Moments ago, the U.S. Senate decided to do the unthinkable about gun violence —- nothing at all.
Over two years ago, when I was shot point-blank in the head, the U.S. Senate chose to do nothing. Four months ago, 20 first-graders lost their lives in a brutal attack on their school, and the U.S. Senate chose to do nothing.
It’s clear to me that if members of the U.S. Senate refuse to change the laws to reduce gun violence, then we need to change the members of the U.S. Senate.
Murdoch has hotly denied ever trading the influence of his market-leading newspapers in return for policy favours. “That was absolutely not News Corporation’s policy and I would not do business like that,” Murdoch repeated in a six-hour appearance before the Leveson inquiry on Tuesday.
But emails published by the inquiry indicate that some in Murdoch’s inner circle were not blind to the political importance of the media group. Frédéric Michel, the head of European public affairs for News Corp and the man tasked with smoothing the way for the BSkyB deal, told Murdoch in an email on 10 January 2011 that Hunt might appreciate some friendly coverage in anticipation that the government would come under fire from those who opposed the $8bn takeover.
“He [Hunt] is keen to meet next Tuesday or Wednesday to discuss our submission. He said he would not be influenced by the negative media coverage but would welcomed [sic] other opeds like Littlewood or Elstein in the coming days,” Michel said in the email to Murdoch. Two weeks later Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, issued a statement supporting the bid and David Elstein, former Thames TV and Sky executive, writes two pieces for Open democracy website in favour of the takeover.
There is emerging circumstantial evidence that the Cameron government entered into what looks suspiciously like a Grand Bargain with the Murdoch newspaper empire before the last election. It may have gone like this: the Murdoch press would throw its weight behind the Conservative Party in the 2010 general election, and in return the Conservatives would back known Murdoch policy objectives …
At this stage the evidence is only circumstantial, but the charge that the Cameron government has done commercial favours for the Murdochs in return for political support is very serious. This, if true, would amount to corruption. Certainly, if proven, it would force the resignation of Mr Hunt. But it is not impossible that the Government would fall. Mr Hunt is one of Mr Cameron’s closest friends in the Cabinet, and would never have set out on the course he did without the agreement of the Prime Minister.
“One source of antagonism that all of these movements will have to confront, even those that have just toppled dictators, is the insufficiency of modern democratic constitutions, particularly their regimes of labor, property, and representation. In these constitutions, first of all, waged labor is key to having access to income and the basic rights of citizenship, a relationship that has long functioned poorly for those outside the regular labor market, including the poor, the unemployed, unwaged female workers, immigrants, and others, but today all forms of labor are ever more precarious and insecure. Labor continues to be the source of wealth in capitalist society, of course, but increasingly outside the relationship with capital and often outside the stable wage relation. As a result, our social constitution continues to require waged labor for full rights and access in a society where such labor is less and less available.
Private property is a second fundamental pillar of the democratic constitutions, and social movements today contest not only national and global regimes of neoliberal governance but also the rule of property more generally. Property not only maintains social divisions and hierarchies but also generates some of the most powerful bonds (often perverse connections) that we share with each other and our societies. And yet contemporary social and economic production has an increasingly common character, which defies and exceeds the bounds of property. Capital’s ability to generate profit is declining since it is losing its entrepreneurial capacity and its power to administer social discipline and cooperation. Instead capital increasingly accumulates wealth primarily via forms of rent, most often organized through financial instruments, through which it captures value that is produced socially and relatively independent of its power. But every instance of private accumulation reduces the power and productivity of the common. Private property is thus becoming ever more not only a parasite but also an obstacle to social production and social welfare.
Finally, a third pillar of democratic constitutions, and object of increasing antagonism, as we said earlier, rests on the systems of representation and their false claims to establish democratic governance. Putting an end to the power of professional political representatives is one of the few slogans from the socialist tradition that we can affirm wholeheartedly in our contemporary condition. Professional politicians, along with corporate leaders and the media elite, operate only the weakest sort of representative function. The problem is not so much that politicians are corrupt (although in many cases this is also true) but rather that the constitutional structure isolates the mechanisms of political decision-making from the powers and desires of the multitude. Any real process of democratization in our societies has to attack the lack of representation and the false pretenses of representation at the core of the constitution.”
[I]f the SoE goes beyond December a siege mentality by citizens likely will develop. Not only this, the criminals will adapt to the new security dispensation, and the equivalent of the law of diminishing returns in security terms will begin to manifest itself.
Moreover, the longer the SoE the greater the likelihood of a negative impact on external relations, whether for tourism and business. In this respect, the government risks stirring both commercial and social wrath if the SoE goes into the Christmas season and then spills over into carnival preparation. Beyond these risk areas, regardless of the duration of the SoE, unless Trinidad’s leaders address meaningfully some of the conditions that conduce to drugs and crime—criminal gangs, pockets of poverty, and social anomie—they might find it necessary to declare more Emergencies in the future.
This applies to other Caribbean nations; others facing tough challenges may consider the expediency or necessity for States of Emergency. Indeed, leaders in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and Guyana publicly endorsed Trinidad’s move, those in St. Lucia acknowledged having considered declaring one earlier this year, and the opposition People’s Action Movement in St. Kitts and Nevis called for one there.