Tuesday, 22 November 2016

TTIP

The debate concerning Free Trade and Tariffs has been going on for a long time.

Robert Tressell's impoverished workmen discussed it in a shallow way. Some supported one because they thought they were Conservatives. Some supported the other because they thought they were Liberals. Tressel's protagonist, Frank Owen, claimed that neither approach tackled the real causes of poverty, and proclaimed that only the public ownership of the means of production could free ordinary people from their penury. This was back in about 1903, but probably far pre-dates that.

The only person I know of to have correctly called this election, and to offer a detailed and rational reason why, is John Michael Greer. Greer points out that Free Trade acts as a wealth pump, syphoning resources from weaker peripheries into a strong, imperial core. He pointed out that the only way for nations at the sucky end of that pump to get out of their predicament is to introduce some form of protectionism - something that makes trade less free. Tariffs basically. Taxing incoming goods to make them less attractive than locally produced ones.He points out too, that those at the bottom of the pile in the wealthy Imperial nation suffer as well.

If you're a worker, in either the subject or the imperial economy, dismantling the wealth pump benefits you. Your job is less likely to be outsourced. If you're better off, and can afford luxuries, such as mobile phones and tablets, you'll have to pay a lot more for them. If Apple, for example, has to pay $10 an hour to it's employees in the US, rather than $1 a day to workers in Singapore, those costs will ultimately be passed on to the consumer.
Please note, this has everything to do with Class, and nothing to do with Race.

So how do people that have spent the last couple of years campaigning against TTIP, and the last few months campaigning against Trump, deal with the news that the first thing he intends to do is to scrap TTIP?

I'm reminded of the old meme about the cat with the buttered toast strapped to it's back. Since it can neither land on it's feet (the toast always lands buttered side down, according to Murphy's Law) or the toast land butter side down (The cat always lands on it's feet according to folk wisdom) the cat levitates, spinning indefinately slightly above the ground)

Or they could resort to the lazy and disingenuous argument that Trump and his supporters are far right ideologies, with no justification for their beliefs.

Which brings me on to the next bit of my post...

The Forgotten Man.



The first time I saw this was on facebook, I think. The poster of the post that included this image decried it as racist. The guy on the bench that should be evoking the sympathies of the viewer is a white, working class everyman. Therefore this is the work of a white supremacist. Stands to reason, doesn't it? Meanwhile, Prez Obama tramples the Constitution underfoot, while applauded by a whole host of (mainly democratic) presidents.

It is undoubtedly propaganda. This artist's other work is resolutely opposed to The Democrats, and unflinchingly supportive of Republicanism.

And a quick read of Howard Zinn would quickly disavow you of any notion that the original creators of the Constitution were anything other than elitists themselves. Lincoln, Jefferson and... Reagan...(Thatcher in Kecks)  as bastions of the Working Class, confronting the elitism of  the smug, entitled blokes on the right of this picture?

Fuck that.

So this image is opinionated shallow bullshit. But it's not racist. The guy on the bench could just as easily be a Woman, or a Chicano, or a Homosexual. Perhaps he is. Both wrists are a bit limp, don't you think? The main point being made about the guy on the bench is not the colour of his skin, but the colour of his collar.

Meanwhile, ordinary folks that think of themselves as Liberals find themselves backed into a corner by slanders about the "Liberal Elite". If you're Liberal, you must be Elitist.

This too is utter fucking bollocks.








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