Thursday, 25 April 2019

Joe Biden: Puffery vs. Reality, by Norman Solomon

Let’s be blunt: As a supposed friend of American workers, Joe Biden is a phony. And now that he’s running for president, Biden’s huge task is to hide his phoniness. 

From the outset, with dim prospects from small donors, the Biden campaign is depending on big checks from the rich and corporate elites who greatly appreciate his services rendered. 

“He must rely heavily, at least at first, upon an old-fashioned network of money bundlers -- political insiders, former ambassadors and business executives,” the New York Times reported on Tuesday. 

Biden has a media image that exudes down-to-earth caring and advocacy for regular folks. But his actual record is a very different story. 

During the 1970s, in his first Senate term, Biden spouted white backlash rhetoric, used tropes pandering to racism and teamed up with arch segregationists against measures like busing for school integration. 

He went on to be a fount of racially charged appeals and “predators on our streets” oratory on the Senate floor as he led the successful effort to pass the now-notorious 1994 crime bill. 

A gavel in Biden’s hand repeatedly proved to be dangerous. 

In 1991, as chair of the Judiciary Committee, Biden prevented key witnesses from testifying to corroborate Anita Hill’s accusations of sexual harassment during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court.

In 2002, as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Biden was the Senate’s most crucial supporter of the Iraq invasion.

Meanwhile, for well over four decades -- while corporate media preened his image as “Lunch Bucket Joe” fighting for the middle class -- Biden continued his assist for strengthening oligarchy as a powerful champion of legalizing corporate plunder on a mind-boggling scale. 

Now, Joe Biden has arrived as a presidential candidate to rescue the Democratic Party from Bernie Sanders. Urgency is in the media air. 

Last week, the New York Times told readers that “Stop Sanders” Democrats were “agonizing over his momentum.” The story was front-page news. 

At the Washington Post, a two-sentence headline appeared just above a nice photo of Biden: “Far-Left Policies Will Drive a 2020 Defeat, Centrist Democrats Fear. So They’re Floating Alternatives.” 

Biden is the most reliable alternative for corporate America. He has what Sanders completely lacks -- vast experience as an elected official serving the interests of credit-card companies, big banks, insurance firms and other parts of the financial services industry. 

His alignment with corporate interests has been comprehensive. It was a fulcrum of his entire political career when, in 1993, Sen. Biden voted yes while most Democrats in Congress voted against NAFTA. 

In recent months, from his pro-corporate vantage point, Biden has been taking potshots at the progressive populism of Bernie Sanders. 

At a gathering in Alabama last fall, Biden said: “Guys, the wealthy are as patriotic as the poor. I know Bernie doesn’t like me saying that, but they are.” 

Later, Biden elaborated on the theme when he told an audience at the Brookings Institution, “I don’t think five hundred billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble. The folks at the top aren’t bad guys.” 

Overall, in sharp contrast to the longstanding and continuing negative coverage of Sanders, mainstream media treatment of Biden often borders on reverential. 

The affection from so many high-profile political journalists toward Biden emerged yet again a few weeks ago during the uproar about his persistent pattern of intrusively touching women and girls. 

During one cable news show after another, reporters and pundits were at pains to emphasize his essential decency and fine qualities. 

 But lately, some independent-minded journalists have been exhuming what “Lunch Bucket Joe” is eager to keep buried. For instance:

** Libby Watson, Splinter News: “Joe Biden is telling striking workers he’s their friend while taking money from, and therefore being beholden to, the class of people oppressing them. According to Axios, Biden’s first fundraiser will be with David Cohen, the executive vice president of and principal lobbyist for Comcast. Comcast is one of America’s most hated companies, and for good reason. It represents everything that sucks for the modern consumer-citizen, for whom things like internet or TV access are extremely basic necessities, but who are usually given the option of purchasing it from just one or two companies.” What’s more, Comcast supports such policies as “ending net neutrality and repealing broadband privacy protections. . . . And Joe Biden is going to kick off his presidential campaign by begging for their money.” 

** Ryan Cooper, The Week: “As a loyal toady of the large corporations (especially finance, insurance, and credit cards) that put their headquarters in Delaware because its suborned government allows them to evade regulations in other states, Biden voted for repeated rounds of deregulation in multiple areas and helped roll back anti-trust policy -- often siding with Republicans in the process. He was a key architect of the infamous 2005 bankruptcy reform bill which made means tests much more strict and near-impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy.”

** Paul Waldman, The American Prospect: “Joe Biden, we are told over and over, is the one who can speak to the disaffected white men angry at the loss of their primacy. He's the one who doesn’t like abortion, but is willing to let the ladies have them. He’s the one who tells white people to be nice to immigrants, even as he mirrors their xenophobia (‘You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent,’ he said in 2006). He’s the one who validates their racism and sexism while gently trying to assure them that they're still welcome in the Democratic Party. . . . It’s not yet clear what policy agenda Biden will propose, though it’s likely to be pretty standard Democratic fare that rejects some of the more ambitious goals other candidates have embraced. But Biden represents something more fundamental: a link to the politics and political style of the past.” 

** Rebecca Traister, The Cut: “Much of what Democrats blame Republicans for was enabled, quite literally, by Biden: Justices whose confirmation to the Supreme Court he rubber-stamped worked to disembowel affirmative action, collective bargaining rights, reproductive rights, voting rights. . . . In his years in power, Biden and his party (elected thanks to a nonwhite base enfranchised in the 1960s) built the carceral state that disproportionately imprisons and disenfranchises people of color, as part of what Michelle Alexander has described as the New Jim Crow. With his failure to treat seriously claims of sexual harassment made against powerful men on their way to accruing more power (claims rooted in prohibitions that emerged from the feminist and civil-rights movements of the 1970s), Biden created a precedent that surely made it easier for accused harassers, including Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh, to nonetheless ascend. Economic chasms and racial wealth gaps have yawned open, in part thanks to Joe Biden’s defenses of credit card companies, his support of that odious welfare-reform bill, his eagerness to support the repeal of Glass-Steagall.” 

One of Biden’s illuminating actions came last year in Michigan when he gave a speech -- for a fee of $200,000 including “travel allowance” -- that praised the local Republican congressman, Fred Upton, just three weeks before the mid-term election. 

From the podium, the former vice president lauded Upton as “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with.” For good measure, Biden refused to endorse Upton’s Democratic opponent, who went on to lose by less than 5 percent. 

Biden likes to present himself as a protector of the elderly. Campaigning for Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida last autumn, Biden denounced Republicans for aiming to “cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.” 

Yet five months earlier, speaking to the Brookings Institution on May 8, Biden spoke favorably of means testing that would go a long way toward damaging political support for Social Security and Medicare and smoothing the way for such cuts. 

Indications of being a “moderate” and a “centrist” play well with the Washington press corps and corporate media, but amount to a surefire way to undermine enthusiasm and voter turnout from the base of the Democratic Party. 

The consequences have been catastrophic, and the danger of the party’s deference to corporate power looms ahead. 

Much touted by the same kind of insular punditry that insisted Hillary Clinton was an ideal candidate to defeat Donald Trump, the ostensible “electability” of Joe Biden has been refuted by careful analysis of data. 

As a former Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and a current coordinator of the relaunched independent Bernie Delegates Network for 2019, I remain convinced that the media meme about choosing between strong progressive commitments and capacity to defeat Trump is a false choice. 

On the contrary, Biden exemplifies a disastrous approach of jettisoning progressive principles and failing to provide a progressive populist alternative to right-wing populism.

That’s the history of 2016. It should not be repeated.

Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is currently a coordinator of the relaunched independent Bernie Delegates Network. Solomon is the author of a dozen books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

Monday, 15 April 2019

The Toxic Lure of “Guns and Butter”, by Norman Solomon

The current political brawl over next year’s budget is highly significant. 

With Democrats in a House majority for the first time in eight years, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and most other party leaders continue to support even more largesse for the Pentagon. 

But many progressive congressmembers are challenging the wisdom of deference to the military-industrial complex -- and, so far, they’ve been able to stall the leadership’s bill that includes a $17 billion hike in military spending for 2020. 

An ostensible solution is on the horizon. More funds for domestic programs could be a quid pro quo for the military increases. In other words: more guns and more butter.

“Guns and butter” is a phrase that gained wide currency during escalation of the Vietnam War in the mid-1960s. 

Then, as now, many Democrats made political peace with vast increases in military spending on the theory that social programs at home could also gain strength. 

 It was a contention that Martin Luther King Jr. emphatically rejected. “When a nation becomes obsessed with the guns of war, social programs must inevitably suffer,” he pointed out. 

“We can talk about guns and butter all we want to, but when the guns are there with all of its emphasis you don't even get good oleo [margarine]. These are facts of life.” 

But today many Democrats in Congress evade such facts of life. 

They want to proceed as though continuing to bestow humongous budgets on the Pentagon is compatible with fortifying the kind of domestic spending that they claim to fervently desire. 

Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have reflexively promoted militarism that is out of step with the party’s base. 

In early 2018, after President Trump called for a huge 11 percent increase over two years for the already-bloated military budget, Pelosi declared in an email to House Democrats: “In our negotiations, Congressional Democrats have been fighting for increases in funding for defense.” 

Meanwhile, the office of Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer proudly announced: “We fully support President Trump’s Defense Department’s request.” 

What set the stage for the latest funding battle in the House was a Budget Committee vote that approved the new measure with the $17 billion military boost. 

It squeaked through the committee on April 3 with a surprising pivotal “yes” vote from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who is now among the lawmakers pushing to amend the bill on the House floor to add $33 billion in domestic spending for each of the next two years. 

As Common Dreams reported last week, progressives in the House “are demanding boosts in domestic social spending in line with the Pentagon's budget increase.” 

But raising domestic spending in tandem with military spending is no solution, any more than spewing vastly more carcinogenic poisons into the environment would be offset by building more hospitals. 

Rep. Ro Khanna and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Pramila Jayapal, who both voted against the budget bill in committee, have said they won’t vote for it on the House floor.

In Khanna’s words, “You can't oppose endless wars and then vote to fund them.” Jayapal said: “We need to prioritize our communities, not our military spending. Progressives aren’t backing down from this fight.” 

The New York Times described the intra-party disagreement as “an ideological gap between upstart progressives flexing their muscles and more moderate members clinging to their Republican-leaning seats.” 

But that description bypassed how the most powerful commitment to escalation of military spending comes from Democratic leaders representing deep blue districts -- in Pelosi’s case, San Francisco. 

Merely backing a budget that’s not as bad as Trump’s offering is a craven and immoral approach. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ staff director, Warren Gunnels, responded cogently days ago when he tweeted: 

“How can we keep giving more money to the Pentagon than it needs when 40 million live in poverty, 34 million have no health insurance, half of older Americans have no retirement savings, and 140 million can't afford basic needs without going into debt? This is insanity.” 

Yet most top Democrats keep promoting the guns-and-butter fantasy while aiding and abetting what Dr. King called “the madness of militarism.”

Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of He is the author of a dozen books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Making The Case For A People’s Brexit, by George Galloway

I am running in the European Elections in the North West England constituency on a platform of helping secure the full implementation of the British people’s decision to leave the EU. I seek the votes of ALL who support that democratic demand.

There will be others standing on that platform. Voters will have to calculate which candidate will make the greatest impact on the plutocrats in Brussels, on British public opinion, on the cause of Brexit. Me or them? 

I stand in the Labour tradition of Mr Benn, Mrs Castle, Mr Foot and Mr Shore. I will be a militant fighter for the working people in the North West for as long as we take to leave the EU. I will use the platform of the European Parliament for all the causes with which I am associated.

The people of Palestine, Kashmir, Africa and Latin America will have a voice in me in the European Parliament for as long as I am there. I will seek better relations with Russia, and China, and all the rising economies of the world. I will work for the isolation of Saudi Arabia.

Today I am in Manchester, and tomorrow in Liverpool. Over the next weeks, I will be in as many cities, towns and villages as I can afford, making the case for a People’s Brexit: Rochdale, Bolton, Wigan, Chester, Birkenhead, Oldham, Lancaster, Nelson, Burnley, Blackburn, and Blackpool.

If you want to know what impact I would make in the European Parliament, take a look at what I did to the US Senate in 2005.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Democracy Depends On It, by Alan Sked

The Brexit process is apparently entering its final phase although it is still possible that the prime minister will accept a very long extension or even revoke Article 50 itself. Nothing can be taken for granted. My own wish is that we leave with no deal since as Theresa May once said—though she almost certainly never believed it— no deal is better than a bad deal. 

And her own deal is extremely bad. It would hand over £39 billion, which legally we do not owe, to Brussels in return for a promise somewhere down the line of some sort of free trade deal. Meanwhile we would remain inside the EU economically for all intents and purposes but without any democratic representation. 

The Political Declaration, which accompanies the Withdrawal Agreement but which is not legally binding meanwhile commits us to surrendering our national defences to future EU control, as the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, and several of our most distinguished past service chiefs have pointed out. 

Some Remainers complain that the process has taken too long and that we need a second referendum. This is chicanery. The Lisbon Treaty lays down a negotiating period of two years and during that process the deplorable Mrs. May saw fit to lead a disastrous election campaign which lost her her parliamentary majority. 

As a result, she has had great difficulty in controlling the House of Commons. Meanwhile, the Remain majority in all the parliamentary parties and in the cabinet has gradually abandoned the promises it made to respect the referendum result. 

Even the blatantly pro-Remain Speaker, John Bercow, has joined in aiding and abetting Grieve, Cooper, Letwin, Boles and others in tearing up constitutional precedent and parliamentary procedure and allowing the Commons to take control of government. 

The last time this happened, in 1642, the result was civil war. More seriously, the prime minister herself has sidelined and double-crossed her Brexiteer ministers, leading to regular resignations, while allowing rabidly federalist civil servants (Olly Robbins was President of the European Federalist Society at university) to compose key policy documents and lead negotiations. 

Key cabinet allies in all this are Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd, David Gauke, and Greg Clark, who are fierce Remainers and clearly want any deal other than May’s own to take us even closer to BRINO (Brexit in name only) and DINO (Democracy in name only). 

The result is that the Brexit process has been long and twisted with only 29 true Brexiteers holding out for a settlement that would actually give us back control of our laws, trade, borders and money, sustained by a very self-interested DUP. 

Yet these good folk—heroes in many eyes— will be blamed if May’s dreadful act of surrender is not passed and Brexit is postponed or lost. Meanwhile the very biased media (BBC and Sky programmes are dominated by Remain politicians and commentators) ignore events in Europe, where France is suffering civil unrest; where Germany, Austria, Spain, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Scandinavian member states, have all witnessed the rise of the Far Right; and where the prospect of a much-predicted world recession could destroy the Eurozone economy. 

Most people are unaware that since the start of this century the U.K. has experienced better growth than Germany and France (Italy has had none at all) and that despite Brexit the IMF predicts Britain will grow faster than Germany this year. Germany is about to follow Italy into recession.

We also have a rate of unemployment which is less than half that of the Eurozone. A few weeks ago The Times reported that more job opportunities would be available for British graduates this summer than ever before. We now have record employment. Whereas on the same day, Le Figaro in Paris had a headline lamenting how 3 million young French people lived without any hope of finding a job. 

Remainers do not seem to understand the true significance of immigration figures. For the last five years, between 100,00 and 400,000 young Europeans have been coming here annually to find work. There would only be a case for remaining in the EU if, on the contrary, 100,00-400,00 young Brits had to emigrate to the EU every year to find work. Is this not obvious?

The truth is that given all the contingency plans now in place, leaving the EU without a deal—as a plurality of voters now confirm in opinion polls— would be our best option. We could save £39 billion, would no longer pay a £10 billion plus annual contribution to Brussels, we could abolish EU tariffs and have cheaper food, clothes and footwear, and we could get rid of tons of EU red tape.

We could certainly subsidise any industries—including farming—affected by EU tariffs and we could sign trade deals with the USA, China and many other interested countries. But the Remain majority, which for reasons of sheer ignorance still sees EU membership as a boon—it is not only economically in decline but politically divided and in terms of defence and foreign affairs a bad joke—will do anything and everything to overturn the will of the people.

The inevitable result will be the undermining of democracy in this country and a fundamental alteration of the party system. The main parties will suffer most, the Tories most of all. Many people will give up voting. Others will never trust established parties again and give their support to new ‘populist’ ones—those without a record of lying to the people or betraying democracy.

I have just set up a new party—Prosper UK—which is democratic, moderate, centre-right and committed to regenerating the national economy, particularly outside London. Its website can be found at and I hope you will visit it and support it. 

Our future can only be secured if we ourselves decide to change it. Apathy will lead to servility to Brussels. The likely betrayal of Brexit—the desire of the largest majority in British history— can only be revenged if the same democratic majority that created Brexit repudiates the present parliamentary parties and votes for parties that will redeem the result of the referendum. Democracy depends on it.

Alan Sked, Leader, Prosper UK; Professor Emeritus of International History, LSE.
Twitter: @profsked

Monday, 8 April 2019

Rep. Barbara Lee’s Startling Vote To Boost Military Spending, by Norman Solomon

What Barbara Lee did on the House floor three days after 9/11 -- speaking prophetic words and casting the only vote against a green light for endless war -- remains the bravest wise action in Congress during this century.

The contrast was jolting last week when her vote enabled the House Budget Committee to approve a bill with a $17 billion increase in military spending for next year and another such increase for 2021. Because of the boost to the military, three progressive Democrats on the committee voted against the budget bill: Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna and Ilhan Omar. 

“This is a key philosophical moment for our party,” Khanna said. The second-term congressman told the committee: “We cannot be against endless wars and then fund those wars.” But, in effect, Barbara Lee voted to fund those wars -- plus vast quantities of new weaponry and waste. 

If she had joined with Jayapal, Khanna and Omar in voting no, the committee would have deadlocked with an 18-18 tie, blocking the bill. Many deficit-hawk Republicans voted against the bill because it raises the caps on non-military and military spending.

After the committee vote on April 3, I requested a statement from Congresswoman Lee. “I voted to advance a bill out of committee that sets budget caps for the next two fiscal years,” she said.

“To be clear: I do not support the Pentagon spending levels in the bill and voted for an amendment offered by my colleague Rep. Khanna to freeze Pentagon spending at FY2019 levels. Unfortunately, the Khanna amendment failed.” 

Lee’s statement added: “I have a long record of fighting to cut bloated Pentagon spending, audit the Pentagon and repeal the 2001 Authorization [for] Use of Military Force. I will continue to fight for these efforts, and to increase domestic discretionary spending as the budget and appropriations process moves forward.” 

Certainly, Barbara Lee has been a stalwart opponent of endless war. Her tireless efforts to undo the AUMF have most recently included the introduction in mid-February of a bill titled “Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force” (H.R. 1274).

Yet there’s no getting around the fact that Lee’s vote in committee last week made it possible for a budget bill that further bloats the Pentagon’s spending to reach the House floor. The vote there is expected on Tuesday or Wednesday.

If you agree with most Americans that military spending should be cut instead of raised, you can quickly email your representative about it  here.

This is not the first time in recent years that Lee has succumbed to party-line militarism. Her notable anti-diplomacy tweet in July 2017 from the official “Rep. Barbara Lee” Twitter account -- denouncing President Trump for meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin -- remains posted to this day.

Yet her pivotal Budget Committee vote a few days ago is Congresswoman Lee’s most tangible and disappointing assist to the military-industrial complex.

Barbara Lee’s sincerity and commitment to peace are beyond question. But it’s all too easy for lawmakers to be unduly influenced by party leadership on Capitol Hill, where conformity is vital for the warfare state.

Only pressure from the grassroots has the potential to overcome the business as usual in official Washington. When progressives in Congress go wrong, we must be willing to say so -- clearly, publicly and emphatically.

With her decisive vote to enable an increase in military spending, Barbara Lee was wrong.
Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of He is the author of a dozen books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Satire, Symbols and Society: How Objects Have Been Crucial to Social Change, by Andrew Vear

Democracy Rows. Controversial Trade Deals. Women’s Rights. Black Lives Matter.

When we think of protest movements, many think of the people marching through the streets and the iconic quotes they say, and rightly so.

But from umbrellas in Hong Kong to sunflowers in Taiwan, objects have worked as symbolic tools to propel thoughts into action for decades. They have helped to win rights, change laws and even take down presidents.

Think of recent times just in the UK. The anti-Trump protests in London were defined in the media by the ‘baby Trump’ blimp.

The worker bee of Manchester came back into fruition following the Manchester Arena attacks, bringing people together and commemorating those lost.

Even graffiti master Banksy has waded in, creating artwork alleged to protest against pollution from steelworks.

‘Disobedient Objects’

Objects which fight the status quo came into the spotlight in 2014 when London’s V&A museum launched Disobedient Objects, its most successful exhibition since 1946 which demonstrated political activism symbols. 

Items shown included inflatable cobblestones thrown at police in Barcelona by protestors in 2012 and an iconic tea set by the Suffragette movement which depicts an angel of freedom motif and was used as a method of propaganda by the women to promote their struggle to vote and convince their neighbours who were opposed to the idea. 

These objects help promote the idea of out-designing authority and using something physical to promote dissent and push social movements. They are often overlooked by documentarians, but have been crucial methods of intelligent social change.

A Cacerolazo is a popular protest form which involves groups of people making noise by banging on ordinary home items such as pots, pans and other utensils in a call for attention.

People can even protest from their own homes, which means that it’s often widespread and achieves a high level of support.

Cacerolazo has been done across the world, but one country quite prevalent in the act is Argentina.

In December 2001, Argentina experienced a period of civil unrest and rioting due to an economic crisis which led to the government draining may bank deposits so people found their savings were unavailable.

The cacerolazos broke out spontaneously by 14 million Argentinians, and played a vital role in the resignations of two presidents. 

Why does it work? The immediacy, the spontaneity, the fact that anyone can join just by leaning out of their balcony, and the effective message of deep dissatisfaction from the population.


Every June, the world comes together to celebrate LGBT Pride, with festivals and parades extending throughout the summer.

This year will be the 50th anniversary of Pride, as LGBT communities have been holding demonstrations against acts of violence and for being accepted for who they are since 1969.

The symbolic rainbow flag we all know is celebrated across the world.

It was originally created with eight colours by American artist and gay rights activist Gilbert Baker for the Gay Freedom Pride Parade in San Francisco in 1978, before it was whittled down to six colours years later. 

Today, those six colours - red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet - stand for life, healing, sunlight, nature, peace and spirit. This flag is proudly displayed by millions to show their support and solidarity. 

Baker decided to make it a flag because he saw it as one of the most powerful symbols, but this flag has now been emblazoned onto into sunglasses, wrist bands, bags, t-shirts and badges for a universal way for people to show their support for LGBT during both the promising and difficult times.

Black Lives Matter

The collective power that objects like pots and pans and even hoodies can have when repurposed with political intent is game-changing.

In the US in 2012 following the tragic death of black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was killed by George Zimmerman for looking suspicious in a hoodie, there was controversy over the notion that hoodies are ‘sinister’.  

As a sign of solidarity and protest to this crime, thousands of Americas joined the ‘Million Hoodie March” held to express their support and the absurdity of the killing.

This act gave hoodies a whole new meaning and became emblematic, sparking the movement Black Lives Matter, which is continuing to make a difference against violence and systemic racism towards black people today.

Objects that Object

Humour is also used as a protest weapon. Editor of Private Eye Ian Hislop and co-curator of the British Museum had his own exhibition: I Object, which was an array of objects which objected social stances and showed how people poked fun at those in control of their lives in a satirical movement.

Humour can also help people feel more together, such as a ‘Make America Gay Again’ badge in protest of Trumps infamous Make America Great Again message.

Aiming to get the last laugh, other examples include an engraver from the Seychelles who hid the word SEX in the palm trees on a bank note, which was published towards the end of British colonial rule. 

Other items included a papier mache depiction of a Mexican factory owner in Day of the Dead and a suffragette slogan of ‘votes for women’ from 1903 on the king’s head of a coin.

Successful campaigns and causes come about by actively engaging people - it’s that simple. People need to think and feel like they are a part of something bigger. 

From the death penalty to workers’ rights, objects can help people to rally around a cause and feel part of a community, that their voice is not alone. 

They do not have to be noisy, they just need to resonate with other people. Ultimately, they can and do help to turn a small thought into lasting protests.

Andrew Vear, is the Owner at eBadges.