AROUND THE WORLD: Donald Trump and America’s underlying fascism

As Donald Trump addressed the media over this years midterm elections results, an argument broke out between the president and CNN’s Jim Acosta. When questioned about his racial scaremongering over the migrant caravan, Trump responded with his usual ‘fake news’ spiel then labelled Acosta as a‘rude, terrible person’. Acosta refused to give the microphone back to a female white house staffer which has since been used as an excuse to revoke his White House pass.

In an attempt to justify themselves, the White House have circulated an Infowars doctored video of the incident claiming, he laid his hands on the young woman. Infowars, for those who aren’t aware is a far right conspiracy theory site known primarily for its maverick host Alex Jones. Jones is a Sandy Hook truther who infamously went viral after ranting that the Pentagon has a “gay bomb”, chemicals from which it has allowed to leak into the water supply turning “the friggin’ frogs gay!”. The fact that the White House have showcased this video this shows a clear threat of fascist influence in the White House.

Trumps treatment of the press has long since been compared to that of other fascist regimes. Like Hitler and Mussolini, he clearly shows nothing but contempt for the free press. This is not however, his most overt flirtation with fascism. Trump once retweeted the Islamophobic posts of Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of fascist group Britain First, who has been convicted of hate speech in Northern Ireland. Likewise, after events in Charlottesville led to the murder of socialist organiser Heather Heyer in a cowardly neo-Nazi attack, Trump stated that not all the far right protesters were neo-Nazis and white supremacists and laid the blame for the violence equally on what he called the “alt-left”.

The Trump presidency’s fling with fascism exposes a clear American hypocrisy. Whilst it has long been propagated that the United States is a bastion of liberty and democracy, its historical ties with fascism prove it to be anything but. In response to the threat of communism during the cold war, the US abandoned its ‘principles’ in order to fight the ‘red menace’. In blatant disregard for the constitution, Eisenhower signed into law the Communist Control Act of 1954 which outlawed the communist party and criminalised membership. During the first red scare, the US deported a number of “foreign aliens” they suspected of sedition and additionally during the era of McCarthyism, the US imprisoned numerous communist leaders under the Smith Act.

It is however, in foreign affairs where America’s relationship with Fascism is most flagrant. In Chile, the United Sates supported Pinochet’s coup against democratically elected Marxist – Salvador Allende, leading to the rise of the notorious Caravan of Death. Similarly, in Indonesia American embassy officials gave a list of suspected communists to Fascist death squads who embarked on a genocide of up to 3 million people. In perhaps the most disgusting example, United States intelligence recruited the “Butcher of Lyon” Klaus Barbie, a Gestapo functionary who American forces used to track down and execute Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.

Donald Trump’s actions are another chapter in a deep seated tradition of fascism within the American establishment. The lack of a communist scapegoat has meant that he has not seen the support previously seen by J Edgar Hoover and Ronald Reagan who went on similar crusades. However, the threat Trump and his cabal pose to democracy cannot be discounted. If his overt courting of fascism is not successfully challenged then the underlying fascism of the American establishment will no longer remain in the shadows.

AROUND THE WORLD: Justin Trudeau’s Saudi arms deals showcases the dilemma of centrism.

With growing international pressure and all eyes on the Saudi regime, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that he is unlikely to cancel his countries arms deals with Saudi Arabia. The statement is indicative of Trudeau’s brand of liberalism. Preformative, corrupt and ultimately broken.

Much has been said of Justin Trudeau’s reign as leader of the Liberal Party in Canada. He recently apologised for war crimes committed against indigenous people and yet despite this has committed to a Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project violating indigenous peoples land rights. Likewise whilst enthusiastically participating in a gay pride march, his administration was busy dealing with a 15 billion dollar arms deal with the notoriously homophobic Saudi regime.

The hypocrisy of the Trudeau regime is an emblematic highlight towards the problems of centrism and liberalism. Much like his co-statesmen Emmanuel Macron, whilst preaching the virtues of liberalism against the rising far right movement, Trudeau has shown himself to be no different to the previous neo-conservative governments. Following the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canada joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership incorporating much of the previous agreements neo-liberal policies.

The failings and resentment feat towards the Trudeau government some up the failings of centrists to deal with the problems faced by people worldwide. Whilst attempting to counteract rising radical parties, the centrists commit to policies which only strengthen radical voices. Here in the UK, the liberals fanaticism with the EU has ignored legitimate concerns with the EU’s economic austerity policies which infamously led to the stranglehold of the Greek people by the viscous economic polices of the troika. Emmanuel Macron’s victory over National Front fascist Marine Le Pen has led to little change for the French working class. Macron has become devoted to a Thatcherite struggle against the french trade union movement in an attempt to further neoliberalise the country leading to strikes and protests.

Meanwhile in Canada, Trudeau’s attitude to the House of Saud is a clear demonstration of the west’s attitude towards the oil rich nation. Whilst a lot of attention has been drawn towards the Saudis murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi’s military operations against the Houthis in Yemen have led to a severe case of mass famine. The barbarity of the Saudi war machine has been laid out for all to see as it commits atrocity after atrocity. In spite of this western leaders, from former UK Tory prime minister David Cameron to Canadian Liberal prime minster Justin Trudeau have maintained their diplomatic relationship with Saudi Arabia. Whilst occasionally condemning Saudi atrocities, the west have remained favourable to the dictatorship with prizes ranging from weapon deals to seats on human rights councils.

The relationship Trudeau has with the Saudis is proof of centrism’s innate flaws. Whilst they preach of tolerance, debate and freedom, the ruling liberals of the world are prepared to drop any of their “principles” in the face of lucrative Saudi blood money. Centrism has unambiguously failed its citizens wherever it has governed. Trudeau’s Canada is just one more case and point.

AROUND THE WORLD: Tensions rise as Palestinians attempt to end the Gaza blockade

In recent times, Gaza has seen an escalation of violence as local Palestinians attempt to resist the years long blockade of the strip. A drone strike has killed three Palestinian teenagers whom the Israeli Defence Force accuse of laying explosives. A series of protests, which have become known as the great march return home aimed at highlighting the Palestinians right of return, have resulted in heavy Palestinian casualties. An American far right activist was stabbed to death on the streets by a Palestinian teenager. All this shows a clear escalation of violence within the occupied territories.

This has all come at a time where president Trump has substantially cut aid to the Palestinians and has even closed the PLO’s office in Washington D.C. Earlier this year the president moved the US embassy to Jerusalem in a clear symbolic act which accepted full Israeli claims to the holy city. This predictably resulted in protests and clashes.

Likewise, Israel has responded to the violence by strongly enforcing the embargo on Gaza. Since the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza following the Second Intifada, Israel has commenced with a stranglehold on the besieged strip. This has resulted in a dramatic rise in suicides and the strip only sees a few hours of electricity a day.

In response, Palestinians have escalated their protests attempting to end the blockade by land and sea. The PLO have dramatically voted to suspend their recognition of Israel and to end the current security and economic relationship. This has come as a result of the zero sum policies of the right wing Netanyahu government who have consistently dug their heels in during the peace process. The illegal settlement building in occupied Palestine has continued resulting in many doubts towards Israels attitude to the peace process.

The situation for many Palestinians living under occupation has been dire. Leaders of the movement have been imprisoned through extrajudicial means. This includes the detention without trial of elected legislator Khalida Jarrar who is suspected of belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a revolutionary Marxist organisation. Likewise, the leader of the group Ahmad Sa’adat was captured by Israeli forces by besieging Jericho prison after his imprisonment was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Both leaders have as of yet not faced fair trial.

Hopes for a two state solution have dropped dramatically since the seemed progress of the Oslo accords. Since the failure of Oslo leading to the Second Intifada, Israel and Palestine have remained locked in their perpetual war against each other.

As confidence plummets in the ability of the Palestinian Authority to deliver the demands of the Palestinian masses, radical groups spurred by the disillusioned population have remained unrelenting in their resistance against Israeli occupation. The idolisation of Ahed Tamimi and the unwavering commitment to constant protests despite casualties shows that the Palestinian people will not accept the current state of play. If the two state solution is to be successful, Israel must commit to accepting the rightful demands of the Palestinian people. Otherwise it faces a growing radicalised resistance determined to achieve their aims by whatever means necessary.

EU makes new proposal for bloc wide digital tax

EU finances ministers will discuss a new EU-wide digital tax, that aims to be agreed upon by the end of the year.

The EU would impose a 3% tax on turnover of digital firms like Google and Facebook who are accused of moving around their profits so they pay inadequate amounts of tax.

A third of EU states, including France, Italy and Spain, supported the new plan in a meeting on Wednesday but the smaller low tax nations, like Ireland and Luxembourg, oppose the measure on the basis it could cut their tax revenues.

All members states must back the plan for the tax to be introduced.

The larger countries are pushing for an EU wide deal as member states are beginning to announce their own digital tax policies which risks fragmenting the single market.

The UK announced its own plan for a digital service tax on Monday in the Chancellor’s budget. The UK will tax digital companies revenue’s at 2% as long as the companies are profitable and have revenue sales exceeding £500 million. This will come into force in 2 years time, therefore it remains unclear if the UK will still be in the EEA under the Brexit transition process.

However, there are concerns if the UK has the ability to enforce such a tax without leaving loopholes, something the EU is more likely to be able to achieve.

The proposed tax shows the Bloc’s willingness to tame the power of the new digital corporations but many believe more is needed to curtail the power of these media giants.

To overcome the opposition the new proposal has an expiry date.

The global debate on the overhaul of digital taxation has produced no results as competing ideologies alongside nationalist interests have meant there is very little consensus.

Far right candidate Bolsonaro To Become President of Brazil

Tonight sees the second round of the 2018 Brazilian presidential election. The election has come down to two candidates, the far right Social Liberal Party candidate Jair Bolsonaro and the left-wing Workers Party candidate Fernando Haddad. With most polls closed at 5:00 pm Brazilian time, Bolsonaro is expected to win despite Haddad gaining ground in the polls in the last few weeks. In the first round, Bolsonaro won 46% of the vote whilst Haddad won 29%. What this means for the future of Brazil shall be explored as the night goes on but the likely Bolsonaro victory should worry progressive forces everywhere.

New Updates

Bolsonaro To Face Opposition, Clashes Reported

Some final thoughts as the night draws to a close. Manuela D’Ávila, Fernando Haddad’s running mate and Communist Party member has called for “resistance” on Twitter stating that “We lost, it’s only fair that we become sad and worried, with us, with ours, with Brazil. But sadness has to quickly turn into resistance,”. Clashes have been reported among rival supporters although a heavy police presence on the street will intend to avoid the scenes after the first round results. However, reports are already coming in of LGBT+ members attempting to leave the country as they fear the worst, expectantly, of the far right demagogue. Whilst Bolsonaro no doubt intends to fulfil his goals, he faces opposition from a number of left parties in Congress and a potential militant working class who will no doubt resist the regimes neo-liberal reforms as they have done in the past. While the future is in doubt, the will of the Brazilian people is not.

Bolsonaro Makes Victory Speech, Worries As Fascism Rises

Within his speech, dull and televised as is his style, Bolsonaro stated that “We cannot continue flirting with communism … We are going to change the destiny of Brazil,” and has stated during the campaign that “we will shoot” Workers Party supporters and told “leftist outlaws” to either leave the country or find themselves in jail. It is important to stress this man is not just a populist nor is he Brazil’s answer to Trump. He is the ingrained representation of fascism within the Brazilian establishment. The Human Right Watch has announced people to resist the new regime whom they call a “pro-torture, openly bigoted member of Congress”. Haddad now defeated has stated in his closing speech that “We have a huge task: in the name of democracy, to defend the thinking, the freedom of these 45 million Brazilians”. The future of the party now at the whims of a far right administration is in doubt.


Far Right Victory: How and Why?

The question on many peoples minds not familiar with Brazilian politics is just how did such a uncompromising neo-liberal, openly homophobic and military junta enthusiast win the worlds eighth largest economy of nearly 210 million people. There are multiple factors, one glaring one being the disqualification of former president Lula who has long since topped the polls despite his corruption imprisonment. Both his and former president Rousseff’s corruption charges has led many to accuse the Brazilian establishment of a soft coup backed by the United States in order to open up the economy to liberalisation. Brazil’s history of dictatorship and populism may also be a driving factor. Bolsonaro’s hardliner rhetoric on crime will likely also have won votes from many fearing Brazil’s rising crime levels. Bolsonaro’s anti-leftist rhetoric also plays on previous Brazilian political fear mongering from the past against supposed communist takeovers. Whatever the reason, Bolsonaro likely intends on fulfilling his promises whatever the cost to Brazilian society.


Bolsonaro Winner Of Deeply Divided Electorate

With more 88 percent of the vote counted Bolsonaro has 55.7 percent whilst Haddad has 44.3 percent of the vote. The divisions in Brazilian society cannot be summed up in these numbers alone though. This past week a Roger Waters concert saw fights in the crowd when he displayed an anti-fascist message on the screen. After the first round, a woman wearing an anti-Bolsonaro shirt was marked with a swastika by a knife wielding gang. More than 20 Brazilian universities were invaded by military police in the past 2 days confiscating anti-fascist banners claiming electoral propaganda. Lula the likely favourite to previously win the election for the workers party has been arrested on corruption charges. This is a deeply divided nation and what comes next is anyone’s guess but it is not likely to be pretty.


Bolsonaro To Become President of Brazil, Future of Progressive Forces in Brazil Bleak

With the full election result to be announced shortly, it is now highly likely Brazil will be governed by a man who has defended the use of the torture, admired the deeds of the Chilean mass murderer Pinochet and has described himself as “homophobic – and very proud of it”. While the future of the Brazillian left is unknown it is likely to be bleak. Bolsonaro has threatened a purge of left wing figures from society and already his supporters have murdered multiple civilian opponents.  The future is now doubtful for those on the left within Brazil.


Exit Poll: Bolsonaro Leads Brazil Election With 56% of Votes

Tonight’s exit poll has predicted a Bolsonaro victory with a majority of 56% of the vote almost mirroring the last surveys from Saturday. Bolsonaro, the extreme right candidate is on course to be Brazil’s next president


The Candidates

With exit polls expected anytime soon, a brief look at the candidates can begin. Jair Bolsonaro is one of Brazil’s most recognisable modern political figures due to his far right controversial rhetoric. A self described moralist, he promotes the liberalisation of the economy and the relaxing of gun laws across Brazil. He has positioned himself strongly as tough on crime and corruption, issues which have been at the forefront of Brazilian politics recently. His politics can be further explored in an another TPN article written here. His, opponent Fernando Haddad is the former mayor of Sao Paolo and is the replacement candidate for former president Lula Da Silva whose candidacy was barred by the Supreme Court. He is of Lebanese origin and seeks to carry on with the Workers Party’s current social-economic policies of state interventionism and the protection of minority rights. His vice presidential pick is Communist Party legislator Manuela d’Ávila.  The candidates are at opposite ends of the spectrum hence the viciousness of the campaign.

21:36 pm

The Election So Far

Today’s election, fought between far right Social Liberal Party candidate and Workers Party candidate Fernando Haddad has been a tumultuous one. The past couple of weeks has seen widespread violence committed by rival supporters with multiple instances of violent assaults even deaths. Despite this today’s election did not see some of the violence as reported before. The Organization of American States’, who are holding an electoral mission in Brazil, has stated that the voting taking place today has been in a climate of “tranquillity and normality.” Whilst Bolsonaro is expected to win today, Haddad still has a chance with polls narrowing recently. Bolsonaro’s first round win however, with 46% of the vote is likely to showcase his expected victory tonight.

First round results

Brett Kavanaugh- a Mirror Reflecting the Flaws within our Society

The allegations of sexual assault and rape made against Brett Kavanaugh has polarised an already polar country. While a large number of people have put their support behind the multiple women who have come forward to speak about their experience, a large number of people have also slammed the allegations.

It is no surprise that the sexual assault allegations are being slammed; to the people supporting him, the allegations coming to light during the midterm elections suggests to them that the allegations are a way of political point scoring from the Democrat Party. However, violence and other violations against a woman’s right should be taken seriously regardless of whom the perpetrator is or the timings of the allegations. Looking at statistics from a 2010 US study, over the course of 20 years only 2-10% of rape accusations turned out to be false. It’s also important to remember that a “false accusation” doesn’t necessarily mean that it is false per say; an accusation can be deemed as false if the victim retracts his/her statement (which is done for a variety of reasons).

Many victims have come forward to express their traumatic experiences including: Christine Balsey Ford claiming that Kavanaugh pinned her down and proceeded to grope her while covering her mouth with his hand, Deborah Ramirez claiming that she remembers his penis in front of her face while she was drunk, Julie Swetnick alleging that Brett Kavanaugh (along with his friends) would spike the drinks and gang rape the intoxicated women, and an array of accusations made by victims who wish to remain anonymous. On top of all this, many witnesses have confirmed these accusations to be true. The only piece of “evidence” which goes against the allegations is his calendar. Compare the credibility and the strength of a calendar as evidence to the accounts of multiple women and witnesses.

The typical pro-Kavanaugh argument, “why didn’t she report it back then, why is she speaking about it now?” shows the lack of understanding people have when it comes sexual assault as well as other harrowing crimes. Usually when sexual assault victims are asked about why they couldn’t have reported the crime earlier, their reasons usually are: they felt as if they wouldn’t be believed, they did but their experiences were brushed off by the authorities, they thought that there would be a lack of justice brought or that they were threatened by the perpetrators.

Throughout the years, we have seen many influential figures caught in the act whether it be in the performing arts industry or in politics. Figures such as R Kelly, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Donald Trump have been found to be allegedly involved in a lot of incidents of sexual assault and rape but what allowed them to get away with it for so long? It was power. Yes power. These men often used their status symbols and the fact that they were men to overpower the women in order to “have their way”, in Kavanaugh’s case, it was probably the fact that he was an upper class young adolescent with a father who worked in the legal field. Surely a man with that type of background can get away with anything, even if it is rape? Right?

When asked by the panel at Congress whether he would consent to an investigation from the FBI to clear up any allegations and to restore his credibility, Kavanaugh declined. To a lot of people, this would ring alarm bells. It seems more likely that the allegations were true and that he was trying his best to hide the skeletons in his closet. When questioned by the panel about these allegations, he beat around the bush when it came to giving answers and in some cases became overly-defensive (for instance when asked about his drinking habits, he simply threw the question back to the senator who asked it). Now for a quite a few of these famous figures, once the details are out they begin to head for their professional demise but the case of Brett Kavanaugh was different, with Republicans (including Trump) rushing to his defence and slamming the media coverage as well as the allegations themselves.

Kavanaugh smoothly sailing through the array of allegations and criticisms to a seat at the US Supreme Court is very telling of modern society. It shows how the upper-classes (or the “bourgeoisie” in Marxist terms) can get away with anything a working class (or “proletariat”) would get heavily castigated for. With great wealth and power comes great immunity. It also reveals the traces of the patriarchy still visible; the idea that men can still assert their power over women, “have their way” and get away with it simply because the women are less likely to be believed.

The people defending Kavanaugh often use the typical and outdated phrase, “boys will be boys” or “men will be men”. It is about time we throw these ideas out the window, we as a society simply cannot grant immunity to men who have sexually assaulted women by using this phrase to normalise it. No, boys aren’t being boys and men aren’t being men while they are engaging in misogynistic behaviour; they are being far from that. Kavanaugh was an adolescent, him and his friends knew exactly what they were doing when they spiked the punch, he knew exactly of the dangers of getting drunk once he held that drink. Consent is such an easy concept to grasp. If you can teach a dog to not eat a piece of food on your table, you can teach a man to not force himself upon women who are in no position to give sexual consent.

The FBI investigation done to find out if the allegations were true was carried out over the duration of five days and not every victim or person who knew about the questionable actions was interviewed. To a lot of people, it may seem as if the Republicans in government allowed these investigations to happen simply to calm the critics but also to get it wrapped up before the polls open for the mid-term elections. It’s as if they are hoping that finishing the investigation early would mean people would forget about it. Now this blog is not to say that Kavanaugh is guilty and that he definitely did sexually assault and rape the women, this blog is meant to say that the evidence, Kavanaugh’s handling and The Republican Party’s handling of the allegations makes it seem likely that the allegations are true. This piece was also intended to make people realise the unhealthy and immoral approach we, as a society take when confronted with a sexual assault case.

AROUND THE WORLD: Jair Bolsonaro’s success sees a return to the dictatorships of the past


Last week, Brazil held the first round of its general election which resulted in the far-right candidate and former army officer Jair Bolsonaro winning 46% of the popular vote far exceeding polling expectations. Bolsonaro is infamous in Brazil for his extreme right rhetoric on social issues including homosexuality claiming “I would be incapable of loving a gay son,” and has defended the beating of gay children. He is a firm believer in neo-liberalism, the tightening of relations with the United States and Israel and is an ardent opponent of secularism. His success is a clearly a worrying development for the Brazilian left.

Recent political occurrences in Brazil have been characterised by left-wing vs right-wing violence comparable to other countries around the world today. Earlier in the year, the Socialist and Liberty Party councillor Marielle Franco was assassinated on the streets of Rio while Bolsonaro himself was stabbed at a recent rally.

Last week’s election results have also fuelled violence with a Bolsonaro supporter being run over by a university professor and Bolsonaro supporters have reportedly roamed the streets seeking “undesirables”, on one occasion assaulting and marking a woman with a swastika as she was seen wearing an anti-Bolsonaro shirt.

Bolsonaro has been compared to Trump but in reality, he represents a deep long simmering fascism held in South America. He is the modern-day incarnation of General Pinochet, a product of the American backed death squads of the 60’s and 70’, hunting down and murdering suspected communists.

He is a political face of Operation Condor, the US backed genocide of leftists across South America that started in 1975. Proof of this can be found in his views on the military dictatorship that controlled Brazil from the 60’s until the 80’s which he calls a “glorious” period of Brazilian history.

During former president Rousseff’s impeachment vote he dedicated his vote to her torturer and agent of the dictatorship Colonel Brilhante Ustra. Bolsonaro, rather than being seen as the global south’s answer to Trump and the European far right, should be seen as the reincarnation of South American reactionary political forces.

Bolsonaro also represents a fundamental shift in Brazilian populism, rejecting the protectionist and corporatist economics of Getúlio Vargas and the Integralists in favour of free market deregulation. Thus, Bolsonaro can be seen as a direct answer to the South American ‘pink wave’ of the last decade by the forces of finance capital. This reactionary force can similarly be seen today in Venezuela and Nicaragua where both countries socialist governments are fighting militant protestors, seeking to overthrow their countries ruling parties in a way similar to the “Euromaidan” uprising in Ukraine, 4 years ago.

Bolsonaro isn’t just part of a global trend in the upsurge of far-right activity, he is a modern representative of the brutal military dictatorships of the past. He and his supporters have made no qualms about their goals. Bolsonaro in 1998 stated that the Pinochet regime “should have killed more people.” His victory in the second round later this month would see not only the reversal of the policies enacted by the Workers Party, it would see the most aggressive wave of counter-revolution since the Contras.

The final stage of Capitalism: Totalitarianism

As I sat down to discuss current affairs with one of my lecturers this week, I posed the question, where next for Capitalism? It is a system on the brink of collapse, signified by the rise of economic populism, both in Europe and beyond.

“In sum, neoliberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of genuine participatory democracy, not just in the United States but across the planet, and will be for the foreseeable future.” – Noam Chomsky

Neoliberal’s realise that democracy is not their friend and time is running out on Capitalism as we know it today. Although it may not be apparent, there has been much work done in recent decades on subverting the power of Government’s particularly in the U.S. but also in the U.K. The de-politicisation of major topics is key evidence of this, as political decisions are outsourced to regulators who are powerless.

The electoral commission is a prime example of such flaws in our democracy, where the maximum financial sanctions for breaking electoral law, £20,000. There have been several times during the process to leave the European Union, where Theresa May’s government has tried to extract power from Parliament, and give power to the cabinet to bypass democratic procedures.

Neoliberal’s look no further than China, an authoritarian regime that has a track-record for high economic growth, many critics cite that this has been achieved because of the regime’s ability to by-pass the checks and balances of democracy. Chinese authoritarianism is a more rapid and efficient way to economic prosperity and stability, than the whirlwind of electoral politics. What sacrifices will this Capitalism ask of us? China is a hi-tech security state, where every movement is monitored, the information you are allowed to read is censored and your mobile is continually monitored for illegal-activity.

With an economic crisis looming, whether it be caused by overindulging stock brokers once again, or the inevitable economic downturn when we leave the European Union, the people will, I feel, reject Capitalism once and for all, the elite know this.

The U.K. represents a less extreme version than the U.S. but with the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, a highly-politicised Supreme Court represents a seriously detrimental threat to democracy in America, there will be attempts to curb what federal government can rule on, and undoubtedly any controversial decisions will be ruled in favour of the capitalist class. Donald Trump’s highly publicised use of executive orders to avoid Congress, is once again representative of the techniques being employed in the United States, the world’s ‘once flagship’ democracy.

We should be cautious, particularly in times of crisis, as the era after 9/11 showed; a crisis can be used to pass laws on an unimaginable number of topics, Neoliberals will attempt to exploit this. For now we have a legislative hawk in Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, but you have been warned, the Chinese model is what beckons.

We must stop ignoring our government’s alliance with Saudi Arabia

Britain has an alliance with the country that combines wealth and influence with a brutal regime and uses it to wreak havoc on its enemies.

The murder of the dissident Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, is horrific and shocking, yet this is hardly the first occurrence where the Saudi alliance has brought the United Kingdom national shame because of our Saudi alliance.  Saudi Arabia is preparing to acknowledge the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi happened as the result of a botched interrogation, according to CNN and The New York Times.

The Guardian yesterday reported that: “The Republican chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, Bob Corker, one of a handful of senators briefed on US intelligence on the case, said he believed Khashoggi was murdered and that the “intel points directly” at the Saudi government.”

We should roundly condemn them for their medieval system of justice, silencing of dissent and free speech and their war crimes in Yemen.

The cosy relationship that has developed between the West and Saudi Arabia, is based upon military sales, including British company BAE Systems, and Donald Trump was yesterday quoted as saying, “We don’t like it even a little bit. But whether or not we should stop $110bn [£83bn] from being spent in this country – knowing they have … two very good alternatives. That would not be acceptable to me.” Such comments are symptomatic of the relationship that has evolved, in which we put economic well being ahead of ethics.

Britain welcomed Mohammed bin Salman, the ruler of Saudi Arabia in all but name, to Downing Street with open arms in March. In this meeting we rolled out the red carpet to a man who presides over a state embodying values that should be antithetical to our own.

Not only did the government affirm its commitment to continue arms sales to Saudi Arabia, making us the second biggest supplier of deadly weaponry to the Saudis, but provided $100 million in aid to a country with a GDP per capita higher than Germany’s.

The supply of armaments to the Saudis is particularly concerning. United Nations experts concluded that British weaponry is being used to commit war crimes in Yemen, including air strikes on a funeral which killed 140 and wounded 525 innocent Yemenis.

The British government is also covertly breaking international law by supplying illegal cluster bombs to the Saudis, according to Amnesty International.

Downing Street defended Britain’s indefensible relationship with the Saudis by arguing that the partnership brought Britain £65 billion in trade, a case of the Tory Party and Mrs May putting cash above principles once again. No amount of trade can justify a friendship with the Saudi’s.

However, there is no longer a bipartisan consensus to continue this horrific relationship, as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has long fought against the brutality of the regime, pledged that upon entering office he would halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The issue of Saudi Arabia has come up again due to the blatant murder of dissenting Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a US Citizen. The Washington Post columnist disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, and has not since been seen. The journalist fled the kingdom in fear for his life after criticising the government on their conduct of the war in Yemen and their repressive policies. The Saudis have as of yet offered no convincing explanation.

This sort of flagrant violation of international law must not be tolerated by the West if we are to maintain any credibility on the world stage whatsoever. However, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has proved to be just as capable at standing up for Britain on the world stage as he was at standing up for the NHS as Health Secretary, and has offered an incredibly weak response, merely asking that the killing be investigated.

The same people who criticised Jeremy Corbyn for calling for cool heads and an investigation after the Salisbury attack and rushed to impose sanctions on Russia are now proving their hypocrisy by being unbelievably slow to act when it is inherently obvious what occurred in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The reason for inaction is simple — the Saudis are our allies and the Russians are our strategic enemies. The U.K. is starkly aware that they can not isolate two of the world’s largest exporters of oil and gas.

Imagine if Iran had committed such an act and say, had one of its dissident journalists residing in America murdered on Turkish soil. The right-wing press would be crying bloody murder and calling for stringent sanctions and possibly whipping up fervour for war.

As it is, there has been little outcry from the establishment in both Britain and the USA, with President Trump suggesting that “rogue agents” were responsible for the murder, despite the US not countenancing any possibility of such for the Salisbury attack.

Even if the attack was autonomously carried out by agents in the consulate and was not ordered from Riyadh, the Saudis are likely responsible for covering the event up. In any case, according to Turkish police, the killing was ordered from Riyadh and to deny this borders on fantasy.

The West must stop allowing Saudi Arabia to commit atrocities with impunity. The UN has warned that Yemen could be facing the worst famine in 100 years if Saudi airstrikes do not cease. The fate of a multitude of Saudi dissidents living abroad is threatened if the West does not provide a strong response to this atrocity.

For many years, the Saudi alliance was treated as a fact of life and something that had to be put up with. This is only true because the military and political establishment relies on the public not applying pressure on the government to change.

The Saudis must be held accountable for their actions, and Britain has no interest or justification for supporting it.

Why Kavanaugh is right to say this Confirmation Hearing is a “national disgrace” but for the wrong reasons

A sitting president with around 20 allegations of sexual misconduct, has nominated a judge, who, too, has been accused of sexual misconduct, to the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court.

On the face of it, the allegations explain the need for the #MeToo movement and confirm its relevance.

What’s more, one of the accusers, Dr Christine Blasey Ford, has been subject to a smear campaign attacking her credibility. Her family was forced to relocate after receiving death threats. She has been the victim of a character assassination online. Every worst fear she had of coming out with her experience of sexual assault has materialised. And people wonder why sexual assault victims fear to come forward.

It is unfair to say Kavanaugh is immediately disqualified simply because an allegation is made.
Equally, allegations of sexual misconduct, no matter how long ago, cannot be dismissed.

In any case, neither allegation nor denial should be assumed to be accurate. Not from a one-day hearing anyway. It strikes me as absurd that an allegation of sexual misconduct would be limited and handed in this way.

However, we have not received enough information to reach a clear conclusion on the allegations. It would be wrong simply go on a whim and confirm Kavanaugh, what were to happen if further evidence was brought up? What if the reverse were to happen?

It would seem like I’m stating the obvious when I say that further investigation is needed to make sense of the allegations. However, there are people who genuinely believe that getting the FBI involved is a conspiracy by the “left” to extend the investigation until the conclusion of the Midterm elections where the Democrats may have control of Congress (which is on November the 6th, by the way).

Regardless, it is a standard check by anyone seeking public office to have their background investigated. In effect, an FBI investigation is like an employment check. Indeed, the FBI has investigated the backgrounds of prospective nominees and appointments to public office before. One prominent example is when the then-nominee, judge Thomas Clarence, had accusations of sexual harassment made against him by Anita Hill. The FBI investigation took 3 days to complete.

Clearly showing that it does not take long, at all.

One thing that can be said for certain, is that it does not seem that many Senator came from a position of understanding. Almost no Senator came to learn anything from the hearing. The Senators had already cast their votes.
The hearing was politicised and featured a sectarian and divisive type of politics. Whatever the takeaway is from the hearing, this is not the way it should have gone down. Some Republican Senators echoed phrases attacking fairness of the hearing during Kavanaugh’s testimony, with Lindsey Graham reserving some strong words for his Democrat colleagues. With some Democrats walking out during the hearing in protest.

There is not enough information available in which to make a definite conclusion. The Senate, on the other hand, has the power and investigative tools to its advantage to look at the allegations much more deeply than a one-day hearing.
This makes the protests and grievances of the Democrats understandable. An FBI investigation would put the allegations to rest, further investigation may help determine what had actually happened to Dr Ford in the summer of 1982.