An investigative report revealed that Sheryl Sandberg hired Republican operative Joel Kaplan, who pushed for a
hands-off “free speech” approach on Facebook while trolls planted conspiracy
theories that rapidly spread across the platform. Sandberg also allied
with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who raked in donations from
the company while cajoling his own caucus to lay off interrogating its
Sandberg’s book, Lean In, hit the market in 2013 with Gloria Steinem’s
endorsement and a social-media campaign featuring Beyoncé. Sandberg preached practical
solutions to navigating systemic bias in the corporate world. Her basic premise was that “more
women in power” was good for all women and, by extension, the world.
As black feminist theorist bell hooks put it in a critique of Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg’s feminism is built on working within the social and economic status quo, not dismantling it as feminist movements have long demanded.
The abuse of vulnerable communities to ensure one’s own success, happily wielding the status quo’s most violent and harmful tendencies against the most vulnerable, is the signature of the corporate ruthlessness Sandberg has long sold as a form of feminist empowerment.
Aside from whipping up hate against the 3 million EU citizens in the EU with her outrageous insinuation that EU workers have cheated their way into the UK, Theresa May is also using Brexit as an excuse to vandalise the NHS. 10% of NHS doctors have come to the UK from the EU via Freedom of Movement. 7% of EU nurses, and 7% of all UK care workers. The NHS is already straining under a Tory-created recruitment crisis (8 years of NHS funding cuts, scrapping of NHS Bursaries, the sickening Tory treatment of junior doctors, massive cuts to social care services causing a huge increase in demand for NHS services, the collapse in overseas nurse recruitment since the Brexit vote). The NHS is short of 41,000 nurses and 12,000 doctors already, and the recruitment gap is getting bigger and bigger with staff shortages of 350,000 predicted within a decade. So by deliberately slamming the door shut on skilled health care workers from the EU, and by making EU-born health workers who are already here feel unwelcome by deliberately whipping up public hate against them with insinuations they cheated their way into the country, Theresa May is clearly intent on exacerbating the NHS recruitment crisis. Why would Theresa May and the Tories wish to deliberately push the NHS towards ruin in this way? The reason is that the Tories have always hated the NHS with an undying ideological passion, ever since they opposed its creation back in the 1940s. They hate it because providing health care on the basis of need, rather than the ability to pay for it, is an example of socialism in action. When poor and ordinary people with serious illnesses are prioritised over extremely wealthy people with minor ailments, it makes the Tories and their mega-rich backers furious, because selfish entitled elitists like them believe that the rich should always have the ability to buy their way to the front of any queue. Theresa May’s efforts to drive skilled EU workers out of the NHS are all part of the grand Tory scheme to privatise the NHS and replace the universal health care model with private insurance system, whereby the wealthy get the best treatment while the poor and uninsured are left to the mercies of massively over-crowded and under-funded charity hospitals. The Tories are seeking to undermine, underfund, and de-staff the NHS as much as possible because they know that the only way they can sell their NHS privatisation agenda to the public is by reducing the quality of service to such an extent that people will accept their NHS privatisation propaganda out of sheer desperation. Don’t just take my word for it, consider what the Chair of Conservative Health Paul Charlson’s view that the only possible way to replace the NHS with a private fee-based system would be “if there was a feeling in the country that health services are falling apart”. And what better way to ensure that health services are falling apart than by following up 8 years of ruinous ideologically driven funding cuts (at a time of rising demand for services) with a deliberately manufactured NHS recruitment crisis? If Theresa May succeeds in using Brexit as a means of wrecking the NHS and bringing in a privatised health insurance based replacement the Tories will be absolutely ecstatic because they’ve been desperate to get rid of the socialist NHS for over 70 years.
If she succeeds she’d go from being the hubristic fool who threw away her own majority, to the revered Tory leader who finally achieved the Tory wet dream of destroying the NHS. Ironically the people who would suffer the most from this Tory ruination of the NHS are the demographics who were most likely to have voted for Brexit in the first place: the pensioners, and people from poor left-behind communities. Because pensioners and the poor are also by far the most likely to be dependent on the provision of free healthcare, and the ones least likely to be able to cover the cost of private health insurance premiums.
When she creates the narrative that “unskilled” EU citizens are unfairly queue-jumping ahead of skilled workers from elsewhere, she’s completely ignoring the fact that £millions worth of crops have already been rotting in the fields because of the hostile environment she’s created towards EU workers is driving them away before Brexit has even happened, and because neither British workers, nor skilled workers from outside the EU want to do that kind of back-breaking low paid seasonal work.
And by creating this crude ‘job-nicking’ caricature she’s ignoring the fact that aside from agriculture, other hugely significant sectors of the UK economy like manufacturing, health care, and the leisure industry rely heavily on EU workers too, meaning her Brexit shambles would be a disaster for these sectors too.
By painting EU workers as ‘queue-jumpers’ who have cheated their way into Britain, she’s once again distracting from her own appalling track record by inviting the blue-kip mob to focus their hate on the 3 million EU citizens living in Britain. Additionally Theresa May has created a bizarre fantasy of what immigration would look like under her Brexit deal. She claims that “instead of a system based on where a person is from, we will have one that is built around the talents and skills a person has to offer”.
The only way anyone could possibly believe that Theresa May is motivated by a desire to make the UK immigration system fairer is by ignoring her hate-mongering rhetoric, and mindlessly taking her at her word that she wants to make the system fairer rather than examining her proven track record of making the UK immigration system way more unfair, corrupt, and illogical than it ever was before!
So have the Twitterati reacted with fury to Theresa May’s vainglorious, deceptive, and downright despicable speech in the way they reacted to the pack of lies and deceptions they gleefully spread about Jeremy Corbyn’s industrial policy speech a few months ago?
Of course they haven’t.
Many of them are too busy desperately trying to save Theresa May’s skin by attacking Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party to give the slightest damn about Theresa May’s dangerous hate-mongering rhetoric against the 3 million EU citizens in the UK, about her transparently ridiculous false promises of fairer immigration system, or about her brazen whitewashing of her own track record at the Home Office.
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Another reminder that Jeremy Corbyn was the only Labour leadership candidate to vote against austerity and the Welfare Bill. 184 Blairite/Centrist/right-wing Labour MPs chose not to vote against the Tories’ cuts. These are the same people who have spent the majority of their time bemoaning the left-wing gaining power back within the Labour Party and continually undermining the twice democratically elected leader of opposition. They would rather continue Tory austerity than have a left-wing Labour government.
Austerity has always been a political choice that dehumanizes the poor and punishes them for their poverty. Until the Tory government is voted out and a transformative left-wing Labour government is elected, these policies will continue (and that is regardless of what happens with Brexit).
The UN report by Philip Alston goes on to document a series of findings which combine to
present a withering assessment of Britain’s approach to its poorest
– 14 million people – a fifth of the UK population – live in poverty
– Child poverty is predicted to rise 7% between 2015 and 2022
– Homelessness is up 60% since 2010 and an exponential growth in
the number of food banks.
– A 49% real terms reduction in funding for local governments since 2010
“The command and control approach reflected in universal
credit is that sanctions should be harsh, immediate and painful – and
yet all of the evidence that I’ve seen indicate that sanctions are
usually counter-productive, that they create fear and loathing among
claimants and they impose immense hardship.“
When asked about the kind of future the UK faces, Mr Alston said:
“Britain is heading towards an alienated society where you have pretty
dramatic differences between the upper classes and the lower classes.”
Responding to the findings, Labour’s shadow work and pensions
secretary Margaret Greenwood urged the Tory government to listen to the
people being pushed into poverty by its policies. “Universal credit is failing miserably, leaving families in debt,
rent arrears and at risk of becoming homeless. Three million children
are growing up in poverty despite living in a working household.”
“Labour will stop the roll out of universal credit, end the
benefit freeze and transform the social security system so that it
supports people instead of punishing them.”
UN’s damning verdict on poverty in Britain, released today via Philip Alston:
“British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous approach… The Tory government has created a highly combustible situation that will have dire consequences. Poverty is a political choice. Austerity could easily have spared the poor, if the political will had existed to do so.”
The Conservative government will continue these cruel policies until they are voted out at the next general election.