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Why Saudi Arabia May Be Forced To Start Another Oil Price War

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 15/10/2020 - 12:55am in

Poor oil price prospects may lead to another race to the bottom.

Belfield Bashes BBC Diversity in Name of White Working Class

A days or so ago, internet radio host and Youtuber Alex Belfield posted yet another video tearing into the Beeb. He’s a man of the right, who regularly attacks immigration, Black Lives Matter, forced diversity and ‘wokeness’ – what used to be called ‘political correctness’ not so long ago. He’s posted videos supporting actor Laurence Fox and his ‘Reclaim’ party, though now Fox is being sued by people he’s called ‘paedophiles’ on Twitter, and a small charity which works with disadvantaged working class young people in Manchester over the name. They’re also called ‘Reclaim’, and obviously really don’t want to have it, or their charity, associated with Fox’s outfit.

Belfield himself is also a bitter critic of the BBC and very definitely wants it defunded, if not actually wiped out altogether. He’s got some kind of personal feud with the Corporation. He was one of their presenters, but seems to have been in some kind of trouble for which m’learned friends are now involved. This seems also to have involved Jeremy Vine, as he’s posted a series of videos attacking him.

Class Attitudes at the Beeb and the Favouring of Ethnic Minorities

Belfield believes that he was looked down upon at the Beeb because of his class origins. He was a working class lad from a pit village, and this did not sit easily with the other members of the corporation, whom he lambasts as rich ex-public schoolboys, who all read the Guardian, wear chinos, sip lattes and hold lefty views and sneer at ordinary people like him. He’s also criticised June Sarpong, the head of diverse creativity at the Beeb, for demanding that there should be more Black and Asian figures in front of the camera. His view is that, according to official stats, BAME performers and presenters are already slightly overrepresent at the Beeb. The proportion of BAME actors, presenters and broadcasters at the Corporation is 15 per cent. But Blacks, Asians and other ethnic minorities only constitute 13 per cent of the British population. The real problem, according to him, is that Blacks and other ethnic minorities aren’t properly represented in the Beeb hierarchy and management.

At the same time, he rails against the Beeb lefties because White working class boys are the least privileged group in society. They underperform other demographic groups in school and jobs. At the same time, automatic ‘positive discrimination’ is not appropriate for all ethnic minorities. Indians and Chinese outperform Whites, have better jobs and higher salaries. They do not need extra help from the state, which should be target at those groups that really need it.

I think he has a point, but as with everything the right says, it’s not the whole point and more often than not its articulated with the ulterior motive of depriving everyone of state aid even when they genuinely need it. I believe he’s correct when he states that at present Britain’s minority ethnic population is 13 per cent of the total. I can also remember Private Eye attacking an anti-racist organisation for the same thing June Sarpong’s done: demanding even more representation of BAME people in excess of their real numbers as a percentage of the population.

Possible Reasons for Sarpong’s Call for More Diversity in Excess of True BAME Population Numbers

In Sarpong’s case, I think there are a number of reasons for it. The first is that she is herself Black, and seems to have automatically assumed that in this issue Blacks and Asians are suffering racial discrimination. Everyone wants the best for people like them, and so she wants more to be done for Blacks and ethnic minorities. I also think self-interest may also be involved. She’s head of Diverse Creativity, but if she admits that Blacks and Asians are already well-represented on our TV screens, then she’s contradicted some of the need for her post. And I also believe that much of it is due to the metropolitan media bubble. London, as the capital, has a very large Black, Asian and ethnic minority population. It’s well over a third, and I think it may be just under half. Black activists like Sarpong and White liberals see the high BAME population of London and automatically assume that the rest of the country must be the same. Some Black performers have described their shock on visiting parts of the country where there are very few peoples of ethnic minority background. Nearly a decade ago, the late actor and comedian Felix Dexter was a guest on an edition of the News Quiz from Scotland. Dexter, who was Black, expressed his surprise at going through some areas of Scotland where there was hardly another Black face to be seen. Which reminded me at the time of the stereotypical comments of White British explorers that they were going through regions of Africa or wherever which no White man had seen before. I doubt very much that this observation would go down at all well with racially sensitive Black activists and militantly anti-racist Whites, but it is there. I think Sarpong, and those like her, have assumed that everywhere else in Britain must be like London, and so demand the same proportion of Black stars.

All Broadcasters Dominated by Middle Class Public School Boys and Girls, Not Just Beeb

At the same time, White working class are the most underprivileged part of the population. This has been reported not just in the parts of the press you’d expect it, like the Heil, but also allegedly liberal papers like the I. The Heil has also published official statistics showing that Indians and Chinese also outperform everyone else in education and work.

I’ve also little doubt he’s correct about the lack of working class people in the Beeb, and that it’s dominated by public school boys and girls, who look down upon on peeps from more modest backgrounds. But I think that’s common throughout broadcasting. Terry Christian, whose Manc tones graced the ’90s Channel 4 yoof programme, The Word, apparently describes how he was driven mad by much the same attitude there. He was the only working class lad amongst a group of people, who all went to Winchester public school. Which no doubt explains why he wanted public schoolboys put in Room 101 when he appeared on it all those years ago.

And here’s where we get to what is not being said: how many of the staff and the performers on the other, private networks come from working or lower middle class backgrounds. How many of the faces you see on Sky and who work behind the scenes are lads and lasses who went to state comprehensives, and whose parents worked as factory workers, bus drivers, cleaners, dustmen and so on. Very few, I expect. But Belfield deliberately avoids mentioning it. Because as a right-winger he hates the BBC for its ostensible ethic of impartiality and wants it to be replaced by private networks that can feed the British public the equivalent of Fox News. Like the Times would like to do with its new channel, Times News or whatever it is, which will present news with what they claim will be an objective slant against the ‘woke’, ‘wet’ BBC. Well, the Times ain’t be a source of objective news since the departure of the late Harold Evans as editor at the end of the ’70s, so this is especially risible.

White Working Class Despised Not By Labour or Democrat Left, But Blairite and Clintonite Neocons

As for the concern for White, working class boys, I think he’s right that a certain section of the left does look down on the working class. But this isn’t the Labour left. It’s the neoliberal, corporatist right of the Democrats in America and the Labour party. There’s a very interesting book, Confronting the New Conservatism, which attacks the Neo-Conservatives and particularly their warmongering and the illegal war in Iraq. It’s mostly written from a left-wing perspective, but some of those interviewed are traditional Conservatives. One of these is a female American colonel, who bitterly attacks Bush’s grotty administration as a bunch of chickenhawks who never served in the armed forces and hated and forced out experienced senior military staff, who knew far more about the Middle East and told them directly that they were wrong. The book argues that both American parties, Republicans and Democrats, have been infected with the Neocon virus. Part of this is the bilateral support by the White middle class for affirmative action policies, provided they don’t affect their children.

Right-wing Pseudo-Feminist Attacks on Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn Shows Contempt for Working Class

You can see that in the sociological origins of the Blairites. They’re very middle class, very public school. They support affirmative action policies for women and ethnic minorities, but really don’t have any time for the working class as a whole. And especially not working class men. One of the claims that was used to attack Jeremy Corbyn over here and the awesome Bernie Sanders in America was that, somehow, they were misogynist anti-feminists. Remember all the furore about ‘Bernie Bros’ and their attacks on Hillary Clinton? This was despite Sanders’ strong support for feminist groups and his appearance as an ‘honorary woman’ at feminist rallies. Because of his support for an expanded welfare system and Medicare for All, Sanders supports policies that would benefit blue collar and lower middle class workers far more than Clinton. She was a member of the corporate elite. She has done things that have benefited women and children, but in general she supports the grotty neoliberal, corporatism that are impoverishing working folks for the benefit of the very rich.

The I and the Groaniad launched the self-same attack on Corbyn. He was a male chauvinist, who would drag the party back to the days of old Labour when it was under the patriarchal control of the trade unions. I don’t believe for a single minute that Corbyn could ever be remotely properly described as any kind of misogynist. As a member of the Labour left, which was attacked in the ’80s for its support for Black, gay, and women’s rights, I think he’s the complete opposite. As for the trade unions, I don’t doubt that they were male dominated. The strongest unions were those in mining and heavy industry, which are traditionally male jobs. Women tend to work in the service industries, which are often poorly unionised. This is because employees in those sectors are in a weaker position regarding employers. But this isn’t an argument for weakening the unions. Rather it’s an argument for strengthening them so that they can enrol and protect women workers. My mother was a teacher, and I remember that during the teachers’ strike of the 1980s banners appeared with the slogan ‘A Woman’s Place Is In Her Union’. Too right. Feminism isn’t just for middle class Thatcherite girls.

Tories Claiming To Support White Working Class In Order to Exploit Them and Destroy Welfare State Even Further

The Tories have always attack the Labour party on behalf of disadvantaged Whites. The Daily Heil ran stories from the 1980s onwards, for example, denouncing various Labour councils for giving priority for council housing to non-White immigrants. But this conveniently omits the facts that the reason there was a shortage of council housing was because of the Tories: Thatcher had sold it off, and passed legislation forbidding councils from building any more. The Tories make a great show of standing up for the White working class because of their patriotism and traditional values. By which they mean the type of working class Conservatives on whom Johnny Speight based the monstrous Alf Garnet in Til Death Us Do Part. These were people, who lived in dingy homes with cracked windows, for whom the Tories had done absolutely nothing but who somehow lionised them.

Only Labour Left Really Standing Up for Working Class Whites, as Concerned for All Working People

The people who are really standing up for the White working class are the Labour left, people like Richard Burgon and in Bristol, mayor Marvin Rees. They’re standing up for the White working class as part of their mission to defend all working Brits regardless of race and colour, Black, Asian, White or whatever. Marvin Rees is Black, but he’s Bristol through and through and has said that he intends to stand up for the White working class as well as underprivileged BAME peeps. He has said that he wants more Bristolians to know about the city’s past as a major centre of the slave trade, but he doesn’t want to demonise the White working class, because they didn’t profit from it. They also suffered, according to him. Clearly he supports Black pride, but he also genuinely support the White working class and is reaching out to them.

Blairites and Tories Exactly Same in Contempt for White Working Class

But you will not hear about these initiatives, especially from the Corbynite left, from the lamestream media or the Tories. Because it contradicts their narrative that the Labour party is racist towards White working class folks. And they have a point when it comes to the Blairites, who are geared towards picking up middle class, Tory swing voters and have ignored or scorned their working class base. Their view of what counts as correct left-wing activism is feminism and anti-racism. Both of which have their place, but they concentrate on them while going along with the Tory destruction of the economy and British industry in the name of market forces, the privatisation of the NHS, because private enterprise is always better, and the dismantlement of the welfare state and workers’ rights, because the poor, the starving, the disabled and the unemployed are scroungers who could get a proper job if only they were properly incentivised. It’s the same view of the working class the Tories hold, except that they cynically exploit the petty jealousies and vindictiveness of sections of the working class to hold them down, while all the while claiming that it’s Labour’s fault. They’re cynically exploiting White working class resentment in order to maintain the British class system and the power and authority of the traditional ruling elites. All the while risible declaring that they’re not elite at all. As Tweezer did so with her cabinet, who were almost public school educated millionaires to a man and woman.

Don’t believe right-wing shills like Alex Belfield. The Tories despise ordinary working people. The only people who are really serious about doing anything for working people – including White working people – are the true Labour centrists. People like Richard Corbyn, Dawn Butler, and the other Corbynites.

What Americans can Learn from the Lebanese

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 14/09/2020 - 9:00pm in

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com ______ On August 4, 2020, 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut’s port blew up, destroying...

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The Electoral Trolley Problem

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 14/09/2020 - 4:31pm in

Voting is always an ethical dilemma. For people thinking about voting for Joe Biden, one of the things that they might not be thinking about as they fantasize about the somewhat remote possibility of a liberal stalwart replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsberg is the higher probability that Biden, given his history, will start another war in the Middle East.

The Bahrain-Israel Mutual Recognition

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 14/09/2020 - 4:29pm in

A take on why Bahrain followed the UAE in recognizing Israel.

The Rotten Alliance of Liberals and Neocons Will Likely Shape U.S. Foreign Policy for Years to Come

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 29/08/2020 - 7:01pm in

How the Democrats have become Republicans in all but name, now with their love affair for neocons.

Fresh audio product

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 28/08/2020 - 7:52am in

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link):

August 27, 2020 Laleh Khalili, author of Sinews of War and Trade, on the role of shipping in the development of capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula • Kayla Popuchet on what’s been going on in Belarus

Explosion triggers new uprising in Lebanon

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 27/08/2020 - 4:25pm in

“We have been fighting the system for a long time, now our anger has overflowed, it has gone beyond everything normal because the explosion at the harbour means we have to change everything.

“On Saturday we occupied the foreign ministry, the economy ministry, the energy ministry and the Association of Banks. The banking place we set on fire.

“Some of our revolutionaries brought a large crane to take apart a barricade set up to defend parliament.”

Those are the words of Rasha in Beirut, Lebanon. He is one of the many thousands of protesters who defied tear gas, mass arrests and beatings to demand the fall of the government and the political system.

Their protests followed a shattering explosion in the city’s port area that killed over 150 people.

Around 2750 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate had been stored in the port for more than six years. Lebanese customs officials wrote letters to the courts at least six times from 2014 to 2017, seeking guidance on how to dispose of the material. But no action was taken.

As recently as six months ago, officials inspecting the consignment warned that if it were not moved it would “blow up all of Beirut”.

And on Tuesday 4 August it ignited.

“The explosion is really a massacre,” Rasha said. “It cannot be said to be an accident.

“It is a symbol, and a result, of the corruption of the people in the government, and of a political regime that works for the powerful but not the poor.

The protests took place across large areas of the city centre, with people hurling down security force barricades and chanting “Revolution! Revolution!”

Hundreds of people took over the foreign ministry building for several hours. They hung red banners with a raised fist from the building, which had been damaged in the blast, and proclaimed Beirut a “disarmed” city.

Thousands of people assembled in the central Martyrs’ Square. They erected gallows and conducted ceremonial hangings of effigies of politicians including president Michel Aoun, Nabih Berri, the speaker of parliament and Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah.

“Murdered, not martyred,” read one sign held by a demonstrator. “Leave, you garbage,” said another.

Dignity

The New York Times newspaper reported, “The protesters chanted ‘the people want the fall of the regime,’ and held posters saying ‘leave, you are all killer’. ‘We want a future with dignity, we don’t want the blood of the victims of the explosion wasted,’ said Rose Sirour, one of the demonstrators.

“No one in the streets set any store by government promises to hold those responsible to account.”

Lebanon was already in crisis before the blast.

The economy is in freefall, banks have refused to give depositors access to their money, and unemployment and inflation have soared.

The number of coronavirus cases reported daily was accelerating and many parts of the country were suffering from lengthy power cuts.

“Revolution” was the slogan of last October’s protests in Lebanon that demanded an end to inequality, corruption and the sectarian political system.

The slogans on Beirut’s streets now are similar to the ones that rang across the Middle East almost a decade ago and saw the fall of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

The scale of the protests now has forced Prime Minister Hassan Diab to say he will hold early elections.

Diab said he would introduce a law calling for early elections and said he would remain in government for two months until major parties can reach an agreement.

The entire government resigned.

But for many protesters that is not enough. “We do not want just some changing of chairs among the big ones as they are called,” says Rasha. “These criminals blew up our homes and took away our hopes.”

Sami Atallah, director of the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, said, “This clientelistic and sectarian system breeds corruption and incompetence,” adding that Lebanon’s old guard was “trying to throw the blame on this government and let it take the fall so they distract the blame from them or their cronies”.

Politicians who have appeared in public, including former prime minister Saad Hariri, have been attacked. Angry demonstrators told Hariri, “Don’t you even think of returning to power.”

Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm was followed through the streets of Beirut’s Gemmayzeh neighbourhood. Protesters threw water bottles at the minister.

Protesters are also angry at the police and army for their brutal treatment of those taking to the streets.

“The crisis in Lebanon is so deep that only change from top to bottom has a chance of saving us,” says Rasha.

Socialist Worker UK

The post Explosion triggers new uprising in Lebanon appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Saudi Arabia Refuses To Learn From Its Two Failed Oil Price Wars

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 21/08/2020 - 3:32pm in

The oil situation has developed not necessarily to Saudi Arabia's advantage, but MbS appears not to have gotten the memo.

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