Anti-Liberal Netanyahu Slams Arab Spring as Anti-Liberal

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said yesterday that he had been right to oppose the forced resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak last February and categorized the uprisings in the Arab world as “anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli and anti-democratic wave.” He gave the “uncertainty” in the region as yet another excuse for the Likud Party to continue to steal and squat on ever greater portions of the Palestinian West Bank.

Netanyahu’s outburst is of course completely illogical, and also deeply dishonest. When the Arabs were ruled by dictatorships then that was the reason for which Israel could or should steal Palestinian land and keep the Palestinians stateless and devoid of rights. If they have anti-authoritarian grassroots movements demanding parliaments, now that is the reason for the same policies.

Netanyahu seems to be under the illusion that somehow if only the US and Western Europe had tried harder, they could have magically kept Zine El Abedin Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak in power. But when you’ve got a million people in the center of the capital demanding the dictator leave, and millions gathered in cities and towns throughout the country supporting them in that demand, it really isn’t plausible to imagine that an outside power could retain that hated tyrant. Even if Barack Obama could have pulled off this miracle, it likely wouldn’t have been for very long, and the very attempt would have pushed the Arab masses into radicalism.

Netanyahu’s four adjectives for the movements in Tunisia and Egypt are anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli and anti-democratic.

There is another possibility, which is that the movements want democracy and liberalism (in the John Stuart Mill sense of the term, i.e. parliamentary governance and individual rights), but that Netanyahu doesn’t want them to have it because he knows that the scam of Likudnik “Greater Israel” expansion can only be pursued if Israel’s neighbors are ruled by dictators that Israel can threaten or bribe into acquiescence.

Tunisia’s movement has eventuated in the only genuinely democratic election that the country has ever seen. It is true that about 40 percent of the seats were won by the al-Nahda Muslim party, but it has committed to a civil state and could only form a government in coalition with two secular parties. The resulting Tunisian government is far less fundamentalist than Shas and other small religious parties in Israel, which are in Netanyahu’s coalition. Since Tunisia isn’t keeping 4 million people under the boot of foreign military occupation the way Netanyahu is, Tunisia is definitely more democratic than Israel as things now stand, even if its institutions and parties are not as mature.

The charge of “anti-Western” is just propaganda. People aren’t “anti-Western” in principle, they protest particular Western policies. For instance, they mind people like Netanyahu trying to ensure that dictators like Mubarak and Ben Ali remain in power over them. When the “West” did the right thing and supported the Libyan people against the murderous Qaddafi regime, people in Benghazi started waving American, French and British flags. When President Obama finally saw the writing on the wall and gave Mubarak a push, and forbade the Egyptian military to shoot people in the streets, many people in Egypt somewhat revised their view of him. (There were some anti-American posters in Tahrir Square in January and February, but I spent much of July in Tahrir and don’t remember seeing a single anti-American sign). Far from mindlessly condemning “the West,” newly minted Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki has spent a lot of time trying to explain the Arab world to the West. As for revolutionary Egypt, it is still getting $1.2 billion a year in aid from Washington, which doesn’t sound anti-Western to me.

It is not clear what Netanyahu means when he calls the Arab protesters “anti-liberal.” Classical Liberalism is a philosophy of individual rights, parliamentary governance, and liberties. The 20th century Liberal tradition in contrast is about the state ensuring the welfare of the people. The revolutionaries say that they want individual liberties and parliamentary elections. They also want the government to ensure the public welfare. I’d say that many of them are liberals in both senses.

It is true that 30-40% of the electorate favors Muslim religious parties in Tunisia and Egypt (though some do so for non-religious reasons). But religion is not necessarily incompatible with 20th century liberalism (American liberalism has some strong Catholic and Jewish roots). It is true that religious laws imposing morality and punishing victimless crimes contravene the liberal principles of someone like John Stuart Mill. So the Muslim Brotherhood is not classically liberal. But neither was Roman Catholicism classically liberal in the 19th century, and the Haredim who constitute an increasingly large proportion of Israel’s population are likewise hardly classical liberals!

One irony in Netanyahu calling other people “anti-liberal” is that the Likud Party tradition in which he stands (rooted in the “revisionist” Zionism of Zeev Jabotinsky and the terrorist Stern Gang) is highly anti-liberal. The revisionists celebrate their bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946, in which 91 persons, mostly innocents, were killed. Larry Derfner wrote in 2010 that “years ago, when Etzel veterans commemorated the 60th anniversary of the King David bombing, Netanyahu, scion of a proud Revisionist family, was the featured speaker.” (Jerusalem Post, July 29, 2010.) And if anything, some of Netanyahu’s coalition partners, such as Avigdor Lieberman’s largely Russian/Ukrainian Yisrael Beitenu, are even more right wing and authoritarian than Likud.

Netanyahu just shut down a radio station because he did not like its editorial position, the act of an anti-liberal tyrant. One of his media advisers has resigned over the increasing erosion of freedom of speech in Israel. Netanyahu’s majority in the Israeli parliament has also outlawed tools of grassroots organizing such as calling for boycotts. A push is being made to deprive Arabic, the language of over 20% of Israel’s population, from any official status, and Lieberman would like to make large numbers of Israeli citizens stateless. This is “liberal”? Nor is the entire apparatus of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and military blockade of Gaza “liberal.”

As for the Arab protesters, it would be possible for the Tunisian and Egyptian activists to be pro-democratic, but to have a strong critique of Western imperialism and of the Likud Party’s oppression of the Palestinians. A critique of Israeli policy toward Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is not the same thing as being “anti-Israel” (except in the Likud Party’s illiberal worldview). It is also logically possible for some of the protesters to be pro-democracy without being classically liberal.

In any case, the exact mix of political practices and philosophies that emerges in the Arab world in the aftermath to the 2011 movements is irrelevant to Netanyahu’s vast land thefts in the West Bank, which are immoral, inhumane and illegal according to the Geneva Convention of 1949 on the treatment of peoples in militarily occupied territories.

Netanyahu is so blinkered that he thinks his completely unrealistic stance that the West should have tried to keep the dictator Hosni Mubarak in power has been proved right. He is so captive of illogic that he cannot see the hypocrisy of claiming that the Tunisian democrats are “anti-liberal” while himself advocating continued dictatorship! And Netanyahu is so dedicated to the Greater Israel project that he cannot see that it is what generates “anti-Israel” sentiments among his neighbors. It is sort as if a con man who was stealing your brother’s property should call you a despot and a bigot for objecting to his theft.

The one thing Netanyahu has right is that public opinion is going to start mattering in the Arab world in a new way, and that opinion is not favorable to Likud Party policies. As usual, Netanyahu is drawing a completely wrong conclusion from this reality — that he should accelerate and trumpet the very land theft to which Arab public opinion objects. Sooner or later the Likud is going to get its comeuppance for blind arrogance. I fear a lot of innocents are going to be harmed as a result.

31 Responses

  1. Juan – to your points about Netanyahu’s hypocrisy on “anti-liberalism” I would add the observation that the occupation of Palestinian lands constitutes an formal, institutionalised violation of every key liberal principle: right to self-determination, right to elect a sovereign government, right to due process under the law, freedom of movement, basic property rights, and so on, and so on. The fact that Israel honours these rights within Israel proper (with significant exceptions of course) can hardly be sufficient to qualify it for the status of a liberal democracy, when it simultaneously sustains a grotesquely anti-liberal order in the OPT.

    Maintenace of the occupation – given the nature of it – disqualifies Israel from the status of liberal democracy in my opinion (though liberal peace theorists in IR and political science seem happy to ignore this point). And I would add that Netanyahu’s fearmongering about the dangers of Arabs and Muslims being able to run their own affairs positively stinks of racism.

  2. Well I can’t argue with that Juan.

    But Netanyahu’s words are not entirely unexpected, I’m surprised its taken him this long. Oppressive regimes always prefer to deal with tyrannical regimes. They’re so much more predictable, and susceptible to corruption and graft. And tyrannical regimes don’t have those darned voting thingies where the people can change the government.

    Anti Liberal is the Agunah link to mazorguide.com

  3. Professor, thanks for the continuing insightful reporting on Netanyahy’s government and his true motivations. The more I learn the more I am furious at the U.S. government and its continuing backing of the Israeli position.

  4. Someone needs to ask Netanyahu about the so-called Democracy in Israel that imprisons Jews for 3 years for converting to Christianity and imprisons missionaries for 5 years for convertning a Jew and handing them a Bible/cup of coffee. The man has no honesty and Israel is NOT a Democracy.

  5. I’ve seen several polls asking various Middle Eastern populations whether or not they consider Israel as an enforced political majority Jewish entity a legitimate state.

    I’ve never seen even 30% of any population answer yes.

    An Egypt that does not consider Israel legitimate (and that thereby reflects the values, beliefs and sensibilities of the Egyptian people), even if for pragmatic reasons it does not break the treaty or send tanks toward Tel Aviv, makes Israel as an enforced Jewish political majority state a lot less viable. For example, just by making it impossible to squeeze the people of Gaza if they elect a party like Hamas.

    If Saudi Arabia, which already spends more than 2.5 times as much as Israel on weapons, has a bigger area, and whose location could put all of Israel’s territory under a modern anti-aircraft umbrella, had policies that matched the values, beliefs and sensibilities of its people it would render Israel as an enforced Jewish political majority state almost immediately non-viable.

    Egypt becoming democratic not only threatens Israel directly, but weakens by example the dictatorships Israel needs in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and others.

    Netanyahu is basically right. Israel needs a region of pro-US colonial-style dictatorships. He uses terms as favorable to his party and to Israel as possible, but looking past those terms, if the US is unwilling to support dictatorships, there can be no Israel.

    That puts the questions back on Americans. Are you willing to support colonial dictatorships for Israel’s sake, how much are you willing to sacrifice of your own blood and treasure to do that, and how do you justify your stance?

    • Research Google on a Likud-commissioned political plan called “A Clean Break”, written in the 1990s by signatories to Dick Cheney’s PNAC who later worked for the Bush regime. It calls for the destruction of the Israeli welfare state, the elimination of any US leverage on Israeli actions, and the removal of Arab governments that would not cooperate. You have very accurately discerned what the plan was.

  6. “Netanyahu’s four adjectives for the movements in Tunisia and Egypt are anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli and anti-democratic.”

    There goes Bibi, looking into the mirror again and thinking it’s a window on his neighbours.

  7. Netanyahu is one of the neo-Zionist cabal that has acquired power in Israel through the manipulation of a misinformed electorate. He was elected to form a Likud coalition by democratic election – but such elections do not always bring in a regime that holds democratic values or has the welfare of the people at heart. The National Socialists were elected in Germany in 1933, and there are many other examples.

    The original leaders of Israel were at least sincere. David ben Gurion whilst not averse to bending either the truth or the rules in order to gain a national advantage, was not in politics for personal gain. Today’s politicians in Israel are a different breed altogther. They do not bend rules, they break them. And they break them not for the benefit of the people. Politics in Israel is as bent as a $3 bill. Corruption is deep rooted and widely spread. It is the very antithesis of a democratic society. Which is why they are always screaming that they are the only democracy in the Middle East! Of course, it’s complete nonsense. Each week the politicians and their families become richer as the poor become ever more numerous.

    Furthermore, the Likud party encourages right wing extremism and contempt for the UN. Which is why youngsters take government money and head for Palestinian land where they build illegal settlements in accordance with the Likud agenda to prevent a Palestinian state at all costs. Of course, there will be a Palestinian state but not before Israel has been involved a bloody battle for survival as the indigenous people claim back their land. Many thousands will inevitably be killed but not the politicians who will by then be safely ensconced in a Manhattan apartment drinking Martinis.

    • “He was elected to form a Likud coalition by democratic election…”

      One point to note: Likud didn’t finish atop the heap in the last Israeli election. Kadima finished first but couldn’t form a coalition.

  8. The charge of “anti-Western” is just propaganda. People aren’t “anti-Western” in principle, they protest particular Western policies. For instance, they mind people like Netanyahu trying to ensure that dictators like Mubarak and Ben Ali remain in power over them.

    That’s true.

    When President Obama finally saw the writing on the wall and gave Mubarak a push, and forbade the Egyptian military to shoot people in the streets, many people in Egypt somewhat revised their view of him. (There were some anti-American posters in Tahrir Square in January and February, but I spent much of July in Tahrir and don’t remember seeing a single anti-American sign).

    Interesting observation that Obama forbade the Egyptian military from shooting people in the streets. It’s not clear that’s what happened but if that is the case, then Obama can issue orders to Egypt’s military and therefore has some responsibility for the military’s refusal to transfer power to and accept command from the civilians.

    As always, the question facing Westerners, especially liberals, is why wait until people are dying? Why did Obama not pressure Mubarak and Egypt’s military to move to accountable leadership before January, and why not pressure Egypt’s military to become fully accountable without the stalling we’ve seen, as the military had itself committed, before this round of violence?

    Is there a principled support for democracy and the idea that government should be accountable to the governed, or is there a situational calculation that the US, despite its wishes, cannot practically maintain a dictatorship that it otherwise would?

    If, as it seems, the answer for Western liberals is the second, that is just shameful even by American professed values.

    As for revolutionary Egypt, it is still getting $1.2 billion a year in aid from Washington, which doesn’t sound anti-Western to me.

    “Revolutionary Egypt” is ruled by Mubarak-era officials. We have yet to see how an Egypt that is popularly accountable would relate to the United States. Judging by the proposals of the military that Obama may be able to issue orders to, it is likely that Obama does not want to see an Egypt that is accountable, especially in matters of foreign policy, to its own people instead of to the US government.

    • If Obama would prefer an obedient dictatorship in Egypt, he certainly has a funny way of showing it.

      Go back and look at how George Bush handled the street protests in Pakistan against Mushariff. He called the military dictatorship our great ally, and claimed that al Qaeda would get their hands on nukes if the popular movement succeeded in ousting him. He backed the military dictator to the hilt, and offered his support, and demonized the opposition.

      As opposed to Obama, who ordered his military commanders with contacts in the region to get in touch with the officers they knew in the Egyptian army, and urge – urge, a much more accurate description than “order” – them to disobey orders to put down the uprising with violence. At the same time, he and Clinton were making numerous public statements supporting the protesters, calling for their rights to be respected, and urging reforms.

      To anyone who has seen the United States back a pliant dictator over a democratic movement, your claim that Obama was supported the former last spring looks distinctly implausible.

      • Joe,

        My claim is that Obama supported Mubarak until there was no feasible way to maintain him in power. Another claim is that Obama probably supported a partial democracy, where the military would retain control of foreign policy and democratic bodies only had control over domestic issues. If the people of Egypt make it so there is no feasible way to accomplish that, then Obama will have no choice but to grudgingly accept Egyptian democracy.

        Obama’s behavior in February and more recently is consistent with that.

        Obama’s relationship with Mubarak before the protests was approximately the same as Bush’s and remained the same as the protests grew. Only when it reached the point that Mubarak clearly was not viable did Obama speak against him.

        In other words, not different from how Bush handled the Mubarak protests. If Pakistan’s protests reached the degree that they could not be resisted, Bush likely would have handled that situation as Obama did – belatedly withdrawing his support for the regime.

        link to msnbc.msn.com

        I haven’t found support for your narrative of Bush acting differently than Obama. Do you have a link to it?

        Obama came into office with an obedient dictatorship in Egypt. If he didn’t prefer it, he had no reason to wait for hundreds to die in protests to say he opposed it. Instead he said that Mubarak is not an authoritarian ruler.

        link to mideastreality.blogspot.com

        There are obedient dictatorships in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and others right now. If Obama does not prefer them, he can say so at any time. How do you explain that he does not?

        My claim is that Barack Obama would have the Middle East ruled by pliant dictators if possible. If you think my claim is wrong, so far you have not made any argument against that claim at all.

        • My claim is that Obama supported Mubarak until there was no feasible way to maintain him in power.

          And that simply isn’t so. Obama actively worked to erode Mubarak’s ability to maintain his power (the military peer-to-peer contacts aimed at denying him the strongest tool he had to remain in power). There’s some discussion of this here:

          link to voanews.com

          “U.S. officials are using their contacts to do what they can to encourage a governmental transition and to promote restraint by the Egyptian Army.”

          You claim:

          Obama came into office with an obedient dictatorship in Egypt. If he didn’t prefer it, he had no reason to wait for hundreds to die in protests to say he opposed it….There are obedient dictatorships in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and others right now.

          First of all, “Obedient?” Did you just describe the Saudi government as “obedient” to the United States? That is a laughable misunderstanding.

          Secondly, If Obama does not prefer them, he can say so at any time. How do you explain that he does not?

          Because for the United States to dictate to other countries what to do with their governments, in the absence of large-scale popular movements aimed at ousting those governments, would be completely useless, as well as utterly imperialistic. Unless we’re backing Arab-Spring type movements, our choices are either to support the government, to use American force to bring about regime change, or to make some useless statements. Why wait until there is actually a chance of the populace of Egypt overthrowing its government before backing them? The question answers itself – because having such a movement, such a revolutionary historical moment, is a necessary precondition for any action in favor of local democracy to have any meaning, or chance of success.

          My claim is that Barack Obama would have the Middle East ruled by pliant dictators if possible.

          And your claim in utterly belied by the administration’s actions in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. I suggest you read up on America’s behavior during the Cold War, to get a sense of how we behave when we want to support pliant dictators. Did we send in the CIA to assassinate the protest leaders? Did we send shipments of arms and money to the government to crush the protests? Did we go on TV and denounce the protesters as being in league with America’s enemies? No, we did none of the things that the United States has done when it sought to back pliant dictators against popular uprisings.

          To anyone familiar with that history, the claim that Obama’s actions towards Egypt are even remotely similar is completely implausible.

        • Joe,

          The VOA link does not support the idea that Obama actively worked against Mubarak at any stage before it was clear that Mubarak’s rule was no longer viable. Your quote was written when there were over 100,000 people in Tahrir Square who had successfully repulsed the security forces. By that time it was already clear that Mubarak could not continue to rule Egypt.

          If your VOA link is true, it still simply is the case that Obama supported Mubarak’s rule when the protests started until after it was clear to nearly all observers that Mubarak could not maintain power. Hillary Clinton said his rule was stable. Joe Biden said he was not a dictator. Another US official, much later, said he should remain in power until September, accepting Mubarak’s terms that Tahrir had already rejected.

          This history is much too recent for you to just make up.

          About Saudi Arabia – I find it equally laughable that you do not realize that it is obedient to the US. How do you explain that Saudi Arabia spends more than twice what Israel spends on military but remains defenseless against Israel while its citizens consider Israel their greatest threat?

          Now that we’re both laughing, where do you see non-obedience in anything but purely symbolic actions from Saudi Arabia?

          About your statement that it would be imperialistic for Obama to say that the people of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, UAE and others should have the right to vote – before there have been deadly protests against the regimes – you’ve completely reversed the definition of imperialism to the degree that it is hard to believe you are being honest.

          Mubarak really is the past. Obama was very late to realize he could not maintain power and abandoned him after that. The currently relevant questions are does Obama support the military’s recent scheme to introduce partial democracy, did he support that scheme when it was hatched and does Obama support governments like Mubarak’s in other countries.

          No, it would not have been imperialistic to answer, when asked directly, that yes Mubarak is an authoritarian ruler and US support for him contradicts the principle of democracy.

          No, it would not be imperialistic today for Obama to say the US will not provide material and training for a new force of 35,000 or more troops for Saudi Arabia unless that state transfers power to popularly accountable political bodies.

          link to mideastreality.blogspot.com

          No, it would not be imperialistic for Obama to say today that Jordan’s dictator should cede power to the people of the country as soon as possible.

          I don’t even want to know what your definition of imperialism is, but it is wrong. And it is imperialistic for Obama not to take the steps listed above.

    • Obama simply threatened to cut off the money. It was worth it to the military to ditch Mubarak to keep the money. But now you’re talking about the military giving up its control of large swathes of the Egyptian economy. If that’s bigger than the US aid, they’ll say screw America, and then what?

      It would be different if Egypt were one of the countries where US troops actually are present to back up the government against its own people, but we only do that where there’s not a lot of people. We allied with Egypt because we assumed its military, like Pakistan’s, would keep things quiet in a corner of the world for us. Hasn’t quite worked out like we expected, but that’s subcontractors for you…

      • If that’s bigger than the US aid, they’ll say screw America, and then what?

        And then America is not complicit in imposing a dictatorship over 80 million Egyptians. The United States could, at that point, be on the side of democracy in Egypt.

        Barack Obama acts like that is nothing you seem to act that way also. By America’s professed values, that would be important.

  9. Yesterday Tzipi Livni, leader of opposition party Kadima (the party founded by Ariel Sharon), warned that Israel was becoming a dictatorship under Netanyahu. Fascism all looks the same, whether it wears a baseball cap, a kippah, or hijab.

  10. Unlike Palin or Perry, MIT and Harvard graduate Netanyahu does not need lectures on the basics of the Middle East conflict. He knows exactly what he is doing.

    This way he makes a nod to Saudis and Jordanians who are hostile to the “Arab Spring”. Also, since Obama supports it, Bibi signals to the GOP how to attack the interventionist dems and to prevent them from exploiting their “accomplishments” to their political advantage.

  11. “Fascism all looks the same, whether it wears a baseball cap, a kippah, or hijab”

    The above should be inscribed in large letters on every voting card in every election. It is a truism that is essential to be appreciated if democracy is to flourish in any meaningful sense. And that is so relevant this very day in Cairo, Damascus and Tel Aviv – as well as in Washington, London and Brussels.

  12. Nethanyahu’s comments are intended for an American audience.

    Among American Zionists, the claim that Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East,” a country much more in line with our own democratic values than those nasty Arab countries, is a central plank in their argument for why the United States should support Israel.

    The emergence of democratic states in the Arab world is an immediate threat to the Israel lobby’s case to the American people.

    • It would seem that the “democratic values” espoused by Netanyahu and the Likud are, in fact, a very close match to the “democratic values” which are held so dear by American Zionists and the American political establishment. They are both totally fraudulent. We can see America’s “democratic values” on display in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere around the globe.

      • Noting that America has engaged in acts of war does not, you might be surprised to learn, refute the observation that the American public is supportive of democracy, and feels more positively towards democratic countries.

  13. The anti Iranian hypocrisy emanating from the US and Israel is yet another example of the Zionist determination to eradicate anybody who stands in the way of the expansion of Israel.

  14. I am afraid Israel will lash out in an ill perceived perception about the future consequences of the Arab Spring. Just imagine if Egypt, Libya Tunisia, Syria and Lebanon join hands to support Palestinian cause in some ‘concrete’ way.

    Israel is neither stupid nor toothless. They are extremely cunning and highly experienced. Iran is just a step in the ladder for them. Excessive maneuvering before a surprise attack is a quintessential Israeli stratagem. Loss of a battle or two is trivial.

  15. Shhh. You aren’t allowed to criticize Israel or Netanyahu.

    The hubris of Netanyahu would almost be comical if he weren’t oppressing so many people…

  16. Netanyahu’s greatest betrayal, after trashing the dream of Herzl, is that perpetrated against the worldwide Jewish diaspora in which live the majority of world Jewry. Instead of looking at Israel with pride, we are now ashamed to be associated with a brutal regime that kills men, women and children without compunction in pursuit of expansionist policies and illegal settlements. Right-wing extremism is a pernicious political agenda that disenfranchises the majority.

    That this political Zionism is unconditionally supported by the American Israel lobby is a matter of deep regret and concern to those of us brought up to respect the ethics and teachings of Judaism. Ethics that forbid the killing of innocents and a contempt for human and civil rights.

  17. Israel has no future. What we are seeing now is the last gasp of an illegitimate state. Collapse will be sudden, unexpected, and spectacular, and also about 5 minutes behind the collapse of the dollar.

  18. Funny how Bibi talks about Liberalism, while there is a wall running down half the country !!!!

  19. A survey of the term “liberal” is incomplete without a mention of those for whom the main thing to liberalize is Trade: free trade, globalization, laissez-faire capitalism, and the race to the bottom.

    Sometimes called “neo-liberalism” in English to differentiate it from classical liberalism, this is the most common meaning of the term in European parliaments. See, for example, the German businessman’s party FDP, which identifies itself as “die Liberalen”. Its current agenda is a tiresome litany of tax cuts and social welfare spending cuts.

    The distinction is clearest when someone like Tony Blair takes a party like Labor, which used to be “liberal” and occasionally do a few things for the 99%, and turns it into a “neo-liberal” party, which now serves only the 1%.

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