Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Daily Mail's far-right fascist racism

During the French presidential election of April 2012, the Daily Mail's Richard Waghorne wrote a column supporting the candidacy of the far-right French National Front's Marine Le Pen. The daughter of open Nazi sympathizer and antisemitic Holocaust denier Jean-Marie, who himself bemoans the influence of "Jewish organizations" and denies that non-white footballers in French national football team are truly French, and describes his daughter as "passing the baton" of his ideas. Though Waghorne supposedly disowns the extreme racist fascism of the NF and Le Pens, he still justifies his endorsement based upon as "an imperfect choice in urgent times, the only candidate capable of saving France’s control over her finances, borders, and identity." This is evasive and revisionist language easily on par with the rhetoric of British National Party leader Nick Griffin. The French NF are part of the same party grouping in the European parliament as the BNP. Why don't the Daily Mail support the BNP based upon the same reasoning of them being a "reformed" far-right fascist party with the same agreeable priorities?  Nicholas Sarkozy (ironically described as "the foreigner" by Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2007 for his Jewish ancestry) was keen to pander to the fascist segment of the voting population in his unsuccessful reelection campaign, by describing France as having "too many foreigners", and warning against the threat of immigrant "invaders" if Francois Hollande was elected to the presidency. Sadly, it appears that  President Hollande, who was once thought as beholding values in line with social justice, is just as keen to pander to racial hatred for political gain as Sarkozy.

"How to crush a Roma camp French-style", begins the Daily Mail's article on the subject (which I will spare anyone reading this from linking to) on the French government's displacing of Romanian gypsies from their bulldozed decrepit caravan camps. It is comparable to the title of an instruction manual rather than an consciously ironic newspaper headline. And this very unsubtly seems to be the case.  The article discusses in detail the Roma's motivation for moving into deeply poverty-stricken and dangerous living conditions in camps such as this in Lyon; primarily to escape the crushing and hopeless conditions they face in their native Romania, in the hope to find more social mobility in continental Europe, and an improved hope to their children's futures rather than an entirely hopeless one. Nevertheless, Steve Bird's writing continues in its seemingly fetishistic glorification of the deposition of "the gypsies", noting how "they giggle" in their foreign Romany language and live inhabitation with their "dirty" threadbare clothes. Bird's use of brutalistic Germanic language continues, describing the "grab and smash" of the diggers used to destroy the Roma's caravans.

The article refers to "how long" the council in Basildon, Essex took to evict the Irish travellers of Dale Farm —who cleared up a concreted tip which is now a concreted tip again—with aggressive bailiffs and truncheon-happy riot police. The article describes how the Roma are "herded together under the watchful eye of CRS officers (the French equivalent of the riot police) wearing military-style blue outfits and black leather boots, then taken to airports and put on flights to their home countries." It details the CRS's method of sending "hundreds of police armed with truncheons, shields, smoke grenades and dogs" to undertake to raids, herding and deportation of them. And it seems to praise them for their "ruthless efficiency." 

And here comes the clincher of appeal: "guess where they want to come next", the Daily Mail implores us. Just like the French NF they support, invoking the fear of an "invasion" by the dirty untrustworthy gypsies, and exalting their ruthlessly efficient crushing and  smashing by the jackbooted French stormtroopers, and conveniently incorporating a baseless and ignorant attack on the welfare system.

But what else to expect from the newspaper that supplied propaganda to Herr Hitler and Il Duce Mussolini, and said "hurrah" to Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts?

Thursday, 16 August 2012

What if the U.S. presidential election was decided on the issues? is a very compelling non-partisan and non-profit political organization. Ahead of the U.S. presidential election this November, it provides a relatively short quiz which impartially posits questions on major political policy issues (such as on the economy, foreign policy, taxation and moral issues etc.) and  then assigns according to the its results to whomever taking it a candidate in the election who most closely shares their views. As of this writing, over one million people have taken this quiz. Of course, the overwhelming media narrative only considers the election in terms of two opposing campaigns: Democratic President Barack Obama, and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney who is vying to defeat the president's attempted re-election. But the I Side With quiz is compelling for the reason that it includes candidates from beyond this narrow paradigm: including Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein, right-libertarian bulwark Ron Paul (presumably as a candidate without a label), American Socialist Party candidate Stewart Alexander, Virgil Goode of the radical right and Christian fundamentalist Constitution Party, among others (including Jimmy McMillian, who is keen to remind us that the rent is too damn high in the State of New York).

There are plenty of issues on which Obama and Romney are indistinguishable. Compared to Johnson, Stein and Paul, they both believe that U.S. troops should remain in Afghanistan until 2014, and support America's continual but evidently counterproductive war on drugs, as prominent examples.

Just to clarify for the sake of transparency, here are my results from taking the quiz, align me with the Green Party's Jill Stein:

President Barack Obama has achieved a fair amount of admirable things. But I cannot support a foreign policy which in the majority of ways a continuation of the George W. Bush administration's: that involves the indiscriminate killings of civilian targets in the Middle East and North Africa with drone strikes. Or indeed a domestic policy that condones indefinite detention and a punitive attitude to anti-government protests. 

Obama is controversial for his healthcare reforms, that are of course based upon those enacted by Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts, that nessecitate the purchase of market-provided health insurance in law, and which also make it compulsory for healthcare companies to provide this insurance to all people without any depriving or extortionate conditions at sustainable pricing. This is easily better than America's currently atrocious market-driven healthcare system, but it is nevertheless not the universal healthcare system that the Green Party prefers, along with the majority of those within the Democratic Party.

At first, the most popular candidate of the quiz by state (with Alaska and Hawaii for what ever reason not included) was Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, with Barack Obama coming second in most strongly Democratic states and Mitt Romney lagging well behind in three states with the strongest right-wing conservative tendencies (such as Alabama and Latter-Day Saints mecca Utah):

Ron Paul also claims two states. Though he and Johnson are nominally libertarian (in the American general free-market capitalist sense), Paul is somewhat more conservative orthodox (such as in regard to immigration and abortion) and intellectually driven in regard his commitment heterodox Austrian economic philosophy.

Though the results by the state of the quiz will be again somewhat different as of this posting, the paradigm differences and nuance in terms of support for a wider rage of candidates speaks volumes about competing political priorities and cultural beliefs in the United States.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Cyclical failure

Five years ago, the economic systems of the developed world began a descent as a consequence of their own cataclysmic undoing, through sheer criminality and self-entitled irresponsibility. Relative to that descent has been a total collapse in confidence and percieved legitimacy from wider society; that at least with any sense or intellectual realisation or ethical morality. The failed economic system's descent in terms of legitimacy has not been helped by its determination to drag down humanity with it, which it inherently depends upon doing so to preserve itself, which is also part of their ongoing sense of self-entitlement. Banks like Barclays, HSBC and Standard Charted can engage in multi-trillion dollar fraud, money laundering and by proxy drug smuggling essentially without any fear of substantial prosecution.

The fact that Britain's economy has once again uniliterally regressed as a consequence of the government's ideological austerity drive, under the "leadership" of Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne, is no surprise to anyone who comprehends basic economic literacy. It has become a routine expectation, as well as a source of comic derision. Such casual reflection however is only an example of the banality of evil that Hannah Arendt identified, in regard to the communities and lives ruined and wasted by austerity's incompetence ideological pathology; whether this be in the form of societal disinvestment and commodification, or regression caused by it, dragging humanity down to subordination and indignity.

What is the neoliberal solution to failure? More failure. While failure the agenda regardless, when failure is prevention of opportunity and development in society.