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Thursday, 6 February 2014

Stuff I've read and watched recently that's well worth checking out.

1 – ‘Why a War on the Poor.’ This blog from Autumn 2013 by US-based philosopher Dan Little is an eye opener for those wanting an explanation of the mendacity that right wingers have towards the poor.
The US-focused piece covers the well-trodden ideological elements of the argument, but it also points to sociological evidence such as the social distance that exists in unequal societies between lawmakers, civil servants and ‘real’ poor people (echoes of the ‘Westminster Bubble’ metaphor). One could also quite easily include journalists, think tankers and some charities in that equation too. Race is also covered.
I think the value of this blog piece is the fact that Little is pointing to multidisciplinary research that could be of use to campaigners and organisers working in this field. I also intuitively feel that the US's relentlessly right-wards lurch is accelerating in the UK too.
He finishes the blog with a question that is becoming ever more germane to the UK: 'Why aren’t poor people able to fight back against this right wing assault? He links to this.

2 - Relatedly, and again from last year, this Crisis / Fabians report: ‘Home Truths’, is a good piece of research and ‘focus groupery’ that can inform ideas about public attitudes to poverty, including lay attitudes to justice and fairness. Worth a read.

3 – I enjoyed this critique of Osbornomics by Tony Yates in the Guardian this week. Part of the ongoing debate between austerians and Keynsians over which plan (A? B? or C?) the chancellor is currently lauding.

4 - In the week that London Underground workers brought London to a standstill, I was prompted by Twitter to re-read this excellent piece on ‘bullshit jobs’ by David Graeber

 5 – Finally, watch this amazing, surreal footage by a courageous (crazy) Ukranian reporter during the recent riots (trigger warning, scenes of violence).

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