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Brazil, Brexit, Trump…with more to come.

Written By: - Date published: 5:17 pm, October 30th, 2018 - 97 comments
Categories: class war, elections, International, Left, liberalism, Media, political alternatives, social democracy, useless - Tags: , , ,

As Ben Chu writing at The Independent notes with reference to Brazil –

The extraordinary political rise of Bolsonaro, previously an obscure congressman in a fringe party, is a symptom of […] failure – not just on the part of the Workers’ Party, but the entire political and business establishment.

Glenn Greenwald in the video linked at the foot of this post echoes Chu , but introduces the wider context that’s witnessing the political establishment (the liberal centre if you will) experience electoral collapse in county after country…after country…after country.

The why’s and wherefore’s are a no brainer.

The politics of parties representing political establishments (you see the problem right there?) are entirely divorced from the political concerns of many of the people whose votes they assume to harvest come election time. And I do mean ‘harvest’. There’s a terrible assumption (maybe best and most recently expressed by the US’s Democratic Party) that certain sectors of the population will vote for a particular party, no matter the policy programme or platform “because tradition”, or “because the alternative”…

The US Democratic Party’s woeful showing at the last US election, where they lost to a Presidential candidate so bad that a dead horse’s arse would have seemed like a sweet option to many people if they’d been given the choice, wasn’t an anomaly.

(btw – rumours are circulating that Clinton fancies having another run at it in 2020. Seriously.)

Previously, that same sense of entitlement and complacency oversaw the near entire disappearance of the Labour Party in Scotland. Yes, they used to harvest votes….they owned the farm as it were. And the machinery – as well as possessing the ability to determine when and where it would rain or if it would shine. They controlled the political discourse as expressed by all major media outlets due to extensive networks of influence forged and maintained over decades. They also had ‘generations deep’ voting traditions and habits to draw from and bank on. They were unassailable. Then in the UK General Election of 2015 they lost 40 of their 41 Scottish seats.

There was also the fun of Brexit. Yet again the political establishment cooried up to itself and couldn’t conceive of a world where the electorate wasn’t wrapped up in the same comforting (and delusional) embrace as itself.

The gulf to political oblivion; the detachment that sits beneath that complacent sense of entitlement to someone’s vote is swallowing up a lot of political parties throughout the OECD and beyond these days.

New Zealand isn’t immune. Right now we have a party leading a government that promised transformation about to have its Annual Conference. So popular is that party, and so swollen are it’s membership numbers, that it looks like it’s had to send out public invites in order to fill(?) a town hall that it’s leader will be speaking in during conference.

There are two ways us voters get to stand on the edge of a precipice to gleefully wave down on some rejected political vehicle as it drops like a stone. One way is good. The other probably ends kind of badly.

But after a generation’s worth (or longer) of getting kicked in the teeth by a political establishment that’s more or less abandoned a swathes of us to poverty and bullshit because they favour the pursuit of some nice looking economic graph and ‘balances’, any politician or political party promising an alternative to the “same old” stands a fair chance of electoral success. So, whereas it would be bloody great if a genuine social democratic alternative was on the ballot, if they’re not, a Trump or a Bolsonaro will do. And the reason why, is that the intention is to deliver maximum pain to those politically responsible for these past decades.

If you don’t understand that mentality, try this.

When I was a kid at school, fights were fairly common. The culture being as it was, it wasn’t really an option to back out or run away from any fight that might be coming your way. So this was the deal. Me (wee kid). You (bigger kid). I know I’m in for a kicking. But I’m going to hurt you as badly as I can on the way down. And sure, the longer I keep going, the more bloodied I wind up being. But that’s beside the point. I’m hurting you.

At school, if there was a “fuck you” attitude riding on fists and feet, then in elections, and sadly, for increasing numbers of people, it’s the same necessary attitude riding on a vote.

Many people who voted for Trump didn’t vote for him because they’re idiots. Same with Bolsonaro. The politics expressed by an establishment that blights peoples’ lives “because ideology” need to be brought down. But sure, if you’re one of those who have remained relatively unscathed by the scourge of liberalism, then I guess you might not be quite able to grasp that.

Which means, perhaps, that you’ll position yourself as one, who in defending and excusing political parties wedded to liberalism (for fear of fascism?) acts as an effective roadblock to social democracy. And ‘fighting the good fight’, as you may believe yourself to be, maybe you won’t think to be asking yourself – if not social democracy, what then?

97 comments on “Brazil, Brexit, Trump…with more to come.”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Excellent Bill. Listening to Greenwald now; much of what he’s saying is on the nail. (It’s also what CV was saying several years back as well I might add.)

    And ‘fighting the good fight’, as you may believe yourself to be, maybe you won’t think to be asking yourself – if not social democracy, what then?

    How about both? The system that seems to work best is a delicate balance between the liberal instinct to elevate the sovereign individual and private property, and the socialist urge to collectively protect and uplift the weak and marginalised. Allowed to run their extremes we get libertarians and facists on the right, and communism and purges on the left. Both result in mass catastrophe.

    It is as if the left and right actually need each other to stabilise and balance out their worst impulses.

    • Bill 1.1

      I agree it’s not a case of absolutes, and I’m usually more careful to word it in terms of priorities – ie, social democratic priorities or liberal ones.

      Since the 70s, “the west” has elevated liberal priorities and we can see the repercussions all around us.

      Reasserting social democratic priorities will be of huge benefit to many people in the short term.

      But I don’t see it as a solution per se because, as you’ve written, we get left at the mercy of the positioning of pendulum swinging between two undesirable positions within a capitalist framework (ie, insane liberalism and insane statism).

      My solution (for what it’s worth) involves pulling the pin that the pendulum pivots on and leaving the ideologues with a dead weight 😉

      • RedLogix 1.1.1

        Good. I like that.

        How about in simple terms we cut a deal with the liberals; they can keep their private property and the left gets to explore better ways to address inequality.

        It’s a win-win; the world doesn’t have to abandon an economic system, that while self-evidently not perfect, has a reliable track record in producing wealth … while at the same time mitigating the forces that are de-stabilising societies everywhere.

        When Greenwald talks about ‘the establishment classes failure to listen’, their abandonment of the ordinary people … he’s talking the exact same language as Jared Diamond wrote decades ago when tracing out the reasons why societies collapse. And concludes:

        Finally, he answers the question, “What are the choices that we must make if we are to succeed, and not to fail?” by identifying two crucial choices distinguishing the past societies that failed from those that survived:

        Long-term planning: “[…] the courage to practice long-term thinking, and to make bold, courageous, anticipatory decisions at a time when problems have become perceptible but before they have reached crisis proportions.”

        Willingness to reconsider core values: “[…] the courage to make painful decisions about values. Which of the values that formerly served a society well can continue to be maintained under new changed circumstances? Which of these treasured values must instead be jettisoned and replaced with different approaches?”[

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse:_How_Societies_Choose_to_Fail_or_Succeed

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          How about in simple terms we cut a deal with the liberals; they can keep their private property and the left gets to explore better ways to address inequality.

          To be honest, I don’t see there being too much difficulty in shifting our “economy of things” (for want of a better term) from revolving around the concept of ownership to one of usership.

          If I’m in a flatting situation and 10 of us use the washing machine (no need for each of us to own one), then why can’t/don’t we extend that out to a neighbourhood or community level as a matter of course?

          So, instead of me having “ownership rights” on this (say) car and exclusive use of it even though it sits idle 90% of the time, why not “usership rights” along with self designated others?

          It could cover a hell of a lot of things quite comfortably and take financial pressures off as as individuals at the same time.

          And sure, some things would have exclusive usership rights around them. My underpants, my bed, my personal space….

          And maybe that would to lead us questioning the point of capitalist incentives for production (ie profit) and wage slavery etc ….maybe.

          • SPC 1.1.1.1.1

            Sure, washing machines, lawn mowers and other gardening/handyman equipment and rubbish bins and even gardens and (electric) cars can be shared. So can ownership of a bach/boat/caravan/campervan.

            We can do more with less.

            People can use savings to double glaze their homes and put in solar water heating.

            Then there is social investment
            1. buying out peoples debt and allowing them to pay it back sans the fees, penalties and high interest rates (even at 5% its better than a return from a bank and cheaper for them than the 20% and more they are often charged)
            2. for retirement, not in owning a rental but in providing the equity share to enable others to own their homes.

            Other community activism involve getting through red tape and puting in small (removeable) homes in spare section space around Auckland. And mobilising the host a Lions supporter in your home attitude to hosting teachers and nurses in spare bedrooms etc.

            The community can do more.

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.1.1

              I’d probably be seen as pushing the boat out too far if I was to suggest that ownership and bureaucracy act as roadblocks to such things as….people in a discrete neighbourhood renovating or redesignating “that” house to the one that will accommodate the neighbourhood kitchen….or “that” one to house all the required laundry needs and…well, why not have some spacious, comfortable and well fitted out library/communal/ entertainment space or spaces? There’s a huge array of possibilities if we move beyond “my four walls” and “mine”.

              S’okay. I know I answered my own question at the top of the comment 🙂

          • gsays 1.1.1.1.2

            usership rights sounds like sharing.

            it feels good because it is our nature.

          • Gosman 1.1.1.1.3

            It has been tried and doesn’t work very well in large scale.

            • RedLogix 1.1.1.1.3.1

              Yes and it’s worth exploring the reasons why; and what positive lessons can we learn from them. It seems that a sharing economy can work, as long as adequate checks and balances are built in to prevent individuals cheating.

              • Gosman

                I agree with you whole heartedly. You at least are willing to try and understand why right wingers dislike the hard left. Most lefties (here at least) revert to cartoonish characterizations of right wingers which only serve the purpose of making them feel better about not liking right wingers. They miss the point about why many people support the right. The hard left solutions offered don’t deliver and often times make things worse. That is why the PT lost in Brazil.

                • lprent

                  And here I was thinking that the Brazil vote had a lot to do with persistent corruption.

                  The same reason that I remember the last right wing government got the boot from there last time.

                  The vote in Brazil seemed to me to be a severe repudiation of the existing parties. Which is why all of the existing long term parties got creamed in the voting.

                  One of the reasons that I tend to get annoyed with political discourse is the way that ideologues like yourself tend to invent movements that fit their ideas rather than what is clearly happening…

                  • Gosman

                    Corruption AND the end result of hard left policies (which are a persistant recession).

                    • D'Esterre

                      Gosman: “Corruption AND the end result of hard left policies (which are a persistant recession).”

                      Anent the election of Bolsonaro, an observation from a relative:

                      “The left is in power, tries to reign in the abuses of the law, crime escalates, the right takes power and clamps down, crime falls, loses power, left decides that draconian law enforcement is wrong and unnecessary, it lets go of the belt, crime escalates….”

                      George Galloway on the subject:

                      https://www.rt.com/op-ed/442633-brazil-bolsonaro-pinochet-election/

                      “Moreover a substantial number of poor, black and minority ethnic voters cast their ballots for him and against the Workers Party (PT) which on paper defended them.
                      ……
                      …. the record of the PT was found wanting by the nation’s poorest and a section of the working class, thus the defeat.

                      And as fear of the right grew, Fernando Haddad, the PT candidate shifted – to the right!

                      Fear of crime – the kind of crime that’s in voters faces, climbing through their windows as opposed to white-collar grand larceny – was a major driver. A left-wing movement, especially when it holds state power, which cannot protect its people from such crime, as the Bolsheviks did, as the Cuban revolution did, as the Irish Republicans did, will not retain support for long no matter how red their flags.
                      A left-wing movement which accepts neo-liberal orthodoxies of austerity and which fails to dramatically redistribute wealth to the masses, and in a country like Brazil which does not mobilize, even militarize, the advanced sections of the workers in defense of an actual (as opposed to a rhetorical) transformation will be overthrown. And they have been.”

                      And here’s Galloway on the accusations of corruption against Lula:

                      “……. As the heroic leader of what became the PT government of Brazil Lula had the right stuff. Despite disadvantageous changes to the international balance of forces he became the undefeatable leader of a working class, ethnic minority, lower middle class coalition. Which is why they came for him on trumped-up corruption charges – rather than politics – without the slightest basis in truth.

                      That was the moment when the movement if it had been armed with the wherewithal should have made its stand. Instead a long dance to defeat took place, accepting the legitimacy of fascist-era courts, bent policemen and an oligarchy parliament, all of them the enemies of the workers and their party.

                      Ironically if this legitimacy had been contested it would, even if it had failed, have ineluctably led to a boycott of last weekend’s farce once the candidacy of Lula had been judicially murdered by the courts. In those circumstances Bolsonaro wouldn’t have even been the candidate of the right, the oligarchy wouldn’t have needed such an ugly brute.”

                    • Gosman

                      To paraphrase your argument :

                      “Boo hoo. It isn’t fair. It is all the fault of the system why people rejected our left wing politics. We would have won if only we had been given a chance”

                  • RedLogix

                    ideologues like yourself tend to invent movements that fit their ideas rather than what is clearly happening…

                    We’re all probably guilty of that little game from time to time. But on this I have to agree with Gosman, Brazil has a reasonable record of centre left govts for several decades now, but a combination of persistent recession AND the spectacle of mass corruption from a political class evidently out of touch with ordinary people … has led to this disaster.

                    You don’t need any formal political movement to explain it … just a gut level repudiation on a mass scale.

                    • Gosman

                      “ideologues like yourself tend to invent movements that fit their ideas rather than what is clearly happening…”

                      I’m not sure I even understand what that actually means.

                    • Antoine

                      > Brazil has a reasonable record of centre left govts for several decades now?

                      Brazil’s only really been left since Lula took office in 2003, I would say?

                      Of course the incumbent president, Temer (who will be replaced by Bolsonaro) is _not_ left wing

                      > but a combination of persistent recession

                      Since the GFC, that is

                      A.

                    • Gosman

                      Why should Brazil dtill be impacted by the GFC when other countries have got over it?

                    • Antoine

                      >Why should Brazil still be impacted by the GFC when other countries have got over it?

                      They had a recession starting in 2014, due to a combination of factors including flow-on effects from the China economy, scandals, poor governance, low productivity, etc etc etc.

                      A.

            • gsays 1.1.1.1.3.2

              Are you suggesting that the current system ‘works’?

              The GFC, rising massive inequality, the depletion of precious resources and CC are all the inevitable result of capitalism.

              What are you talking about when you say it has been tried and doesn’t work large scale?

              • Gosman

                Again this false idea that inequality is steadily rising. It has largely been static over the past 20 years in most developed countries. Global inequality as a whole is falling.

                • RedLogix

                  I’d challenge you on that simple assertion.

                  It’s my view that two things have been happening at the same time; average global incomes is definitely improving, but the distribution of wealth is still exceedingly skewed:

                  https://inequality.org/facts/global-inequality/

                  Digging into this story reveals a complex web of data and interpretations; but overall when less than 80 people control more net wealth than the bottom 3.5b humans combined, there is a problem.

                  • Gosman

                    We are comparing Apples and Oranges. You are talking about Wealth whereas I am talking about Income. Income inequality in Western nations are largely static as I stated. There has been a massive increase in Wealth by some sections in society . The real question is whether it matters to the poorer sections in society if Bill Gates wealth increased from 50 billion to 75 billion USD if their incomes have increased over the same time and the cost of living has been reduced as a result of the savings made by the innovations provided by Bill Gates company.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yeah … sorry I wasn’t totally clear on that point. Global incomes have improved dramatically over the past 200 years. I’ve quoted this reference a number of times:

                      https://humanprogress.org/about#sec7

                      Inequality is a more subtle problem than simple measures by income or wealth can measure. It has it’s roots in human psychology, has much to do with notions of fairness, and the perceived social gradient, opportunity and mobility.

                      And it’s taken me a long while to understand that just throwing money at the problem is treating the symptom, not necessarily the causes. Redistribution may well be part of the solution, but is unlikely to be the whole answer in the longer run.

                      I like to put it this way; capitalism may well have unleashed immense productivity and wealth, it has largely solved the problem of absolute poverty. But in solving one problem it has uncovered another … the tendency for unconstrained hierarchies to exacerbate relative poverty.

                  • Bill

                    …average global incomes is definitely improving…

                    Take China out of the picture and that statement doesn’t hold. Why take China out? Well, would we have counted the USSR in “back in the day”? Plus, unlike most or all of the rest of the “global south”, China wasn’t subjected to IMF Structural Adjustment Programmes….that sent living standards in a tail spin “everywhere”. (We’re now getting “structurally adjusted” btw, but it’s call it “austerity”…same prescription, same results.)

                    • Gosman

                      The USSR was never part of the globalised capitalist system in the way China is today. That stated I don’t know why the USSR should be left out of any statistics. It would have highlighted the failure of Soviet Communism.

              • Gosman

                Collectivised and communal ownership models. They have been attempted on numerous occassions. They work at a lower level in many cases but as soon as you scale it up and apply it across society the models do not perform very well. One of the main problem with them is accessing capital to help develop the activity in question.

          • Gosman 1.1.1.1.4

            There is nothing stopping you extending your way of living collectively to other people so long as you convince people to live like that. Trying to impose it on others will cause friction and push back.

  2. WeTheBleeple 2

    Hear hear. Failure to see past an election cycle has been a huge problem. As has the rights refusal to do anything but obstruct when in opposition, and pillage when in power. At least I see the left trying to address things but now business are screaming and throwing their toys out of the cot.

    Tantrums, darling.

    The pendulum Bill describes drives one a bit nuts over a lifetime of watching it, am I hypnotized yet?

    Incrementalism is toward total corporate takeover and privatization of all. For my whole life, every time the right gets in, out come the hammers.

    I’m wary of them at the table under any circumstance. They don’t want a seat at the table, they want to own the conference centre.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      The right say the same things about us. Point is neither left nor right are ever going away, they are both ineradicable aspects of human nature.

      Understand them and cut deals with them.

  3. Ad 3

    Greenwald would be inclined to go all arm-wavy and say it’s about those pesky elites and their establishment. Because that’s what he does.

    But for countries as different as the United States and Brazil, it’s simply coarse thinking.

    The good people of Brazil reacted against corruption. Corruption and the Workers’ party were Bonsonaro’s primary targets all the way through.

    That moron Da Silva tried to become a candidate despite being found guilty of corruption.

    Since democracy was restored in 1985, two presidents have been impeached, one has gone to jail, and Brazil’s current leader has been indicted on a charge of corruption.

    One third of the lower house is currently under investigation for corruption, largely tied to a sprawling kickback scheme involving some of the country’s largest public companies.

    The machinations in that Parliament to get the previous female President – darling of the hard left as a guerrilla fighter who had been captured and tortured – went on for too long and took even more of them down.

    This despite the astounding track record of poverty reduction that da Silva had established and for which the poor rightly adored him.

    People were so angry at the scale of the corruption – caused by a far too intertwined relationship between publicly owned companies and the left-leaning Presidents – that a figure who represented stern authority promising to clean them all out has a lot of very reasonable appeal.

    It’s just possible Bolsonaro will clean out corruption by selling off many of the state owned companies that were the source of the poison. Korea has had to do the same thing. Alternatively he could get the military to take some of them over.

    The course correction that the people responded to was to reform the political and commercial corruption of the state – and they democratically chose a very specific kind of elite to achieve it: the military.

    • SPC 3.1

      Corruption at the state to politician level might well decline, but how many oligarchs will be created selling out of the state ownership?

      And oligarchs, as per the Koch brothers, have their own way of corrupting politics – funding campaigns and bribing politicians is something they do well.

      • Ad 3.1.1

        I haven’t found a perfect balance of state and semi-state ownership.
        Not sure it exists.
        But there’s plenty of its damage far closer than Brazil, or Korea.
        Check Malaysia, or Indonesia.

        Or even check the perfect world that our 51%-owned electricity generators live in:
        barely regulated, not bothered by customers, not accountable to the state, not beholden to shareholder revolt, not beholding to policy other than in the merest sense ….

        … the most perfect world to exist in. For them.

    • Bill 3.2

      You didn’t watch the video link Ad, did you?

      • Ad 3.2.1

        I truly did. It took him 5 minutes to get anywhere.

        By the time get to down to “lessons” he’d well run out of anything useful.

        • McFlock 3.2.1.1

          I think he also overstates the “huge proportion” of B’s support that comes from people voting against the establishment.

          55%.

          If B nabbed ~80% of the vote of half the population that sees its structural power being taken away (aka society going to pot), he actually only needs ~30% of the remainder. While some of the precariat or people he hates might support him, it’s all just guesswork.

          • Bill 3.2.1.1.1

            I think he also overstates the “huge proportion” of B’s support that comes from people voting against the establishment.

            What Greenwald actually said was that a “huge portion of his vote total” comes, not from “rich white hateful people”, but from people feeling essentially desperate and abandoned, which unless you want to argue that Brazil is jam-packed with “deplorables”, as a fair few idiot liberals have argued is the case with the USA…..

            • McFlock 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes. But that only works if B did not get the bulk of his support from white or affluent people. The people he doesn’t hate.

              Looking at Brazil’s history, I’d be surprised if advantage wasn’t disproportionately resting in the hands of the 47% of the population that identifies itself as white, and much more so than in most other postcolonial nations.

              • Antoine

                He really didn’t. Both poor and rich, white and colored, support Bolsonaro. You can’t understand the phenomenon until you get your head around this.

                You also cannot have a serious discussion about the Bolsonaro effect without talking law and order. Tough on crime, family values. It is a bigger driver of his support than anticorruption.

                A.

                • McFlock

                  yeah, I’m not saying he doesn’t cover the full strong man thing.

                  But somewhere online there’d be some more in depth polling analysis, I would have thought.

                  Otherwise it’s all just speculation. Like what’s with the geographic split in states? That’s some freaky clustering.

                  • Bill

                    Here’s some breakdown of numbers/demographic from this article by Alex Hochuli.

                    By the eve of the first round of voting, Bolsonaro had the support of 41 percent of those with a college education. The next candidate down only had 16 percent. He had around 50 percent support among those households earning over 10 times the minimum wage. On the eve of the second round, his support had soared to 65 percent (versus 27 percent for Haddad) among the Brazilian top 10 percent. Of the regularly tracked demographic groups, this is where Bolsonaro had the biggest lead.

                    and..

                    Among the poorest—still a large tranche of the population—Haddad led in the polls, but Bolsonaro mustered 38 percent support as late as mid-October. Among these sectors antipetismo, to the extent it exists, does not have the same class character. Instead the discourse is one of abandonment, treason. The desire is for change, any change. And so Brazil is poised to roll the dice on authoritarian disaster.

                    Interesting analysis on the collapse of “the centre” included, and of why many erstwhile liberals ran to…well, it’s outright fascism in the case of Bolsonaro, yes?

                    • Antoine

                      > Interesting analysis on the collapse of “the centre” included

                      Brazil doesn’t have much of a tradition of centrist politics in the way that e.g. NZ has.

                      > and of why many erstwhile liberals ran to…well, it’s outright fascism in the case of Bolsonaro, yes?

                      Bearing in mind that an _economic_ liberal will be pretty content with Bolsonaro because his finance minister is right-wing (supporting privatisation, smaller govt etc) and the market likes him.

                      A _social_ liberal has a harder time supporting Bolso but may hold their nose because they want to get rid of the PT, or because they put lawnorder above all.

                      Neither of these two critters is particularly common in Brazil however!

                      A.

                    • McFlock

                      So he was disproportionately supported by the people already in a privileged position in Brazilian society.

                    • Antoine

                      > So he was disproportionately supported by the people already in a privileged position in Brazilian society.

                      Disproportionately, but not only. He got plenty of poor votes too. Like, more than the entire population of NZ.

                      Presumably he also has support from the elite – the 0.01%ers – I don’t know about this.

                      A.

                    • McFlock

                      look, a certain chunk of any population will put more thought into afternoon tea than the will into a vote. And then a whole bunch of others will have thoroughly considered reasons to vote the way they do.

                      But averages mean that capturing a large chunk of a single demographic cut can make victory possible even if you do relatively badly in every other segment.

                    • Antoine

                      > But averages mean that capturing a large chunk of a single demographic cut can make victory possible even if you do relatively badly in every other segment.

                      This is true, yes.

                      I’m just trying to steer you away from the notion that Bolsonaro vs Haddad was essentially a battle of the rich vs the poor, or white vs black, or privileged vs underprivileged. You cannot get a correct understanding of the dynamic that way.

                      A.

                    • McFlock

                      Except if 2/3 support in one sector meant he managed to get elected with 1/3 support in the other, it kind of does look like sector A vs sector B.

                    • Antoine

                      > Except if 2/3 support in one sector meant he managed to get elected with 1/3 support in the other, it kind of does look like sector A vs sector B.

                      You talk as if 50% of Brazilians were privileged. I can’t see how this can be true outside some kind of narrow technical definition.

                      But in your focus on Venn diagrams, you are missing all the interest here. Think about this. Bolsonaro’s biggest election issues were (a) tough on crime and (b) anti-corruption (of course the two intersect). Haddad looked like a crim-cuddler by comparison.

                      You shouldn’t think that only privileged people want to get tough on crime. Who are most affected by violent crime? It’s poor urban people, who live in or near rough neighborhoods (including favelas) and can’t afford walls or security guards.

                      And surely you don’t think that only privileged people are against corruption?

                      A.

                    • McFlock

                      And surely you don’t think that B got 55% uniformly across income deciles and ethnicities?

                    • Antoine []

                      I do not. I’m not quite sure where you’re going with this, though. I’ll leave you to your percentages.

                      A.

                    • McFlock

                      so now we have each other’s extreme absurdities put to one side, while crime was indeed an election issue (not sure how much corruption in a mobilising factor), it would seem that a large chunk of his support came from established elites rather than the dispossed and alienated yearning for freedom.

                    • Antoine

                      > while crime was indeed an election issue

                      Sure was

                      > (not sure how much corruption in a mobilising factor)

                      It was a really big deal. Just billions of dollars go down the shitter to corruption every year. It is hard for Kiwis to get used to the sheer magnitude.

                      > it would seem that a large chunk of his support came from established elites

                      True (although don’t identify ‘support’ with ‘votes’ – support takes many forms – and is not just on election day)

                      > rather than the dispossed and alienated yearning for freedom.

                      As a generalisation, people vote Bolsonaro for _security_ more than _freedom_.

                      (Of course you can’t have true freedom without security.)

                      Not to mention, to piss off people who annoy them (in this like Trump)

                      A.

                  • Antoine

                    > Like what’s with the geographic split in states? That’s some freaky clustering.

                    The northeast is PT heartland and stayed loyal. Everything outside the northeast went for Bolso.

                    A,

    • Antoine 3.3

      Hey Ad

      > That moron Da Silva tried to become a candidate despite being found guilty of corruption.

      [shrug] If he’d gotten out of jail and stood, he could have won. Even in jail, he would have been the source of much of the support Haddad received. (Which admittedly was not enough.)

      > It’s just possible Bolsonaro will clean out corruption by selling off many of the state owned companies that were the source of the poison.

      I would regard a wave of privatisations as a huge risk in a corrupt environment as there is the possibility of kick backs, brokers deceitfully favoring a buyer, etc etc. I am thinking Faye and Richwhite writ large here. There are many billions to be lost by the State.

      Besides, the private sector is not immune to corruption either.

      > they democratically chose a very specific kind of elite to achieve it: the military.

      Not the _active_ military, let us be clear, but retired personnel.

      A.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    So popular is that party, and so swollen are it’s membership numbers, that it looks like it’s had to send out public invites in order to fill(?) a town hall that it’s leader will be speaking in during conference.

    Why shouldn’t a political party advertise that the party leader will be talking? How else is anybody supposed to know?

    • Bill 4.1

      It’s the Party’s Annual Conference. Members from “all over” are in town. Yet a provincial town’s town hall can only be filled by hooking in ‘foot traffic’?

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        Is it even a question of filling it? That’s an assumption on your part.

        It could just be Labour trying to get people involved in politics which is a Good Thing. And, yes, they even want more members which is another Good Thing.

        Both of those Good Things require public notification and would require booking a venue bigger than one required if only the membership turned up.

  5. Dukeofurl 6

    Clinton doesn’t fancy a run in 2020. When asked she said NO. Twice.
    Hypothetically- heard of that, if not look it up,- she said ‘she would like to be president’

    by imagining a possibility rather than reality; as a hypothesis.

    • Bill 6.1

      In the post, I said that there were rumours, and linked to a broadsheet piece on it. No more than that.

      • Dukeofurl 6.1.1

        Yes that’s right. It one of those things that grow in the telling.

        • adam 6.1.1.1

          Your b.s is getting worse.

          You know your half baked liberalism is wearing thin.

        • Bill 6.1.1.2

          And when those doing the generating and telling of such nonsense are highlighted in the passing – what’d you call that?

  6. Dukeofurl 7

    I always like rose tinted glasses like this

    ‘Then in the UK General Election of 2015 they lost 40 of their 41 Scottish seats.’

    2015 wasn’t even the last UK general election. There was a party in 2017 who had 56 seats and lost 21 of them. Guess what , they lost 13% of their previous votes….to the conservatives
    That party was the SNP who arent the even the 3rd biggest UK Commons party. The Cooperative party is, who sit with labour.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_2015_(Scotland)

    • Ad 7.1

      Roger Whittaker comments on the Scottish post-liberal paradigm here:

      • Bill 7.1.1

        Funnily enough (and would you have pinged up a Black and White Minstrel clip if the post was on racism?) no mention in that ditty of free dentistry, free healthcare, free tertiary education, annulling of the bedroom tax, non-profit (state provisioned) aged care, or any other really obvious markers that put society and the welfare of people before crude economic indicators – those priorities that set social democracy apart from liberalism. 😉

        • Ad 7.1.1.1

          Oddly I thought this was about Brazil.

          But since you’re on about Scotland again, as if it’s a state …

          – Its entire population is in decline, both absolutely and relatively to the UK

          – Its entire economy is in decline and has been for a fair while, particularly against the UK. Won’t even get to GDP growth of 1% per year by 2023 at this rate

          – Wages will continue to fall in real terms and aren’t predicted to go upwards until 2020 at best

          – Is spectacularly subsidized by the EU.

          – Gets plenty of autonomy and tonnes of Westminster subsidy through for example massive Defence establishments.
          In recent years more money has been spent in Scotland than has been collected, whether or not you count money collected from the North Sea oil and gas industries.

          This has also been the case over the last 18 years if you look at the revenue collected and money spent per person in Scotland.

          – As a result of the above has a declining tax take that will weaken its efforts to have a go at poverty in any meaningful way …

          … so the state is getting weaker despite …

          – almost one in four children being poverty. So it has less and less power to do anything about it because it is shait at the economy.

          – And yet the majority chose to remain in union with the UK. Why? Because they do not have the capacity to be their own state and votes to … follow the subsidy

          What those morans in the Scottish parliament should focus on is getting people good jobs that get them out of poverty under their own work and pride, rather than looking at perpetual ways to eternally expand the largesse of its weakening state. But go right ahead, talk about free dentistry and period poverty if you like, as if it’s a fresh theory of human liberation.

          • Bill 7.1.1.1.1

            Oddly I thought this was about Brazil.

            In the broader context it’s about the disconnect of the political class from the concerns and issues of the citizenry they presume to represent.

            In more cases than not, that’s coming down to their regardless imposition of liberal dogma. And the wholly predictable reaction to that.

            Scotland is merely an example of a political class who “got with the programme” as it were (and not perhaps for wholly altruistic reasons), in terms of actually encapsulating the concerns of the voting public in policy (UK Labour being led by Corbyn would be another obvious example).

            Of course, as you’ve said, you see no point in differentiating between social democratic priorities and liberal priorities.

            But that makes any analysis you have to offer look crude or lacking – a bit like a carpenter without chisels or a waiter with no tables – and leaves me wondering how you might explain the fundamental shift represented by the post WW2 Labour government in the UK , or the Thatcher government of ’79, Reagan of ’81, the ’84 Lange government in NZ….

            If the lens isn’t social democratic/liberal, then what’s the lens?

            • Gosman 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Except the PT were not imposing “liberal dogma”. They were far more aligned to your politics than mine.

              • Bill

                The PT implemented austerity measures. Do some reading for christs sake.

                • Gosman

                  When did they do that and why did they do that?

                  • Antoine

                    Like 2015. Trying to balance the budget and please the business sector in the process. Deepened the recession and went down pretty badly with the electorate.

                    A.

                    • Gosman

                      Noone forced them to do that. The question is why did they bother? Why not reject austerity and go full better red than dead?

                    • Dukeofurl

                      No one forced them?

                      You do realize the PT was in coalition with other parties for the government.
                      How else would you have a different party VP take over after Rousseffs removal.

                      Coalitions are very very common. But you don’t seem to know that. Wheter is Spain or Greece, both where more left parties share power.
                      Check how it works in NZ

    • Bill 7.2

      Your habitually visceral reaction to any mention of the SNP….care to explain?

    • Bill 7.3

      I didn’t suggest that 2015 was “the last” UK general election. I used it by way of an illustrative example.

      You want to talk the last UK general election and the same swelling of support for the UK Labour Party under Corbyn in England and Wales, after adopting the same basic social democratic platform as the SNP?

      That’s a messier example because the Blairite rump of Labour in Scotland, under Dugdale’s leadership campaigned with the Tories against the SNP (I guess the thinking was that Corbyn led Labour was a lost cause?) and arguably handed the UK election to the Tories as a result. (They, largely due to Dugdale’s nonsense, got their best result in Scotland “since forever”)

      • Dukeofurl 7.3.1

        yes , that would be the right conclusion about Labour in Scotland not serving their constituents needs.
        SNP had a taste of that too when it lost 21 seats 2 years later.

        Labour would have campaigned against SNP, because thats what parties do- most of the SNP Mps would have been in former labour seats. ( They had previously only 6 seats mostly in rural areas /highlands)
        Which is what the SNP did in the previous campaigns- campaigned against labour and won its seats.
        Its hardly an arguement to say Labour did to the SNP what they had done to them. Anyway, the voters decided what they wanted.

        • Bill 7.3.1.1

          You really have no idea of the dynamics at play, have you?

          Scottish Labour competing for seats, and actively joining up with the Tories to campaign against an opposition party in their own camp are two very different things. Kezia Dugdale, as leader of Scottish Labour, is on record as saying – during the UK election campaign – that people should vote Tory in some constituencies to defeat the SNP.

          Are you suggesting that’s okay and that Labour in England and Wales told (or should have told) people to vote Tory in some cases in order to defeat the Liberal Democracts, or the Greens, or Plaid Cymru?

          Assuming you’re not suggesting any such thing, remind me how many seats the Tories won that general election by? And how many seats they picked up in Scotland?

          • Dukeofurl 7.3.1.1.1

            The voting numbers indicate labour’s vote increased a few %, while Tory’s rocketed nearly 14% . And how much did the SNP drop?. Why that would be 13%.
            The numbers don’t support your conclusions. Perhaps the SNP will have to become more ‘tory’ to get those votes back?

            • Bill 7.3.1.1.1.1

              The numbers don’t support your conclusions.

              My conclusions? My comment consisted of a rhetorical question (fully validated btw) followed by a fairly banal or obvious statement. That was followed by a fact and three questions.

              You went off on a tangent though. So I’ll make it simple for you, and you can draw whatever conclusion you want.

              Kezia Dugdale is on record during a UK election campaign encouraging people to vote for the Tories to stop the SNP.

              With the support of the DUP, the Tories secured a one seat Westminster majority.

  7. Gosman 8

    The left-wing PT party in Brazil was meant to represent all the values you expouse here. Yet they were roundly rejected. You have not answered why that party failed despite sharing your values.

  8. Infused 9

    You guys dont get the trump thing. Having just been over there people love him. It’s the media around the world constantly bashing him. He will get a second term

    • Gosman 9.1

      Interestingly my friend felt the same way before the 2016 election after he visited the States. He picked up that what we see in the media here is not really reflective of the mood of a lot of Americans.

    • Siobhan 9.2

      The media seems to be making a thing of being ‘not reflective of the mood of its citizens’ .
      American (and NZ) media was flummoxed at Trumps victory, the same way the UK (and NZ) media was flummoxed at Corbyn’s popularity.
      The mystery is why anyone would take the Corporate medias narrative as being an accurate measure of the public’s mood and concerns.

  9. Adrian Thornton 10

    Really good post Bill, thanks.

    Another thing worth mentioning is probably the only country in Europe to see it’s Right wing party (u kip) on the decline is in the UK, which of course also has one of the strongest Left wing party’s in Europe.

    Click to access YG%20trackers%20-%20Voting%20Intention%20since%20GE%202017_W.pdf

    Slavoj Žižek makes some very interesting points on this discussion in this short interview with Owen Jones…

    • Gosman 10.1

      There might be a reason other than the Labour party’s strength for the decline in UKIP support. Do you know what that might be?

  10. Well I would say that Labour offered policies that gave many disenfranchised citizens something they could see and understand would help to make meaningful change, unlike the previous new labour… or of course the Tories/U Kip…hence their big bump in the polls when the election cycle began and the media had to actually fairly cover their policies.

    but I am sure you obviously think something else was at play, so why don’t you enlighten me?

    • Gosman 11.1

      It begins with a B then an R and rhymes with Exit

      • Dukeofurl 11.1.1

        UKIP strongholds are mainly Tory areas

        Its clear that labour under Corbyn stopped trying to compete with the Torie sfor the ‘centrist middle’ of the UK electorate and pitched its campaign for traditional working class values. It worked their vote went up 10%!
        Meanwhile the Tories made gains from the centrist voters labour left behind and the UKIP supporters and their vote went up 5% ( FPP meant the seats dropped for the Tories)

        • Gosman 11.1.1.1

          Yet they still lost.

          • Dukeofurl 11.1.1.1.1

            Thats FPP for you…crazy results

            Notice how nice and efficient the Germans are with their voting. The public gets what they vote for. And so do we.

      • Adrian Thornton 11.1.2

        @Gosman, wrong.
        I know the thought of workers, students, the poor and disenfranchised actually voting in their own self interests might seem like an abnormality, but then again having a political party that actually represents that demographics interests as a priority is also a abnormality in western politics.
        Bernie was of course another example of the power of having half decent policies aimed at this demographic.
        Brexit had fuck all to do with Corbyn’s rise..just decent policies, and a genuine and authentic Labour leader to deliver that message.

        • Gosman 11.1.2.1

          Ummm… do you have a comprehension problem? I never stated Brexit was related to Corbyn’s increase in popularity. I stated it was responsible for the fall in UKIP’s.

      • Siobhan 11.1.3

        That’s a throw away answer.
        UKIP was losing around 1000 members a month at last count.
        Primarily there is an issue with their structure and funding model. I think they have around 8 paid staff, which is hopeless, and are ruled by National Executive Committee who are a tight collection of right wing political amatures/nutters, who overturn any policies proposed by their more populist leaders, and who seem hell bent on turning UKIP into some sort of marginalised fascist organisation, rather than what it was, just a bog standard ‘we’re not racist but…’ type political party.

  11. Adrian Thornton 12

    @Gosman, look I know you are from the right so your natural disposition is probably snappy and nasty, but in future don’t bother discussing things with me if you can’t do it without sounding like an fucking arsehole, you might have all day to sit around doing this, but I don’t, so I don’t want to spent the time I do have talking to rude people.

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
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