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Time Will tell whether the Political Winds will Favor the Libertarians

Known for favouring small government as well as expansive civil liberties, the Libertarians are the only third party in position to secure ballot status in all 50 states.

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Campaign buttons for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and vice presidential candidate Bill Weld at the National Libertarian Party Convention in Orlando, Fla., May 27, 2016. Image source: AP
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As the presidential election looms, poll after poll shows Americans are yearning for a better choice than the two presumptive nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, respectively.

Known for favouring small government as well as expansive civil liberties, the Libertarians are the only third party in position to secure ballot status in all 50 states.

But only few of the Americans know what the party stands for.

The Libertarian Party offers an ideological and political alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties, in favor of reducing government involvement in all sectors, from the economy to social issues. The inception of the party can be dated back to 1971.

Reuters/Ipsos polls. Image source: Reuters
Reuters/Ipsos polls. Image source: Reuters

A Reuters poll in 2015 indicated that about 1 in 5 Americans considered themselves “somewhat libertarian” however the party has struggled to build itself into an influential political force.

In 2012, the Libertarian presidential candidate received less than 1 percent of the popular vote.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks to a delegate at the National Libertarian Party Convention, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. Image source: AP
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks to a delegate at the National Libertarian Party Convention, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. Image source: AP

On social matters, Libertarians generally take a liberal approach, favoring same-sex marriage and the decriminalization of most, or all, drugs. The party is deeply pro-gun rights and takes a skeptical stance on any military involvement in other countries.

The party platform does not currently address the death penalty.

Many of the party’s ideas are rooted in principles espoused by Ayn Rand, author of the novel Atlas Shrugged. Her idea of individual freedom defines the libertarian movement — that self-interest trumps anything else so long as it did not mean hurting anyone else.

In fiscal matters, the Libertarians espouse unrestricted competition among financial institutions as well as the elimination of the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security and income taxes.

Delegates listen to speeches in the main hall at the National Libertarian Party Convention, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. Image source: AP
Delegates listen to speeches in the main hall at the National Libertarian Party Convention, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.
Image source: AP

They advocate for slashing government benefits, reducing economic regulations and implementing radical reform — if not the outright elimination — of the Federal Reserve.

The party’s foreign policy platform is equally radical. It calls for the U.S. to “abandon its attempts to act as a policeman for a world” and maintain a military solely for the purpose of national defense. It also calls for an end to the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid of every kind.

Familiarizing Americans with its platform remains a challenge for the party. But the deep unpopularity of Trump and Clinton has raised hopes that this might be the year that the American voters pay more attention to the Libertarian Party. (Reuters)

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Brown: The colour of toil but non-acceptance across the West?

"This is now our destiny as brown people. Our labour is needed, but citizenship is denied."

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Police Chief David Brown. Image Source: Twitter
  • Kamal Al Solaylee’s book Brown highlights the problems of ‘brown’ people in Trump’s rule
  • Donald Trump is often accused of malingering the image of brown people
  • this book cites many examples of discrimination which brown people go through

Title: Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone); Author: Kamal Al Solaylee

All our social development and our technological advancements don’t seem enough to eradicate our long-persisting atavistic sense of difference based on appearance, which though long-suppressed is now emerging free from its restraints — as proved by the recent intemperate comments by US President Donald Trump on immigrants from a certain set of countries.

Trump’s thinking, as seen in his off-the-cuff remarks, underscore that the questionable classification of race, expressed by the obviously evident and inescapable feature of a person’s skin, is well alive — and extends beyond the white-black binary. What about the yellow, or rather, the (as necessary for the global economy but far more exploited) brown?

Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons
Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons

Trump is only one leading manifestation of the malaise facing brown people — which include West Asians, Latin Americans, North Africans, and South and Southeast Asians — and far beyond the West too or from the “Whites”, says Yemeni-origin, Egypt-bred, Canadian journalist-turned-academician Al Solaylee in this book.

Trump’s victory “largely (but not exclusively)” rode on demonising Mexicans, galvanising sentiment against Muslims and championing white nationalism, the vote for Brexit was mostly pioneered by those with a restrictive view of Englishness, the record of Canada under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives — all these are obscure racial conflicts brewing in the US and Europe for decades now.

Also Read: Mexico can learn about dealing with diaspora from India: Claudia Ruiz-Massieu Salinas

“Examine these tensions closely and you’ll find a strong anti-brown sentiment at the core,” says Al Solaylee as he traces the response to, as well as the experiences of, the residents of Global South, who are forced to migrate to — and much needed in — the Developed North for various reasons, not least of which is the latter’s colonial record.

“Brown as the colour of cheap labour continues on a global scale… brown bodies undertake the work that white and older immigrant Americans refuse to do (and those black slaves were forced to do in previous centuries).

These are low-skill, labour-intensive jobs in unforgiving climates,” he says, but also that these are not limited to the Western nations but also in the more affluent parts of Asia itself too.

“This is now our destiny as brown people. Our labour is needed, but citizenship is denied; our presence as Muslims or religious minorities is offered as an example of the tolerant, diverse societies in which we live, but we continue to be feared,” says Al Solaylee.

And there is no difference whether this is deliberate or mistaken as he goes to cite the cases of the racist slurs on Sikh volunteers feeding the homeless in Manchester in the wake of the May 2017 terror attack, or the fatal shooting of Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla in the US in February 2017 by an American who thought he and his friend were Iranians and screaming at them to “get out of his country”.

Al Solaylee contends we think of brown as a “continuum, a grouping — a metaphor, even — for the millions of darker-skinned people who, in broad historical terms, have missed out on the economic and political gains of the post-mobility, equality and freedom”. They are now living, he says, among former colonial masters where they are “transforming themselves from nameless individuals with swarthy skins into neighbours, co-workers and friends”.

You may also like: List of 50 People who have affected Hinduism in a Negative Manner 

And it is their story he tells — both in their homes from the Philippines to Sri Lanka and workplaces from Hong Kong to the Gulf as well as Western Europe and North America.

Al Solaylee, however, starts with first recounting his own childhood experience on learning he is brown after seeing an English movie featuring a white child and coming to terms with “brownness” in his journeys around the world and interactions with other browns (fairness creams figure largely as well as the concern that he settle down) as well as Brown’s significance in nature and culture.

He then takes up the human obsession with race, despite the concept being debunked, except in politics before his exploration of the experiences and consequences of being brown around the world.

A stirring travelogue, incisive social and political comment and a passionate cry to rise above unavoidable consequences of geography and genes, this invaluable work rises in importance beyond its subject to be a seminal guide to the world today — and what it will soon be — particularly the US. IANS