Trump Protesters Helping To Mask Real Issues

It seems to be all the rage (perhaps literally) these days to denounce Donald Trump especially for his stance on immigration and his attitude towards women. 

A week ago hundreds of thousands of people across the entire globe came out in protest against Trump in a women’s march to highlight equality and a host of other female related issues in a unified voice to remind him that women matter. It became one of the largest protests in the history of the USA. 

This weekend it was the turn of Trumps immigration policy as the focus of discontent starting with the huge protest at JFK airport. 

These issues in their own right deserve attention and the people of the US have every right to protest whatever they feel they must protest against. It’s perhaps a shame though that they didn’t protest against illegal drone strikes in foreign nations or protest at US military involvement in the multiple conflicts during Obamas tenure or the failure to close Guantanamo Bay, or tighten up gun laws to stop the hundreds of deaths by firearms every year, over 500 murders were committed in Chicago alone last year, a good many commited by gun.

We here in the UK face a similar issue. Over 100 thousand protested with the US for womens rights and the knives are out this weekend for the US policy on Immigration. Again, all worthy causes in their own right but the women’s March was the largest protest since 2014 when 500,000 Union members protested against Austerity yet there is plenty here to protest against.

The USA is not introducing policies against women.. the leader just happens to be very misogynistic. The USA is not committing acts of violence against refugees or changing policy on how they are treated once they are in the country, it’s a change in immigration policy and whilst there is no doubt that it’s a policy rooted in mistaken beliefs and is discriminatory to say the least, it’s arguable that it’s not worth the response it’s got so far. It’s disproportionate. If anything Trump delivered what he promised and personally I blame the people that voted Hillary Clinton and not Bernie Sanders. If they had we would be seeing a very different USA now. Trump is keeping his promises, like it or not. 

Why then are we, here in the UK, getting almost as mad as Americans themselves over Trump when we ourselves are having ongoing issues that few people seem interested in tackling? Why is it so much easier to protest against the US President than protest our own prime minister? 

Let’s just take a few of the most stark issues to make the point.

Thersea May says that the UK government will not deal with countries that have a policy of Torture, yet this year we signed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia and May has just signed another arms deal with Turkey. 

Our NHS is in meltdown with potential A&E closures and the loss of 17,000 NHS staff including 7,000 Nurses on the horizon. The Conservatives are intent on privatising the NHS by making the NHS fail through its 7 Day NHS policy.

Homelessness in the UK has risen by 16% since just last year and with a Conservative policy that just does not address the housing crisis sufficiently it means homelessness will continue to rise whilst first time buyers will still be unable to get onto the housing ladder.

We have thousands committing suicide through a harsh benefits assessment or dying soon after being declared ‘fit for work’ with more cuts due for thousands of working poor that will see up to £3000 a year slashed from their budgets.

Our environment is suffering already with over 9,000 people in London every year dying from poor air quality and just recently the first smog alert was issued for London under the new alert system. 

We are in austerity yet we can find money for an expensive Nuclear power station, a doomed white elephant that is HS2 and more MP pay rises and corporate tax cuts. 

We have had the worst period for stagnant wages since the Victorian times. The worst 10 year period in modern times. 

1 million jobs are insecure via zero hours contracts helping to distort the unemployment figures.

Yet despite all these major problems you will be lucky to see a couple of thousand protesting against the issues at hand. Just this weekend a protest took place in support of the NHS in London with over 1,000 people claiming to be interested. We don’t have any figures on attendence but it certainly did not make the news and previous experience suggests that not even half that will have turned up. Credit to the people that did make it, but why were 100 thousand people not out at that protest? Is this not important enough to you, your parents, grandparents and children? 

It’s far easier to get angry about something in the moment than it is to tackle long term issues, but that’s the point. It’s reactionary. When all the dust has settled on what’s happening in the US, our problems here will still be very much real and by the time you pay attention, it may already be too late. 

If the world’s public want something to really unite for, against Donald Trump, perhaps it’s the things that are not making the news such as the failed political system that helped get him into power in the first place, or the shady dealings of Hillary Clinton or perhaps Trump’s executive order almost certainly for the very man who funded his campaign. The man responsible for building the Dakota Access Pipeline, Kelcy Warren.

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Trump, Tillerson And The Conspiracy In Plain Sight 

Back in early 2016 a story broke that made headline news, years earlier it had been dismissed as a conspiracy theory by some. This year the cards are falling into place as Donald Trump the climate sceptic (we’re being generous with that description) begins to wage war against eco activists in favour of big business and the oil corporations. You already know that Donald Trump is business hungry and was always likely to forego climate issues in favour of the energy firms but what you might not realise is how deep the conspiracy may actually be about to go. 

Posing the question…
Nope. Just a conspiracy.
Not true.. what would have been the point?

THEN in 2016 The Guardian broke a story around documents that had been found indicating that ExxonMobil’s forerunner had not only purchased the patents of environmentally friendly advances in technologies but had systematically withheld the research into these technologies from governments. This was going back as far as the 1940’s. Back then governments were lobbied, as they are now, by the large oil companies and as a result the findings of advances in technology were kept from competing industries such as vehicle manufacturers. The technology existed even back then to produce electric vehicles buy the oil companies were clearly afraid that the advances would put their profits at risk. The oil firm even knew of harmful C02 gases and the impact they were having on the atmosphere but failed to make their findings public, again fearing a hit on their profits. The report says that technology was even being researched into weather manipulation, perhaps giving rise to theories such as geo engineering and HAARP.

The American Petroleum Institute, the main oil lobby, opposed government funding of research into electric cars and low emissions vehicles, telling Congress in 1967: “We take exception to the basic assumption that clean air can be achieved only by finding an alternative to the internal combustion engine.” – The Guardian 

ExxonMobil funded a disinformation campaign aimed at discrediting scientists and blocking government efforts to fight climate change for 50 years. Only in 2008 did they “disavow” climate denial.

“What we saw was an array of patent technologies that demonstrated that these companies had the technologies they needed and could have commercialised to help address the problem of C02 pollution,” said Carroll Muffett, president of the Ciel (The organisation that released the files).

“They then turned to Congress and said you don’t need to invest in electrical vehicle research because the research is ongoing and it’s robust”

You can read more on the documents at the Guardian article here.

A year on from the release of that trove of documents and Donald Trump has within the last few days chosen Rex Tillerson as the new Secretary of State. Rex Tillerson was until the last few days the Chief Executive of ExxonMobil. The role of secretary of state is one of the most high powered roles in the USA as the chief foreign policy advisor.

What’s even more important to note is the connection between Donald Trump’s Pro Putin stance and Rex Tillerson’s past. Tillerson and Putin worked together to pursue energy and drilling deals whilst Russia was subject to US sanctions. Tillerson later received an award from Moscow.

It’s ok though, Tillerson has signed a deal meaning he cannot invest in ExxonMobil whilst in office and cannot work in the industry for 10 years. There is definitely no way around that and no way whatsoever that other deals will be done behind the scenes. 

Now consider Donald Trump’s climate denying opinions including purging the EPA climate change page from its official website (they have rowed back on this action within the last 24 hours) and via executive order reviving the Dakota access pipeline. He previously told one interviewer on Fox News the following; 

‘…the cold weather (it was January) was evidence that there was no climate change’ – Washington Post

Not to mention his more recent comments that have been well publicised in the press.

In short this is the situation we find ourselves in;

•Donald Trump has been, and arguably still is, a climate change denier. 

•Donald Trump has openly stated he wishes to work with, and closely to, Russia (we make no comment here on the principle of working alongside Russia). 

•Donald Trump has authorised the continuation of the Dakota pipeline. 

•Donald Trump has just hired Rex Tillerson, a Chief executive of ExxonMobil. 

•Rex Tillerson worked with Russia on oil deals when the US government had sanctions against them

•ExxonMobil are under scrutiny for historic cover ups of technology that could have halved Co2 emissions and also covering up the effects of C02 on the climate.

Finally (this warrants a paragraph on its own), in October 2016 it was revealed that Donald Trump had received huge donations into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for his presidential campaign from one Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners the firm behind the construction of the Dakota access pipeline. 

They used to think that the idea of oil firms covering up patent squatting and covering up the proof of the effects on the climate from C02 emissions was just a conspiracy. The truth is that the conspiracy is no longer such and instead the truth is now burying itself deep within the White House.

The Effect Of Trump And Brexit on the Left

Trump hates the media right now. He slates them at any given opportunity and oddly perhaps this is where the hypocrisy and a clear split in the left of politics is evident and it’s a clear simulation of what has happened with Brexit in the UK.

For many a year the left has seemingly been unified across the board with social justice, the fight against the elite and 1% and the campaign against mainstream media in favour or independent or alternative media being the order of the day. 

Yet when push has come to shove the left has split in two causing perhaps untold and permanent damage to the foregoing unity. 

When Brexit was on the menu many on the left decided to back remain in the EU for mainly two reasons. One reason was because Jeremy Corbyn said to and the second reason being that some genuinely felt that staying in the EU protected rights and jobs in the UK along with environmental protections. 

On the other side the traditional working class, often seen as the traditional left, voted to leave the EU based in large part on concerns over jobs and this then manifested in concerns over immigration but backing these large numbers up was another large chunk of the left, known during the EU vote as Lexiters (Left Exit), they believed that immigration had little to do with the issues and instead focused their concerns on what the left had usually been united on, the fall of the 1% and the attack on the elite. They also believed that by leaving the EU it would stop foreign workers being paid below the national UK minimum wage and also in turn protect jobs in the UK. By leaving the EU it would help curtail at least the European super state forming and make it harder for the elite and 1% to operate. With the loss of pan European finance legislations it would indeed make life much harder for the banks and corporations. 

The difference between Lexit voters and the pro-EU left was principal. Lexit voters would vote against what they had always campaigned against even if it meant harder times for those in the UK (and there has so far been little evidence of that) whereas Pro-EU left voters voted on the fear that a Tory government would slash and burn workers rights and become entirely anti-immigration even if it meant backing the elite and 1%…something they too had campaigned for over the years. What they perhaps failed to see was the long term solution that a Tory government would not always be in power and that even Jeremy Corbyn spoke of a different Europe based on Socialist values if the UK came out of the current EU and a Left government came to power.

Regardless of all that though, it meant the left had split and a new dividing line had formed. 

What then is the link between this and Trump? Principle. 

The left has for a long time campaigned against the mainstream media as corrupt and bias with around 6 corporations in control of much of the world’s mainstream media. The tycoon ‘Murdoch’ perhaps being the most hated figure within the media spectrum.

Now though the same split as Brexit is appearing around Trump’s dealing with the media. Much of the left is rounding on Trump for not taking questions from the media, shutting down the conversation and ultimately berating the media and sometimes even insulting it. This section of the left is demanding that he deal with the media properly, like Obama did and citing Trump’s attitude as evidence of his Incompetence and unprofessionalism. 

Yet those on the other side of the left divide recognise that Trump’s behaviour toward the media is exactly what the left has in some ways been campaigning for. To put the media in its place, to reject it. To call it out for what they often are, hyperbolic liars incapable of true journalism. 

Perhaps in some ways the stand off between Trump and the media will galvanise journalists to finally do some real investigative journalism but when it comes to principle, the left has split irrevocably on a number of issues including Brexit and Trump. 

Some may argue that those on the left that support Trump’s stance with the media and support Brexit are also in turn supporting the right. However when it comes to principle you are not meant to change your views based on what others are doing or want. You stick to them, regardless. Only if something truly horrifying is happening should you consider altering your values and so far, with just a few days under his belt and just a few months after the Brexit vote, neither Trump nor Brexit have come close to be truly horrifying… yet. What it does show is that some on the left are so focused on their label as social justice protectors that anything else pails and such a one track mind can be as dangerous as a right wing supporter also with a one track mind. It takes little intelligence and little forethought to stand for something without having given it some long term analysis.

I can’t let the article finish without mentioning the violence and destruction that some on the left are committing. The only violence or destruction that ever need be committed is when it matters and only then against the actual target of the anger, that being, usually, government or corporate property or persons. Targeting your own communities or fellow citizens is most often cowardly and ineffectual and very stupid. 

If Ever There Was A Needless Protest…This was it

100,000 people protest against Donald Trump. Yet this isn’t America. This is London, England and that’s not to even cover the protests in other parts of the country including places such as Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff and more.

100’s marched in Cape Town whilst 5000 marched in Dublin along with thousands more in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Budapest. They even protested in Antarctica and let’s not forget the half a million that marched in Washington itself and the multiple marches across the U.S. 

You would think that the USA had just declared war against a non aggressive country. What could be so bad that would galvanise people around the world to come out in the 100’s of thousands if not literally millions? 

This was a protest essentially for women’s rights thanks to sexist and misogynistic remarks made by Donald Trump during his presidency campaign and wether you agree or not that his comments were sexist or misogynistic it is to miss the point being made here.

Everyone should have the right to protest what they like and people have done so emphatically in this case but what it masks, that not many have spoken of, is the disproportionate response compared to other causes and the irrelevance of protesting against Donald Trump when you don’t even live in the USA. What about protesting the leaders of other countries of countries where there is little to no tolerance towards women, there are plenty of them. Maybe the US is an easy target? So often we hear the media describe the US president as “the leader of the free world” that we have a rose tinted view of how progressive the US is when in reality the US has many societal and fiscal and military issues that would make the noses bleed of many people from Europe. The US is not the finished article in terms of progress so to put it on some kind of pedestal where we can not fathom how a misogynist rose to power is perhaps naive. 

Whichever way you look at it, Trump has not been in Power for even a week and we don’t yet know how he will deal with his new found power. Protest when you have something to really protest about and that brings me to my final point.. disproportionate protest.

In 2012 women protest in London against rape whilst in underwear and calling it a ‘slutwalk’. Protesting against Rape is a close second in the pointless stakes.

Here in the UK several hundred (read: less than 1 thousand) turned up at the Royal Liverpool Hospital this past Saturday to protest the funding crisis in the NHS. Less than 1,000 also turned up at Brighton. In Worcestershire a few days ago a protest organised by the well known group ’38 degrees’ attracted a whopping 25 protesters! 

The same issues can be found with multiple issues including the likes of Saudi Arabia committing war crimes in Yemen, Income inequality, Benefit cuts, social services being slashed, the mess around the VIP child abuse scandal… take your pick… these are issues close to home that affect people daily or at least our actions affecting others abroad. We have an opportunity to affect change on our own doorstep and we can barely muster a ripple of discontent. 

Maybe the fact we know that no good will come from a protest about a US president thousands of miles away whilst simultaneously back slapping each other that we stood up for women’s rights was just an effort to feel good in all this gloom. 

The protest was shameful not because it happened but because those same people can’t be inspired to stand up for things that truly are important. 

I don’t know how those people organised so well, but perhaps the likes of The Peoples Assembly, UK Uncut and others should take a leaf out of their book. 

Jeremy Corbyn Facebook Groups Dealing A Death Blow To Labour

Right about now Corbyn and Co. are about to launch their 2017 strategy for engaging with the electorate. It seems to have already begun with the ‘Rail Fail’ campaign highlighting the need to re-nationalise the railways. Apparently we will see more of Jeremy on our TV screens too and not before time. 

Up to now the only place you could feasibly find information on Labour policy and actions is via the official Facebook pages and indeed from third party Facebook Groups. Already you can see, that without mainstream media air- time many of Labours messages are lost on the electorate especially when Dianne Abbott gets in front of a microphone. Her opinions on Brexit and immigration seem confused at times as further evidenced by Keir Starmers comments on immigration. 

We are Jeremy Corbyn supporters ourselves at UKI Left but we recognise that unless Labour gets itself in tune then the messages will be lost on the public regardless how much mainstream airtime they get. Of course nothing is helped when the right wing of the party are on a vow of silence, but the trouble with that is they are not going anywhere. Not any time soon. As a result Corbyn is regrettably walking a tightrope between abject failure and survival.

So what of these social media Corbyn supporting groups such as ‘We Support Jeremy Corbyn’? Surely they are good for the profile of Jeremy Corbyn? It seems not. With well over 30,000 members and the largest Jeremy Corbyn supporting group on Facebook you would think it an ideal place to air concerns and challenge the issues on Brexit, the economy and more. 

The group though systematically bans posts relating to Brexit discussions. The biggest talking point in British politics today is silenced yet it’s this issue more than any other that divides the nation and divides politicians alike. Being a left wing group you would expect huge discussions on this very subject as the left has notoriously backed both leave and remain in huge numbers. 

In fact many posters within this Facebook group appear to often be targeted by what can only be described as fanatical Jeremy Corbyn supporters. In both equal measure they on one hand criticise some members for daring to question a Corbyn led policy and denounce attitudes as “not very Corbyn like” yet on the other hand attack the poster in a manner that ironically is ‘not very Corbyn like’. These posts and their originators often end up being banned from the group, dismissed as trolls when in reality anyone passing an objective eye can see that the posts are usually not in the same ball park as “trolling”. It’s simply a matter of anything other than pro Corbyn sentiment being disregarded as an “attack on Jeremy corbyn” such is the seige mentality of some Corbyn supporters. It’s the ultimate echo chamber where nothing is challenged and nothing learned. 

Here is just one recent example:

One person recently posted the following 

The same person was called a ‘Tory troll plant’ and responds as below:

Another person in the same thread responds to the OP with this wonderful reply which highlights everything we have said in this article:

We would suggest highlighting the bad practice of admin shutting down debate is not negative or divisive, it’s highly pertinent.

Yet what this all goes to show is that if online criticism or questioning is disregarded by such large groups then what hope does that electorate have of learning about the intricacies of policy decisions? With little TV coverage to date, a vow of silence by the PLP, barely any positive news articles and now the issue around social media groups it will only spell one thing. Oblivion for Labour, certainly if things continue in this manner. 

This is not isolated, this occurs in many social media forums but particularly here in the biggest Jeremy Corbyn supporters group on Facebook and all this does is feed into a negative atmosphere, even turning some people against each other and they are meant to be on the same side.

This is important not only because of the situation Labour finds itself in but also because Social Media has been a bonus for many political campaigns over the past few years and if the campaigns and support groups can’t get to grips with genuine criticism then the Social media advantages will be worthless.

As left wing political supporters ourselves we pride ourselves on particularly this one thing, that despite a particular leaning towards one end of the political spectrum, we are no one’s pet. We do not support anyone unequivocally just because someone sits on the left. We question and we critique all to ensure that no politician ever forgets who voted for them and who backed them. To do otherwise is precisely what has landed us the two party system for such a long time and being rabidly supportive of one person or party without question just helps perpetuate the broken political system. Regardless of who they are.

2016 : A False Dawn Of Truth Amidst Chaos

This will be short but it’s an important reflection of 2016.

This was a year of political chaos for many people around the world. From the UK Brexit vote to Donald Trump’s victory in the USA, from the destruction of parts of Syria to the destruction of Yemen, from the Austrian near far right vote to South Korea’s demonstrations to oust their corrupt leadership and all of that is really just the tip of the iceburg, but what a tip it is. The ramifications from many of these situations will continue long into 2017.

All of these things though have something in common and that is their truth value. A truth that people have had enough and that people were willing to rock the boat of stability in order to effect a change. Love it or loath it, these situations cast a light on public sentiment and not all of it is good. Far from the belief of the left that things must change for the better and calling on the public to heed that message, it’s been far easier for the public to express their anger in the most obvious of human traits and that isn’t good either.

It does represent the truth. That people are fed up with things and who can blame them after a decade of austerity, rising costs and stagnating wages but what does it mean for 2017 and beyond? 

It would be easy to say “more of the same” and perhaps the trend may continue in some respects, but within choas, even if it is of the people’s own making and volition, comes the desire for stability and safety and that may actually translate into people reflecting on a turbulent political year and voting for stability instead and if that happens we can expect to at least see Donald Trump towing the well trodden path so many have taken before him rather than branching out into a cauldron of Trump-Politics, Theresa May continuing to enjoy high polling in the UK rather than Corbyn breaking the mould, Italy, France and Germany voting for what they know best of all and the Middle East finding an unusually quiet year ahead and come December 31st 2017, we may just return to what we do best.. burying our heads in the political sand and avoiding the notion that politics is corrupt. 

After all, the politicians know best and the people need leaders.