Monday, December 05, 2016

11 anos do Vento Sueste

Este blogue começou há 11 anos, a 5 de dezembro de 2005.

Assim, como de costume, vou fazer uma recapitulação de alguns posts publicados ao longo deste ano:

  • O Inverno árabe era inevitável?, sobre se os sistemas eleitorais adotados (proporcional na Tunísia, maioritário no Egito, misto na Líbia) poderão ter tido consequências no desfecho de cada uma das revoluções (que só na Tunísia deu origem a uma democracia) 

Os limites da redistribuição a favor dos "perdedores" do comércio livre

Desperately Searching For A New Strategy, por Tim Duy:

The dry statistics on trade aren’t working to counter Trump. They make for good policy at one level and terrible policy (and politics) at another. The aggregate gains are irrelevant to someone suffering a personal loss. Critics need to find an effective response to Trump. I don’t think we have it yet. And here is the hardest part: My sense is that Democrats will respond by offering a bigger safety net. But people don’t want a welfare check. They want a job. And this is what Trump, wrongly or rightly, offers.
[Via Economist's View]

A título ilustrativo da posição pró-comércio livre e pró-redistribuição, temos, por exemplo, este artigo do Luís Aguiar-Conraria, Contra um mundo infestado de Trumps.

Pode ser que eu ainda escreva alguma coisa sobre isto, mas provavelmente não (já que não tenho muita certeza que esses problemas tenham realmente solução...).

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Afinal, talvez as sondagens tenham mesmo falhado

Talvez contrariando o que escrevi aqui e aqui, parece que afinal terá mesmo havido um erro na elaboração das sondagens para as eleições norte-americana: ao que consta, a maior parte das sondagens escolheram a amostra de acordo com as habilitações académicas e de acordo com a etnia, mas não de acordo com as habilitações académicas e etnia - isto é, entrevistaram um número proporcional de eleitores sem formação universitária e um número proporcional de eleitores brancos, mas não um número proporcional de eleitores brancos sem formação universitária, tendo esse grupo sido sub-representado nas sondagens (imagino que as minorias étnicas com formação universitária também tenham estado sub-representadas, mas, ao contrário do que se passa entre os brancos, penso que nas minorias étnicas não há grande diferença de comportamento eleitoral entre os com e sem formação universitária).

Pollsters Probably Didn’t Talk To Enough White Voters Without College Degrees, por Nate Silver

Survey weighting and that 2% swing, por Andrew Gelman

Ainda a "classe trabalhadora" norte-americana - recordações dos anos 70 (III)

Ainda sobre este assunto, um artigo de 1972, Unions vs. Workers in the Seventies: The Rise of Militancy in the Auto Industry, por Martin Glaberman (um ex-operário da industria automóvel e ativista da "tendência Johnson-Forest", uma dissidência do "shachtmanismo", que por sua vez foi a dissidência do trotskismo que também deu origem ao neoconservadorismo):

The Detroit Free Press published the following report in August 1970:
Some 46 percent of General Motors’ hourly workers are below age 35. They have never known a depression, they have had more schooling than the man who lived through the last one, and they aren’t impressed by the old Spartan idea that hard, repetitive work is a virtue. They are less responsive to authority than even the men who seized the flint GM plants in the historic 1936-1937 sit-down strikes.
That is precisely the background against which discontent is surfacing throughout the industry today, discontent that has reached its most advanced stage in the auto industry.
The formation of the CIO in the 1930s settled once and for all the idea that owners or managers or stockholders had the right to run their plants any way they saw fit. (...)

When Ford fell to the union in 1941, both the check-off and full time for union committeemen were incorporated into the contract. But the apparent victories only created more problems. Workers wanted full time for union representatives to get them out from under company pressures and discrimination. Getting elected steward often got you the worst job in a department and stuck away in a corner where you couldn’t see what was happening.

But full time for stewards did more than relieve union representatives from company pressure-it ended up by relieving representatives from workers’ pressure. The steward is less available than he was before, and you have to have your foreman go looking for him should you happen to need him .

The check-off produced a similar situation. Designed to keep the company from pressuring weaker workers to stay out of the union even though they were sharing in its benefits, the check-off ended up reducing worker pressure on the union officials.

No longer does the steward have to listen to workers’ complaints each month as he goes round collecting the dues. Once a month the dues are delivered in one huge check from the company to the union and the worker never sees his dues payment. (...)

And with the Reuther administration the union moved to participate directly in the management and discipline of workers in production. All through the fifties, with intensive automation and decentralization going on in the auto industry, the union collaborated in crushing the numerous wildcat strikes, in getting rid of the most militant workers, in establishing labor peace in the industry. (...)

The situation has not improved since then. GM complains that the number of grievances in its plants has grown from 106,000 in 1960 to 256,000 in 1699 or 60 for each 100 workers.

What are these specific local grievances? They involve production standards: the speed of a line, the rate on a machine, the number of workers assigned to a given job, the allowable variations in jobs on a given line. They involve health and safety standards : unsafe machines, cluttered or oily floors, rates of production which prevent the taking of reasonable precautions, the absence or misuse of hoists or cranes, protection from flames or furnaces, protection from sharp, unfinished metal, protection from welding or other dangerous chemicals or flames, the right to shut an unsafe job down until the condition is changed.

They involve the quality of life in the plant: the authoritarian company rules which treat workers like a combination of prison inmate and kindergarten child, the right to move about the plant, the right to relieve yourself physically without having to get the foreman’s permission or the presence of a relief man, the right to reasonable breaks in the work, the right to a reasonable level of heat in the winter or reasonable ventilation in the summer. And on and on.

The grievances that crowd the dockets of General Motors and of other companies cover the total range of life in the factory. The fact that they are called grievances helps to conceal what they really are-a reflection of the total dissatisfaction of the workers in the way production is run and of the des ire of the workers to impose their own will in the factory.

The UAW and the Ford Motor Company recently have been discussing the problem of boredom on the assembly line. The only reason they are discussing it at all-it is by no means a new development-is because more and more workers are refusing to accept factory discipline as a law of nature.

And it is not boredom but power which is at stake.

The same worker who for eight hours a day attaches belts to a motor and can’t wait to get out of the plant will spend his weekends tinkering with his car and consider it rewarding work. The difference is in who controls the work.

It might be worth noting a couple of things. All workers are exploited to one degree or another. But office workers on the whole do not have to walk past armed guards going to and from work and have a certain amount of freedom in scheduling their work on the job. The coffee break is not a blue-collar institution. (...)

The reorganization, technological change and decentralization that characterized the fifties and culminated in the depression gave way to a new expansion which brought significant numbers of young workers into the industry in the U.S. These are workers who couldn’t care less about what the union won in 1937. They are not more backward (as the union bureaucrats like to pretend) but more advanced. They are attuned to the need to change the nature of work, to the need of human beings to find satisfaction in what they do. It is this new and changing working class that was the basis for the new level of wildcat strikes, for a doubled rate of absenteeism, for an increased amount of violence in plants. It is a new working class that no conceivable contract settlement can control or immobilize. (...)

The complaints against the young workers who make up a crucial force in the factories indicate that the wildcats of the past may be replaced, or at least supplemented, by something new.

The tightly knit structures of the big industrial unions leave no room for maneuvering. There is no reasonable way in which young workers can use the union constitution to overturn and overhaul the union structure. The constitution is against them; the money and jobs available to union bureaucrats are against them. And if these fail, the forces of law and order of city, state and federal governments are against them. (...)

The impossibility of transforming the unions has been argued by a number of observers. Clark Kerr has noted, without disapproval, that “unions and corporations alike are, with very few exceptions, one-party governments.” That is the phrase usually reserved for Stalinist or fascist totalitarian governments. But it is not overdrawn. (...)

And all of this is what young workers are revolting against.
Este é um daqueles artigos que, mais de 40 anos depois de ter sido escrito, parece ter saído completamente furado: os jovens da classe trabalhadora que em 1972 faziam greves selvagens e protestavam contra a opressão no local de trabalho acabaram largamente (sobretudo os brancos) por se tornarem votantes de Reagan (no percurso descrito aqui) e possivelmente até de Trump, não a dar origem a novas formas de organização e a lutas mais radicais.

Aliás, os EUA parecem-me dos países onde o radicalismo do final dos anos 60 - princípio dos 70 parece ter entrado menos na classe operária, não tendo havido (apesar das greves selvagens) quase nada comparável à greve geral de 1968 em França, à agitação laboral generalizada da Grã-Bretanha e ou de Itália (com a força sindical dos trotskistas na primeira e dos "autónomos" e dos "comités de base" na segunda), ou, já agora, a participação da cintura industrial de Lisboa no PREC.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

O financiamento de um RBI em Portugal

Mesmo um RBI de 200€ mensais requer cerca de 25.3 mil milhões de euros. (...)

Um método de financiamento que se pretenda viável teria de se focar não numa hipotética estrutura económica, mas numa transição possível para um RBI plenamente desenvolvido, isto é, tendo em conta as prestações sociais já existentes cujo desígnio não está afinal distante daquele que o próprio RBI afirma alcançar. Sob este prisma, os custos totais de financiamento tornam-se enganadores: o que é importante do ponto de vista do financiamento é estabelecer a carga fiscal adicional que é necessário arrecadar para colocar de pé o RBI. Ora, existindo já um conjunto de prestações sociais pagas e administradas pelo sector público, uma primeira possibilidade seria conceber uma articulação do RBI com estas prestações. Consideremos agora o desenho de uma proposta: a eliminação de todos as prestações sociais de montante inferior ao RBI (que seriam substituídos por este), e a integração do RBI em todos as prestações sociais e subsídios de valor superior. De acordo com os orçamentos da SS e da CGA para o ano de 2011, o primeiro passo representaria uma poupança potencial de cerca de 2 mil milhões de euros [Despesa com Rendimento Social de Inserção, Abono de Família e outras prestações da SS (2011)]; com o segundo, a poupança obtida seria de cerca de 7 a 9 mil milhões de euros [Cálculos do autor. Este valor inclui a poupança por integração do RBI nas Pensões de Velhice da SS e da Caixa Geral de Aposentações, no Subsídio de Desemprego e na Pensão de Invalidez. Não inclui as despesas com o Subsídio de Doença e a Acção Social da Segurança Social que representam uma despesa conjunta de cerca de 2 mil milhões de euros (2011)] . Com esta combinação de eliminação de subsídios inferiores e integração do RBI nos superiores alcança-se portanto uma poupança de pelo menos 9 mil milhões de euros, que representaria cerca de 35% do montante total necessário. (...)

Faltaria ainda garantir dois terços do financiamento, isto é, 16 mil milhões de euros. Um RBI que pretenda de facto contribuir para uma menor desigualdade na distribuição de rendimentos deverá ser conjugado com a reformulação do IRS.

Os "agentes russos"

O Washington Post desvendou uma suposta lista de sites que estarão ao serviço da Rússia (aparentemente compilada pelo método de «se achas que esse site é um site de propaganda russa, informa-nos» - «The YYYcampaignYYY is the crowdsourced application of "manual analysis", which is what we call the remarkably easy-to-do process of methodically checking to see whether a particular social-media account, commenter, or outlet qualifies as Russian propaganda, and calling it out it if it does. Anyone can join this campaign, and we hope you will do so.»).

Desta lista costumo ler o antiwar.com e o unz.com; ocasionalmente também leio o lewrockwell.com e os sites da wikileaks.

Já agora, sou só eu que acho o slogan "Your Friendly Neighborhood Propaganda Identification Service, Since 2016!" tão ridículo que isto até parece gozo, ou ele próprio mais um dos sites de notícias falsas?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ainda a "classe trabalhadora" norte-americana - recordações dos anos 70 (II)

Na mesma altura, tanto as greves selvagens como o "populismo" de direita e de esquerda estavam na moda, e por vezes protagonizados pelas mesmas pessoas. Como Jesse Walker refere aqui, nas primárias Democráticas de 1972, em Detroit, Michigan, grande parte dos votantes (aparentemente os mais "classe trabalhadora") estavam indecisos entre George McGovern e George Wallace (o candidato conotado com a juventude radical anti-guerra versus o candidato dos conservadores sulistas).

Um artigo mais completo sobre a evolução da "classe trabalhadora" nos anos 70 (ou pelo menos de um operário de Detroit é Introduction to Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the LastDays of the Working Class[pdf], por Jefferson Cowie:

Ainda a "classe trabalhadora" norte-americana - recordações dos anos 70 (I)

The national US Postal Service wildcat strike, 1970, por Jeremy Brecher (publicado por libcom.org)

The Teamsters wildcat strike, 1970, por Jeremy Brecher (publicado por libcom.org)

Wildcats In TheAppalachian Coal Fields, por William Cleaver (publicado por libcom.org)

Wildcat: Dodge Truck June 1974 (publicado pela University of Texas)

The miners’ strike of 1977–78, por Adam Turl (International Socialist Review)

Wildcat Strikers Close Metro System, 1978 (Washington Post)

Let Us Not Forget! Postal Workers Wildcat Strike of 1978, por Jeffrey B. Perry

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A "classe trabalhadora" norte-americana

What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class, por Joan C. Williams (Harvard Business Review). Um artigo interessante sobre a chamada "working class" norte-americana (como traduzir isto? "Classe trabalhadora"? "Classe operária"? Mesmo esta escolha se calhar não é isenta de implicações), independentemente de se se concordar ou não com o que ela diz (muitos aspetos do texto, desde a autora aparentemente usar "working class" e "white working class" de forma indiferenciada - como se fossem sinónimos - até ao que me parece uma recomendação da tolerância pela violência policial, são - pelo menos para mim - "problemáticos").

Alguns comentários que me ocorrem acerca de algumas passagens do texto:

One little-known element of that gap is that the white working class (WWC) resents professionals but admires the rich. Class migrants (white-collar professionals born to blue-collar families) report that “professional people were generally suspect” and that managers are college kids “who don’t know shit about how to do anything but are full of ideas about how I have to do my job,” (...) For one thing, most blue-collar workers have little direct contact with the rich outside of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But professionals order them around every day. The dream is not to become upper-middle-class, with its different food, family, and friendship patterns; the dream is to live in your own class milieu, where you feel comfortable — just with more money. “The main thing is to be independent and give your own orders and not have to take them from anybody else,” a machine operator told Lamont.

Isto fez-me lembrar um autor (Keith Preston) que eu costumava ler (com opiniões políticas dificilmente classificáveis), que a dada altura dizia que o sonho dele era um movimento que combinasse o populismo à George Wallace com a doutrina económica dos Industrial Workers of the World...
The Democrats’ solution? Last week the New York Times published an article advising men with high-school educations to take pink-collar jobs. Talk about insensitivity. 
Uma coisa que acho que devia ser mais alvo de reflexão é os potenciais efeitos, em termos de degradação moral ou até espiritual, por assim dizer, de uma economia em que a maior parte das pessoas trabalha nos serviços, nomeadamente em serviços de atendimento ao público - não contribuirá para criar uma cultura hiper-valorizadora do bom ajustamento social, do ser "simpático" e "agradável", mesmo que a expensas de outras coisas? Já agora, ver este artigo.
The terminology here can be confusing. When progressives talk about the working class, typically they mean the poor. But the poor, in the bottom 30% of American families, are very different from Americans who are literally in the middle: the middle 50% of families whose median income was $64,000 in 2008. That is the true “middle class,” and they call themselves either “middle class” or “working class.”
Isso parece-me um problema recorrente das discussões sobre a "working class" norte-americana; as definições vão desde os que usam o termo quase como um sinónimo para pobres aos que chamam "working class" a quem não tenha formação universitária (o que incluiria o Bill Gates e a Paris Hilton).
Means-tested programs that help the poor but exclude the middle may keep costs and tax rates lower, but they are a recipe for class conflict.
Isso seria um bom argumento para o Rendimento Básico Incondicional, se não fosse o, na minha opinião, péssimo marketing dos defensores do RBI (que me parece que preferem apresentá-lo como "o programa social que permite viver sem trabalhar" do que como "o programa social que ajuda também os trabalhadores com salários baixos e não apenas os mais pobres").

Monday, November 21, 2016

Irá ser assim?

71 Days to Prepare Before the First Executive Orders, por William Gillis (Center 4 a Stateless Society):

Trump’s promised “law and order” presidency would mean a Christmas list of presents for the police. Exploding budgets and the removal of any pretense of constraining oversight from the Justice Department. Every beat cop in the nation flush with the invigorating knowledge that the President of the United States has their back, with money, legal support, public support, and ultimately the Presidential Pardon. The full extent of what is possible is dark indeed, but even moderate predictions are dire. We cannot afford to plan for the best.

In 71 days Trump will begin turning the ICE into a military operation capable of the industrial-scale ethnic cleansing he promised repeatedly. He will certainly shirk on some promises, but even if his effectiveness at getting all the millions he targets falls short, he will not miss the opportunity to demonstrate power, even if that means something as obscene as the national guard standing openly in sanctuary cities.

In 71 days Trump will approach an FBI already coursing with his fervent supporters and tell them to go ahead and do whatever it takes to get the domestic terrorists that didn’t vote for him. All the bored and overstaffed Joint Terrorism Taskforce offices the Bush administration left behind surveilling vegan potlucks will finally get to just bring the damn hippies in for questioning. The same pattern we’ve seen in countless countries when right-wing populists get into office will play out. Police raiding punk houses and roughing up anarchists for the sheer pleasure of it, finally able to assert their authority over those whose mere existence offends them. And this is the presidency when US police will be given drones with weapons.

In 71 days Trump will immediately turn his vindictive eye upon the media and every journalist he can get his fingers on. The press corp will be gutted and reporters will be threatened. The same tired procedure we’ve seen in dozens of other countries will arrive here overnight. The sort of regime where armed raids are used to conduct tax audits and incidentally bust up equipment. Trump’s number one concern with the Supreme Court justices he’ll stock it with will be — as always — their loyalty to him and their openness to allowing him to sue everyone for libel.

In 71 days Trump will inherit a vast surveillance apparatus of unparalleled scope in the world that will immediately be turned to his benefit against domestic adversaries or dissidents. He will empower those who have been stewing in outrage at their (meager) constraint. The US’ torture program will escalate. Just because he can. Just for the kick of it. American citizens will end up in Guantanamo and black sites around the world, what barriers to this have previously stood will make no sense to Trump. It will not take long, all things considered, before such American torture subjects are not just Muslim.

In 71 days Trump will start asking what can be done about that whole unruly internet thing and all those losers spreading lies. A president already aligned with Russia and with less than zero compulsion to lecture about human rights or leverage the activists within other superpowers will inexorably build a unprecedented global collaboration against Tor and internet freedom. A unified coalition that most of our existing tools were not prepared for.

We will face an America probably more reactionary and authoritarian than Italy under Berlusconi but probably less authoritarian than Germany under Hitler. The proper analogues are probably modern Hungary and Romania. Authoritarian populist “law and order” regimes with some pretense of normal modern life, riven with empowered racists and neighborhood curbstompings. A broadly mobilized reactionary populace and a shattered and demoralized opposition.
De qualquer maneira, faça ou não Trump isso, convém não esquecer quem durante anos permitiu a acumulação de poderes do presidente, permitindo cada vez mais governar por decreto.

Ainda as ideias de Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon and the Last Crusade, por Noah Smith:

I heavily doubt Steve Bannon is the anti-Semite many on the left now claim he is. It's mostly based on one thing that his wife said that he said, about not wanting to send his kids to school with whiny Jewish girls. It's hearsay, about one thing he said in private years ago, which isn't even that anti-Semitic. (...)

I also hear a lot of claims that Bannon is a white nationalist. Some are based on stuff he allowed to be published at Breitbart (e.g., this), but many seem to rely on one thing he saidwhile interviewing Donald Trump, in which he worried that too many immigrant CEOs would reduce "civic society." That's not something I agree with, since I'm strongly and categorically in favor of skilled immigration. But it certainly by itself doesn't peg him as a white nationalist, especially when he vigorously and publicly and explicitly denies being a white nationalist. So if you think he's B.S.-ing about that, your case will have to rely on Breitbart articles.

So what does Bannon believe in? The main articulation of his worldview that I know of comes from this 2014 speech. Essentially, Bannon's worldview seems to have three main pillars:

1. The fruits of capitalism should be more broadly distributed.
2. The West is in a war with radical Islam and must prevail.
3. Secularism contributes to the weakness of the West.

(...)

This "center-right populism" is basically a cross between FDR, Bernie Sanders, and Ross Douthat. Bannon also criticizes "crony capitalism", and says that he thinks a Judeo-Christian ethic facilitates a more equitable form of capitalism.

Bannon criticizes secularism, which is pretty standard among religious conservatives, and also remind me of Ross Douthat. In fact, Bannon's ideas sound a lot like the "reform conservatism" that had been making the intellectual rounds before Trump showed up on the scene.

But the one place where Bannon comes out very strongly against an external enemy is when he talks about radical Islam (...)

Bannon's view is that radical Islam is attacking the West, and must be defeated by a united Judeo-Christian West. (...)

Bannon's call for a "church militant" and a "church of the West" is basically similar to the Holy Leagues that fought the Ottomans in the 1500s. It's not a call to invasion, like the original Crusades, but rather a defensive move. Bannon is calling on the Catholic Church in particular, but also Christianity, Western capitalism, and all other unifying institutions of the West, to act as unifying and motivating forces to fight this struggle. (...)

But I believe that Bannon fundamentally misunderstands what's going on with radical Islam. Some of the malign energy of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other radical Islamic groups has been directed against the West and against Christians, yes. But most of it has been directed at other Muslims in Muslim countries. Only a very small part of what we're witnessing is a continuation of the eternal clash between Europe and the Middle East. Most of it is an internal civil war within the Islamic Umma.

O estilo argumentativo na internet

Alguns dos meus amigos do Facebook têm partilhado o artigo "The Internet Arguing Checklist", que argumenta que a esquerda (ou os "liberals") costuma argumentar na internet usando os seguintes "truques":