately it is an inherent part of the economic system. Can't get rid of it without changing the whole system.

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Re: Where is politics going?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Dec 31, 2020 5:35 pm

dyqik wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 4:54 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 12:38 pm
One thing that's sorely needed is a compelling alternative vision of the country.

It shouldn't be hard, as the status quo only works for a tiny elite minority and most people are dissatisfied.

But all the self-styled "sensible" people on the left seem to want to suggest is minor tweaks to whatever hellish dystopia the right has foisted upon us.
The sensible people on the left want fairly major changes to the actual status quo. The problem that divides the left is that those changes are only small changes to how the current status quo is sold by the right: essentially what the right sells is the high government spending, highly unionized, highly regulated capitalism of the post-war period as a golden age to go back to. But the right uses that sales pitch as an excuse to push 80s laissez faire capitalism further, rather than trying to do what made the economic gains of the 40s and 50s work.

The really major changes required to the post-war consensus are to reduce the systematic racism, classism and other bigotries of that period. There doesn't need to be enormous economic changes from that period of high government spending on infrastructure, education, creation of the NHS, etc. But that's still a massive change from the past 40 years of conservative economics.
I'm not really sure what you're referring to. The right certainly aren't explicitly pushing those features of mid-20th century capitalism. They openly boast of cutting welfare, cutting "red tape" and are overseeing the constant erosion of working conditions etc.

Nobody is saying "we need a well regulated economy, strong working class institutions and a social safety net", and the left should be.
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