Saturday, September 19, 2015

Our feral, lying, good for nothing media

You don't see the consensus in all of its suffocating conformity until someone challenges it.

If you want to know what the consensus is made of, just look at what the media considers a gaffe.  Corbyn, a republican, doesn't sing the royalist national anthem.  Gaffe.  Corbyn, a socialist, appointed a hard-left socialist as shadow chancellor.  Gaffe.  Corbyn refused to answer journalists' questions.  Ultra-gaffe.  That's just rude.  From the Guardian to the Express, from the New Statesman's craven toeing of the Blairite line to the lies in supposedly neutral dailies like the Metro, from The Sun's made-up 'exclusives' to the queue of Labour MPs and liberal pundits lining up to spew bile for the Daily Mail, from Tory attack ads to the Telegraph screaming for Corbyn's head, the media and the political class have near total unanimity in their ferocious anti-socialism.  I know we call them 'the bourgeois media', but not even the most crass, petty-minded Stalinist apparatchik could have produced a caricature as venomous and despicable as our lot.

In that vein, let me draw your attention to a story that has appeared in The Independent, with these words in the headline: "Jeremy Corbyn 'loses a fifth of Labour voters'".  Understand, this headline is a complete lie.  The first warning is those scare quotes.  Before the authors even get to the story, they're distancing themselves from its major argument.  The next is the fact that the article opens, not - as would be logical - with a quick summary of the point of the story, but with some entirely other statistics.  The third is that, when they actually do refer to the main point of the story in the second paragraph, it is already watering the story down, saying that one in five people who previously voted Labour are "more likely to vote Conservative next time".  That is already not the same as Corbyn 'losing' a fifth of Labour voters.  Unsurprisingly, even this claim is given no elaboration.  Instead, the juice of the story is presented in a series of charts, which represent the results of the study.  What the figures actually show is as follows:

63% of Labour voters say they are more likely to vote Labour in the next election with Corbyn as leader, as opposed to 20% of those voters who say they are more likely to vote Conservative.  There are similarly polarised responses among other voters.  So, for example, over a third of SNP voters, approximately a third of Lib Dems, about one fifth of UKIP voters and 8% of Tories are more likely to vote Labour with Corbyn as Labour leader.  By the same token, four fifths of Tory voters are more determined to vote for their own party, just under a fifth of SNP voters would be more likely to vote Tory, while a third of Liberals and a whopping 40% of Ukipers would be more likely to vote Conservative.  Corbyn has not lost a fifth of Labour voters.  What he has done is polarised the voters.  And polarisation, in this context, is a good thing.  It shows that there's something in the fight, for once, and that people are being motivated.

What is more, these results give us a clue as to how evaluate the responses to other questions.  In ORB and Yougov's polling, there have been questions asked which follow the agenda of the Conservatives and the anti-Corbyn media, inquiring as to exactly how much like a Prime Minister Corbyn looks, how much you'd trust him with this or that.  The results, of course, don't look good.  Corbyn is a new figure for most of the public, his policy ideas are new, and they are being brought up in a context of near total ideological monopoly of neoliberalism for over thirty years.  His first days as leader have been characterised by an intense campaign of character assassination.  I think it would be odd, in the best of circumstances, for a majority of people to suddenly find him utterly trustworthy on the economy and schools, and these are not the best of circumstances.  And yet, here you have evidence that far from being put off, a very considerable number of people are attracted to Corbyn's Labour.  The only electoral poll we've had since Corbyn's election as Labour leader thus far, has given Labour a small bounce, rather than registering some sort of collapse in the Labour vote.  To me, this is a good reminder of how carefully to handle such polls - the answers to polling question are as polysemic as the questions themselves.  If asked whether Corbyn looks Prime Ministerial, you could quite honestly answer 'no', given the way the image of Corbyn is mediated, and still think he's a huge improvement on everyone else thus far.

Understand this.  The ferocity of the British media in this instance has nothing whatever to do with Corbyn's media strategy, spin or lack thereof.  Certainly, they're offended at Corbyn's refusal to play their game.  Certainly, they would be kinder to a slick, amoral businessman bashing immigrants.  But the media will never coddle Corbyn in the way that it does Farage.  Not for him the complicit, stagey antagonism with which right-wing populists are greeted.  The difference is that the mass media in this country agrees with and defends and articulates the principles upon which Farage stakes his claims, but can barely understand let alone sympathise with the principles underlying the current Labour leadership's position.

You can't understand the reasons for this in simple commercial terms.  It isn't about securing advertising accounts, or selling copy.  Nor is it simply about the short-term interests of their proprietors.  It is primarily about their integration into the party-political machinery.  It is about their dependence on, and participation in, the exercise of state power. They are active participants in policy debates, the selection of political leaders, and the outcome of elections.  Apart from the schools, they are the major institutions through which the dominant ideology of the national state is reproduced.  They are, in short, "ideological state apparatuses".  And the reason they are going feral is because the traditional mode of their domination is under attack.  That, too, is a good thing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Pessimism After Corbyn

Salvage statement on the Corbyn bombshell:

Salvage cleaves to the necessity of a pessimism that is not a nostrum but a result of analysis, and urges others on the left to approach this battle with the same sober caution. Aspiring to such rigour is not merely a responsibility in these circumstances, it is energising. Salvage counsels a pessimism that has the humility to be surprised, to celebrate the shocks of our victories without surrendering the caution we – all – need. And we proceed in the utter and committed desire – theSehnsucht – to be proven wrong.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The unsinkable Blairite rubber ducks.

James Randi invented the term "unsinkable rubber ducks" to refer to beliefs held by the superstitious and religious, which they were unable and unwilling to give up no matter the evidence.  No matter how many times you try to sink them, they keep bobbing back up to the surface.

It's a felicitous turn of phrase, given the relationship between ducks, canards and decoys.  And I like to think it could refer just as well to elements of spin and propaganda which, no matter how obviously false or easily rebutted, keep resurfacing.

What else could we call it?  Genderwashing?  "Cuntpolitik"?  Zillah Eisenstein gives us the concept of the sexual decoy.

The decoy is a symptom, a distraction, and a warning.  Take the example of Lyndie England, a woman who joined the US armed forces only to end up in an American prison, in Baghdad, torturing Iraqi men and visibly enjoying it.  Having helped mask the hypertrophied masculinism and women-hating of American militarism, she participated fully in it.  Take Laura Bush, who exhorted war on benighted Afghanistan, ostensibly to free the women from the Vice and Virtue squads.  Or consider Hillary Clinton, so often referred to as a "feminist" that some people actually believe it, regardless of her record.

The sexual decoy has a thousand and one uses, but one of its recurring uses is in the politics of triangulation.  Neoliberals alighted on the formula some time ago.  If you want to implement policies attacking black people, see if you can find a black politician to take responsibility for it, and sell it as black empowerment.  If you want to implement policies attacking women, find a female politician to take the flak, and sell it as feminism.

For example, one of Labour's former acting leader Harriet Harman's first jobs in government was to cut benefits for single mothers.  Her job was to deflect criticism, as a woman, for a gratuitous, disgusting attack on women.  Note that such policies are often articulated and defended in terms of some specious notion of female empowerment.  When Tony Blair, at the peak of his power, was planning further cuts to benefits specifically enjoyed by women, it was justified as feminism.  Likewise, when Harriet Harman as acting leader of the Labour Party refused to oppose Tory welfare cuts which disproportionately harm women, 48 backbenchers rebelled.  The Guardian published an article seriously inquiring whether such a rebellion would have happened to a male leader, suggesting both a dismally tokenistic appreciation of feminist politics, and a memory shorter than a goldfish.

Now, with Corbyn's victory in the Labour leadership election, and the appointment of the hard-left socialist John McDonnell to the role of shadow chancellor, the situation has in some ways been reversed.  Labour now seems set to adopt policies that aren't viciously woman-hating.  Corbyn's policy document, 'Working With Women', drafted by the left-wing Kate Osamor MP, includes a range of measures such as universal free childcare, reversing cuts to the social wage, anti-sexist education in schools, fully funded services for victims of domestic violence, and forcing companies to publish equal pay audits.  Also included in this agenda was a commitment to fifty percent representation for women in the shadow cabinet (already exceeded, making Corbyn's shadow cabinet the first to achieve majority women representation), and pushing toward fifty percent representation for women among Labour MPs.  This is not a radical attack on patriarchy, but it is a vast improvement on the "pink bus + welfare cuts" policy practiced by his predecessor.  And that is why Corbyn overwhelmingly won the female vote, with 61% of women voters saying they would vote for him.

However, one of the sub-threads of the anti-Corbyn campaign has always been an attempt to mobilise some form of ripped off anti-oppression politics, from Suzanne Moore's pathetic, opportunistic invocation of the term "brocialism" to attack enemies to her left to the New Statesman's article headlined 'Labour chooses white man as leader'.  And now look at this.  Cathy Newman, whose journalistic career ought to be in tatters after she fabricated an incident of sexist exclusion at a mosque, also charges the Corbynites with "brocialism".  It is argued that the traditionally top cabinet jobs went to men, shadow foreign secretary and shadow home secretary being by convention - not by dint of pay, perks, or power as far as I can tell - more important than shadow health secretary, or shadow education secretary.

This is simply an underwhelming line of attack.  Even if Corbyn's team hadn't declared their intention to refuse that conventional hierarchy, what does the critique amount to?  Corbyn's leadership is more gender-egalitarian on all fronts than previous Labour leaderships, and should absolutely aspire to promote women to the highest positions - including shadow chancellor, which has scandalously never been held by a woman.  Not particularly damning, is it?  Just as there are those who blame "identity politics" for these cheap attack jobs, some on the left are going to get hung up on the term "brocialism" - one of those clumsily snarky social media neologisms, referring to male socialists who don't prioritise gender politics - persuading themselves that it is somehow pre-structured in favour of such appropriations.  I seriously doubt it, and I decline to worry about it.  The key issue here is that in this context it is an appropriation and a slur.

If, on supposedly feminist grounds of supporting female leadership, you have supported Yvette Cooper for leader, knowing her austerian policies will hurt women, then you have no higher ground from which to berate Corbyn's gender politics.  The invocation of gender there is every bit as superficial as Moore's ersatz invocation of class politics while pandering to a far right violent street gang (and indeed, note in the same article the pseudo-feminist apologia for a bunch of big bovver boys in big boots kicking Muslim heads in).  It is a decoy.  By the same token, if you are so opportunistic in your use of feminist thematics that you will fake an incident at a mosque in order to incite racist outrage and bolster your media career, you have no higher ground from which to berate Corbyn's gender politics.  Once again, it is a decoy.  At best, concern trolling.  These people have nothing to teach the left about gender politics.  

No doubt, and soon, we will hear the feminist case for keeping Trident, the feminist case for tougher immigration controls (I think Joan Smith has already been working on that), the feminist case for Anschluss, and at long last the feminist case for nutting people right in the fucking face, square go.  Because apparently there is no atrocity that you can't justify by sticking the label feminist in front of it, and brazening it out.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Blairite tears are not enough; we need heads on spikes.

I think we all need time to digest this.

The Labour Party has, for the first time ever [or, okay, since George Lansbury], a leader who is both a socialist and, critically, an activist.  I don't think this can be said of any other Labour leader [since 1935], not even the overrated Michael Foot.  (You will never see Corbyn draping himself in the Union Jack and cheerleading war in the way that Foot did.)  Not only that, but he won by 59.5% in the first round.  The ultra-Blairite candidate, Liz Kendall, got a mere 4.5% of the vote.  This is far better than anything we could have legitimately anticipated.  In Corbyn's first speech as leader, he has hit all the left notes.  He welcomed new members, welcomed back old members driven away by Blairism.  He bashed the Tories anti-union laws, stood up for welfare, attacked the Murdoch empire, and said his first act as leader will be to join the big pro-refugees rally in central London, where the atmosphere will no doubt be ecstatic.

For now, much of the response will consist of a fully justified guzzling of #blairitetears.  All of the bullying and the moral blackmail and the condescension couldn't hide their fear, and couldn't dissuade a membership energised by a unique, unexpected opportunity, and sick to death of being spoken down to by the undemocratic, managerial rabble at the top of Labour.  This is the time to celebrate.  This is our Oxi.  Oxi to austerity, Oxi to Blairism, Oxi to managed politics, Oxi to a media that went into Project Fear mode the second Corbyn had a chance, Oxi to racism and the politicians who make it respectable, Oxi to the neoliberal consensus.

However.  As overwhelming as this result is, supported by mass, enthusiastic meetings up and down the country, including in real backwaters (you know where I mean, the kind of place you grew up in and fled), there remains something very fragile about this.  We have to be extremely careful not to lose sight of what's coming.  The Blairites have been sufficiently hammered by this result that they can't simply mount a constitutional coup immediately.  The party machinery will want stability and legitimacy in the process.  Nor will the Blairites be so self-defeating as to leave.  They will take their time, nurse their wounds, and patiently wait for the chance to stick the knife in.  So there is time, not much, for Corbyn's supporters to position themselves for the coming trench warfare.  There is time for them to get their supporters nominated to leading bodies in the party and start pushing for democratic change.  There may be time for them to get a few parliamentary and local candidates selected.

But we should be clear that there will be a war in the Labour Party, and that the right-wing will have the backing of the media, the spooks, the civil service, and a good chunk of the membership.  Project Fear was just a panicked, clearly ineffectual start.  There is also another line of attack which is more subtle.  That is to pressure Corbyn to abandon key commitments, to the point where he drains away his support and is decisively weakened.  Of course, he will have to compromise on aspects of his agenda.  The parliamentary Labour Party will work against him, overwhelming mandate or not.  Already, for example, there's a question mark over what Labour will do about Trident - Corbyn has a mandate to oppose it, but he may not be able to force MPs to back his position, especially since Labour went into the last election (the one it lost miserably) on a pro-Trident ticket.  The shadow health minister's resignation from the front bench is no great loss in itself - has anyone actually heard of Jamie Reed MP? - but it specifically mentions nuclear policy as a point of contention.  As in the Scottish independence referendum, one gets the impression that loyalty to nation and empire are more important to the Labour Right than anything else.  As for Rachel Reeves MP, a mobile disaster whose pandering to the Tory tabloids helped Labour to glorious defeat, no one will miss seeing her on the front benches.  But Corbyn doesn't just have to represent the balance of forces in the Labour Party, he has to work with the balance of forces in the parliamentary party, which is far more powerful.

Corbyn has said that his campaign is about turning the Labour Party into a social movement.  That, it seems to me, is the only chance he and his supporters have.  It's the only possible counterweight to the entrenched, institutional power of the right.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Drone strikes for refugees


Football supporters groups across the UK are planning to show support for refugees.

In Frankfurt and other German cities, leftists and antifascists have organised moving rallies to welcome refugees to Germany.*  Hopefully, we will see the same in London too.


II. Don't underestimate the significance of this.  Throughout the entirety of my adult political life, all trends have been in the reverse direction.  When I first became a socialist, asylum seekers were the hate figure of the day.  Widely demonised as spongers, parasites, liars, frauds and criminals, they were the subject of constant media vilification.  In essence, this was part of the same system of ideological representations that justified cutting benefits for the disabled, for single mothers, and for the unemployed.  It was about designating an underclass problem population that needed to be policed, controlled and deterred.

New Labour, in an attempt to triangulate the Tories, began to emulate their rhetoric and policies on the issue.  Barbara Roche was sent down to Dover to make a show of inspecting lorries, to see if any undesirable foreigners were hidden in the back or clung to the exhaust pipe.  Jack Straw accused Roma gypsies of shitting on shop doorways.  The government removed all cash benefits to asylum seekers and put them on a stigmatising and privately run voucher system, presumably on the basis that foreigners couldn't be trusted with proper British pounds.

Most disgracefully, they set up a network of detention camps where people who had committed nor crime where locked up in centres run by abusive private security firms.  But at long last, the arbitrary cruelties of the system have induced an all-party parliamentary group to call for the abolition of these camps


III. But, while there has always been a solid anti-racist minority, it's taken some time for this to become the basis for a political counter-movement against the anti-immigrant consensus.

The official response to this development is to attempt to canalise the humanitarian sentiment into a license for escalating the bombing in Syria, on the insane pretext that this will somehow alleviate the refugee crisis.

What this concretely means was illustrated in The Sun's front page this morning, about the "British jihadis" whom the government says they have killed with a drone strike.  The cover says "Wham Bam, Thank You Cam", which as tabloid witticisms go is somewhere in the region of "Gotcha".


IV. There is a lot to say about the reactionary adventurers who go off to Syria or Iraq to join a fanatical religious organisation whose dominance anywhere is characterised by the most severe brutality, and whose propaganda quite explicitly justifies enslavement and rape of women.  Why a young man from Cardiff feels even remotely tempted by this prospect is a very good question.

However, the ra-ra reaction to the drone strike is troubling, to say the least.  Let's keep a few things in mind.

First, the majority of those killed by drone strikes are civilians.  As the charity, Reprieve, pointed out last year, for the forty one men supposedly targeted by US drone strikes, 1,147 people were killed.  This is quite a significant finding, because we're often told that these strikes are "surgically precise".  No such thing, evidently.

On top of that, many of those supposedly targeted were reported as having been killed several times over.  This demonstrates the casual, almost offhand way in which the military bullshits people, with a generally complicit media.

Perhaps worst of all, in developing justifications for the drone strikes and the numbers killed by them, the Obama administration cheerfully changed the definition of a civilian.  As the New York Times reported in an extraordinary piece of journalism, it turns out that any "military-aged male" - that is, fifteen years or older - is now considered a "militant" or a "combatant".


V. This is just to underline that just because the government says they have killed some very bad guys is no reason to suspend your critical faculties, to take their word for anything, and to start cheerleading.  It is also to point out that, while drone strikes may not be a major factor contributing to refugee flows, they are unlikely to help.

One might add that if the brief is simply to reduce the contribution that ISIS makes to the refugee flows, the evidence is that after the bombing began, ISIS's global recruitment increased to a thousand per month.  Within the first few months of war, the Pentagon admitted, 19,000 jihadis had been recruited from overseas.  So, the drone strikes aren't in any way, shape or form, reducing the threat posed by ISIS to civilian populations.  This is all too predictable since the core of ISIS was formed within the furnace of the occupation of Iraq.

Of course, some people claim that the real answer to the refugee crisis is to support the British military going in, full-speed, to overthrow the Assad dictatorship.  After all, the argument goes, it is Assad's military offensive, not that of ISIS, that is responsible for the largest number of deaths, and the largest number of refugees.

However, even if you can somehow subscribe to this notion that the British military is something like "the armed wing of Amnesty International", as I believe was actually claimed at around the turn of the millennium, there is a country immediately adjacent to Syria that has, in fairly recent memory, been invaded and occupied.  This was ostensibly to free its people from a brutal dictatorship.  

In the first three years of that war, alone, an excess of 600,000 deaths were recorded - and that excess is over and above the number of deaths that would have resulted from the twin despotisms of Saddam and sanctions.  The list of cities that were defiled, cut down to rubble, their electricity and water destroyed, hospitals flattened, thousands killed within, homes destroyed, is extensive - off the top of my head, I think of Fallujah, Rafah, Tal Afar, Al-Qaim, and Haditha.  This is to say nothing about the big flows of refugees produced by the war, and the disgustingly callous British government attitude to the small number of Iraqi refugees who actually sought protection in the UK.  Who would have thought they could take a country in such dire straits, with a wrecked economy and infrastructure, where the sanctions regime was considered genocidal by its administrators, where the dictatorship's apparatus was unforgivingly violent, and make it worse?  Yet, they did.


VI. Of course, not every invasion is Iraq.  Sometimes, the ensuing debacle is far less severe than this calamity.  Libya is not in great shape, and suffered a few tens of thousands of deaths in part due to the war, but it's not Iraq.  Kosovo has had its troubles, and the war left us with two bouts of ethnic cleansing, first against Albanians then against Serbs and Roma, yet Pristina is not Baghdad.  But since when was that a stunning recommendation?  "Not As Bad As Iraq?"  Oh, you didn't murder quite as many people this time?  Do you want a fucking Blue Peter badge?  

Anyone who says that the British military must escalate drone strikes and bombings "for the refugees" is either a cynic or a sap.  And those who are marching this weekend mustn't let anyone usurp their stance.


*As mood music to this laudable development, a 22 year old anti-Nazi song has risen to the top of the German pop charts.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Dead children

My social media feeds are filled with dead children.  Small bodies, washing up on the shores of a Mediterranean beach.  

Why are they washing up on the shores?  European governments want us to blame traffickers.  The advantage of blaming traffickers is that it actually licenses those governments to implement even more repressive measures.  But traffickers are only out to make a quick buck off the system that European governments have created. 



It is incredibly difficult to get into 'Fortress Europe' as a refugee.  Apart from all the legal obstacles, even refugees face a policy of “illegal pushback” according to the European Council of Refugees and Exiles, wherein Greek government forces illegitimately use violence and threats to prevent those seeking asylum - many coming from Syria via Turkey - from entering the European Union.

If they go through Bulgaria, they are locked up in prison ‘camps’.  They live on miserly rations of food, in what Amnesty International calls cruel and inhumane conditions, and live in fear of racist attacks.  If they try to cross from Morocco to Spain, or from Libya to Italy, they risk sinking to their deaths in the middle of the Mediterranean.  

And this is the context in which there is an emergency at sea.  As the International Organisation of Migration points out, there has been a drastic ramping up of border controls, particularly maritime border controls in Europe, particularly in the form of Operation Triton - a repressive counter-migration measure often misleadingly described as a search and rescue operation.  

This partly explains why the rate of deaths is drastically increasing in the Mediterranean, while decreasing in other parts of the world.  Denied other means to travel, denied legal entry as refugees, migrants take the boat.  And it's a rickety boat, sailing in precarious conditions, under circumstances of terrifying surveillance.

As Al Jazeera reported last year, the number of deaths in the Mediterranean sea is rising - over 3,000 in the first nine months of 2014, the worst figure since the beginning of the century, adding to the total of 40,000 who CNN report have died like this across the world since 2000: a humanitarian catastrophe.

Most of the bodies don't wash up on the shore.  Most of them are never recovered; the ones that are usually don’t have documents.  No one knows who they are, or even what gender the deceased are in most cases.

At long last, there is a backlash.  People may get swept up in racist propaganda, but no one likes to think of themselves as so brutally inhumane that they'd let cheerfully let children drown at sea.  The European governments are being shamed into accepting some refugees, although the British government remains intransigent.  The Financial Times reports:



During the negotiations on relocating 40,000 refugees earlier this summer, one EU diplomat said British officials joked that they would take zero people “and double that if they were really pushed”.


But it's important to say that these refugees only constitute a small minority of the immigrants within and to the European Union.  The success of anti-immigrant racism depends on us accepting the idea that Europe "can't take" so many migrants.  But the fact is that most immigrants to Europe arrive by air, with work visas.  When you see statistics claiming a large number of "illegal immigrants", the majority of that is migrants whose visa ran out while they were at their work placement.


Thus, it is not that Europe "can't take" the number of immigrants that arrive, which consideration can only be temporarily set aside in emergencies.  It is that European economies need, and depend upon the immigrants that arrive.  The determination of the European Union to maintain a 'fortress' has nothing to do with the supposed material burden that refugees place upon the those states, and far more to do with the political management of the labour force.


But in setting up non-nationals as parasites, as a burden, as usurpers of national resources, and so on, European governments and their loyal media are generating a dangerous political fantasy.  


Ultimately, if migrants coming here are a problem, then the ones who are already here (first, second or third generation, depending on how one is racially coded) must also be a problem.  No matter that they have citizenship, the mere fact that we put up with such a burden, according to this logic, is a sign of 'our' benevolence, generosity and tolerance.  


But that can only be pushed so far, and in moments of crisis, when the economy is depressed, when newspapers tell us that Europe is being driven to the bring of 'civil war' by immigration, when cultural diversity is no longer a bland multicultural shibboleth but actually fighting talk... well, if 'they' are a problem, wouldn't it be nice if we could somehow, not have to live with 'them' any more?  That's the fantasy which ultimately grounds support for Farageism, Trumpism, or at worst Marine Le Pen and the Golden Dawn.


And that is also the limitation of humanitarianism in this situation.  As I see it, it is not that despite all the racism and xenophobia some baseline, fundamental human sympathy has kicked in.  


Rather, what we are witnessing playing out is what in good old-fashioned marxist terminology might be called the contradictions of the dominant ideology.  The liberal-humanitarian element of European ideology has come into stark and obvious conflict with the nationalist and racist elements.  


And it is good that the liberal-humanitarian reflex is prevailing for now.  That does give anti-racists a breathing space to and an angle from which to attack the fortress: for now, the slogan "Refugees are welcome here" has a clear resonance.  But it doesn't in itself affect the underlying ideological coordinates according to which immigrants are a burden, and a menace, and a problem population to be controlled.  


We shouldn't expect the momentary shock of devastation and disaster to do our political work for us.