The Left needs to dump YOU!

Each left-wing movement in Europe has its own intricansies, but almost all of them were born of the Labour movement. After the industrial revolution, poor people, working class rallied together in center-left parties for more rights like paid sick leave, Universal Healthcare, social benefits. Social democratic parties were the party where the masses rallied in hope for a better life. Now the masses couldn’t be more detached from Social democratic parties. In Britain, the Labour Party is just the third most popular party among the working class, in France, the Front National also leads by a wider margin among working class while the socialist party drowns in popularity with this group of people and the same story happens in the Netherlands, Austria and many other countries. Center left parties are, in some cases, more popular among rich people than with poor people. Why this is happening? Very simple: Center left parties were once the party of the poor, unemployed, the factory worker, the uneducated, disaffected the one who was against the establishment. Now Center left parties are the party of the well connected, the rich, the college professor and the corporate lawyer.

Center left parties had once a clear agenda because they were made by working class people and for working class people; they knew clearly what they want and what were their priorities. They knew their struggles and their problems and wanted to solve them. Now, center left parties aren’t made essentially by the same people as before. They are leaded by elitist people who don’t have a clue how life is outside college campus or big cities. For some of these elitist people, going to a disaffected community or a desindustrialized area may be a field trip or a campaign stop but it will be never be their reality, their struggle, their problems, so working class or people in those communtities will never see them as their own representative.

 

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(”Keir Hardie, a mine worker and union organizer who was one of the founders of the Labour party and was the first labour party member of parliement”)

 

It may sound cool and trendy having flags like helping africa, refugees welcome or ensuring the LGBTQI etc rights, but it isn’t wise to make it cornerstone of any leftist political programme. The proeminency of this thought on the left shows how much globalization has contributed to the detachment of some young elitist proto-politicians. Their Erasmus programme, gap year, or aiesec internship paid by their parents made them get closer from other realities and became more global but, at the same time, forget or underestimate the grim realities in their own community. The talk about ‘’white privilige’’ is a classic example of lack of self awareness within the elitist left. Is the unemployed industrial worker who’s factory was transfered to an asian country privildged? What about the college student who can’t afford university? Is he/she priviledged because of the colour of their skin?

Left elitists like to call tribalists, deplorable, racists or xenophobes to those who dare to raise questions about the integration of refugees or immigrants but they have no idea how is life in tough neighborouds. Locked in their private condos in the best parts of the city, this metropolitan elite has no clue on how life is outside their bubble; they underestimate the insecurity of these areas, the challenges to integrate some communities and the cultural clashes that normally happen.

The critic speech made by Meryl Streep in the Golden globes on Donald Trump was widely publicized in leftist media as being stunning, courageous, vibrant but was it effective? Just as curiosity, Meryl Streep, with a net worth of dozens of millions of dollars wear a dress embellished with gems that costs way more than a normal house and spoke to an audience that is no different than her. An audience that stands up in disapproval because oscars nominees have too many white people but stands in silence about the continuos discrimination of poor whites in reality shows. Meryl talked about her sad feelings towards the style of Donald Trump, forgetting it was the despair, the anger of so many of his supporters about the state of their lives and the incompetence of establishment politicians that made them vote for Donald Trump; they couldn’t care less if some people find his way of expressing themselves offensive or not.

The reader may now think that the election of Donald Trump contrary the opinion in this article because the american President is rich and performed well among working-class. It’s true that Donald Trump is a billionaire and makes no secret about that, but that doesn’t mean elitist. Donald Trump talks about the issues that common people wanna see adressed like jobs and security with a simple and clear language and, above all, talks his mind. Trump was the weapon many ordinary americans saw useful to shake the political establishment. If that will happen or not, it’s another issue, but in the 2016 election the republican candidate was the candidate of the ordinary people because he was able to incorporate it’s problems and talk about it openly.

For some years, with the third way, the left could sideline it’s economic issues in favour of social ones because there was at the same time economic growth, but with the economic crisis of 08’ and the slow recovery, people start demanding to be heard, to be more included in the parties, something that didn’t happen and that is why the leftwing parties didn’t had the sucess they could had after the crisis. The left needs to regain it’s base and will only do it when incorporates these people.

Like a fish can’t survive without water, the left can’t win elections without the working class. Appeal to common people, doesn’t mean just having a more leftwing political programme; There is a urgent necessity of a complete strategic change: It is crucial to ditch the acessory and deliver a simple and clear message that focus on socio-economic justice and improving people’s lives. To start this new kind of politics, the left needs to get rid of the current status quo, break with the establishment in left-wing parties which are a mix of dumb carreirists and detached elitists and start having real people, who can be truly representative ,in politics like small business owners, union leaders, entrepeneurs and solidarity activists.

 

André Branco Pereira, Law student

 

Disclaimer: This Post reflects solely the author opinion it does not represent the whole platform

Men as Victims of Intimate Partner Violence: an Undiscussed Tragedy

Are you really going to let a woman beat you up?’

This was the question posed by a Finnish emergency telephone number operator in 2009 to a frightened man who was calling to report that his wife was physically assaulting him (Kaleva, 2010). It is disturbing to think about what was taking place. The man had previously had to escape to a safehouse with his children in order to get away from his abusive wife. When he returned to retrieve clothes for himself and for his children, his wife attacked him again, and when he tried to get help, he was mocked (ibid.). This man’s cry for help over the phone serves as a great j’accuse against our very society, and our common way of thinking: the case received widespread publicity in Finland, and led to temporarily increased discussion about those cases of intimate partner violence (IPV) where men are the victims. Sadly, the topic is still largely ignored, not only in Finland, but in other countries and on the international level as well.

The emergency telephone number operator’s reaction is part of a troubling phenomenon where men’s experiences of violence are belittled. Many men are embarrassed about being victimised by their partners, and they are often afraid of the results of speaking out. It is easy to see why. Indeed, just as vast numbers of female victims of the same brutality remain silent, it is likely that most male victims of IPV do not report the crimes committed against them. As a result, the suffering of men at the hands of their partners is often either ignored or forgotten about. Indeed, sometimes it is even glorified: countless films, TV series, and other culture products use portrayals of IPV committed against men for comic relief. We have all seen this far too many times. Somehow, seeing a man being slapped or kicked by his partner is perceived as being humorous. In reality, there is nothing amusing about domestic violence, no matter who the victim is, and no matter who the perpetrator is. All human beings, without distinction, have the right to safety.

Portraying IPV against men in a humorous way is also problematic from a cultural and social perspective: by constantly showing boys and young men that their minds and bodies are acceptable targets of violence, our society is socialising males into condoning brutality committed against them. The mental and social well-being of males is thus at best delegated to a mere footnote. As a result, many men who face IPV believe everything is, in some perverted way, just as it should be. It is funny when men are attacked, you see. Matters are made worse when a man has children who see their father being assaulted at home, while he continues to pretend that nothing is wrong. Thus, the vicious cycle of abuse is in danger of being strengthened and continued in the next generation. This is a massive failure on the part of our existing social reality.

IPV takes place in all kinds of relationships, in all social classes, ethnic groups, and all over the world. Indeed, IPV is present in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships. Often women are attacked by men, sometimes women are assaulted by women, in some cases men are attacked by women, and sometimes men are victimised by other men. Since a great deal of IPV experienced by both men and women goes unreported, it is unclear how many relationships are violent. Thus, even the best surveys fail to reveal the whole truth, but they do give some valuable information. In America, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey carried out in 2011 by Matthew J. Breiding et al. (2011), ’severe physical violence by an intimate partner (including acts such as being hit with something hard, being kicked or beaten, or being burned on purpose) [is] experienced by an estimated 22.3% of women and 14.0% of men during their lifetimes’. According to a research by Markku Heiskanen and Elina Ruuskanen (2010), 16 % of Finnish men have experienced IPV. In the United Kingdom, data from Home Office statistics and the British Crime Survey show that between 2004 and 2005, and between 2008 and 2009, approximately 40% of domestic violence victims were male (Campbell, 2010). Thus, while as a whole women seem to face IPV more often than men, the fact remains that a significant number of victims are male. In light of this fact, how little this topic is discussed is truly worrying.

In recent years, awareness about violence against women has laudably been raised. The shameful phenomenon of men brutalising their female partners sexually, physically, or mentally, or even killing them, has become a widely discussed and examined issue, as it should be: there is nothing acceptable, virtuous, or honourable in assaulting one’s partner. Seeing women’s bodies as objects that can be used and abused at will is disgraceful and disgusting. The fact that the President of the United States of America has openly admitted, without showing any remorse, that he has committed sexual assault against women only goes to show that there is still far too much work to be done in teaching humanity about each and every woman’s right to safety. That this is part of our reality in 2017 is truly distressing.

Though much remains to be done with regard to protecting women’s bodies from abuse, similar advances must be made in raising awareness about violence committed against men as well. Our society often thinks men can just ’take it’, no matter what ’it’ might be. If a man faces IPV, it is often thought it is probably his fault, or at the very least, something that does not really, truly matter. He is alive, is he not? While many men are indeed mentally remarkably strong, and capable of withstanding tremendous pressure, this is not a quality shared by all, and even if were a universal ability, IPV is something nobody – without any distinction – should be forced to face, under any circumstances, ever. Therefore, why should we be so eager to disregard the experiences of men who have suffered IPV? If our generation allows this social issue to remain undiscussed, how will we explain this failure to our future children? If we do not condemn the most egregious flaws of our society, our children will, and they, together with history itself, will also condemn us for having failed to address those flaws in the first place.

About the author: Erik Immonen is the Vice-President of the Social Democratic Students of Helsinki and a proud graduate of the second edition of the School of Democracy.

References:

Breiding, M. J.; Smith, S. G.; Basile, K. C.; Walters, M. L.; Chen, J.; Merrick, M. T. (2011). Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization — National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6308a1.htm?s_cid=ss6308a1_e

Campbell, D. (2010). More than 40% of domestic violence victims are male, report reveals.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/sep/05/men-victims-domestic-violence

Heiskanen, M. & Ruuskanen, E. (2010). Tuhansien iskujen maa. Miesten kokema väkivalta Suomessa. 

http://www.heuni.fi/material/attachments/heuni/reports/6KHnLcUwR/Full_report_66.pdf

Kaleva. (2010). Hätäkeskus perheenisälle: Otat sä naiselta pataan, 

http://www.kaleva.fi/uutiset/kotimaa/hatakeskus-perheenisalle-otat-sa-naiselta-pataan/169430/

She Waited Long Enough and Now is Her Time to Walk

Yesterday, January 21st, 2017, I joined the thousands and thousands of women, men and children across the world who walked in the almost 700 Women’s Marches around the globe. From Washington DC, where the March began, to The Hague, where I walked, and across all seven continents (That’s right! Two Sister Marches were registered in Antarctica as well) people came together and stood against misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, racism and primarily hate. Continue reading “She Waited Long Enough and Now is Her Time to Walk”

They Waited Long Enough

They waited long enough, and now that their countries are developing this rapidly, there are no more excuses to leave them in hunger, peril health and bearing fragile children. Female malnutrition is still unacceptably prevalent throughout the world. Not only in countries that really are poor, and where there often is not enough food to feed the total population. No, the most malnourished women are not to be found in Sub-Saharan Africa’s countries, but in Asia’s thriving and upcoming economies. Continue reading “They Waited Long Enough”

She Waited Long Enough : Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We should all be feminists” the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie claims. This catch phrase is the title of the TED talk she delivered in Euston in 2012 [1]. Born in 1977 in the State of Enugu in Nigeria, this woman is a novelist, a nonfiction writer and a short story writer. Her speech has been published in 2014 and is now available under the form of an essay, due to the strength of her discourse and its logical following success. What is interesting about her is the manner in which her work, fictional or not, is deeply infused Continue reading “She Waited Long Enough : Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie”

She Waited Long Enough – Olympe de Gouges

As one of France’s first feminist, Olympe de Gouges remains surprisingly unknown by European progressives. Sure, we all know the basic: her name, and how she met her fate when the Revolutionary Tribunal of Paris [1] found her guilty of having “question[ed] the republican principles” and therefore, sentenced her to death alongside 2742 individuals deemed as enemies of the State. Besides her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of Continue reading “She Waited Long Enough – Olympe de Gouges”

She Waited Long Enough – Clara Campoamor

«(…)Resolved lo que queráis, pero afrontando la responsabilidad de dar entrada a esa mitad de género humano en política, para que la política sea cosa de dos, porque solo hay una cosa que hace un sexo solo: alumbrar; las demás las hacemos todos en común, y no podéis venir aquí vosotros a legislar , a votar impuestos, a dictar deberes, a legislar sobre la raza humana, sobre la mujer y sobre el hijo, aislados, fuera de nosotras. (El voto femenino y yo. Editorial Horas. Madrid, 2006)»

All women are in debt with Clara Campoamor. On the 1rst October 1931 this deputy of the Spanish Radical Socialist Party gave a brilliant speech before the Congress of Deputies, Continue reading “She Waited Long Enough – Clara Campoamor”

She Waited Long Enough – Manuela Sáenz

The majority of South Americans could certainly understand whom you are talking about if you mention the nicknames ‘Manuelita’ o ‘Libertadora’. Unfortunately, while European and American political ‘heroes’ of the past are worldwide known, few of those who made important contributions to the history of the southern hemisphere are likewise famous in northern countries. Manuela Saénz is considered one of the main heroes of the Latin American independence. Her figure has been ignored and denigrated for almost a century, and only in recent years she was given the attention that such a complex and multifaceted character deserves. Continue reading “She Waited Long Enough – Manuela Sáenz”

She Waited Long Enough – Opening Piece : Interview with Karolina Leakovic, PES Women Vice-President and former candidate for SDP Croatia Leader

As many as seven candidates participated in recent SDP Croatia leadership elections – three women included. One of them, PES Women Vice-President Karolina Leakovic, was perceived as one of the most progressive candidates, and the only that openly labeled herself as feminist. However, her candidacy was not successful – she got merely 1,2% of members’ votes. Nevertheless, within current Croatian mainstream political landscape, SDP Leadership elections were the example of an open and much needed debate on social democratic values and challenges for the movement ahead.  Continue reading “She Waited Long Enough – Opening Piece : Interview with Karolina Leakovic, PES Women Vice-President and former candidate for SDP Croatia Leader”

The Demeaning Way In Which Newspapers Portray Violence Against Women

“The medium is the message” Marshall McLuhan.Women Power

The explicit portrayal of a rape case in San Fermín (Spanish festivity) by the principal Spanish media this week does not empower the victim. There is a journalistic responsibility to inform, but there is also a journalistic ethic to inform by respecting rights and social justice. Continue reading “The Demeaning Way In Which Newspapers Portray Violence Against Women”