On ecology, democracy and the ‘French Third Way’

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“ Ecology, namely the question of the compatibility between human life and the sustainability of the ecosystem, itself brings us back to the democratic question. For ecology reveals, scientifically, the equality of all humans faced with a problem that is going to affect them. Of course, the rich have a lot more means for self-preservation than the poor do. But rarely is there a general problem that threatens human life as a whole. If this life disappears, then even the children of the rich will not have a planet left. There we have a problem. So this is a task for society, and we call for a democratic means of action to deal with it. Obviously we want very serious measures for that, and the worrying thing is that we now have a government packed with lobbyists (…) All the partisans of so-called social-liberalism or the Third Way, all the people who said there is no alternative, now have their own party, and it is Macron’s party. The party of no alternative. We think that this is a point of strength for us, because now at least it is clear where people stand. All those people are going off to govern together ”

Hadrien Clouet, ‘Resisting the Macron Surge’, Jacobin Magazine

On Brexit being a ‘free and fair’ choice

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“ Should the EU referendum result be annulled? For the past year I’ve been arguing that this would mean defying a democratic decision – even if it was informed by lies. Democracy is not negotiable. But what if this was not a democratic decision? What if it failed to meet the accepted criteria for a free and fair choice? If that were the case, should the result still stand? Surely it should not ”

George Monbiot, ‘Who paid for the leave vote? Brexit should be halted until we know’, The Guardian

On women’s reactions to harassment

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“ Women don’t want to come across as though they’re overreacting or hysterical – common accusations when you speak up about harassment. You don’t want to make a fuss because you know saying anything will just make the exchange last longer. Or get confrontational. And so you laugh and smile, nod and remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. Maybe because it’s easier, but often because it’s safer. Women have been berated, attacked – and, in extreme situations, killed – for rejecting men. And so smiling politely becomes like muscle memory ”

Jessica Valenti, ‘Trump was sleazy with a reporter. Her awkward laugh felt all too familiar’, The Guardian

On the right of housing

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“ The only way to stop tragedies like Grenfell Tower from happening again is to accept that adequate housing is a right, not a privilege. People on low incomes deserve governments and local authorities that value their lives. Our homes should protect us, not put our families at risk (…) As one resident told me, many people will have died locked in their homes, aware that nobody had cared for their safety while they lived. The only way to change a world where that can happen is through political action ”

Dawn Foster, ‘A Very Political Tragedy’, Jacobin Magazine

On the French Socialist Party and rebuilding the French left

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“ It is difficult to say what the PS is today. Its figures, its staff, its members are not one single entity. Part of it has gone off toward Macron and En Marche. And it is also important to be clearly aware that the reason it got 6 percent was that it embodied defeat and had no prospect of winning after the Hollande years. There was a very strong sense of disillusionment (…) The Parti socialiste is no longer the leading force on the Left, but the Left is not yet in good shape. What really interests me is how we can accomplish the challenging task of rebuilding the Left. That means a Left that concerns itself with the March for Dignity and Justice, a Left that makes feminism relevant for our own time, and a Left that can bring the popular classes back onto the political terrain ”

Elsa Faucillon, ‘The Left Under Macron’, Jacobin Magazine

 

On the universal basic income weaknesses

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“ In their incendiary book Inventing the Future, the authors Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek argue for UBI but link it to three other demands: collectively controlled automation, a reduction in the working week, and a diminution of the work ethic. Williams and Srnicek believe that without these other provisions, UBI could essentially act as an excuse to get rid of the welfare state. What’s needed is not the arbitrary adoption of UBI, but an entirely different conversation about what a welfare state is for. As David Lammy MP said, after the Grenfell Tower disaster: ‘This is about whether the welfare state is just about schools and hospitals or whether it is about a safety net.’ The conversation, in light of UBI, could go even further: it’s possible for the welfare state not just to act as a safety net, but as a tool for all of us to do less work and spend more time with our loved ones, pursuing personal interests or engaging in our communities ”

Ellie Mae O’Hagan, ‘Love the idea of a universal basic income? Be careful what you wish for’, The Guardian

On the conviction of homosexuals during the Third Reich

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“ Germany’s article 175 outlawed ‘sexual acts contrary to nature … be it between people of the male gender or between people and animals’. Sex between women was not explicitly illegal. Although it dated from 1871, it was rarely enforced until the Nazis came to power, and in 1935 they toughened the law to carry a sentence of 10 years of forced labour. More than 42,000 men were convicted during the Third Reich and sent to prison or concentration camps ”

‘Germany to quash convictions of 50,000 gay men under Nazi-era law’, The Guardian