John Harris

Journalist & Author

Archive for November, 2018

|

Without a fair tax on tech, it could be the end of the state as we know it | John Harris

Sunday, November 11th, 2018

Big tech companies are transforming societies – but their pitiful contributions aren’t enough to help governments adapt

Alongside the results of last week’s US midterms came the passing of San Francisco’s Proposition C, a measure that will tax firms with an annual turnover of more than $50m (£44m) to raise an estimated $300m extra a year to help address homelessness. Last Tuesday, 60% of voters backed it: though the proposal is now snarled up in a constitutional dispute, its approval marks a big moment for a city whose housing crisis has become a matter of urgency.

Given the huge concentration of technology giants in San Francisco, the debate quickly became a drama about big tech and its social responsibilities. The most high-profile supporters of the plan included Marc Benioff, the founder and CEO of the software company Salesforce, the single largest employer in the city, who donated $8m to get it on the statute book. He and his fellow campaigners were opposed by a gaggle of high-ups from such companies as Twitter, the ride-hailing giant Lyft, and the online payments service Stripe: wealthy people apparently doing their bit to resist a modest boost in help for the most vulnerable, in a place whose homelessness problem is at least partly traceable to the vast increases in property values caused by big tech’s local dominance.

Related: Jeremy Corbyn: I’ll tax tech firms to subsidise the BBC licence fee

Related: Tax big tech to help the homeless? San Francisco says yes after fierce campaign

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

Damon Albarn on Brexit: ‘We live on this stroppy little island’

Friday, November 9th, 2018

The Good, the Bad & the Queen have been trying to figure out what’s become of England since the EU referendum. And the answers aren’t comforting

‘Well, this is weird, isn’t it?” says Damon Albarn. Six days ago, he was in Mexico City, playing with Gorillaz. Now, he and his bandmates in the Good, the Bad & the Queen are in Kent, taking turns to explain their second album in a fake American diner adjacent to the Maidstone studio where they will be performing on Later … with Jools Holland.

The seats are regulation red leatherette, and there are pictures on the wall of Stevie Wonder circa 1980’s Hotter Than July, a Ford truck and a Route 66 sign. And under glaring lights, as he picks at a vegetarian dinner in a polystyrene box, Albarn is talking about things that feel as if they have no place here at all: English folk myths; the north of England’s coastal resorts; his family’s background in Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire – and, more than anything, Brexit. Harking back almost 25 years, he describes the new album as “the next instalment of Parklife. Like Parklife is a world, this is another world. Not entirely the real world, but not entirely far off it.”

Brexit is wrong. Jacob Rees-Mogg and people in Blackpool should never be together

I wanted to begin to understand how this abyss had opened up in the centre of our culture

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

The Beatles’ White Album captured the spirit of ’68, but it’s right for 2018 too | John Harris

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

The Beatles’ epic creation reflected the political darkness and disquiet of the time, which gives it surprising resonance today

Two months remain of 2018 – but if you view some of the events of this strange, volatile year from a certain angle, it might just as well be 1968. In the US, social and political divisions suggest a replay of tensions that exploded at the time of the Vietnam war, with a paranoid and unhinged president only heightening the similarities. Two weeks ago, African-American former athlete Tommie Smith was pictured recreating the clenched-fist salute that caused such controversy at the ’68 Olympics; today’s US athletes take the knee.

Across the west, there is rising anxiety – and no little deja vu – about Russia interfering in affairs beyond its borders. Earlier this year, student protests and strikes by railway workers and pilots in France triggered comparisons with the unrest that had gripped the country 50 years before. On and on the echoes go: the reactionary prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, has told his followers that if next year’s European parliament elections go the way he wants, they will say “goodbye not simply to liberal democracy … but to the 1968 elite”.

Related: The spirit of 1968 rises again: can French students and workers triumph?

Related: Jesse Jackson on Martin Luther King’s assassination: ‘It redefined America’

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

Tell us about the things you do that represent non-capitalist living

Monday, November 5th, 2018

From freecycling to volunteering, we’d like to hear about the things you do that go against the capitalist and consumerist grain

“Most of us would say, if asked, that we live in a capitalist society, but vast amounts of how we live our everyday lives – our interactions with and commitments to family lives, friendships, avocations, membership in social, spiritual and political organisations – are in essence non capitalist or even anticapitalist, full of things we do for free, out of love and on principle.”

The words are taken from Hope In The Dark, the massively influential book by the writer and activist Rebecca Solnit, and they go straight to the heart of something too often overlooked: the way that, in the midst of a culture too often reducible to shopping and spending, millions of people regularly do things that go against the capitalist and consumerist grain – volunteering, freecycling, making and growing their own stuff, sustaining large and small relationships that have nothing to do with money-making. In the digital era, moreover, these activities have another political element, albeit with a small ‘p’: emphasising human contact over screentime.

Continue reading…

Posted in Guardian RSS | No Comments »

|

John Harris is powered by WordPress 2.8.4 Entries (RSS) Comments (RSS). Designed by Hywel Harris

ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Galactic Elite W Blanc Cheap Womens AF Sublimation Graphic Tee 2016 Adidas Originals ZX Flux Weave Shoes Sale Mens AF Active Running Shorts Online ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Running White Ftw Metallic Silver Vivid Mint F14 Mens AF Washed Out Tee AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Court Star Slim W Sale Mens AF Classic Taper Pants Online Adidas Running adizero XT 5 Shoes Cheap Womens AF Textured Open Cardigan 2016 Mens AF Varsity Logo Cardigan AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Zx 700 W Sabpou Sabpou Noiess Mens AF Striped Icon Henley AF 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Earth Green S13 Tech Grey Met S14 Solar Pink Mens AF Premium Utility Jacket AF 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Response Aspire Str W Running White Ftw Pink Buzz S10 Light Grey Sale Mens AF Denim Joggers Online ADIDAS ORIGINALS Extaball W Noiess Ormeta Nuiflu Mens AF Quilted Bomber jacket AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Tech Super W NOIR NOIR ROSSOL Mens AF Classic Chambray Shirt AF 2016 ADIDAS ORIGINALS Bankshot 2 0 W Aluminum 2 Aluminum 2 Chalk 2 Mens AF Rib-Trim Crew Sweater AF 2016 Adidas Women adidas Neo Zip Fleece Hoodie New Womens AF High Rise Cropped Flare Sateen Pants 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Running White Ftw Metallic Silver Glow S14 New Womens AF Denim Mini Skirt 2016 Adidas Men Originals Plimcana 2 0 Low Shoes New Womens AF Lace Midi Skirt 2016 ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Duramo 6 W Noiess Noiess Rosflu Men Running adizero Tempo Boost 7 Shoes ADIDAS ORIGINALS Extaball Up W Noiess Noiess Ftwbla ADIDAS PERFORMANCE Galaxy W Neon Pink Metallic Silver Black 1 Men Running Springblade Ignite Shoes