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24 Jan

A Foreign Perspective, News and Analyses

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Recommended:

The Guardian>>

Irish Examiner>>

France 24>>

Spiegel>>

The Age>>

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Greta Thunberg at Davos: ‘Our demands have been completely ignored’ – video

Greta Thunberg says the World Economic Forum has completely ignored the climate movement’s demands on fossil fuel divestment this week. 

The 17-year-old activist also said that Steven Mnuchin’s comments that she should go to college and study economics had ‘no effect’ on her

 

Greta Thunberg at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

Greta Thunberg has been in Davos to push for immediate, radical change on the climate emergency. Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Donald Trump’s treasury secretary has clashed with Greta Thunberg after responding to the activist’s call for immediate fossil fuel divestment by telling the 17-year-old to go to college and study economics.

In an attempt to slap down the climate emergency movement, Steven Mnuchin pretended not to know who Thunberg was, before dismissing her concerns as ill-informed.

Asked whether calls for public and private-sector divestment from fossil fuel companies would threaten US growth, Mnuchin jibed: “Is she the chief economist? Who is she, I’m confused” – before clarifying that he was joking.

“After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us,” Mnuchin added, at a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Mnuchin’s comments expose the huge gulf that still exists between climate activists and the White House. Pressed on the climate emergency, Mnuchin insisted that environmental issues are “clearly complicated”.

He said: “When I was allowed to drive I had a Tesla. I drove in California. I liked it.

“But nobody focuses on how that electricity is made and what happens to the storage and the environmental issues on all these batteries.”

He also claimed the US was showing leadership in tackling emissions – but through its private sector rather than government. President Trump believes in clean air and water, and a clean environment, Mnuchin insisted, but also believes that more attention should be paid to the environmental damage caused by China and India.

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Billions of locusts swarm through Kenya – in pictures

World Politics

United States

The real issue of ‘representation’ isn’t that there aren’t enough powerful women. It’s that what is represented as feminism is actually corporatism

‘The feminist thinkers and activists and writers who have been working on deeply un-photogenic subjects such as labor rights, abortion access, criminal justice reform, sex work legalization, homelessness and health care reform aren’t the ones penning op-eds and signing six-figure book deals.’

The feminist thinkers and activists and writers who have been working on deeply un-photogenic subjects such as labor rights, abortion access, criminal justice reform, sex work legalization, homelessness and health care reform aren’t the ones penning op-eds and signing six-figure book deals.’ Photograph: Matthew Horwood/Swansea University/PA

I remember having an argument with the mother of a young girl during the 2016 election. She thought even a symbolic victory would be an important victory, because it was important for her daughter to have a woman president to look up to. “I want her to see a woman president,” she said, “to help her believe that she could become a president herself.”

It’s an oft-touted argument for representation: children need role models – successful people of their own gender or race – in order to become successful in adulthood.

It’s the same conversation we all had when the comic book movie Wonder Woman came out – starring a former member of the Israel Defense Forces who vocally supported Israeli soldiers as they committed war crimes in Gaza in 2014. It’s good for young girls to see strong women out in the world and on our movie screens, we’re told – even if we are mostly watching that woman commit acts of violence.

Wouldn’t it be better for your daughter, I asked, to see women acting with moral integrity? To be out in the world as compassionate and wise, rather than just powerful? I didn’t get an answer.

We have a lot of powerful women for ambitious little girls to look up to these days. They are political leaders, captains of industry, writers, and politically conscious musicians and actors. The one thing they have in common is their willingness to use the feminist label to get ahead, with no thought to the damage they might do to the movement as a result.

Hillary Clinton is still trying to sell herself as a feminist icon – as a “gutsy woman,” as she puts it in an interview she did to support the new four-part documentary about her life and career, Hillary, soon to debut at Sundance. She may have lost the election, but she is still trying to win the narrative by telling a story about a brave feminist leader who went up against a hopelessly misogynistic culture. She may not have become leader of the free world, in this telling, but she paved the way for generations to come.

It’s an easy story to tell because she has so many co-authors. Many women drape themselves in the same feminist uniform, claiming to play solely for the women’s team, hiding any number of gender crimes underneath.

When it comes to actually doing what is best for women, they shrug and plead helplessness. “How could we have known?” Clinton asks, when questioned in the same interview about her longstanding friendship and political relationship with alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. Never mind the fact that Ronan Farrow has publicly accused Clinton’s publicist of trying to kill his first story about the accusations against Weinstein. Or that Lena Dunham has said she discussed Weinstein with Clinton in private. How could she have known? The interviewer didn’t even bother to ask about the Clintons’ association with Jeffrey Epstein.

Neera Tanden – a close associate of Clinton and president of the liberal thinktank the Center for American Progress – has a similar history. She has thrust herself into public life as an example of a feminist leader, going on television and social media to decry the mistreatment of women in politics and culture, yet the organization she leads is rife with accusations of harassment, intimidation and censorship of its female employees.

The problem is not only in politics. Facebook is still throwing women at the media to hide its detrimental effect on our culture – from mass surveillance to alliances with authoritarian governments to its involvement in the spread of propaganda during elections – by paying Teen Vogue, a publication often touted for its “progressive” coverage of feminism and politics, to profile five of its female employees working “to ensure the integrity of the 2020 election”. Its scandalrocked COO, Sheryl Sandberg, is still giving interviews about the importance of gender equality in corporate culture. While these women do find themselves criticized, occasionally “canceled”, they often find their way back into the centers of attention and power, rehabilitating their images by presenting themselves as some kind of feminist authority or cheerleader of women.

We have a mass media that is complicit in these feminist imaginings, happy to champion any self-declared leader looking to build a career. We have journalists too afraid of losing access to the ruling class to bother asking a follow-up question to an obvious lie. We have columnists too invested in the fantasy of a powerful woman – because they dream of power themselves – to want to offend or challenge hypocrisy. And too often, truly progressive and feminist voices find themselves shut out of the media discourse because their ideas and challenges would be inconvenient to the dominant corporate feminist narrative.

Outlets like the New York Times were happy to champion Clinton’s “record of service to children, women, and families” during her 2016 campaign, ignoring, for example, prison abolitionist activists trying to draw attention to her terrible criminal justice record and her infamous remarks about “super predators”. New York magazine was breathless in their support of a woman president. Rebecca Traister, author of a book about Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign called Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women, wrote before the 2016 election, “I have wanted to pull a lever for a woman who is a strong Democrat since I was 9.” And in order to continue supporting her woman candidate, she was happy to ignore Clinton’s hawkish, regime-change-eager approach to foreign policy.

The feminist thinkers and activists and writers who have been working on deeply un-photogenic subjects such as labor rights, abortion access, criminal justice reform, sex work legalization, homelessness and healthcare reform aren’t the ones penning op-eds and signing six-figure book deals, despite the crucially important work they are doing to improve women’s lives. It’s cute white girls.

The real issue of representation in our culture isn’t that there aren’t enough visible powerful women. It’s that what is represented in our culture as feminism is actually corporatism. A truly feminist leader – one who believes in fighting for all women and not just her rich friends, who is concerned with the dignity of all lives and not just her personal ambitions, who is not swayed to lower her standards or sell out to corporate interests in exchange for power – would be a genuine shock to the system.

  • Jessa Crispin is the host of the Public Intellectual podcast

 

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