Take It As A Warning To One Percenters Everywhere
A Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted June 25th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
They’re “reeling.” They’re “stunned.” They’re “shocked.”
These were but a few of the words media outlets around the world used all day Friday, June 24th to describe the reaction of world leaders, along with that of bankers, traders and their like to news that a majority of British citizens had voted in a referendum to end their country’s membership in the European Union.
And my questions to these autocrats and plutocrats who are the one per cent is this. Why are you so shocked?
After three or four decades of feathering your gilded nests as you rip the flesh from working families with your self-serving trade deals, billion-dollar tax loopholes, and with all the cuts you have made to services and benefits for the rest of us, you should have seen all of the feelings of betrayal and rage that led to something like this coming.
You created the conditions for it, after all!
On the home page of a website for the “Leave” movement – that faction of people in the United Kingdom who favour “Brexit” or leaving the EU – Leave’s CEO Liz Bilney makes the following introductory remarks – “In 1975, the British public voted ‘yes’ to a free trade deal with Europe,” Bilney says. “What they didn’t vote for was a ‘United States of Europe’; one that would go on to crush our democracy, and in the process create a class of politicians clearly in it for themselves. …”
“We will always be a part of Europe,” she continues, “but the EU is run for big business, big banks and big politics – not for ordinary people. … Let’s take a stand. Together, we can win back our country!”
If this rhetoric sounds familiar, you’ve probably been paying some attention to the U.S. presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, two anti-establishment candidates who have tapped into the same frustration and anger many Americans have for politicians they feel have sold out to big money interests and turned their backs on them.
Sanders and Trump have both hit a chord with their opposition to trade agreements they argue – quite rightfully in my view – have enriched a few and have been unfair to millions who have fallen further and further behind, and in many cases have seen their jobs disappear completely as corporations move their operations to sweatshops overseas. The difference is that Trump has chosen to fire up people in ways, some argue, that bear an eerie resemblance to those employed by a little man wearing a in a brown shirt and moustache in post-First World War Germany.
A mass revolt can turn into quite an ugly and dangerous affair if led by the wrong kind of person, and I’m not denying for a moment that there haven’t been individuals out there, stirring up false fears and ill feelings toward immigrants and others to win support for the campaign to leave the EU.
But you can’t get millions of people, as they did in Britain this June 23rd, voting in favour of making such a momentous and potentially dangerous move if they believed that there was still any hope of getting a fair shake in the system they find themselves in now.
You can’t just can’t take tens of millions of people who have had rising expectations for their lot in life going back for at least three or four generations to the end of the Second World War and systematically deconstruct their livelihoods for your own gain and not expect the proverbial pitchforks to eventually come out.
The elites in the United States still don’t get it. The higher ups in the Republican Park still cling to some fantasy that if they can only “stop Trump,” they can go back to the way things were in their party 10 or 20 years ago. The Democrats say if only Bernie Sanders would unplug his “political revolution” and endorse Hillary Clinton, they can go back to singing ‘happy days are hear again’.
It isn’t going to happen. You’ve got too many people who no longer buy what the elites have been selling them about ‘trickle down economics’ and ‘job creators’, and the benefits of negotiating trade deals that make it all the easier for corporations to shut down their operations in America and move to some country where they pay their workers 80 cents an hour.
In Canada, we still are not yet seeing the level of discontent with the status quo there now is in the United States. But let’s see what happens if Justin Trudeau and his Liberals sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal negotiated by the former Harper government, and even more decent paying jobs are lost across the country because of it.
I’ve already heard a good many Canadians say we need someone like Bernie Sanders here too.
NOW IT IS YOUR TURN. Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them.
Visit Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary for and from the greater bi-national Niagara region.
“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders