How right-wing parties win elections

This video from the USA says about itself:

How Politicians and Academics Lie: Misinformation, Public Relations, and Public Opinion (2005)

Academic dishonesty or academic misconduct is any type of cheating that occurs in relation to a formal academic exercise. It can include

Plagiarism: The adoption or reproduction of original creations of another author (person, collective, organization, community or other type of author, including anonymous authors) without due acknowledgment.

Fabrication: The falsification of data, information, or citations in any formal academic exercise.

Deception: Providing false information to an instructor concerning a formal academic exercise—e.g., giving a false excuse for missing a deadline or falsely claiming to have submitted work.

Cheating: Any attempt to give or obtain assistance in a formal academic exercise (like an examination) without due acknowledgment.

Bribery: or paid services. Giving assignment answers or test answers for money.

Sabotage: Acting to prevent others from completing their work. This includes cutting pages out of library books or willfully disrupting the experiments of others.

Professorial misconduct: Professorial acts that are academically fraudulent equate to academic fraud and/or grade fraud.

Impersonation: assuming a student’s identity with intent to provide an advantage for the student.

Academic dishonesty has been documented in most every type of educational setting from elementary school to graduate school. Throughout history this type of dishonesty has been met with varying degrees of approbation. Today, those who are a part of an educated society tend to take a very negative view of academic dishonesty.

The extent to which the US government was guilty of propaganda aimed at its own people is a matter of discussion. The book Selling Intervention & War by Jon Western argued that president Bush was “selling the war” to the public.

President George W. Bush gave a talk at the Athena Performing Arts Center at Greece Athena Middle and High School Tuesday, May 24, 2005 in Rochester, NY. About halfway through the event Bush said, “See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”

People had their initial reactions to the War on Terror, but with more biased and persuading information, Iraq as a whole has been negatively targeted. America’s goal was to remove Saddam Hussein’s power in Iraq with allegations of possible weapons of mass destruction related to Osama Bin Laden. Video and picture coverage in the news has shown shocking and disturbing images of torture and other evils being done under the Iraqi government.

By Suranjit Saha in Wales:

How do right-wing parties win elections in our capitalist democracies?

Saturday 16th September 2017

SURANJIT SAHA offers an explanation as to why so many politicians opposed to people’s own interests find themselves in the world’s top jobs

THE battle cry of “We are the 99 per cent”, highlighting the fact that the top 1 per cent of the wealthiest people in society own a disproportionate share of wealth and political influence, is now well known.

But the paradox is this: no political party anywhere can win an election on the basis of the support of just 1 per cent of population.

And yet, in almost all major democracies of the world today, the governing parties or coalitions are the parties of the right or centre-right, whose core policies are to promote the interests of the rich. How does this happen?

The 1 per cent is, of course, a notional and arbitrary slice of society. For the sake of tidiness, let us call this dynamics “the top 10 per cent versus the remaining 90 per cent.”

The top 10 per cent does need the votes of a big chunk of the other 90 per cent in order to govern.

Immediately after the end of the second world war, the Labour Party under the leadership of Clement Attlee had won the election and formed Britain’s first post-war government.

At a time when the British economy was nearly bankrupt under the pressure of fighting a destructive five-year war, the party had the courage to establish the three strong pillars of a modern welfare state: a National Health Service, a social housing programme and free access to university education to all.

It did not hide behind the standard excuse of the rich: “The economy cannot afford it.”

For such a party to begin to lose faith in its core principle of social justice was probably among the worst regressions in the political culture of the 20th century.

The long period of uninterrupted Conservative rule from 1979 to 1997 had created an atmosphere of unremitting hopelessness among the working class in Britain and it was in that atmosphere that Tony Blair came to be elected as the leader of the Labour Party in July 1994.

During his years as prime minister, he had firmly repositioned his party to the right of the political spectrum, at times further to the right than the Conservative Party.

The lasting damage to the mid and long-term political prospects of the left was done by the social engineering that he practised.

Blair drummed the message across in all his speeches that it was impossible to win an election in Britain by focusing on social justice.

He ruptured the traditional Labour politics of building a social coalition with the poorer and middle classes and replaced that with a new alliance of middle and richer classes.

This social engineering was in fact a bold gambit of beating the Conservatives at their own game by becoming more like them.

In this, a small minority of the top elite, using its better education and other forms of accumulated social capital, successfully divides the society beneath it into a hierarchy of an infinite number of narrowly defined classes, each class disdainfully regarding the ones below it as parasites and constantly aspiring to rise to the ranks of those above it. It functions by constantly harping on the virtues of hard work as a route to upward mobility.

What the elite-controlled media does not say is that any amount of hard work will not allow ordinary people to enter the magic circle of the small coterie of the privileged, most of them educated at Eton/Harrow and Oxford/Cambridge and bound together by the strong bonds of self-interest.

The positions that these people hold in the state and corporate apparatus are not because of hard work or inherent talent, but because their families had the resources to buy them access to privileged private education and had the ability to place them into the orbit of those proverbial old boys’ clubs, which in most cases control access to these positions.

Until the end of the second world war, university education in general, and not only at Oxford and Cambridge, had of course remained an exclusive preserve of the rich and privileged, a narrow top layer of the British society.

Nobody without a university degree could reasonably aspire to secure a “salaried job” in a responsible position and nobody outside that circle could aspire to have a university degree.

It was only after the Labour government headed by Attlee opened up university education to all that a degree of social mobility came to exist in this country, opening up a small space of justice in its atrophied class structure.

In 1989 the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher started the process of rolling back the slow forward movement of social mobility which Labour had set in motion a quarter of a century earlier when it all but abolished maintenance grants.

Over the next 28 years, Britain regressed to its pre-1945 situation of an atrophied class division with regard to access to the university education.

All students other than those belonging to the top 10 per cent of the income pyramid will now leave university with a debt of around £60,000. Most will feel extremely intimidated to take on such a gamble at the threshold of their adult lives.

Limiting the access to higher education to all but the top elite is just one part of the power game. Taking recourse to various forms of dissembling and doublespeak to win votes of the common man and woman was the other necessary part.

A form of dissembling quite popular with the Conservatives is this constant refrain about how good and necessary the “wealth creators” are for the society.

By wealth creators, they mean corporate bosses, real estate developers, bankers, stockbrokers and the rich in general.

They alone are the creators of employment. Therefore, they must not be unfairly taxed, regulated or disadvantaged in any other way and left free to make money.

In any real economy, however, the creation of the final social product, or the aggregate value added, which the right calls the creation of wealth, actually happens through the joint enterprise and creativity of the bosses and the workers.

However, the rules of a capitalist economy about distributing this final product is such that the bosses receive a disproportionately larger share than the workers.

And within the group of workers in most organisations the gap between the highest and the lowest earners is huge.

It is difficult to see any valid reason why the chief executive officers of companies should need to earn, on average, 262 times more than the lowest-paid employees, as was reported in a research publication of the Equality Trust in 2011.

This has no connection with any form of rationality. What is at play here are capitalist values, which say that it is all right for some to earn multi-million-pound bonuses and for the low-paid workers doing full-time hard work to struggle to make ends meet.

It is the brutality of these kinds of values that a party of the left has to make clear to the bottom 90 per cent of the population and not pander to the limitless greed of the top 10 per cent.

Suranjit Saha retired as a senior lecturer in development studies at the University of Swansea.

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