Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

The Case for a Coup in Turkey

In July Turkey experienced a failed military coup against the elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leader of the conservative Justice and Development Party (in Turkish, Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi or AKP).  The Turkish government blames the coup on Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish preacher living in exile in the United States whom the government regards as a terrorist. It is demanding his extradition, but the United States has to this point refused to comply without hard evidence connecting Gülen to the coup. In the meantime, the Turkish government has declared a state of emergency and begun suspending, imprisoning, or firing tens of thousands of political opponents, including 9,000 police officers, 21,000 private school teachers, 10,000 soldiers, nearly 3,000 judges, 1,500 university deans, and more than 100 media outlets have been forcibly shuttered. This political purge is an escalation of a pattern of behavior that existed before the coup. For a long time Erdoğan and the AKP have concentrated power, acting against the press and against Turkey’s civil society and eroding Turkey’s secular norms. Those who support Erdoğan tell a story in which an embattled democratically elected president is beset by a would-be junta, but the situation in Turkey is considerably more complicated than that, and there is a strong case that Turkey’s constitution is not up to the task of protecting Turkey’s political system from increasingly unlimited abuse.

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The Left in Britain: Debating the Merits of Corbyn and Smith

The British Labour Party is having another leadership contest, just one year after current leader Jeremy Corbyn defeated three rivals, 59.5% of the vote. Corbyn’s opponents have rallied behind a single challenger, Owen Smith. Smith’s supporters claim that Labour cannot win an election under Corbyn while Corbyn’s supporters claim that Smith is a Trojan horse for a Tory-lite party establishment. As the campaign has unfolded, Corbyn has sought to reassure supporters that he has a credible electoral strategy while Smith has sought to persuade Labour voters that he is a strong advocate for the left. Who is right and what is going on? Let’s have a think.

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4 Years of Blogging

August 4 is the blog’s birthday. Once a year, I permit myself to write a self-indulgent post about the state of the blog on or near the blog birthday. To date, I have maintained my promise to only do this once annually. I have no intention of regularly subjecting my readers to my banal self-reflections. Read the rest of this entry »

Gary Johnson is Worse than Donald Trump

Since Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton, I’ve heard a number of Sanders supporters indicate that they’re considering supporting Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee. We need to nip this in the bud right now. Gary Johnson is by far the most reactionary and right wing candidate in the race, especially on economic issues. I didn’t write him a candidate evaluation because in 2012 he received less than 1% of the vote, but a recent poll says 10% of Sanders supporters are now willing to support Johnson. If you are a Johnson supporter or you know someone who is, there’s some important information about Johnson and the Libertarians that everyone needs to know.

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Bernie Sanders Got Nothing for Endorsing Clinton

Last night, Bernie Sanders gave a speech at the DNC convention in which he offered his unqualified support for Hillary Clinton. Sanders argues that Clinton has earned his support by agreeing to changes in the Democratic Party Platform that bring it more in line with Sanders’ views. But if we take a closer look at what Sanders received in exchange for his endorsement, it’s clear he’s getting a raw deal.

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