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Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich

Socialism for corporations and financial oligarchy (The New Nomenklatura)

Version 2.1, Jan 2, 2018

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended Links Neoliberal "New Class" as variant of Soviet Nomenklatura The Iron Law of Oligarchy Noble Lie American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism
Hypernormalization Neoliberal rationality Neoliberalism war on labor Inverted Totalitarism The Deep State Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult
 Audacious Oligarchy and Loss of Trust Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Neoliberal debt slavery Doublespeak Animal Farm Anti-globalization movement Neoliberalism and Christianity
Quite coup Destruction of the New Deal Glass-Steagall repeal Think Tanks as Enabler of Neoliberal Coup d'état  Identity politics as diversion of attention from social inequality Identity politics as divide and conquer The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Propaganda Neoliberal rationality Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' Neoliberal newspeak Predator state Lewis Powell Memo The Essential Rules for Dominating Population
New American Militarism Neoconservatism Neo-fascism National Security State Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism US and British media are servants of security apparatus  Totalitarian Decisionism
The Great Betrayal: "Soft" neoliberals as Vichy Left Crowd manipulation Agenda-setting theory Manufacturing Consent Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Media-Military-Industrial Complex War is Racket
Small government smoke screen "Starving the beast" bait and switch Bill Clinton Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Two Party System American Imperialism The Grand Chessboard
Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Machiavellism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
  "Neoliberalism was a stunning utopia of  economic determinism, one even more ambitious than that of Marx."

-- Logos


Introduction

“What does Christianity mean today? National Socialism is a religion. All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in their place. We lack traditions and ritual. One day soon National Socialism will be the religion of all Germans. My Party is my church, and I believe I serve the Lord best if I do his will, and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery. That is my gospel.”
Joseph Goebbels

There were two major favors of Bolshevism -- Trotskyism and Stalinism. Them main different is in the attitude to exporting revolution to other countries. Trotsky preached so called permanent revolution -- forceful regime changes in other countries, while Stalin adhered to more isolationist worldview ("Socialism in a single country").  In a way the whole Mont Pelerin Society can be renamed into "The Committee for the adaptation of Trotskyism for the needs of financial oligarchy"

Neoliberalism is essentially Trotskyism refashioned for the needs of the global financial elite.  That's probably why the first substantial support Mont Perelin Society got in England.

This "socialism for corporations, feudalism for everybody" adapted a large part of Trotskyism ideology and, especially, political instruments, carefully hiding the origins.   Instead of "proletarians of all countries unite" we have the slogan "neoliberal elites of all countries unite". Like Communism is supposed to be the result of revolt of proletariat against its oppressions, Neoliberalism can be considered to be the revolt of the elite (and first of all financial elite) against excessive level of equality that characterized the world after WWII.  They key goal of neoliberalism is redistribution of wealth up at the expense of working class and lower middle class.  Like Trotskyism in the past, it is a militant and dogmatic faith that ostracizes heretics and utilizes the full power of propaganda to brainwash the population. Like Bolsheviks' Communist International this virtual "Union of Neoliberal States" have zero  tolerance for other social system or deviations from so called Washington consensus -- the dogmatic statement of main goal of neoliberalism in weaker countries. Like was the case with Bolshevism media dogs and intelligence  agencies are unleashed on dissenters.  Universities were refashioned into neoliberalism indoctrination camp by making neoclassical economics the obligatory discipline, without taking a course in neo-classical economy the student can't graduate.  Much like Marxism-Leninism philosophy course and Marxist political economy course were obligatory in the USSR universities.

Permanent revolution was refashioned into regime change efforts with "color revolution" as the major instrument of such a change. If color revolution mechanisms fail, the direct military invasion is always an option ("export of neoliberal democracy of the tips of bayonets", so to speak).  Subversive methods like color revolutions are polished to perfection. Recently they were used inside the USA as Clinton  wing of Democratic Party (aka "soft neoliberalism")  against Trump, who was elected on the platform of "anti-globalization", anti-outsourcing/offshoring", and ending foreign wars.  See NeoMcCartyism

The key idea here is that "free market" in neoliberalism replaces the notion of "dictatorship of proletariat".  The notion of the "world revolution" is preserved. Neoliberals  do not want to wait until "free market" wins in the society on its own merits. They do not believe in Laissez-faire. Like Leninists they want to use state to build the society in which "dictatorship of market" happens.  To enforce this society on people. This is not about libertarian dream of the state as "night watchman", on the contrary state in neoliberal doctrine state of "neoliberal dictatorship" which is active in enforcing "free market" mechanisms, despite possible resistance of the society.

Neoliberals like Trotskyites are globalists par excellence and dream about world neoliberal revolution. Like Bolsheviks with communism, they reject any other forms of social organization other then neoliberalism. And want to export neoliberalism to all countries of the world. If necessary using US bombers and tanks.

In other words while idea of the state under neoliberalism is identical to Bolsheviks view of state (and is very similar to the views of the Islamic state, if you wish ;-), the foreign policy under neoliberalism is the neoliberal empire expansion policy similar to idea of "World Revolution" which is the central postulate of Trotskyism.  In other words neoliberals strongly believe in "Export of revolution", it is just disguised for unwashed masses as export of democracy.  Kind of neoliberal jihad (The Totalitarian Nature of Islam)

"Bolshevism combines the characteristics of the French Revolution with those of the rise of Islam." "Marx has taught that Communism is fatally predestined to come about; this produces a state of mind not unlike that of the early successors of Mahommet." Among religions, Bolshevism is to be reckoned with Mohammedanism rather than with Christianity and Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation. Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world.
Russell [114]

Perhaps it was Charles Watson who first described Islam as totalitarian in 1937, and proceeded to show how: "By a million roots, penetrating every phase of life, all of them with religious significance, it is able to maintain its hold upon the life of Moslem peoples. "Bousquet, one of the foremost authorities on Islamic Law, distinguishes two aspects of Islam which he considers totalitarian: Islamic Law, and the Islamic notion of Jihad which has for its ultimate aim the conquest of the entire world, in order to submit it to one single authority. We shall consider jihad in the next chapter, here we shall confine ourselves to Islamic Law.

Mont Perelin society  which developed the neoliberal doctrine and served like Communist International for neoliberalism, was deliberately structured like a congress of pre-selected and pre-approved thinkers, allowing no dissent, and  working in secrecy. Much like the new incarnation of Bolsheviks party. They explicitly rework the key methods of social struggle invented by Bolsheviks and Trotskyites to the their own ends.  Many subversive method used by neoliberal state to enforce the rule of neoliberalism in other countries were first invented and tried by Communist International.  Marx is probably now spinning in his grave seeing how his teaching and methods adapted by social-democratic parties were subverted and bastardized to serve the rich.

According to neoliberal doctrine, free market like socialist social system just do not happen naturally: they should be built and enforced by the "Party" despite all the resistance. and the Party in this case was artificially constructed of bribed intellectuals and (what is even more important) of the network of  neoliberal think tanks. this idea to use "think tank" as the major weapon if the unleashing neoliberal revolution was also a direct (but creative)  borrowing from Bolsheviks practice.

And as we all know tanks is formidable weapon on a modern battlefields. The same is true with think tanks in social battlefields.  So like Trotskyites they are constructivists long before the term became popular (emergence of neoliberalism as a movement belong to early 30th). Nothing is left to the chance. 

In other words this like Trotskyism neoliberalism is practically undistinguished from a secular religion. That's why  some researchers call it  a market uber alles religion.  The key dogma is "There is no God other then the Market... " In other words, Market under neoliberal doctrine does not need any justification. It is the ultimate deity that judges the mere mortals, which needs to be imposed on the people by the power of the state,  and requires absolute compliance, achieved by spilling blood, if necessary.  Much like the idea of communism is a deity for Bolsheviks, which requires no justification and needs to be imposed on the people by whatever means necessary.

In both cases they are sold as kind of heaven on the earth. In this sense this is market fundamentalism which is a lot in common with Islamic Fundamentalism. Market is the heaven on earth for neoliberals and neoliberal priests (which are pretty well paid folk, look at Summers or Rubin ;-) have the same promise of twenty virgins to the followers. In they case virgins can be simply bought on money that the neoliberalism will bestow on the individual who will follow the teaching making him rich ;-).  The actual reality is somewhat different. It is impossible to make rich everybody; this is reserved to the top 1% or 0.01%, while "shmucks" standard  of living tend to deteriorate.  But this is a hidden "esoteric" truth the neoliberalism does not advertise. In any case you see the analogy. 

Like Trotskyites they were militant faction which wanted to seize the power but whatever means possible. And they want to forcefully destroy all alternatives including first of all socialism. Their attitude toward socialism is the exact morrow of Trotskyites view about capitalism -- they believe that socialism belong to the dustbin of history, and if it does not want to die "naturally" it is OK to help him to go to the grave. 1973 Chilean coup d'état against  President Salvador Allende,  is a perfect example of their ideology in action. color revolution are another. This is how Lenin would force the revolution. They just uses CIA instead of terrorist underground forces used by Bolsheviks (in case of Bolsheviks often cooperating with anarchist military faction -- so called 'boeviks").  There is even some uneasy alliance of islamist radicals Western intelligence agencies and neoliberal NGO  in which neoliberal try to use islamist to achieve their goals.  The same lack of principles and amorality was typical for Bolsheviks.  In is important to understand that  despite scholarly camouflage key neoliberal figures such as Milton Friedman were actually criminals. Minton Friedman hands were  up to the elbow in blood of innocent victims due to  killing many Chileans during Pinochet coup (objective view is our view of people which we do not like, so communists probably provided the most biting critique of neoliberalism and neoliberals ;-) :  

In 1975, the New York Times accurately labeled him “the guiding light of the junta’s economic policy” (21 September 1975). The CIA funded a 300-page Friedmanite blueprint given to the leaders of the junta in preparation for the coup. In March 1975 Friedman himself, accompanied by his U of C cohort Arnold Harberger, flew to Chile for high-level talks with the regime to outline the economic “shock treatment” that led to the mass starvation of those who had survived the initial phase of bloodletting.

So the world revolution in Trotskyite doctrine is simply replaced by "world neoliberal revolution by what ever means possible". Criminal actions are OK.  Like with Trotskyism "the goal justifies the means".

Another interesting question is why those people were help-bent of anti-communism, were so adamantly against socialism? One explanation is that most of them were from Austrian aristocracy circles. Another is that in their view (and first of all Hayek) market is a kind of natural "supercomputer" that can provide solutions to all world problems that no government can do. But, at the same time being closet  neo-Trotskyites they advocate military coups and killing of dissenters to achieve their goals.

Their "utilitarian view" of the legitimacy of government, also extents to science. Like for Trotskyites with their bogus concept of "proletarian science", the science in their worldview is useful only to the extent it help to built neoliberalism. So there is scientific theories and scientists which  needs to be financially supported and promoted and the scientific theories and scientists  that needs to be suppressed and ostracized.  Kind of new Lysenkoism.

That sound profoundly anti-democratic and that's completely true. Neoliberals do not care about democracy. They care only about "free market" -- their deity like communists cared only about Communism -- their deity. And both are ready to commit any crimes to achieve their goals.  In other words they are a new type of a dangerous totalitarian sect. and the brand of Totalitarism they promote was called by Wolin "Inverted Totalitarism". Their approach smells with Lysenkoism. And that' true -- neoliberal practice is very close to practice of Lysenkoism, especially in the field of economics: they occupied all commanding positions in economic departments of universities and forcefully suppress any dissent. The only difference is that they use the power of state just for ostracism and isolation. They do not send "non-conforming" scientists to GULAG like Bolsheviks did.  But they introduce a new interesting nuance: as the science became a "marketplace of ideas", under neoliberalism you can just buy the scientist you like on the market.  Education also needs to be restructured as market. Which already happened in the USA.

So we really are talking about neoliberal revolution in the USA, which destroyed the New Deal capitalism by mercilessly destroying all the relevant law. You are liming in new brave neoliberal world now.

We can think about neoliberalism employing typical Trotskyite methods of "gain power first" implement neoliberal policies later. In a way, neoliberalism is the second after Bolshevism social model that is totally artificially constructed and explicitly planned to be enforced on unsuspecting people via subversive actions of a totalitarian sect.   Like Bolshevism was dictatorship of the Communist Party nomenklatura, neoliberalism is dictatorship of financial oligarchy. Both neoliberalism and Bolshevism despise democracy and need a strong state which implements neoliberal policies "from above" -- reforming the society despite the wishes of population (exactly like bolshevism did it in the USSR space and later in Eastern Europe). 

This symbiosis of strong state (in a form of "national security state" and super powerful intelligence agencies -- often called "the deep state")  and corporation via the rule of financial oligarchy  makes neoliberalism a modern flavor of corporatism. Inverted totalitarism as Sheldon Wolin called it. Like bolshevism neoliberalism relies of power of propaganda (first of all via think tanks -- its ingenious invention) as well as classic methods used by Bolsheviks such as  indoctrination via economics courses at university economics departments and constant pro-neoliberal propaganda in major MSM owned and operated by large corporations.

Up to 2000 in the USA standard of living and employment level was maintained  (partially via computer revolution, partially  via "expropriation" of resources and capital at xUSSR space), although there are limits to that and at some point self-destruction process inevitably starts  and the neoliberal society gradually slips into secular stagnation, somewhat similar to Brezhnev's stagnation period in the USSR.  In the USA is characterized by the loss of jobs and manufacturing to outsourcing, as well as degeneration of neoliberal elite (matching if not exceeding the degeneration of neoliberal elite).   Which at the end created conditions for the rise to power of Trump and his team of "bastard neoliberals" (neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization, somewhat similar to Stalin's idea of 'socialism ins single country").

Like Trotskyism in the past (with their slogan of "World revolution" borrowed by neoliberalism) neoliberals in general and neocons in particular (as "neoliberals with the gun") are hell-bent of creating Global Neoliberal empire. Killing millions people in the process. And destroying the well-being of the majorly of people in their host country (the USA in case of neoliberals, the Russian empire -- USSR --  in case of Trotskyites  and later Bolsheviks ).

For them  ‘We Think the Price Is Worth It’"  as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright put it.  This Nietzschean-style complete disregard of common people is probably the most common feature between those two "man-eater" class ideologies. Those Nietzschean Ubermensch like classic psychopaths just do not have compassion for other people. They are objects, tools for them.   Actually you learn a lot about neoliberals by studying psychopath and sociopath behaviour, especially female sociopath.  The percent of sociopaths in the society is by various estimate is over 5% which considerably exceeds the number of people required for forming the elite or the top 1%  of neoliberal society.

Like Marxism before, neoliberalism provides its own ethics and its own rationality.   It enforces a new encompassing "economic rationalism" (aka economism) , which should displace old, "outdated" and more humane rationality of New Deal capitalism.

The ethics of neoliberalism, or "Neoliberal rationality",  is heavily tilted toward viewing people as "homo economicus".  Like Marxism (and, by extension, Trotskyism and Bolshevism/Stalinism ) it "articulates crucial elements of  the language, practice and subjectivity according to a specific image of the economics." Like Trotskyism before it directly assaults the idea of democratic governance and the rule of the law proving perverted rationality,  elements of which are erringly similar to the ideas of "vanguard",  "proletarian justice",  " journalists as solders of the Party"  and, especially, "Permanent Revolution". 

It rejects the idea of social solidarity (emphasizing it for Undermensch "individual responsibility" including "who does not work, should not eat")   replacing it, like Marxism before, with the idea of class solidarity (The members of transnational financial elite unite"). They also pervert the idea of the rule of the law, which animated so much of modernity, hollowing out democratic practices and institutions while at the same time catalyzing radical, brutal (as in neo-feudal) forms of the elite dominance, promoting Nietzsche separation of mankind into two caste: Undermensch ("despicables" in Hillary Clinton words) and Ubermensch  ("creative class").  In a way neoliberalism is socialism for rich and feudalism for poor.

Like Marxism before it, neoliberalism wear the mantle of inevitability. As Bruce Wilder noted in his post on Crooked Timber blog (11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30): 

It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability.

Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics.

For example, instead of permanent revolution we have permanent democratization via color revolutions and military invasions for the expansion of neoliberal empire..  With the same fake idea of creating a global neoliberal empire which will make everybody happy and prosperous.

While this is never advertized (and actually the whole term "neoliberalism" is kind of  "hidden" from the population and its discussion is a taboo in neoliberal MSM), implicitly Neoliberalism adopted a considerable part of Trotskyism doctrine and even bigger part of its practice, especially foreign policy practice. Like KGB in the USSR, CIA became presidents praetorian guard (which occasionally revolts, see JFK assassination).  

Like Logos noted this is yet another stunning "economic-political" utopia with the level of economic determinism even more ambitious than that of Marx... But what is important to understand is that this doctrine incorporates significant parts of Trotskyism  in pretty innovating, unobvious way. Thus, Marx famous quote "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce" is fully applicable here: instead of revolt of proletariat which Marxists expected we got the revolt of financial oligarchy. And this revolt led to the formation of the powerful Transnational Elite International (with Congresses in Basel) instead of Communist International (with Congresses in Moscow). Both Trotsky and Marx are probably rolling in their graves seeing such a wicked mutation of their beloved political ideology.

Neoliberalism is also an example of emergence of ideologies, not from their persuasive power or inner logic, but from the private interests of the ruling elite.  Political pressure and money created the situation in which intellectually bankrupt ideas could prevail much like Catholicism prevailed during Dark Ages in Europe. In a way, this is return to Dark Ages on a new level. Hopefully this period will not last as long. But as there is no countervailing force on the horizon, only the major change in economic conditions, such as end of cheap oil can lead to demise of neoliberalism. 

 Neoliberalism consists of the same three components as in Marxism: philosophy, political economy and neoliberal ethics (aka neoliberal rationality).

 The ideas that neoliberalism borrowed from Trotskyism

Among the ideas that neoliberalism borrowed from Trotskyism via renegades Trotskyites turned neoconservatives (and for all practical purposes Neoconservatism is just neoliberalism with a gun) such as James Burnham we can mention the following:

  1. The mantle of inevitability (famous TINA statement of Margaret Thatcher is an apt demonstration of this) Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, as weather "happens" in meteorology.  As Bruce Wilder noted in his post on Crooked Timber blog (11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30): 

    It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. 

  2. The concept of the  "new class" which is destined to guide the humanity with the replacement of "proletariat" with the "creative class".  The latter is a rehash of the Nietzschean concept of Ubermensch. This creating/managerial/entrepreneur  class which is similar to Soviet nomenklatura.  Rejection of  Christianity and the idea of human solidarity. Like was the case in the USSR, it places the control of the society in comparatively few hands; in this sense Neoliberal nomenklatura is very similar to Soviet nomenklatura. In both cases their position in social hierarchy by-and-large is determined by the position the individual has in government, military, or private industry.  Loss of the position means substantial downgrade in neoliberal social hierarchy, much like in the USSR. In other words wealth is not enough for high social status.  This leads to the similar adverse effects (Ivy League universities as the membership card to the elite and corresponding  degradation of the level of education (Bush II managed to graduate as many other "not so talented" sons and daughters of the elite). Suppression of dissent created promotion of "yes-men" resulting in gradual degeneration of the elite, as happened with Soviet nomenklatura.  Huge discrepancy in the wealth of the top 1% and the rest of population might be neoliberalism's Achilles heel which we saw in action in 2016 elections and Brexit vote.
    1. Rejection of the normal interpretation of the rule of the law and the idea of "neoliberal justice" (tough justice for Untermensch only). See, for example a Crooked timber comment:
      Neoliberals destroy the notion of social justice and pervert the notion of the “rule of the law”. See, for example, The Neo-Liberal State by Raymond Plant

      …social justice is incompatible with the rule of law because its demands cannot be embodied in general and impartial rules; and rights have to be the rights to non-interference rather than understood in terms of claims to resources because rules against interference can be understood in general terms whereas rights to resources cannot. There is no such thing as a substantive common good for the state to pursue and for the law to embody and thus the political pursuit of something like social justice or a greater sense of solidarity and community lies outside the rule of law.

      … … …

      …But surely, it might be argued, a nomocratic state and its laws have to acknowledge some set of goals. It cannot be impartial or indifferent to all goals. Law cannot be pointless. It cannot be totally non-instrumental. It has to facilitate the achievement of some goals. If this is recognized, it might be argued, it will modify the sharpness of the distinction between a nomocratic and telocratic state, between a civil association and an enterprise association.

      The last paragraph essentially defines “neoliberal justice” which to me looks somewhat similar to the concept of “proletarian justice” (see Bukharin’s views https://www.marxists.org/archive/bukharin/works/1920/abc/09.htm; compare with Vyshinskii views http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1924-2/socialist-legality/socialist-legality-texts/vyshinskii-on-proletarian-justice/).

      ... ... ...

      IMHO for neoliberals social justice and the rule of law is applicable only to Untermensch. For Ubermensch (aka “creative class”) it undermines their individual freedom and thus they need to be above the law.

      To ensure their freedom and cut “unnecessary and undesirable interference” of the society in their creative activities the role of the state should be limited to safeguarding the free market as the playground for their “creativity” (note “free” as in “free ride”, not “fair”).

  3. Neoliberalism like Stalinism is a "civil religion". The methods of enforcement of this region on the population  by neoliberalism are quite similar to Stalinism, with the only main difference --the rejection of violence against population as the main method of entrenching the ideology:
  4. Use of violence for the spread of the ideology. The idea of Permanent revolution to bring to power the new hegemonic class in all countries of the globe and create a new global neoliberal empire is direct borrowing from Trotskyism and was promoted by Jewish neocons, who were former Trotskyites.  In neoliberalism this takes that form of "export of democracy" as the method of achieving and maintaining world dominance of globalist elite (which in its role of hegemonic class replaces "proletariat" used in Trotskyism):
  5. Social Darwinism
  6. Finally, neoliberalism like Marxism in the past has become strongly associated with a specific culture (the US culture, or Anglo-Saxon culture in more general terms) and a specific language (English). Like Marxism, as an ideology, Neoliberalism  became tied to specific culture and language (both became  king of global standard de-facto). Theoretically any global language would suit, and it can be Esperanto.  But in reality the English language, Hollywood culture, neoliberal economic policies (aka  Washington consensus), and pro-American foreign policy is a "package deal" for fifth column supporters outside G7; this was especially true in Central and Eastern Europe. Kind of second class citizens of Neoliberal International (Skeptical Eastern Europeans, who still remember the days of USSR-led "Socialist Camp" now call it diktat of "Washington Obcom" ;-).  That does not exclude jingoism, chauvinism, flag-waving and foreigner-bashing in the USA (aka American exceptionalism) and other G7 countries. Tony Blair is probably the best example of this political mentality:

    Don't tell me that a country with our history and heritage, that today boasts six of the top ten businesses in the whole of Europe, with London the top business city in Europe, that is a world leader in technology and communication and the businesses of the future, that under us has overtaken France and Italy to become the fourth largest economy in the world, that has the language of the new economy, more brilliant artists, actors and directors than any comparable country in the world, some of the best scientists and inventors in the world, the best armed forces in the world, the best teachers and doctors and nurses, the best people any nation could wish for.

    Don't tell me with all that going for us that we do not have the spirit to meet all the challenges before us.

    Blair conference speech, 26 September 2000

The "capitalists counteroffensive" or "revolt of the elite"

This "capitalists counteroffensive" or "revolt of the elite" was pioneered in Britain, where Margaret Thatcher was elected leader of the Tory Party in 1975 and put into real shape by Ronald Reagan in 1981-1989 (Reaganomics). Margaret Thatcher victory was the first election of neoliberal ideologue (Pinochet came to power via supported by the USA military coupe de tat). Both Thatcher and Reagan mounted a full-scale counterattack against the (already weakened and fossilized) unions. In GB the miners were the most important target. In USA traffic controllers. In both cases they managed to broke the back of trade unions. Since 1985 union membership in the USA has halved.

Privatizing nationalized industries and public services fragments large bargaining units formed of well organized public-sector workers, creating conditions in which wages can be driven down in the competition for franchises and contracts. This most important side effect of privatization was dramatic redistribution of wealth to the top layer of financial and managerial elite (corporate rich).

Neoliberalism gradually gained strength since probably late 50th with free-market theorists like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman as influential ideologues. Ann Rand also made an important contribution with her "greed is good" philosophy of positivism. Still many economists and policy-makers favored a ‘mixed economy’ with high levels of state intervention and public spending. That changed in the 1970s when the state capitalism run into rocks. In a way rise of Neoliberalism was the elite response to the Long Recession of 1973-1992: they launched a class war of the global rich against the rest. Shrinking markets dictated the necessity of cutting costs by sacking workers and driving down wages. So the key program was to reverse the gains made by the US lower and middle class since 1945 and it needed an ideological justification. Neoliberalism neatly fitted the bill. With outsourcing, the global ‘race to the bottom’ became a permanent feature of a new economic order.

At 1980th it became clear that the age of national economies and ‘autarkic’ (self-contained) blocs like the USSR block ended as they will never be able to overcome the technological and standard of living gap with the major Western economies. This inability to match the level of standard of living of western countries doomed communist ideology, as it has in the center the thesis that as a superior economic system it should match and exceed the economic level achieved by capitalist countries. Collapse of the USSR in 1991 (in which KGB elite played the role of Trojan horse of the West) was a real triumph of neoliberalism and signified a beginning of a new age in which the global economy was dominated by international banks and multinational corporations operating with little or sometimes completely outside the control of nation-states.

The rise of neoliberalism can be measured by the rise of the financial and industrial mega-corporations. For example, US direct investment overseas rose from $11 billion in 1950 to $133 billion in 1976. The long-term borrowing of US corporations increased from 87% of their share value in 1955 to 181% in 1970. The foreign currency operations of West European banks, to take another example, increased from $25 billion in 1968 to $200 billion in 1974. The combined debt of the 74 less-developed countries jumped from $39 billion in 1965 to $119 billion in 1974. These quantitative changes during the "Great Boom" reached a tipping point in the 1970s. Global corporations by then had come to overshadow the nation-states. The effect was to impose a relentless pressure on national elites to increase the exploitation of ‘their own’ working class. High wages became a facto that deters new investment and labor arbitrage jumped in full swing. Taxes on business to pay for public services or welfare payments became undesirable. As well as laws designed to make workplaces safe, limit working hours, or guarantee maternity leave. While from purely theoretic perspective the ‘free-market’ theory espoused by neoliberal academics, journalists, politicians, bankers, and ‘entrepreneurs’ is compete pseudoscientific Lysenkoism-style doctrine, it became very popular, dominant ideology of the last decade of XX century. It provides a pseudo-scientific justification for the greed, poverty, as well as economic crisis endemic to the system. It also justified high level if inequality of the political and business elite an a normal state of human society. In this sense, neoliberalism became an official ideology of the modern ruling elite.

Undoing the demos: Neoliberalism’s stealth destruction of liberal democracy

Like Marxism before neoliberalism provides its own ethics and its own rationality.   It enforces a new encompassing "economic rationalism", which should displace old, "outdated" and more humane rationality of liberal capitalism.

"Neoliberal rationality" is heavily tilted toward viewing the people as "homo economicus".  This new neoliberal rationality  " articulates crucial elements of  the language, practice and subjectivity ‘according to a specific image of the economic" In so doing neo-liberalism like Marxism before it directly assaults the democratic imaginary that animated so much of modernity, hollowing out liberal democratic practices and institutions while at the same time catalyzing radical, brutal forces of the political spectrum.

In the book Undoing the Demos Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution   Professor Wendy Brown described this  "neoliberal rationality" phenomenon and actually shows how close it is to the rationality which governed   communism parties of the USSR and Eastern Block.

Here are some quotes from Wendy Brown interview What Exactly Is Neoliberalism  to  Dissent Magazine (Nov 03, 2015):

"... I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is "economized" and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere-that's the old Marxist depiction of capital's transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value. ..."
"... The most common criticisms of neoliberalism, regarded solely as economic policy rather than as the broader phenomenon of a governing rationality, are that it generates and legitimates extreme inequalities of wealth and life conditions; that it leads to increasingly precarious and disposable populations; that it produces an unprecedented intimacy between capital (especially finance capital) and states, and thus permits domination of political life by capital; that it generates crass and even unethical commercialization of things rightly protected from markets, for example, babies, human organs, or endangered species or wilderness; that it privatizes public goods and thus eliminates shared and egalitarian access to them; and that it subjects states, societies, and individuals to the volatility and havoc of unregulated financial markets. ..."
"... with the neoliberal revolution that homo politicus is finally vanquished as a fundamental feature of being human and of democracy. Democracy requires that citizens be modestly oriented toward self-rule, not simply value enhancement, and that we understand our freedom as resting in such self-rule, not simply in market conduct. When this dimension of being human is extinguished, it takes with it the necessary energies, practices, and culture of democracy, as well as its very intelligibility. ..."
"... For most Marxists, neoliberalism emerges in the 1970s in response to capitalism's falling rate of profit; the shift of global economic gravity to OPEC, Asia, and other sites outside the West; and the dilution of class power generated by unions, redistributive welfare states, large and lazy corporations, and the expectations generated by educated democracies. From this perspective, neoliberalism is simply capitalism on steroids: a state and IMF-backed consolidation of class power aimed at releasing capital from regulatory and national constraints, and defanging all forms of popular solidarities, especially labor. ..."
"... The grains of truth in this analysis don't get at the fundamental transformation of social, cultural, and individual life brought about by neoliberal reason. They don't get at the ways that public institutions and services have not merely been outsourced but thoroughly recast as private goods for individual investment or consumption. And they don't get at the wholesale remaking of workplaces, schools, social life, and individuals. For that story, one has to track the dissemination of neoliberal economization through neoliberalism as a governing form of reason, not just a power grab by capital. There are many vehicles of this dissemination -- law, culture, and above all, the novel political-administrative form we have come to call governance. It is through governance practices that business models and metrics come to irrigate every crevice of society, circulating from investment banks to schools, from corporations to universities, from public agencies to the individual. It is through the replacement of democratic terms of law, participation, and justice with idioms of benchmarks, objectives, and buy-ins that governance dismantles democratic life while appearing only to instill it with "best practices." ..."
"... Progressives generally disparage Citizens United for having flooded the American electoral process with corporate money on the basis of tortured First Amendment reasoning that treats corporations as persons. However, a careful reading of the majority decision also reveals precisely the thoroughgoing economization of the terms and practices of democracy we have been talking about. In the majority opinion, electoral campaigns are cast as "political marketplaces," just as ideas are cast as freely circulating in a market where the only potential interference arises from restrictions on producers and consumers of ideas-who may speak and who may listen or judge. Thus, Justice Kennedy's insistence on the fundamental neoliberal principle that these marketplaces should be unregulated paves the way for overturning a century of campaign finance law aimed at modestly restricting the power of money in politics. Moreover, in the decision, political speech itself is rendered as a kind of capital right, functioning largely to advance the position of its bearer, whether that bearer is human capital, corporate capital, or finance capital. This understanding of political speech replaces the idea of democratic political speech as a vital (if potentially monopolizable and corruptible) medium for public deliberation and persuasion. ..."
"... My point was that democracy is really reduced to a whisper in the Euro-Atlantic nations today. Even Alan Greenspan says that elections don't much matter much because, "thanks to globalization . . . the world is governed by market forces," not elected representatives. ..."

Like Marxism in the USSR neoliberalism is state religion of the USA which displaced Christianity

Pope Francis aptly called neoliberalism as "idolatry of money".  In other words a cult. Here is a direct quote:

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule. 

Like any religion it has its set of myth:


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Old News ;-)

[Mar 22, 2020] Mask piracy among neoliberal nations: Wonderful show of world-wide solidarity

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... 1) Pompeo and Grenell reportedly arguing that coronavirus has created window of opportunity for a direct strike on a weak and divided Iran. ..."
"... Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisian has criticized the #UK for not delivering millions of masks #Iran bought in preparations ahead of #Covid19 outbreak. The London govt. refused to deliver them citing US sanctions! Note that Germany took supplies meant for Switzerland, The US via the Italian Mafia (I suppose) gets masks from Bergamo. etc. ..."
Mar 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Stonebird , Mar 21 2020 21:25 utc | 31

I just think that the US "Intelligence" and most of the US Administration just haven't got it. I suppose when you are waiting for the "rapture" anything that can add to the chaos is to be included.

1) Pompeo and Grenell reportedly arguing that coronavirus has created window of opportunity for a direct strike on a weak and divided Iran. They were arguing about the severity of the strike.

2) Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisian has criticized the #UK for not delivering millions of masks #Iran bought in preparations ahead of #Covid19 outbreak. The London govt. refused to deliver them citing US sanctions! Note that Germany took supplies meant for Switzerland, The US via the Italian Mafia (I suppose) gets masks from Bergamo. etc. Wonderful show of world-wide solidarity.

Pompeo should hold his "rapture" in his hot little hand and .....

[Mar 13, 2020] This virus is revealing just how ineffective the neoliberal social Darwinist "every man for himself" ethos is and how deeply in denial and out of touch with reality these societies are

Mar 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Daniel , Mar 13 2020 22:16 utc | 138

@Joanne Leon 15
The explosion of hate and blame and fear flying around online with regard to this pandemic is more than alarming and ultimately useless and damaging. In a way it scares me more than the flu itself at the moment because of the implications of how it will hinder our ability to cooperate and deal with this.

That's a good point. Western society with its twisted guiding philosophy of radical individualism and competition combined with a supremacist "that could never happen here" attitude quickly falls into panicked chaos when reality kicks in and reveals the society's underlying vulnerabilities. Countries with weak social safety nets and an ideological opposition to social responsibility are extremely vulnerable to systemic breakdown when their societies are under unexpected stress.

This virus is revealing just how ineffective the neoliberal social Darwinist "every man for himself" ethos is and how deeply in denial and out of touch with reality these societies are. Additionally, the house of cards that makes up the global economy has been in crisis mode since 2008, when it was bailed out by massive money printing in the US and EU and China pumping billions of dollars into the economy to keep it afloat, simply can't handle any additional stressors without going into breakdown mode.

In this kind of situation where clear headed cooperation and mutual effort are required the opposite happens and people go into panic and finger pointing mode looking for some external enemy to blame. Just imagine what will happen if global warming turns out to be as serious as many are predicting.

[Mar 10, 2020] Neoliberalism the ideology at the root of all our problems by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
Under neoliberalism inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve: Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations and redefines citizens as consumers
Notable quotes:
"... Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you'll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is? ..."
"... Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness , the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump . ..."
"... Inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve. ..."
"... Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. ..."
"... We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances. ..."
"... Never mind structural unemployment: if you don't have a job it's because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you're feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it's your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers. ..."
"... Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. ..."
"... It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice should have been promoted with the slogan 'there is no alternative' ..."
"... Where neoliberal policies cannot be imposed domestically, they are imposed internationally, through trade treaties incorporating " investor-state dispute settlement ": offshore tribunals in which corporations can press for the removal of social and environmental protections. When parliaments have voted to restrict sales of cigarettes , protect water supplies from mining companies, freeze energy bills or prevent pharmaceutical firms from ripping off the state, corporations have sued, often successfully. Democracy is reduced to theatre. ..."
"... Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one ..."
"... Another paradox of neoliberalism is that universal competition relies upon universal quantification and comparison. The result is that workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to a pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring, designed to identify the winners and punish the losers. The doctrine that Von Mises proposed would free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of central planning has instead created one. ..."
"... When you pay an inflated price for a train ticket, only part of the fare compensates the operators for the money they spend on fuel, wages, rolling stock and other outlays. The rest reflects the fact that they have you over a barrel . ..."
"... Those who own and run the UK's privatised or semi-privatised services make stupendous fortunes by investing little and charging much. In Russia and India, oligarchs acquired state assets through firesales. In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all landline and mobile phone services and soon became the world's richest man. ..."
"... Financialisation, as Andrew Sayer notes in Why We Can't Afford the Rich , has had a similar impact. "Like rent," he argues, "interest is ... unearned income that accrues without any effort". ..."
"... Chris Hedges remarks that "fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the 'losers' who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment". When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation . To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant. ..."
"... Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed. But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities. ..."
"... The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch , two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement . We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that "in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised". ..."
"... The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's triumph also reflects the failure of the left. When laissez-faire economics led to catastrophe in 1929, Keynes devised a comprehensive economic theory to replace it. When Keynesian demand management hit the buffers in the 70s, there was an alternative ready. But when neoliberalism fell apart in 2008 there was ... nothing. This is why the zombie walks. The left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years. ..."
"... What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it's not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century. ..."
Apr 16, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative? @GeorgeMonbiot

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you'll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness , the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump . But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

Inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin's theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don't have a job it's because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you're feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it's your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

See also Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us by Paul Verhaeghe, Sep 24, 2014

Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it's unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe . We are all neoliberals now.

***

The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and the gradual development of Britain's welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom , published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises's book Bureaucracy , The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as "a kind of neoliberal international": a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists. The movement's rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute , the Heritage Foundation , the Cato Institute , the Institute of Economic Affairs , the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute . They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek's view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way – among American apostles such as Milton Friedman – to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency.

Something else happened during this transition: the movement lost its name. In 1951, Friedman was happy to describe himself as a neoliberal . But soon after that, the term began to disappear. Stranger still, even as the ideology became crisper and the movement more coherent, the lost name was not replaced by any common alternative.

At first, despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes 's economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream. As Friedman remarked, "when the time came that you had to change ... there was an alternative ready there to be picked up". With the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, elements of neoliberalism, especially its prescriptions for monetary policy, were adopted by Jimmy Carter's administration in the US and Jim Callaghan's government in Britain.

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice should have been promoted with the slogan 'there is no alternative'

After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed: massive tax cuts for the rich, the crushing of trade unions, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services. Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world. Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example. As Stedman Jones notes, "it is hard to think of another utopia to have been as fully realised."

***

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan "there is no alternative". But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet's Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied – "my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism". The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers , endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Naomi Klein documented that neoliberals advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted. Photograph: Anya Chibis/The Guardian

As Naomi Klein documents in The Shock Doctrine , neoliberal theorists advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted: for example, in the aftermath of Pinochet's coup, the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina, which Friedman described as "an opportunity to radically reform the educational system" in New Orleans .

Where neoliberal policies cannot be imposed domestically, they are imposed internationally, through trade treaties incorporating " investor-state dispute settlement ": offshore tribunals in which corporations can press for the removal of social and environmental protections. When parliaments have voted to restrict sales of cigarettes , protect water supplies from mining companies, freeze energy bills or prevent pharmaceutical firms from ripping off the state, corporations have sued, often successfully. Democracy is reduced to theatre.

Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one

Another paradox of neoliberalism is that universal competition relies upon universal quantification and comparison. The result is that workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to a pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring, designed to identify the winners and punish the losers. The doctrine that Von Mises proposed would free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of central planning has instead created one.

Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one. Economic growth has been markedly slower in the neoliberal era (since 1980 in Britain and the US) than it was in the preceding decades; but not for the very rich. Inequality in the distribution of both income and wealth, after 60 years of decline, rose rapidly in this era, due to the smashing of trade unions, tax reductions, rising rents, privatisation and deregulation.

The privatisation or marketisation of public services such as energy, water, trains, health, education, roads and prisons has enabled corporations to set up tollbooths in front of essential assets and charge rent, either to citizens or to government, for their use. Rent is another term for unearned income. When you pay an inflated price for a train ticket, only part of the fare compensates the operators for the money they spend on fuel, wages, rolling stock and other outlays. The rest reflects the fact that they have you over a barrel .

In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all phone services and soon became the world's richest man. Photograph: Henry Romero/Reuters

Those who own and run the UK's privatised or semi-privatised services make stupendous fortunes by investing little and charging much. In Russia and India, oligarchs acquired state assets through firesales. In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all landline and mobile phone services and soon became the world's richest man.

Financialisation, as Andrew Sayer notes in Why We Can't Afford the Rich , has had a similar impact. "Like rent," he argues, "interest is ... unearned income that accrues without any effort". As the poor become poorer and the rich become richer, the rich acquire increasing control over another crucial asset: money. Interest payments, overwhelmingly, are a transfer of money from the poor to the rich. As property prices and the withdrawal of state funding load people with debt (think of the switch from student grants to student loans), the banks and their executives clean up.

Sayer argues that the past four decades have been characterised by a transfer of wealth not only from the poor to the rich, but within the ranks of the wealthy: from those who make their money by producing new goods or services to those who make their money by controlling existing assets and harvesting rent, interest or capital gains. Earned income has been supplanted by unearned income.

Neoliberal policies are everywhere beset by market failures. Not only are the banks too big to fail, but so are the corporations now charged with delivering public services. As Tony Judt pointed out in Ill Fares the Land , Hayek forgot that vital national services cannot be allowed to collapse, which means that competition cannot run its course. Business takes the profits, the state keeps the risk.

The greater the failure, the more extreme the ideology becomes. Governments use neoliberal crises as both excuse and opportunity to cut taxes, privatise remaining public services, rip holes in the social safety net, deregulate corporations and re-regulate citizens. The self-hating state now sinks its teeth into every organ of the public sector.

Perhaps the most dangerous impact of neoliberalism is not the economic crises it has caused, but the political crisis. As the domain of the state is reduced, our ability to change the course of our lives through voting also contracts. Instead, neoliberal theory asserts, people can exercise choice through spending. But some have more to spend than others: in the great consumer or shareholder democracy, votes are not equally distributed. The result is a disempowerment of the poor and middle. As parties of the right and former left adopt similar neoliberal policies, disempowerment turns to disenfranchisement. Large numbers of people have been shed from politics.

Chris Hedges remarks that "fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the 'losers' who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment". When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation . To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant.

Judt explained that when the thick mesh of interactions between people and the state has been reduced to nothing but authority and obedience, the only remaining force that binds us is state power. The totalitarianism Hayek feared is more likely to emerge when governments, having lost the moral authority that arises from the delivery of public services, are reduced to "cajoling, threatening and ultimately coercing people to obey them".

***

Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed. But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities.

The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch , two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement . We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that "in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised".

The nouveau riche were once disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Today, the relationship has been reversed

The words used by neoliberalism often conceal more than they elucidate. "The market" sounds like a natural system that might bear upon us equally, like gravity or atmospheric pressure. But it is fraught with power relations. What "the market wants" tends to mean what corporations and their bosses want. "Investment", as Sayer notes, means two quite different things. One is the funding of productive and socially useful activities, the other is the purchase of existing assets to milk them for rent, interest, dividends and capital gains. Using the same word for different activities "camouflages the sources of wealth", leading us to confuse wealth extraction with wealth creation.

A century ago, the nouveau riche were disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Entrepreneurs sought social acceptance by passing themselves off as rentiers. Today, the relationship has been reversed: the rentiers and inheritors style themselves entre preneurs. They claim to have earned their unearned income.

These anonymities and confusions mesh with the namelessness and placelessness of modern capitalism: the franchise model which ensures that workers do not know for whom they toil ; the companies registered through a network of offshore secrecy regimes so complex that even the police cannot discover the beneficial owners ; the tax arrangements that bamboozle governments; the financial products no one understands.

The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded. Those who are influenced by Hayek, Mises and Friedman tend to reject the term, maintaining – with some justice – that it is used today only pejoratively . But they offer us no substitute. Some describe themselves as classical liberals or libertarians, but these descriptions are both misleading and curiously self-effacing, as they suggest that there is nothing novel about The Road to Serfdom , Bureaucracy or Friedman's classic work, Capitalism and Freedom .

***

For all that, there is something admirable about the neoliberal project, at least in its early stages. It was a distinctive, innovative philosophy promoted by a coherent network of thinkers and activists with a clear plan of action. It was patient and persistent. The Road to Serfdom became the path to power.

Neoliberalism, Locke and the Green party | Letters Read more

Neoliberalism's triumph also reflects the failure of the left. When laissez-faire economics led to catastrophe in 1929, Keynes devised a comprehensive economic theory to replace it. When Keynesian demand management hit the buffers in the 70s, there was an alternative ready. But when neoliberalism fell apart in 2008 there was ... nothing. This is why the zombie walks. The left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years.

Every invocation of Lord Keynes is an admission of failure. To propose Keynesian solutions to the crises of the 21st century is to ignore three obvious problems. It is hard to mobilise people around old ideas; the flaws exposed in the 70s have not gone away; and, most importantly, they have nothing to say about our gravest predicament: the environmental crisis. Keynesianism works by stimulating consumer demand to promote economic growth. Consumer demand and economic growth are the motors of environmental destruction.

What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it's not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.

George Monbiot's How Did We Get into This Mess? is published this month by Verso. To order a copy for £12.99 (RRP £16.99) ) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.

Topics Economics

[Mar 09, 2020] The Politics of Privatization How Neoliberalism Took Over US Politics by Brett Heinz

Highly recommended!
Sep 08, 2017 | www.faireconomy.org

Many of us have come across the term "neoliberal," or "neoliberalism" before, but for all its use, few have ever taken the chance to actually explain what it is. An inadequate popular definition has allowed the term to be abused and misrepresented in a variety of ways. Despite these misrepresentations, however, "neoliberalism" is a concept that is very useful for understanding the world we live in today.

In simple terms, neoliberalism is a broad ideology that became popular in political, economic, and governmental circles in the 1970's and reached its peak in global popularity in the 1980's. Neoliberalism describes the political paradigm we are in right now, the political conditions of modern society . As the name suggests, it calls for a revitalization of the classical liberal view of economic policy. It's important to understand that "classical liberal" here refers to an older understanding of the word liberal than the one it has in modern America- it is referencing the liberalism of the Enlightenment era, represented by thinkers like Adam Smith and John Locke, not modern social liberalism as embodied by Barack Obama and much of the rest of the Democratic Party. In concrete policy terms, neoliberalism means free trade, low taxes, deregulation, privatization, and balanced budgets.

Neoliberalism represents a shift in the way we look at the world: it entails seeing every aspect of society, even those typically considered civic or community affairs, in the terms of the market economy.

"Stagflation" & Schools of Economic Thought

Neoliberalism emerged as a reaction to welfare state politics and Keynesian economics that had become popular in the West following the end of World War II.

What is Keynesian Economics? Two major schools of economic thought are Classical Economics and Keynesian Economics. Adam Smith's (1723-1790) theory of Classical Economics asserts that the market is a rapidly-adjusting, self-correcting entity. John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) believed that Classical Economics was flawed. If classical economics were true, Keyes asserted, waves of massive unemployment wouldn't exist, as the market would quickly self-adjust for the downturn. Keynes theorized that during an economic downturn, consumer demand tended to drop, causing employers to lay off employees, which would then decrease overall consumer demand, and the cycle would continue. Keynes concluded that in periods of economic downturn, government could manipulate demand by hiring, directly or through policy, unemployed workers and break the cycle.

Following a long period of significant prosperity, the 1970's brought with it a phenomenon known as "stagflation" - simultaneous stagnation (where worker wages are kept flat) and inflation (where the cost of living rises). Keynesians, who had been the dominant group in American economics at the time, believed it was impossible for stagflation to exist for any extended period of time.

As the Keynesians tried to make sense of economic realities of the day, a new wave of economists began to create other schools of thought. Milton Friedman (known as "the Chicago School" or "monetarists") made the case not only for a different approach to monetary policy in order to solve stagflation, but also for the idea that many forms of governmental involvement in the economy are in fact harmful. Others, like James Buchanan pioneered a field known as "public choice theory," which made the case to the economics profession that government bureaucrats acted in personal self-interest, not in the public interest, and thus that policy prescriptions should be much more cautious in calling for governmental solutions to economic issues.

Activist Business

At the same time as the intellectual environment began to shift toward the political right in economics, the business community also began to be more aggressive in asserting their interests in politics. This development was prompted in part by soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. writing a memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1971, arguing that "the American economic system is under attack" from progressive critics of big business and that the business community should fight back. A number of conservative and libertarian think tanks and advocacy organizations were created and expanded during this period in order to make the intellectual case for "freer" capitalism, including the Heritage Foundation (1973), the Cato Institute (1974), and the American Enterprise Institute (founded in 1938 but becoming influential during the 1970′s).

A Radical Message

Combine a turn against government in the field of economics and a growing assertion of political power by businesses, and throw in increased public skepticism of government after Vietnam and Watergate, and you have a recipe for fundamental political change. Between the economic disarray, the public distrust, and both intellectual and financial support for an alternative to post-war welfare statism, a new ideology became dominant in the political sphere. This ideology was encapsulated by the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who summed it up perfectly with his famous quote: "in this current crisis, government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem."

Such a claim may sound like standard conservative fare today, but both Reagan and his message were quite radical at the time, even among Republicans. At the time of his election, Reagan was seen by some ( including Gerald Ford ) as simply too far right to win. The last (elected) Republican president before him, Nixon, created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and a number of other progressive programs. He also called for healthcare reform that could arguably be called stronger than Obamacare, and an expansion of welfare , the latter of which was the inspiration for the Earned Income Tax Credit, passed shortly after he left office. Pieces of Nixon's economic agenda were noticeably left-wing, so much so that one journalist at the time noted that he left the Democrats having to resort to "me-tooism."

Nixon took such positions because he needed to respond to political pressures from the left, the same pressures that had pushed LBJ on civil rights legislation and the war on poverty. In the late 1970's, as the activism and radicalism of the 1960's began to die out, those pressures began to be outweighed by increasing pressure from businesses in the direction of neoliberalism. This started under Jimmy Carter, who oversaw the cautious deregulation of airlines in 1978 and the trucking industry in 1980. However, it was Reagan who truly delivered the neoliberal agenda in America and institutionalized it into government.

Importantly, this era also saw the start of the growth in the importance of campaign donations. Republicans had not only a strong base of think tanks to provide them with a network of intellectual support, they also had far more money from the corporate interests they were serving. Congressional Republicans beat their Democratic counterparts in campaign expenditures in every election year from 1976 to 1992.

Traditionally, Democrats had relied on unions as a critical source of both campaign donations and organizational support. With union strength declining (a trend the Reagan administration encouraged through policy), the Democrats were being totally outgunned. According to Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson's book "Winner-Take-All Politics":

" From the late 1970s to the late 1980s, corporate PACS [political action committees] increased their expenditures in congressional races nearly five fold. Labor spending only rose about half as fast... By 1980, unions accounted for less than a quarter of all PAC donations -- down from half six years earlier."

The Third Way

Even with the emergence of conservative "Reagan Democrats" during the 1980's, the game had changed for the Democratic Party. Recognizing this, a number of Democrats (including Bill Clinton) joined together in a group called the Democratic Leadership Council with the goal of dragging the party to the right and boosting campaign contributions. They succeeded. When Clinton eventually won the presidency, he cemented neoliberalism as the law of the land by making it clear that the Democrats would not challenge the new fundamental doctrine of limited government involvement in many parts of the economy, and as a result made the Democrats politically competitive again. (Both the previously mentioned "Winner-Take-All Politics" and Thomas Ferguson and Joel Roger's "Right Turn" go more into detail on this issue, and on neoliberalism more generally).

Instead of challenging the entirety of Reagan's assertion of government-as-problem, Clinton espoused a "third way" ideology: in his second inauguration, he said that "Government is not the problem, and Government is not the solution. We -- the American people -- we are the solution." Though the Clinton White House at times backed left-liberal policies like mild tax hikes on the wealthy, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Family Medical Leave Act, it also continued the neoliberal march of rolling back progressive achievements through the deregulation of Wall Street (the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, etc.), conservative welfare reform in 1996, NAFTA, and the gutting of public housing .

A One-Party System

Clinton himself was aware of the way that American politics was moving to the right, and he was sometimes frustrated with it. Allegedly, he once entered a meeting in the Oval Office complaining : "Where are all the Democrats? I hope you're all aware we're all Eisenhower Republicans. We're Eisenhower Republicans here, and we are fighting the Reagan Republicans. We stand for lower deficits and free trade and the bond market. Isn't that great?"

Despite this, however, Clinton and most of the rest of the Democratic Party accepted their role doing nothing more than, to borrow a phrase from political philosopher Roberto Unger, "to put a softer face on the agenda of their conservative opponents." They seek to make marginal improvements for poor, working class, and middle class voters here and there, but never seek to fundamentally shake up the political-economic system in any way. As one critic put it in 1990, even before Clinton's election, the Democratic Party is "...history's second-most enthusiastic capitalist party. They do not interfere with capitalist momentum, but wait for excesses and the inevitable popular reaction." This is why many left-wing critics will refer to some Democrats as neoliberals even when they don't literally advocate for free market capitalism.

Neoliberalism within the Democratic Party looks less like a proposal to privatize or abolish Social Security as much as it does a commitment to benefit-cutting "entitlement reform." It can be seen both in language (the constant discussion of education as an "investment" in "skills" necessary for "improving the workforce," instead of a guaranteed right for all citizens) and in policy (proposing tax cuts for the middle class instead of social spending even when taxes are at some of their lowest rates in decades ; compromis[ing] in advance on major policy proposals like the 2009 stimulus; advocating piecemeal technocratic reforms to healthcare and finance instead of deeper, fundamental reform; etc.).

With their opponents on the defensive and partially compliant with their agenda, the Republicans continued to push further right under the leadership of Newt Gingrich and his "Contract with America." The Democrats started to dig their heels in and push back a little for the first time during the later part of the George W. Bush administration as his (and the wars') approval ratings sank, and they now seem to have more or less stabilized. An increasingly loud progressive coalition of activists and advocates continues to push for ideas like single-payer healthcare, often dismissed as radical despite both being an international norm and the explicit goal of many mainstream Democratic politicians before neoliberalism's rise. The Democratic party establishment, on the contrary, is largely fine holding on to ideological territory that is, in certain areas, to the right of where it was several decades ago.

With the establishment of both major political parties accepting neoliberal ideology, it became default wisdom among economic, political, and media elites. Because the most powerful class of America accepted it as fact, it was instilled into the American consciousness as "common sense" that can't be seriously challenged. Ideas in direct opposition to neoliberalism were largely marginalized, and as a result, much of our modern debate now takes place within its bounds. Today, though, this marginalization is rapidly disappearing.

Today, we are witnessing the collapse of neoliberalism's "common sense" status. Republican elites took neoliberalism being one of their root organizing principles for granted while running campaigns using dog-whistle racism, never realizing that they were attracting a base of voters who hated immigrants a lot more than they hated regulation. The Republicans have drifted so far to the right that unabashed nationalists like Trump can now take the lead of the party, even as he espouses racist xenophobia-inspired protectionism that are in conflict with the neoliberal ideals of the party's business wing.

Even during their neoliberalization, the Democrats always had a left-wing occupied by social democrats. Today they largely occupy the Congressional Progressive Caucus. They were empowered by both opposition to the Iraq War late in the Bush era and the subsequent economic crash that occurred as a result of neoliberal deregulation of the finance sector. Obama ran as a semi-progressive but governed as a standard Democrat, leaving progressive disappointment and frustration to rise to the surface again once a primary was held to determine who would be the Democratic candidate after Obama: thus, the Bernie phenomenon.

Globalism & Neoliberalism

It seems as though the extinction of neoliberalism is embedded in the formula of neoliberalism itself. Neoliberalism and accompanying globalization have resulted in inequality and poverty for significant portions of the population, leaving many people economically impoverished and politically alienated. This prompts an inevitable political reaction, angry and populist in nature. The center-left (ex. Hillary Clinton) and center-right (ex. Jeb Bush) sing the praises of neoliberal globalization, while the left (ex. Bernie Sanders) vigorously attacks the "neoliberal" part of it, and the far-right (ex. Donald Trump) vigorously attack the "globalization" part of it. Today, progressives dislike neoliberalism, but also believe that the far-right's disdain for all forms of globalization is a distraction and misidentification of the root issue, using foreigners and people of color as scapegoats. The problem is not globalization, but globalization implemented in such a way so as to benefit the wealthy and powerful.

Neoliberalism is a powerful ideology and way of looking at the world. The neoliberal views most government involvement in the economy as harmful, and seeks to leave social problems to be solved by private enterprise and markets whenever possible. This is an idea that, over the last several decades, has become widely accepted to varying degrees by people across the political spectrum, and as such has been embedded into modern government and public policy.

When discussing modern politics, a recognition of the role neoliberalism has played in fueling massive increases in inequality and corrupting our democracy is vital.

A number of other industrialized countries have undergone neoliberalization on roughly the same time frame as the US, and are now experiencing similar backlashes: the U.K., neoliberalized under Margaret Thatcher and others, now has UKIP on its right and Jeremy Corbyn and social democratic Scottish nationalists on its left. France has witnessed the rise of not only the National Front on its far-right, but also the rise of populist socialists like Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Germany has the AfD and Pegida on its right and Die Linke on its left. New Zealand has New Zealand First. Sweden has the Sweden Democrats. Spain has Podemos. Additionally, backlash against "Washington Consensus" neoliberalism in Latin America contributed to a revitalization of left-populism in many countries. Though there are some nations that have experienced some form of neoliberalism without such political effects, a definite connection between neoliberalism and the emergence of anti-neoliberal populism certainly seems to exist.

[Mar 03, 2020] The neoliberals' cultural stock is in decline. caucus99percent

Notable quotes:
"... The eventual point of neoliberalism, then, is to exalt markets above people -- for the neoliberals, people are expendable but markets are superior. ..."
"... Postmodernism can give neoliberalism a cultural core ..."
"... The incubator regime for neoliberalism, as numerous authors have pointed out, was the regime in Chile under the dictatorial junta headed by Augusto Pinochet, beginning on the real September 11th, in 1973. The Department of Economics at the University of Chicago , the epicenter of neoliberal thought in America, was brought in to help Pinochet devise policy. Please keep in mind that neoliberals do not care one whit about democracy as long as the resultant regimes respect capitalism, and they're also okay with high death tolls for the same reason. Neoliberalism is a death culture. You live if you have money or if you have access to the government which invents money and forces you to use it. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

The neoliberals' cultural stock is in decline.

Cassiodorus on Sun, 03/01/2020 - 5:00pm The neoliberals' cultural stuck is in decline. When they had that suave dude Barack Obama telling everyone he was like Gandhi or Mandela, that was totally a thing. Cultural neoliberalism was rockin' da house as every branch of government, both state and Federal, was being awarded to Republicans . Then they put all of their eggs in the Hillary Clinton basket, waging a rather nasty campaign to get everyone to step in line while Clinton was and is very much about money and about the society of her John Birch Society daddy. (She and Bill did make great-looking hippies in the Sixties though, but you only see that in old photos.) Vote for her because Trump is Hitler or something.

Now they have what? Pete Buttigieg, who is smarter than you and who reeks insincerity from every pore of his skin as he delivers wooden imitations of Obama speeches? Michael Bloomberg, who brags about what he can buy? Grandpa Joe Biden, with initial-stage dementia? Hallmark card cop Amy Klobuchar, who will work with Republicans while helping maybe five or six people as she promised? Elizabeth "I'm in it for me" Warren? It's not like these people come naturally to cultural efflorescence -- they, after all, ran John Kerry, Al Gore, and Michael Dukakis -- but this has got to be a new low for them, expanding the field to twenty-plus candidates only to find themselves facing Super Tuesday with only this.

Philosophically, neoliberalism is a form of antihumanism . In an article in "American Affairs" (which I suggest you all read from beginning to end) the economist Philip Mirowski suggests several principles common to neoliberal thought. I'll just post one through four so as not to freak anyone out while making the point just as effectively:

(1) "Free" markets do not occur naturally. They must be actively constructed through political organizing.

(2) "The market" is an information processor, and the most efficient one possible -- more efficient than any government or any single human ever could be. Truth can only be validated by the market.

(3) Market society is, and therefore should be, the natural and inexorable state of humankind.

(4) The political goal of neoliberals is not to destroy the state, but to take control of it, and to redefine its structure and function, in order to create and maintain the market-friendly culture.

This then, is the core of neoliberal culture. The eventual point of neoliberalism, then, is to exalt markets above people -- for the neoliberals, people are expendable but markets are superior. It took a rabid nationalist like Donald Trump to end the war in Afghanistan , whereas faithful neoliberal Barack Obama kept the war around because it provided "markets" for weapons corporations. Neoliberals hate Bernie Sanders because he wants to get rid of some of the markets for health insurance -- as long as people are buying health insurance, the neoliberals don't care if anyone dies because they can't afford to use it.

... ... ...

Neoliberalism has been the dominant doctrine throughout the world's universities since the Eighties. Academic vogues such as "postmodernism" can serve as Trojan Horse concepts for hegemonic neoliberalism. Postmodernism, to own a definition, is an aesthetic concept involving the juxtaposition of radically differing aesthetic concepts and celebrating surface observations over "deeper meanings." The postmodern essence of visual art is in collage; the postmodern musical form is the medley. Postmodernism is innocuous when it combines medieval architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright, or when it combines classical music with rock and roll. Neoliberalism, however, sees in postmodernism a market, something to create new products and separate people from their money. Postmodernism can give neoliberalism a cultural core .

Postmodernism is what is behind Pete Buttigieg's assertion that people do not have to choose between revolution and the status quo . (Trust me, he's been to universities .) We just combine them in some kind of postmodern market. Never mind that such an idea eviscerates the concept of revolution.

The incubator regime for neoliberalism, as numerous authors have pointed out, was the regime in Chile under the dictatorial junta headed by Augusto Pinochet, beginning on the real September 11th, in 1973. The Department of Economics at the University of Chicago , the epicenter of neoliberal thought in America, was brought in to help Pinochet devise policy. Please keep in mind that neoliberals do not care one whit about democracy as long as the resultant regimes respect capitalism, and they're also okay with high death tolls for the same reason. Neoliberalism is a death culture. You live if you have money or if you have access to the government which invents money and forces you to use it.

The task of replacing neoliberalism with something else will be a daunting one. Neoliberals rule the planet today. It appears at this point that our primary weapon is the fact that the neoliberals don't really have any specific culture; instead, they speculate in culture for the sake of the fetishes of markets and money and property through which they destroy the planet, us, and ultimately themselves.

[Feb 29, 2020] Boris Johnson s Incredible Landslide by Catte Black

Notable quotes:
"... Corbyn's weakness was always the elephant in the room but was fully revealed when he had to step up to plate and fight. No leader can survive without being able to fight his enemies and no country should be led by such a person. Saddly he squandered the enormous opportunity handed to him in the last election: in hindsight, that opportunity was handed to him by an electorate steeped in wishful thinking ..."
"... Of course it's criticism of the state of Israel. And of course that's not anti-Semitism. But the label "anti-Semitism" is the kiss of death to the executive class i.e. that middle layer who "inform" the masses. If you are one of them and you get called "anti-Semitic", it's the equivalent of your boss saying, "I want a word – and bring your coat!" ..."
"... Corbyn seems like a nice enough guy, an honest, yet unremarkable footsoldier MP, but the idea he was suited to leading the Labour Party into an epic struggle with a revitalised Tory Party under a strong leader like Boris Johnson, is a fantastic notion. Johnson had to be cut down to size, before the election. ..."
"... And, finally, Corbyn could have turned the media bias against him to his advantage, only he's not suited to the strategy that's required. That strategy is the one Donald Trump employed, taking on the media and identifying them as the enemy and explaining why they publish lies. Corbyn should have publically taken on both the Guardian and the BBC, rather than appeasing them, unsuccessfully, because appeasing them isn't possible. ..."
"... Why didn't Corbyn express anger and shock when he was accused of being a paedophile, sorry, an anti-Semite? Those MPs who went along with that sordid narrative, should have been kicked out of Labour immediately by Corbyn himself. ..."
"... "A big part of why Labor and Corbyn lost so badly is the complete abdication of "the Left" on Brexit. The left were supposed to be anti-globalists, in which case their task was to join battle offering an egalitarian, left-populist version of Brexit which would have benefited the people. Instead, faced with a real decision and a real opportunity they punted and ran home to globalist mama. This removed one of the main reasons to bother supporting them. ..."
"... The point about the EU not being directly responsible for Tory austerity is technically true but it is nonetheless a neo liberal monster crushing the shit out of the most vulnerable ..."
"... Especially when it comes to countries like Greece. I don't understand the constant veneration of the EU. By design, our membership did nothing to protect us from the carnage of this Tory crime wave. The EUs constitutional arrangements contains baked in obligations to maintain permanent austerity in the service of ever greater corporate profit. ..."
Dec 13, 2019 | off-guardian.org

... ... ...

No one feels like recalling, for example, that more people voted against the Tories than for them (13.9mn for and 16.2mn against).

Or that 10.3 million people still voted Labour despite the entirety of the unprecedentedly vicious and Stalinist hate campaign conducted against them – and Corbyn in particular – since the latter became leader in 2015.

Which fact, along with Labour's near-win in 2017 and the surprise Brexit victory in 2016, implies the mainstream media's ability to direct and manipulate public opinion is a lot less wholesale and guaranteed than we oftentimes assume, and that this is unlikely to be a single explanation for yesterday's result.

More importantly, no one – even those who are boggling at the implausibility – is questioning the validity of the result.

No one.

It's as if even suggesting election fraud can happen in a nice majority-white western country like the UK is improper and disrespectful. Election fraud is – as every good racist knows – done by brown people or Orientals, or 'corrupt' eastern European nations, not by fine upstanding empire builders like the British.

This seems to be so much of a given that the results of any vote are simply accepted as 100% valid – no matter how improbable they may seem.

And apparently even in the face of clear evidence for at least some level of shady activity.

Remember this? It only happened on Wednesday but it's already some way down the Memory Hole.

Laura Kuenssberg, being the true idiot she really is, blabbing off on prime time telly about apparently institutional election malpractice – and not even having the basic brains to see the import of what she's letting slip.

There's been a lot of effort expended in minimising the significance of this in social media and in the mainstream press – and indeed by resident trolls on OffG. There have been claims it's 'routine' – as if that somehow makes it ok. Or that Kuenssberg was misinformed, or 'tired'.

.... ... ...

Consider the facts

Labour's socialist policies are known to be popular . Poverty has increased so much under the Tories that 22% of the country now lives below the poverty line , including 4 million children. 200,000 people have died as a result of austerity-driven cuts, foodbank use is increasing by tens of thousands year on year . The mortality rate is going up and up . And Boris Johnson was caught in a direct, proven lie about "protecting" the NHS.

And after all this, Labour heartlands – red since World War 2, through Thatcher and Foot and every anti-Labour hate campaign the media could muster – all voted Conservative?

Does that seem likely?

I don't know, all I do know is I think that discussion needs to start. I think it's time to think the unthinkable, and at least open the prospect of electoral fraud up for real discussion.

How secure is our electoral process? Can results be stage-managed, massaged or even rigged? What guarantees do we have that this can't happen here? In an age of growing corruption and decay at the very top, do the checks and balances placed to safeguard our democracy sill work well, or even at all?

This Friday the Thirteenth, with BoJo the Evil Clown back in Downing Street, looks like a good moment to get it going.


aspnaz ,

Corbyn's weakness was always the elephant in the room but was fully revealed when he had to step up to plate and fight. No leader can survive without being able to fight his enemies and no country should be led by such a person. Saddly he squandered the enormous opportunity handed to him in the last election: in hindsight, that opportunity was handed to him by an electorate steeped in wishful thinking. Should he apologise to his supporters, probably not, they backed the wrong horse but the limp was visible from day one.

Bootlyboob ,

NHS in for a rough ride. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JpseLa9_txw

Gezzah Potts ,

How do you mean 'weird'?

That inequality and poverty will continue increasing under neoliberal economic policies, and the majority of us will continue being ground into the dirt, or that Julian Assange will end up in the U.S for certain to face a Stalinesque show trial, or the observation about George Galloway.

George Mc ,

I know it's bad for my health but oh I just can't stop myself. Had another Groan trip. Here's one from that good time gal Jess Phillips:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/14/working-class-voters-didnt-trust-labour-jess-phillips

I only supply the link to see if anyone can see any actual content in this. I suppose it must be a real cushy number to get paid for pitching in a lot of foaming waffle that feels purposeful but remains totally non-commital. That and those nice cheques rolling in from that Hyslop and Merton quiz fluff.

George Mc ,

You have to understand that it's all showbiz. Why did the Tories prefer Boris to Jeremy Hunt? Because Hunt looked and sounded like the oily little tyke everyone wanted to kick. Whereas Boris was the cutesie country womble from a Two Ronnies sketch. When Boris appeared on his test outing as host for Hignfy, all he had to do was to be incompetent i.e. all he had to do was turn up. Oh how we all laughed.

As for Jess – well, she's the ballsy fake prole tomboy – like a WOKE verson of Thatcha. I doubt anyone is "buying this" (to use one of the Americanisms we'll all be spouting as we become the 51st state) but it's all part of "the movie".

ricked by its sharp thorn anywhere near the heart. Don't know what the street name will be for it but it has two current codewords i heard 'stellar' & 'jessa'.

George Mc ,

"Share On Twitter" target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=When+I+said+%26%238220%3Bcome+clean%26%238221%3B+I+meant+as+...+&url=https%3A%2F%2Foff-guardian.org%2F2019%2F12%2F13%2Fboris-johnsons-incredible-landslide%2F%23comment-106199">

When I said "come clean" I meant as in "reveal yourself". I really think you should calm down. Take some deep breaths. Have a nice cup of tea.

Chris Rogers ,

Alan,

By all means comment, but when you slander those who actually felt it important that their vote counted, that their opinion mattered and then were told to fuck off by the very people asking them for their opinion, its expected you get blow back, which is what has happened.

Now, may i enquire, do you have a belief in democracy and upholding democratic outcomes, do you believe that Russian interference actually resulted in the Brexit vote itself, and do you believe that the working class is so fucking pig ignorant that it should never be allowed to vote.

In summation, are you a Blairite by any chance as they way you communicate shows an utter contempt for those poor sods slagged off by Remainiacs for so long to just fuck off.

As for economic decline, strange, but the UK is one of the top 10 wealthy nations globally, much of said wealth now from the FIRE Economy, which means its extractive and put to no real purpose, whilst the break-up of the Union is up to the constituent parts itself – as i support Irish reunification, i don't weep for Northern Ireland, whilst the Scots have every right o be free of Westminster, its not as if they held an actual Referedum on it prior to the signing of the Act of Union is it.

And as for wales, well, here's a small country who's political establishment are incapable of recognising it elected to Leave the EU, which sometimes has aspirations itself to Independence, an Independence it will never gain due to the fact nearly 800K English live within our lands, but the fantasists persist none the less.

Now, as the EU, via the Treaty named after Lisbon is very much a neoliberal organisation, one that puts monetary union above the welfare of its own citizens, please explain why I must support such an Institution that does not benefit the average Joe in most member States?

Alan Tench ,

What you must remember is that a democratic decision isn't always a good one. In my view, the current one concerning Brexit, is a bad one. The fact that a majority support it doesn't make it good or right. We just have to live with it. Consider the death penalty. I'm sure the vast majority of voters in this country would vote in favour of it. Would that might it right?

Ruth ,

Don't blame them. In all likelihood they had their votes hijacked by MI5

Alan Tench ,

All this anti-Semitism stuff – anyone know what it's about? I assume it had zero influence on the electorate. Just how does it manifest itself? Is most of it – maybe nearly all of it – concerned with criticism of the state of Israel? If so, it's not anti-Semitism .

George Mc ,

Of course it's criticism of the state of Israel. And of course that's not anti-Semitism. But the label "anti-Semitism" is the kiss of death to the executive class i.e. that middle layer who "inform" the masses. If you are one of them and you get called "anti-Semitic", it's the equivalent of your boss saying, "I want a word – and bring your coat!"

MichaelK ,

I think the Labour Party's election strategy, and long before, was fatally flawed. I'm shocked by it. How bad it was. First they should never have agreed to an election at this time. Wait, at least until Spring. The idea, surely, was to keep weakening Johnson's brand and splitting the Tories apart. Johnson wanted an election for obvious reasons, that alone should have meant that one did everything in one's power not to give him what he wanted. Labour did the exact opposite of what they should have done, march onto a battleground chose by Johnson.

Of course one can argue that the liberals and the SNP had already hinted that they would support Johnson's demand, but Labour could have 'bought them off' with a little effort. Give the SNP a pledge on a second referendum and give the Liberals a guarantee of electoral reform, whatever.

The Liberals actually had an even more stupid and incompetent leadership than Labour and suffered a terrible defeat too. Why is it that it's only the Tories who know how to play the election game, usually?

Corbyn seems like a nice enough guy, an honest, yet unremarkable footsoldier MP, but the idea he was suited to leading the Labour Party into an epic struggle with a revitalised Tory Party under a strong leader like Boris Johnson, is a fantastic notion. Johnson had to be cut down to size, before the election.

Allowing the Tories to become the People's Party, the Brexit Party in all but name; was a catastrohic mistake by Labour; unforegivabel really.

And, finally, Corbyn could have turned the media bias against him to his advantage, only he's not suited to the strategy that's required. That strategy is the one Donald Trump employed, taking on the media and identifying them as the enemy and explaining why they publish lies. Corbyn should have publically taken on both the Guardian and the BBC, rather than appeasing them, unsuccessfully, because appeasing them isn't possible.

Why didn't Corbyn express anger and shock when he was accused of being a paedophile, sorry, an anti-Semite? Those MPs who went along with that sordid narrative, should have been kicked out of Labour immediately by Corbyn himself. He needed to be far more aggressive and proactive, taking the fight to his enemies and using his position to crush them at once. Call me a kiddy fiddler and I'll rip your fucking throat out! Only Corbyn was passive, defencesive, apathetic and totally hopeless when smeared so terribly. People don't respect a coward, they do respect someone who fights back and sounds righteously angry at being smeared so falsely. Corbyn looked and sounded like someone who had something to hide and appologise about, which only encouraged the Israeli lobby to attack him even more! Un-fuckin' believable.

What's tragic is that the right understood Corbyn's weaknesses and character far better than his supporters, and how to destroy him.

Ruth ,

I agree with you about the election timing

Derek ,

And, finally, Corbyn could have turned the media bias against him to his advantage, only he's not suited to the strategy that's required.

Yes you are absolutely right, he should have stolen a journalists phone or hid in a fridge, maybe stare at the ground when shown a picture of a child sleeping on a hospital floor. Now that's turning turning events to your advantage right?

He made many mistakes and you are right, but caving into "remain" the perceived overturning of the referendum by the Labour party is what dunnit, the final nail in his coffin. I am sorry to see him go.

tonyopmoc ,

Judging by the spelling of "Labour", I guess an American wrote this on The Moon of Alabama's blog. It is however very accurate and I know that MOA is a German man, running his blog from Germany. His analyses, are some of the best in the world.

Tony

"A big part of why Labor and Corbyn lost so badly is the complete abdication of "the Left" on Brexit. The left were supposed to be anti-globalists, in which case their task was to join battle offering an egalitarian, left-populist version of Brexit which would have benefited the people. Instead, faced with a real decision and a real opportunity they punted and ran home to globalist mama. This removed one of the main reasons to bother supporting them.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 13 2019 7:09 utc | 33″

MichaelK ,

I thought the left were supposed to be internationalists too? I dunno. I think they should never have supported the referendum scam in the first place. If the Tories wanted it, that alone should have made them oppose it. Look at what's happened, the referendum and Brexit have massively benefitted the Tories and crushed everyone else. Isn't that an objective fact, or am I missing something; seriously?

What does 'anti-globalist' really mean? The tragedy was allowing the Tories to blame Europe for the devastating consequences of their own 'austerity' policies which hit the North so hard. These policies originated in London, not Bruxelles!

The truth is harsh. Corbyn was a terrible leader with awfully confused policies that he couldn't articulate properly and a team around him that were just as bad.

Pam Ryan ,

The point about the EU not being directly responsible for Tory austerity is technically true but it is nonetheless a neo liberal monster crushing the shit out of the most vulnerable.

Especially when it comes to countries like Greece. I don't understand the constant veneration of the EU. By design, our membership did nothing to protect us from the carnage of this Tory crime wave. The EUs constitutional arrangements contains baked in obligations to maintain permanent austerity in the service of ever greater corporate profit.

Thom ,

'Incredible' is the word. We're expected to believe that for all his personal and intellectual flaws, Johnson achieved a landslide on the scale of Blair and Thatcher; that he drew in Leave supporters from traditional Labour voters while holding on to Remain Tories; that all three major UK opposition parties flopped, including the one party pushing for outright Remain; and that turnout fell even though millions registered just before the election. Sorry, but it doesn't add up.

nottheonly1 ,

"Share On Twitter" target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=What+just+happened+was+an+inverted+U.S.+selectio...+&url=https%3A%2F%2Foff-guardian.org%2F2019%2F12%2F13%2Fboris-johnsons-incredible-landslide%2F%23comment-106262">

What just happened was an inverted U.S. selection. In the U.S., a confused rich man got elected, because the alternative was a psychopathic war criminal. In the U.K. a confused upper class twat got elected, because the alternative was too good to be true.

Something like that?

tonyopmoc ,

Something strange going on in Sedgefield. What the hell is Boris Johnson doing there today? Tony Blair Labour, Boris Johnson Tory. What's the difference? Same neocons. Same sh1t?

tonyopmoc ,

Dungroanin, Jeremy Corbyn is 70 now. He's done his bit. Now its time for him to take it easy.

Incidentally "Viscount Palmerston was over 70 when he finally became Prime Minister: the most advanced age at which anyone has ever become Prime Minister for the first time."

George Mc ,

The Groan is keen to highlight the sheer thanklessness of the BBC's undying fight to objectively bring The Truth to the masses:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/dec/14/bbc-staff-express-fear-of-public-distrust-after-election-coverage

And for all the tireless work they do, they are open to accusations of "conspiracy theory" and worse:

"The conspiracy theories that abound are frustrating. And let's be clear – some of the abuse which is directed at our journalists who are doing their best for audiences day in, day out is sickening. It shouldn't happen. And I think it's something social media platforms really need to do more about."

Sickening social media abuse? Echoes of all those frightfully uncivil – and never verified – messages that wrecked poor little Ruth Smeeth's delicate health.

Thom ,

The only way the BBC and Guardian will understand if people don't pay the licence fee and don't click on their articles (and obviously don't contribute!). Hit them in the pockets.

George Mc ,

It didn't take long for the Groaniad to "dissect" the Labour defeat. Here we get THE FIVE REASONS Labour lost the election:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/dec/13/five-reasons-why-labour-lost-the-election

Interesting. Note the space given to Blairite toadies Ruth Smeeth and Caroline Flint. Note the disingenuousness of this:

"In London, antisemitism and what people perceived as the absence of an apology appeared to be a key issue."

It's always suspicious when we get that expression "what people perceived". What "people"? And note that the dubiousness relates to the absence of an apology for anti-Semitism – not the anti-Semitism itself which is, of course, taken for granted.

Also note the conclusion:

"With a new Conservative government led by Boris Johnson poised for office, the Guardian's independent, measured, authoritative reporting has never been so vital."

Yes – The Groaniad is yer man, yer champion, yer hero!

[Feb 27, 2020] Who Cares About the Truth by MICHAEL P. LYNCH

From the issue dated September 10, 2004 by MICHAEL P. LYNCH<
Notable quotes:
"... To paraphrase Nietzsche, the truth may be good, but why not sometimes take untruth if it gets you where you want to go? ..."
"... These are important questions. At the end of the day, is it always better to believe and speak the truth? Does the truth itself really matter? While generalizing is always dangerous, the above responses to the Iraq affair indicate that many Americans would look at such questions with a jaundiced eye. We are rather cynical about the value of truth. ..."
"... what we call truth is just another name for power. ..."
Sep 10, 2004 | Free Republic

In early 2003 President Bush claimed that Iraq was attempting to purchase the materials necessary to build nuclear weapons. Although White House officials subsequently admitted they lacked adequate evidence to believe that was true, various members of the administration dismissed the issue, noting that the important thing was that the subsequent invasion of Iraq achieved stability of the region and the liberation of the country.

Many Americans apparently agreed. After all, there were other reasons to depose the Hussein regime. And the belief that Iraq was an imminent nuclear threat had rallied us together and provided an easy justification to doubters of the nobility of our cause. So what if it wasn't really true?

To many, it seemed naïve to worry about something as abstract as the truth or falsity of our claims when we could concern ourselves with the things that really mattered -- such as protecting ourselves from terrorism and ensuring our access to oil.

To paraphrase Nietzsche, the truth may be good, but why not sometimes take untruth if it gets you where you want to go?

These are important questions. At the end of the day, is it always better to believe and speak the truth? Does the truth itself really matter? While generalizing is always dangerous, the above responses to the Iraq affair indicate that many Americans would look at such questions with a jaundiced eye. We are rather cynical about the value of truth.

Politics isn't the only place that one finds this sort of skepticism. A similar attitude is commonplace among some of our most prominent intellectuals. Indeed, under the banner of postmodernism, cynicism about truth and related notions like objectivity and knowledge has become the semiofficial philosophical stance of many academic disciplines. Roughly speaking, the attitude is that objective truth is an illusion and what we call truth is just another name for power.

Consequently, if truth is valuable at all, it is valuable -- as power is -- merely as means.

[Feb 27, 2020] The Incoherence of the Philosophers The Horror of Postmodernism by The Liberal Moonbat

Notable quotes:
"... The rundown is that a pseudointellectual retreat from rationalism invited its well-deserved ridicule too late, and may have been responsible for the needless and terrible demise of a great world civilization's halcyon era, for which the whole world suffers to this day. We need to learn from that. ..."
"... If you're wondering why you're suddenly being barraged with Orwellian jargon, charged with crimethink, seeing the issues you've been harping on for years suddenly turned against you as though you've never even heard of them, get aggressively assigned identities you've never had in your life and told that the person you've always been can't possibly exist, and that the consensus, however flawed and incomplete, of the past 50 years on many hard-fought issues is quite suddenly being treated as though it was all a nefarious lie (a la 9/11-flashback), here's the root of who and what to blame: ..."
"... "Postmodernism" as sociology, on the other hand, with its denial of the very existence of the individual, and obscene redefinitions of such sacred words as "Justice", is just all but explicitly totalitarian, and would have us believe that the entire 20th Century, with all its hard-fought, bitter-bought victories and miracles, was all for nothing. ..."
"... I don't think the establishment Democrats - spineless, capitalist, militarist, insular, and ultimately authoritarian - deserve to be let anywhere near the label "liberal". ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
The title of this bit here refers to an 11th-Century work of Islamic theology, explained here: https://existentialcomics.com/comic/126

The rundown is that a pseudointellectual retreat from rationalism invited its well-deserved ridicule too late, and may have been responsible for the needless and terrible demise of a great world civilization's halcyon era, for which the whole world suffers to this day. We need to learn from that.

Everyone here needs to be aware of this, I'm afraid: The modern Western equivalent of The Incoherence . It explains so, so much.

If you're wondering why you're suddenly being barraged with Orwellian jargon, charged with crimethink, seeing the issues you've been harping on for years suddenly turned against you as though you've never even heard of them, get aggressively assigned identities you've never had in your life and told that the person you've always been can't possibly exist, and that the consensus, however flawed and incomplete, of the past 50 years on many hard-fought issues is quite suddenly being treated as though it was all a nefarious lie (a la 9/11-flashback), here's the root of who and what to blame:

https://areomagazine.com/2017/03/27/how-french-intellectuals-ruined-the-...

The fact that institutions of higher learning have been coddling this for so long, despite the special treatment it could not survive without, and despite the fact that it bears the mantle and exploits the public clout of science, education, liberalism, and diversity, just to destroy all those things, is particularly shameful. They might as well allow Dianetics as a legitimate alternative to psychology.

Below is what I personally maintain is the Greatest Political Cartoon In American History. Though it refers to only one issue, it elegantly explains nearly everything wrong with American political thought.

Liberal Moonbat on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 7:20am

That Helen Pluckrose piece is pretty funny. Postmodernism presents a threat not only to liberal democracy but to modernity itself .

When in doubt, scream and shout, run around in circles, and panic! Uh-huh. Postmodernism was the solution to an academic problem which arose in the Eighties with the proliferation of Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in the humanities. Nobody wanted to read another thesis or dissertation on Shakespeare, and all of the academic work had to be strictly original and pass increasingly onerous originality tests of the type employed by turnitin.com . Meanwhile the authors had to write these damn things if they were to receive diplomas and move on to teaching jobs. Postmodernism to the rescue! Postmodernism as such was an aesthetic movement, revealing with drab uniformity the juxtaposition of everything in an era in which everything was a commodity. Postmodernism is the Hamburger Helper of the academic humanities, a solution to a purely practical matter.

But Pluckrose continues to panic. Here she is characterizing the postmodern perspective:

Therefore the author of a text is not the authority on its meaning.

So? Perhaps Pluckrose needs to read more undergraduate papers, in which their authors evoke an eternal authorial struggle. "Say what you mean!" my teacherly red ink continually shouts at these undergraduates. Of course this is a problem when one's undergraduates write run-on sentences or sentence fragments. But does anyone really say what they mean? I suppose we can at least try harder. Meanwhile original meanings get lost in the procession of history. A prima facie example of this is "originalism" in Constitutional jurisprudence, which claims ultimate reliance on an "original meaning" of the Constitution -- you know, that one and only one original meaning the Founders intended. Never mind that said Founders were walking contradictions. Take for instance Thomas Jefferson, that eloquent waxer upon the virtues of freedom. Now ask Sally Hemings about him.

Let's skip to Pluckrose's conclusion:

In order to regain credibility, the Left needs to recover a strong, coherent and reasonable liberalism.

I don't see why. How about if we figure out what sort of utopian dream would be appropriate for our world in our day and age, and then decide afterward if we want to call it "liberalism"? Isn't the point of the "science" which Pluckrose regards so highly to put the conclusion at the end of one's research, rather than at the beginning?

I could go on, but this is long enough for a comment in a diary. up 0 users have voted. --

"The only possible good outcome for most Americans is a Sanders win. No other path leads anywhere decent." -- Ian Welsh

The Liberal Moonbat on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 12:49pm

"Postmodernism" may not be the ideal term

@Cassiodorus

Postmodernism to the rescue! Postmodernism as such was an aesthetic movement, revealing with drab uniformity the juxtaposition of everything in an era in which everything was a commodity.

That's a different kind of "Postmodernism" altogether, the kind associated with (if I'm not mistaken) such Chaotic gems as MAD Magazine, Monty Python, The Far Side , and the vibrant, innovative weirdness of a wide array of 1990s art, literature, and pop culture. My very bones are built on such things.

There's also "postmodern architecture", best known for being boring (my mother has been known to call it "post-architecture").

This, though? This is something entirely anathema. The aesthetic we call "postmodern" is liberating and innovative (at least as long as it stays in the hands of people who "get it"); it teaches that there are no rules, that life is a strange and beautiful carnival, that we can be whatever we want to be, and the world can be whatever we want it to be.

"Postmodernism" as sociology, on the other hand, with its denial of the very existence of the individual, and obscene redefinitions of such sacred words as "Justice", is just all but explicitly totalitarian, and would have us believe that the entire 20th Century, with all its hard-fought, bitter-bought victories and miracles, was all for nothing.

Cassiodorus on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 6:26pm
Let me briefly suggest here --

@The Liberal Moonbat @The Liberal Moonbat that it is "liberalism" itself that has run out of gas.

At any rate, to deal with the objections to postmodernism: it's a performative contradiction to be an academic writing against the idea of the individual, for higher-level academia exists to adorn the resumes of self-proclaimed individuals. I just don't see postmodernism, of whatever kind you care to distinguish, as anything but harmless, useless, and pointless outside of its obvious role in contributing to the resume-building efforts of professors in the humanities, and I haven't seen anything here to change my mind about that.

Rather, the problem is that the liberals have run out of new mechanisms whereby the liberal utopia might bear fruit. The liberal trend peaked a long time ago. And, in the meantime, liberal objections to the neoliberal utopia, the utopia of total market existence for everyone as enforced by government diktat, have become toothless. In the US context the liberals appear either blind to or despairing of the fact that the best they had for politics was Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and that their hero Bernie Sanders nullified himself by endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton. In the French contest the best they had was Macron. I suppose that there are a few islands of sanity elsewhere. But liberalism does not contribute substantially to the longevity of such islands.

The Liberal Moonbat on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 4:42pm
That turns us to the definition of "liberalism", then

@Cassiodorus To me it just means...well, kind of just being a good, intelligent, and independent-minded person who learns from history and builds on it. If, as I've read the claim, "conservatism is the negation of ideology", I'd venture to describe liberalism as the absence of externally-derived ideology.

I don't think the establishment Democrats - spineless, capitalist, militarist, insular, and ultimately authoritarian - deserve to be let anywhere near the label "liberal".

Cassiodorus on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 6:57pm
Well the postcapitalists are "good, intelligent, and independent-minded" people who "learn from history and build on it."

@The Liberal Moonbat

The difference, of course, is that the postcapitalists want to jettison capitalism whereas most of the liberals want to "build on it."

"A well-regulated capitalism," they tell us, is the way to go, because history declares "Communism" anathema. Now perhaps not all liberals agree with this well-recited dogma, but its primary problem is that it does not touch capitalism's commodification of everything including governments. Thus liberals who believe in this dogma claim that they seek the best-possible accommodation with capitalism, and "well-regulated" means "regulated enough to look good." Politicians with the endorsement of liberals must keep the air and water clean in areas where the residents are rich enough to buy politicians.

Now of course the liberals will protest this characterization of them, proclaiming once again that they are "good, intelligent, and independent-minded." But where can they be seen imagining the world after capitalism? Kim Stanley Robinson at least tries:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/164911428?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

Kim Stanley Robinson, Keynote from Environmental Humanities Center on Vimeo .

The Liberal Moonbat on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 11:41am
Having formally studied economics I've come away with the conclusion that the very concept is, at best, nothing more than a kind of subtopic of history, and at worst, outright pseudoscience, if not religion.

@Cassiodorus

My attitude has since spread to much of the rest of that which bills itself as "social science" - sociology's one thing, of course, and so is modern psychology, having dumped Freud, but I think the notion of "social science" is finally revealing itself to mostly be just another disastrous 19th-Century conceit. Free will is kryptonite to science. "The economy", "society", "culture", people labor under these things because they believe they're unavoidably real, but it's really all just a game , and the rules can be almost whatever we want them to be.

You can try to make anything into a "science" - but not everything can or should. Case in point: After World War II, the Soviet Union decided that military strategy and tactics were a science, and that it had natural laws or whatever that could be honed to the same degree of precision as the laws of physics; with time, they believed, they'd be able to predict the outcome of a battle before a single shot had been fired. This "science" crashed and burned when they invaded Afghanistan.

As to the question of "what do we replace capitalism with?", my honest answer is: Nothing. Stop believing in "economics", and just do what makes sense based on situational necessity and a long-term vision of what we want. A "mixed economy" like those of Norway, 1970s Britain, or (arguably) New Deal America is really just an economy that has broken free of the religion of "economics," and plays by its own, common sense/common morality rules. The best economic policy MO I've ever heard of is Finland's: "Let's do what makes our people HAPPY!" (I read a dandy article about that a while back, but I can't seem to find it now).

travelerxxx on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 5:22pm
Like to read that...

@The Liberal Moonbat

The best economic policy MO I've ever heard of is Finland's: "Let's do what makes our people HAPPY!" (I read a dandy article about that a while back, but I can't seem to find it now).

TLM, if you recall that article, I'd be interested in reading it. You can shoot me a PM here.

arendt on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 3:57pm
Interesting, if overly long, talk by KSR

@Cassiodorus

I have seen his books for a long time, but never was that interested. Now that I know he is a politically active sci-fi writer - who is not a screaming libertarian fuckhead like Neal Stephenson or Vernor Vinge - I will pick up one of his books.

He says some very radical things (nationalize the banks, end austerity, stop burning fossil fuels), but he does so in such a droning, sophorific manner that you don't quite appreciate how extreme his stance is. Perhaps that is an intentional tactic.

Anyway, thanks for linking the video.

on the cusp on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 11:32am
I recently visited UAE.

I enjoyed a museum visit in Sharza, where one section of the complex had displays of incredible scientific contributions I had never associated with this part of the world.

When I left that section, everything became examples and displays of Islam. Korans, proper clothing, a few weapons. Thinking back, the science section pre-dated this philosopher.

I saw his influence, just didn't know it until today. Very interesting essay.

Azazello on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 2:21pm
Former philosophy major here.

I never could understand Postmodernism. Is this because I am a white male or because I find Enlightenment concepts more coherent and more useful in my everyday life and politics ?

Whatever, I remain happily stuck in the late 18th century.

Good to see a mention of Alan Sokal in the linked article.

MrWebster on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 12:05pm
What I remember about Shakespeare in college

And other literature courses was that the classes were about the schools of literary criticism on Shakespeare, rather than about the students doing a close reading of Shakespeare. And then of course, critiques on the schools of literary criticism.

[Feb 25, 2020] The Democrats' Quandary In a Struggle Between Oligarchy and Democracy, Something Must Give by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year ..."
"... Until Nevada, all the presidential candidates except for Bernie Sanders were playing for a brokered convention. The party's candidates seemed likely to be chosen by the Donor Class, the One Percent and its proxies, not the voting class (the 99 Percent). If, as Mayor Bloomberg has assumed, the DNC will sell the presidency to the highest bidder, this poses the great question: Can the myth that the Democrats represent the working/middle class survive? Or, will the Donor Class trump the voting class? ..."
"... This could be thought of as "election interference" – not from Russia but from the DNC on behalf of its Donor Class. That scenario would make the Democrats' slogan for 2020 "No Hope or Change." That is, no from today's economic trends that are sweeping wealth up to the One Percent. ..."
"... But in the wake of Sanders' landslide victory in Nevada, a brokered convention would mean the end of the Democrat Party pretense to represent the 99 Percent. The American voting system would be seen to be as oligarchic as that of Rome on the eve of the infighting that ended with Augustus becoming Emperor in 27 BC. ..."
"... Today's pro-One Percent media – CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times ..."
"... History of Rome ..."
"... History of Rome ..."
"... Some on Resistance Twitter claim that if Sanders is the nominee, Trump will win a 48 sweep. Possible, but very unlikely. But if it did happen, the MSM would once again dismiss his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class, and Sanders would trudge back to Vermont never to be heard from again. ..."
"... So if his program requires a decade long follow through, what are the least bad outcomes? If the D's deprive him of the nomination at the convention, even though he has far and away more pledged delegates, the MSM cannot dismiss his program as it would in the two previous scenarios, and his program would live to fight another day. ..."
"... Trump may or may not win. But if he does, the best he can hope for is a skin-of-his-teeth victory. Seriously, he lost the popular vote by a ton to Hillary freaking Clinton. ..."
"... And stuff is beginning to crumble around him on the Right. The Dow drops. Oops Richie Rich gets uneasy. ..."
"... I was more than a little honked when Sanders appeared to roll over and support HRC in 2016 in spite of the obvious fraud perpetrated on him and his supporters, not to mention the subsequent treatment they received at the hands of the DNC and Tom Perez. ..."
"... I find myself wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea for Sanders and his supporters to make it absolutely clear their attempts to work within 'the system' are finished if they are robbed again; maybe even starting work immediately on establishing a party not controlled by Wall Street lickspittle or knuckle-dragging no-nothings? ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year

To hear the candidates debate, you would think that their fight was over who could best beat Trump. But when Trump's billionaire twin Mike Bloomberg throws a quarter-billion dollars into an ad campaign to bypass the candidates actually running for votes in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, it's obvious that what really is at issue is the future of the Democrat Party. Bloomberg is banking on a brokered convention held by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in which money votes. (If "corporations are people," so is money in today's political world.)

Until Nevada, all the presidential candidates except for Bernie Sanders were playing for a brokered convention. The party's candidates seemed likely to be chosen by the Donor Class, the One Percent and its proxies, not the voting class (the 99 Percent). If, as Mayor Bloomberg has assumed, the DNC will sell the presidency to the highest bidder, this poses the great question: Can the myth that the Democrats represent the working/middle class survive? Or, will the Donor Class trump the voting class?

This could be thought of as "election interference" – not from Russia but from the DNC on behalf of its Donor Class. That scenario would make the Democrats' slogan for 2020 "No Hope or Change." That is, no from today's economic trends that are sweeping wealth up to the One Percent.

All this sounds like Rome at the end of the Republic in the 1st century BC. The way Rome's constitution was set up, candidates for the position of consul had to pay their way through a series of offices. The process started by going deeply into debt to get elected to the position of aedile, in charge of staging public games and entertainments. Rome's neoliberal fiscal policy did not tax or spend, and there was little public administrative bureaucracy, so all such spending had to be made out of the pockets of the oligarchy. That was a way of keeping decisions about how to spend out of the hands of democratic politics. Julius Caesar and others borrowed from the richest Bloomberg of their day, Crassus, to pay for staging games that would demonstrate their public spirit to voters (and also demonstrate their financial liability to their backers among Rome's One Percent). Keeping election financing private enabled the leading oligarchs to select who would be able to run as viable candidates. That was Rome's version of Citizens United.

But in the wake of Sanders' landslide victory in Nevada, a brokered convention would mean the end of the Democrat Party pretense to represent the 99 Percent. The American voting system would be seen to be as oligarchic as that of Rome on the eve of the infighting that ended with Augustus becoming Emperor in 27 BC.

Today's pro-One Percent media – CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times have been busy spreading their venom against Sanders. On Sunday, February 23, CNN ran a slot, "Bloomberg needs to take down Sanders, immediately."[1]Given Sanders' heavy national lead, CNN warned, the race suddenly is almost beyond the vote-fixers' ability to fiddle with the election returns. That means that challengers to Sanders should focus their attack on him; they will have a chance to deal with Bloomberg later (by which CNN means, when it is too late to stop him).

The party's Clinton-Obama recipients of Donor Class largesse pretend to believe that Sanders is not electable against Donald Trump. This tactic seeks to attack him at his strongest point. Recent polls show that he is the only candidate who actually would defeat Trump – as they showed that he would have done in 2016.

The DNC knew that, but preferred to lose to Trump than to win with Bernie. Will history repeat itself? Or to put it another way, will this year's July convention become a replay of Chicago in 1968?

A quandary, not a problem . Last year I was asked to write a scenario for what might happen with a renewed DNC theft of the election's nomination process. To be technical, I realize, it's not called theft when it's legal. In the aftermath of suits over the 2016 power grab, the courts ruled that the Democrat Party is indeed controlled by the DNC members, not by the voters. When it comes to party machinations and decision-making, voters are subsidiary to the superdelegates in their proverbial smoke-filled room (now replaced by dollar-filled foundation contracts).

I could not come up with a solution that does not involve dismantling and restructuring the existing party system. We have passed beyond the point of having a solvable "problem" with the Democratic National Committee (DNC). That is what a quandary is. A problem has a solution – by definition. A quandary does not have a solution. There is no way out. The conflict of interest between the Donor Class and the Voting Class has become too large to contain within a single party. It must split.

A second-ballot super-delegate scenario would mean that we are once again in for a second Trump term. That option was supported by five of the six presidential contenders on stage in Nevada on Wednesday, February 20. When Chuck Todd asked whether Michael Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar would support the candidate who received the most votes in the primaries (now obviously Bernie Sanders), or throw the nomination to the super-delegates held over from the Obama-Clinton neoliberals (75 of whom already are said to have pledged their support to Bloomberg), each advocated "letting the process play out." That was a euphemism for leaving the choice to the Tony-Blair style leadership that have made the Democrats the servants' entrance to the Republican Party. Like the British Labour Party behind Blair and Gordon Brown, its role is to block any left-wing alternative to the Republican program on behalf of the One Percent.

This problem would not exist if the United States had a European-style parliamentary system that would enable a third party to obtain space on the ballots in all 50 states. If this were Europe, the new party of Bernie Sanders, AOC et al. would exceed 50 percent of the votes, leaving the Wall Street democrats with about the same 8 percent share that similar neoliberal democratic parties have in Europe ( e.g ., Germany's hapless neoliberalized Social Democrats), that is, Klobocop territory as voters moved to the left. The "voting Democrats," the 99 Percent, would win a majority leaving the Old Neoliberal Democrats in the dust.

The DNC's role is to prevent any such challenge. The United States has an effective political duopoly, as both parties have created such burdensome third-party access to the ballot box in state after state that Bernie Sanders decided long ago that he had little alternative but to run as a Democrat.

The problem is that the Democrat Party does not seem to be reformable. That means that voters still may simply abandon it – but that will simply re-elect the Democrats' de facto 2020 candidate, Donald Trump. The only hope would be to shrink the party into a shell, enabling the old guard to go way so that the party could be rebuilt from the ground up.

But the two parties have created a legal duopoly reinforced with so many technical barriers that a repeat of Ross Perot's third party (not to mention the old Socialist Party, or the Whigs in 1854) would take more than one election cycle to put in place. For the time being, we may expect another few months of dirty political tricks to rival those of 2016 as Obama appointee Tom Perez is simply the most recent version of Florida fixer Debbie Schultz-Wasserman (who gave a new meaning to the Wasserman Test).

So we are in for another four years of Donald Trump. But by 2024, how tightly will the U.S. economy find itself tied in knots?

The Democrats' Vocabulary of Deception

How I would explain Bernie's program. Every economy is a mixed economy. But to hear Michael Bloomberg and his fellow rivals to Bernie Sanders explain the coming presidential election, one would think that an economy must be either capitalist or, as Bloomberg put it, Communist. There is no middle ground, no recognition that capitalist economies have a government sector, which typically is called the "socialist" sector – Social Security, Medicare, public schooling, roads, anti-monopoly regulation, and public infrastructure as an alternative to privatized monopolies extracting economic rent.

What Mr. Bloomberg means by insisting that it's either capitalism or communism is an absence of government social spending and regulation. In practice this means oligarchic financial control, because every economy is planned by some sector. The key is, who will do the planning? If government refrains from taking the lead in shaping markets, then Wall Street takes over – or the City in London, Frankfurt in Germany, and the Bourse in France.

Most of all, the aim of the One Percent is to distract attention from the fact that the economy is polarizing – and is doing so at an accelerating rate. National income statistics are rigged to show that "the economy" is expanding. The pretense is that everyone is getting richer and living better, not more strapped. But the reality is that all the growth in GDP has accrued to the wealthiest 5 Percent since the Obama Recession began in 2008. Obama bailed out the banks instead of the 10 million victimized junk-mortgage holders. The 95 Percent's share of GDP has shrunk.

The GDP statistics do not show is that "capital gains" – the market price of stocks, bonds and real estate owned mainly by the One to Five Percent – has soared, thanks to Obama's $4.6 trillion Quantitative Easing pumped into the financial markets instead of into the "real" economy in which wage-earners produce goods and services.

How does one "stay the course" in an economy that is polarizing? Staying the course means continuing the existing trends that are concentrating more and more wealth in the hands of the One Percent, that is, the Donor Class – while loading down the 99 Percent with more debt, paid to the One Percent (euphemized as the economy's "savers"). All "saving" is at the top of the pyramid. The 99 Percent can't afford to save much after paying their monthly "nut" to the One Percent.

If this economic polarization is impoverishing most of the population while sucking wealth and income and political power up to the One Percent, then to be a centrist is to be the candidate of oligarchy. It means not challenging the economy's structure.

Language is being crafted to confuse voters into imagining that their interest is the same as that of the Donor Class of rentiers , creditors and financialized corporate businesses and rent-extracting monopolies. The aim is to divert attention from voters' their own economic interest as wage-earners, debtors and consumers. It is to confuse voters not to recognize that without structural reform, today's "business as usual" leaves the One Percent in control.

So to call oneself a "centrist" is simply a euphemism for acting as a lobbyist for siphoning up income and wealth to the One Percent. In an economy that is polarizing, the choice is either to favor them instead of the 99 Percent.

That certainly is not the same thing as stability. Centrism sustains the polarizing dynamic of financialization, private equity, and the Biden-sponsored bankruptcy "reform" written by his backers of the credit-card companies and other financial entities incorporated in his state of Delaware. He was the senator for the that state's Credit Card industry, much as former Democratic VP candidate Joe Lieberman was the senator from Connecticut's Insurance Industry.

A related centrist demand is that of Buttigieg's and Biden's aim to balance the federal budget. This turns out to be a euphemism for cutting back Social Security, Medicare and relate social spending ("socialism") to pay for America's increasing militarization, subsidies and tax cuts for the One Percent. Sanders rightly calls this "socialism for the rich." The usual word for this is oligarchy . That seems to be a missing word in today's mainstream vocabulary.

The alternative to democracy is oligarchy. As Aristotle noted already in the 4 th

Confusion over the word "socialism" may be cleared up by recognizing that every economy is mixed, and every economy is planned – by someone. If not the government in the public interest, then by Wall Street and other financial centers in their interest. They fought against an expanding government sector in every economy today, calling it socialism – without acknowledging that the alternative, as Rosa Luxemburg put it, is barbarism.

I think that Sanders is using the red-letter word "socialism" and calling himself a "democratic socialist" to throw down the ideological gauntlet and plug himself into the long and powerful tradition of socialist politics. Paul Krugman would like him to call himself a social democrat. But the European parties of this name have discredited this label as being centrist and neoliberal. Sanders wants to emphasize that a quantum leap, a phase change is in order.

If he can be criticized for waving a needlessly red flag, it is his repeated statement that his program is designed for the "working class." What he means are wage-earners and this includes the middle class. Even those who make over $100,000 a year are still wage earners, and typically are being squeezed by a predatory financial sector, a predatory medical insurance sector, drug companies and other monopolies.

The danger in this terminology is that most workers like to think of themselves as middle class, because that is what they would like to rise into. That is especially he case for workers who own their own home (even if mortgage represents most of the value, so that most of the home's rental value is paid to banks, not to themselves as part of the "landlord class"), and have an education (even if most of their added income is paid out as student debt service), and their own car to get to work (involving automobile debt).

The fact is that even $100,000 executives have difficulty living within the limits of their paycheck, after paying their monthly nut of home mortgage or rent, medical care, student loan debt, credit-card debt and automobile debt, not to mention 15% FICA paycheck withholding and state and local tax withholding.

Of course, Sanders' terminology is much more readily accepted by wage-earners as the voters whom Hillary called "Deplorables" and Obama called "the mob with pitchforks," from whom he was protecting his Wall Street donors whom he invited to the White House in 2009. But I think there is a much more appropriate term: the 99 Percent, made popular by Occupy Wall Street. That is Bernie's natural constituency. It serves to throw down the gauntlet between democracy and oligarchy, and between socialism and barbarism, by juxtaposing the 99 Percent to the One Percent.

The Democratic presidential debate on February 25 will set the stage for Super Tuesday's "beauty contest" to gauge what voters want. The degree of Sanders' win will help determine whether the byzantine Democrat party apparatus that actually will be able to decide on the Party's candidate. The expected strong Sanders win is will make the choice stark: either to accept who the voters choose – namely, Bernie Sanders – or to pick a candidate whom voters already have rejected, and is certain to lose to Donald Trump in November.

If that occurs, the Democrat Party will evaporate as its old Clinton-Obama guard is no longer able to protect its donor class on Wall Street and corporate America. Too many Sanders voters would stay home or vote for the Greens. That would enable the Republicans to maintain control of the Senate and perhaps even grab back the House of Representatives.

But it would be dangerous to assume that the DNC will be reasonable. Once again, Roman history provides a "business as usual" scenario. The liberal German politician Theodor Mommsen published his History of Rome in 1854-56, warning against letting an aristocracy block reform by controlling the upper house of government (Rome's Senate, or Britain House of Lords). The leading families who overthrew the last king in 509 BC created a Senate chronically prone to being stifled by its leaders' "narrowness of mind and short-sightedness that are the proper and inalienable privileges of all genuine patricianism."[2]

These qualities also are the distinguishing features of the DNC. Sanders had better win big!

________________

[1] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/22/opinions/bloomberg-needs-to-take-down-sanders-lockhart/index.html . Joe Lockhart, opinion. For the MSNBC travesty see from February 23, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/02/23/msnbc-full-blown-freakout-mode-bernie-sanders-cements-status-democratic-frontrunner, by Jake Johnson.

[2]Mommsen, History of Rome , 1911: 268.


divadab , February 25, 2020 at 7:55 am

I wonder how much of the rot at the top of the Dem party is simple dementia. By the age of 70, half of people have some level of dementia. Consider Joe Biden – is anyone in the public sphere going to state the obvious – that he has dementia and as such is unfit for office?

Fred1 , February 25, 2020 at 8:32 am

First, my priors. I voted for Sanders in 2016, will vote for him in 2020, and expect him to be elected president. Further I believe that where we find ourselves today is the result of at least 40 years of intentional bi-partisan policies. Both parties are responsible.

If Sanders, upon being elected, were able to snap his fingers and call into existence his entire program, it would immediately face a bi-partisan opposition that would be funded by billions of dollars, which would be willing to take as long as necessary, even decades, to roll it back.

Just electing Sanders is only the first step. There must be a committed, determined follow through that must be willing to last decades as well for his program to stick. And there will be defeats along the way.

Several observations. If Hillary had beaten Trump, Sanders would have trudged back to Vermont and would never have been heard from again. The MSM would have dismissed his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class. But she didn't, so here we are, which is fantastic.

Some on Resistance Twitter claim that if Sanders is the nominee, Trump will win a 48 sweep. Possible, but very unlikely. But if it did happen, the MSM would once again dismiss his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class, and Sanders would trudge back to Vermont never to be heard from again.

So if his program requires a decade long follow through, what are the least bad outcomes? If the D's deprive him of the nomination at the convention, even though he has far and away more pledged delegates, the MSM cannot dismiss his program as it would in the two previous scenarios, and his program would live to fight another day.

If he loses to Trump, but closely, which can mean a lot of different things, his program would live to fight another day. Moreover, if the D's are seen to actively collude with Trump, this less bad outcome would be even better.

I am an old geezer and don't expect to live long enough to see how all of this plays out. But I am very optimistic about his program's long term prospects. There is only one bad outcome, a Trump 48 state sweep, which I consider very unlikely. But most importantly, the best outcome, his election, and the two least bad outcomes, the D's stealing the nomination from him or his losing a close general election, all still will require a decades long commitment to make his program permanent.

I wish I were younger.

a different chris , February 25, 2020 at 8:55 am

>a Trump 48 state sweep

Where do people get this? Take a deep breath. Trump may or may not win. But if he does, the best he can hope for is a skin-of-his-teeth victory. Seriously, he lost the popular vote by a ton to Hillary freaking Clinton.

And stuff is beginning to crumble around him on the Right. The Dow drops. Oops Richie Rich gets uneasy.

Hammered by a 5 star general. The Deplorables kids were raised to look up to generals, not New Yawk dandys. How does this affect them? And it's still February.

Sailor Bud , February 25, 2020 at 8:34 am

Just an FYI: The five-volume Mommsen "History of Rome" referenced in the text is available in English on Project Gutenberg, free and legal to download. Probably everyone here knows this, but just in case

Dan , February 25, 2020 at 8:44 am

How about Bernie call himself "Roosevelt Democrat" instead of "Democratic Socialist". It would give all those in the senior demographic a better understanding of what Sander's policies mean to them as opposed to the scary prospect of the "Socialist" label.

Oxley Creek Boy , February 25, 2020 at 10:12 am

The Democrats should have been slowly disarming the word "socialist" for at least the last decade. In principle, it's not difficult – as Michael Hudson says – "Every economy is a mixed economy" – and in a very real sense everyone's a socialist (even if only unconsciously). I'm not saying that bit of rhetorical jujitsu would magically turn conservative voters progressive but you'll never get to the point where you can defend socialist programs on the merits if you always dodge that fight. It's just a shame that Bernie Sanders has to do it all in a single election cycle and I don't think choosing a different label now would help him much.

flora , February 25, 2020 at 11:37 am

He could even compare himself to the earlier Roosevelt: Teddy Roosevelt.

By 1900 the old bourbon Dem party was deeply split between its old, big business and banking wing – the bourbons – and the rising progressive/populist wing. It was GOP pres Roosevelt who first pushed through progressive programs like breaking up railroad and commodity monopolies, investigating and regulating meat packing and fraudulent patent medicines, etc. Imagine that.

lyman alpha blob , February 25, 2020 at 1:30 pm

I just finished Stoller's book Goliath and according to him, Teddy wasn't quite as progressive as we are often led to believe. He wasn't so much opposed to those with enormous wealth – he just wanted them to answer to him. He did do the things you mentioned, but after sending the message to the oligarchs, he then became friendly with them once he felt he'd brought them to heel. He developed quite the soft spot for JP Morgan, according to Stoller.

TR wanted to be the Boss, the center of attention with everyone looking up to him. As one of his relatives said, he wanted to be the baby at every christening and the corpse at every funeral.

I find Bernie to be a lot more humble.

Balakirev , February 25, 2020 at 12:51 pm

I have a sense that changing his party affiliation label at any point in time since Sanders began running for president in 2016 would be a godsend to his enemies in both hands of the Duopoly. They'd tar him loudly as a hypocrite without an ounce of integrity, using personal politics to distract from the issues.

Meanwhile, we can expect to see the Socialist (and Communist, and Russia-Russia-Russia) nonsense reiterated as long as Sanders has strong visibility. He's extremely dangerous to both parties and their owners. I don't' believe the DNC will let him take the convention, but if he does, I'll bet the Dems give him minimal support and hope he fails–better the devil you know, etc.

political economist , February 25, 2020 at 9:56 am

It's time to put your money in reality futures by putting all that you can into supporting Bernie, AOC, etc. and all your local candidates that support at least democratic socialism and ourrevolution the DSA Justice Dems or other groups that have people but need money. I was having a conversation with a friend who was complaining that he was getting too many emails from Bernie asking for money after he had given the campaign a "modest amount". My suggestion was in honor of his children and grandchildren he should instead GIVE 'TIL IT FEELS GOOD. My spouse and I, I told him, gave the max to Bernie and now we don't give upset when he asks for more. There will likely never be a moment like this in history and there may not be much of a history if things go the wrong way now. He agreed.

Debra D. , February 25, 2020 at 10:11 am

Exactly right. I gave Bernie the max in 2019 and will keep giving throughout 2020. This campaign is about not just me, but all of us. It's now. We must fight for this change as has always been the historical precedent.

BillC , February 25, 2020 at 11:55 am

OK, you two gave me the push I needed to max out my contributions to Bernie too. Let's hope Bernie's (oops OUR) bandwagon keeps gathering steam!

Arizona Slim , February 25, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Another 2019 Bernie maxer here.

I feel blessed to have been able to give at this level. And I believe that I did this for a lot of people who aren't able to donate at all.

steven , February 25, 2020 at 11:13 am

I was more than a little honked when Sanders appeared to roll over and support HRC in 2016 in spite of the obvious fraud perpetrated on him and his supporters, not to mention the subsequent treatment they received at the hands of the DNC and Tom Perez.

I am coming to understand that might have been necessary within the context of one last desperate attempt to work with the Democratic party. But now I find myself wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea for Sanders and his supporters to make it absolutely clear their attempts to work within 'the system' are finished if they are robbed again; maybe even starting work immediately on establishing a party not controlled by Wall Street lickspittle or knuckle-dragging no-nothings?

Little as it has been the answer has a lot to do with my willingness to pour more money into repetitively self-defeating behavior.

HotFlash , February 25, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Bernie is a long-distance runner and strategizes like one. First work on finishing your races. Then worry about where you place.

Debra R. , February 25, 2020 at 11:28 am

I am a somewhat old geezer, too, who caucused for Bernie in 2016 and 2020. This article is very good and helps me understand why I feel the way I do. I was disappointed in Obama, who didn't follow through on the things I cared about, and I was devastated when Clinton was crowned the Democratic nominee well before the Convention, all the while holding onto a smidgen of hope that somehow Bernie would pull through as the nominee.

I was ecstatic when Bernie announced his candidacy for 2020. He is our only hope, and now we have a second chance. But now I am spending half my time screaming at people on tv and online who can't even hear me, and even if they could, they don't give a s–t what I think. It's Clinton 2.0–same thing all over again, four years later. Just who do these people (DNC, MSM, and others with a voice) think they are, to decide for the Democratic voters which candidate will be the nominee, who won't be the nominee, without regard to what the voters want? They are a bunch of pompous as–s who have some other motive that I am not savvy enough to understand. Is it about money in their pockets or what?

It should be as simple as this–Bernie is leading in the polls, if they are to be believed, and good people of all demographics want him to be our next President. He is a serious contender for the nomination. Show the man some much-earned respect and put people on MSM and publish articles by writers who help us understand what the anti-Bernie panic is about and why we shouldn't panic. Help us to explain his plans if he hasn't explained it thoroughly enough instead of calling him crazy. But to dismiss him as if he has the plague is not furthering the truth, and it is a serious injustice to the voting public. Naked Capitalism can't do it alone.

HotFlash , February 25, 2020 at 12:58 pm

There is a lot of good analysis out there, mainly on Youtube. I particularly like The Hill's Rising. A young progressive Democrat and a young progressive Republican (who even knew there was such a thing!) 'splain a lot of the antipathy. Another good source is Nomiki Konst, who is working on reforming the Dem party from within. Here she talks to RJ Eskow about how the DNC is structured and how she hopes to provide tools for rank-and-file Dems to wrest the levers of power from the establishment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ7wm6DCPV4

notabanktoadie , February 25, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Private sector cannot operate without same. Harrold

The problem is that the population, including FDR in his time, have been duped into believing that the private sector REQUIRES government privileges for private depository institutions, aka "the banks."

So currently we have no truly private sector to speak of but businesses and industry using the public's credit but for private gain.

Susan the other , February 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm

Last night's Democracy Now was interesting. Amy seems to be less of a commie hater than she recently was with her participation in the Russia-Russia-Russia smears against Trump. She held court last night with Paul Krugman and Richard Wolff discussing just exactly what "socialism" means. It was a great performance.

Krug seemed a little shellshocked about the whole discussion and he said we shouldn't even use the term "socialism" at all because all the things Bernie wants are just as capitalist – that capitalism encompasses socialism. But he stuttered when he discussed "single-payer" which he claimed he supported – his single payer is like Pete Buttigieg's single-payer-eventually. He tried to change the subject and Amy brought him straight back.

Then Wolff, who was in excellent form, informed the table that "socialism" is a moveable feast because it can be and has been many things for the advancement of societies, etc. But the term always means the advancement of society. Then Krug dropped a real bomb – he actually said (this is almost a quote) that recently he had been informed by Powell that debt isn't really all that important.

Really, Krug said that. And he tried to exetend that thought to the argument that anybody can provide social benefits – it doesn't require a self-proclaimed "socialist".

Richard Wolff confronted that slide with pointing out that it hasn't happened yet – and he left Krug with no excuses. It was quite the showdown. Nice Richard Wolff is so firmly in Bernie's camp.

Krug looked evasive – and I kept wishing they had invited Steve Keen to participate.

[Feb 22, 2020] Jane Mayer, Dark Money

Feb 16, 2016 | www.youtube.com

In her fourth book Mayer draws on court records, extensive interviews, and many private archives to examine the growing political influence of extreme libertarians among the one percent, such as the Koch brothers, tracing their ideas about taxation and government regulation and their savvy use of lobbyists to further an agenda that advances their own interests at the expense of meaningful economic, environmental, and labor reform. Mayer is in conversation with James Bennet, the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic.


Anita Clarke , 2 years ago

People elected a billionaire that is appointing other billionaires to fix the system that made them billionaires .... thats a special kind of stupid !!!

It's Time for Fiscal Policy for Public Purpose , 1 year ago

Neoliberalism opened the public sector up to the predatory capitalists. Financial markets love sick and violent people to increase healthcare profits and keep the slave wage prison factories pumping. This is why Thatcher had to say "there's no such thing as society" so she could embark on this fascist agenda to decimate the middle class. Fast forward 40 years, we now have tent villages, medical bankruptcies, opioid suicides, increased school shootings, mass incarceration, media consolidated Pentagon mouthpieces, educational corrosion and "market ideology" professors, fracking, poisoned aquifers, a defunct voting system, career politicians who no longer write legislation, a bloated administrative unelected bureaucracy of agencies addicted to the MIC budget. The Kochs choked democracy, nearly drowned government in the bathtub, as was their wish.

tomitstube , 2 years ago

i've often wondered how certain memes seem to pop up out of thin air and take on a life of their own, ever notice when a democrat is in the white house the biggest concern is the debt and federal budget? republicans use this non-stop rhetoric to stop any social programs, even gut them. this stuff goes back a while like the "liberal media", this election cycle i was repeatedly confronted with "taxes are theft" when defending social programs, and during the health care debate there was this "ayn rand" renaissance of "greed is good" taking hold. mayer is dead on with the corporate elites buying our government, it's nothing less than a coup of our democracy, and they are shredding it to pieces.

HOBO RAIDERS , 1 year ago

Why haven't the Kochs been arrested yet? They've been prosecuted dozens of times for violating government regulations and pollution requirements. It does explain their economic libertarianism though, the sociopathic businessmen like the Koch's want to get away with unreasonable pollution and paying workers 3 dollars an hour.

justgivemethetruth , 3 years ago

Earned income and capital gains should be taxed at the same MUCH MORE PROGRESSIVE RATE, and at this point in our monstrous debt we need to consider a surcharge on huge wealth. This situation has been brought about by the extreme right wingers like the Koch Brothers to try to bandrupt the country into shutting down the whole social spending aspect of government ... which is basically fascist and anti-democratic. Want to do the right thing. I think you create a list of human rights, and back up it but a UBI Universal Basic Income, and then get rid of the minimum wage and let people find out where they stand in the economy on their own merits. BUT, they also need free education and an infrastructure of government jobs to offer some competition and experience to people so they can if they want and show the aptitude for private for-profit work.

Stephen Cotton , 1 year ago

Very interesting that you say that the Devos family is very much involved in changing the education system to a right wing system... And Trump has Betsy Devos as his education head. But I would say that public schooling has been degraded and moved to privately owned and run Charter Schools since the first Bush President - and continued under Bill Clinton, Bush II and Obama. Both Democrats and Republicans have been pushing the agenda to the right - where education is concerned. It is an illusion to believe that the Democrats would move the needle in the opposite direction. The goal is to enslave all middle and working class people with student debt. Student debt is the only debt you cannot extinguish through bankruptcy... it stays with you until death. This debt enslavement then creates a society of desperate and compliant workers. This is the goal and it is an agenda that corporations want - served by both democrats and republicans. And for most part it the agenda has been achieved. So the dark money does coalesce for certain agendas. But the Devos's have a religious agenda where education is concerned... they want to make sure Genesis is taught as science and ban the teaching of evolution and things like that.

It's Time for Fiscal Policy for Public Purpose , 1 year ago

1984. Truly the symbolic year that the Orwellian neoliberal war on Americans began. Why? To "lower our expectations" of the 60's decade. Democracy is fine until it's been activated. Then the hammer comes down. But other countries enjoy a high quality of life, no threats of revolt or overthrow, so why does this unnecessarily continue? It must just be greed. Exploiting the public sector for profit.

Howard Switzer , 2 months ago (edited)

I think the key strategic 'leverage point' is the money, specifically the money system. We need to elect a Congress and President ethical enough to pass the NEED Act which would create a public for-care money system, stop banks from creating our money for profit and establish a monetary authority that would only be tasked with determining the amount of new money required each year to support public objectives determined by Congress, like healthcare, education, infrastructure and a citizen's dividend.

JC Hines , 10 months ago

Excellent review and information on KOCH BROS. Enjoyed. Thank you. Hope more people listen MORE about these Brothers (2) knowing how they have infiltrated into our GOVT and now own GOP Congress/PENCE (lobbied for them w/Manafort) and TRUMP. The are also friends w/Bush. Hence, Kavanaugh was put in as SCOTUS. Citizens United MUST BE REMOVED! Our democracy is in danger. Hope it's not too late. I want my country back.

It's Time for Fiscal Policy for Public Purpose , 1 year ago

"To allow the market mechanism to be the sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment ...would result in the demolition of society." ~ Karl Polanyi, 1944 We've had a President Koch for 40 years now. This book explains their takeover of government so that predatory capitalists could turn social services into financial markets for exploitation and profit. This destroys society but they didn't care.

Shirley Hill , 5 months ago

Fred Koch made his money building an oil industry for Stalin, then became anti-communist after returning with the money? Sounds like guilt to me. Then Fred Koch worked for Hitler's war efforts. Fred became a John Bircher and his money went to his four trust fund sons, the Koch Bros. who now stealth control U.S. politics and Republican politicians from the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Tea Party with black money support, including funding rightwing chairs and think tanks .at all the Ivy League universities.They have much, much, much too much money. it's time to tax their pants off so they understand what work. is.

wterwt werewrewr , 1 year ago

- Koch brothers story is hillarious , just for example Charles Koch got Defender of Justice award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers , LOL

wterwt werewrewr , 1 year ago

- Koch brothers story is hillarious , just for example Charles Koch got Defender of Justice award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers , LOL

Bijou Smith , 1 year ago

It's fascinating the Koch Brothers do not truly believe their own philosophy, because if they did they would go all the way in and champion worker cooperatives = complete freedom, freedom from government and freedom from a dictator boss. Like all ideologues with a quasi-engineering view of human relations and a Freudian fear of communism, they are blinded by the merits of anything that sounds remotely like socialism even when it logically matches their more reasonable libertarian ideals. In other words, they are fake libertarians, they are rank abusive authoritarian oligarchs, wannabe plutocrats. Ironically the Koch Bros are closer to Stalin in their ideology than they are to Reagan.

Albert Morris, 1 year ago

Jane Mayer is in a class all her own as a journalist. God bless her. I hope her next project is on the corporate media itself and its shameful railroading of Julian Assange. We need all the good journalism we can get.

James Gillis, 2 years ago

"Free Market is a utopia". I'm glad you said that so I can read your book knowing your political philosophy...

[Feb 22, 2020] The Red Thread A Search for Ideological Drivers Inside the Anti-Trump Conspiracy by Diana West

Highly recommended!
She does not use the term neoliberalism but she provide interesting perspective about connection of neoliberalism and Trotskyism. It is amazing fact that most of them seriously studied communist ideology at universities.
Trotskyites are never constrained by morality and they are obsessed with raw power (especially political power) and forceful transformation of the society. They are for global dominance so they were early adherents of "Full spectrum Dominance" doctirne approporitated later be US neocons. Their Dream -- global run from Washington neoliberal empire is a mirror of the dream of Trotskyites of global communist empire run from Moscow (Trotsky "Permanent war" till the total victory of communism idea)
Inability to understand that neoliberal is undermines Diana West thinking, but still she is a good researcher and she managed to reveal some interesting facts and tendencies. She intuitively understand that both are globalist ideologies, but that about all she managed to understand. Bad for former DIA specialist on the USSR and former colleague of Colonel Lang (see Sic Semper Tyrannis)
It is funny that Sanders is being accused of being a 'self-identified' socialist, while neoliberal elite is shoulder-deep in socialism for the 1% and enjoy almost unlimited access to free Fed funds.
Feb 22, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Boston Bill , March 23, 2019

Programs, programs, get your program here.

I received my copy just a few days before the Mueller investigation closed shop. There is an old saying "You can't tell the players without a program." As the aftermath of the Mueller investigation begins, you need this book. Some pundits and observers of the political scene have observed that the Mueller investigation didn't come about because of any real concern about "Trump Russia collusion," it was manufactured to protect the deep state from a non-political interloper. That's the case Diana West makes and does it with her exceptional knowledge of the Cold War and the current jihad wars. Not to mention her deadly aim with her rhetorical darts.

Erving L. Briggs , April 2, 2019
History Repeats

The Red Thread by Diana West
Diana states, "the anti-Trump conspiracy is not about Democrats and Republicans. It is not about the ebb and flow of political power, lawfully and peacefully transferred. It is about globalists and nationalists, just as the president says. They are locked in the old and continuous Communist/anti-Communist struggle, and fighting to the end, whether We, the anti-Communists, recognize it or not."

Diana traces the Red Thread running through the swamp, she names names and relates the history of the Red players. She asks the questions, Why? Why so many Soviet-style acts of deception perpetrated from inside the federal government against the American electoral process? Why so many uncorroborated dossiers of Russian provenance influencing our politics? Why such a tangle of communist and socialist roots in the anti-Trump conspiracy?
In this book, these questions will be answered.

If you have read her book "American Betrayal," I'm sure you will have a good idea about what is going on. I did. I just didn't know the major players and the red history behind each of them.

The book is very interesting and short, only 104 pages, but it is not finished yet. Easy to read but very disturbing to know the length and width of the swamp, the depth, we may not know for a long time. I do feel better knowing that there are people like Diana uncovering and shining a light into the darkness. Get the book, we all need to know why this is happening and who the enemies are behind it. Our freedom depends on it.

[Feb 22, 2020] Diana West on influence of Comminist ideology on the US neoliberal elite and on neoliberalism as being Trotskyism for the rich

On the influence of Trotskyism on the US and British elite including such figures as Comey, Hillary, Brennan, etc.
Jan 13, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Why does Diana West believe that communist ideology has infiltrated America's intelligence agencies?

After looking into key figures involved in the Spygate scandal, what information did Diana West uncover about their ideological beliefs?


RED PILL PORTAL , 1 month ago

"In America moral relativism is now so deeply embed that there is no ideology, including communism, that can bar you from joining our most powerful intelligence agency (which was essentially stood up to fight communism) and even rise to control it and all of its secrets." –Diana West, The Red Thread

Jerk Joker , 1 month ago

Nellie Ohr: Stalin's techniques might be useful in getting a confession from her & Bruce

Judith Gervais , 2 days ago

I think Diana West might want to consider the "just war" theory as something Niebuhr.would have been talking about. I do not know the writings of either Niebuhr or Tillich well but it is my understanding that both did much good in the world so I wouldn't write them off without very careful consideration. Many deeply religious people I know consider some of the ideas contained within socialism to be Christian friendly. Thank you for considering my statements.

Tamas Hadaszy , 3 weeks ago

"The ends justify the means" is the false and evil doctrine of collectivist. "We will force our utopia on you, even if we have to kill you to do it".

Minecraft gaming channel gamer girl , 1 month ago (edited)

For 3 years i argued with my Left wing friend. One day he called out "I just want to control people". Talk about 'the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks'. I finally worked out what made my friend consider government programs as the solution to every problem: He is a closet control freak! Every person on the Left is a control freak hiding in the closet!! Beware of these dictators coming to control your life!!!

[Feb 07, 2020] The democratic party must be thee only political party in all world history that actively suppresses people who want to vote for them.

Feb 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Erelis , Feb 6 2020 19:43 utc | 61

The democratic party must be thee only political party in all world history that actively suppresses people who want to vote for them.

Looks like the democrats are set to lose the same way they did in 2016. Basically as Matt Bruenig wrote in his article "The Boring Story of the 2016 Election

Donald Trump did not win because of a surge of white support. Indeed he got less white support than Romney got in 2012. Nor did Trump win because he got a surge from other race+gender groups. The exit polls show him doing slightly better with black men, black women, and latino women than Romney did, but basically he just hovered around Romney's numbers with every race+gender group, doing slightly worse than Romney overall.

However, support for Hillary was way below Obama's 2012 levels, with defectors turning to a third party. Clinton did worse with every single race+gender combo except white women, where she improved Obama's outcome by a single point. Clinton did not lose all this support to Donald. She lost it into the abyss. Voters didn't like her but they weren't wooed by Trump .

The Third Wave neocons pointed out an interesting fact. Clinton won bigly CA, NY, and MA which gave her something like 7 million votes. However, Trump won the remaining 47 states by four million.

Willy2 , Feb 6 2020 23:19 utc | 92

- Caitlin Johnstone: It wasn't "incompetence", it was intentionally.

https://consortiumnews.com/2020/02/06/the-myth-of-incompetence-dnc-scandals-are-a-feature-not-a-bug

[Feb 07, 2020] Unless They Change The Democrats Deserve To Lose

Notable quotes:
"... How can they change? The owners are the warmongering monopoly capitalist ruling class. Are you imagining that any decision can ever be made by the lowly peons, the rank and file? ..."
Feb 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Unless They Change The Democrats Deserve To Lose Trisha , Feb 6 2020 16:12 utc | 6

The Democratic Party seems to intend to lose the 2020 elections.

The idiotic impeachment attempt against Trump ended just as we predicted at its beginning:

After two years of falsely accusing Trump of having colluded with Russia [the Democrats] now allege that he colludes with Ukraine. That will make it much more difficult for the Democrats to hide the dirty hands they had in creating Russiagate. Their currently preferred candidate Joe Biden will get damaged.
...
Trump should be impeached for his crimes against Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

But the Democrats will surely not touch on those issues. They are committing themselves to political theater that will end without any result. Instead of attacking Trump's policies and proposing better legislation they will pollute the airwaves with noise about 'crimes' that do not exist.

There is no case for impeachment. Even if the House would vote for one the Senate would never act on it. No one wants to see a President Pence.

The Democrats are giving Trump the best campaign aid he could have wished for. Trump will again present himself as the victim of a witch hunt. He will again argue that he is the only one on the side of the people. That he alone stands with them against the bad politicians in Washington DC. Millions will believe him and support him on this. It will motivate them to vote for him.

The Senate acquitted Trump of all the nonsense the Democrats have thrown against him.


bigger

Biden lost in Iowa and his poll numbers elsewhere are not much better. His meddling in Ukrainian politics will continue to be investigated.

Iowa caucuses count was intentionally sabotaged, first through an appn created by incompetent programmers on the payroll of a Buttigieg related company , then by a manipulated manual count by the Iowa Democratic party:

Chris Schwartz @SchwartzForIowa - 22:01 UTC · Feb 5, 2020

The state party is now being forced to walk back their error of giving @BernieSanders delegates to @DevalPatrick who received zero votes in Black Hawk County. Press can dm me.

We have known for over 24 hours as verified by our county party that @BernieSanders won the #iacaucuses in Black Hawk County with 2,149 votes, 155 County Delegates. #NotMeUs #IowaCaucuses


bigger

The whole manipulation was intended to enable Buttigieg to claim that he led in Iowa even though it is clear that Bernie Sanders won the race. It worked:

29 U.S.C. § 157 @OrganizingPower - 4:13 UTC · Feb 6, 2020

Post Iowa, Buttigieg has gotten a 9pt bounce in Emerson's tracking poll of NH. A bounce based on a caucus he didn't win.

All this is clearly following a plan:

Lee Camp [Redacted] @LeeCamp - 16:58 UTC · Feb 5, 2020

If a progressive is about to win #IowaCaucuses:
- remove final polls
- use mysterious app created by former Clinton staffers
- Funnel results thru untested app
- Claim app fails
- Hold results
- Reveal only 62% to give false impression of who won
- Refuse to reveal final results

But the cost of such open manipulations is the loss of trust in the Democratic Party and in elections in general:

In sum: We are 24 hours into the 2020 campaign, and Democrats have already humiliated their party on national television, alienated their least reliable progressive supporters, demoralized their most earnest activists, and handed Trump's campaign a variety of potent lines of attack.

This so obvious that has to wonder if these outcomes are considered to be features and not bugs .

Buttigieg is by the way a terrible candidate. His work for McKinsey, the company that destroyed the middle class , smells of work for some intelligence agency . His hiring of a Goldman Sachs executive as national policy director makes it clear what his policies will be.

The other leading candidates are not much better. Sanders might have a progressive agenda in domestic policies, but his foreign policies are fully in line with his party. Matt Duss, Sanders' foreign policy advisor, is the son of a lifelong key front man for CIA proxy organizations. He spills out mainstream imperial blabber:

Matt Duss @mattduss - 2:38 UTC · Feb 5, 2020

The only thing that Trump's Venezuela regime change policy achieved is giving Russia an opportunity to screw with the US in our own hemisphere. That's what they were applauding.

Giving a standing ovation to Trump's SOTU remarks on Venezuela were of course the Democratic "resistance" and Nancy Pelosi . That was before she theatrically ripped up her copy of Trump's speech, the show act of a 5 year old and one which she had trained for . She should be fired.

Impeachment, the Iowa disaster and petty show acts will not win an election against Donald Trump. While they do not drive away core Democratic voters, they do make it difficult to get the additional votes that are needed to win. Many on the left and the right who dislike Trump will rather abstain or vote for a third party than for a party which is indistinguishable from the currently ruling one.

Meanwhile Trump hauls in record amounts in donations and, with 49%, achieved his best personal approval rate ever .

Either the Democrats change their whole course of action or they will lose in November to an extend that will be breathtaking. It would be well deserved.

Posted by b on February 6, 2020 at 15:57 UTC | Permalink The donor class owners of the "Democratic" party have every incentive to support Trump, who has cut their taxes, hugely inflated the value of their assets, and mis-directed attention away from substantial issues that might degrade either their assets or their power, by focusing on identity politics.


SharonM , Feb 6 2020 16:15 utc | 7

It's obvious to me that the two war parties function as one. The Democrats have been winning since Trump took office--they get their money and they get their wars. If Trump wins, the Democrats win as billionaires flood more money into the DNC. If Trump loses, the Republicans win for the same reasons.
Bruce , Feb 6 2020 16:36 utc | 10
The behavior of a five year old is an appropriate reference point for most of the people working in DC, albeit engaged parents expect more of their children. This vaudeville routine is giving satisfaction to Republicans, Trump supporters, and those who have been looking for a clearer opportunity to say "I told you so" to diehard Democratic believers (who will continue to refuse to listen).
For an American, even one who has always been somewhat cynical regarding cultural notions of democracy and the "American Way," the show has become patently and abusively vulgar and revulsive. It does not appear to be anywhere near "hitting bottom." There can be no recovery without emotional maturity, and the leaders in Washington exhibit nothing of the kind. The level of maturity and wisdom of the individuals involved is determinative of the political result, not the alleged quality of the politics they purport to sell. Right now we don't have that.
Piero Colombo , Feb 6 2020 17:07 utc | 19
"Unless They Change The Democrats Deserve To Lose"

Aren't there 2 levels of "change"?

1. How can they change? The owners are the warmongering monopoly capitalist ruling class. Are you imagining that any decision can ever be made by the lowly peons, the rank and file? If you thought anything like that, you should try to find one single instance, in all history, of this "party" ever having done anything at all out of line with the express policy of the owners of the country (the high level of people-friendly noise, intended for the voting peons, never translates into any action of that sort.)

2. If you mean change the electoral policy to win this election, how could they conceivably manage to change this late? Like a supertanker launched at full speed trying to make a sharp turn a few seconds before hitting the shore, you mean?

Anyway, in both cases forget what it "deserves", it should be destroyed and buried under, not only lose.

ak74 , Feb 6 2020 17:08 utc | 21
American democracy is Kabuki Theater and Professional Wrestling.

It is the ultimate Reality TV show for the sheeple to think that they have a political voice.

Remember what Frank Zappa said: "Politics is the Entertainment Division of the Military-Industrial Complex."

jared , Feb 6 2020 17:30 utc | 26
It would take extreme mental contortions to take U.S. "democracy" seriously at this point.
I would like to believe that it makes some difference who is elected, but increasingly doubtful.
How different would it really have been had Hillary been elected (much as it pains me to consider such a scenario)?
Trump was elected (aside from interference from AIPAC) partly because he was republican candidate and for some that's all it takes but aside from that because;
- end pointless wars
- improve healthcare
- control immigration
- jobs for coal miners
- somehow address corruption and non-performance of government
- improve US competitiveness, bring back jobs, promote business, improve economy
He claims having improved the economy but more likely is done juice from the FED.
So really, what grade does he deserve?
And yet people are rallying to his side.
Personally I think that the entrenched interests have moulded Trump to meet their requirements and now it is inconvenient to have to start work on a new president, unless it would be one of their approved choices.
I voted for Trump because of Hillary.
Now I would not vote for Trump given a decent choice. Fortunately there is an excellent alternative.
Noirette , Feb 6 2020 17:37 utc | 29
All who count have known for a long time that Trump will have a second term. Baked in. (1)

The Dems agitate and raucously screech and try to impeach to distract or whatever to show da base that they hate Trump and hope to slaughter! him! a rapist! mysoginist! racist! liar ! He is horrors! in touch with the malignant criminal authoritarian ex-KGB Putin! Russia Russia Russia - and remember Stormy Daniels! ( :) ! )

The top corp. Dems prefer to lose to Trump, I have said this for years, as have many others. In rivalry of the Mafia type, it is often better to submit to have a share of the pie. Keep the plebs on board with BS etc. Victim status, underdog pretense, becomes ever more popular.

1. Trump might fall ill / dead / take Melania's advice and wishes into account, or just quit.

Jackrabbit , Feb 6 2020 17:47 utc | 31
People still talk like democracy really exists in USA.

They channel their anger toward Party and personality.

If only the democrats would ... If only Sanders would ... If only people would see that ...

A few understand the way things really are, but most are still hoping that somehow that the bed-time stories and entertaining kayfabe are a sort of democracy that they can live with.

But the is just normalcy bias. A Kool-Aid hang-over. This is not democracy. It is a soft tyranny encouraged by Empire stooges, lackeys, and enabled by ignorance.

The lies are as pervasive as they are subtle: half-truths; misdirection; omitting facts like candidate/party affiliations with the Zionist/Empire Death Cult.

The REAL divide among people in the West is who benefits from an EMPIRE/ZIONIST FIRST orientation that has polluted our politics and our culture and the rest of us.

Wake up. War is on the horizon. And Central Banks can't print money forever.

/rage, rage against the dying of the light

!!

par4 , Feb 6 2020 17:52 utc | 34
After watching Pelosi it reminded me that during the Geo. W. Bush era the Democrats were always claiming to be the adults in the room. It's odd that Mayo Pete's 'husband' is never seen or heard from. I wonder why? Biden's toast and Epstein didn't kill himself. AND Seth Rich leaked Hillary's emails to Wikileaks.
Qparticle , Feb 6 2020 18:11 utc | 41
-- --
The Clinton-Obama administration had scores of corrupt officials and associates (the Podestas, for instance). It was necessary to create a firewall once Trump won the nomination. As so, they attacked his campaign manager, his national security adviser, his family, himself, using all the means of FISA, wire tapping done by NSA and CIA and Mi6 and probably Mossad.

Red Ryder | Feb 6 2020 16:56 utc | 14
-- --

Trump is an installment of The Mossad via blackmail and media manipulation, check "Black Cube Intelligence", a Mossad front operating from City of London. It would make sense the establishment in the US would eavesdrop on him. Mossad on the other hand would wiretap the wiretapers and give feedback on Trump. The Podesta you mentioned once threatened the factions with "disclosure" possibly to keep the runaway black projects crazies in check not that I wish to play advocate of these people.

-- --
After they lose again in November, they will unleash their street thugs, Antifa, to terrorize the winners. Meanwhile for the purists of the Liberal Cult there will be many real suicides. So, bloodshed and death will become reality.

Red Ryder | Feb 6 2020 16:56 utc | 14
-- --

Yes, what we need is just a nazi party in the US to keep communism in check, right? We are half way there with Trump already aren't we? "Black Sun" technologies (which a part off I described above) already there, leaking to anyone interested enough that would aid in the great outsourcing for the Yinon project, so why not? "Go Trump 2020"! (sarcasm)

DannyC , Feb 6 2020 18:12 utc | 42
For whatever reason the only thing the Dems seem to find more terrible than a loss to Trump is a win with Bernie. I'm no fan of Bernie but it's clear they're out to sabotage the one guy that would actually beat Trump in an election
VeraK , Feb 6 2020 18:16 utc | 43
While I have no illusions that a Sanders administration will have good foreign policy objectives, is there not something to be said for shifting money away from the military-industrial complex in the US? In general Sanders gives me the impression that he wants to reduce US intervention in foreign affairs in favor of spending more money on domestic issues. Even a slight reduction in pressure is helpful for giving other countries the ability to expand their spheres of influence and becoming more legitimate powers in opposition to the US and EU. Based on this I still see voting for Sanders as helpful even if he won't bring about any meaningful change in the US's foreign policy.
Pft , Feb 6 2020 19:10 utc | 56
it's not an actual Stalin quote, but often used as such
he did say something in the same vein, though.
it IS absolutely spot on here:

"It's not who vote that counts, it's who counts the votes"

congratulations, DNC, you're on a par with Joseph Stalin; the most ruthless chairman the Sovyets have ever had.
so here is your real Russia Gate.
oh, come and smell the Irony. In fake wrestling the producers determine the winner in advance and the wrestlers ate given their script to follow. The Dems have no intention to win this, look at the clowns they have running the show not to mention the flawed candidates . The script calls for the king of fake wrestling, Trump himself, to win yet again. Only a concerted effort by the Dems and Deep State media, along with some tech help from Bibis crew can engineer this result, but they are all on board. Dems willing to wait for 2024 when the producers will write them in for a big Win over somebody not named Trump. The world will be ready for a Green change by then, and Soros/Gates boys will have their chance to step up to the plate again.

Enjoy the show if you wish, I'm changing the channel.

[Feb 07, 2020] The favored candidate of the DNC is clearly Trump

Trump is Hillary2020 ;-)
Feb 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bubbles , Feb 6 2020 20:57 utc | 74

Yes pft, the favored candidate of the DNC is clearly Trump.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Feb 6 2020 19:25 utc | 58


Only if the ungrateful commoners who identify as Democrats or moderates can't be brought to heel and give their full throated support for the DNC's favoured Cookie Cutter candidate who might as well be one of those dolls with a string and a recording you hear when you pull the string.

Then yes, they would prefer 'fore moar years!!' of the Ugliest American ever to be installed as President of the United States.

One of things I respect about Tulsi Gabbard is she ain't no Doll with a string attached. When she made the comment about cleaning out the rot in the Democratic Party, she left no doubt her intent and goals. And to take on hillary, the Red Queen to boot, why that was simply delicious.

Alas, the View, the DNC, it's web of evil rich and the media will never forgive her for Soldiering for her Country.

[Feb 07, 2020] It should be clear on what the fight is really about in the US. It's about stopping the rise of socialism. Regardless of party affiliation, the elites know what the populace wants and are desperately trying to stop it. I refuse to accept that the Democrats have no idea what they're doing.

Feb 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ian2 , Feb 6 2020 20:02 utc | 65

It should be clear on what the fight is really about in the US. It's about stopping the rise of socialism. Regardless of party affiliation, the elites know what the populace wants and are desperately trying to stop it. I refuse to accept that the Democrats have no idea what they're doing.

I honestly can't see Sanders getting the nomination with all the corruption openly being displayed. I would be pleasantly surprised if Sanders did manage to get it, but he still have to deal with the ELECTORAL COLLEGE (EC). The Electors have the final say. Yes, one can point out that some States have laws forcing Electors to vote what the populace wants, but that is being challenged in court. The debate on whether such laws are unconstitutional or not, remains to be seen. It's too late now to deal with the EC for this election, but people need to be more active in politics at the State level as that's where Electors are (s)elected.

IF Sanders is genuine then he should prepare to run as an independent just to get the EC attention.

ben , Feb 6 2020 22:01 utc | 79

RR @ 14;
Everything in the U$A today, is driven by the unofficial Party of $, and it's reach transcends both Dems & repubs. It's cadre is the majority of the D.C. "rule makers", so we get what they want, not what "we the people" want or need.

They own the banks, MSM media, and even our voting systems.

IMO, to assume one party is to blame for conditions in the U$A is a bit naive.

Question is, can anything the masses do, change the system? Or is rank and file America just along for the ride?

I'm assuming us peons will get what the party of $ wants this November also.

P.S. If any blame is given, it needs to go to the American public, because " you get the kind of Gov. you deserve" through your inactions...

It's a lot like living, death is certain, but until that occurs, I'll move forward trying to mitigate current paradigms.

[Feb 01, 2020] Neoliberalism is another Trotskyist attempt at convincing people they don't need nations anymore

Feb 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

NemesisCalling , Jan 31 2020 19:31 utc | 16

Another Trotskyist attempt at convincing people they don't need nations anymore. No need to feel proud in your cultural difference which makes the world a beautiful and ineffable place.

Instead, they want monoculture ruled by Technocrats. How "eastern."

I don't mind, because I know that in Christianity's early days, many converts had to hide to preserve the faith.

Indeed, Philip K. Dick had fever dreams about being a Christian in ancient MENA and hiding himself amongst the Romans. Jews, similarly, I am sure, felt something akin during the war in Germany and occupied territory.

[Jan 24, 2020] German Language Police Group Decides To 'UnWord' The Term Climate Hysteria by Paul Joseph Watson

Jan 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

A German panel of linguists which decides on a new word to 'ban' every year has announced the 'un-wording' of the term "climate hysteria" because it undermines propaganda about man-made global warming.

First of all, just let it sink in that there is an organization comprised of linguists which exists solely to 'ban' words and terms that they don't like. Their action is known as 'Un-word of the year' .

They're literally attempting to re-create 1984's Newspeak dictionary , which shrank in size year after year in order to eliminate language and limit free thought and free speech, making it harder for the plebs to vocalize their opposition to The Party.

As you may have suspected, every word or term already 'banned' by the group in recent years are ones used by conservatives to challenge leftist political tropes. Imagine my shock.

Terms 'un-worded' in recent years include "alternative facts," "do-gooder," "Lügenpresse" (liar press) and "welfare tourism" (referring to "foreigners in Germany allegedly leeching on the welfare system.")

The panel says it exists to discourage the use of words that "discriminate against societal groups or may be euphemistic, disguising or misleading."

Perhaps nervous that more Germans appear to be rejecting the cult of man-made climate change despite vociferous propaganda, this year the panel has chosen to 'un-word' the term "climate hysteria."

According to the panel, which contains no scientists, the term "defames climate protection efforts and the climate protection movement, and discredits important discussions about climate protection."

"Keeping the Newspeak Dictionary as thin as possible in hopes that this will narrow our range of thought is a progressive priority," writes Dave Blount .

"Any word or term that can be used to undermine leftist ideology will eventually be removed from the permissible vocabulary. That's the point of having a Newspeak Dictionary."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qX86OnqAxBs

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[Jan 19, 2020] The neoliberal hopes -- and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too

Jan 19, 2020 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory."

J.R.R. Tolkien

"We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' and I accept it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination."

C.S. Lewis

"If the devil tells you something is too fearful to look at, look at it. If he says something is too terrible to hear, hear it. If you think some truth unbearable, bear it."

G.K. Chesterton

"The barbarian hopes -- and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too. He will consume what civilization has slowly produced after generations of selection and effort, but he will not be at pains to replace such goods, nor indeed has he a comprehension of the virtue that has brought them into being.

We sit by and watch the barbarian. We tolerate him in the long stretches of peace, we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond, and on these faces there are no smiles."

Hilaire Belloc

"In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists."

Hannah Arendt

[Jan 11, 2020] Atomization of workforce as a part of atomization of society under neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness. ..."
"... And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves. ..."
"... The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling. ..."
"... Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation. ..."
"... So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church. ..."
Apr 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:09 am
Neoliberalism is creating loneliness. That's what's wrenching society apart George Monbiot, Guardian

George Monbiot on human loneliness and its toll. I agree with his observations. I have been cataloguing them in my head for years, especially after a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness.

A couple of recent trips to Rome have made that point ever more obvious to me: Compared to my North Side neighborhood in Chicago, where every other person seems to have a dog, and on weekends Clark Street is awash in dogs (on their way to the dog boutiques and the dog food truck), Rome has few dogs. Rome is much more densely populated, and the Italians still have each other, for good or for ill. And Americans use the dog as an odd means of making human contact, at least with other dog owners.

But Americanization advances: I was surprised to see people bring dogs into the dining room of a fairly upscale restaurant in Turin. I haven't seen that before. (Most Italian cafes and restaurants are just too small to accommodate a dog, and the owners don't have much patience for disruptions.) The dogs barked at each other for while–violating a cardinal rule in Italy that mealtime is sacred and tranquil. Loneliness rules.

And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves.

That's why the comments about March on Everywhere in Harper's, recommended by Lambert, fascinated me. Maybe, to be less lonely, you just have to attend the occasional march, no matter how disorganized (and the Chicago Women's March organizers made a few big logistical mistakes), no matter how incoherent. Safety in numbers? (And as Monbiot points out, overeating at home alone is a sign of loneliness: Another argument for a walk with a placard.)

Katharine , April 17, 2017 at 11:39 am

I particularly liked this point:

In Britain, men who have spent their entire lives in quadrangles – at school, at college, at the bar, in parliament – instruct us to stand on our own two feet.

With different imagery, the same is true in this country. The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling.

DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:48 am

Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation.

So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church.

[Jan 09, 2020] Schadenfreude combined with tunnel vision

Oct 31, 2019 | crookedtimber.org
Orange Watch 10.29.19 at 8:14 pm (no link) 28
Scott P@26 :
...a true believer who's spent too long in echo chambers which recognize the US's foreign policy as selfish and destructive, but then make the entirely unwarranted leap that because it's so bad, any actor that opposes them is morally neutral, or at least not subject to the same degree of scrutiny and criticism.

It's a bizarre worldview that seems to want to ignore the possibility that every actor in an interaction is a bad actor, or at the bare minimum confuses the idea of it can be useful for a third party to weaken and distract a common enemy with the idea that this makes the third party succeeding in their broader aims desirable without considering what those aims are.

It's schadenfreude combined with tunnel vision, and its appeal seems to lie in its creation of a personally satisfying narrative which demonizes the near enemy – their centrist political rivals – as hopeless authoritarians.

[Jan 04, 2020] Critical thinking is anathema to the neoliberal establishment. That s why they need to corrupt the language, to make the resistance more difficult and requiring higher level of IQ

Highly recommended!
Manipulation of the language is one of the most powerful Propaganda tool. See the original Orwell essay at George Orwell Politics and the English Language. among other things he stated "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."
Notable quotes:
"... we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying. ..."
"... It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

BluebellWood -> Supermassive , 29 Nov 2018 12:41

Yep - education is the key.

I remember at school we read Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language in an English class and then we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying.

How many children in schools are taught such critical thinking these days, I wonder? It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them.

[Jan 01, 2020] Radical "essentialist identity" left is just tools of financial oligarchy and/or stooges of intelligence agencies and always has been

Jan 01, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 12.31.19 at 2:25 pm

Tim 12.31.19 at 3:46 am @3

"If this succeeds, we'll be well on the path to dictatorship." This seems predicated on the idea that 'whites' will only be able to hold onto power by Dictatorship. Population trends suggest whites will still be the largest group [just under half] in 2055. A considerable group given their, to borrow the phrase, 'privilege'. Add conservative Asian and even Catholic Latino voters, is it that difficult to envisage a scenario where Republicans sometimes achieve power without Dictatorship? They are already benefiting from the radical left helping drive traditional working class white voters to the right [helped by Republican/Fox etc hyperbole].

Radical left is either idiots of stooges of intelligence agencies and always has been.

IMHO the idea that " whites" are or will be the force behind the move to the dictatorship is completely naïve. Dictatorship is needed for financial oligarchy and it is the most plausible path of development due to another factor -- the collapse of neoliberal ideology and complete discrediting of neoliberal elite. At least in the USA. Russiagate should be viewed as an attempt to stage a color revolution and remove the President by the USA intelligence agencies (in close cooperation with the "Five eyes") .

I would view Russiagate is a kind of Beer Hall Putsch with intelligence agencies instead of national-socialist party. A couple conspirators might be jailed after Durham investigation is finished (Hilter was jailed after the putsch), but the danger that CIA will seize the political power remains. After all KGB was in this role in the USSR for along time. Is the USA that different? I don't think so. There is no countervailing force: the number of people with security clearance in the USA exceed five million. This five million and not "whites" like some completely naïve people propose is the critical mass for the dictatorship.
https://news.yahoo.com/durham-surprises-even-allies-statement-202907008.html

The potential explosiveness of Durham's mission was further underscored by the disclosure that he was examining the role of John O. Brennan, the former CIA director, in how the intelligence community assessed Russia's 2016 election interference.

BTW "whites" are not a homogeneous group. There is especially abhorrent and dangerous neoliberal strata of "whites" including members of financial oligarchy, the "professional class" and "academia" (economics department are completely infected.) as well as MIC prostitutes in MSM.

[Dec 29, 2019] The Latin America now has an extremelly reactionary and parasitic upper middle class intristically connected and dependent on the goverment. They act as legitimate shock troops of the neoliberalism in their countries

Dec 29, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Dec 29 2019 15:00 utc | 87

Billionaires' wealth soared in 2019 amid US worsening income inequality
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the collective net worth of the 500 wealthiest people on the planet soared by $1.2 trillion in 12 months, totaling $5.9 trillion.

Billionaires in the US alone added $500bn to their wealth, with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg increasing his wealth by $27.3bn while Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates adding $22.7bn.

As Trump once said, his government is the best time ever to fullfill the American Dream...

--//--

@ Posted by: migueljose | Dec 29 2019 14:44 utc | 85

Most people here in this blog seem to be from First World countries, so it's important to make this observation about the Latin American middle classes.

Latin American middle classes have a different societal and historical origin from the First World middle classes. Instead of being highly specialized, highly skilled workers, the middle classes from Latin America (or any other Third World country, for that matter) come not from high education, but from the oligarchic State apparatus.

That's because the nation-State formation in Latin America was very different from the nation-State formation of the USA, Canada or Western Europe. They became independent through their oligarchies, mainly through negotiations from the top. As a result, what happened in Latin America was simply a legal transformation of the colonial machine into an independent nation-State machine.

As a result, the middle classes in Latin America are not doctors, engineers, scientists, CEOs etc. etc., but judges, politicians, high officers of the government, descendents of the old local oligarchies etc. etc. They are intrinsically connected and dependent on the State to survive as middle classes.

This results in an extremely reactionary and parasitic middle class. They act as legitimate shock troops of the bourgeoisie.

[Dec 29, 2019] Bolsonaro counter-revolution was spearheaded by the Brazilian middle class, and not the capitalist class. This resulted in a chaotic counter-revolution where short-term individual interests of the middle upper class members (mainly from the judiciary power) predominate.

Dec 29, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Dec 28 2019 20:12 utc | 22

Very interesting article (peer reviewed) about the Fall of Brazil of 2016-2018. A shame it is only in Portuguese (pdf in the a link inside the page).

A guerra de todos contra todos e a Lava Jato: A crise brasileira e a vitória do capitão Jair Bolsonaro

(Translation of the article's title: Bellum omnium contra omnes and the Car Wash Operation: the Brazilian crisis and cpt. Jair Bolsonaro's victory )

This articles indicates that what happened in Brazil was the disintegration of its State, typical of Third World nations in the neocolonialist period. Another important factor the article highlights is that this counter-revolution was spearheaded by the Brazilian middle class, and not the capitalist class. This resulted in a chaotic counter-revolution where short-term individual interests of the middle upper class members (mainly from the judiciary power) predominate. The exact same modus operandi occured in Bolivia.

If this pattern repeats elsewhere in the Third World, then we would be witnessing a new tactic chosen by the USA on its color revolutions in its backyard: use well-positioned middle class members to act as a semi-military harmost, in order to fight on two fronts at the same time - to destroy the bourgeoisie that's on the way of American interests while guaranteeing the supression of working class uprisings.

That the USA is having to resort to the middle classes of the Third World countries to quell revolts and guarantee anti-working class structural reforms is very revealing: it is a clear sign of desperation by Washington, a sign that it is not being able to keep the comprador elites of Latin American happy anymore.

[Dec 28, 2019] Identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") to counter the defection of trade union members from the party

Highly recommended!
divide and conquer 1. To gain or maintain power by generating tension among others, especially those less powerful, so that they cannot unite in opposition.
Dec 28, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 12.27.19 at 10:21 pm

John,

I've been thinking about the various versions of and critiques of identity politics that are around at the moment. In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new.

You missed one important line of critique -- identity politics as a dirty political strategy of soft neoliberals.

See discussion of this issue by Professor Ganesh Sitaraman in his recent article (based on his excellent book The Great Democracy ) https://newrepublic.com/article/155970/collapse-neoliberalism

To be sure, race, gender, culture, and other aspects of social life have always been important to politics. But neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. Self-government requires uniting through our commonalities and aspiring to achieve a shared future.

When individuals fall back onto clans, tribes, and us-versus-them identities, the political community gets fragmented. It becomes harder for people to see each other as part of that same shared future.

Demagogues [more correctly neoliberals -- likbez] rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society.

The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy.

Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity.

Of course, the result is to leave in place political and economic structures that harm the very groups that inclusionary neoliberals claim to support. The foreign policy adventures of the neoconservatives and liberal internationalists haven't fared much better than economic policy or cultural politics. The U.S. and its coalition partners have been bogged down in the war in Afghanistan for 18 years and counting. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is a liberal democracy, nor did the attempt to establish democracy in Iraq lead to a domino effect that swept the Middle East and reformed its governments for the better. Instead, power in Iraq has shifted from American occupiers to sectarian militias, to the Iraqi government, to Islamic State terrorists, and back to the Iraqi government -- and more than 100,000 Iraqis are dead.

Or take the liberal internationalist 2011 intervention in Libya. The result was not a peaceful transition to stable democracy but instead civil war and instability, with thousands dead as the country splintered and portions were overrun by terrorist groups. On the grounds of democracy promotion, it is hard to say these interventions were a success. And for those motivated to expand human rights around the world, it is hard to justify these wars as humanitarian victories -- on the civilian death count alone.

Indeed, the central anchoring assumptions of the American foreign policy establishment have been proven wrong. Foreign policymakers largely assumed that all good things would go together -- democracy, markets, and human rights -- and so they thought opening China to trade would inexorably lead to it becoming a liberal democracy. They were wrong. They thought Russia would become liberal through swift democratization and privatization. They were wrong.

They thought globalization was inevitable and that ever-expanding trade liberalization was desirable even if the political system never corrected for trade's winners and losers. They were wrong. These aren't minor mistakes. And to be clear, Donald Trump had nothing to do with them. All of these failures were evident prior to the 2016 election.

If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear.

Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represent a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump.

Initially Clinton calculation was that trade union voters has nowhere to go anyways, and it was correct for first decade or so of his betrayal. But gradually trade union members and lower middle class started to leave Dems in droves (Demexit, compare with Brexit) and that where identity politics was invented to compensate for this loss.

So in addition to issues that you mention we also need to view the role of identity politics as the political strategy of the "soft neoliberals " directed at discrediting and the suppression of nationalism.

The resurgence of nationalism is the inevitable byproduct of the dominance of neoliberalism, resurgence which I think is capable to bury neoliberalism as it lost popular support (which now is limited to financial oligarchy and high income professional groups, such as we can find in corporate and military brass, (shrinking) IT sector, upper strata of academy, upper strata of medical professionals, etc)

That means that the structure of the current system isn't just flawed which imply that most problems are relatively minor and can be fixed by making some tweaks. It is unfixable, because the "Identity wars" reflect a deep moral contradictions within neoliberal ideology. And they can't be solved within this framework.

[Dec 22, 2019] This Is Neoliberalism: An Introducing the Invisible Ideology (Part 1)

Mar 01, 2018 | www.youtube.com

If you've ever wanted to understand what neoliberalism is, this is the series for you.

Neoliberalism is an economic ideology that exists within the framework of capitalism. Over four decades ago, neoliberalism become the dominant economic paradigm of global society. In this video series, we'll trace the history of neoliberalism, starting with a survey of neoliberal philosophy and research, a historical reconstruction of the movement pushing for neoliberal policy solutions, witnessing the damage that neoliberalism did to its first victims in the developing world, and then charting neoliberalism's infiltration of the political systems of the United States and the United Kingdom. Learn how neoliberalism is generating crises for humanity at an unprecedented rate.


jonathan bacon , 10 months ago

Our "education" system has raised generations of useful idiots, unable to fight back or even recognize the threat of the establishments breakaway civilization.

Franz1987 , 2 months ago

It's socialism for the rich, 'markets' for everyone else...

Ganzorf , 5 months ago

Good video. Reminded me of this bit I saved from Twitter some time ago:

"Probably no man in history has had so little understanding of the workings of his own society – and hence so little power to effect change – as liberal democratic man. We talk about this with regard to capitalism – we're (supposedly) buffeted by impersonal and unaccountable 'market forces' – but not with liberal democratic politics, although it's fundamentally the same thing. Even if you could organize an angry mob, whose residence would you march on? The serf knew, the slave knew. You do not. You have no idea who your masters are or where they live. A 'liberal democracy' is a political system where you have no idea who's in charge, no idea what they're planning, no idea why they have the policies they have, and no idea of how to change any of it."

Carlos Marks , 2 months ago

Dictatorship of the bourgeoisie: Neo-liberalism in short.

Cisco Rodriguez , 8 months ago

When neoliberalism was implemented in Mexico in the early 1990s it destroyed the country in every aspect u can think of

eottoe2001 , 11 months ago

Neoliberalism is a religion.

lance ringquist , 2 months ago

"free traders mistake money for wealth, wealth is derived from making things, money is just a medium of exchange: any government that prints money with no regard to its material basis in commodity production risks disaster."

lance ringquist , 2 months ago

"Whenever you hear the words "a country has to be competitive," it's not more competition among businesses, it's that every country has to do whatever it can to make available the closest thing to slave labor as possible. Period. No wishy-washy jargon needed to cover the basic fact"

Snakewhisperer , 8 months ago (edited)

Excellent vid. Really puts it all together well. The Neoliberals are sucking as much money and work out of us folks as they can get away with before they kill us all off and use robots.

the annointed one , 6 months ago

If only the whole world knew about this. They want us only discussing petty social issues.

Chris Duane , 6 months ago

Neo-Liberalism is why they now call Earth the Prison Planet.

Bill Huston Podcast , 8 months ago

I love the content, just not the pacing. If you listen to most documentaries, you will notice the is a pacing or cadence in the spoken narrative. Speak a little, then give some time to absorb. This series would be a lot easier to listen to with some added space... thanks. Look forward to this series.

PecosoSenior , 2 months ago

I live in Argentina, and the concept of neoliberalism is pretty commonly known

Maveric , 2 months ago

You have a criminally low amount of subs for the quality of work that you're putting out. I'm about to watch part 2 right now!

lance ringquist , 2 months ago

"one of the main reasons why even sophisticated societies fall into this suicidal spiral is the conflict between the short-term interests of decision-making elites and the long-term interests of society as a whole, especially if the elites are able to insulate themselves from the consequences of their actions. the reason why even sophisticated societies fail is because the elites are never made to pay a price for their follies"

Marshall's Weather & Hiking , 2 months ago

What's not mentioned is this second phase of "liberalism" is the most dangerous because we are more dependent on capitalist production than ever before. People exist on a razors edge.

Paul Birtwell , 6 months ago

"All this is contrary to what classical economists urged. Their objective was for governments elected by the population at large to receive and allocate the economic surplus. Presumably this would have been to lower the cost of living and doing business, provide a widening range of public services at subsidized prices or freely, and sponsor a fair society in which nobody would receive special privileges or hereditary rights. Financial sector advocates have sought to control democracies by shifting tax policy and bank regulation out of the hands of elected representatives to nominees from world's financial centers.

The aim of this planning is not for the classical progressive objectives of mobilizing savings to increase productivity and raise populations out of poverty.

The objective of finance capitalism is not capital formation, but acquisition of rent-yielding privileges for real estate, natural resources and monopolies. These are precisely the forms of revenue that centuries of classical economists sought to tax away or minimize. By allying itself with the rentier sectors and lobbying on their behalf – so as to extract their rent as interest – banking and high finance have become part of the economic overhead from which classical economists sought to free society.

The result of moving into a symbiosis with real estate, mining, oil, other natural resources and monopolies has been to financialize these sectors. As this has occurred, bank lobbyists have urged that land be un-taxed so as to leave more rent (and other natural resource rent) "free" to be paid as interest – while forcing governments to tax labor and industry instead. To promote this tax shift and debt leveraging, financial lobbyists have created a smokescreen of deception that depicts financialization as helping economies grow. They accuse central bank monetizing of budget deficits as being inherently inflationary – despite no evidence of this, and despite the vast inflation of real estate prices and stock prices by predatory bank credit.

Money creation is now monopolized by banks, which use this power to finance the transfer of property – with the source of the quickest and largest fortunes being infrastructure and natural resources pried out of the public domain of debtor countries by a combination of political insider dealing and debt leverage – a merger of kleptocracy with the world's financial centers. The financial strategy is capped by creating international financial institutions (the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank) to bring pressure on debtor economies to take fiscal policy out of the hands of elected parliaments and into those of institutions ruling on behalf of bankers and bondholders. This global power has enabled finance to override potentially debtor-friendly governments." Excerpt From Killing the Host Michael Hudson

Sasha Da Masta , 2 months ago (edited)

16:23 "Chile experienced a peaceful democratic rule for 41 years, that now has violently come to an end. Pinochet and his followers described the coup as 'a war'. It definitely looked that way. It was a Chilean example of 'instilling shock and awe'. The days thereafter saw 13000 opposers arrested and locked up ." may be too much of a literal translation but Dutch isn't my first language. (edited the time stamp)

[Dec 20, 2019] Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone

Dec 20, 2019 | www.amazon.com

WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? Since this deceptively simple question first came into my mind, I haven't been able to shake it. We think we understand the word, but what are we really referring to when we talk about a system in which the people rule themselves?

The word democracy is all around us, invoked in almost every conceivable context: government, business, technology, education, and media. At the same time, its meaning, taken as self-evident, is rarely given much serious consideration. Though the headlines tell us democracy is in "crisis," we don't have a clear conception of what it is that is at risk. The significance of the democratic ideal, as well as its practical substance, is surprisingly elusive.

For most of my life, the word democracy didn't hold much appeal. I was of course never against democracy per se, but words such as justice , equality , freedom , solidarity , socialism , and revolution resonated more deeply. Democracy struck me as mealy-mouthed, even debased. That idealistic anarchists and authoritarian leaders are equally inclined to claim "democracy" as their own only demonstrated its lack of depth. North Korea does, after all, call itself a "Democratic People's Republic," and Iraq was invaded by the U.S. Army in the name of bringing democracy to the Middle East. But today I no longer see the opportunistic use of the word as a sign of the idea's vapidity. Those powers co-opt the concept of democracy because they realize that it represents a profound threat to the established order, a threat they desperately hope to contain.

After making a documentary film, What Is Democracy? , I now understand the concept's disorienting vagueness and protean character as a source of strength; I have come to accept, and even appreciate, that there is no single definition I can stand behind that feels unconditionally conclusive. Though the practice has extensive global roots, the word democracy comes to us from ancient Greece, and it conveys a seemingly simple idea: the people ( demos ) rule or hold power ( kratos ). Democracy is the promise of the people ruling, but a promise that can never be wholly fulfilled because its implications and scope keep changing. Over centuries our conceptions of democracy have expanded and evolved, with democracy becoming more inclusive and robust in many ways, yet who counts as the people, how they rule, and where they do so remain eternally up for debate. Democracy destabilizes its own legitimacy and purpose by design, subjecting its core components to continual examination and scrutiny.

Perfect democracy, I've come to believe, may not in fact exist and never will, but that doesn't mean we can't make progress toward it, or that what there is of it can't disappear. For this reason, I am more convinced than ever that the questions of what democracy is -- and, more important, what it could be -- are ones we must perpetually ask.

Right now, many who question democracy do so out of disillusionment, fear, and outrage. Democracy may not exist, yet it still manages to disappoint. Political gridlock, corruption, unaccountable representatives, and the lack of meaningful alternatives incense people across the ideological spectrum; their anger simmers at dehumanizing bureaucracy, blatant hypocrisy, and lack of voice. Leaders are not accountable and voters rightly feel their choices are limited, all while the rich keep getting richer and regular people scramble to survive. In advanced democracies around the world, a growing number of people aren't even bothering to vote -- a right many people fought and died for fairly recently. Most Americans will say that they live in a democracy, but few will say that they trust the government, while the state generally inspires negative reactions, ranging from frustration to contempt and suspicion. The situation calls to mind Jean-Jacques Rousseau's observation from The Social Contract : "In a well-ordered city every man flies to the assemblies; under a bad government no one cares to stir a step to get to them. As soon as any man says of the State What does it matter to me? the State may be given up for lost." 1

A cauldron of causes generates an atmosphere of corrosive cynicism, social fragmentation, and unease, with blame too often directed downward at the most vulnerable populations. And it's not just in the United States. Consider the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, the decision known as Brexit; the resurgence of right-wing populism across Europe; coups and reactionary electoral victories in Brazil; and the rise of fascism in India. Plato's warning about democracy devolving into tyranny rings chillingly prophetic. The promise of self-rule risks becoming not a promise but a curse, a self-destructive motor pushing toward destinations more volatile, divided, despotic, and mean.

But this book isn't about the pitfalls of popular sovereignty, though it certainly has its perils. Nor is it about the shortcomings of current liberal democratic political systems or the ways they have been corrupted by money and power -- though they have been. That's a story that has been told before, and while it will be the backdrop to my inquiry it is not the focus. This book, instead, is an invitation to think about the word democracy from various angles, looking back through history and reflecting on the philosophy and practice of self-rule in hopes that a more contemplative view will shed useful light on our present predicament. My goal is not to negate the sense of alarm nor deter people from action but to remind us that we are part of a long, complex, and still-unfolding chronicle, whatever the day's headlines might be or whoever governs the country.

Taking a more theoretical approach to democracy's winding, thorny path and inherently paradoxical nature can also provide solace and reassurance. Ruling ourselves has never been straightforward and never will be. Ever vexing and unpredictable, democracy is a process that involves endless reassessment and renewal, not an endpoint we reach before taking a rest (leaving us with a finished system to tweak at the margins). As such, this book is my admittedly unorthodox, idiosyncratic call to democratize society from the bottom to the top. It is also an expression of my belief that we cannot re think democracy if we haven't really thought about it in the first place.

WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? Since this deceptively simple question first came into my mind, I haven't been able to shake it. We think we understand the word, but what are we really referring to when we talk about a system in which the people rule themselves?

The word democracy is all around us, invoked in almost every conceivable context: government, business, technology, education, and media. At the same time, its meaning, taken as self-evident, is rarely given much serious consideration. Though the headlines tell us democracy is in "crisis," we don't have a clear conception of what it is that is at risk. The significance of the democratic ideal, as well as its practical substance, is surprisingly elusive.

For most of my life, the word democracy didn't hold much appeal. I was of course never against democracy per se, but words such as justice , equality , freedom , solidarity , socialism , and revolution resonated more deeply. Democracy struck me as mealy-mouthed, even debased. That idealistic anarchists and authoritarian leaders are equally inclined to claim "democracy" as their own only demonstrated its lack of depth. North Korea does, after all, call itself a "Democratic People's Republic," and Iraq was invaded by the U.S. Army in the name of bringing democracy to the Middle East. But today I no longer see the opportunistic use of the word as a sign of the idea's vapidity. Those powers co-opt the concept of democracy because they realize that it represents a profound threat to the established order, a threat they desperately hope to contain.

After making a documentary film, What Is Democracy? , I now understand the concept's disorienting vagueness and protean character as a source of strength; I have come to accept, and even appreciate, that there is no single definition I can stand behind that feels unconditionally conclusive. Though the practice has extensive global roots, the word democracy comes to us from ancient Greece, and it conveys a seemingly simple idea: the people ( demos ) rule or hold power ( kratos ). Democracy is the promise of the people ruling, but a promise that can never be wholly fulfilled because its implications and scope keep changing. Over centuries our conceptions of democracy have expanded and evolved, with democracy becoming more inclusive and robust in many ways, yet who counts as the people, how they rule, and where they do so remain eternally up for debate. Democracy destabilizes its own legitimacy and purpose by design, subjecting its core components to continual examination and scrutiny.

Perfect democracy, I've come to believe, may not in fact exist and never will, but that doesn't mean we can't make progress toward it, or that what there is of it can't disappear. For this reason, I am more convinced than ever that the questions of what democracy is -- and, more important, what it could be -- are ones we must perpetually ask.

Right now, many who question democracy do so out of disillusionment, fear, and outrage. Democracy may not exist, yet it still manages to disappoint. Political gridlock, corruption, unaccountable representatives, and the lack of meaningful alternatives incense people across the ideological spectrum; their anger simmers at dehumanizing bureaucracy, blatant hypocrisy, and lack of voice. Leaders are not accountable and voters rightly feel their choices are limited, all while the rich keep getting richer and regular people scramble to survive. In advanced democracies around the world, a growing number of people aren't even bothering to vote -- a right many people fought and died for fairly recently. Most Americans will say that they live in a democracy, but few will say that they trust the government, while the state generally inspires negative reactions, ranging from frustration to contempt and suspicion. The situation calls to mind Jean-Jacques Rousseau's observation from The Social Contract : "In a well-ordered city every man flies to the assemblies; under a bad government no one cares to stir a step to get to them. As soon as any man says of the State What does it matter to me? the State may be given up for lost." 1

A cauldron of causes generates an atmosphere of corrosive cynicism, social fragmentation, and unease, with blame too often directed downward at the most vulnerable populations. And it's not just in the United States. Consider the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, the decision known as Brexit; the resurgence of right-wing populism across Europe; coups and reactionary electoral victories in Brazil; and the rise of fascism in India. Plato's warning about democracy devolving into tyranny rings chillingly prophetic. The promise of self-rule risks becoming not a promise but a curse, a self-destructive motor pushing toward destinations more volatile, divided, despotic, and mean.

But this book isn't about the pitfalls of popular sovereignty, though it certainly has its perils. Nor is it about the shortcomings of current liberal democratic political systems or the ways they have been corrupted by money and power -- though they have been. That's a story that has been told before, and while it will be the backdrop to my inquiry it is not the focus. This book, instead, is an invitation to think about the word democracy from various angles, looking back through history and reflecting on the philosophy and practice of self-rule in hopes that a more contemplative view will shed useful light on our present predicament. My goal is not to negate the sense of alarm nor deter people from action but to remind us that we are part of a long, complex, and still-unfolding chronicle, whatever the day's headlines might be or whoever governs the country.

Taking a more theoretical approach to democracy's winding, thorny path and inherently paradoxical nature can also provide solace and reassurance. Ruling ourselves has never been straightforward and never will be. Ever vexing and unpredictable, democracy is a process that involves endless reassessment and renewal, not an endpoint we reach before taking a rest (leaving us with a finished system to tweak at the margins). As such, this book is my admittedly unorthodox, idiosyncratic call to democratize society from the bottom to the top. It is also an expression of my belief that we cannot re think democracy if we haven't really thought about it in the first place.

WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? Since this deceptively simple question first came into my mind, I haven't been able to shake it. We think we understand the word, but what are we really referring to when we talk about a system in which the people rule themselves?

The word democracy is all around us, invoked in almost every conceivable context: government, business, technology, education, and media. At the same time, its meaning, taken as self-evident, is rarely given much serious consideration. Though the headlines tell us democracy is in "crisis," we don't have a clear conception of what it is that is at risk. The significance of the democratic ideal, as well as its practical substance, is surprisingly elusive.

For most of my life, the word democracy didn't hold much appeal. I was of course never against democracy per se, but words such as justice , equality , freedom , solidarity , socialism , and revolution resonated more deeply. Democracy struck me as mealy-mouthed, even debased. That idealistic anarchists and authoritarian leaders are equally inclined to claim "democracy" as their own only demonstrated its lack of depth. North Korea does, after all, call itself a "Democratic People's Republic," and Iraq was invaded by the U.S. Army in the name of bringing democracy to the Middle East. But today I no longer see the opportunistic use of the word as a sign of the idea's vapidity. Those powers co-opt the concept of democracy because they realize that it represents a profound threat to the established order, a threat they desperately hope to contain.

After making a documentary film, What Is Democracy? , I now understand the concept's disorienting vagueness and protean character as a source of strength; I have come to accept, and even appreciate, that there is no single definition I can stand behind that feels unconditionally conclusive. Though the practice has extensive global roots, the word democracy comes to us from ancient Greece, and it conveys a seemingly simple idea: the people ( demos ) rule or hold power ( kratos ). Democracy is the promise of the people ruling, but a promise that can never be wholly fulfilled because its implications and scope keep changing. Over centuries our conceptions of democracy have expanded and evolved, with democracy becoming more inclusive and robust in many ways, yet who counts as the people, how they rule, and where they do so remain eternally up for debate. Democracy destabilizes its own legitimacy and purpose by design, subjecting its core components to continual examination and scrutiny.

Perfect democracy, I've come to believe, may not in fact exist and never will, but that doesn't mean we can't make progress toward it, or that what there is of it can't disappear. For this reason, I am more convinced than ever that the questions of what democracy is -- and, more important, what it could be -- are ones we must perpetually ask.

Right now, many who question democracy do so out of disillusionment, fear, and outrage. Democracy may not exist, yet it still manages to disappoint. Political gridlock, corruption, unaccountable representatives, and the lack of meaningful alternatives incense people across the ideological spectrum; their anger simmers at dehumanizing bureaucracy, blatant hypocrisy, and lack of voice. Leaders are not accountable and voters rightly feel their choices are limited, all while the rich keep getting richer and regular people scramble to survive. In advanced democracies around the world, a growing number of people aren't even bothering to vote -- a right many people fought and died for fairly recently. Most Americans will say that they live in a democracy, but few will say that they trust the government, while the state generally inspires negative reactions, ranging from frustration to contempt and suspicion. The situation calls to mind Jean-Jacques Rousseau's observation from The Social Contract : "In a well-ordered city every man flies to the assemblies; under a bad government no one cares to stir a step to get to them. As soon as any man says of the State What does it matter to me? the State may be given up for lost." 1

A cauldron of causes generates an atmosphere of corrosive cynicism, social fragmentation, and unease, with blame too often directed downward at the most vulnerable populations. And it's not just in the United States. Consider the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, the decision known as Brexit; the resurgence of right-wing populism across Europe; coups and reactionary electoral victories in Brazil; and the rise of fascism in India. Plato's warning about democracy devolving into tyranny rings chillingly prophetic. The promise of self-rule risks becoming not a promise but a curse, a self-destructive motor pushing toward destinations more volatile, divided, despotic, and mean.

But this book isn't about the pitfalls of popular sovereignty, though it certainly has its perils. Nor is it about the shortcomings of current liberal democratic political systems or the ways they have been corrupted by money and power -- though they have been. That's a story that has been told before, and while it will be the backdrop to my inquiry it is not the focus. This book, instead, is an invitation to think about the word democracy from various angles, looking back through history and reflecting on the philosophy and practice of self-rule in hopes that a more contemplative view will shed useful light on our present predicament. My goal is not to negate the sense of alarm nor deter people from action but to remind us that we are part of a long, complex, and still-unfolding chronicle, whatever the day's headlines might be or whoever governs the country.

Taking a more theoretical approach to democracy's winding, thorny path and inherently paradoxical nature can also provide solace and reassurance. Ruling ourselves has never been straightforward and never will be. Ever vexing and unpredictable, democracy is a process that involves endless reassessment and renewal, not an endpoint we reach before taking a rest (leaving us with a finished system to tweak at the margins). As such, this book is my admittedly unorthodox, idiosyncratic call to democratize society from the bottom to the top. It is also an expression of my belief that we cannot re think democracy if we haven't really thought about it in the first place.

>

Tonstant Weader , May 29, 2019

You want a physical copy so you can mark it up and highlight and bookmark and clip

Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone is one of those books you might want to get in its physical form so you can shove it full of bookmarks, highlight sentences, write notes, stick little sticky arrows to note something special, and generally leave it in unfit condition for anyone but you, but that will be okay because you will be going back to it again and again whenever you want to argue about something. Yes, it's that good.

Astra Taylor does the difficult job examining democracy, something we talk about a lot without ever completely understanding its full implications. To do this, she examines eight tensions that pull democracies in different directions and are critical to balance or at least understand when understanding democracy. These tensions are interrogated in separate chapters, looking at history, research, and political experience that impinge on them. The vast research involved in these explorations is astonishing.

In the first chapter she examines the tension between freedom and equality and notes that once upon a time we thought they went hand in hand, but that they have become oppositional thanks to political movements that serve the powerful who define freedom in terms of making money and avoidance of regulation rather than freedom from want, hunger, or fear. Equality has become, to American eyes, the enemy of freedom. The second chapter looks at decision-making, the tension of conflict and consensus. This includes the understanding of loyal opposition, something that seems to be lost with a president who calls his political opponents traitors. I appreciated her taking on how consensus can become anti-democratic and stultifying.

The third chapter looks at the tension of inclusion and exclusion, who is the demos, to whom is the democracy accountable. In the fourth, the balance between choice and coercion is explored. Pro-corporate theorists talk about government coercion and attacks on liberty when they are not allowed to poison our drinking water and make government the enemy of the people. She also explores how we seem to think freedom is the be all, end all except at work. Chapter Five looks at spontaneity versus structure. This has an important analysis of organizing versus activism and how the focus on youth movements has weakened social justice movements overall as the energy dissipates after college without the labor and community organizations to foster movement energy. Chapter Six explores the balance between mass opinion and expertise and how meritocracy works against democracy. This chapter looks at how education functions to keep the powerful powerful from generation to generation, "the paradoxical, deeply contradictory role of education under capitalism , which facilitates the ascension of some while preparing a great many more for lowly positions of servitude."

Chapter Seven looks at the geography of democracy, not just in terms of federalism and the federal, state, and local levels of participating in democracy but also the supranational entities like the World Trade Organization and how they undercut democracy and the integrity of the state. Chapter Eight considers what we inherit from the past, the traditions and norms of democracy and what we owe the future, including our obligations to pass on a livable planet.

Needless to say, this is all very discouraging in its totality, but the final chapter encourages us to balance pessimism with optimism just as democracy must balance all those other tensions.

It took me forever to read Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone. That is because after I read a chapter I needed to think about it before I moved on to the next. I took sixteen pages of notes while reading it. I hate taking notes, but I did not want to lose the ideas.

This is also a book you might want to read with some other people, perhaps discussing a chapter at a time. I do not think it is a book you can read passively, without stopping to talk to someone, tweet, or reread. It's that good.

That does not mean I agree with every word of the book, but then the author does an excellent job of interrogating her own ideas. She might seem to be asserting an opinion, and then offer a counter-example because she is rigorous like that. She perhaps places too much faith in Marxist theory from time to time, but then that may be because like democracy, it has never really existed except in conceptual form.

Taylor does not offer a simple answer because there are no simple answers. She does not pretend to know how to, or even if we can, fix democracy. She gives us the questions, the problems, and some ideas, but as someone who truly believes in government by the people, she asks us to take up the challenge.

I received an e-galley of Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone from the publisher through NetGalley.

[Dec 17, 2019] Corbyn's problem was that he didn't rid of his Rightwing faction, including "Friends of Israel" in Leadership positions.

Dec 17, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Amir , 14 December 2019 at 06:21 PM

According to "Electoral Reform Society", all votes are not equal in UK:
Across Britain, it took...
🗳️864,743 votes to elect 1 Green MP
🗳️642,303 votes to elect 0 Brexit Party MPs
🗳️334,122 votes to elect a Lib Dem
🗳️50,817 votes for a Labour MP
🗳️38,316 votes for a Plaid Cymru MP
🗳️38,300 votes for a Con. MP
🗳️25,882 votes for a SNP MP

But then again, who said Britain with its monarchy, is a democracy?

The problem is that in a disunited kingdom, Conservatives with Tories only represent the English and the Northern Ireland Oranje (through Unionists). Corbyn's problem was that he didn't rid of his Rightwing faction, including "Friends of Israel" in Leadership positions.

He grew Labor more than the Neo-Liberal Blair did.

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-election-result-vote-share-increased-1945-clement-attlee-a7781706.html%3famp

Best for Europe to get rid of England and create a "Two Velocities E.U.", allowing Eastern Europeans to have their own path to wherever.

Jack -> Amir... , 14 December 2019 at 04:25 PM
Amir

You make the same mistake that Democrats did after 2016. It is not about the total number of votes. Britain has a parliamentary system. It is about winning each parliamentary seat. Just as in the US, it is about winning the electoral votes in each state. Boris won a landslide according to the electoral rules that was the same for each party contesting the election.

The question that Labor needs to ask is why did they lose seats that Labor has held for 50 or more years? Not whining about the rules of the election.

Labour won a single seat in London, in a wealthy neighborhood, and lost dozens in some of the poorest parts of the U.K. that have endured years of economic decline. Left-wing parties across the west have lost touch with actual marginalized communities.

https://twitter.com/lhfang/status/1205659095753089024

blue peacock said in reply to Jack... , 14 December 2019 at 07:00 PM
Reflection is not a quality that mainstream politicians have. Got to blame someone else. Surprised they haven't blamed Putin or Ukraine yet :-)

That tweet thread was very instructive. Amazing that areas that were solid Labor for so long deserted them this election. Something they should really think hard about.

Amir -> blue peacock... , 16 December 2019 at 05:08 AM
The first person who brought the Russians in to this discussion is Blue Peacock, except the CONSERVATIVES who convicted the Skripal Affair. Indeed, reflection IS rear
Amir -> Jack... , 16 December 2019 at 04:56 AM
You are making a mistake. Corbyn grew the Labor party MORE than Blair, Kinnock,...

The flair you described in British electoral system is by design to ensure the rule of the crown, neo-feudal minions, nobility & "novo-nobility" with an appearance of consent. The "redistricting" in Britain is similar to US & different in the sense that is permanent (contradiction in terms) due to the the immigration- & social mobility differences.

Also, Scotland, one of Labor's main bastions, is sick & tired of the waiting to reform the Albion and understandably just wants to separate their ways. I observe, but do not judge, the fact of the matter being that the vote of the majority of Britain's doesn't count towards determining the rule of the land. Similar to a LOT of countries but dissimilar in the sense that their ruling class uses the "voting spectacle" as a public patch to lecture the others about democracy (electoral college) & human rights (Assange torture).

Amir -> Jack... , 16 December 2019 at 05:06 AM
You are right in the sense that Corbyn was not firm enough to get ride of the Trojan Blairites. He needed to be less compromising and at least "market" (whether to deliver or not, is another matter) a more radical solution as Boarish Johnson did: E.g. a terrorist act happens on London bridge, by a Jihadist - on parole (??) during election time - under Israel-Firster Priti Patel & Corbyn gets the blame!? Conservatives were in power and run the prisons and the judiciary. Corbyn missed the necessary viciousness and was weak, considering he did not make a HUGE scandal out of this with Johnson being weak on terrorism (which is true, as we all know that MI-5/6 exports Jihadists to Syria and runs NGO's to the benefit of Jihadis).
English Outsider -> Amir... , 14 December 2019 at 08:48 PM

On a "two tier" or "multi tier" EU, that is a possibility sometimes mentioned. I recollect it was mentioned by the German Ambassador at a talk he gave a while ago, and there is sometimes press reference to the idea. It would get over the Target 2 problem and also make the problem of fiscal transfer less urgent.

The question is, how would one get to two tier? Last time I looked the Target 2 balances were around a trillion and represented one half of Germany's foreign assets. The Southern countries couldn't pay that back and the German public would not accept, I think, half their foreign assets being written off.

This is the problem with the EU. It's not a single unified country. Nor is it merely a loose trading association. It's half way between the two and it is forced to keep moving towards further unification simply because remaining as it is is untenable.

But moving either way is difficult too. There are the populist movements that either threaten the integrity of the EU or at least hold it back from further unification. There are the structural problems of the EZ that could only be resolved by further unification. And that resolution would require the taxpayers in the richer countries to pay far more to the poorer countries. Certainly in Germany that would prove politically difficult.

Brussels has committed itself to fast track further unification. It looks to me like someone on ice having to run faster and faster to keep his balance. That view might be coloured by the fact that I like neither the political side of the EU nor its effect on the peripheral countries, but it's important to recognise that in addition to the financial bubble problems all Western countries or entities face, the EU/EZ has deep structural problems that will not be easy to resolve.

Seamus Padraig said in reply to Amir... , 15 December 2019 at 07:12 AM
Well, Corbyn grew Labour between in 2015-2017, before outing himself as a closet-Remainer. After that, he lost it all between 2017-2019.

On the second point, you are quite correct: far from ridding Labour of its "Friends of Israel" wing, he actually allowed them to force him to rid Labour of his own pro-Palestinian allies!

Any way you slice it, Corbyn was just weak and pathetic.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/475891-corbyn-general-election-destroyed/

[Dec 15, 2019] Resolution - Craig Murray

Dec 15, 2019 | craigmurray.org.uk

It is very difficult to collect my thoughts into something coherent after four hours sleep in the last 48 hours, but these are heads of key issues to be developed later.

I have no doubt that the Johnson government will very quickly become the most unpopular in UK political history. The ultra-hard Brexit he is pushing will not be the panacea which the deluded anticipate. It will have a negative economic impact felt most keenly in the remaining industry of the Midlands and North East of England. Deregulation will worsen conditions for those fortunate enough to have employment, as will further benefits squeezes. Immigration will not in practice reduce; what will reduce are the rights and conditions for the immigrants.

Decaying, left-behind towns will moulder further. The fishing industry will very quickly be sold down the river in trade negotiations with the EU – access to fishing (and most of the UK fishing grounds are Scottish) is one of the few decent offers Boris has to make to the EU in seeking market access. His Brexit deal will take years and be overwhelmingly fashioned to benefit the City of London.

There is zero chance the Conservatives will employ a sizeable number of extra nurses: they just will not be prepared to put in the money. They will employ more policemen. In a couple of years time they will need them for widespread riots. They will not build any significant portion of the hospitals or other infrastructure they promised. They most certainly will do nothing effective about climate change. These were simply dishonest promises. The NHS will continue to crumble with more and more of its service provision contracted out, and more and more of its money going into private shareholders' pockets (including many Tory MPs).

The disillusionment will be on the same scale as Johnson's bombastic promises. The Establishment are not stupid and realise there will be an anti-Tory reaction. Their major effort will therefore be to change Labour back into a party supporting neo-liberal economic policy and neo-conservative foreign (or rather war) policy. They will want to be quite certain that, having seen off the Labour Party's popular European style social democratic programme with Brexit anti-immigrant fervour, the electorate have no effective non-right wing choice at the next election, just like in the Blair years.

To that end, every Blairite horror has been resurrected already by the BBC to tell us that the Labour Party must now move right – McNicol, McTernan, Campbell, Hazarayika and many more, not to mention the platforms given to Caroline Flint, Ruth Smeeth and John Mann. The most important immediate fight for radicals in England is to maintain Labour as a mainstream European social democratic party and resist its reversion to a Clinton style right wing ultra capitalist party. Whether that is possible depends how many of the Momentum generation lose heart and quit.

Northern Ireland is perhaps the most important story of this election, with a seismic shift in a net gain of two seats in Belfast from the Unionists, plus the replacement of a unionist independent by the Alliance Party. Irish reunification is now very much on the agenda. The largesse to the DUP will be cut off now Boris does not need them.

For me personally, Scotland is the most important development of all. A stunning result for the SNP. The SNP result gave them a bigger voter share in Scotland than the Tories got in the UK. So if Johnson got a "stonking mandate for Brexit", as he just claimed in his private school idiom, the SNP got a "stonking mandate" for Independence.

I hope the SNP learnt the lesson that by being much more upfront about Independence than in the disastrous "don't mention Independence" election of 2017, the SNP got spectacularly better results.

I refrained from criticising the SNP leadership during the campaign, even to the extent of not supporting my friend Stu Campbell when he was criticised for doing so (and I did advise him to wait until after election day). But I can say now that the election events, which are perfect for promoting Independence, are not necessarily welcome to the gradualists in the SNP. A "stonking mandate" for Independence and a brutal Johnson government treating Scotland with total disrespect leaves no room for hedge or haver. The SNP needs to strike now, within weeks not months, to organise a new Independence referendum with or without Westminster agreement.

If we truly believe Westminster has no right to block Scottish democracy, we need urgently to act to that effect and not just pretend to believe it. Now the election is over, I will state my genuine belief there is a political class in the SNP, Including a minority but significant portion of elected politicians, office holders and staff, who are very happy with their fat living from the devolution settlement and who view any striking out for Independence as a potential threat to their personal income.

You will hear from these people we should wait for EU trade negotiations, for a decision on a section 30, for lengthy and complicated court cases, or any other excuse to maintain the status quo, rather than move their well=paid arses for Independence. But the emergency of the empowered Johnson government, and the new mandate from the Scottish electorate, require immediate and resolute action. We need to organise an Independence referendum with or without Westminster permission, and if successful go straight for UDI. If the referendum is blocked, straight UDI it is, based on the four successive election victory mandates.

With this large Tory majority, there is nothing the SNP MPs can in practice achieve against Westminster. We should now withdraw our MPs from the Westminster Parliament and take all actions to paralyse the union. This is how the Irish achieved Independence. We will never get Independence by asking Boris Johnson nicely. Anyone who claims to believe otherwise is a fool or a charlatan.

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[Dec 14, 2019] Blairites backstab Corbin: 80% of the MPs, local councillors, Union Officers and party officials were put there by the Blairites and are almost impossible to remove from the offices in which they have enormous potential influence.

Dec 14, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Dec 13 2019 17:15 utc | 75

Corbyn's defeat was entirely due to the treachery of the engrained leadership of the Labour Party.

While the membership is generally radical and socialist, 80% of the MPs, local councillors, Union Officers and party officials were put there by the Blairites and are almost impossible to remove from the offices in which they have enormous potential influence.
Corbyn was in an almost impossible position but his mistake was, characteristically, to assume a higher degree of good will and loyalty to the 'cause' than most MPs, careerists, contemptuous of ordinary people and desperate for the approval-in a society which is famous for its social snobbery- of the ruling Establishment.

It is significant that, whereas Johnson expelled dozens of MPs from the Tory party, Labour expelled only one-Chris Williamson on the basis of an obviously idiotic charge of antisemitism on his part.

Sometimes left wing winners have to be ready to fight to the death to secure the mandates they are given and in doing so to damage the opposition. In this case the Blairites.

Sometimes betraying the working class and the poor takes the form of refusing to be ruthless.

The irony is that Corbyn is by far the longest standing critic of the EU in British public life, as the Blairites very quickly charged when the referendum on the EU (" a highly democratic organisation" in Laguerre's astonishing judgement) was won by the 'wrong side'. And in 2017 he campaigned on the promise to 'get Brexit done". It was only out of a refusal to confront the Remainers, including most of his Shadow Cabinet, that the hybrid policy to implement the Blairite Peoples Vote was adopted.
I imagine that the Remainers in the Labour Party and the Blairites of every sort will be saddened by the public's renewed mandate for Brexit, but their dominant emotion will be euphoria that the left was defeated, neo-liberalism still reins unchallenged and imperialism maintained in British Foreign Policy.

If the Labour Party now sticks to its principles it will purge itself of its Fifth Columns and use the breathing space before the next election to re-organise itself as a socialist party.

To do this it needs firstly, to establish a newspaper, secondly to build a Youth wing, thirdly to institute a national system of political education so that every member understands what socialism is and takes a part in its construction. And fourthly that Labour becomes the organising focus for both Unions organising the unorganised and social movements defending tenants, the poor, disabled and vulnerable.

But this is all very unlikely, the party structure is biassed against democracy, it is almost impossible to impose the will of the membership on the people who run the party. And ought to be run out of it.

JC was crucified, by authority of the Empire, at the urging of the Israeli authorities in Jerusalem and with the invaluable assistance of corrupt traitors among his own people

[Dec 13, 2019] Who Are The Globalists And What Do They Want

Dec 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

I get the question often, though one would think it's obvious - Who are these "globalists" we refer to so much in the liberty movement? Sometimes the request comes from honest people who only want to learn more. Sometimes it comes from disinformation agents attempting to mire discussion on the issue with assertions that the globalists "don't exist". The answer to the question can be simple and complex at the same time. In order to understand who the globalists are, we first have to understand what they want.

We talk a lot about the "globalists" because frankly, their agenda has become more open than ever in the past ten years. There was a time not long ago when the idea of the existence of "globalists" was widely considered "conspiracy theory". There was a time when organizations like the Bilderberg Group did not officially exist and the mainstream media rarely ever reported on them. There was a time when the agenda for one world economy and a one world government was highly secretive and mentioned only in whispers in the mainstream. And, anyone who tried to expose this information to the public was called a "tinfoil hat wearing lunatic".

Today, the mainstream media writes puff-pieces about the Bilderberg Group and even jokes about their secrecy. When members of Donald Trump's cabinet, Mike Pompeo and Jared Kushner, attended Bilderberg in 2019, the mainstream media was wallpapered with the news .

When the World Government Summit meets each year in Dubai, attended by many of the same people that attend Bilderberg as well as shady mainstream icons and gatekeepers like Elon Musk and Neil deGrasse Tyson, they don't hide their discussions or their goals, they post them on YouTube .

I remember when talking about the US dollar being dethroned and replaced with a new one world currency system and a cashless society controlled by the IMF was treated as bizarre theory. Now it's openly called for by numerous leaders in the financial industry and in economic governance . The claim that these things are "conspiracy theory" no longer holds up anymore. In reality, the people who made such accusations a few years ago now look like idiots as the establishment floods the media with information and propaganda promoting everything the liberty movement has been warning about.

The argument on whether or not a globalist agenda "exists" is OVER. The liberty movement and the alternative media won that debate, and through our efforts we have even forced the establishment into admitting the existence of some of their plans for a completely centralized global system managed by them. Now, the argument has changed. The mainstream doesn't really deny anymore that the globalists exist; they talk about whether or not the globalist agenda is a good thing or a bad thing.

First , I would point out the sheer level of deception and disinformation used by the globalists over the past several decades. This deceptions is designed to maneuver the public towards accepting a one world economy and eventually one world governance . If you have to lie consistently to people about your ideology in order to get them to support it, then there must be something very wrong with your ideology.

Second , the establishment may be going public with their plans for globalization, but they aren't being honest about the consequences for the average person. And, there are many misconceptions out there, even in the liberty movement, about what exactly these people want.

So, we need to construct a list of globalist desires vs globalist lies in order to define who we are dealing with. These are the beliefs and arguments of your run-of-the-mill globalist:

Centralization

A globalist believes everything must be centralized, from finance to money to social access to production to government. They argue that centralization makes the system "more fair" for everyone, but in reality they desire a system in which they have total control over every aspect of life. Globalists, more than anything, want to dominate and micro-manage every detail of civilization and socially engineer humanity in the image they prefer.

One World Currency System And Cashless Society

As an extension of centralization, globalists want a single currency system for the world. Not only this, but they want it digitized and easy to track. Meaning, a cashless society in which every act of trade by every person can be watched and scrutinized. If trade is no longer private, preparation for rebellion becomes rather difficult. When all resources can be manged and restricted to a high degree at the local level, rebellion would become unthinkable because the system becomes the parent and provider and the source of life. A one world currency and cashless system would be the bedrock of one world governance. You cannot have one without the other.

One World Government

Globalists want to erase all national borders and sovereignty and create a single elite bureaucracy, a one world empire in which they are the "philosopher kings" as described in Plato's Republic.

As Richard N. Gardner, former deputy assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations under Kennedy and Johnson, and a member of the Trilateral Commission, wrote in the April, 1974 issue of the Council on Foreign Relation's (CFR) journal Foreign Affairs (pg. 558) in an article titled 'The Hard Road To World Order' :

" In short, the 'house of world order' will have to be built from the bottom up rather than from the top down. It will look like a great 'booming, buzzing confusion,' to use William James' famous description of reality, but an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than the old-fashioned frontal assault."

This system would be highly inbred, though they may continue to give the masses the illusion of public participation and "democracy" for a time. Ultimately, the globalists desire a faceless and unaccountable round table government, a seat of power which acts as an institution with limited liability, much like a corporation, and run in the same sociopathic manner without legitimate public oversight. In the globalist world, there will be no redress of grievances.

Sustainability As Religion

Globalists often use the word "sustainability" in their white papers and agendas, from Agenda 21 to Agenda 2030. Environmentalism is the facade they employ to guilt the population into supporting global governance, among other things. As I noted in my recent article 'Why Is The Elitist Establishment So Obsessed With Meat' , fake environmentalism and fraudulent global warming "science" is being exploited by globalists to demand control over everything from how much electricity you can use in your home, to how many children you can have, to how much our society is allowed to manufacture or produce, to what you are allowed to eat.

The so-called carbon pollution threat, perhaps the biggest scam in history, is a key component of the globalist agenda. As the globalist organization The Club Of Rome, a sub-institution attached to the United Nations, stated in their book 'The First Global Revolution' :

" In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes. and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself."

In other words, by presenting human beings as a species as the great danger, the globalists hope to convince humanity to sublimate itself before the mother earth goddess and beg to be kept in line. And, as the self designated "guardians" of the Earth, the elites become the high priests of the new religion of sustainability. They and they alone would determine who is a loyal servant and who is a heretic. Carbon pollution becomes the new "original sin"; everyone is a sinner against the Earth, for everyone breaths and uses resources, and we must all do our part to appease the Earth by sacrificing as much as possible, even ourselves.

The elites don't believe in this farce, they created it. The sustainability cult is merely a weapon to be used to dominate mass psychology and make the populace more malleable.

Population Control

Globalists come from an ideological background which worships eugenics – the belief that genetics must be controlled and regulated, and those people they deem to be undesirables must be sterilized or exterminated.

The modern eugenics movement was launched by the Rockefeller Foundation in the early 1900's in America , and was treated a a legitimate scientific endeavor for decades. Eugenics was taught in schools and even celebrated at the World's Fair. States like California that adopted eugenics legislation forcefully sterilized tens of thousands of people and denied thousands of marriage certificates based on genetics. The system was transferred to Germany in the 1930's were it gained world renown for its inherent brutality.

This ideology holds that 4% or less of the population is genetically worthy of leadership, and the elites conveniently assert that they represent part of that genetic purity.

After WWII the public developed a distaste for the idea of eugenics and population control, but under the guise of environmentalism the agenda is making a comeback, as population reduction in the name of "saving the Earth" is in the mainstream media once again . The Question then arises - Who gets to decide who lives and who dies? Who gets to decide who is never born? And, how will they come to their decisions? No doubt a modern form of eugenics will be presented as the "science" used to "fairly" determine the content of the population if the elites get their way.

Narcissistic Sociopathy

It is interesting that the globalists used to present the 4% leadership argument in their eugenics publications, because 4% of the population is also consistent with the number of people who have inherent sociopathy or narcissistic sociopathy , either in latent or full-blown form, with 1% of people identified as full blown psychopaths and the rest as latent. Coincidence?

The behavior of the globalists is consistent with the common diagnosis of full-blown narcopaths, a condition which is believed to be inborn and incurable. Narcopaths (pyschopaths) are devoid of empathy and are often self obsessed. They suffer from delusions of grandeur and see themselves as "gods" among men. They believe other lowly people are tools to be used for their pleasure or to further their ascendance to godhood. They lie incessantly as a survival mechanism and are good at determining what people want to hear. Narcopaths feel no compassion towards those they harm or murder, yet crave attention and adoration from the same people they see as inferior. More than anything, they seek the power to micro-manage the lives of everyone around them and to feed off those people like a parasite feeds off a host victim.

Luciferianism

It is often argued by skeptics that psychopaths cannot organize cohesively, because such organizations would self destruct. These people simply don't know what they're talking about. Psychopaths throughout history organize ALL THE TIME, from tyrannical governments to organized crime and religious cults. The globalists have their own binding ideologies and methods for organization. One method is to ensure benefits to those who serve the group (as well as punishments for those who stray). Predators often work together as long as there is ample prey. Another method is the use of religious or ideological superiority; making adherents feel like they are part of an exclusive and chosen few destined for greatness.

This is a highly complicated issue which requires its own essay to examine in full. I believe I did this effectively in my article 'Luciferians: A Secular Look At A Destructive Globalist Belief System' . Needless to say, this agenda is NOT one that globalists are willing to admit to openly very often, but I have outlined extensive evidence that luciferianism is indeed the underlying globalist cult religion. It is essentially an ideology which promotes moral relativism, the worship of the self and the attainment of godhood by any means necessary – which fits perfectly with globalism and globalist behavior.

It is also the only ideological institution adopted by the UN , through the UN's relationship with Lucis Trust, also originally called Lucifer Publishing Company . Lucis Trust still has a private library within the UN building today .

So, now that we know the various agendas and identifiers of globalists, we can now ask "Who are the globalists?"

The answer is – ANYONE who promotes the above agendas, related arguments, or any corporate or political leader who works directly with them. This includes presidents that claim to be anti-globalist while also filling their cabinets with people from globalist organizations.

To make a list of names is simple; merely study the membership rosters of globalists organizations like the Bilderberg Group, the Council On Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, Tavistock Institute, the IMF, the BIS, World Bank, the UN, etc. You will find a broad range of people from every nation and every ethnicity ALL sharing one goal – A world in which the future for every other person is dictated by them for all time; a world in which freedom is a memory and individual choice is a commodity only they have the right to enjoy.

* * *

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[Dec 02, 2019] A bunch of neocons in key positions in Trump administration really represents a huge threat to world peace

Notable quotes:
"... No. My point was it's very misleading. Misleading to set the parameters of discussion on U.S. posture toward Russia in such a way as to assume that Putin's actions against a purported Russian "democracy" have anything at all to do with USian antagonism of Russia. I'm sure you'll note current U.S. military cooperation with that boisterous hotbed of democratic activity, Saudi Arabia, in Yemen. Our allies in the house of Saud require help in defending their democratic way of life against the totalitarianism of Yemeni tribes, you see. The U.S. opposes anti-democratic forces whenever and where ever it can, especially in the Middle East. I guess that explains USian antipathy to Russia. ..."
Oct 28, 2016 | crookedtimber.org
Howard Frank in this blog provides a good example of Vichy left thinking...

Howard Frant 10.26.16 at 6:19 am 73

Stephen @58

Howard Frant 10.26.16 at 6:19 am ( )

Stephen @58

Yes, it was late and I was tired, or I wouldn't have said something so foolish. Still, the point is that after centuries of constant war, Europe went 70 years without territorial conquest. That strikes me as a significant achievement, and one whose breach should not be taken lightly.

phenomenal cat @64

So democratic structures have to be robust and transparent before we care about them? I'd give a pretty high value to an independent press and contested elections. Those have been slowly crushed in Russia. The results for transparency have not been great. Personally, I don't believe that Ukraine is governed by fascists, or that Ukraine shot down that jetliner, but I'm sure a lot of Russians do.

Russian leaders have always complained about "encirclement," but we don't have to believe them. Do you really believe Russia's afraid of an attack from Estonia? Clearly what Putin wants is to restore as much of the old Soviet empire as possible. Do you think the independence of the Baltic states would be more secure or less secure if they weren't members of NATO? (Hint: compare to Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova.)

phenomenal cat 10.26.16 at 6:55 pm 84

"So democratic structures have to be robust and transparent before we care about them?"

No. My point was it's very misleading. Misleading to set the parameters of discussion on U.S. posture toward Russia in such a way as to assume that Putin's actions against a purported Russian "democracy" have anything at all to do with USian antagonism of Russia. I'm sure you'll note current U.S. military cooperation with that boisterous hotbed of democratic activity, Saudi Arabia, in Yemen. Our allies in the house of Saud require help in defending their democratic way of life against the totalitarianism of Yemeni tribes, you see. The U.S. opposes anti-democratic forces whenever and where ever it can, especially in the Middle East. I guess that explains USian antipathy to Russia.

"I'd give a pretty high value to an independent press and contested elections."

Yeah, it'd be interesting to see what the U.S. looked like with those dynamics in place.

"Those have been slowly crushed in Russia. The results for transparency have not been great."

If you say so. For now I'll leave any decisions or actions taken on these outcomes to Russian citizens. I would, however, kindly tell Victoria Nuland and her ilk to fuck off with their senile Cold War fantasies, morally bankrupt, third-rate Great Game machinations, and total spectrum dominance sociopathy.

"Personally, I don't believe that Ukraine is governed by fascists, or that Ukraine shot down that jetliner, but I'm sure a lot of Russians do."

There's definitely some of 'em hanging about, but yeah it mostly seems to be a motley assortment of oligarchs, gangsters, and grifters tied into international neoliberal capital and money flows. No doubt Russian believe a lot things. I find Americans tend to believe a lot things as well.

[Dec 02, 2019] The Vichy left – essentially people who are ready to sacrifice all principles to ensure their own prosperity

Notable quotes:
"... Pretty consistent, I agree. IMHO Sanjait might belong to the category that some people call the "Vichy left" – essentially people who are ready to sacrifice all principles to ensure their 'own' prosperity and support the candidate who intends to protect it, everybody else be damned. ..."
"... Very neoliberal approach if you ask me. Ann Rand would probably be proud for this representative of "creative class". ..."
"... Essentially the behavior that we've had for the last 8 years with the king of "bait and switch". ..."
Oct 24, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Sanjait -> Sandwichman ... October 24, 2016 at 10:35 AM

Some paranoid claptrap to go along with your usual anti intellectualism.

Interestingly, with your completely unrelated non sequitur, you've actually illustrated something that does relate to Krugmans post. Namely that there are wingnuts among us. They've taken over the Republican Party, but the left has some too. Fortunately though the Democratic Party hasn't been taken over by them yet, and is still mostly run by grown ups.

Sandwichman -> Sanjait... , October 24, 2016 at 10:42 AM

I am confident that what you say here is consistent with your methods and motivations.
likbez -> Sandwichman ...
"I am confident that what you say here is consistent with your methods and motivations."

Pretty consistent, I agree. IMHO Sanjait might belong to the category that some people call the "Vichy left" – essentially people who are ready to sacrifice all principles to ensure their 'own' prosperity and support the candidate who intends to protect it, everybody else be damned.

Very neoliberal approach if you ask me. Ann Rand would probably be proud for this representative of "creative class".

Essentially the behavior that we've had for the last 8 years with the king of "bait and switch".

[Dec 01, 2019] Neoliberalism Tells Us We're Selfish Souls How Can We Promote Other Identities by Christine Berry,

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... As the Gramscian theorists Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau observed, our political identities are not a 'given' – something that emerges directly from the objective facts of our situation. We all occupy a series of overlapping identities in our day-to-day lives – as workers or bosses, renters or home-owners, debtors or creditors. Which of these define our politics depends on political struggles for meaning and power. ..."
"... The architects of neoliberalism understood this process of identity creation. By treating people as selfish, rational utility maximisers, they actively encouraged them to become selfish, rational utility maximisers. As the opening article points out, this is not a side effect of neoliberal policy, but a central part of its intention. As Michael Sandel pointed out in his 2012 book 'What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets' , it squeezes out competing values that previously governed non-market spheres of life, such as ethics of public service in the public sector, or mutual care within local communities. But these values remain latent: neoliberalism does not have the power to erase them completely. This is where the hope for the left lies, the crack of light through the doorway that needs to be prised open. ..."
"... More generally, there is some evidence that neoliberalism didn't really succeed in making us see ourselves as selfish rational maximisers – just in making us believe that everybody else was . For example, a 2016 survey found that UK citizens are on average more oriented towards compassionate values than selfish values, but that they perceive others to be significantly more selfish (both than themselves and the actual UK average). Strikingly, those with a high 'self-society gap' were found to be less likely to vote and engage in civic activity, and highly likely to experience feelings of cultural estrangement. ..."
"... Perhaps a rational system is one that accepts selfishness but keeps it within limits. Movements like the Chicago school that pretend to reinvent the wheel with new thinking are by this view a scam. As J.K. Galbraith said: "the problem with their ideas is that they have been tried." ..."
"... They tried running an economy on debt in the 1920s. The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics. ..."
"... Keynes looked at the problems of the debt based economy and came up with redistribution through taxation to keep the system running in a sustainable way and he dealt with the inherent inequality capitalism produced. ..."
"... Neoliberalism, which has influenced so much of the conventional thinking about money, is adamant that the public sector must not create ('print') money, and so public expenditure must be limited to what the market can 'afford.' Money, in this view, is a limited resource that the market ensures will be used efficiently. Is public money, then, a pipe dream? No, for the financial crisis and the response to it undermined this neoliberal dogma. ..."
"... The financial sector mismanaged its role as a source of money so badly that the state had to step in and provide unlimited monetary backing to rescue it. The creation of money out of thin air by public authorities revealed the inherently political nature of money. But why, then, was the power to create money ceded to the private sector in the first place -- and with so little public accountability? ..."
Nov 01, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Lambert here: Not sure the soul is an identity, but authors don't write the headlines. Read on!

By Christine Berry, a freelance researcher and writer and was previously Director of Policy and Government for the New Economics Foundation. She has also worked at ShareAction and in the House of Commons. Originally published at Open Democracy .

"Economics is the method: the object is to change the soul." Understanding why Thatcher said this is central to understanding the neoliberal project, and how we might move beyond it. Carys Hughes and Jim Cranshaw's opening article poses a crucial challenge to the left in this respect. It is too easy to tell ourselves a story about the long reign of neoliberalism that is peopled solely with all-powerful elites imposing their will on the oppressed masses. It is much harder to confront seriously the ways in which neoliberalism has manufactured popular consent for its policies.

The left needs to acknowledge that aspects of the neoliberal agenda have been overwhelmingly popular: it has successfully tapped into people's instincts about the kind of life they want to lead, and wrapped these instincts up in a compelling narrative about how we should see ourselves and other people. We need a coherent strategy for replacing this narrative with one that actively reconstructs our collective self-image – turning us into empowered citizens participating in communities of mutual care, rather than selfish property-owning individuals competing in markets.

As the Gramscian theorists Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau observed, our political identities are not a 'given' – something that emerges directly from the objective facts of our situation. We all occupy a series of overlapping identities in our day-to-day lives – as workers or bosses, renters or home-owners, debtors or creditors. Which of these define our politics depends on political struggles for meaning and power.

Part of the job of politics – whether within political parties or social movements – is to show how our individual problems are rooted in systemic issues that can be confronted collectively if we organise around these identities. Thus, debt becomes not a source of shame but an injustice that debtors can organise against. Struggles with childcare are not a source of individual parental guilt but a shared societal problem that we have a shared responsibility to tackle. Podemos were deeply influenced by this thinking when they sought to redefine Spanish politics as 'La Casta' ('the elite') versus the people, cutting across many of the traditional boundaries between right and left.

The architects of neoliberalism understood this process of identity creation. By treating people as selfish, rational utility maximisers, they actively encouraged them to become selfish, rational utility maximisers. As the opening article points out, this is not a side effect of neoliberal policy, but a central part of its intention. As Michael Sandel pointed out in his 2012 book 'What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets' , it squeezes out competing values that previously governed non-market spheres of life, such as ethics of public service in the public sector, or mutual care within local communities. But these values remain latent: neoliberalism does not have the power to erase them completely. This is where the hope for the left lies, the crack of light through the doorway that needs to be prised open.

The Limits of Neoliberal Consciousness

In thinking about how we do this, it's instructive to look at the ways in which neoliberal attempts to reshape our identities have succeeded – and the ways they have failed. While Right to Buy might have been successful in identifying people as home-owners and stigmatising social housing, this has not bled through into wider support for private ownership. Although public ownership did become taboo among the political classes for a generation – far outside the political 'common sense' – polls consistently showed that this was not matched by a fall in public support for the idea. On some level – perhaps because of the poor performance of privatised entities – people continued to identify as citizens with a right to public services, rather than as consumers of privatised services. The continued overwhelming attachment to a public NHS is the epitome of this tendency. This is partly what made it possible for Corbyn's Labour to rehabilitate the concept of public ownership, as the 2017 Labour manifesto's proposals for public ownership of railways and water – dismissed as ludicrous by the political establishment – proved overwhelmingly popular.

More generally, there is some evidence that neoliberalism didn't really succeed in making us see ourselves as selfish rational maximisers – just in making us believe that everybody else was . For example, a 2016 survey found that UK citizens are on average more oriented towards compassionate values than selfish values, but that they perceive others to be significantly more selfish (both than themselves and the actual UK average). Strikingly, those with a high 'self-society gap' were found to be less likely to vote and engage in civic activity, and highly likely to experience feelings of cultural estrangement.

This finding points towards both the great conjuring trick of neoliberal subjectivity and its Achilles heel: it has successfully popularised an idea of what human beings are like that most of us don't actually identify with ourselves. This research suggests that our political crisis is caused not only by people's material conditions of disempowerment, but by four decades of being told that we can't trust our fellow citizens. But it also suggests that deep down, we know this pessimistic account of human nature just isn't who we really are – or who we aspire to be.

An example of how this plays out can be seen in academic studies showing that, in game scenarios presenting the opportunity to free-ride on the efforts of others, only economics students behaved as economic models predicted: all other groups were much more likely to pool their resources. Having been trained to believe that others are likely to be selfish, economists believe that their best course of action is to be selfish as well. The rest of us still have the instinct to cooperate. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising: after all, as George Monbiot argues in 'Out of the Wreckage' , cooperation is our species' main survival strategy.

What's Our 'Right to Buy?'

The challenge for the left is to find policies and stories that tap into this latent sense of what makes us human – what Gramsci called 'good sense' – and use it to overturn the neoliberal 'common sense'. In doing so, we must be aware that we are competing not only with a neoliberal identity but also with a new far-right that seeks to promote a white British ethno-nationalist group identity, conflating 'elites' with outsiders. How we compete with this is the million dollar question, and it's one we have not yet answered.

Thatcher's use of flagship policies like the Right to Buy was a masterclass in this respect. Deceptively simple, tangible and easy to grasp, the Right to Buy also communicated a much deeper story about the kind of nation we wanted to be – one of private, property-owning individuals – cementing home-ownership as a cultural symbol of aspiration (the right to paint your own front door) whilst giving millions an immediate financial stake in her new order. So what might be the equivalent flagship policies for the left today?

Perhaps one of the strongest efforts to date has been the proposal for ' Inclusive Ownership Funds ', first developed by Mathew Lawrence in a report for the New Economics Foundation, and announced as Labour policy by John McDonnell in 2018. This would require companies to transfer shares into a fund giving their workers a collective stake that rises over time and pays out employee dividends. Like the Right to Buy, as well as shifting the material distribution of wealth and power, this aims to build our identity as part of a community of workers taking more collective control over our working lives.

But this idea only takes us so far. While it may tap into people's desire for more security and empowerment at work, more of a stake in what they do, it offers a fairly abstract benefit that only cashes out over time, as workers acquire enough of a stake to have a meaningful say over company strategy. It may not mean much to those at the sharpest end of our oppressive and precarious labour market, at least not unless we also tackle the more pressing concerns they face – such as the exploitative practices of behemoths like Amazon or the stress caused by zero-hours contracts. We have not yet hit on an idea that can compete with the transformative change to people's lives offered by the Right to Buy.

So what else is on the table? Perhaps, when it comes to the cutting edge of new left thinking on these issues, the workplace isn't really where the action is – at least not directly. Perhaps we need to be tapping into people's desire to escape the 'rat race' altogether and have more freedom to pursue the things that really make us happy – time with our families, access to nature, the space to look after ourselves, connection with our communities. The four day working week (crucially with no loss of pay) has real potential as a flagship policy in this respect. The Conservatives and the right-wing press may be laughing it down with jokes about Labour being lazy and feckless, but perhaps this is because they are rattled. Ultimately, they can't escape the fact that most people would like to spend less time at work.

Skilfully communicated, this has the potential to be a profoundly anti-neoliberal policy that conveys a new story about what we aspire to, individually and as a society. Where neoliberalism tapped into people's desire for more personal freedom and hooked this to the acquisition of wealth, property and consumer choice, we can refocus on the freedom to live the lives we truly want. Instead of offering freedom through the market, we can offer freedom from the market.

Proponents of Universal Basic Income often argue that it fulfils a similar function of liberating people from work and detaching our ability to provide for ourselves from the marketplace for labour. But in material terms, it's unlikely that a UBI could be set at a level that would genuinely offer people this freedom, at least in the short term. And in narrative terms, UBI is actually a highly malleable policy that is equally susceptible to being co-opted by a libertarian agenda. Even at its best, it is really a policy about redistribution of already existing wealth (albeit on a bigger scale than the welfare state as it stands). To truly overturn neoliberalism, we need to go beyond this and talk about collective ownership and creation of wealth.

Policies that focus on collective control of assets may do a better job of replacing a narrative about individual property ownership with one that highlights the actual concentration of property wealth in the hands of elites – and the need to reclaim these assets for the common good. As well as Inclusive Ownership Funds, another way of doing this is through Citizens' Wealth Funds, which socialise profitable assets (be it natural resources or intangible ones such as data) and use the proceeds to pay dividends to individuals or communities. Universal Basic Services – for instance, policies such as free publicly owned buses – may be another.

Finally, I'd like to make a plea for care work as a critical area that merits further attention to develop convincing flagship policies – be it on universal childcare, elderly care or support for unpaid carers. The instinctive attachment that many of us feel to a public NHS needs to be widened to promote a broader right to care and be cared for, whilst firmly resisting the marketisation of care. Although care is often marginalised in political debate, as a new mum, I'm acutely aware that it is fundamental to millions of people's ability to live the lives they want. In an ageing population, most people now have lived experience of the pressures of caring for someone – whether a parent or a child. By talking about these issues, we move the terrain of political contestation away from the work valued by the market and onto the work we all know really matters; away from the competition for scarce resources and onto our ability to look after each other. And surely, that's exactly where the left wants it to be.

This article forms part of the " Left governmentality" mini series for openDemocracy.

Carolinian , November 1, 2019 at 12:36 pm

The problem is that people are selfish–me included–and so what is needed is not better ideas about ourselves but better laws. And for that we will need a higher level of political engagement and a refusal to accept candidates who sell themselves as a "lesser evil." It's the decline of democracy that brought on the rise of Reagan and Thatcher and Neoliberalism and not some change in public consciousness (except insofar as the general public became wealthier and more complacent). In America incumbents are almost universally likely to be re-elected to Congress and so they have no reason to reject Neoliberal ideas.

So here's suggesting that a functioning political process is the key to reform and not some change in the PR.

Angie Neer , November 1, 2019 at 12:42 pm

Carolinian, like you, I try to include myself in statements about "the problem with people." I believe one of the things preventing progress is our tendency to believe it's only those people that are the problem.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 1, 2019 at 4:55 pm

Human nature people are selfish. It's like the Christian marriage vow – which I understand is a Medieval invention and not something from 2,000 years ago – for better or worse, meaning, we share (and are not to be selfish) the good and the bad.

"Not neoliberals, but all of us." "Not the right, but the left as well." "Not just Russia, but America," or "Not just America, but Russia too."

Carolinian , November 1, 2019 at 5:54 pm

Perhaps a rational system is one that accepts selfishness but keeps it within limits. Movements like the Chicago school that pretend to reinvent the wheel with new thinking are by this view a scam. As J.K. Galbraith said: "the problem with their ideas is that they have been tried."

The Rev Kev , November 1, 2019 at 8:06 pm

My small brain got stuck on your reference to a 'Christian marriage vow'. I was just sitting back and conceiving what a Neoliberal marriage vow would sound like. Probably a cross between a no-liabilities contract and an open-marriage agreement.

Carey , November 1, 2019 at 9:05 pm

"people are selfish"?; or "people can sometimes act selfishly"? I think the latter is the more accurate statement. Appeal to the better side, and more of it will be forthcoming.
Neolib propaganda appeals to trivial, bleak individualism..

Carolinian , November 2, 2019 at 9:14 am

I'm not sure historic left attempts to appeal to "the better angels of our nature" have really moved the ball much. It took the Great Depression to give us a New Deal and WW2 to give Britain the NHS and the India its freedom. I'd say events are in the saddle far more than ideas.

Mark Anderlik , November 2, 2019 at 10:58 am

I rather look at it as a "both and" rather than an "either or." If the political groundwork is not done beforehand and during, the opportunity events afford will more likely be squandered.

And borrowing from evolutionary science, this also holds with the "punctuated equilibrium" theory of social/political change. The strain of a changed environment (caused by both events and intentionally created political activity) for a long time creates no visible change to the system, and so appears to fail. But then some combination of events and conscious political work suddenly "punctuates the equilibrium" with the resulting significant if not radical changes.

Chile today can be seen as a great example of this: "Its not 30 Pesos, its 30 Years."

J4Zonian , November 2, 2019 at 4:40 pm

Carolinian, you provide a good illustration of the power of the dominant paradigm to make people believe exactly what the article said–something I've observed more than enough to confirm is true. People act in a wide variety of ways; but many people deny that altruism and compassion are equally "human nature". Both parts of the belief pointed out here–believing other people are selfish and that we're not–are explained by projection acting in concert with the other parts of this phenomenon. Even though it's flawed because it's only a political and not a psychological explanation, It's a good start toward understanding.

"You and I are so deeply acculturated to the idea of "self" and organization and species that it is hard to believe that man [sic] might view his [sic] relations with the environment in any other way than the way which I have rather unfairly blamed upon the nineteenth-century evolutionists."

Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, p 483-4
This is part of a longer quote that's been important to me my whole life. Worth looking up. Bateson called this a mistake in epistemology–also, informally, his definition of evil.
http://anomalogue.com/blog/category/systems-thinking/

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."
― Frédéric Bastiat

Doesn't mean it's genetic. In fact, I'm pretty sure it means it's not.

Capital fn 4 , November 1, 2019 at 1:11 pm

The desire for justice is the constant.

The Iron Lady once proclaimed, slightly sinisterly: "Economics is the method. The object is to change the soul." She meant that British people had to rediscover the virtue of traditional values such as hard work and thrift. The "something for nothing" society was over.

But the idea that the Thatcher era re-established the link between virtuous effort and just reward has been effectively destroyed by the spectacle of bankers driving their institutions into bankruptcy while being rewarded with million-pound bonuses and munificent pensions.

The dual-truth approach of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (thanks, Mirowski) has been more adept at manipulating narratives so the masses are still outraged by individuals getting undeserved social benefits rather than elites vacuuming up common resources. Thanks to the Thatcher-Reagan revolution, we have ended up with socialism for the rich, and everyone else at the mercy of 'markets'.

Pretending that there are not problems with free riders is naive and it goes against people's concern with justice. Acknowledging free riders on all levels with institutions that can constantly pursue equity is the solution.

Anarcissie , November 2, 2019 at 10:09 am

At some points in life, everyone is a free rider. As for the hard workers, many of them are doing destructive things which the less hard-working people will have to suffer under and compensate for. (Neo)liberalism and capitalism are a coherent system of illusions of virtue which rest on domination, exploitation, extraction, and propaganda. Stoking of resentment (as of free riders, the poor, the losers, foreigners, and so on) is one of the ways those who enjoy it keep it going.

Capital fn. 4 , November 1, 2019 at 1:16 pm

The desire for justice is the constant.

The Iron Lady once proclaimed, slightly sinisterly: "Economics is the method. The object is to change the soul." She meant that British people had to rediscover the virtue of traditional values such as hard work and thrift. The "something for nothing" society was over.

But the idea that the Thatcher era re-established the link between virtuous effort and just reward has been effectively destroyed by the spectacle of bankers driving their institutions into bankruptcy while being rewarded with million-pound bonuses and munificent pensions.

The dual-truth approach of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (thanks, Mirowski) has been more adept at manipulating narratives so the masses are still outraged by individuals getting undeserved social benefits rather than elites vacuuming up common resources. Thanks to the Thatcher-Reagan revolution, we have ended up with socialism for the rich, and everyone else at the mercy of 'markets'.

Pretending that there are not problems with free riders is naive and it goes against people's concern with justice. Acknowledging free riders on all levels with institutions that can constantly pursue equity is the solution.

Synoia , November 2, 2019 at 12:58 pm

The Iron Lady had a agenda to break the labor movement in the UK.

What she did not understand is Management gets the Union (Behavior) it deserves. If there is strife in the workplace, as there was in abundance in the UK at that time, the problem is the Management, (and the UK class structure) not the workers.

As I found out when I left University.

Thatcher set out to break the solidarity of the Labor movement, and used the neo-liberal tool of selfishness to achieve success, unfortunately,

The UK's poor management practices, (The Working Class can kiss my arse) and complete inability to form teams of "Management and Workers" was, IMHO, is the foundation of today's Brexit nightmare, a foundation based on the British Class Structure.

And exploited, as it ever was, to achieve ends which do not benefit workers in any manner.

The Historian , November 1, 2019 at 1:43 pm

The left needs to acknowledge that aspects of the neoliberal agenda have been overwhelmingly popular: it has successfully tapped into people's instincts about the kind of life they want to lead, and wrapped these instincts up in a compelling narrative about how we should see ourselves and other people.

Sigh, no this is not true. This author is making the mistake that everyone is like the top 5% and that just is not so. Perhaps she should get out of her personal echo chamber and talk to common people.

In my travels I have been to every state and every major city, and I have worked with just about every class of people, except of course the ultra wealthy and ultra powerful – they have people to protect them from the great unwashed like me – and it didn't take me long to notice that the elite are different from the rest of us but I could never explain exactly why. After I retired, I started studying and I've examined everything from Adam Smith, to Hobbes, to Kant, to Durkheim, to Marx, to Ayn Rand, to tons of histories and anthropologies of various peoples, to you name it and I've come to the conclusion that most of us are not neoliberal and do not want what the top 5% want.

Most people are not overly competitive and most do not seek self-interest only. That is what allows us to live in cities, to drive on our roadways, to form groups that seek to improve conditions for the least of us. It is what allows soldiers to protect each other on the battlefield when it would be in their self interest to protect themselves. It is what allowed people in Europe to risk their own lives to save Jews. And it is also what allows people to live under the worst dictators without rebelling. Of course we all want more but we have limits on what we will do to get that more – the wealthy and powerful seem to have no limits. For instance, most of us won't screw over our co-workers to make ourselves look better, although some will. Most of us won't turn on our best friends even when it would be to our advantage to do so, although some will. Most of us won't abandon those we care about, even when it means severe financial damage to us, although some will.

For lack of a better description, I call what the 5% have the greed gene – a gene that allows them to give up empathy and compassion and basic morality – what some of us call fairness – in the search for personal gain. I don't think it is necessarily genetic but there is something in their makeup that cause them to have more than the average self interest. And because most humans are more cooperative than they are competitive, most humans just allow these people to go after what they want and don't stand in their way, even though by stopping them, they could make their own lives better.

Most history and economics are theories and stories told by the rich and powerful to justify their behavior. I think it is a big mistake to attribute that behavior to the mass of humanity. Archeology is beginning to look more at how average people lived instead of seeking out only the riches deposited by the elite, and historians are starting to look at the other side of history – average people – to see what life was really like for them, and I think we are seeing that what the rulers wanted was never what their people wanted. It is beginning to appear obvious that 95% of the people just wanted to live in their communities safely, to have about what everyone else around them had, and to enjoy the simple pleasures of shelter, enough food, and warm companionship.

I'm also wondering why the 5% think that all of us want exactly what they want. Do they really think that they are somehow being smarter or more competent got them there while 95% of the population – the rest of us – failed?

At this point, I know my theory is half-baked – I definitely need to do more research, but nothing I have found yet convinces me that there isn't some real basic difference between those who aspire to power and wealth and the rest of us.

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 5:09 pm

" ..and I've come to the conclusion that most of us are not neoliberal and do not want what the top 5% want. Most people are not overly competitive and most do not seek self-interest only. That is what allows us to live in cities, to drive on our roadways, to form groups that seek to improve conditions for the least of us. It is what allows soldiers to protect each other on the battlefield when it would be in their self interest to protect themselves. "

I really liked your comment Historian. Thanks for posting. That's what I've felt in my gut for a while, that the top 5% and the establishment are operating under a different mindset, that the majority of people don't want a competitive, dog eat dog, self interest world.

SKM , November 1, 2019 at 5:52 pm

me too, great observation and well put. Made me feel better too! Heartfelt thanks

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 8:00 pm

I agree with Foy Johnson. I've been reading up on Ancient Greece and realizing all the time that 'teh Greeks' are maybe only about thirty percent of the people in Greece. Most of that history is how Greeks were taking advantage of each other with little mention of the majority of the population. Pelasgians? Yeah, they came from serpents teeth, the end.

I think this is a problem from the Bronze Age that we have not properly addressed.

Mystery Cycles are a nice reminder that people were having fun on their own.

Carey , November 1, 2019 at 5:15 pm

Thanks very much for this comment, Historian.

deplorado , November 1, 2019 at 5:22 pm

I have more or less the same view. I think the author's statement about neoliberalism tapping into what type of life people want to lead is untenable. Besides instinct (are we all 4-year olds?), what people want is also very much socially constructed. And what people do is also very much socially coerced.

One anecdote: years ago, during a volunteer drive at work, I worked side by side with the company's CEO (company was ~1200 headcount, ~.5bn revenue) sorting canned goods. The guy was doing it like he was in a competition. So much so that he often blocked me when I had to place something on the shelves, and took a lot of space in the lineup around himself while swinging his large-ish body and arms, and wouldn't stop talking. To me, this was very rude and inconsiderate, and showed a repulsive level of disregard to others. This kind of behavior at such an event, besides being unpleasant to be around, was likely also making work for the others in the lineup less efficient. Had I or anyone else behaved like him, we would have had a good amount of awkwardness or even a conflict.

What I don't get is, how does he and others get away with it? My guess is, people don't want a conflict. I didn't want a conflict and said nothing to that CEO. Not because I am not competitive, but because I didn't want an ugly social situation (we said 'excuse me' and 'sorry' enough, I just didn't think it would go over well to ask him to stop being obnoxious and dominant for no reason). He obviously didn't care or was unaware – or actually, I think he was behaving that way as a tactical habit. And I didn't feel I had the authority to impose a different order.

So, in the end, it's about power – power relations and knowing what to do about it.

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 7:43 pm

Yep, I think you've nailed it there deplorado, types like your CEO don't care at all and/or are socially unaware, and is a tactical habit that they have found has worked for them in the past and is now ingrained. It is a power relation and our current world unfortunately is now designed and made to suit people like that. And each day the world incrementally moves a little bit more in their direction with inertia like a glacier. Its going to take something big to turn it around

Jeremy Grimm , November 1, 2019 at 6:49 pm

I too believe "most of us are not neoliberal". But if so, how did we end up with the kind of Corporate Cartels, Government Agencies and Organizations that currently prey upon Humankind? This post greatly oversimplifies the mechanisms and dynamics of Neoliberalism, and other varieties of exploitation of the many by the few. This post risks a mocking tie to Identity Politics. What traits of Humankind give truth to Goebbels' claims?

There definitely is "some real basic difference between those who aspire to power and wealth and the rest of us" -- but the question you should ask next is why the rest of us Hobbits blindly follow and help the Saurons among us. Why do so many of us do exactly what we're told? How is it that constant repetition of the Neoliberal identity concepts over our media can so effectively ensnare the thinking of so many?

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 7:47 pm

Maybe it's something similar to Milgram's Experiment (the movie the Experimenter about Milgram was on last night – worth watching and good acting by Peter Sarsgaard, my kind of indie film), the outcome is just not what would normally be expected, people bow to authority, against their own beliefs and interests, and others interests, even though they have choice. The Hobbits followed blindly in that experiment, the exact opposite outcome as to what was predicted by the all the psychology experts beforehand.

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 8:12 pm

people bow to authority , against their own beliefs and interests, and others interests, even though they have choice

'Don't Make Waves' is a fundamentally useful value that lets us all swim along. This can be manipulated. If everyone is worried about Reds Under the Beds or recycling, you go along to get along.

Some people somersault to Authority is how I'd put it.

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 11:17 pm

Yep, don't mind how you put that Mo, good word somersault.

One of the amusing tests Milgram did was to have people go into the lift but all face the back of the lift instead of the doors and see what happens when the next person got in. Sure enough, with the next person would get in, face the front, look around with some confusion at everyone else and then slowly turn and face the back. Don't Make Waves its instinctive to let us all swim along as you said.

And 'some people' is correct. It was actually the majority, 65%, who followed directions against their own will and preferred choice in his original experiment.

susan the Other , November 1, 2019 at 8:07 pm

thank you, historian

The Rev Kev , November 1, 2019 at 8:14 pm

That's a pretty damn good comment that, Historian. Lots to unpick. It reminded me too of something that John Wyndham once said. He wrote how about 95% of us wanted to live in peace and comfort but that the other 5% were always considering their chances if they started something. He went on to say that it was the introduction of nuclear weapons that made nobody's chances of looking good which explains why the lack of a new major war since WW2.

Mr grumpy , November 1, 2019 at 9:56 pm

Good comment. My view is that it all boils down to the sociopathic personality disorder. Sociopathy runs on a continuum, and we all exhibit some of its tendencies. At the highest end you get serial killers and titans of industry, like the guy sorting cans in another comment. I believe all religions and theories of ethical behavior began as attempts to reign in the sociopaths by those of us much lower on the continuum. Neoliberalism starts by saying the sociopaths are the norm, turning the usual moral and ethical universe upside down.

Janie , November 1, 2019 at 11:59 pm

Your theory is not half-baked; it's spot-on. If you're not the whatever it takes, end justifies the means type, you are not likely to rise to the top in the corporate world. The cream rises to the top happens only in the dairy.

Grebo , November 2, 2019 at 12:25 am

Your 5% would correspond to Altemeyer's "social dominators". Unfortunately only 75% want a simple, peaceful life. 20% are looking for a social dominator to follow. It's psychological.

Kristin Lee , November 2, 2019 at 5:21 am

Excellent comment. Take into consideration the probability that the majority of the top 5% have come from a privileged background, ensconced in a culture of entitlement. This "greed" gene is as natural to them as breathing. Consider also that many wealthy families have maintained their status through centuries of calculated loveless marriages, empathy and other human traits gene-pooled out of existence. The cruel paradox is that for the sake of riches, they have lost their richness in character.

Davenport , November 2, 2019 at 7:57 am

This really chimes with me. Thanks so much for putting it down in words.

I often encounter people insisting humans are selfish. It is quite frustrating that this more predominant side of our human nature seems to become invisible against the propaganda.

Henry Moon Pie , November 1, 2019 at 1:49 pm

I'm barely into Jeremy Lent's The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning , but he's already laid down his central thesis in fairly complete form. Humans are both competitive and cooperative, he says, which should surprise no one. What I found interesting is that the competitive side comes from primates who are more intensely competitive than humans. The cooperation developed after the human/primate split and was enabled by "mimetic culture," communication skills that importantly presuppose that the object(s) of communication are intentional creatures like oneself but with a somewhat different perspective. Example: Human #1 gestures to Human #2 to come take a closer look at whatever Human #1 is examining. This ability to cooperate even came with strategies to prevent a would-be dominant male from taking over a hunter-gatherer band:

[I]n virtually all hunter-gatherer societies, people join together to prevent powerful males from taking too much control, using collective behaviors such as ridicule, group disobedience, and, ultimately, extreme sanctions such as assassination [This kind of society is called] a "reverse dominant hierarchy because rather than being dominated, the rank and file manages to dominate.

SKM , November 1, 2019 at 6:02 pm

yes, this chimes in with what I`ve been thinking for years after puzzling about why society everywhere ends up as it does – ie the fact that in small groups as we evolved to live in, we would keep a check on extreme selfish behaviour of dominant individuals. In complex societies (modern) most of us become "the masses" visible in some way to the system but the top echelons are not visible to us and are able to amass power and wealth out of all control by the rest of us. And yes, you do have to have a very strange drive (relatively rare, ?pathological) to want power and wealth at everyone else`s expense – to live in a cruel world many of whose problems could be solved (or not arise in the first place) by redistributing some of your wealth to little palpable cost to you

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 8:37 pm

Africa over a few million years of Ice Ages seems to have presented our ancestors with the possibility of reproducing only if you can get along in close proximity to other Hominids without killing each other. I find that a compelling explanation for our stupidly big brains; it's one thing to be a smart monkey, it's a whole different solution needed to model what is going on in the brain of another smart monkey.

And communications: How could spoken language have developed without levels of trust and interdependence that maybe we can not appreciate today? We have a word for 'Blue' nowadays, we take it for granted.

Anarcissie , November 2, 2019 at 10:18 am

There is a theory that language originated between mothers and their immediate progeny, between whom either trust and benevolence exist, or the weaker dies. The mother's chances for survival and reproduction are enhanced if she can get her progeny to, so to speak, help out around the house; how to do that is extended by symbolism and syntax as well as example.

chuck roast , November 1, 2019 at 2:00 pm

I recall the first day of Econ 102 when the Prof. (damned few adjuncts in those days) said, "Everything we discuss hereafter will be built on the concept of scarcity." Being a contrary buggah' I thought, "The air I'm breathing isn't scarce." I soon got with the program supply and demand upward sloping, downward sloping, horizontal, vertical and who could forget kinked. My personal favorite was the Giffen Good a high priced inferior product. Kind of like Micro Economics.

Maybe we could begin our new Neo-Economics 102 with the proviso, "Everything we discuss hereafter will be based on abundance." I'm gonna' like this class!

Off The Street , November 1, 2019 at 2:27 pm

Neo-lib Econ does a great job at framing issues so that people don't notice what is excluded. Think of them as proto-Dark Patternists.

If you are bored and slightly mischievous, ask an economist how theory addresses cooperation, then assume a can opener and crack open a twist-top beer.

jrs , November 1, 2019 at 3:11 pm

Isn't one of the problems that it's NOT really built on the concept of scarcity? Most natural resources run into scarcity eventually. I don't know about the air one breaths, certainly fish species are finding reduced oxygen in the oceans due to climate change.

shtove , November 2, 2019 at 3:45 am

Yes, I suppose people in cities in south-east Asia wearing soot-exclusion masks have a different take on the abundance of air.

Jeremy Grimm , November 1, 2019 at 6:57 pm

If you would like that class on abundance you would love the Church of Abundant Life which pushes Jesus as the way to Abundant Life and they mean that literally. Abundant as in Jesus wants you to have lots of stuff -- so believe.

I believe Neoliberalism is a much more complex animal than an economic theory. Mirowski builds a plausible argument that Neoliberalism is a theory of epistemology. The Market discovers Truth.

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 8:53 pm

"The air I'm breathing isn't scarce."

Had a lovely Physics class where the first homework problem boiled down to "How often do you inhale a atom (O or N) from Julius Caesar's last breath". Great little introduction to the power and pratfalls of 'estimations by Physicists' that xkcd likes to poke at. Back then we used the CRC Handbook to figure it out.

Anyway, every second breath you can be sure you have shared an atom with Caesar.

Susan the Other , November 1, 2019 at 2:08 pm

I don't think Maggie T. or uncle Milty were thinking about the future at all. Neither one would have openly promoted turfing quadriplegic 70-year-olds out of the rest home. That's how short sighted they both were. And stupid. We really need to call a spade a spade here. Milty doesn't even qualify as an economist – unless economics is the study of the destruction of society. But neoliberalism had been in the wings already, by the 80s, for 40 years. Nobody took into account that utility-maximizing capitalism always kills the goose (except Lenin maybe) – because it's too expensive to feed her. The neoliberals were just plain dumb. The question really is why should we stand for another day of neoliberal nonsense? Albeit Macht Frei Light? No thanks. I think they've got the question backwards – it shouldn't be how should "we" reconstruct our image now – but what is the obligation of all the failed neoliberal extractors to right society now? I'd just as soon stand back and watch the dam burst as help the neolibs out with a little here and a little there. They'll just keep taking as long as we give. This isn't as annoying as Macron's "cake" comment, but it's close. I did like the last 2 paragraphs however.

Susan the Other , November 1, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Here's a sidebar. A universal one. There is an anomaly in the universe – there is not enough accumulated entropy. It screws up theoretical physics because the missing entropy needs to be accounted for for their theories to work to their satisfaction. It seems to be a phenomenon of evolution. Thus it was recently discovered by a physics grad student that entropy by heat dissipation is the "creator" of life. Life almost spontaneously erupts where it can take advantage of an energy source. And, we are assuming, life thereby slows entropy down. There has to be another similar process among the stars and the planets as well, an evolutionary conservation of energy. So evolution takes on more serious meaning. From the quantum to the infinite. And society – it's right in the middle. So it isn't too unreasonable to think that society is extremely adaptable, taking advantage of any energy input, and it seems true to think that. Which means that society can go long for its goal before it breaks down. But in the end it will be enervated by lack of "resources" unless it can self perpetuate in an evolving manner. That's one good reason to say goodbye to looney ideologies.

djrichard , November 1, 2019 at 3:05 pm

For a view of humanity that is not as selfish, recommend "The Gift" by Marcel Mauss. Basically an anthropological study of reciprocal gift giving in the oceanic potlatch societies. My take is that the idea was to re-visit relationships, as giving a gift basically forces a response in the receiver, "Am I going to respond in kind, perhaps even upping what is required? Or am I going to find that this relationship simply isn't worth it and walk away?"

Kind of like being in a marriage. The idea isn't to walk away, the idea is you constantly need to re-enforce it. Except with the potlatch it was like extending that concept to the clan at large, so that all the relationships within the clan were being re-enforced.

Amfortas the hippie , November 1, 2019 at 3:26 pm

"Kind of like being in a marriage. The idea isn't to walk away, the idea is you constantly need to re-enforce it. "
amen.
we, the people, abdicated.

as for humans being selfish by default i used to believe this, due to my own experiences as an outlaw and pariah.
until wife's cancer and the overwhelming response of this little town,in the "reddest" congressional district in texas.
locally, the most selfish people i know are the one's who own everything buying up their neighbor's businesses when things get tough.
they are also the most smug and pretentious(local dems, in their hillforts come a close second in this regard) and most likely to be gop true believers.
small town and all everybody literally knows everybody, and their extended family and those connections are intertwined beyond belief.
wife's related, in some way, to maybe half the town.
that matters and explains my experience as an outcast: i never belonged to anything like that and such fellowfeeling and support is hard for people to extend to a stranger.
That's what's gonna be the hard sell, here, in undoing the hyperindividualist, "there is no such thing as society" nonsense.

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 9:23 pm

I grew up until Junior High in a fishing village on the Maine coast that had been around for well over a hundred years and had a population of under 1000. By the time I was 8 I realized there was no point in being extreme with anyone, because they were likely to be around for the rest of your life.

I fell in love with sun and warmth when we moved away and unfortunately it's all gentrified now, by the 90s even a tar paper shack could be sold for a few acres up in Lamoine.

djrichard , November 1, 2019 at 10:49 pm

Yep, small towns are about as close as we get to clans nowadays. And just like clans, you don't want to be on the outside. Still when you marry in, it would be nice if the town would make you feel more a member like a clan should / would. ;-)

But outside of the small town and extended families I think that's it. We've been atomized into our nuclear families. Except for the ruling class – I think they have this quid pro quo gift giving relationship building figured out quite nicely. Basically they've formed their own small town – at the top.

By the way, I understand Mauss was an influence on Baudrillard. I could almost imagine Baudrillard thinking how the reality of the potlatch societies was so different than the reality of western societies.

Anarcissie , November 2, 2019 at 10:29 am

That's the big problem I see in this discussion. We know, or at least think we know, what's wrong, and what would be better; but we can't get other people to want to do something about it, even those who nominally agree with us. And I sure don't have the answer.

David , November 1, 2019 at 3:07 pm

Neoliberalism, in its early guise at least, was popular because politicians like Thatcher effectively promised something for nothing. Low taxes but still decent public services. The right to buy your council house without putting your parents' council house house in jeopardy. Enjoying private medical care as a perk of your job whilst still finding the NHS there when you were old and sick. And so on. By the time the penny dropped it was too late.
If the Left is serious about challenging neoliberalism, it has to return to championing the virtues of community, which it abandoned decades ago in favour of extreme liberal individualism Unfortunately, community is an idea which has either been appropriated by various identity warriors (thus fracturing society further) or dismissed (as this author does) because it's been taken up by the Right. A Left which explained that when everybody cooperates everybody benefits, but that when everybody fights everybody loses, would sweep the board.

deplorado , November 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm

>>Neoliberalism, in its early guise at least, was popular because politicians like Thatcher effectively promised something for nothing.

This. That's it.

Thank you David, for always providing among the most grounded and illuminating comments here.

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 9:54 pm

If the Left is serious about challenging neoliberalism, it has to return to championing the virtues of community

I agree. The tenuous suggestions offered by the article are top down. But top-down universal solutions can remove the impetus for local organization. Which enervates the power of communities. And then you can't do anything about austerity, because your Rep loves the PowerPoints and has so much money from the Real Estate community.

Before one experiences the virtue, or power, of a community, one has to go through the pain in the ass of contributing to a community. It has to be rewarding process or it won't happen.

No idea how to do that from the top.

Capital fn. 4 , November 1, 2019 at 3:12 pm

Jeez louise-
one more attempt to get past Skynet

PKMKII , November 1, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Anyone have a link to the studies mentioned about how Econ majors were the only ones to act selfishly in the game scenarios?

Rod , November 2, 2019 at 3:30 pm

this may not get the ECON majors specifically but this will raise your eyebrows

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/embark-essay-tragedy-of-the-commons-greed-common-good/

this is next gen coming up here

Summer , November 1, 2019 at 5:33 pm

"An example of how this plays out can be seen in academic studies showing that, in game scenarios presenting the opportunity to free-ride on the efforts of others, only economics students behaved as economic models predicted: all other groups were much more likely to pool their resources. Having been trained to believe that others are likely to be selfish, economists believe that their best course of action is to be selfish as well. The rest of us still have the instinct to cooperate. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising: after all, as George Monbiot argues in 'Out of the Wreckage', cooperation is our species' main survival strategy."

Since so many people believe their job is their identity, would be interssting to know what the job training or jobs were of the "others."

Summer , November 1, 2019 at 5:35 pm

"Ultimately, they can't escape the fact that most people would like to spend less time at work."

And that is a key point!

Carey , November 1, 2019 at 7:39 pm

>so many people believe their job is their identity

Only because the social sphere, which in the medium and long term we *all depend on* to survive, has been debased by 24/7/365 neolib talking points, and their purposeful economic constrictions..

Jeremy Grimm , November 1, 2019 at 7:13 pm

How many people have spent their lives working for the "greater good"? How many work building some transcendental edifice from which the only satisfaction they could take away was knowing they performed a part of its construction? The idea that Humankind is selfish and greedy is a projection promoted by the small part of Humankind that really is selfish and greedy.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 2, 2019 at 4:59 am

Let's work out the basics, this will help.

Where does wealth creation actually occur in the capitalist system?

Nations can do well with the trade, as we have seen with China and Germany, but this comes at other nation's expense.
In a successful global economy, trade should be balanced over the long term.
Keynes was aware of this in the past, and realised surplus nations were just as much of a problem as deficit nations in a successful global economy with a long term future.

Zimababwe has lots of money and it's not doing them any favours. Too much money causes hyper-inflation.
You can just print money, the real wealth in the economy lies somewhere else.
Alan Greenspan tells Paul Ryan the Government can create all the money it wants and there is no need to save for pensions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNCZHAQnfGU
What matters is whether the goods and services are there for them to buy with that money. That's where the real wealth in the economy lies.
Money has no intrinsic value; its value comes from what it can buy.
Zimbabwe has too much money in the economy relative to the goods and services available in that economy. You need wheelbarrows full of money to buy anything.
It's that GDP thing that measures real wealth creation.

GDP does not include the transfer of existing assets like stocks and real estate.
Inflated asset prices are just inflated asset prices and this can disappear all too easily as we keep seeing in real estate.
1990s – UK, US (S&L), Canada (Toronto), Scandinavia, Japan
2000s – Iceland, Dubai, US (2008)
2010s – Ireland, Spain, Greece
Get ready to put Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden and Hong Kong on the list.
They invented the GDP measure in the 1930s, to track real wealth creation in the economy after they had seen all that apparent wealth in the US stock market disappear in 1929.
There was nothing really there.

Now, we can move on further.

The UK's national income accountants can't work out how finance adds any value (creates wealth).
Banks create money from bank loans, not wealth.
https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf
We have mistaken inflating asset prices for creating wealth.

How can banks create wealth with bank credit?
The UK used to know before 1980.
https://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/uploads/monthly_2018_02/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13_53_09.png.e32e8fee4ffd68b566ed5235dc1266c2.png
Before 1980 – banks lending into the right places that result in GDP growth (business and industry, creating new products and services in the economy)
After 1980 – banks lending into the wrong places that don't result in GDP growth (real estate and financial speculation)
What happened in 1979?
The UK eliminated corset controls on banking in 1979 and the banks invaded the mortgage market and this is where the problem starts.

Real estate does make the economy boom, but there is no real wealth creation in inflating asset prices.
What is really happening?
When you use bank credit to inflate asset prices, the debt rises much faster than GDP.
https://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/uploads/monthly_2018_02/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13_53_09.png.e32e8fee4ffd68b566ed5235dc1266c2.png
The bank credit of mortgages is bringing future spending power into today.
Bank loans create money and the repayment of debt to banks destroys money.
https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf
In the real estate boom, new money pours into the economy from mortgage lending, fuelling a boom in the real economy, which feeds back into the real estate boom.
The Japanese real estate boom of the 1980s was so excessive the people even commented on the "excess money", and everyone enjoyed spending that excess money in the economy.
In the real estate bust, debt repayments to banks destroy money and push the economy towards debt deflation (a shrinking money supply).
Japan has been like this for thirty years as they pay back the debts from their 1980s excesses, it's called a balance sheet recession.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk
Bank loans effectively take future spending and bring it in today.
Jam today, penury tomorrow.
Using future spending power to inflate asset prices today is a mistake that comes from thinking inflating asset prices creates real wealth.
GDP measures real wealth creation.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 2, 2019 at 5:37 am

Did you know capitalism works best with low housing costs and a low cost of living? Probably not, you are in the parallel universe of neoliberalism.

William White (BIS, OECD) talks about how economics really changed over one hundred years ago as classical economics was replaced by neoclassical economics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6iXBQ33pBo&t=2485s

He thinks we have been on the wrong path for one hundred years.

Some very important things got lost 100 years ago.

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

"Wait a minute, employees get their money from wages and businesses have to cover high housing costs in wages reducing profit" the CBI

It's all about the economy, and UK businesses will benefit from low housing costs. High housing costs push up wages and reduce profits. Off-shore to make more profit, you can pay lower wages where the cost of living is lower, e.g. China; the US and UK are rubbish.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 2, 2019 at 8:11 am

What was Keynes really doing? Creating a low cost, internationally competitive economy. Keynes's ideas were a solution to the problems of the Great Depression, but we forgot why he did, what he did.

They tried running an economy on debt in the 1920s. The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics.

Keynes looked at the problems of the debt based economy and came up with redistribution through taxation to keep the system running in a sustainable way and he dealt with the inherent inequality capitalism produced.

The cost of living = housing costs + healthcare costs + student loan costs + food + other costs of living

Disposable income = wages - (taxes + the cost of living)

High progressive taxation funded a low cost economy with subsidised housing, healthcare, education and other services to give more disposable income on lower wages.

Employers and employees both win with a low cost of living.

Keynesian ideas went wrong in the 1970s and everyone had forgotten the problems of neoclassical economics that he originally solved.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 2, 2019 at 8:44 am

Economics, the time line:

We thought small state, unregulated capitalism was something that it wasn't as our ideas came from neoclassical economics, which has little connection with classical economics.

On bringing it back again, we had lost everything that had been learned in the 1930s, by which time it had already demonstrated its flaws.

Kristin Lee , November 2, 2019 at 5:54 am

Ultimately, neoliberalism is about privatization and ownership of everything. This is why it's so important to preserve the Common Good, the vital resources and services that support earthly existence. The past 40 years has shown what happens when this falls out of balance. Our value system turns upside down – the sick become more valuable than the healthy, a violent society provides for the prisons-for-profit system and so on. The biggest upset has been the privatization of money creation.

This latest secret bank bailout (not really secret as Dodd-Frank has allowed banks to siphon newly created money from the Fed without Congressional approval. No more public embarrassment that Hank Paulson had to endure.) They are now up to $690 billion PER WEEK while the media snoozes. PPPs enjoy the benefits of public money to seed projects for private gain. The rest of us have to rely on predatory lenders, sinking us to the point of Peak Debt, where private debt can never be paid off and must be cancelled, as it should be because it never should've happened in the first place.

"Neoliberalism, which has influenced so much of the conventional thinking about money, is adamant that the public sector must not create ('print') money, and so public expenditure must be limited to what the market can 'afford.' Money, in this view, is a limited resource that the market ensures will be used efficiently. Is public money, then, a pipe dream? No, for the financial crisis and the response to it undermined this neoliberal dogma.

The financial sector mismanaged its role as a source of money so badly that the state had to step in and provide unlimited monetary backing to rescue it. The creation of money out of thin air by public authorities revealed the inherently political nature of money. But why, then, was the power to create money ceded to the private sector in the first place -- and with so little public accountability? And if money can be created to serve the banks, why not to benefit people and the environment? "

Paul Hirshman , November 2, 2019 at 3:33 pm

The Commons should have a shot at revival as the upcoming generation's desires are outstripped by their incomes and savings. The conflict between desires and reality may give a boost to alternate notions of what's desirable. Add to this the submersion of cities under the waves of our expanding oceans, and one gets yet another concrete reason to think that individual ownership isn't up to the job of inspiring young people.

A Commons of some sort will be needed to undo the cost of generations of unpaid negative externalities. Fossil fuels, constant warfare, income inequality, stupendous idiocy of kleptocratic government these baked in qualities of neo-liberalism are creating a very large, dissatisfied, and educated population just about anywhere one looks. Suburbia will be on fire, as well as underwater. Farmlands will be parched, drenched, and exhausted. Where will Larry Summers dump the garbage?

[Nov 21, 2019] How Neoliberal Thinkers Spawned Monsters They Never Imagined

Highly recommended!
Nov 21, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on November 20, 2019 by Yves Smith By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Political theorist Wendy Brown's latest book, In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West , traces the intellectual roots of neoliberalism and reveals how an anti-democratic project unleashed monsters – from plutocrats to neo-fascists – that its mid-20 th century visionaries failed to anticipate. She joins the Institute for New Economic Thinking to discuss how the flawed blueprint for markets and the less-discussed focus on morality gave rise to threats to democracy and society that are distinct from what has come before.

Lynn Parramore: To many people, neoliberalism is about economic agendas. But your book explores what you describe as the moral aspect of the neoliberal project. Why is this significant?

Wendy Brown: Most critical engagement with neoliberalism focuses on economic policy deregulation, privatization, regressive taxation, union busting and the extreme inequality and instability these generate. However, there is another aspect to neoliberalism, apparent both in its intellectual foundations and its actual roll-out, that mirrors these moves in the sphere of traditional morality. All the early schools of neoliberalism (Chicago, Austrian, Freiburg, Virginia) affirmed markets and the importance of states supporting without intervening in them.

But they also all affirmed the importance of traditional morality (centered in the patriarchal family and private property) and the importance of states supporting without intervening in it. They all supported expanding its reach from the private into the civic sphere and rolling back social justice previsions that conflict with it. Neoliberalism thus aims to de-regulate the social sphere in a way that parallels the de-regulation of markets.

Concretely this means challenging, in the name of freedom, not only regulatory and redistributive economic policy but policies aimed at gender, sexual and racial equality. It means legitimating assertions of personal freedom against equality mandates (and when corporations are identified as persons, they too are empowered to assert such freedom). Because neoliberalism has everywhere carried this moral project in addition to its economic one, and because it has everywhere opposed freedom to state imposed social justice or social protection of the vulnerable, the meaning of liberalism has been fundamentally altered in the past four decades.

That's how it is possible to be simultaneously libertarian, ethnonationalist and patriarchal today: The right's contemporary attack on "social justice warriors" is straight out of Hayek.

LP: You discuss economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek at length in your book. How would you distribute responsibility to him compared to other champions of conservative formulations for how neoliberalism has played out? What were his blind spots, which seem evidenced today in the rise of right-wing forces and angry populations around the world?

WB: Margaret Thatcher thumped Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty and declared it the bible of her project. She studied it, believed it, and sought to realize it. Reagan imbibed a lot of Thatcherism. Both aimed to implement the Hayekian view of markets, morals and undemocratic statism. Both accepted his demonization of society (Thatcher famously quotes him, "there's no such thing") and his view that state policies aimed at the good for society are already on the road to totalitarianism. Both affirmed traditional morality in combination with deregulated markets and attacks on organized labor.

I am not arguing that Hayek is the dominant influence for all times and places of neoliberalization over the past four decades -- obviously the Chicago Boys [Chilean economists of the '70s and '80s trained at the University of Chicago] were key in Latin America while Ordoliberalism [a German approach to liberalism] has been a major influence in the European Union's management of the post-2008 crises. "Progressive neoliberals" and neoliberalized institutions hauled the project in their own direction. But Hayek's influence is critical to governing rationality of neoliberalism in the North and he also happens to be a rich and complex thinker with a fairly comprehensive worldview, one comprising law, family, morality, state, economy, liberty, equality, democracy and more.

The limitations? Hayek really believed that markets and traditional morality were both spontaneous orders of action and cooperation, while political life would always overreach and thus required tight constraints to prevent its interventions in morality or markets. It also needed to be insulated from instrumentalism by concentrated economic interests, from aspiring plutocrats to the masses. The solution, for him, was de-democratizing the state itself. He was, more generally, opposed to robust democracy and indeed to a democratic state. A thriving order in his understanding would feature substantial hierarchy and inequality, and it could tolerate authoritarian uses of political power if they respected liberalism, free markets and individual freedom.

We face an ugly, bowdlerized version of this today on the right. It is not exactly what Hayek had in mind, and he would have loathed the plutocrats, demagogues and neo-fascist masses, but his fingerprints are on it.

LP: You argue that there is now arising something distinct from past forms of fascism, authoritarianism, plutocracy, and conservatism. We see things like images of Italian right groups giving Fascist salutes that have been widely published. Is that merely atavism? What is different?

WB: Of course, the hard right traffics in prior fascist and ultra-racist iconography, including Nazism and the Klan. However, the distinctiveness of the present is better read from the quotidian right than the alt-right.

We need to understand why reaction to the neoliberal economic sinking of the middle and working class has taken such a profoundly anti-democratic form. Why so much rage against democracy and in favor of authoritarian statism while continuing to demand individual freedom? What is the unique blend of ethno-nationalism and libertarianism afoot today? Why the resentment of social welfare policy but not the plutocrats? Why the uproar over [American football player and political activist] Colin Kaepernick but not the Panama Papers [a massive document leak pointing to fraud and tax evasion among the wealthy]? Why don't bankrupt workers want national healthcare or controls on the pharmaceutical industry? Why are those sickened from industrial effluent in their water and soil supporting a regime that wants to roll back environmental and health regulations?

Answers to these questions are mostly found within the frame of neoliberal reason, though they also pertain to racialized rancor (fanned by opportunistic demagogues and our mess of an unaccountable media), the dethronement of white masculinity from absolute rather than relative entitlement, and an intensification of nihilism itself amplified by neoliberal economization.

These contributing factors do not run along separate tracks. Rather, neoliberalism's aim to displace democracy with markets, morals and liberal authoritarian statism legitimates a white masculinist backlash against equality and inclusion mandates. Privatization of the nation legitimates "nativist" exclusions. Individual freedom in a world of winners and losers assaults the place of equality, access and inclusion in understandings of justice.

LP: Despite your view of democratized capitalism as an "oxymoron," you also observe that capitalism can be modulated in order to promote equality among citizens. How is this feasible given the influence of money in politics? What can we do to mitigate the corruption of wealth?

WB: Citizens United certainly set back the project of achieving the political equality required by and for democracy. I wrote about this in a previous book, Undoing the Demos , and Timothy Kuhner offers a superb account of the significance of wealth in politics in Capitalism V. Democracy: Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution . Both of us argue that the Citizens United decision, and the several important campaign finance and campaign speech decisions that preceded it, are themselves the result of a neoliberalized jurisprudence. That is, corporate dominance of elections becomes possible when political life as a whole is cast as a marketplace rather than a distinctive sphere in which humans attempt to set the values and possibilities of common life. Identifying elections as political marketplaces is at the heart of Citizens United.

So does a future for democracy in the United States depend on overturning that decision?

Hardly. Democracy is a practice, an ideal, an imaginary, a struggle, not an achieved state. It is always incomplete, or better, always aspirational. There is plenty of that aspiration afoot these days -- in social movements and in statehouses big and small. This doesn't make the future of democracy rosy. It is challenged from a dozen directions divestment from public higher education, the trashing of truth and facticity, the unaccountability of media platforms, both corporate and social, external influence and trolling, active voter suppression and gerrymandering, and the neoliberal assault on the very value of democracy we've been discussing. So the winds are hardly at democracy's back.


Bruce Bartlett , November 20, 2019 at 10:05 am

I think Milton Friedman was vastly more important than Hayek is shaping the worldview of American conservatives on economic policy. Until Hayek won the Nobel he was virtually forgotten in the US. Don't know about the UK, but his leaving the London School of Economics undoubtedly reduced his influence there. Hayek was very isolated at the University of Chicago even from the libertarians at the Department of Economics, largely due to methodological issues. The Chicago economists thought was really more of as philosopher, not a real economist like them.

Grebo , November 20, 2019 at 3:39 pm

Friedman was working for Hayek, in the sense that Hayek instigated the program that Friedman fronted.

I was amused by a BBC radio piece a couple of years ago in which some City economist was trying to convince us that Hayek was a forgotten genius who we ought to dig up and worship, as if he doesn't already rule the World from his seat at God's right hand.

rd , November 20, 2019 at 10:34 am

A couple of thoughts:

Citizens United: The conservative originalists keep whining about activist judges making up rights, like the "right to privacy" in Roe v. Wade. Yet they were able to come up with Citizens United that gave a whole new class of rights to corporations to effectively give them the rights of individuals (the People that show up regularly in the Constitution, including the opening phrase). If you search the Constitution, "company", "corporation" etc. don't even show up as included in the Constitution. "Commerce" shows up a couple of times, specifically as something regulated by Congress. Citizens United effectively flips the script of the Constitution in giving the companies doing Commerce the ability to regulate Congress. I think Citizen's United is the least conservative ruling that the conservative court could have come up with, bordering on fascism instead of the principles clearly enunciated throughout the Constitution. It is likely to be the "Dred Scott" decision of the 21st century.

2. Neo-liberalism is like Marxism and a bunch of other isms, where the principles look fine on paper until you apply them to real-world people and societies. This is the difference between Thaler's "econs" vs "humans". It works in theory, but not in practice because people are not purely rational and the behavioral aspects of the people and societies throw things out of kilter very quickly. That is a primary purpose of regulation, to be a rational fly-wheel keeping things from spinning out of control to the right or left. Marxism quickly turned into Stalinism in Russia while Friedman quickly turned into massive inequality and Donald Trump in the US. The word "regulate" shows up more frequently in the Constitution than "commerce", or "freedom" (only shows up in First Amendment), or "liberty" (deprivation of liberty has to follow due process of law which is a form of regulation). So the Constitution never conceived of a self-regulating society in the way Hayek and Friedman think things should naturally work – writing court rulings on the neo-liberal approach is a radical activist departure from the Constitution.

voteforno6 , November 20, 2019 at 11:50 am

The foundation was laid for Citizens United long before, I think, when the Supreme Court decided that corporations were essentially people, and that money was essentially speech. It would be nice if some justice started hacking away at those erroneous decisions (along with what they did with the 2nd Amendment in D.C. v Heller .)

BlakeFelix , November 20, 2019 at 12:46 pm

I honestly think the corporations are people was good and the money is speech is terrible. If most of the big corporations were actually treated like people those people would be in jail. They are treated better than people are now. Poor people, anyway. When your corporation is too big not to commit crimes, it's too big and should go in time out at least.

LifelongLib , November 20, 2019 at 1:37 pm

My understanding is that corporate personhood arose as a convenience to allow a corporation to be named as a single entity in legal actions, rather than having to name every last stockholder, officer, employee etc. Unfortunately the concept was gradually expanded far past its usefulness for the rest of us.

Massinissa , November 20, 2019 at 2:36 pm

"If most of the big corporations were actually treated like people those people would be in jail."

Thats part of the problem: Corporations CANNOT be put in jail because they are organizations, not people, but they are given the same 'rights' as people. That is fundamentally part of the problem.

inode_buddha , November 20, 2019 at 4:16 pm

True, but corporations are directed by people who *can* be jailed. Often they are compensated as if they were taking full liability when in fact they face none. I think its long past time to revisit the concept of limited liability.

Allegorio , November 20, 2019 at 9:50 pm

"Limited Liability" is basic to the concept of the corporation. How about some "limited liability" for individuals? The whole point of neo-liberalism is "lawlessness" or the "Law of the Jungle" in unfettered markets. The idea is to rationalize raw power, both over society and the family, the last stand of male dominance, the patriarchy. The women who succeed in this eco-system, eschew the nurturing feminine and espouse the predatory masculine. "We came, we saw, he died." Psychopaths all!

Ford Prefect , November 20, 2019 at 8:11 pm

The executives need to go to jail. Until then, corporate fines are just a cost of doing business and white collar lawbreaking will continue. Blowing up the world's financial system has less legal consequence than doing 80 in a 65 mph zone. Even if they just did civil asset forfeiture on executives based on them having likely committed a crime while in their house and using their money would go along ways to cleaning things up.

The whittling away of white collar crime by need to demonstrate intent beyond reasonable doubt means the executives can just plead incompetence or inattention (while collecting their $20 million after acquittal). Meanwhile, a poor person with a baggie of marijuana in the trunk of their car goes to jail for "possession" where intent does not need to be shown, mere presence of the substance. If they used the same standard of the mere presence of a fraud to be sufficient to jail white collar criminals, there wouldn't be room in the prisons for poor people picked up for little baggies of weed.

Procopius , November 21, 2019 at 8:49 am

Actually, if you research the history, the court DID NOT decide that corporations are people. The decision was made by the secretary to the court, who included the ruling in the headnote to Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 1886. The concept was not considered in the case itself nor in the ruling the judges made. However, it was so convenient for making money that judges and even at least one justice on the supreme court publicized the ruling as if it were an actual legal precedent and have followed it ever since. I am not a lawyer, but I think that ruling could be changed by a statute, whereas Citizens United is going to require an amendment to the constitution. On the other hand, who knows? Maybe the five old, rich, Republican, Catholic Men will rule that it is embedded in the constitution after all. I think it would be worth a try.

Patrick Thornton , November 21, 2019 at 9:11 am

Santa Clara Count v Southern Pacific RR 1886 – SCOTUS Court Reporter Bancroft Davis, a former RR executive, claimed in his headnote summary of the case that the Court had ruled that corporations are entitled to 14th Amendment protections (thus preventing their regulation by an individual state) thus establishing the legal precedent that corporations are "persons" with speech rights. In fact, the Court never made that determination. The result is a legal precedent established by a bit of legal trickery. Buckley v Valeo 1976: giving money to a political campaign=speech. Citizens 2010: no limit on "speech" (money). The 14 amendment was established to protect former slaves and was used by the court instead to protect corporations (property).

New Wafer Army , November 20, 2019 at 2:17 pm

"Neo-liberalism is like Marxism and a bunch of other isms, where the principles look fine on paper until you apply them to real-world people and societies."

Marx analysed 19th Century capitalism; he wrote very little on what type of system should succeed capitalism. This is in distinct contrast to neo-liberalism which had a well plotted path to follow (Mirowski covers this very well). Marxism did not turn into Stalinism; Tsarism turned into Leninism which turned into Stalinism. Marx had an awful lot less to do with it than Tsar Nicholas II.

GramSci , November 20, 2019 at 5:17 pm

+1000. I think it was Tsar Nicholas II who said, L'etat, c'est moi"./s; Lenin just appropriated this concept to implement his idea of "the dictatorship of the proletariat."

JBird4049 , November 20, 2019 at 11:10 pm

IIRC Lenin did warn about Stalin.

J7915 , November 20, 2019 at 11:25 pm

Louis 4 of France is the state, and the state was him.
Lenin is better known, IIRC for identifying capitalists as useful idiots.

Massinissa , November 20, 2019 at 2:33 pm

"Neo-liberalism is like Marxism and a bunch of other isms, where the principles look fine on paper until you apply them to real-world people and societies."

I'm sorry, but this is fundamentally intellectually lazy. Marxism isn't so much a way to structure the world, like Neoliberalism is, but a method of understanding Capitalism and class relations to capitalism.

Edit: I wrote this before I saw New Wafer Army's post since I hadnt refreshed the page since I opened it. They said pretty much what I wanted to say, so kudos to them.

salvo , November 20, 2019 at 2:51 pm

yep, Marx would never have called himself a Marxist :-)

"Marxism" is just a set of analytic tools to describe the capitalist society and power relations

those who consciously call themselves "Marxist" do it clarify their adherence to those tools not to express an ideological position

Anthony K Wikrent , November 20, 2019 at 10:41 am

These critiques of neoliberalism are always welcome, but they inevitably leave me with irritated and dissatisfied with their failure or unwillingness to mention the political philosophy of republicanism as an alternative, or even a contrast.

The key is found in Brown's statement " It also needed to be insulated from instrumentalism by concentrated economic interests, from aspiring plutocrats to the masses. The solution, for him [von Hayek], was de-democratizing the state itself. He was, more generally, opposed to robust democracy and indeed to a democratic state."

Contrast this to Federalist Paper No. 10, Madison's famous discourse on factions. Madison writes that 1) factions always arise from economic interests ["But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property."], and 2) therefore the most important function of government is to REGULATE the clash of these factions ["The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government."

In a very real sense, neoliberalism is an assault on the founding principles of the American republic.

Which should not really surprise anyone, since von Hayek was trained as a functionary of the Austro-Hungarian empire. And who was the first secretary of the Mont Pelerin Society that von Hayen founded to promote neoliberalist doctrine and propaganda? Non other than Max Thurn, of the reactionary Bavarian Thurn und Taxis royal family.

deplorado , November 20, 2019 at 4:02 pm

Thank you for illuminating a deeper viewpoint.

WJ , November 20, 2019 at 9:57 pm

Madison's Federalist 10 is much like Aristotle's Politics and the better Roman historians in correctly tracing back the fundamental tensions in any political community to questions of property and class.

And, much like Aristotle's "mixed regime," Madison proposes that the best way of overcoming these tensions is to institutionalize organs of government broadly representative of the two basic contesting political classes–democratic and oligarchic–and let them hash things out in a way that both are forced to deal with the other. This is a simplification but not a terribly inaccurate one.

The problem though so far as I can tell is that it almost always happens that the arrangement is set up in a way that structurally privileges existing property rights (oligarchy) over social freedoms (democracy) such that the oligarchic class quickly comes to dominate even those governmental organs designed to be "democratic". In other words, I have never seen a theorized republic that upon closer inspection was not an oligarchy in practice.

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 11:15 am

The Progressive Approach in a nutshell:

1) Support welfare for the banks (e.g. deposit guarantees) and the rich (e.g. non-negative yields and interest on the inherently risk-free debt of monetary sovereigns).
2) Seek to regulate the thievery inherent in 1).
3) Bemoan the inevitable rat-race to the bottom when 2) inevitably fails because of unenforceable laws, such as bans on insider trading, red-lining, etc.

Shorter: Progressives ENABLE the injustice they profess, no doubt sincerely at least in some cases, to oppose.

Rather stupid from an engineering perspective, I'd say. Or more kindly, blind.

LifelongLib , November 20, 2019 at 1:55 pm

"welfare banks deposit guarantees"

Don't know about you, but I like being protected from losing all my money if the bank goes under

Arizona Slim , November 20, 2019 at 2:01 pm

Yeah, me too!

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 2:17 pm

I lived in Tucson for a while. Met the love of my life there.

Show some loyalty, gal!

flora , November 20, 2019 at 3:33 pm

+1

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Accounts at the Central Bank are inherently risk-free.

So why may only depository institutions have those?

Hmmm? Violation of equal protection under the law much?

Or would the TRS-80 at the Fed be overloaded otherwise?

LifelongLib , November 20, 2019 at 2:36 pm

I'm fine with the federal government providing basic banking services (which would inherently protect depositors) but your initial post didn't say anything about that. If we continue with a private banking system I want deposit guarantees even if they somehow privilege the banks better than nothing

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 2:53 pm

My apologies for not detailing everything in every comment. :)

Welcome aboard or rather hello brother!

Lambert Strether , November 20, 2019 at 3:02 pm

> your initial post

No biggie, but this is not a board. It's a blog. Here, you are referring to a comment , not the original post authored by Lynn Parramore.

LifelongLib , November 20, 2019 at 3:11 pm

Point taken!

Procopius , November 21, 2019 at 8:59 am

I have read that originally conservatives (including many bankers) opposed deposit insurance because it would lead people to be less careful when they evaluated the banking institution they would entrust with their money. They did not seem to notice that however much diligence depositors used, they ended up losing their life's savings over and over. Just as they do not seem to notice that despite having employer-provided insurance tens of thousands of people every year go bankrupt because of medical bills. Funny how that works.

Massinissa , November 20, 2019 at 2:38 pm

I don't understand how this is linked to progressives when most of what you describe is the neoliberal approach to banks. Could you explain?

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 3:03 pm

See Warren Mosler's Proposals for the Banking System, Treasury, Fed, and FDIC (draft)

Also, government insurance of private liabilities, including privately created liabilities, was instituted under FDR in 1932, iirc.

And I've had innumerable debates with MMT advocates who have stubbornly defended deposit guarantees and other privileges for the banks.

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 3:25 pm

Adding that rather than deposit guarantees, the US government could have expanded the Postal Savings Service to provide the population with what private banks had so miserably failed to provide – the safe storage of their fiat.

JBirc4049 , November 20, 2019 at 11:28 pm

The banking system was failing in 1932, as was the financial system in 2008, not necessarily because of any lack of solvency of an individual business although some were, but because of the lack of faith in the whole system; bank panics meant that every depositor was trying to get their money out at the same time. People lost everything. It is only the faith in the system that enables the use of bits of paper and plastic to work. So having a guarantee in big, bold letters of people's savings is a good idea.

Synoia , November 20, 2019 at 11:37 am

Personally, I see little distance between the Neo Liberal treatment of Market and Naked Greed, coupled with a complete rejection of Rule of Law for the Common Good.

Carla , November 20, 2019 at 11:47 am

I'm disappointed (but not surprised) that

A. Wendy Brown focuses on big money in politics as the biggest threat to democracy without mentioning never-intended corporate constitutional rights.

B. Lynn Parramore does not call her on it.

What a huge missed opportunity. What a fatal blind spot.

https://movetoamend.org/sites/default/files/how_corporate_constitutional_rights_harm_you_your_family_your_community_your_environment_and_your_democracy.pdf

jsn , November 20, 2019 at 1:13 pm

" It means legitimating assertions of personal freedom against equality mandates (and when corporations are identified as persons, they too are empowered to assert such freedom)."

I'm not seeing the blind spot.

Carla , November 20, 2019 at 3:56 pm

The blind spot is her focus on "money as speech" to the exclusion of the constitutional nightmares created by "corporations are people."

To see why this is such an important (and common) error, please see the link I provided.

jsn , November 20, 2019 at 8:04 pm

She didn't write the article you wanted, but specifically addresses "corporations as people." That doesn't make her blind to your concern.

I share your concern, but don't criticize m I my allies for having marginally different priorities.

But that's just me.

David , November 20, 2019 at 12:22 pm

"We need to understand why reaction to the neoliberal economic sinking of the middle and working class has taken such a profoundly anti-democratic form." Really? Does anybody here believe that? This reads like another clumsy attempt to dismiss actual popular anger against neoliberalism in favour of pearl-clutching progressive angst, by associating this anger with the latest target for liberal hate, in this case blah blah patriarchy blah blah. The reality is that liberalism has always been about promoting the freedom of the rich and the strong to do whatever they feel like, whilst keeping the ordinary people divided and under control. That's why Liberals have always hated socialists, who think of the good of the community rather than of the "freedom" of the rich, powerful and well connected.
The "democracy" that is being defended here is traditional elite liberal democracy, full of abstract "rights" that only the powerful can exert, dominated by elite political parties with little to choose between them, and indifferent or hostile to actual freedoms that ordinary people want in their daily lives. Neoliberalism is simply a label for its economic views (that haven't changed much over the centuries) whereas social justice is the label for its social wing (ditto).
I think of this every time I wall home through the local high street, where within thirty metres I pass two elderly eastern European men aggressively begging. (It varies in France, but this is slightly closer than the average for a city). I reflect that twenty years of neoliberal policies in France have given these people freedom of movement, and the freedom to sit there in the rain with no home, no job and no prospects. Oh, and now of course they are free to marry each other.

Tangfwa , November 20, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Bingo

Jeremy Grimm , November 20, 2019 at 1:14 pm

I agree with your analysis and assessment of Wendy Brown, as she is portrayed in her statements in this post. However I quibble your assertion: "Neoliberalism is simply a label for its economic views (that haven't changed much over the centuries) whereas social justice is the label for its social wing (ditto)." The word "Neoliberalism" is indeed commonly used as a label as you assert but Neoliberalism as a philosophy is obscured in that common usage.

At its heart I believe Neoliberalism might best be characterized as an epistemology based on the Market operating as the all knowing arbiter of Truth. Hayek exercises notions of 'freedom' in his writing but I believe freedom is a secondary concern once it is defined in terms of its relation to the decisions of the Market. This notion of the Market as epistemology is completely absent from Wendy Brown's discussion of her work in this post.

Her assertion that "neoliberalism's aim [is] to displace democracy with markets, morals and liberal authoritarian statism legitimates a white masculinist backlash against equality and inclusion mandates" collapses once the Market is introduced as epistemology. Neoliberalism does not care one way or another about any of Wendy Brown's concerns. Once the Market decides -- Truth is known. As a political theorist I am surprised there is no analysis of Neoliberalism as a tool the Elite have used to work their will on society. I am surprised there is no analysis of how the Elites have allowed themselves to be controlled within and even displaced by the Corporate Entities they created and empowered using their tool. I am surprised there is no analysis of the way the Corporate Entities and their Elite have worked to use Neoliberalism to subordinate nation states under a hierarchy driven by the decisions of the World Market.

[I admit I lack the stomach to read Hayek -- so I am basing my opinions on what I understand of Phillip Mirowski's analysis of Neoliberalism.]

David , November 20, 2019 at 5:06 pm

I don't disagree with you: I suppose that having been involved in practical politics rather than being a political theorist (which I have no pretensions to being) I am more interested of the reality of some of these ideas than their theoretical underpinnings. I have managed to slog my way through Slobodian's book, and I think your presentation of Hayek's writing is quite fair: I simply wonder how far it is actually at the origin of the destruction we see around us. I would suggest in fact that, once you have a political philosophy based on the value-maximising individual, rather than traditional considerations of the good of society as a whole, you eventually wind up where we are now, once the constraints of religious belief, fear of popular uprisings , fear of Communism etc. have been progressively removed. It's for that reason that I argue that neoliberalism isn't really new: it represents the essential form of liberalism unconstrained by outside forces – almost a teleological phenomenon which, as its first critics feared, has wound up destroying community, family, industries, social bonds and even – as you suggest – entire nation states.

Jeremy Grimm , November 21, 2019 at 9:10 am

Your response to my comment, in particular your assertion "neoliberalism isn't really new" coupled with your assertion apparently equating Neoliberalism with just another general purpose label for a "political philosophy based on the value-maximizing individual, rather than traditional ", is troubling. When I put your assertions with Jerry B's assertion at 6:58 pm:
" many people over focus on a word or the use of a word and ascribe way to literal view of a word. I tend to view words more symbolically and contextually."
I am left wondering what is left to debate or discuss. If Neoliberalism has no particular meaning then perhaps we should discuss the properties of political philosophies based on the value-maximizing-individual, and even that construct only has meaning symbolically and contextually, which is somehow different than the usual notion of meaning as a denotation coupled with a connotation which is shared by those using a term in their discussion -- and there I become lost from the discussion. I suppose I am too pedantic to deviate from the common usages of words, especially technical words like Neoliberalism.

GramSci , November 20, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Yes, but what is "The Market" but yet another name for "God, Almighty"?
Plus ça change

Massinissa , November 20, 2019 at 5:46 pm

Considering how elites throughout history have used religion as a bulwark to guard their privileges, it should be of no surprise that they are building a new one, only this time they are building one that appeals to the religious and secular alike. Neoliberalism will be very difficult to dismantle.

Susan the Other , November 21, 2019 at 10:23 am

But what ironies we create. Citizens United effectively gave political control to the big corporations. In a time when society has already evolved lots of legislation to limit the power and control of any group and especially in commercial/monopoly cases. So that what CU created was a new kind of "means of production" because what gets "produced" these days is at least 75% imported. The means of production is coming to indicate the means of political control. And that is fitting because ordinary people have become the commodity. Like livestock. So in that sense Marx's view of power relationships is accurate although civilization has morphed. Politics is, more and more, the means of production. The means of finance. Just another reason why we would achieve nothing in this world trying to take over the factories. What society must have now is fiscal control. It will be the new means of production. I'm a dummy. I knew fiscal control was the most important thing, but I didn't quite see the twists and turns that keep the fundamental idea right where it started.

PlutoniumKun , November 20, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Exactly. The writer seems determined to tie in neoliberalism with a broader conservative opposition to modern social justice movements, when in reality neoliberalism (the 'neo' part anyway) was more than happy to co-opt feminism, anti-racism, etc., into its narrative. The more the merrier, as 'rights' became associated entirely with social issues, and not economic rights.

Chip Otle , November 20, 2019 at 4:27 pm

This is the best comment of this thread so far.

NancyBoyd , November 21, 2019 at 1:48 pm

The co-optation neoliberalism has exacted on rights movements has dovetailed nicely with postmodernism's social-constructivism, an anti-materialist stance that posits discourse as shaping the world and one that therefore privileges subjectivity over material reality.

What this means in practice is that "identity" is now a marketplace too, in which individuals are naming their identities as a form of personal corporate branding. That's why we have people labeling themselves like this: demisexual queer femme, on the spectrum, saying hell no to my tradcath roots, into light BDSM, pronouns they/them.

And to prove this identity, the person must purchase various consumer products to garb and decorate themselves accordingly.

So the idea of civil rights has now become utterly consumerist and about awarding those rights based on subjective feelings rather than anything to do with actual material exploitation.

The clue is in the way the words "oppression" and "privilege" are used. Under those words, exploitation, discrimination, disadvantage, and simple dislike are conflated, though they're very different and involve very different remedies.

In this way, politics is drained of politics.

Carey , November 20, 2019 at 1:38 pm

+100 Thank you.

Joe Well , November 20, 2019 at 1:48 pm

The law in its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor from sleeping under bridges and stealing bread = classical Liberalism.

The bizarre thing is to meet younger neoliberal middle class people whom neoliberalism has priced out of major cities, who have hardly any real savings, and who still are on board with the project. The dream dies hard.

Jerry B , November 20, 2019 at 4:21 pm

David – I enjoy reading your comments on NC as they are well reasoned and develop an argument or counter argument. The above comment reads more like a rant. I do not disagree with most of your comment. From my experience with Wendy Brown's writing your statement below is not off base.:

This reads like another clumsy attempt to dismiss actual popular anger against neoliberalism in favour of pearl-clutching progressive angst, by associating this anger with the latest target for liberal hate, in this case blah blah patriarchy blah blah

However, in reading Wendy Brown's comments I did not have the same emotional reaction that comes across in your comment. I have read the post twice to make sure I understand the points Wendy Brown is trying to make and IMO she is "not wrong" either. . I would advise you to not "throw out the baby with the bathwater".

As KLG mentions below, WB is a very successful academic at Berkeley who worked with Sheldon Wolin as a graduate student IIRC (Sheldon Wolin wrote a terrific book entitled Democracy Incorporated), so she is not just some random journalist.

Much of WB's writing has gender themes in it and there are times I think she goes over the top, BUT, IMO there is also some truth to what she is saying. Much of the political power and economic power in the US and the world is held by men so that may be where WB's reference to patriarchy comes in.

How could there be patriarchy with men begging in the streets is a valid point. And that is where I divert with WB, in that the term patriarchy paints with too broad a brush. But speaking specifically to neo-liberalism and not liberalism as you refer to it, that is where WB's reference to patriarchy may have some merit. Yes, there are many exceptions to the neoliberalism and patriarchy connection such as Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, etc., so again maybe painting with too broad a brush, but it would be wise not to give some value.

The sociologist Raewyn Connell has written about the connection between neoliberalism and version of a certain type of masculinity embedded with neoliberalism. Like Wendy Brown, Connell seems to gloss over the examples of Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, and the class based elite bourgeois feminism as counterpoints to neoliberal patriarchy. There are exceptions to every rule.
Women have made enormous strides in politics and the boardroom. But in the halls of political and economic power the majority of the power is still held by men, and until women become close to 50% or more of the seats of power, to ignore the influence of patriarchy/oligarch version of masculinity(or whatever term a person is comfortable with) on neoliberalism would be foolish.

Neoliberalism is simply a label for its economic views (that haven't changed much over the centuries) whereas social justice is the label for its social wing (ditto).

I disagree. IMO, neoliberalism is a different animal than the "traditional elite liberal democracy", and neoliberalism is much darker and as WB mentions "Neoliberalism thus aims to de-regulate the social sphere in a way that parallels the de-regulation of markets".

If you have not I would highly recommend reading Sheldon Wolin's Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism It is an excellent book.

David , November 20, 2019 at 5:23 pm

I haven't read that book by Wolin, though his Politics and Vision is in the bookcase next to me. I'll try to get hold of it. I didn't know she was his student either.
I think the issues she raises about gender are a different question from neoliberalism itself, and that it's not helpful to believe that you can fight neoliberalism by "legitimating assertions of personal freedom against equality mandates" whatever that means. Likewise, it's misleading to suggest that "Privatization of the nation legitimates "nativist" exclusions", since the actual result is the opposite, as you will realise when you see that London buses have the same logo as the ones in Paris, and electricity in the UK is often supplied by a French company, EDF. Indeed, to the extent that there is a connection with "nativism" it is that privatisation has enabled an international network of distant and unaccountable private companies to take away management of national resources and assets from the people. Likewise, neoliberalism is entirely happy to trample over traditional gender roles in the name of efficiency and increasing the number of workers chasing the same job.
In other words, I was irritated (and sorry if I ranted a bit, I try not to) with what I saw as someone who already knows what the answer is, independent of what the question may be. I suspect her analysis of, say, Brexit, would be very similar. I think that kind of person is potentially dangerous.

Jerry B , November 20, 2019 at 6:58 pm

Thanks David.

==I think the issues she raises about gender are a different question from neoliberalism itself==

Again as I said in my comment I would agree in a theoretical sense that gender and neoliberalism are different issues but again I believe there is a thread of gender, i.e. oligarchic patriarchy, of the type of neoliberalism that WB talks about.

===not helpful to believe that you can fight neoliberalism by "legitimating assertions of personal freedom against equality mandates" whatever that means===

What I think that means is the more libertarian version of neoliberalism. That maybe where our differences lie, in that my sense is WB is talking about a specific form of neoliberalism and your view is broader.

===it's misleading to suggest that "Privatization of the nation legitimates "nativist" exclusions"===

On this I see your disagreement with WB and understand your reference to "that privatisation has enabled an international network of distant and unaccountable private companies to take away management of national resources and assets from the people".

Where I think WB is coming from is the more nationalistic, Anglosphere that the Trump administration is pushing with his border wall, etc. In this WB does expose her far left priors but again there is some value in her points. From her far left view my sense it Wendy Brown is reacting to the sense that Trump wants to turn the US into the US of the 1950's and 60's and on many fronts that ship has sailed.

=== Indeed, to the extent that there is a connection with "nativism" it is that privatisation has enabled an international network of distant and unaccountable private companies to take away management of national resources and assets from the people. Likewise, neoliberalism is entirely happy to trample over traditional gender roles in the name of efficiency and increasing the number of workers chasing the same job. ===

Excellent point and having read some of Wendy Brown's books and paper is a point she would agree with while still seeing some patriarchial themes running through neoliberalism. To your point above I would recommend reading some of Cynthia Enloe's work specifically Bananas, Beaches and Bases.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynthia_Enloe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynthia_Enloe#Bananas,_Beaches,_and_Bases

====I think that kind of person is potentially dangerous====

Wow. Dangerous??? Clearly the post has hit a nerve. Many people in our current society are dangerous but IMO Wendy Brown is not one of them. A bit hyperbolic in her focus on gender? Maybe but not wrong. A bit too far left (of the bleeding heart kind)? Maybe. But to call someone who worked for Sheldon Wolin dangerous. C'mon man.

I have gotten into disputes on NC as IMO many people over focus on a word or the use of a word and ascribe way to literal view of a word. I tend to view words more symbolically and contextually. I do not overreact to the use a word and instead try to step back and glean a message or the word in context of what is the person trying to say? So for instance when WB uses the phrase "Privatization of the nation" I am not going to react because my own interpretation is WB is reacting to Trump's nationalism and not to the type of privatization that your example of London shows.

I am disappointed that most of the comments to this post seem to take a critical view of Wendy Brown's comments. Is she a bit too far left and gender focused (identity political) for my tastes? Yes and that somewhat hurts her overall message and the arguments she is trying to discuss which are not unlike her mentor Sheldon Wolin.

Thanks for the reply David. My sense is we have what I call a "positional" debate (i.e. Tastes Great! Less Filling!). And positional debates tend to go nowhere.

Nancy Boyd , November 21, 2019 at 2:22 pm

When WB speaks of gender, note that she then mentions sex, followed by race. By "gender" she is NOT talking about the rights and power of female people under neoliberalism.

She is speaking of the rights of people to claim, that they are the opposite sex and therefore entitled to the rights, set-asides and affirmative discrimination permitted that sex -- for instance, to compete athletically on that sex's sports teams, to be imprisoned if convicted in that sex's prisons, to be considered that sex in instances where sex matters in employment such as a job as a rape counselor or a health care position performing intimate exams where one is entitled to request a same-sex provider, and to apply for scholarships, awards, business loans etc. set aside for that sex.

WB, in addition to being a professor at Berkeley, is also the partner of Judith Butler, whose book "Gender Trouble" essentially launched the postmodern idea that subjective sense of one's sex and how one enacts that is more meaningful than the lived reality people experience in biologically sexed bodies.

By this reasoning, a male weightlifter can become a woman, can declare that he's in fact always been a woman -- and so we arrive at the farce of a male weightlifter (who, granted, must under IOC policy reduce his testosterone for one year to a low-normal male range that is 5 standard deviations away from the female mean) winning a gold medal in women's weightlifting in the Pan-Pacific games and likely to win gold again in the 2020 Olympics.

If that's not privileging individual freedom over collective rights, I don't know what is.

Vegetius , November 20, 2019 at 6:03 pm

>That's how it is possible to be simultaneously libertarian, ethnonationalist and patriarchal today: The right's contemporary attack on "social justice warriors" is straight out of Hayek.

Anyone who could write such a statement understands neither libertarianism nor ethnonationalism. The last half-decade has seen a constant intellectual attack by ethnonationalists against libertarianism. An hour's examination of the now-defunct Alt Right's would confirm this.

Similarly, the contemporary attack on SJW's comes not out of Hayek, but from Gamergate. If you do not know what Gamergate is, you do not understand where the current rightwing and not-so-rightwing thrust of contemporary white identity politics is coming from. My guess is Brown has never heard of it.

Far from trying to uphold patriarchy, Contemporary neoliberalism seeks a total atomization of society into nothing but individual consumers of product. Thus what passes for liberalization of a society today consists in little more than staging sham elections, opening McDonalds, and holding a gay pride parade.

This is why ethnonationalism and even simple nationalism poses a mortal threat to neoliberalism, in a way that so-called progressives never will: both are a threat to globalization, while the rainbow left has shown itself to be little more than the useful idiots of capital.

Brown strikes me as someone who has a worldview and will distort the world to fit that view, no matter how this jibes with facts or logic. The point is simply to array her bugbears into a coalition, regardless of how ridiculous it seems to anyone who knows anything about it.

KLG , November 20, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Actually, maybe not "Bingo," if by that you mean Wendy Brown is a typical representative of "pearl clutching progressive angst." Yes, WB is a very successful academic at Berkeley who worked with Sheldon Wolin as a graduate student IIRC (who was atypical in just about every important way), but this book along with its predecessor Undoing the Demos are much stronger than the normative "why are the natives so restless?" bullshit coming from my erstwhile tribe of "liberals," most of whom are incapacitated by a not unrelated case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Susan the Other , November 20, 2019 at 1:55 pm

Hayek was eloquent. Too bad he didn't establish some end goals. Think of all the misery that would have been avoided. I mean, how can you rationalize some economic ideology to "deregulate the social sphere" – that's just the snake eating its tail. That's what people do who don't have boundaries. Right now it looks like there's a strange bedfellowship, a threesome of neoliberal nazis, globalists, and old communists. Everybody and their dog wants the world to work – for everyone. But nobody knows how to do it. And we are experiencing multiple degrees of freedom to express our own personal version of Stockholm syndrome. Because identity politics. What a joke. Maybe we need to come together over something rational. Something fairly real. Instead of overturning Citizens United (which is absurd already), we should do Creatures United – rights for actual living things on this planet. And then we'd have a cause for the duration.

Sol , November 20, 2019 at 3:55 pm

Well stated. The -isms seem like distractions, almost red herrings leading us down the primrose path to a ceaseless is/ought problem. Rather than discuss the way the world is, we argue how it ought to be.

Not to say theory, study, and introspection aren't important. More that we appear paralyzed into inaction since everyone doesn't agree on the One True Way yet.

JBird4049 , November 21, 2019 at 12:26 am

Let us not get to simplistic here. It helps to understand the origins of political, economic, and even social ideals. The origin of modern capitalism, for there were different and more limited earlier forms, was in the Dutch Republic and was part of the efforts of removing and replacing feudalism; liberalism arose from the Enlightenment, which itself was partly the creation of the Wars of Religion, which devastated Europe. The Thirty Years War, which killed ½ of the male population of the Germanies, and is considered more devastating to the Germans than both world wars combined had much of its energy from religious disagreements.

The Age of Enlightenment, along with much of political thought in the Eighteenth Century, was a attempt to allow differences in belief, and the often violent passions that they can cause, to be fought by words instead of murder. The American Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the whole political worldview, that most Americans unconsciously have, comes from from those those times.

Democracy, Liberalism, even Adam Smith's work in the Wealth of Nations were attempts to escape the dictatorship of kings, feudalism, serfdom, violence. Unfortunately, they have all been usurped. Adam Smith's life's work has been perverted, liberalism has been used to weaken the social bonds by making work and money central to society. Their evil child Neoliberalism, a creation of people like Hayek, was supposed to reduce wars (most of the founders were survivors of the world wars) and was supposed to be be partly antidemocratic.

Modern Neoliberalism mutates and combines the partly inadvertent atomizing effects of the ideas of the Enlightenment, Liberalism, Dutch and British Capitalism, the Free Markets of Adam Smith, adds earlier mid twentieth century Neoliberalism as a fuel additive, and creates this twisted flaming Napalm of social atomizing; it also clears out any challenges to money is the worth of all things. Forget philosophy, religion, family, government, society. Money determines worth. Even speech is only worth the money spent on it and not any inherent worth. Or the vote.

Susan the Other , November 21, 2019 at 10:34 am

"the twisted flaming napalm of social atomizing" – that's a keeper.

Math is Your Friend , November 21, 2019 at 1:38 pm

"liberalism has been used to weaken the social bonds by making work and money central to society"

I think you may have swapped the cart and the horse.

Money evolved as a way of aiding and organizing useful interactions within groups larger than isolated villages of a hundred people.

It also enabled an overall increase in wealth through specialization.

Were it not for money, there would be a difficult mismatch between goods of vastly differing value. A farmer growing wheat and carrots has an almost completely divisible supply of goods with which to trade. Someone building a farm wagon a month, or making an iron plough every two weeks has a problem exchanging that for items orders of magnitude less valuable.

Specialization is a vital step in improving resources and capabilities within societies. I've hung out with enough friends who are blacksmiths to know that every farmer hammering out their own plough is a non-starter, for many reasons.

And I've followed enough history to know that iron ploughs mean a lot more food, which allows someone to specialize in making ploughs rather than growing food for personal consumption.

The obvious need is for a way of dividing the value of the plough into many smaller amounts that can be used to obtain grain, cloth, pottery, and so on.

While the exact form of money is not rigidly fixed, at lower technological levels one really needs something that is portable, doesn't spontaneously self destruct, and has a clearly definable value . and exists in different concentrations of worth, to allow flexibility in transport and use.

Various societies have come up with various tokens of value, from agricultural products to bank drafts, each with different advantages and disadvantages, but for most of history, precious metals, base metals, and coinage have been the most practical representation of exchangeable value.

Money is almost certainly an inevitable and necessary consequence of the invention of agriculture, and the corresponding increase in population density.

David , November 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Agreed, but as I've suggested elsewhere liberalism always had the capacity within it to destroy social bonds, societies and even nations, it's just that, at the time, this was hidden behind the belief that a just God would not allow it to happen. I see liberalism less as mutating or being usurped than finally being freed of controls. Paradoxically, of course, this "freedom" requires servitude for others, so that no outside forces (trades unions for example) can pollute the purity of the market. It's the same thing with social justice: freedom for identity group comes through legal controls over the behaviour of others, which is why the contemporary definition of a civil rights activist is someone who wants to introduce lots of new laws to prevent people from doing things.

shinola , November 20, 2019 at 2:07 pm

Neoliberalism is just a new label for an old (and, supposedly, discredited) social theory. It used to be called Social Darwinism.

salvo , November 20, 2019 at 2:43 pm

frankly, I don't believe the "monsters" neoliberalism has helped create are an unwanted side effect of their approach, on the contrary, neoliberalism needs those "monsters", like the authoritarian state, to impose itself on society (ask the mutilated gilets jaunes). Repression, inequality, poverty, abuse, dispossession, disfranchisement, enviromental degradation are certainly "monstrous" to those who have to endure them, but not to those who profit the most from the system and sit on the most powerful positions. Of course, the degree of exposure to those monstrosities is dependent on the relative position in the pyramid shaped neoliberal society, the bottom has to endure the most. On the other side, the middle classes tend to support the neoliberal model as long as it ensures them a power position relative to the under classes, and the moment those middle classes feel ttheir position relative to the under classes threatened, the switch to open fascism is not far, we can see this in Bolivia.

Carey , November 20, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for this comment.

eg , November 20, 2019 at 4:41 pm

"neoliberalism needs those "monsters", like the authoritarian state, to impose itself on society"

If I understood Quinn Slobodian's "Globalists" correctly it was precisely this -- that the neoliberal project while professing that markets were somehow "natural" spent an inordinate amount of time working to ensure that legal structures be created to insulate them from the dirty demos.

Their actions in this respect don't square with a serious belief that markets are natural at all -- if they were, they wouldn't need so damned much hothousing, right?

KLG , November 20, 2019 at 5:28 pm

Exactly!

David , November 20, 2019 at 5:30 pm

I think the argument was that markets were "natural", but vulnerable to interference, and so had to be protected by these legal structures. There's a metaphor there, but it's too late here for me to find it.

Jerry B , November 20, 2019 at 7:08 pm

Thanks eg!

===spent an inordinate amount of time working to ensure that legal structures be created to insulate them from the dirty demos===

I enjoyed Slobodian's book as well. Interestingly, there is a new book out called The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality by Katharina Pistor that discusses those "legal structures".

https://www.amazon.com/Code-Capital-Creates-Wealth-Inequality/dp/0691178976

deplorado , November 20, 2019 at 8:36 pm

If you check out Katharina Pistor on Twitter, you can also find good commentaries and even videos of talks discussing the book and the matter – it is very edifying to open your eyes to the fundamental role of law in creating such natural phenomena as markets and, among other things, billionaires.

Jerry B , November 20, 2019 at 9:58 pm

Thanks deplorado. I do not frequent Pistor's twitter page as much as I would like.

In reading Pistor's book and some of the interviews with Pistor and some of her papers discussing the themes in the book, I had the same reaction as when I read some of Susan Strange's books such as The Retreat of the State: complete removal of any strand of naïveté I may have had as to how the world works. And how hard it will be to undo the destruction.

As you mention the "dirty demos" above, one of Wendy Brown's recent books was Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution.

JCC , November 21, 2019 at 9:47 am

Never having read any of Susan Strange's writings, I decided to find a book review of The Retreat of the State. I found this one and found it very interesting, enough so that I'll go to abebooks.com and get a copy to read.

https://www.academia.edu/6452889/The_Retreat_of_the_State_A_Book_Review

Thank You for the recommendation.

Paul O , November 21, 2019 at 4:57 am

Thank you for this recommendation. Anything that comes as an audiobook is a massive plus for me.

flora , November 20, 2019 at 6:11 pm

Academics promoting neoliberalim: so many false assumptions (or self-exculpating excuses), so little time.

The Rev Kev , November 20, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Hmm. Definitely Monsters from the Id at work here. I am going with the theory that the wealthier class pushed this whole project all along. In the US, Roosevelt had cracked down and imposed regulations that stopped, for example, the stock market from being turned into a casino using ordinary people's saving. He also pushed taxes on them that exceeded 90% which tended to help keep them defanged.
So lo and behold, after casting about, a bunch of isolated rat-bag economic radicals was found that support getting rid of regulations, reducing taxes on the wealthy and anything else that they wanted to do. So money was pumped into this project, think tanks were taken over or built up, universities were taken over to teach this new theories, lawyers and future judges were 'educated' to support their fight and that is what we have today.
If WW2 had not discredited fascism, the wealthy would have use this instead as both Mussolini and Hitler were very friendly to the wealthy industrialists. But they were so instead they turned to neoliberalism instead. Yes, definitely Monsters from the Id.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 21, 2019 at 3:23 am

William White (BIS, OECD) talks about how economics really changed over one hundred years ago as classical economics was replaced by neoclassical economics.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6iXBQ33pBo&t=2485s
He thinks we have been on the wrong path for one hundred years.
This is why we think small state, unregulated capitalism is something it never was when it existed before.

We don't understand the monetary system or how banks work because:
Our knowledge of privately created money has been going backwards since 1856.
Credit creation theory -> fractional reserve theory -> financial intermediation theory
"A lost century in economics: Three theories of banking and the conclusive evidence" Richard A. Werner
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521915001477
This is why we come up with crazy ideas like "financial liberalisation".

Steve Ruis , November 21, 2019 at 8:11 am

If corporations are to be people, then they, like the extremely wealthy, need to be reined in politically. One step we could take is to only allow money donations to political campaigns to take place when the person is subject or going to be subject to the politicians decisions. I live in Illinois, I should be able to donate money to the campaigns of those running for the U.S> Senate from Illinois, but Utah? If I donate money to a Utah candidate for the Senate, I am practicing influence peddling because that Senator does not represent me.

If corporations are to be people, they need a primary residence. The location of their corporate headquarters should suffice to "place" them, and donations to candidates outside of their set of districts would be forbidden.

Of course, we do have free speech, so people are completely free to speak over the Internet, TV, hire halls in the district involved and go speak in person. They just couldn't pay to have someone else do that for them.

To allow unfettered political donations violates the one ma, one vote principle and also encourages influence peddling. In fact, it seems as if our Congress and Executive operates only through influence peddling.

[Nov 14, 2019] Neoliberalism Paved the Way for Authoritarian Right-Wing Populism by Henry A. Giroux

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism became an incubator for a growing authoritarian populism fed largely by economic inequality. ..."
"... This apocalyptic populism was rooted in a profound discontent for the empty promises of a neoliberal ideology that made capitalism and democracy synonymous, and markets the model for all social relations. In addition, the Democratic proponents of neoliberalism, such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, participated in the dismantling of the social contract, widening economic inequality, and burgeoning landscapes of joblessness, misery, anger and despair. ..."
"... Liberal democracies across the globe appeared out of touch with not only the misery and suffering caused by neoliberal policies, they also produced an insular and arrogant group of politicians who regarded themselves as an enlightened political formation that worked " on behalf of an ignorant public ." ..."
"... As a regime of affective management, neoliberalism created a culture in which everyone was trapped in his or her own feelings, emotions and orbits of privatization. One consequence was that legitimate political claims could only be pursued by individuals and families rather than social groups. ..."
Sep 26, 2019 | truthout.org

Part of the Series The Public Intellectual

Talk of a looming recession is heating up as the global economy slows and President Trump's tiff with China unsettles financial markets. As world trade contracts, stock markets drop, the manufacturing sector in the United States is in decline for the first time in a decade , and farmers and steel workers continue losing their income and jobs.

Rumors of a coming recession accentuate fears about the further deterioration of conditions faced by workers and the poor, who are already suffering from precarious employment, poverty, lack of meaningful work and dwindling pensions. A global economic slump would make living standards for the poor even worse. As Ashley Smith points out , levels of impoverishment in the United States are already shocking, with "four out of every ten families [struggling] to meet the costs of food, housing, health care, and utilities every month."

Just as the 2008 global economic crisis revealed the failures of liberal democracy and the scourge of neoliberalism, a new economic recession in 2019 could also reveal how institutions meant to serve the public interest and offer support for a progressive politics now serve authoritarian ideologies and a ruling elite that views democracy as the enemy of market-based freedoms and white nationalism.

What has not been learned from the 2008 crisis is that an economic crisis neither unites those most affected in favor of a progressive politics nor does it offer any political guarantees regarding the direction of social change. Instead, the emotions that fueled massive public anger toward elites and globalization gave rise to the celebration of populist demagogues and a right-wing tsunami of misdirected anger, hate and violence toward undocumented immigrants, refugees, Muslims and people of color.

The 2008 financial crisis wreaked havoc in multiple ways. Yet there was another crisis that received little attention: a crisis of agency. This crisis centered around matters of identity, self-determination and collective resistance, which were undermined in profound ways, giving rise to and legitimating the emergence of authoritarian populist movements in many parts of the world, such as United States, Hungary, Poland and Brazil.

At the heart of this shift was the declining belief in the legitimacy of both liberal democracy and its pledges about trickle-down wealth, economic security and broadening equal opportunities preached by the apostles of neoliberalism. In many ways, public faith in the welfare state, quality employment opportunities, institutional possibilities and a secure future for each generation collapsed. In part, this was a consequence of the post-war economic boom giving way to massive degrees of inequality, the off-shoring of wealth and power, the enactment of cruel austerity measures, an expanding regime of precarity, and a cut-throat economic and social environment in which individual interests and needs prevailed over any consideration of the common good. As liberalism aligned itself with corporate and political power, both the Democratic and Republican Parties embraced financial reforms that increased the wealth of the bankers and corporate elite while doing nothing to prevent people from losing their homes, being strapped with chronic debt, seeing their pensions disappear, and facing a future of uncertainty and no long-term prospects or guarantees.

Neoliberalism became an incubator for a growing authoritarian populism fed largely by economic inequality.

In an age of economic anxiety, existential insecurity and a growing culture of fear, liberalism's overheated emphasis on individual liberties "made human beings subordinate to the market, replacing social bonds with market relations and sanctifying greed," as noted by Pankaj Mishra. In this instance, neoliberalism became an incubator for a growing authoritarian populism fed largely by economic inequality. The latter was the outcome of a growing cultural and political polarization that made "it possible for haters to come out from the margins, form larger groups and make political trouble." This toxic polarization and surge of right-wing populism produced by casino capitalism was accentuated with the growth of fascist groups that shared a skepticism of international organizations, supported a militant right-wing nationalism, and championed a surge of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-democratic values.

This apocalyptic populism was rooted in a profound discontent for the empty promises of a neoliberal ideology that made capitalism and democracy synonymous, and markets the model for all social relations. In addition, the Democratic proponents of neoliberalism, such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, participated in the dismantling of the social contract, widening economic inequality, and burgeoning landscapes of joblessness, misery, anger and despair.

At the same time, they enacted policies that dismantled civic culture and undermined a wide range of democratic institutions that extended from the media to public goods such as public and higher education. Under such circumstances, democratic narratives, values and modes of solidarity, which traded in shared responsibilities and shared hopes, were replaced by a market-based focus on a regressive notion of hyper-individualism, ego-centered values and a view of individual responsibility that eviscerated any broader notion of social, systemic, and corporate problems and accountability.

Ways of imagining society through a collective ethos became fractured, and a comprehensive understanding of politics as inclusive and participatory morphed into an anti-politics marked by an investment in the language of individual rights, individual choice and the power of rights-bearing individuals.

Under the reign of neoliberalism, language became thinner and more individualistic, detached from history and more self-oriented, all the while undermining viable democratic social spheres as spaces where politics bring people together as collective agents and critically engaged citizens. Neoliberal language is written in the discourse of economics and market values, not ethics. Under such circumstances, shallowness becomes an asset rather than a liability. Increasingly, the watered-down language of liberal democracy, with its over-emphasis on individual rights and its neoliberal coddling of the financial elite, gave way to a regressive notion of the social marked by rising authoritarian tendencies, unchecked nativism, unapologetic expressions of bigotry, misdirected anger and the language of resentment-filled revolt. Liberal democracies across the globe appeared out of touch with not only the misery and suffering caused by neoliberal policies, they also produced an insular and arrogant group of politicians who regarded themselves as an enlightened political formation that worked " on behalf of an ignorant public ."

The ultimate consequence was to produce later what Wolfgang Merkel describes as "a rebellion of the disenfranchised." A series of political uprisings made it clear that neoliberalism was suffering from a crisis of legitimacy further accentuated by the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, the election of Donald Trump, support for the National Rally ( formerly known as the National Front ) in France, and the emergence of powerful right-wing populist movements across the globe.

What has been vastly underestimated in the rise of right-wing populism is the capture of the media by authoritarian populists.

As a regime of affective management, neoliberalism created a culture in which everyone was trapped in his or her own feelings, emotions and orbits of privatization. One consequence was that legitimate political claims could only be pursued by individuals and families rather than social groups. In this instance, power was removed from the social sphere and placed almost entirely in the hands of corporate and political demagogues who used it to enrich themselves for their own personal gain.

Power was now used to produce muscular authority in order "to secure order, boundaries, and to divert the growing anger of a declining middle and working-class," Wendy Brown observes . Both classes increasingly came to blame their economic and political conditions that produced their misery and ravaged ways of life on "'others': immigrants, minority races, 'external' predators and attackers ranging from terrorists to refugees." Liberal-individualistic views lost their legitimacy as they refused to indict the underlying structures of capitalism and its winner-take-all ethos.

Functioning largely as a ruthless form of social Darwinism, economic activity was removed from a concern with social costs, and replaced by a culture of cruelty and resentment that disdained any notion of compassion or ethical concern for those deemed as "other" because of their class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. This is a culture marked by gigantic hypocrisies, "the gloomy tabulation of unspeakable violent events," widespread viciousness, "great concentrations of wealth," "surveillance overkill," and the "unceasing despoliation of biospheres for profit."

George Monbiot sums up well some of the more toxic elements of neoliberalism, which remained largely hidden since it was in the mainstream press less as an ideology than as an economic policy. He writes :

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimized, public services should be privatized. The organization of labor and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

In the neoliberal worldview, those who are unemployed, poor consumers or outside of the reach of a market in search of insatiable profits are considered disposable. Increasingly more people were viewed as anti-human, unknowable, faceless and symbols of fear and pathology. This included undocumented immigrants in the United States and refugees in Europe, as well as those who were considered of no value to a market society, and thus eligible to be deprived of the most basic rights and subject to the terror of state violence.

Marking selected groups as disposable in both symbolic and material forms, the neoliberal politics of disposability became a machinery of political and social death -- producing spaces where undesirable members are abused, put in cages , separated from their children and subject to a massive violation of their human rights. Under a neoliberal politics of disposability, people live in spaces of ever-present danger and risk where nothing is certain; human beings considered excess are denied a social function and relegated to what Étienne Balibar calls the "death zones of humanity." These are the 21st century workstations designed for the creation and process of elimination; a death-haunted mode of production rooted in the "absolute triumph of irrationality."

Economic and cultural nationalism has become a rallying cry to create the conditions for merging a regressive neoliberalism and populism into a war machine.

Within this new political formation, older forms of exploitation are now matched, if not exceeded, by a politics of racial and social cleansing, as entire populations are removed from ethical assessments, producing zones of social abandonment. In this new world, there is a merging of finance capital and a war culture that speaks to a moral and political collapse in which the welfare state is replaced by forms of economic nationalism and a burgeoning carceral state .

Furthermore, elements of this crisis can be seen in the ongoing militarization of everyday life as more and more institutions take on the model of the prison. Additionally, there is also the increased arming of the police, the criminalization of a wide range of behaviors related to social problems, the rise of the surveillance state, and the ongoing war on youth, undocumented immigrants, Muslims and others deemed enemies of the state.

Under the aegis of a neoliberal war culture, we have witnessed increasing immiseration for the working and middle classes, massive tax cuts for the rich, the outsourcing of public services, a full-fledged attack on unions, the defunding of public goods, and the privatization of public services extending from health and education to roads and prisons. This ongoing transfer of public resources and services to the rich, hedge fund managers, and corporate elite was matched by the corporate takeover of the commanding institutions of culture, including the digital, print and broadcast media. What has been vastly underestimated in the rise of right-wing populism is the capture of the media by authoritarian populists and its flip side, which amounts to a full-fledged political attack on independent digital, online and oppositional journalists.

While it is generally acknowledged that neoliberalism was responsible for the worldwide economic crisis of 2008, what is less acknowledged is that structural crisis produced by a capitalism on steroids was not matched by subjective crisis and consequently gave rise to new reactionary political populist movements. As economic collapse became visceral, people's lives were upended and sometimes destroyed. Moreover, as the social contract was shredded along with the need for socially constructed roles, norms and public goods, the "social" no longer occupied a thick and important pedagogical space of solidarity, dialogue, political expression, dissent and politics.

As public spheres disappeared, communal bonds were weakened and social provisions withered. Under neoliberalism, the social sphere regresses into a privatized society of consumers in which individuals are atomized, alienated, and increasingly removed from the variety of social connections and communal bonds that give meaning to the degree to which societies are good and just.

Establishment politics lost its legitimacy, as voters rejected the conditions produced by financialized capitalism.

People became isolated, segregated and unable " to negotiate democratic dilemmas in a democratic way " as power became more abstract and removed from public participation and accountability. As the neoliberal net of privilege was cast wider without apology for the rich and exclusion of others, it became more obvious to growing elements of the public that appeals to liberal democracy had failed to keep its promise of a better life for all. It could no longer demand, without qualification, that working people should work harder for less, and that democratic participation is exclusively about elections. What could not be hidden from many disenfranchised groups was that ruling elites produced what Adam Tooze describes as "a disastrous slide from the hypocrisies and compromises of the previous status quo into something even [more dangerous]."

As the global crisis has intensified since 2008, elements of a political and moral collapse at the heart of an authoritarian society are more obvious and find their most transparent expression of ruthlessness, greed and unchecked power in the rule of Donald Trump. As Chris Hedges points out :

The ruling corporate elites no longer seek to build. They seek to destroy. They are agents of death. They crave the unimpeded power to cannibalize the country and pollute and degrade the ecosystem to feed an insatiable lust for wealth, power and hedonism. Wars and military "virtues" are celebrated. Intelligence, empathy and the common good are banished. Culture is degraded to patriotic kitsch . Those branded as unproductive or redundant are discarded and left to struggle in poverty or locked away in cages.

The slide into authoritarianism was made all the easier by the absence of a broad-based left mass movement in the United States, which failed to provide both a comprehensive vision of change and an alignment of single-issue groups and smaller movements into one mass movement. Nancy Fraser rightly observes that following Occupy, "potential links between labour and new social movements were left to languish. Split off from one another, those indispensable poles of a viable left were miles apart, waiting to be counterposed as antithetical."

Since the 1970s, there has been a profound backlash by economic, financial, political and religious fundamentalists and their allied media establishments against labor, an oppositional press, people of color and others who have attempted to extend the workings of democracy and equality.

As the narrative of class and class struggle disappeared along with the absence of a vibrant socialist movement, the call for democracy no longer provided a unifying narrative to bring different oppressed groups together. Instead, economic and cultural nationalism has become a rallying cry to create the conditions for merging a regressive neoliberalism and populism into a war machine. Under such circumstances, politics is imagined as a form of war, repelling immigrants and refugees who are described by President Trump as "invaders," "vermin" and "rapists." The emergence of neoliberalism as a war machine is evident in the current status of the Republican Party and the Trump administration, which wage assaults on anything that does not mimic the values of the market. Such assaults take the form of fixing whole categories of people as disposable, as enemies, and force them into conditions of extreme precarity -- and in increasingly more instances, conditions of danger. Neoliberal capitalism radiates violence, evident in its endless instances of mass shooting, such as those that took place most recently in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. This should not be surprising for a society that measures power by the speed that it removes itself from any sense of ethical and social responsibility. As Beatrix Campbell puts it ,

The richest society on the planet is armed. And it invests in one of the largest prison systems in the world. Violence circulates between state and citizen. Drilled to kill, doomed to die: mastery and martyrdom is the heartbreaking dialectic of the manufacture of militarized, violent masculinity . The making and maintaining of militarised masculinities is vital to these new modes of armed conflict that are proliferating across the flexible frontiers of globalized capitalism, between and within states.

What has become clear is that the neoliberal agenda has been a spectacular failure . Moreover, it has mobilized on a global level the violent political, social, racial and economic energies of a resurgent fascist politics. Across the globe, right-wing modes of governance are appearing in which the line collapses between "outside foreign enemies" such as refugees and undocumented immigrants, on the one hand, and on the other, inside "dangerous" or "treasonous" classes such as critical journalists, educators and dissidents.

As neoliberal economies increasingly resort to violence and repression, fear replaces any sense of shared responsibilities, as violence is not only elevated to an organizing principle of society, but also expands a network of extreme cruelty. Imagining politics as a war machine, more and more groups are treated as excess and inscribed in an order of power as disposable, enemies, and [forced] into conditions of extreme precarity. This is a particularly vicious form of state violence that undermines and constrains agency, and subjects individuals to zones of abandonment, as evident in the growth of immigrant jails and an expanding carceral complex in the United States and other countries, such as Hungary.

As neoliberalism's promise of social mobility and expanding economic progress collapsed, it gave way to an authoritarian right-wing populism looking for narratives on which to pin the hatred of governing elites who, as Paul Mason notes , "capped health and welfare spending, [imposed] punitive benefit withdraws [that] forced many families to rely on food banks [and] withdraw sickness and disability benefits from one million former workers below retirement age."

Across the globe, a series of uprisings have appeared that signal new political formations that rejected the notion that there was no alternative to neoliberal hegemony. This was evident not only with the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, but also with the election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and support for popular movements such as the National Rally in France. Establishment politics lost its legitimacy, as voters rejected the conditions produced by financialized capitalism.

In the United States, both major political parties were more than willing to turn the economy over to the bankers and hedge fund managers while producing policies that shaped radical forms of industrial and social restructuring, all of which caused massive pain, suffering and rage among large segments of the working class and other disenfranchised groups. Right-wing populist leaders across the globe recognized that national economies were in the hands of foreign investors, a mobile financial elite and transnational capital. In a masterful act of political diversion, populist leaders attacked all vestiges of liberal capitalism while refusing to name neoliberal inequities in wealth and power as a basic threat to their societies. Instead of calling for an acceleration of the democratic ideals of popular sovereignty and equality, right-wing populist leaders, such as Trump, Bolsonaro and Hungary's Viktor Orbán defined democracy as the enemy of those who wish for unaccountable power. They also diverted genuine popular anger into the abyss of cultural chauvinism, anti-immigrant hatred, a contempt of Muslims and a targeted attack on the environment, health care, education, public institutions, social provisions and other basic life resources. As Arjun Appadurai observes , such authoritarian leaders hate democracy, capture the political emotions of those treated as disposable, and do everything they can to hide the deep contradictions of neoliberal capitalism.

In this scenario, we have the resurgence of a fascist politics that capitalizes on the immiseration, fears and anxieties produced by neoliberalism without naming the underlying conditions that create and legitimate its policies and social costs. While such populists comment on certain elements of neoliberalism such as globalization, they largely embrace those ideological and economic elements that concentrate power and wealth in the hands of a political, corporate and financial elite, thus reinforcing in the end an extreme form of capitalism. Moreover, right-wing populists may condemn globalization, but they do so by blaming those considered outside the inclusive boundaries of a white homeland even though the same forces victimize them . At the same time, such leaders mobilize passions that deny critical understanding while simultaneously creating desires and affects that produce toxic and hypermasculine forms of identification.

Authoritarian leaders hate democracy and do everything they can to hide the deep contradictions of neoliberal capitalism.

In this instance, an oppressive form of education becomes central to politics and is used as a tool of power in the struggle over power, agency and politics. What is at stake here is not simply a struggle between authoritarian ideas and democratic ideals, but also a fierce battle on the part of demagogues to destroy the institutions and conditions that make critical thought and oppositional accounts of power possible. This is evident, for example, in Trump's constant attack on the critical media, often referring to them as "'the enemy of the people' pushing 'Radical Left Democrat views,'" even as journalists are subject to expulsion, mass jailing and assassination across the world by some of Trump's allies.

Waging war on democracy and the institutions that produce it, neoliberalism has tapped into a combination of fear and cathartic cruelty that has once again unleashed the mobilizing passions of fascism, especially the historically distinct registers of extreme nationalism, nativism, white supremacy, racial and ethnic cleansing, voter suppression, and an attack on a civic culture of critique and resistance. The result is a new political formation that I have called neoliberal fascism, in which the principles and practices of a fascist past and neoliberal present have merged, connecting the worst dimensions and excesses of gangster capitalism with the fascist ideals of white nationalism and racial supremacy associated with the horrors of a fascist past.

Neoliberal fascism hollows out democracy from within, breaks down the separation of power while increasing the power of the presidency, and saturates cultural and social life with its ideology of self-interest, a survival-of-the-fittest ethos, and regressive notions of freedom and individual responsibility.

What needs to be acknowledged is that neoliberalism as an extreme form of capitalism has produced the conditions for a fascist politics that is updated to serve the interest of a concentrated class of financial elite and a rising tide of political demagogues across the globe.

The mass anger fueling neoliberal fascism is a diversion of genuine resistance into what amounts to a pathology, which empties politics of any substance. This is evident also in its support of a right-wing populism and its focus on the immigrants and refugees as "dangerous outsiders," which serves to eliminate class politics and camouflage its own authoritarian ruling class interests and relentless attacks on social welfare.

A new economic slump would further fuel forces of repression and strengthen the forces of white supremacy.

In the face of a looming global recession, it is crucial to understand the connection between the rise of right-wing populism and neoliberalism, which emerged in the late 1970s as a commanding ideology fueling a punitive form of globalization. This historical moment is marked by unique ideological, economic and political formations produced by ever-increasing brutal forms of capitalism, however diverse.

Governing economic and political thinking everywhere, neoliberalism's unprecedented concentration of economic and political power has produced a toxic state modeled after the models of finance and unchecked market forces. It has also produced a profound shift in human consciousness, agency and modes of identification. The consequences have become familiar and include cruel austerity measures, adulation of self-regulating markets, the liberating of capital from any constraints, deregulation, privatization of public goods, the commodification of everyday life and the gutting of environmental, health and safety laws. It has also paved the way for a merging of extreme market principles and the sordid and mushrooming elements of white supremacy, racial cleansing and ultranationalism that have become specific to updated forms of fascist politics.

Such policies have produced massive inequities in wealth, power and income, while further accelerating mass misery, human suffering, the rise of state-sanctioned violence and ever-expanding sites of terminal exclusion in the forms of walls, detention centers and an expanding carceral state. An impending recession accentuates the antagonisms, instabilities and crisis produced by the long history and reach of neoliberal ideologies and policies.

A new economic slump would further fuel forces of repression and strengthen the forces of white supremacy, Islamophobia, nativism and misogyny. In the face of such reactionary forces, it is crucial to unite various progressive forces of opposition into a powerful anti-capitalist movement that speaks not only to the range of oppressions exacerbated by neoliberalism, but also to the need for new narratives that speak to overturning a system steeped in the machineries of war, militarization, repression and death.

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and is the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy. His most recent books include: Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education (Haymarket 2014), The Violence of Organized Forgetting (City Lights 2014), Dangerous Thinking in the Age of the New Authoritarianism (Routledge, 2015), America's Addiction to Terrorism (Monthly Review Press, 2016), America at War with Itself (City Lights, 2017), The Public in Peril (Routledge, 2018) and American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism (City Lights, 2018) and The Terror of the Unforeseen (LARB Books, 2019). Giroux is also a member of Truthout 's Board of Directors.

[Nov 13, 2019] Bolivia is the same scenario than in the Ukraine, where communists and other opposed factions in Rada were beaten, covered in paint and thrown in waste containers...until they left the country. Remaining to be elected only those puppets of oligarchs or the US... Bolivia coup was orchestrated with direct assist of OAS analysis/report which identified alleged voting fraud

Nov 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 22:41 utc | 160

Are we starting to witness some state cinture in Spain?
After yesterday warning, is the socialist government of Sánchez turning, at least a bit, if only in form, socialist?

( after the advance of the "devotes of Trump´s night worship" in yesterday elections and probably progession of Spanish policy investigation on Barcelona riots, two events that reinforced each other? )

Spain condemns military intervention in the resignation of Morales

Spain criticizes the role of the Bolivian Army and Police in the resignation of President Evo Morales, after protests against his re-election.

Spain joins the avalanche of international comdenations before the proceeding of the Bolivian Army and Police at the juncture that the Latin American country is going through, since, according to a statement issued on Monday by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this regard, that proceeding reminds past times in Latin American history, even more when President Evo Morales opted for a new call for elections.

"Spain condemns that the process opened yesterday towards a new electoral call has been distorted by the intervention of the Armed Forces and the Police, suggesting to Evo Morales to submit his resignation", the note said.

Likewise, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls "all actors to avoid resorting to violence" and "to guarantee the security of all Bolivians (...) including former President Morales himself, his relatives and members of his administration".

For his part, the general secretary of the Spanish Unidas Podemos party, Pablo Iglesias, has written on his Twitter account that "Coup d'etat in Bolivia. Shameful that there are media that say the army makes the president resign. In the last 14 years Bolivia has improved all its social and economic indicators. All our support to the Bolivian people and Evo Morales".



Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:31 utc | 51

The style of scaring the people is a total imitation from post-Maidan Ukraine, where communists and other opposed factions in Rada were beaten, covered in paint and thrown in waste containers...until they left the country...

Then Myrotvorets was launched and the first killings on those who dared to quition Euromaydan events... Recall Alex Buzina... Any compromised intellectual will suffer the same fate in Bolivia...

Guess who is behind this coup at the letter of the book...

Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:41 utc | 52
Pillaging has already started at Evo´s home...I told you that this follow the book of Maidan verabtim...
#Breaking they ransack the house of the president @evoespueblo, persecution this is what follows with the resignation of @evoespueblo

https://twitter.com/madeleintlSUR/status/1193668989622325248

Vasco da Gama , Nov 10 2019 23:43 utc | 53
Don't get me wrong Sasha, I don't think Evo's team objective, 2 weeks after they've win them, was to repeat elections so soon. This is likely their best approach right now, for the sake of Bolivians and their supporters. Not mentioning possible reaction a la Caracas.
Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:44 utc | 54
#InfoMV Evo Morales denounced that his security personnel were offered 50 thousand dollars for him to be delivered to violent opposition groups. He held Fernando Camacho and Carlos Mesa responsible for what would happen to him or García Linera.

https://twitter.com/Mision_Verdad/status/1193667429823664128

Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:49 utc | 55
@Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Nov 10 2019 23:43 utc | 53

You seem to be unaware of the developments of events to this time, Evo called for elections BEFORE he was oblied to resign by police and military rebels, and made leave the country...
Elections now with every Evo´s supporter under menace of death would only throw a fake result favourable to the opposition who did not manage to win elections democratically...

This is the same scenario than in the Ukraine, where representatives of the working people were never more able to concur to elections and had to leave the country, remaining to be elected only those puppets of oligarchs or the US...

Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:53 utc | 56
Fascist pickets taking over Venezuelan Embassy...Look what kind of people is this...
Free elections in Bolivia now? Do not make me laugh!

https://twitter.com/LaHojillaenTV/status/1193655455886827527

#NoAlGolpeEnBolivia
#EvoNoEstasSolo

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 0:23 utc | 61
Pasquinades posted by coupist opposition before Efvo´s resignation what ccan illustrate why the government has resigned so fast...
Pure fascism....
What I told you? Here you have the Bolivian Myrotvorets .....

https://twitter.com/TorresVirly/status/1193607591152308224

Translation of the pasquinade:

Traitor Tracking The population is asked to register all the social network publications of the "Cyber llunkus". Take screenshots and copy the links of the publications and profiles of the "Cyber Llunkus".

The M.A.S. ( Evo´s party ) is a criminal organization.
Once Evo Morales falls, a rake will be made to identify the traitorous of the people "Cyber Llunkus" and imprison them through the location of their mobile devices.
Fake profiles will not save them.

#Civil Resistance Bolivia

Now that the US tells us the tale of democratic elections in Bolivia now...


karlof1 , Nov 11 2019 0:47 utc | 65
pogohere @49 & arby @50--

A people's Counter-revolution that sweeps the Reactionaries down the drain once and for all.

Chavez was keen to the CIA's modus and thus reformed the military in numerous respects, particularly by making it impervious to corruption--AND--instituting the uniquely structured Bolivarian Constitution. Evo's problems stem from the lack of extensive public support as proven by the election results that kept him from instituting the sort of reforms Chavez accomplished; and the same goes for all other Latin American nations. In a nutshell, the Bolivian people squabbled too much amongst themselves and never constructed the type of Revolutionary constitution and social system required to be resilient to outside manipulation. Yes, Venezuela was very much a Bottom->Up remaking of society to the point where the Comprador upper 10% didn't matter, which is why Chavez then Maduro left them to their own devices. But elsewhere, the popular masses never generated the required solidarity to prevent losing their hard won freedoms. Sure, it's possible to regain power through the ballot box, but it can be just as easily lost as is happening now in Bolivia if preventative measures aren't taken beforehand.

Nations must have constitutions that don't allow for rich minorities to gain control or to allow them to begin in control as in the USA's case. But to institute such an instrument, the popular masses must act as one and cast their factionalisms aside until this primary aspect of consolidating power in their hands becomes the law of their land. Plus, they must again drop their in-fighting when confronted by any reactionary threat and remember what the main task is at all times--Maintenance of Freedom.

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 0:52 utc | 66
Here the tweet of the Mexican Foreign Secretary announcing that 20 people have already been granted asylum and that Evo Morales is offered asylum.

https://twitter.com/descifraguerra/status/1193676949450829824

psychohistorian , Nov 11 2019 0:58 utc | 67
Sorry to read about the military coup in Bolivia.

We all see what seems to be the demise of empire but facts on the ground tell a different story today in Bolivia. I am sorry for the pain and suffering for many caused by my country under the control of the global private finance cult. I continue to try and spread the word about the perfidy of Western empire and will keep trying but am limited in my abilities.

I hope to live to see the demise of private finance led empire all over the world. Humanity deserves a better future.

psychohistorian , Nov 11 2019 0:58 utc | 67
Sorry to read about the military coup in Bolivia.

We all see what seems to be the demise of empire but facts on the ground tell a different story today in Bolivia. I am sorry for the pain and suffering for many caused by my country under the control of the global private finance cult. I continue to try and spread the word about the perfidy of Western empire and will keep trying but am limited in my abilities.

I hope to live to see the demise of private finance led empire all over the world. Humanity deserves a better future.

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:05 utc | 68
@Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 11 2019 0:47 utc | 65

What saved Venezuela was the huge investing in education started with Chavez, in that they counted with the help and advice of people from the Spanish left ...
Bolivian people, of the poor class, are mostly poorly educated people...and so easy to buy and fool...as this images show...
Look that this people ransacking Evo´s home, they are not white patricios ...but those who they have payed to do the dirty work...indigenous people poorly dressed...collaborating in ovrthrowing the legitimate democratically elected from their own...

https://twitter.com/descifraguerra/status/1193667619485818881

It was a poor peasant who sold Ché Guevara to "Pat´s unit", in gratitude for a medical officila having attended his son´s wounded foot....

The same lesson could be taken out from the events in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon...

Paul , Nov 11 2019 1:10 utc | 69
Wow, it seems the US went straight for the throat this time in Bolivia.
Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:10 utc | 70
Demonstrators supporting Evo Morales in Cochabamba...

https://twitter.com/descifraguerra/status/1193666222036000770

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:17 utc | 71
@Posted by: Paul | Nov 11 2019 1:10 utc | 69

Yeah..this time is no different from others, they always go straight to the throat of the weak and poor...Totally depsicable...
To their own, earning points in the view of the world...

psychohistorian , Nov 11 2019 1:34 utc | 72
@ Sasha who wrote
"
What saved Venezuela was the huge investing in education started with Chavez, in that they counted with the help and advice of people from the Spanish left ...
Bolivian people, of the poor class, are mostly poorly educated people...and so easy to buy and fool...as this images show...
"

I agree, thank you for your commenting and want to add my perspective to that.

If you read many who come and comment at MoA that supposedly are "educated" you will notice that they continue to think and write in terms of the conflict being between socialism and capitalism in spite of myself, karlof1 and others that continually point out that China is 80% capitalistic as are other "socialistic" countries but what matters is what part of the social economy is socialism versus capitalism. That is why I continue to beat my drum about the evil of global private finance that is the core problem with the social contract of the West. Look at how many in the West are brainwashed to not understand the difference between public/private finance and its effects on the whole culture and aggressive nature of the society under that meme.

That, IMO, is the core education that all those in the West and all striving to throw off the chains/economic jackboot of the West must learn and take to heart.

flankerbandit , Nov 11 2019 1:37 utc | 73
Very disappointing to hear about Evo...but this is just one round in a very long fight...

In Argentina we have a new government for the people...in Mexico also...Lula is out of jail now in Brazil so eventually that will turn also...

The empire is rotting but is very dangerous right now because they are lashing out everywhere...we see in Lebanon and Iraq they are not succeeding...

This is desperation we see folks...they are losing control quickly and are trying to forestall the inevitable collapse of their global fascist dictatorship...

I think the end will come much sooner than they expect...the house of cards is teetering badly...

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:42 utc | 74
Camacho confirms arrest warrant against Evo Morales

Maidán script all the way....They do not have enough with hi resigning, they need to wipe out such honest leader form the face of Earth, at least while the "new fake elections" to maskerade the take over by the opposition are developed...as happened with Lula....

Here, US Lawyer sees all the signature of the US around the place...as happens to me...

https://www.rt.com/news/473105-morales-resignation-us-interference/

Jen , Nov 11 2019 1:57 utc | 75
karlof1 @ 65, Sasha @ 68:

A significant factor is that the anti-Morales opposition is based mainly in Santa Cruz department in eastern Bolivia. This is the largest department (in territory and population) in Bolivia and has significant natural gas reserves. The indigenous people living in that department have virtually nothing in common with the highland indigenous people (Aymara and Quechua speakers) who formed Morales' base.

Morales did not have a military background as Chavez did and we can presume he was never able to cultivate a network of militias among the urban and rural working class that could support and defend his government. Significantly it was the armed forces who asked Morales to resign.

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:58 utc | 76
@Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 11 2019 1:34 utc | 72

Sorry...but the conflict is between socialism and capitalism...between the rich and the working masses, especially those who work and still they remain poor....as has always been....who says otherwise is only trying to fool the masses...

Of course, you people in this forum who live over the average peer, I do not try that you understand...
You live in your world, looking your belly button, and the furthest you are willing to go is complain here about the Outlaw US Empire...

Why do you not damn go tomorrow in the streets to protest this new coup by your fascist administration?

Do not tell me, that would risk your privileged pensions...and all those expensive things you do to your bodies...

Excuse me, but today, reading the same stupid things of always make me feel like throwing up...

Ghost Ship , Nov 11 2019 3:42 utc | 83
Pompeo tweeted:
Fully support the findings of the @OAS_official report recommending new elections in #Bolivia to ensure a truly democratic process representative of the people's will. The credibility of the electoral system must be restored.

Will he still support new elections in the morning?
Meanwhile the protesters are calling MAS a criminal organization so no doubt it'll be excluded from the new elections as happened to the Party Of The Regions in Ukraine. The wonders of American "democracy".
arby , Nov 11 2019 15:42 utc | 120
"
Scott T. Patrick
‏ @PompeiiDog

Why was Evo Morales overthrown? He was nationalizing the highly profitable lithium industry and planning to deal directly on the international market rather than exporting the commodity at bargain prices to Western corporations"


"Bolivia has %43 of World's Lithium mines. Batteries from smartphones to Electric cars are all made with Lithium. Evo Morales was investing in facilities to produce Lithium as a high end export material rather than just exporting the mine itself."

Johny Conspiranoid , Nov 11 2019 15:44 utc | 121
Peter AU1

Somewhere on his blog "Sic Semper Tyrannis", maybe earlier this year, Pat relates the tale of how when working for the US Gov. in Bolivia he gave medical help to someone and was rewarded with information which led to the capture of Che Guevara. This may be what Sasha is referring to.

Peter AU1 , Nov 11 2019 18:41 utc | 145
https://www.export.gov/article?id=Bolivia-Hydrocarbons
"Bolivia - Hydrocarbons
This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data."

"The Hydrocarbons law (Law 3058, May 2005) and a subsequent Supreme Decree (May 2006) require that companies sell all production to YPFB and that domestic market demand be met before exporting hydrocarbons. Furthermore, these laws transfer the entire transport and sales chain over to state control. After the law was enacted, hydrocarbon companies were required to sign new contracts with YPFB, agreeing to pay 50 percent of gross production in taxes and royalties."

"Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices."

karlof1 , Nov 11 2019 18:57 utc | 147
I usually try to read all the comments before making my first of the day, but I have yet to do so, although I looked to see if anyone had linked to Escobar's report on Lula and Brazil , which is an extremely important article for events within Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, and the rest of the world that's resisting the Outlaw US Empire and its Neoliberal/Neofascist attack dogs.

The information Pepe provides is very important as it jibes with what Assad averred in his RT interview , for which I'm still looking for a transcript. Here's Pepe's warning about the likely future course of events, which has CIA scrawled over every act:

"With the military betting on a strategy of chaos, augmented by Lula's immense social base all over Brazil fuming about his return to prison and the financial bubble finally burst, rendering the middle classes even poorer, the stage would be set for the ultimate toxic cocktail: social 'commotion' allied with 'terrorism' associated with 'organized crime.'

"That's all the military needs to launch an extensive operation to restore "order" and finally force Congress to approve the Brazilian version of the Patriot Act (five separate bills are already making their way in Congress).

" This is no conspiracy theory. This is a measure of how incendiary Brazil is at the moment, and Western mainstream media will make no effort whatsoever to explain the nasty, convoluted plot for a global audience ." [My Emphasis]

jayc , Nov 11 2019 21:10 utc | 151
Bolivia coup was orchestrated with direct assist of OAS analysis/report which identified alleged voting fraud. OAS report focuses on a vote-counting system called TREP, which was adopted by Bolivia and others in the region on direct advice of OAS. The TREP system is meant to provide/ publicize initial results, but it is not "official". The official results come from a slower and more thorough vote count process. The OAS claim of irregularities in the TREP count is largely irrelevant, as it was never intended to be "official" or legally reflect official results. There were no irregularities in the official count, won by Morales, and the so-called "delay" was in fact the natural process of the slower moving count to produce the official result.

See this analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research:
http://cepr.net/publications/reports/bolivia-elections-2019-11

Ghost Ship , Nov 11 2019 21:40 utc | 154
While Trump denounced Morales, the US State Department stepped in to sanitize Washington's position, with a senior official telling Reuters that the US has "no preference" among opposition candidates. The spokesperson did say, however, that anyone who tried to "distort" last month's vote should not be allowed to participate .

That's MAS banned from the election by the cunts in the fucking State Department. Imagine if the Russian MFA announced that neither the Democratic nor Republican parties could field presidential candidates in 2020. Trump is an idiot but the State Department, DoJ, and Treasury are the real bastards. Forget the CIA, that's just a bunch of senile tossers who have wet dreams about Cold War 2.0.

Don Bacon , Nov 12 2019 0:19 utc | 166
b mentioned lithium with reference to Bolivia in his 139 above

Nov 11, 2019 -- Bolivian Coup Comes Less Than a Week After Morales Stopped Multinational Firm's Lithium Deal
"Bolivia's lithium belongs to the Bolivian people. Not to multinational corporate cabals."

The Morales move on Nov. 4 to cancel the December 2018 agreement with Germany's ACI Systems Alemania (ACISA) came after weeks of protests from residents of the Potosí area. The region has 50% to 70% of the world's lithium reserves in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats.
Among other clients, ACISA provides batteries to Tesla; Tesla's stock rose Monday after the weekend.
As Bloomberg News noted in 2018, that has set the country up to be incredibly important in the next decade:
Demand for lithium is expected to more than double by 2025. The soft, light mineral is mined mainly in Australia, Chile, and Argentina. Bolivia has plenty -- 9 million tons that have never been mined commercially, the second-largest amount in the world -- but until now there's been no practical way to mine and sell it. . . here

But Teslas catch fire....from ZPower--
Actually, lithium may be in trouble for vehicle batteries.
Just as lithium-ion (Li-ion) replaced nickel metal hydride (NiMH) before it and nickel cadmium (NiCd) before that, silver zinc (AgZn) batteries are on track to replace Li-ion too, according to a McGraw-Hill forecast as far back as 2010. Since then silver zinc has been perfected and are on the market for rechargeable hearing-aid "button" batteries by ZPower LL (Camarillo, Calif.) They are nonflammable and could provide up to 40 percent more run time than lithium-ion batteries. . . here
bevin , Nov 12 2019 0:53 utc | 168
Credit where its due: both Corbyn and Sanders have issued statements against the coup in Bolivia.
On the other hand the recently re-elected, appalling government of Canada has backed it to the hilt. Was probably involved in financing it. See yves engler
https://dissidentvoice.org/2019/11/canada-backs-coup-against-bolivias-president/

The State Department which rarely misses a chance to discredit the democracy that it so hates, is accusing Morales of 'distorting' the election result. Nobody is suggesting that he didn't win the election, at most it is being claimed that his margin of victory, more than 10%, was exaggerated.
A similar, equally spurious claim was used to justify the coup against Aristide. There it was not disputed that Lavelan candidates had won their senatorial elections but that their victories were merely pluralities not majorities.
For this offence Canada, the US and (let it be recalled) Brazil occupied the country, kidnapped Aristide and banned his party from running in future elections.

[Nov 13, 2019] Ecuador The Restoration of Neoliberalism and the Monroe Doctrine by Dr. Birsen Filip

Nov 10, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

On November 7, 2019, the National Court of Justice of Ecuador ratified the preventive detention of former president Rafael Correa , along with a number of his former officials. Immediately after the court rendered its decision for pretrial detention, Correa rejected accusations of bribery, illicit association and contributions to his political campaign between 2012 and 2016, while he was the leader of Alianza Patria Altiva i Soberana (PAIS). Correa founded Alianza PAIS in 2006, as a democratic socialist political party with an objective to achieve economic and political sovereignty, and foment a social and economic revolution in the nation, which came to be known as The Citizens' Revolution (La Revolución Ciudadana).

During his presidency, which lasted from January 15, 2007 to May 24, 2017, Correa introduced a brand of 21 st century socialism to Ecuador, with a focus on improving the living standards of the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the population. His presidency was part of 'the revolutionary wave' in Latin America, referred to as 'Pink tide', where a number of left-wing and socialist governments swept into power throughout the continent during the 2000s, including Cristina Néstor Kirchner and Fernández de Kirchner in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, and Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. All of these governments were opposed to neo-liberal economic policies and American imperialism.

While he was president, Correa raised taxes on the rich and cut down on tax evasion, and increased public investment on infrastructure and public services, including publicly-funded pensions, housing, free health care and education. His government ended up building many schools in different parts of the nation, particularly the countryside, and provided students with nearly all of the materials needed to further their studies. President Correa also more than doubled the minimum wage, which contributed to significantly reducing socioeconomic inequality. In 2018, a World Bank report explained that:

Ecuador has made notable improvements in reducing poverty over the last decade. Income poverty decreased from 36.7 percent in 2007 to 21.5 percent in 2017. In addition, the share of the population living in extreme poverty fell by more than half, from 16.5 percent in 2007 to 7.9 percent in 2017, representing an average annual drop of 0.9 percentage points. In absolute numbers, these changes represent a total of 1.6 million individuals exiting poverty, and about one million exiting extreme poverty over the last decade.[i]

Furthermore, the unemployment rate fell from an 'all time high of 11.86 percent in the first quarter of 2004' to 'a record low of 4.54 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014'[ii]. The World Bank also reported that Ecuador posted annual economic growth of '4.5 percent during 2001-2014, well above the average for the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region of 3.3 percent. During this period, real GDP doubled and real GDP per capita increased by 50 percent.'[iii]

On October 1, 2016, Correa announced the nomination of Lenín Boltaire Moreno Garcés , who served as his vice president from 2007 to 2013, as his party's candidate for the 2017 presidential election at the conference of Alianza PAIS. Moreno was elected president, and it was expected that he would continue and build on Correa's left-wing economic policies. However, within a few months of winning the election, president Moreno began to dismantle many of the social, economic and political reforms enacted by Correa during his decade as president. Contrary to Correa's government, many of the domestic policies pursued by president Moreno included reducing public spending, weakening worker rights, and providing significant tax cuts to the rich and large corporations. In other words, president Moreno has gradually shifted Ecuador's left-wing policies to the political centre-right.

Moreno's presidency also shifted Ecuador's foreign policy stance, giving it a more neo-liberal and pro-American orientation. When Correa's socialist government was in power, Ecuador enjoyed close diplomatic and economic relations with Venezuela, and was more independent of American hegemony. For example, president Correa closed a US military base in Manta, Ecuador when Washington's lease expired in 2009. Prior to that, in 2007, Correa stated:

We'll renew the [Manta air] base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami -- an Ecuadorean base if there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely, they'll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States.[iv]

Subsequently, on September 18, 2009, he also said:

As long as I am president, I will not allow foreign bases in our homeland, I will not allow interference in our affairs, I will not negotiate our sovereignty and I will not accept guardians of our democracy.

Contrary to Correa, the US-Ecuador military relationship has expanded under the Moreno government 'through training, assistance, and the reestablishment of an Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Quito.'[v]Ecuador and the US have also signed deals for the purchase of weapons and other military equipment, and agreed to cooperate more closely in the areas of security, intelligence, and counter-narcotics.

In 2011, president Correa expelled US ambassador Heather Hodges from Quito. Subsequently, in 2014, his government expelled the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from the country, where it had been operating since 1961 as part of John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress (AFP)[vi]. USAID regularly exercises 'soft power' in Latin American nations in order to help the US establish itself as an 'international police power'[vii]. In May 2019, Moreno's government announced that USAID would return to Ecuador.

President Correa also became renowned for providing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange with political asylum in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 to prevent his arrest and possible extradition to the US. However, shortly after his election, there were indications that Moreno might be willing to hand him over to authorities in the UK. In addition to calling Assange an 'inherited problem,' a 'spoiled brat' and a 'miserable hacker', Moreno accused him of repeatedly violating his asylum conditions and of trying to use the embassy as a 'centre for spying'[viii]. Then, on April 11, Assange's political asylum was revoked, which allowed him to be forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy by British police.In response, Correa called Moreno 'the greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history' for committing 'a crime humanity will never forget'[ix].

President Correa's government supported the integration of South America countries into a single economic and political bloc. However, since Moreno came to power, Ecuador has distanced itself from the Venezuelan government, and withdrew from the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas[x](ALBA) in August 2018, as well as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in September 2019. UNASUR was established by 12 South American countries in 2008to address important issues in the region without the presence of the United States. Currently, only five members remain: Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The other seven members, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay, agreed to create the Forum for the Progress of South America (PROSUR) in March 2019. The goal of this alternative organization is to achieve the right-wing agenda in Latin America, as its members support neo-liberal austerity measures and closer ties with Washington. It could be said that PROSUR aligns well with the goals and objectives of the Monroe Doctrine.

Another major shift in president Moreno's political stance pertains to lawsuits brought against Texaco/Chevron by the Correa government to obtain compensation for environmental damages caused when the operations of Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) dumped 16 billion gallons of toxic wastewater in the Amazon region of Ecuador between 1964 and 1992, affecting more than 30,000 Indigenous people and Campesinos in the area. 'Chevron left 880 pits full of crude oil which are still there, the rivers are still full of hydrocarbon sediment and polluted by the crude oil spills in Amazonia, which is one of the most biodiversity rich regions in the world'[xi], and 'the damage has been left unrepaired for more than 40 years'[xii]. To raise public awareness about this environmental disaster, president Correa's government established an international campaign called the 'Dirty Hand of Chevron'. In 2011, the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court ordered Chevron to pay $9.5 billion in compensation for social and environmental damages it caused.

In September 2018, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), an agency of the United Nations based in the Hague, Netherlands, ruled that the Ecuadorian court decision against Chevron was illegal, because it was an outcome of fraud, bribery, and corruption. The PCA 'also ruled that Ecuador will have to pay economic compensation'[xiii]to Chevron. 'The amount has not been established yet, but Chevron requested that Ecuador assume the US$9.5 billion' awarded to affected communities by the Ecuadorean court.[xiv]Following the PCA decision, the government of president Moreno announced that:

the state will sue former President Rafael Correa and his government officials if Ecuador lost the international arbitration process.[xv]

In this matter, president Moreno also accused Correa of 'failing to defend the country's interests correctly and spending money on "The Dirty Hand of Chevron" campaign, which according to the government sought to "manipulate national and international public opinion."'[xvi] In reality, president Moreno supports the PCA decision, thereby prioritizing the interest of Texaco/Chevron over those of his own citizens . In fact, his government has been attempting to nullify the Constitutional Court ruling against Chevron. In response, former president Correa has accused the Moreno government of 'doing homework ordered by (the United States Vice President Mike) Pence'. Even some of Moreno's own cabinet ministers condemned the PCA ruling and expressed their support for Ecuador's Constitutional Court for defending of the country's nationals interest and the rights of the people of the Amazon.

Sell Out: How Corruption, Voter Fraud and a Neoliberal Turn Led Ecuador's President Moreno to Give Up Assange

Correa exhibited a hostile attitude towards the Bretton Woods Institutions during his presidency. He sought to renegotiate Ecuador's external debt of US$10.2 billion, which he called 'illegitimate' because 'it was accrued during autocratic and corrupt regimes of the past. Correa threatened to default on Ecuador's foreign debt, and ordered the expulsion of the World Bank's country manager'[xvii], which was carried out on April 26, 2007. His government also opposed the signing of any agreements that would permit the IMF to monitor Ecuador's economic plan. As a result of such actions on the part of Correa's government, 'Ecuador was able to renegotiate its debt with its creditors and redirect public funds towards social investments.'[xviii]

To the contrary, Moreno has enthusiastically embraced the IMF during his short time as president. On March 1, 2019, Ecuador's central bank manager, Verónica Artola Jarrín, and economy and finance minister, Richard Martínez Alvarado,submitted a letter of intent to the IMF requesting a three-year $4.2 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreement. An EFF allows the IMF to assist countries that are facing 'serious medium-term balance of payments problems.' More precisely, EFF is designed to:

to provide assistance to countries: (i) experiencing serious payments imbalances because of structural impediments; or (ii) characterized by slow growth and an inherently weak balance of payments position. The EFF provides assistance in support of comprehensive programs that include policies of the scope and character required to correct structural imbalances over an extended period.[xix]

The IMF agreement signed in March allowed Ecuador to borrow $4.2 billion. However, as is always the case, the IMF agreement was not without conditionalities, as it required the Ecuadorian government to implement a series of neo-liberal economic reforms. According to IMF statements, these reforms aim to transform Ecuador's fiscal deficit into a surplus, reduce the country's debt-to-GDP ratio, and increase foreign investment. On March 11, 2019, Christine Lagarde, former Managing Director of the IMF, claimed that:

The Ecuadorian authorities are implementing a comprehensive reform program aimed at modernizing the economy and paving the way for strong, sustained, and equitable growth.[xx]

On March 11, 2019, Christine Lagarde also explained that:

Achieving a robust fiscal position is at the core of the authorities' program, which will be supported by a three-year extended arrangement from the IMF. The aim is to reduce debt-to-GDP ratio through a combination of a wage bill realignment, a careful and gradual optimization of fuel subsidies, a reprioritization of capital and goods and services spending, and a tax reform. The savings generated by these measures will allow for an increase in social assistance spending over the course of the program. The authorities will continue their efforts to strengthen the medium-term fiscal policy framework, and more rigorous fiscal controls and better public financial management will help to enhance the effectiveness of fiscal policy.[xxi]

Protecting the poor and most vulnerable segments in society is a key objective of the authorities' program. In this context, the authorities plan to extend the coverage of, and increase the nominal level of benefits under the existing social protection programs. Work is also underway to improve the targeting of social programs.[xxii]

Ecuador's participation in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) represents another point of contention between Correa and the Moreno government. Ecuador was a member of OPEC from 1973 and 1992. After a period of absence, it rejoined the organization in 2007 after Correa became president of the country. However, on October 1 st , president Moreno announced that Ecuador would once again end its membership in OPEC effective January 1, 2020. Given Moreno's penchant for implementing neo-liberal economic policies, this decision was likely based on the notion that freeing the country from the burden of having to abide by quotas would bring fiscal sustainability to Ecuador. This is evidenced by the fact that Ecuador contacted OPEC to request permission to produce above its quota in February 2019, though it was never confirmed whether a response was received[xxiii]. While increasing production in its Amazonian oil fields would likely bring more foreign investment to Ecuador and open up new markets, it would also lead to serious conflicts between the Moreno government and the indigenous people living in the area, who are strongly opposed to oil extraction.

In addition to announcing Ecuador's departure from OPEC, president Moreno also selected October 1 st as the date to introduce Decree 883, a series of economic measures that included ending longstanding subsidies for fuel, the removal of some import tariffs, and cuts to the benefits and wages of public employees. In particular, the elimination of fuel subsidies, which had been in place for 40 years, was instituted in order to meet IMF requirements to keep the $4.2 billion programme on track, and to satisfy international investors. The EFF agreement between the IMF and the Ecuadorean government also called for thousands of public employees to be laid off, the privatization of public assets, the separation of the central bank from the government, cutting public expenditures, and raising taxes over the next three years. IMF representatives claim that these types of reforms bring more foreign direct investment into the economy.

In fact, a close examination of the neo-liberal economic reforms recommended by the IMF in many countries reveals that they are almost identical, meaning that they do not take the diverse needs and realities of each country into account; rather, they are driven by the interests of the countries and other stakeholders that provide the funds. Generally, the IMF's recommendations[xxiv]consist of cutting deficits, liberalizing trade, privatizing state-owned enterprises, reforming the banking and financial systems, increasing taxes, raising interest rates, and reforming key sectors. However, countless studies have revealed that these types of reforms, have raised the unemployment rate, created poverty, and have often preceded recessions. On October 2, 2019, the IMF issued a press release on Ecuador stating that:

The reforms announced yesterday by President Lenin Moreno aim to improve the resilience and sustainability of Ecuador's economy and foster strong, and inclusive growth. The announcement included important measures to protect the poor and most vulnerable, as well as to generate jobs in a more competitive economy.

The authorities are also working on important reforms aimed at supporting Ecuador's dollarization, including the reform of the central bank and the organic code of budget and planning.

IMF staff will continue to work closely with the authorities to improve the prospects for all Ecuadorians. The second review is expected to be submitted to the Executive Board in the coming weeks.[xxv]

President Moreno's decision to end the subsidies on fuel led to the prices of diesel and petroleum increasing by 100% and 30%, respectively, overnight, which directly contributed to significantly raising the costs of public transportation. In response, protests erupted against Moreno's austerity measures on October 3 rd , featuring students, unions and indigenous organizations. They declared an indefinite general strike until the government reversed its neo-liberal adjustment package. Moreno's initial response was to reject the ultimatum and state that he would 'not negotiate with criminals.'

The following day, on October 4, 2019, president Moreno declared a state of emergency under the pretext of ensuring the security of citizens and to 'avoid chaos.' Nonetheless, the protests continued and intensified to the point that the government was forced to relocate to city of Guayaquil because Quito had been overrun by anti-government protestors. However, this attempt to escape the protestors proved ineffective as taxi, bus and truck drivers blocked roads and bridges in Guayaquil, as well as in Quito, which disrupted transportation nationwide.

In the following days, thousands of demonstrators continued to demand the reversal of austerity measures, as well as the resignation of the president. However, Moreno remained defiant, refusing both demands under all circumstances. Subsequently, Ecuador's main oil pipeline ceased operations after it was seized by indigenous protesters. Petro-Ecuador was concerned that production losses could reach 165,000 barrels a day. Indigenous protesters also occupied two water treatment plants in the city of Ambato. Meanwhile, violent clashes between protesters and police resulted in seven deaths , about 2,000 injuries, and over 1,000 arrests. Eventually, Moreno's government was forced to back down and make concession with the well -organised protesters.

On October 13, president Moreno agreed to withdraw Decree 883 and replace the IMF-backed plan with a new proposal, involving negotiations with the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and other social groups. The following day, president Moreno signed Decree 894, which reinstated the cancelled fuel subsidies. However, on October 23, CONAIE released a statement informing the public that 'it paused talks with President Lenin Moreno because of the government's "persecution" of the group's leaders [Jaime Vargas] since a halt to violent anti-austerity protests.'[xxvi]

It is unlikely that president Moreno would be willing to give up on his austerity policies or start the process of cancelling the IMF loan, given his apparent commitment to helping the US realize the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine. Many of the reforms and policies that his government has introduced will help keep Ecuador firmly entrenched in America's backyard for years to come.

This is not a new development, as history has revealed that, for more than a century , 'in Latin America there are more than enough of the kind of rulers who are ready to use Yankee troops against their own people when they find themselves in crisis' (Fidel Castro, Havana 1962). However, the eruption of protests in response to Moreno's neo-liberal reforms suggests that he faces an uphill battle, as his fellow Ecuadorians do not appear to share his enthusiasm for selling his country to external creditors and foreign influences. Although Moreno has managed to successfully drive Rafael Correa out of Ecuador, the former president's opposition to capitalism and imperialism remain strong among the population.

*

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Global Research contributor Dr. Birsen Filip holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Ottawa.

[Nov 13, 2019] HARPER NEOCONS STILL PROMOTE PERMANENT REVOLUTION

Notable quotes:
"... From the 1950s, the anti-Soviet fervor of these New York City-based intellectuals prompted support for the early United States intervention in Vietnam. In the 1970s, the Socialist Party split up as some factions aligned with the New Left. The neocons formed the Social Democrats USA (SDUSA), only later abandoning their socialist party-building in favor of penetrating both the Democratic and Republican parties. In the 1970s, Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Henry "Scoop" Jackson and Representative William Hughes hired some leading second-generation neocons as foreign policy staffers, beginning a long, steady penetration of key Congressional committees. ..."
"... Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution? Socialism has been replaced by democracy-promotion but that difference is small, particularly as the consequences continue to play out on the world stage. ..."
"... Antonio Gramsci quote" Trotskyist are the whores of the fascists". Globalist are modern day or post modern Trotskyist ..."
Nov 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

As the happy marriage of neoconservatives and Obama-era humanitarian interventionists continues to flourish in defense of American permanent war deployments around the globe, it is a worthwhile moment to recall the roots of the neocons in the old left of the 1930s. Neocon founders like Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Max Schachtman, Seymour Martin Lipset, Irving Howe, Nathan Glazer, and Gertrude Himmelfarb were all anti-Soviet socialists from the 1930s, many of whom were followers of Leon Trotsky. Trotsky broke with Stalin in the late 1930s over his emphasis on permanent world socialist revolution, as Stalin concentrated on the consolidation of "socialist in one country"--the USSR.

From the 1950s, the anti-Soviet fervor of these New York City-based intellectuals prompted support for the early United States intervention in Vietnam. In the 1970s, the Socialist Party split up as some factions aligned with the New Left. The neocons formed the Social Democrats USA (SDUSA), only later abandoning their socialist party-building in favor of penetrating both the Democratic and Republican parties. In the 1970s, Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Henry "Scoop" Jackson and Representative William Hughes hired some leading second-generation neocons as foreign policy staffers, beginning a long, steady penetration of key Congressional committees.

At the Gerald Ford White House, successive chiefs of staff Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney organized a series of "intellectual seminars" by Irving Kristol, further spreading neocon ideology within the foreign policy establishment. As Defense Secretary and later as Vice President, Cheney continued to promote neocons to key posts and to advocate for neocon permanent warfare.

Early in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan launched "Project Democracy," to spread democracy around the globe through well-funded programs including the National Endowment for Democracy, led by Carl Gershman, who has headed the NED since its founding in 1984 through to the present. Gershman was previously Executive Director of Social Democrats USA. NED has been a stronghold of neocons from its inception.

While the anti-Soviet outlook of the neocons continued even after the Berlin Wall and the fall of Soviet communism, the focus increasingly was on permanent warfare to promote democracy around the globe.

Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution? Socialism has been replaced by democracy-promotion but that difference is small, particularly as the consequences continue to play out on the world stage.

Posted at 03:24 AM | Permalink


falcemartello , 11 November 2019 at 06:28 AM

Antonio Gramsci quote" Trotskyist are the whores of the fascists". Globalist are modern day or post modern Trotskyist
JJackson , 11 November 2019 at 07:03 AM
"Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution? Socialism has been replaced by democracy-promotion but that difference is small, particularly as the consequences continue to play out on the world stage."

I don't think the Democracy bit is much more than a fig leaf, it can quickly be discarded if votes do not go as required. The aim seems to have more to do with removing unfriendly regimes and replacing them with compliant ones. It does not work because the people/'voters' do not like the imposed elites and are inclined to vote by tribe/clan/religion, rather than any western concept of party, the biggest block wins and lords it over the minority.

David Lentini , 11 November 2019 at 08:30 AM
"Democracy-promotion" is just the ostensible reason. Socialism, controlled by the Western élites, was always the goal.
oldman22 , 11 November 2019 at 08:52 AM
It is a serious error to conflate Irving Howe with support for the Vietnam war. In fact the truth is quite opposite. Here is a reference:

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1965/11/25/the-vietnam-protest/

doug said in reply to oldman22... , 11 November 2019 at 10:40 AM
oldman22,

Irving was quite a character. A socialist who's eyes were not totally closed to the um, "contradictions" and stagnation inherent in socialist economies. He spun his wheels mightily in the pages of Dissent trying to reconcile his socialist ideals with it's fundamental conflict with human nature.

Vig , 11 November 2019 at 09:03 AM
Ok, thus the essence of neoconism is Trotzkism and not Straussianism?

In other words, concerning the neoconservatives it makes no sense to look at the (Leo) Straussian angle? Arbitarily?

Now, considering their (not so prominent???) part in the US Culture War (still ongoing???) I am admittedly puzzled. If they were leaning towards Strauss at one point in time, they may well have shifted from revolutionaries to counterevolutionaries at one point in time. No?

They never did? They weren't impressed by their heroes death, but carried his legacy on? Nevertheless?

Babak Makkinejad , 11 November 2019 at 10:18 AM
Actually, this is a recasting of the old Muslim idea of Dar al Salam and Dar al Harb. Western Diocletian states embodying the House of Peace while the rest of mankind lives in the House of War. For Muslims, the idea was to bring the benefits of Islam to non-Muslims. Here, it is to bring the benefits of Civilization to the barbarian hordes.
Babak Makkinejad , 11 November 2019 at 10:22 AM
Fundamentally, neocon and their fellow travellers - an assortment of Protestants, Jews, Nihilists, Democrats, and Shoah Cultists - are waging a relugious war that has failed and will fail against the particularities of mankind. Just like Islam failed to destroy either Christianity or Hinduism, this Western errand will fail too.
Eric Newhill said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 11 November 2019 at 12:08 PM
What you say is true, Babak.

I think these people are the type, subset pseudointellectuals, that just enjoy power and using it to stir the pot of humanity for self-glorification.

IMO, they really believe in nothing else. They are, by nature, miserable craven control freaks that justify their activities by hijacking whatever ideology is floating around in the zeitgeist that the dupes will follow; could be Islam, could be Christianity, could be democracy, could be socialism. Makes no difference to them as long as they get to experience themselves as superior masters of the world.

Sbin , 11 November 2019 at 10:23 AM
Nice to see one of the founders of White Helmets being rehomed in the correct manner.

James le Mesurier found dead in Turkey.

Babak Makkinejad , 11 November 2019 at 10:29 AM
Harper:

In Libya, in 2011, Democracy-promoters destroyed her so that Sarkozy and others in France, Spain, Italy, UK could steal her wealth; reminiscent of Muslim invasions of India in search of war booty, rapine, and slaves, in the name of Islam.

fredw , 11 November 2019 at 10:31 AM
So? This review of (important) history gives us no insight into why it happened or why we should care today. Yes, I agree that these were bad people in the 1930s and they remained bad people when they moved (in theory) from the left wing to the right wing. But that is all you have said. What were the motives? How was it done? Why were they able to find acceptance in both parties with such a lousy history? How are they able to continue being accepted after such a lousy continuing history.

This account is all ad hominem, all about how a certain strain of ideologue has consistently advocated for policies of world-wide control. The logical back story would be a Trotskyite coordinating presence, something I don't for a minute believe. Yet people of this description are undeniably pervasive in the councils of state.

So what is the connection between advocates of US dominion and former advocates of world wide revolution? And, if it is just a matter of attitudes toward power, why should we care? So some people 70 years ago (bad people, admittedly) had an influence of some people today (also in my mind bad people). So? Were they the only people from that era who held such attitudes? Could we not just as easily trace other genealogies for ideas of US domination? Do such ideas ever in history fail to materialize when the power balances enable them?

So you don't like these people and you don't like where you think they came from. But do you have anything to say about why they are so pervasive and what could be done about it?

Vegetius said in reply to fredw... , 11 November 2019 at 12:07 PM

> Could we not just as easily trace other genealogies

Keep it simple and start with tracing the actual genealogies of these people. If you do that, a lot of things should begin to fall into place.

If they don't, you're still operating under a century of mass media propaganda.

doug , 11 November 2019 at 10:35 AM
Harper,

Ah, the good old days. In the early 80's I would stop after work at the local newsstand and pick up Commentary, Dissent, Partisan Review, National Interest, and so on. Whatever struck my fancy and for some reason, these did even though their circulation was quite small. At the time I didn't not realize their commonality which came to me later in the 80's. The PBS movie/book, "Arguing the World," which came out about 20 years ago, has a lot of the backstory.

A common thread is the desire to change the world though they had different views of what that "change" should be.

As for me, I was an accidental entrepreneur and generally liked Hayek's economic views. I'm also highly skeptical of idealist and messianic movements like Mao's which the 60's had been rife with. But I loved readings all these rags with somewhat different perspectives but a common thread that each seemed to think their "Truth" should rule. Seems to me the greatest evil gets perpetrated by those that think they have found "The Way."

Babak Makkinejad -> doug... , 11 November 2019 at 12:31 PM
The most dangerous man is an intellectual.
doug said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 11 November 2019 at 03:09 PM
Babak,

And the Alcoves at CUNY bred a bunch of 'em. Different perspectives but a fevered desire to change the World. God help us.

prawnik , 11 November 2019 at 10:38 AM
To such people, ihe ideology is unimportant. Empire is what matters.
Babak Makkinejad -> prawnik... , 11 November 2019 at 12:31 PM
Not empire, rather, power.
prawnik said in reply to Babak Makkinejad... , 11 November 2019 at 05:21 PM
Same difference, viewed from the neocon perspective.
tjfxh , 11 November 2019 at 11:30 AM
How much of neoconservatism cum liberal internationalism (foreign policy idealism aka Wilsonianism) is "spreading freedom and democracy" and now much is neoliberal globalization as "making the world safe for capitalism"?

In either case the end in view is a Pax Americana where the US has permanent global dominance in accordance with the Wolfowitz doctrine of not permitting a challenger to arise as a competitor.

Vegetius , 11 November 2019 at 11:58 AM
If you go no further than Marxism, you will not understand what is happening. But to go further is to engage in thoughtcrime.

Fortunately, the Catholic scholar E. Michael Jones has written a great book on this. It is called The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit: And Its Impact on World History. Incredibly, it has not been banned from Amazon yet. It is exhaustive, encyclopedic and documented.

Jones has developed a following among young Catholics appalled at both the corruption in Rome and the corruption in American society. These kids are the ones digging conservatism's grave, not the left. The left needs Conservative Inc to plays its role and keep the show going for the benefit of older people who get all their information from television.

It has not been covered much by the media but TPUSA, a Trump-aligned youth organization, has been battered by audience after audience on its recent campus tour. Yesterday in Los Angeles Donald Trump Jr was booed off the stage as he tried to promote his latest book.

At first, TPUSA tried to blame campus leftwingers. This was an obvious lie, and so they began to call the audience Nazis. Then, they accused them of being virgins. They tried to vet and plant questioners but when this failed they eliminated the Q&A altogether. A similar episode happened the week before when Sebastian Gorka stupidly took on a 20 year-old Youtube personality with an audience ten times larger than his own.

Post-WW2 Conservatives failed because they never understood what they were fighting, failed to wage culture war, and fooled themselves into thinking that the fall of the Berlin Wall meant the end of struggle, when it only meant a change of theater.


Stephanie , 11 November 2019 at 12:33 PM
Not off-topic, just a footnote.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/11/british-founder-of-white-helmets-found-dead-in-istanbul-james-le-mesurier

RIP

Fred -> Stephanie... , 11 November 2019 at 06:33 PM
Stephanie,

"...appeared to have fallen from a balcony." I somehow doubt that.

"The NGO's funders currently include the British and German governments. The Trump administration froze US funding, which made up about one-third of the total, without public explanation in early 2018, but resumed giving financial aid last month amid criticism of its decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria."

I bet that pissed off the neocons to no end. He should stop it again. We can use the money at home.

Harlan Easley , 11 November 2019 at 12:51 PM
Their ideology is Anti-Christian. It's that simple. Their motive is spiritual.
Thirdeye , 11 November 2019 at 04:27 PM
"Does the permanent warfare of today's neocons differ in any real way from the Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution?"

Yes, profoundly. For starters, Permanent Revolution and world revolution were two separate Trotskyist doctrines. Permanent Revolution was a doctrine eschewing the mainstream social-democratic strategy of supporting bourgeois-democratic revolutions until the proletariat gained sufficient strength to gain state power. Trotsky contended that socialist - capitalist alliances were inherently unstable and that bourgeois-democratic forces would inevitably align with the existing ruling order against the proletariat. World revolution was a doctrine that a socialist revolution in Russia could not survive in isolation and revolutions had to take place in more advanced countries, particularly Germany. That was given a messianic veneer of "proletarian internationalism" and "world revolution." Such maximalism was opposed to realist expedients such as the New Economic Policy and the Rapallo Treaty of 1924 that fostered economic relations between the Soviet Union and capitalist Germany.

Revolutionary movements have always drawn opportunists who saw them mainly as a shortcut to gaining power for themselves. The ur-neocons were such a group. Their loyalty to Trotskyist ideology only lasted as long as they saw it as something that could boost them into power. When better means in various apparatuses of US power presented themselves, they latched onto them under the guise of "spreading democracy." That seems a cynical formulation, since the most consistent neocon ideological theme is that the great unwashed masses are not to be trusted, so power must be arrogated to themselves.

fredw said in reply to Thirdeye... , 11 November 2019 at 09:36 PM
"... the most consistent neocon ideological theme is that the great unwashed masses are not to be trusted, so power must be arrogated to themselves." Isn't that the real ideology of all these factions? To my mind the rest is all just tactics.

I am genuinely unsure what the real distinctions are. The present American "conservative" idolizing of democracy and free market economics seems about as sincere as the Communist ideal of economic control by the working classes. Many years ago I argued with a (captured) VC political officer that the Vietnam war was just a fight between two elites over who would get to run things. He was appalled by the idea. His claim to the moral high ground was based on two factors: the personal honesty of the Viet Cong cadre and the party discipline that that guaranteed it. These seemed plausible at the time. Both went up in smoke almost as soon as the victory had been won.

How different were the results of the war from those to be expected from a Southern victory? I haven't followed the subsequent history in detail, but American Vietnamese acquaintances tell me that 40 years later everything is being run by Southerners. Not identically the same Southerners, but ... And does anyone believe that a southern government securely established would not have set about expelling the Chinese population that had accumulated during the years when the Vietnamese could not control their own borders? (American media never said much about it, but the boat people were overwhelmingly Chinese victims of longstanding hatreds.)

So how different is the neocon vision from a Trotskyist vision in a world where direct control is no longer possible?

ex PFC Chuck , 11 November 2019 at 10:16 PM
The dots I have yet to connect are those that trace the path by which the neoconservatives wandered from their socialist roots to become the enforcers of the Western world's fundamentalist neoliberal ideology of political economy. How many of the dots pertaining to the latter came to be embedded in the western industrialized world and most of the Global South were tied together for me by the recent book Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism , by Quinn Slobodian. Several points jump from the author's narrative. The neoliberal movement traces its origins to two citizens of the Austrian Empire who came of age in the decades immediately before its collapse: Ludwig von Mises* (b 1881) and Frederick Hayek (b 1899). Both were of un-landed noble families that had been promoted to that status just a generation or two before. Slobodian argues that the Empire's uniqueness as a multi-cultural, multi-national entity held together by a common market with no internal tariffs and free migration within the empire led them (and especially Hayek) to envision a similarly structured world economy. They and their disciples and successors saw the making of that structure happen as their lives' work. The goal remained constant but the means of achieving it changed with the times. First they saw the League of Nations as the potential vehicle until its collapse during the Second World War. Next was the United Nation until it was "overrun" by new nations emerging from colonialism. The goal was largely achieved in the late 20th century when General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) morphed into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994.

The most salient features of a neoliberal political economy are: free movement and safety of capital and protections for the ownership rights of investors across borders; free migration of people across those same borders; also tariff-free trade among countries; and the removal of economic policies and relationships from the purviews of sovereign countries and subordinate jurisdictions within them.

Slobodian elaborates how as the neoliberal ideology became embedded in the world economy during the 20th century it was believed by the movers and shakers (mostly implicitly but in some cases explicitly) that the lagging development status of the peoples of the recently decolonized emerging countries were the results of racial and/or cultural weaknesses. There was little recognition of the impacts of the cultural carnage and wealth extraction that were part and parcel of colonial enterprise. As a result, as the institutions of radical neoliberalism took shape they consigned a secondary economic status to the countries of what is now known as the Global South. The USA has been the leader in putting this ideology in place and has been aggressively looking out for its own interests in the process, which is understandable.* However an unintended consequence has been an economically lagging global south that has been prevented from industrializing enough to employ the millions of people whose farms have become uncompetitive with highly industrialized USA and European agribusiness. These folks move off the land either to the growing megacities of the Global South or, increasingly, into countries of the Global North by means either legal or illegal. Thus the Democratic Party establishment's Kumbaya on immigration is not all sweetness, light and harmony. They're also doing the bidding of their neoliberal masters.

https://www.greenlightbookstore.com/book/9780674979529

* Michael Hudson has written extensively on this subject, especially in Superimperalism , which was first published in 1972 and substantially updated about 2003. You can download the full text in PDF format here: https://michael-hudson.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/superimperialism.pdf

[Nov 12, 2019] Ecuador The Restoration of Neoliberalism and the Monroe Doctrine - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Glo

Nov 12, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Ecuador: The Restoration of Neoliberalism and the Monroe Doctrine By Dr. Birsen Filip Global Research, November 10, 2019 Region: Latin America & Caribbean Theme: Global Economy , History

On November 7, 2019, the National Court of Justice of Ecuador ratified the preventive detention of former president Rafael Correa , along with a number of his former officials. Immediately after the court rendered its decision for pretrial detention, Correa rejected accusations of bribery, illicit association and contributions to his political campaign between 2012 and 2016, while he was the leader of Alianza Patria Altiva i Soberana (PAIS). Correa founded Alianza PAIS in 2006, as a democratic socialist political party with an objective to achieve economic and political sovereignty, and foment a social and economic revolution in the nation, which came to be known as The Citizens' Revolution (La Revolución Ciudadana).

During his presidency, which lasted from January 15, 2007 to May 24, 2017, Correa introduced a brand of 21 st century socialism to Ecuador, with a focus on improving the living standards of the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the population. His presidency was part of 'the revolutionary wave' in Latin America, referred to as 'Pink tide', where a number of left-wing and socialist governments swept into power throughout the continent during the 2000s, including Cristina Néstor Kirchner and Fernández de Kirchner in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, and Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. All of these governments were opposed to neo-liberal economic policies and American imperialism.

While he was president, Correa raised taxes on the rich and cut down on tax evasion, and increased public investment on infrastructure and public services, including publicly-funded pensions, housing, free health care and education. His government ended up building many schools in different parts of the nation, particularly the countryside, and provided students with nearly all of the materials needed to further their studies. President Correa also more than doubled the minimum wage, which contributed to significantly reducing socioeconomic inequality. In 2018, a World Bank report explained that:

Ecuador has made notable improvements in reducing poverty over the last decade. Income poverty decreased from 36.7 percent in 2007 to 21.5 percent in 2017. In addition, the share of the population living in extreme poverty fell by more than half, from 16.5 percent in 2007 to 7.9 percent in 2017, representing an average annual drop of 0.9 percentage points. In absolute numbers, these changes represent a total of 1.6 million individuals exiting poverty, and about one million exiting extreme poverty over the last decade.[i]

Furthermore, the unemployment rate fell from an 'all time high of 11.86 percent in the first quarter of 2004' to 'a record low of 4.54 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014'[ii]. The World Bank also reported that Ecuador posted annual economic growth of '4.5 percent during 2001-2014, well above the average for the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region of 3.3 percent. During this period, real GDP doubled and real GDP per capita increased by 50 percent.'[iii]

On October 1, 2016, Correa announced the nomination of Lenín Boltaire Moreno Garcés , who served as his vice president from 2007 to 2013, as his party's candidate for the 2017 presidential election at the conference of Alianza PAIS. Moreno was elected president, and it was expected that he would continue and build on Correa's left-wing economic policies. However, within a few months of winning the election, president Moreno began to dismantle many of the social, economic and political reforms enacted by Correa during his decade as president. Contrary to Correa's government, many of the domestic policies pursued by president Moreno included reducing public spending, weakening worker rights, and providing significant tax cuts to the rich and large corporations. In other words, president Moreno has gradually shifted Ecuador's left-wing policies to the political centre-right.

Moreno's presidency also shifted Ecuador's foreign policy stance, giving it a more neo-liberal and pro-American orientation. When Correa's socialist government was in power, Ecuador enjoyed close diplomatic and economic relations with Venezuela, and was more independent of American hegemony. For example, president Correa closed a US military base in Manta, Ecuador when Washington's lease expired in 2009. Prior to that, in 2007, Correa stated:

We'll renew the [Manta air] base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami -- an Ecuadorean base if there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely, they'll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States.[iv]

Subsequently, on September 18, 2009, he also said:

As long as I am president, I will not allow foreign bases in our homeland, I will not allow interference in our affairs, I will not negotiate our sovereignty and I will not accept guardians of our democracy.

Contrary to Correa, the US-Ecuador military relationship has expanded under the Moreno government 'through training, assistance, and the reestablishment of an Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Quito.'[v]Ecuador and the US have also signed deals for the purchase of weapons and other military equipment, and agreed to cooperate more closely in the areas of security, intelligence, and counter-narcotics.

In 2011, president Correa expelled US ambassador Heather Hodges from Quito. Subsequently, in 2014, his government expelled the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) from the country, where it had been operating since 1961 as part of John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress (AFP)[vi]. USAID regularly exercises 'soft power' in Latin American nations in order to help the US establish itself as an 'international police power'[vii]. In May 2019, Moreno's government announced that USAID would return to Ecuador.

President Correa also became renowned for providing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange with political asylum in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 to prevent his arrest and possible extradition to the US. However, shortly after his election, there were indications that Moreno might be willing to hand him over to authorities in the UK. In addition to calling Assange an 'inherited problem,' a 'spoiled brat' and a 'miserable hacker', Moreno accused him of repeatedly violating his asylum conditions and of trying to use the embassy as a 'centre for spying'[viii]. Then, on April 11, Assange's political asylum was revoked, which allowed him to be forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy by British police.In response, Correa called Moreno 'the greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history' for committing 'a crime humanity will never forget'[ix].

President Correa's government supported the integration of South America countries into a single economic and political bloc. However, since Moreno came to power, Ecuador has distanced itself from the Venezuelan government, and withdrew from the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas[x](ALBA) in August 2018, as well as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in September 2019. UNASUR was established by 12 South American countries in 2008to address important issues in the region without the presence of the United States. Currently, only five members remain: Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. The other seven members, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay, agreed to create the Forum for the Progress of South America (PROSUR) in March 2019. The goal of this alternative organization is to achieve the right-wing agenda in Latin America, as its members support neo-liberal austerity measures and closer ties with Washington. It could be said that PROSUR aligns well with the goals and objectives of the Monroe Doctrine.

Another major shift in president Moreno's political stance pertains to lawsuits brought against Texaco/Chevron by the Correa government to obtain compensation for environmental damages caused when the operations of Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) dumped 16 billion gallons of toxic wastewater in the Amazon region of Ecuador between 1964 and 1992, affecting more than 30,000 Indigenous people and Campesinos in the area. 'Chevron left 880 pits full of crude oil which are still there, the rivers are still full of hydrocarbon sediment and polluted by the crude oil spills in Amazonia, which is one of the most biodiversity rich regions in the world'[xi], and 'the damage has been left unrepaired for more than 40 years'[xii]. To raise public awareness about this environmental disaster, president Correa's government established an international campaign called the 'Dirty Hand of Chevron'. In 2011, the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court ordered Chevron to pay $9.5 billion in compensation for social and environmental damages it caused.

In September 2018, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), an agency of the United Nations based in the Hague, Netherlands, ruled that the Ecuadorian court decision against Chevron was illegal, because it was an outcome of fraud, bribery, and corruption. The PCA 'also ruled that Ecuador will have to pay economic compensation'[xiii]to Chevron. 'The amount has not been established yet, but Chevron requested that Ecuador assume the US$9.5 billion' awarded to affected communities by the Ecuadorean court.[xiv]Following the PCA decision, the government of president Moreno announced that:

the state will sue former President Rafael Correa and his government officials if Ecuador lost the international arbitration process.[xv]

In this matter, president Moreno also accused Correa of 'failing to defend the country's interests correctly and spending money on "The Dirty Hand of Chevron" campaign, which according to the government sought to "manipulate national and international public opinion."'[xvi] In reality, president Moreno supports the PCA decision, thereby prioritizing the interest of Texaco/Chevron over those of his own citizens . In fact, his government has been attempting to nullify the Constitutional Court ruling against Chevron. In response, former president Correa has accused the Moreno government of 'doing homework ordered by (the United States Vice President Mike) Pence'. Even some of Moreno's own cabinet ministers condemned the PCA ruling and expressed their support for Ecuador's Constitutional Court for defending of the country's nationals interest and the rights of the people of the Amazon.

Sell Out: How Corruption, Voter Fraud and a Neoliberal Turn Led Ecuador's President Moreno to Give Up Assange

Correa exhibited a hostile attitude towards the Bretton Woods Institutions during his presidency. He sought to renegotiate Ecuador's external debt of US$10.2 billion, which he called 'illegitimate' because 'it was accrued during autocratic and corrupt regimes of the past. Correa threatened to default on Ecuador's foreign debt, and ordered the expulsion of the World Bank's country manager'[xvii], which was carried out on April 26, 2007. His government also opposed the signing of any agreements that would permit the IMF to monitor Ecuador's economic plan. As a result of such actions on the part of Correa's government, 'Ecuador was able to renegotiate its debt with its creditors and redirect public funds towards social investments.'[xviii]

To the contrary, Moreno has enthusiastically embraced the IMF during his short time as president. On March 1, 2019, Ecuador's central bank manager, Verónica Artola Jarrín, and economy and finance minister, Richard Martínez Alvarado,submitted a letter of intent to the IMF requesting a three-year $4.2 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreement. An EFF allows the IMF to assist countries that are facing 'serious medium-term balance of payments problems.' More precisely, EFF is designed to:

to provide assistance to countries: (i) experiencing serious payments imbalances because of structural impediments; or (ii) characterized by slow growth and an inherently weak balance of payments position. The EFF provides assistance in support of comprehensive programs that include policies of the scope and character required to correct structural imbalances over an extended period.[xix]

The IMF agreement signed in March allowed Ecuador to borrow $4.2 billion. However, as is always the case, the IMF agreement was not without conditionalities, as it required the Ecuadorian government to implement a series of neo-liberal economic reforms. According to IMF statements, these reforms aim to transform Ecuador's fiscal deficit into a surplus, reduce the country's debt-to-GDP ratio, and increase foreign investment. On March 11, 2019, Christine Lagarde, former Managing Director of the IMF, claimed that:

The Ecuadorian authorities are implementing a comprehensive reform program aimed at modernizing the economy and paving the way for strong, sustained, and equitable growth.[xx]

On March 11, 2019, Christine Lagarde also explained that:

Achieving a robust fiscal position is at the core of the authorities' program, which will be supported by a three-year extended arrangement from the IMF. The aim is to reduce debt-to-GDP ratio through a combination of a wage bill realignment, a careful and gradual optimization of fuel subsidies, a reprioritization of capital and goods and services spending, and a tax reform. The savings generated by these measures will allow for an increase in social assistance spending over the course of the program. The authorities will continue their efforts to strengthen the medium-term fiscal policy framework, and more rigorous fiscal controls and better public financial management will help to enhance the effectiveness of fiscal policy.[xxi]

Protecting the poor and most vulnerable segments in society is a key objective of the authorities' program. In this context, the authorities plan to extend the coverage of, and increase the nominal level of benefits under the existing social protection programs. Work is also underway to improve the targeting of social programs.[xxii]

Ecuador's participation in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) represents another point of contention between Correa and the Moreno government. Ecuador was a member of OPEC from 1973 and 1992. After a period of absence, it rejoined the organization in 2007 after Correa became president of the country. However, on October 1 st , president Moreno announced that Ecuador would once again end its membership in OPEC effective January 1, 2020. Given Moreno's penchant for implementing neo-liberal economic policies, this decision was likely based on the notion that freeing the country from the burden of having to abide by quotas would bring fiscal sustainability to Ecuador. This is evidenced by the fact that Ecuador contacted OPEC to request permission to produce above its quota in February 2019, though it was never confirmed whether a response was received[xxiii]. While increasing production in its Amazonian oil fields would likely bring more foreign investment to Ecuador and open up new markets, it would also lead to serious conflicts between the Moreno government and the indigenous people living in the area, who are strongly opposed to oil extraction.

In addition to announcing Ecuador's departure from OPEC, president Moreno also selected October 1 st as the date to introduce Decree 883, a series of economic measures that included ending longstanding subsidies for fuel, the removal of some import tariffs, and cuts to the benefits and wages of public employees. In particular, the elimination of fuel subsidies, which had been in place for 40 years, was instituted in order to meet IMF requirements to keep the $4.2 billion programme on track, and to satisfy international investors. The EFF agreement between the IMF and the Ecuadorean government also called for thousands of public employees to be laid off, the privatization of public assets, the separation of the central bank from the government, cutting public expenditures, and raising taxes over the next three years. IMF representatives claim that these types of reforms bring more foreign direct investment into the economy.

In fact, a close examination of the neo-liberal economic reforms recommended by the IMF in many countries reveals that they are almost identical, meaning that they do not take the diverse needs and realities of each country into account; rather, they are driven by the interests of the countries and other stakeholders that provide the funds. Generally, the IMF's recommendations[xxiv]consist of cutting deficits, liberalizing trade, privatizing state-owned enterprises, reforming the banking and financial systems, increasing taxes, raising interest rates, and reforming key sectors. However, countless studies have revealed that these types of reforms, have raised the unemployment rate, created poverty, and have often preceded recessions. On October 2, 2019, the IMF issued a press release on Ecuador stating that:

The reforms announced yesterday by President Lenin Moreno aim to improve the resilience and sustainability of Ecuador's economy and foster strong, and inclusive growth. The announcement included important measures to protect the poor and most vulnerable, as well as to generate jobs in a more competitive economy.

The authorities are also working on important reforms aimed at supporting Ecuador's dollarization, including the reform of the central bank and the organic code of budget and planning.

IMF staff will continue to work closely with the authorities to improve the prospects for all Ecuadorians. The second review is expected to be submitted to the Executive Board in the coming weeks.[xxv]

President Moreno's decision to end the subsidies on fuel led to the prices of diesel and petroleum increasing by 100% and 30%, respectively, overnight, which directly contributed to significantly raising the costs of public transportation. In response, protests erupted against Moreno's austerity measures on October 3 rd , featuring students, unions and indigenous organizations. They declared an indefinite general strike until the government reversed its neo-liberal adjustment package. Moreno's initial response was to reject the ultimatum and state that he would 'not negotiate with criminals.'

The following day, on October 4, 2019, president Moreno declared a state of emergency under the pretext of ensuring the security of citizens and to 'avoid chaos.' Nonetheless, the protests continued and intensified to the point that the government was forced to relocate to city of Guayaquil because Quito had been overrun by anti-government protestors. However, this attempt to escape the protestors proved ineffective as taxi, bus and truck drivers blocked roads and bridges in Guayaquil, as well as in Quito, which disrupted transportation nationwide.

In the following days, thousands of demonstrators continued to demand the reversal of austerity measures, as well as the resignation of the president. However, Moreno remained defiant, refusing both demands under all circumstances. Subsequently, Ecuador's main oil pipeline ceased operations after it was seized by indigenous protesters. Petro-Ecuador was concerned that production losses could reach 165,000 barrels a day. Indigenous protesters also occupied two water treatment plants in the city of Ambato. Meanwhile, violent clashes between protesters and police resulted in seven deaths , about 2,000 injuries, and over 1,000 arrests. Eventually, Moreno's government was forced to back down and make concession with the well -organised protesters.

On October 13, president Moreno agreed to withdraw Decree 883 and replace the IMF-backed plan with a new proposal, involving negotiations with the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and other social groups. The following day, president Moreno signed Decree 894, which reinstated the cancelled fuel subsidies. However, on October 23, CONAIE released a statement informing the public that 'it paused talks with President Lenin Moreno because of the government's "persecution" of the group's leaders [Jaime Vargas] since a halt to violent anti-austerity protests.'[xxvi]

It is unlikely that president Moreno would be willing to give up on his austerity policies or start the process of cancelling the IMF loan, given his apparent commitment to helping the US realize the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine. Many of the reforms and policies that his government has introduced will help keep Ecuador firmly entrenched in America's backyard for years to come.

This is not a new development, as history has revealed that, for more than a century , 'in Latin America there are more than enough of the kind of rulers who are ready to use Yankee troops against their own people when they find themselves in crisis' (Fidel Castro, Havana 1962). However, the eruption of protests in response to Moreno's neo-liberal reforms suggests that he faces an uphill battle, as his fellow Ecuadorians do not appear to share his enthusiasm for selling his country to external creditors and foreign influences. Although Moreno has managed to successfully drive Rafael Correa out of Ecuador, the former president's opposition to capitalism and imperialism remain strong among the population.

*

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Global Research contributor Dr. Birsen Filip holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Ottawa.

[Nov 11, 2019] Bolivia is the same scenario than in the Ukraine, where communists and other opposed factions in Rada were beaten, covered in paint and thrown in waste containers...until they left the country. Remaining to be elected only those puppets of oligarchs or the US... Bolivia coup was orchestrated with direct assist of OAS analysis/report which identified alleged voting fraud

Nov 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 22:41 utc | 160

Are we starting to witness some state cinture in Spain?
After yesterday warning, is the socialist government of Sánchez turning, at least a bit, if only in form, socialist?

( after the advance of the "devotes of Trump´s night worship" in yesterday elections and probably progession of Spanish policy investigation on Barcelona riots, two events that reinforced each other? )

Spain condemns military intervention in the resignation of Morales

Spain criticizes the role of the Bolivian Army and Police in the resignation of President Evo Morales, after protests against his re-election.

Spain joins the avalanche of international comdenations before the proceeding of the Bolivian Army and Police at the juncture that the Latin American country is going through, since, according to a statement issued on Monday by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in this regard, that proceeding reminds past times in Latin American history, even more when President Evo Morales opted for a new call for elections.

"Spain condemns that the process opened yesterday towards a new electoral call has been distorted by the intervention of the Armed Forces and the Police, suggesting to Evo Morales to submit his resignation", the note said.

Likewise, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls "all actors to avoid resorting to violence" and "to guarantee the security of all Bolivians (...) including former President Morales himself, his relatives and members of his administration".

For his part, the general secretary of the Spanish Unidas Podemos party, Pablo Iglesias, has written on his Twitter account that "Coup d'etat in Bolivia. Shameful that there are media that say the army makes the president resign. In the last 14 years Bolivia has improved all its social and economic indicators. All our support to the Bolivian people and Evo Morales".



Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:31 utc | 51

The style of scaring the people is a total imitation from post-Maidan Ukraine, where communists and other opposed factions in Rada were beaten, covered in paint and thrown in waste containers...until they left the country...

Then Myrotvorets was launched and the first killings on those who dared to quition Euromaydan events... Recall Alex Buzina... Any compromised intellectual will suffer the same fate in Bolivia...

Guess who is behind this coup at the letter of the book...

Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:41 utc | 52
Pillaging has already started at Evo´s home...I told you that this follow the book of Maidan verabtim...
#Breaking they ransack the house of the president @evoespueblo, persecution this is what follows with the resignation of @evoespueblo

https://twitter.com/madeleintlSUR/status/1193668989622325248

Vasco da Gama , Nov 10 2019 23:43 utc | 53
Don't get me wrong Sasha, I don't think Evo's team objective, 2 weeks after they've win them, was to repeat elections so soon. This is likely their best approach right now, for the sake of Bolivians and their supporters. Not mentioning possible reaction a la Caracas.
Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:44 utc | 54
#InfoMV Evo Morales denounced that his security personnel were offered 50 thousand dollars for him to be delivered to violent opposition groups. He held Fernando Camacho and Carlos Mesa responsible for what would happen to him or García Linera.

https://twitter.com/Mision_Verdad/status/1193667429823664128

Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:49 utc | 55
@Posted by: Vasco da Gama | Nov 10 2019 23:43 utc | 53

You seem to be unaware of the developments of events to this time, Evo called for elections BEFORE he was oblied to resign by police and military rebels, and made leave the country...
Elections now with every Evo´s supporter under menace of death would only throw a fake result favourable to the opposition who did not manage to win elections democratically...

This is the same scenario than in the Ukraine, where representatives of the working people were never more able to concur to elections and had to leave the country, remaining to be elected only those puppets of oligarchs or the US...

Sasha , Nov 10 2019 23:53 utc | 56
Fascist pickets taking over Venezuelan Embassy...Look what kind of people is this...
Free elections in Bolivia now? Do not make me laugh!

https://twitter.com/LaHojillaenTV/status/1193655455886827527

#NoAlGolpeEnBolivia
#EvoNoEstasSolo

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 0:23 utc | 61
Pasquinades posted by coupist opposition before Efvo´s resignation what ccan illustrate why the government has resigned so fast...
Pure fascism....
What I told you? Here you have the Bolivian Myrotvorets .....

https://twitter.com/TorresVirly/status/1193607591152308224

Translation of the pasquinade:

Traitor Tracking The population is asked to register all the social network publications of the "Cyber llunkus". Take screenshots and copy the links of the publications and profiles of the "Cyber Llunkus".

The M.A.S. ( Evo´s party ) is a criminal organization.
Once Evo Morales falls, a rake will be made to identify the traitorous of the people "Cyber Llunkus" and imprison them through the location of their mobile devices.
Fake profiles will not save them.

#Civil Resistance Bolivia

Now that the US tells us the tale of democratic elections in Bolivia now...


karlof1 , Nov 11 2019 0:47 utc | 65
pogohere @49 & arby @50--

A people's Counter-revolution that sweeps the Reactionaries down the drain once and for all.

Chavez was keen to the CIA's modus and thus reformed the military in numerous respects, particularly by making it impervious to corruption--AND--instituting the uniquely structured Bolivarian Constitution. Evo's problems stem from the lack of extensive public support as proven by the election results that kept him from instituting the sort of reforms Chavez accomplished; and the same goes for all other Latin American nations. In a nutshell, the Bolivian people squabbled too much amongst themselves and never constructed the type of Revolutionary constitution and social system required to be resilient to outside manipulation. Yes, Venezuela was very much a Bottom->Up remaking of society to the point where the Comprador upper 10% didn't matter, which is why Chavez then Maduro left them to their own devices. But elsewhere, the popular masses never generated the required solidarity to prevent losing their hard won freedoms. Sure, it's possible to regain power through the ballot box, but it can be just as easily lost as is happening now in Bolivia if preventative measures aren't taken beforehand.

Nations must have constitutions that don't allow for rich minorities to gain control or to allow them to begin in control as in the USA's case. But to institute such an instrument, the popular masses must act as one and cast their factionalisms aside until this primary aspect of consolidating power in their hands becomes the law of their land. Plus, they must again drop their in-fighting when confronted by any reactionary threat and remember what the main task is at all times--Maintenance of Freedom.

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 0:52 utc | 66
Here the tweet of the Mexican Foreign Secretary announcing that 20 people have already been granted asylum and that Evo Morales is offered asylum.

https://twitter.com/descifraguerra/status/1193676949450829824

psychohistorian , Nov 11 2019 0:58 utc | 67
Sorry to read about the military coup in Bolivia.

We all see what seems to be the demise of empire but facts on the ground tell a different story today in Bolivia. I am sorry for the pain and suffering for many caused by my country under the control of the global private finance cult. I continue to try and spread the word about the perfidy of Western empire and will keep trying but am limited in my abilities.

I hope to live to see the demise of private finance led empire all over the world. Humanity deserves a better future.

psychohistorian , Nov 11 2019 0:58 utc | 67
Sorry to read about the military coup in Bolivia.

We all see what seems to be the demise of empire but facts on the ground tell a different story today in Bolivia. I am sorry for the pain and suffering for many caused by my country under the control of the global private finance cult. I continue to try and spread the word about the perfidy of Western empire and will keep trying but am limited in my abilities.

I hope to live to see the demise of private finance led empire all over the world. Humanity deserves a better future.

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:05 utc | 68
@Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 11 2019 0:47 utc | 65

What saved Venezuela was the huge investing in education started with Chavez, in that they counted with the help and advice of people from the Spanish left ...
Bolivian people, of the poor class, are mostly poorly educated people...and so easy to buy and fool...as this images show...
Look that this people ransacking Evo´s home, they are not white patricios ...but those who they have payed to do the dirty work...indigenous people poorly dressed...collaborating in ovrthrowing the legitimate democratically elected from their own...

https://twitter.com/descifraguerra/status/1193667619485818881

It was a poor peasant who sold Ché Guevara to "Pat´s unit", in gratitude for a medical officila having attended his son´s wounded foot....

The same lesson could be taken out from the events in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon...

Paul , Nov 11 2019 1:10 utc | 69
Wow, it seems the US went straight for the throat this time in Bolivia.
Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:10 utc | 70
Demonstrators supporting Evo Morales in Cochabamba...

https://twitter.com/descifraguerra/status/1193666222036000770

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:17 utc | 71
@Posted by: Paul | Nov 11 2019 1:10 utc | 69

Yeah..this time is no different from others, they always go straight to the throat of the weak and poor...Totally depsicable...
To their own, earning points in the view of the world...

psychohistorian , Nov 11 2019 1:34 utc | 72
@ Sasha who wrote
"
What saved Venezuela was the huge investing in education started with Chavez, in that they counted with the help and advice of people from the Spanish left ...
Bolivian people, of the poor class, are mostly poorly educated people...and so easy to buy and fool...as this images show...
"

I agree, thank you for your commenting and want to add my perspective to that.

If you read many who come and comment at MoA that supposedly are "educated" you will notice that they continue to think and write in terms of the conflict being between socialism and capitalism in spite of myself, karlof1 and others that continually point out that China is 80% capitalistic as are other "socialistic" countries but what matters is what part of the social economy is socialism versus capitalism. That is why I continue to beat my drum about the evil of global private finance that is the core problem with the social contract of the West. Look at how many in the West are brainwashed to not understand the difference between public/private finance and its effects on the whole culture and aggressive nature of the society under that meme.

That, IMO, is the core education that all those in the West and all striving to throw off the chains/economic jackboot of the West must learn and take to heart.

flankerbandit , Nov 11 2019 1:37 utc | 73
Very disappointing to hear about Evo...but this is just one round in a very long fight...

In Argentina we have a new government for the people...in Mexico also...Lula is out of jail now in Brazil so eventually that will turn also...

The empire is rotting but is very dangerous right now because they are lashing out everywhere...we see in Lebanon and Iraq they are not succeeding...

This is desperation we see folks...they are losing control quickly and are trying to forestall the inevitable collapse of their global fascist dictatorship...

I think the end will come much sooner than they expect...the house of cards is teetering badly...

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:42 utc | 74
Camacho confirms arrest warrant against Evo Morales

Maidán script all the way....They do not have enough with hi resigning, they need to wipe out such honest leader form the face of Earth, at least while the "new fake elections" to maskerade the take over by the opposition are developed...as happened with Lula....

Here, US Lawyer sees all the signature of the US around the place...as happens to me...

https://www.rt.com/news/473105-morales-resignation-us-interference/

Jen , Nov 11 2019 1:57 utc | 75
karlof1 @ 65, Sasha @ 68:

A significant factor is that the anti-Morales opposition is based mainly in Santa Cruz department in eastern Bolivia. This is the largest department (in territory and population) in Bolivia and has significant natural gas reserves. The indigenous people living in that department have virtually nothing in common with the highland indigenous people (Aymara and Quechua speakers) who formed Morales' base.

Morales did not have a military background as Chavez did and we can presume he was never able to cultivate a network of militias among the urban and rural working class that could support and defend his government. Significantly it was the armed forces who asked Morales to resign.

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 1:58 utc | 76
@Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 11 2019 1:34 utc | 72

Sorry...but the conflict is between socialism and capitalism...between the rich and the working masses, especially those who work and still they remain poor....as has always been....who says otherwise is only trying to fool the masses...

Of course, you people in this forum who live over the average peer, I do not try that you understand...
You live in your world, looking your belly button, and the furthest you are willing to go is complain here about the Outlaw US Empire...

Why do you not damn go tomorrow in the streets to protest this new coup by your fascist administration?

Do not tell me, that would risk your privileged pensions...and all those expensive things you do to your bodies...

Excuse me, but today, reading the same stupid things of always make me feel like throwing up...

Ghost Ship , Nov 11 2019 3:42 utc | 83
Pompeo tweeted:
Fully support the findings of the @OAS_official report recommending new elections in #Bolivia to ensure a truly democratic process representative of the people's will. The credibility of the electoral system must be restored.

Will he still support new elections in the morning?
Meanwhile the protesters are calling MAS a criminal organization so no doubt it'll be excluded from the new elections as happened to the Party Of The Regions in Ukraine. The wonders of American "democracy".
arby , Nov 11 2019 15:42 utc | 120
"
Scott T. Patrick
‏ @PompeiiDog

Why was Evo Morales overthrown? He was nationalizing the highly profitable lithium industry and planning to deal directly on the international market rather than exporting the commodity at bargain prices to Western corporations"


"Bolivia has %43 of World's Lithium mines. Batteries from smartphones to Electric cars are all made with Lithium. Evo Morales was investing in facilities to produce Lithium as a high end export material rather than just exporting the mine itself."

Johny Conspiranoid , Nov 11 2019 15:44 utc | 121
Peter AU1

Somewhere on his blog "Sic Semper Tyrannis", maybe earlier this year, Pat relates the tale of how when working for the US Gov. in Bolivia he gave medical help to someone and was rewarded with information which led to the capture of Che Guevara. This may be what Sasha is referring to.

Peter AU1 , Nov 11 2019 18:41 utc | 145
https://www.export.gov/article?id=Bolivia-Hydrocarbons
"Bolivia - Hydrocarbons
This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data."

"The Hydrocarbons law (Law 3058, May 2005) and a subsequent Supreme Decree (May 2006) require that companies sell all production to YPFB and that domestic market demand be met before exporting hydrocarbons. Furthermore, these laws transfer the entire transport and sales chain over to state control. After the law was enacted, hydrocarbon companies were required to sign new contracts with YPFB, agreeing to pay 50 percent of gross production in taxes and royalties."

"Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices."

karlof1 , Nov 11 2019 18:57 utc | 147
I usually try to read all the comments before making my first of the day, but I have yet to do so, although I looked to see if anyone had linked to Escobar's report on Lula and Brazil , which is an extremely important article for events within Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, and the rest of the world that's resisting the Outlaw US Empire and its Neoliberal/Neofascist attack dogs.

The information Pepe provides is very important as it jibes with what Assad averred in his RT interview , for which I'm still looking for a transcript. Here's Pepe's warning about the likely future course of events, which has CIA scrawled over every act:

"With the military betting on a strategy of chaos, augmented by Lula's immense social base all over Brazil fuming about his return to prison and the financial bubble finally burst, rendering the middle classes even poorer, the stage would be set for the ultimate toxic cocktail: social 'commotion' allied with 'terrorism' associated with 'organized crime.'

"That's all the military needs to launch an extensive operation to restore "order" and finally force Congress to approve the Brazilian version of the Patriot Act (five separate bills are already making their way in Congress).

" This is no conspiracy theory. This is a measure of how incendiary Brazil is at the moment, and Western mainstream media will make no effort whatsoever to explain the nasty, convoluted plot for a global audience ." [My Emphasis]

jayc , Nov 11 2019 21:10 utc | 151
Bolivia coup was orchestrated with direct assist of OAS analysis/report which identified alleged voting fraud. OAS report focuses on a vote-counting system called TREP, which was adopted by Bolivia and others in the region on direct advice of OAS. The TREP system is meant to provide/ publicize initial results, but it is not "official". The official results come from a slower and more thorough vote count process. The OAS claim of irregularities in the TREP count is largely irrelevant, as it was never intended to be "official" or legally reflect official results. There were no irregularities in the official count, won by Morales, and the so-called "delay" was in fact the natural process of the slower moving count to produce the official result.

See this analysis by the Center for Economic and Policy Research:
http://cepr.net/publications/reports/bolivia-elections-2019-11

Ghost Ship , Nov 11 2019 21:40 utc | 154
While Trump denounced Morales, the US State Department stepped in to sanitize Washington's position, with a senior official telling Reuters that the US has "no preference" among opposition candidates. The spokesperson did say, however, that anyone who tried to "distort" last month's vote should not be allowed to participate .

That's MAS banned from the election by the cunts in the fucking State Department. Imagine if the Russian MFA announced that neither the Democratic nor Republican parties could field presidential candidates in 2020. Trump is an idiot but the State Department, DoJ, and Treasury are the real bastards. Forget the CIA, that's just a bunch of senile tossers who have wet dreams about Cold War 2.0.

Don Bacon , Nov 12 2019 0:19 utc | 166
b mentioned lithium with reference to Bolivia in his 139 above

Nov 11, 2019 -- Bolivian Coup Comes Less Than a Week After Morales Stopped Multinational Firm's Lithium Deal
"Bolivia's lithium belongs to the Bolivian people. Not to multinational corporate cabals."

The Morales move on Nov. 4 to cancel the December 2018 agreement with Germany's ACI Systems Alemania (ACISA) came after weeks of protests from residents of the Potosí area. The region has 50% to 70% of the world's lithium reserves in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats.
Among other clients, ACISA provides batteries to Tesla; Tesla's stock rose Monday after the weekend.
As Bloomberg News noted in 2018, that has set the country up to be incredibly important in the next decade:
Demand for lithium is expected to more than double by 2025. The soft, light mineral is mined mainly in Australia, Chile, and Argentina. Bolivia has plenty -- 9 million tons that have never been mined commercially, the second-largest amount in the world -- but until now there's been no practical way to mine and sell it. . . here

But Teslas catch fire....from ZPower--
Actually, lithium may be in trouble for vehicle batteries.
Just as lithium-ion (Li-ion) replaced nickel metal hydride (NiMH) before it and nickel cadmium (NiCd) before that, silver zinc (AgZn) batteries are on track to replace Li-ion too, according to a McGraw-Hill forecast as far back as 2010. Since then silver zinc has been perfected and are on the market for rechargeable hearing-aid "button" batteries by ZPower LL (Camarillo, Calif.) They are nonflammable and could provide up to 40 percent more run time than lithium-ion batteries. . . here

[Nov 09, 2019] Another humiliating blow to Latin-American neoliberalism

Nov 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Nov 8 2019 19:41 utc | 24

Another humiliating blow to Latin-American neoliberalism:

Boicote de 'supermajors' funciona, e governo vai mudar regime de leilão

Bolsonaro's government tried to auction Brazil's remaining unexplored (but already mapped, so it's certain there's oil there) presalt lots. The expectation was to raise some R$ 109 billion, but it only rose R$ 69 billion. To make things even worse, half of those came from the Brazilian State-owned oil company itself, Petrobras.

There's strong evidence this fiasco came from the international oil cartel; they think they can get the presalt oil for a (much) better price:

Chevron, Exxon, BP, Total e Repsol já tinham anunciado 'boicote' ao leilão

The pressure seems to be working. The government has already stated it will do another auction, this time with "changed rules", in order to "estimulate competition between the interested companies".

Another similar episode had already happened during usurper Brazilian president Michel Temer, when, in 2017, he tried to privatize the country's State-owned electricity company (Eletrobras). The auction was "desert" (i.e. no bids).

Why is this happening?

The problem with today's neoliberals is that the capitalist world is completely different from the one of the end of the 1980s and 1990s. In that era, there was excess liquidity from the First World countries -- specially USA and Japan pension funds -- which was purchasing fabulous profit rates in order to stay competitive in the recently-privatized world (pension funds in the USA had to profit at least 7% from each investment in their portfolio to reach ends meet in 2006, according to Dumenil & Levy).

After 2008, there was a crisis followed by a depression characterized by a credit crunch. Reverse stagflation happened (and still happens), where unemployment fell but inflation continued to fall. To put it simply, there's no more foreign money for Latin American neoliberal dictators to grab through the simple liquidation of public assets anymore -- at least not nearly enough to reach fiscal equilibrium (see Argentina for the more spectacular example).

So, yes, there was a cartel arranging for the presalt reserves failure, but this cartel only had to do what it did because -- you're already tired to read it from me -- the profit rates in the capitalist world are secularly falling . Were the profit rates high, the cartel would've already bought the presalt whatever the conditions. They are only bargaining with the already very submissive Brazilian government because they need to: presalt reserves, albeit abundant in good oil, require a unique and pretty advanced technology which was developed by Petrobras. If they invest, profit rate will fall even further, so they must get the oil, but free of investment (after the 2016 coup, they got their hands on the platforms -- but only those who were already installed by Petrobras).

That's also the reason the USA-backed New Silk Road will fail: Western capital won't invest in SE Asia because that would mean money spent to infrastructure (i.e. invesment), and that would erode their profit rates even more. And, sincerely, why would they? They had 70 years to invest there, and 100 years before that (during the colonial times), to do it. Why will they do now, when they are much weaker?


karlof1 , Nov 8 2019 20:49 utc | 30

!!Great news!!

Brazil's Supreme Court rules Lula must be released from prison ASAP. But, will this decision meet the criteria he set to accept being released? I checked Pepe Escobar's Facebook but he's not written anything there for 7 hours. I asked him the same question.

Vasco da Gama , Nov 8 2019 21:25 utc | 33
karlof1@30

Right now, Lula is speaking to the people and his supporters in the street outside Curitiba prison, and already in freedom.

To clarify on the Court's ruling: the decision says that the accused, with processes which have not exhausted all appealings, therefore have not yet been ultimately condemned, may not be kept in prison. A previous judgement allowed for this to happen if there had been a reversal of judgement along the court instances of the process ( LavaJato - corruption process ). It should be added that this is not exclusive to Lula, eight other accused, including one Lula's minister may be freed pending appropriate legal petition from defense, and any other current prisoner under similar circumstances in Brazil's justice system.

The Supreme Court only re-established the Constitutional order, following on the petitions to constitutional review by legal council association and the communist party.

Keep in mind that Lula is still under several accusations and may not while these processes are not finished to present himself for political offices.

karlof1 , Nov 8 2019 22:00 utc | 34
Vasco da Gama @33--

Thanks for your reply! I was about to answer my own question that Lula agreed to be let out. As I understand the situation, Lula still has to battle in court to keep his freedom; and he might also be targeted for elimination given the murderous nature of those associated with Bolsonaro. As Lula said upon release, they tried to imprison an idea by imprisoning a man; ideas cannot be imprisoned. For me, it's an excellent birthday gift!

Lcchearn @32--

Yes, I've contemplated starting my own blog, but most platforms are owned or affiliated in some manner with Google, so I stopped looking. I know non-affiliated hosts exist and will likely resume looking upon the turn of the year. I agree about writing longer essays as there are a few topics I'm into that demand expansion. I've been and continue to be impressed with Caitlin Johnstone's success as well as with other younger idealistic, truth-seeking journalists like those inhabiting The Grayzone . In fact, given its content, Grayzone's one site I'll ask who hosts them. Thanks very much for your interest and the support that goes with it!

Vasco da Gama , Nov 8 2019 22:23 utc | 35
karlof1, I'll drink to that too. Keep the good spirits and health. Cheers!

Bolsonaro, and their supporters are dwindling, the initial success of anti-social media platforms was only that: initial, sufficient to swindle brasilean people in the election alone. This had all the hallmarks of a Cambridge Analytica type campaign, which if not sustained serves only to expose the maracutaia (fraud) before everyone. I think the signs are getting positive, even the media, quite condescending during the campaign now take hard jabs at Bolsonaro and his quadrilha (gang).

[Nov 06, 2019] Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket [of the financial oligarchy], but it rapidly became one

Highly recommended!
Nov 06, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 11.06.19 at 4:07 am 47

@Z 11.05.19 at 9:23 am @45

It seems to me an important tenet of the neoliberal ideology is the arbiter (or auctioneer) role it gives the state and other political institutions with respect to markets. Markets are the locus of justice and efficiency, but political institutions have the essential task of organizing them and the competitions that takes place within them, supposedly at least.

In practice, this translated in a central role of political power not only in privatizing and breaking state monopolies, but also in the creation, sometimes ex nihilo, of markets supervised by state or quasi-state agencies (shielded of electoral choices by regulatory or ideally constitutional provisions) whose role was to organize concurrence in domains classical liberal economic theory would consider natural monopolies or natural public properties (education, health service, energy distribution, infrastructure of transportation, telecommunication, postal and banking service etc.)

What an excellent and deep observation ! Thank you ! This is the essence of the compromises with financial oligarchy made by failing social democratic parties. Neoliberalism is kind of Trotskyism for the rich in which the political power is used to shape the society "from above". As Hayek remarked on his visit to Pinochet's Chile – "my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism".

George Monblot observed that "Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket [of the financial oligarchy], but it rapidly became one." ( The Guardian, Apr 15, 2016):

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

The free (as in absence of regulation for FIRE) market produces a tiny cadre of winners and an enormous army of losers (10% vs 90%) – and the losers, looking for revenge, have turned to Trump. Now entrenched centers of "resistance" (and first of all CIA, the Justice Department, The Department of State and a part of Pentagon) are trying to reverse the situation. Failing to understand that they created Trump and each time will reproduce it in more and more dangerous variant.

Trumpism is the inevitable result of the gap between the utopian ideal of the free (for the FIRE sector only ) market and the dystopian reality for the majority of the population ("without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape" Pope Francis, "Evangelii Gaudium")

The situation in which the financial sector generates just 4% of employment, but accounts for more than 25% of corporate profits is unsustainable. It should be reversed and it will be reversed.

[Nov 04, 2019] Postmodernism The Ideological Embellishment of Neoliberalism by Vaska

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Robert Pfaller: Until the late 1970s, all "Western" (capitalist) governments, right or left, pursued a Keynesian economic policy of state investment and deficit spending. (Even Richard Nixon is said to have once, in the early 1970ies, stated, "We are all Keynesians"). This lead to a considerable decrease of inequality in Western societies in the first three decades after WWII, as the numbers presented by Thomas Piketty and Branko Milanovic in their books prove. Apparently, it was seen as necessary to appease Western workers with high wages and high employment rates in order to prevent them from becoming communists. ..."
"... Whenever the social-democratic left came into power, for example with Tony Blair, or Gerhard Schroeder, they proved to be the even more radical neoliberal reformers. As a consequence, leftist parties did not have an economic alternative to what their conservative and liberal opponents offered. Thus they had to find another point of distinction. This is how the left became "cultural" (while, of course, ceasing to be a "left"): from now on the marks of distinction were produced by all kinds of concerns for minorities or subaltern groups. And instead of promoting economic equality and equal rights for all groups, the left now focused on symbolic "recognition" and "visibility" for these groups. ..."
"... Thus not only all economic and social concerns were sacrificed for the sake of sexual and ethnic minorities, but even the sake of these minorities itself. Since a good part of the problem of these groups was precisely economic, social and juridical, and not cultural or symbolic. And whenever you really solve a problem of a minority group, the visibility of this group decreases. But by insisting on the visibility of these groups, the policies of the new pseudo-left succeded at making the problems of these groups permanent – and, of course, at pissing off many other people who started to guess that the concern for minorities was actually just a pretext for pursuing a most brutal policy of increasing economic inequality. ..."
"... The connection to neoliberalism is the latter's totalitarian contention of reducing the entirety of human condition into a gender-neutral cosmopolitan self expressing nondescript market preferences in a conceptual vacuum, a contention celebrated by its ideologues as "liberation" and "humanism" despite its inherent repression and inhumanity. ..."
"... "..'identity politics,' which pretty much encapsulate the central concerns of what these days is deemed to represent what little of the 'left' survives, plays into the hands of the neoliberal ruling establishment(s), because at bottom it is a 'politics' that has been emptied of all that is substantively political.." ..."
"... Agreed. And the truth is that the message is much clearer than that of the critics, below. So it ought to be for the world, sliding into fascism, in which we live in might have been baked by the neo-liberals but it was iced by 57 varieties of Blairites . The cowards who flinched led by the traitors who sneered. ..."
"... 'identity politics,' which pretty much encapsulate the central concerns of what these days is deemed to represent what little of the 'left' survives, plays into the hands of the neoliberal ruling establishment(s), because at bottom it is a 'politics' that has been emptied of all that is substantively political, namely, the fight for an equitable production and distribution of goods, both material and cultural, ensuring a decent life for all. ..."
"... Why bother getting your hands dirty with an actual worker's struggle when you can write yet another glamorously "radical" critique of the latest Hollywood blockbuster (which in truth just ends up as another advert for it)? ..."
"... The One Per Cent saw an opportunity of unlimited exploitation and they ran with it. They're still running (albeit in jets and yachts) and us Proles are either struggling or crawling. Greed is neither Left or Right. It exists for its own self gratification. ..."
"... Actually, post-modernism doesn't include everybody -- just the 'marginalized' and 'disenfranchised' minorities whom Michel Foucault championed. The whole thing resembles nothing so much as the old capitalist strategy of playing off the Lumpenproletariat against the proletariat, to borrow the original Marxist terminology. ..."
"... if you don't mind me asking, exactly at what point do you feel capitalism was restored in the USSR? It was, I take it, with the first Five Year Plan, not the NEP? ..."
"... Also, the Socialist or, to use your nomenclature, "Stalinist" system, that was destroyed in the the USSR in the 1990s–it was, in truth, just one form of capitalism replaced by another form of capitalism? ..."
OffGuardian
Robert Pfaller interviewed by Kamran Baradaran, via ILNA
The ruling ideology since the fall of the Berlin Wall, or even earlier, is postmodernism. This is the ideological embellishment that the brutal neoliberal attack on Western societies' welfare (that was launched in the late 1970s) required in order to attain a "human", "liberal" and "progressive" face.

Robert Pfaller is one of the most distinguished figures in today's radical Left. He teaches at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz, Austria. He is a founding member of the Viennese psychoanalytic research group 'stuzzicadenti'.

Pfaller is the author of books such as On the Pleasure Principle in Culture: Illusions Without Owners , Interpassivity: The Aesthetics of Delegated Enjoyment , among others. Below is the ILNA's interview with this authoritative philosopher on the Fall of Berlin Wall and "Idea of Communism".

ILNA: What is the role of "pleasure principle" in a world after the Berlin Wall? What role does the lack of ideological dichotomy, which unveils itself as absent of a powerful left state, play in dismantling democracy?

Robert Pfaller: Until the late 1970s, all "Western" (capitalist) governments, right or left, pursued a Keynesian economic policy of state investment and deficit spending. (Even Richard Nixon is said to have once, in the early 1970ies, stated, "We are all Keynesians"). This lead to a considerable decrease of inequality in Western societies in the first three decades after WWII, as the numbers presented by Thomas Piketty and Branko Milanovic in their books prove. Apparently, it was seen as necessary to appease Western workers with high wages and high employment rates in order to prevent them from becoming communists.

Ironically one could say that it was precisely Western workers who profited considerably of "real existing socialism" in the Eastern European countries.

At the very moment when the "threat" of real existing socialism was not felt anymore, due to the Western economic and military superiority in the 1980ies (that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall), the economic paradigm in the Western countries shifted. All of a sudden, all governments, left or right, pursued a neoliberal economic policy (of privatization, austerity politics, the subjection of education and health sectors under the rule of profitability, liberalization of regulations for the migration of capital and cheap labour, limitation of democratic sovereignty, etc.).

Whenever the social-democratic left came into power, for example with Tony Blair, or Gerhard Schroeder, they proved to be the even more radical neoliberal reformers. As a consequence, leftist parties did not have an economic alternative to what their conservative and liberal opponents offered. Thus they had to find another point of distinction. This is how the left became "cultural" (while, of course, ceasing to be a "left"): from now on the marks of distinction were produced by all kinds of concerns for minorities or subaltern groups. And instead of promoting economic equality and equal rights for all groups, the left now focused on symbolic "recognition" and "visibility" for these groups.

Thus not only all economic and social concerns were sacrificed for the sake of sexual and ethnic minorities, but even the sake of these minorities itself. Since a good part of the problem of these groups was precisely economic, social and juridical, and not cultural or symbolic. And whenever you really solve a problem of a minority group, the visibility of this group decreases. But by insisting on the visibility of these groups, the policies of the new pseudo-left succeded at making the problems of these groups permanent – and, of course, at pissing off many other people who started to guess that the concern for minorities was actually just a pretext for pursuing a most brutal policy of increasing economic inequality.

ILNA: The world after the Berlin Wall is mainly considered as post-ideological. Does ideology has truly decamped from our world or it has only taken more perverse forms? On the other hand, many liberals believe that our world today is based on the promise of happiness. In this sense, how does capitalism promotes itself on the basis of this ideology?

Robert Pfaller: The ruling ideology since the fall of the Berlin Wall, or even earlier, is postmodernism. This is the ideological embellishment that the brutal neoliberal attack on Western societies' welfare (that was launched in the late 1970s) required in order to attain a "human", "liberal" and "progressive" face. This coalition between an economic policy that serves the interest of a tiny minority, and an ideology that appears to "include" everybody is what Nancy Fraser has aptly called "progressive neoliberalism". It consists of neoliberalism, plus postmodernism as its ideological superstructure.

The ideology of postmodernism today has some of its most prominent symptoms in the omnipresent concern about "discrimination" (for example, of "people of color") and in the resentment against "old, white men". This is particularly funny in countries like Germany: since, of course, there has been massive racism and slavery in Germany in the 20th century – yet the victims of this racism and slavery in Germany have in the first place been white men (Jews, communists, Gypsies, red army prisoners of war, etc.).

Here it is most obvious that a certain German pseudo-leftism does not care for the real problems of this society, but prefers to import some of the problems that US-society has to deal with. As Louis Althusser has remarked, ideology always consists in trading in your real problems for the imaginary problems that you would prefer to have.

The general ideological task of postmodernism is to present all existing injustice as an effect of discrimination. This is, of course, funny again: Since every discrimination presupposes an already established class structure of inequality. If you do not have unequal places, you cannot distribute individuals in a discriminating way, even if you want to do so. Thus progressive neoliberalism massively increases social inequality, while distributing all minority groups in an "equal" way over the unequal places.


MASTER OF UNIVE

Abbreviate & reduce to lowest common denominator which is hyperinflation by today's standards given that we are indeed all Keynesians now that leveraged debt no longer suffices to prop Wall Street up. Welcome to the New World Disorder. Screw 'postmodernism' & Chicago School 'neoliberalism'!

MOU

Danubium
There is no such thing as "post-modernism". The derided fad is an organic evolution of the ideologies of "modernity" and the "Enlightenment", and represents the logical conclusion of their core premise: the "enlightened self" as the source of truth instead of the pre-modern epistemologies of divine revelation, tradition and reason.

It does not represent any "liberation" from restrictive thought, as the "self" can only ever be "enlightened" by cult-like submission to dogma or groupthink that gives tangible meaning to the intangible buzzword, its apparent relativism is a product of social detachment of the intellectual class and its complete and utter apathy towards the human condition.

The connection to neoliberalism is the latter's totalitarian contention of reducing the entirety of human condition into a gender-neutral cosmopolitan self expressing nondescript market preferences in a conceptual vacuum, a contention celebrated by its ideologues as "liberation" and "humanism" despite its inherent repression and inhumanity.

The trend is not to successor or opponent, but rather modernism itself in its degenerative, terminal stage.

Monobazeus
Well said
bevin
"..'identity politics,' which pretty much encapsulate the central concerns of what these days is deemed to represent what little of the 'left' survives, plays into the hands of the neoliberal ruling establishment(s), because at bottom it is a 'politics' that has been emptied of all that is substantively political.."

Agreed. And the truth is that the message is much clearer than that of the critics, below. So it ought to be for the world, sliding into fascism, in which we live in might have been baked by the neo-liberals but it was iced by 57 varieties of Blairites . The cowards who flinched led by the traitors who sneered.

Norman Pilon
So cutting through all of the verbiage, the upshot of Pfaller's contentions seems to be that 'identity politics,' which pretty much encapsulate the central concerns of what these days is deemed to represent what little of the 'left' survives, plays into the hands of the neoliberal ruling establishment(s), because at bottom it is a 'politics' that has been emptied of all that is substantively political, namely, the fight for an equitable production and distribution of goods, both material and cultural, ensuring a decent life for all.

Difficult not to agree.

For indeed, "If you do not have unequal places, you cannot distribute individuals in a discriminating way, even if you want to do so."

Capricornia Man
You've nailed it, Norman. In many countries, the left's obsession with identity politics has driven class politics to the periphery of its concerns, which is exactly where the neoliberals want it to be. It's why the working class just isn't interested.
Martin Usher
It must be fun to sit on top of the heap watching the great unwashed squabbling over the crumbs.
Red Allover
The world needs another put down of postmodern philosophy like it needs a Bob Dylan album of Sinatra covers . . .
maxine chiu
I'm glad the article was short .I don't think I'm stupid but too much pseudo-intellectualism makes me fall asleep.
Tim Jenkins
Lol, especially when there are some galling glaring errors within " too much pseudo-intellectualism "

Thanks for the laugh, maxine,

Let them stew & chew (chiu) on our comments 🙂

Bootlyboob
As with any use of an -ism though, you need sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to using 'postmodernism'. Do you mean Baudrillard and Delueze? or do you mean some dirty cunt like Bernard Henri-Levy. There is a bit of a difference.
Bootlyboob
Ok, so Levi is not really a postmodernist. But still, there are philosphers of postmodernism that were, and still are, worth reading.
BigB
Postmodernism: what is it? I defy anyone to give a coherent and specific definition. Not least, because the one 'Classical Liberal' philosopher who did – Stephen Hicks – used the term as a blanket commodification of all post-Enlightenment thought starting with Rousseau's Romanticism. So PoMo has pre-Modern roots? When the left start playing broad and wide with political philosophical categories too – grafting PoMo onto post-Classical roots as a seeming post-Berlin Wall emergence what actually is being said? With such a depth and breadth of human inquiry being commodified as 'PoMo' – arguably, nothing useful.

Neoliberalism is Classic Liberalism writ large. The basic unit of Classicism is an individuated, independent, intentional, individual identitarianism as an atom of the rational ('moral') market and its self-maximising agency. Only, the 'Rights of Man' and the 'Social Contract' have been transfered from the Person (collectively: "We the People " as a the democratic sovereign power) to the Corporation as the new 'Neo-Classicist' supranational sovereign. Fundamentally, nothing has changed.

As pointed out below: this was already well underway by November 1991 – as a structural-function of the burgeoning Euromarkets. These were themselves on the rise as the largest source of global capital *before* the Nixon Shock in 1971. There is an argument to be made that they actually caused the abandoning of Breton Woods and the Gold Standard. Nonetheless, 1991 is a somewhat arbitrary date for the transition from 'High Modernity' to 'PostModernity'. Philosophers. political, and social scientists – as Wittgenstein pointed out – perhaps are victims of their own commodification and naming crisis? Don't get me started on 'post-Humanism' but what does PoMo actually mean?

As the article hints at: the grafting of some subjectivist single rights issues to the ultra-objectivist core market rationality of neoliberalism is an intentional character masking. Even the 'neoliberal CNS' (central nervous system) of the WEF admits to four distinct phases of globalisation. The current 'Globalisation 4.0' – concurrent with the 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' – is a further development of this quasi-subjectivist propagandic ploy. Globalisation is now humanist, sovereigntist, environmentalist, and technologist (technocratic). Its ultimate *telos* is 'fully automated luxury communism' or the harmoniousness of man and nature under an ecolological *Tianxia* the sustainable 'Ecological Civilisation'. Which, I would hope, absolutely nobody is gullible enough to believe?

Who says the leopard cannot change its spots? It can, and indeed does. Neoliberalism is a big-data micromarketing driven technocratic engine of reproduction tailored to the identitarian individual. PoMo – in one sense – is thus the logical extremisation of Classical Liberalism which is happening within the Classical Liberal tradition. It is certainly not a successor state or 'Fourth Political Theory' which is one of the few things Aleksandr Dugin gets right.

This is why the term needs defintion and precisification or, preferably, abandoning. If both the left and right bandy the term around as a eupehemism for what either does not like – the term can only be a noun of incoherence. Much like 'antisemitism': it becomes a negative projection of all undesirable effects onto the 'Other'. Which, when either end of the political spectrum nihilates the Other leaves us with the vicious dehumanisation of the 'traditional' identitarian fascist centre. All binary arguments using shared synthetic terminology – that are plastic in meaning depending on who is using the term – cancel each other out.

Of which, much of which is objectified and commodified as 'PoMo' was a reaction against. A reaction that anticipated the breakdown of the identitarian and sectarian 'technological postmodern' society. So how can that logically be a 'reaction against' and an 'embelishment to' neoliberalism'?

This is not a mere instance of pedantry: I/we are witnessing the decoherence of language due to an extremisation of generalisation and abstraction of sense and meaning. That meaning is deferred is a post-structuralist tenet: but one that proceeds from the extreme objectivisation of language (one to one mapping of meaning as the analytical signified/signifier relationship) and the mathematicisation of logic (post-Fregian 'meta-ontology') not its subjectivisation.

If PoMo means anything: it is a rich and authentic vein of human inquiry that was/is a creative attempt to rescue us from a pure objectivist Hell (David Ray Griffin's "positive postmodernism"). One that was/is not entirely satisfactory; merely because it has not yet completed. In the midst: we have the morbid hybrid symptomatology of the old Classical Libertarian fascism trying to recuperate the new Universal Humanism for which PoMo is a meaningless label. Especially if it is used to character masque the perennial philosophy of Humanism that has been dehumanised and subjugated by successive identitarian regimes of knowledge and power since forever in pre-Antiquity.

We are all human: only some humans are ideologically more human than others is the counter-history of humanity. When we encounter such ideologically imprecise degenerative labels as 'PoMo' – that can mean anything to anyone (but favours the status quo) this makes a nonsense of at least 5,000 years of thought. Is it any wonder that we are super-ordinated by those who can better dictate who we are? Language is overpower and writing is supra-sovereign administration and bureaucracy over the 'owness' of identity. Its co-option by the pseudoleft is a complete denigration and betrayal of the potential of a new Humanism. The key to which is the spiritual recovery and embodiment of who we really are – proto-linguistically and pre-ontologically – before all these meaningless labels get in the way.

Bootlyboob
You said it better than I ever could.

Stephen Hick's book is quite the laugh. I tried to read it but it made no sense. From memory, it starts at Kant and Hegel and gets them completely wrong, (he even draws little charts with their ideas in tabulated form, WTF?) so I quickly deleted the .pdf. Any book that begins with a summary of these two philosophers and then thinks they can hold my attention until they get to their take on 'postmodernism' is sorely mistaken. Postmodernism is a made up label for about four or five French intellectuals in the 1970's that somehow took over the world and completely fucked it up. Why do I somehow not follow this line of 'thought'?

Reg
No, Postmodernism is a real thing, it is the capitalist assimilation of situationism to overcome the crisis of profit in the 70s caused by overproduction and the attempt by the 1% to recapture a greater a greater % of GDP that they had lost due to the post war settlement. This was an increasingly a zero sum game economy after Germany and Japan had rebuilt their manufacturing capacity, with the US constrained by a widening trade deficit and the cost of the cold and Vietnam war increasing US debt. The inflation spikes in the 70s is only reflective of these competing demands.

The problem of modernism is than peoples needs are easily saited, particularly in conditions of overproduction. Postmodern production is all about creating virtual needs that are unsatisfied. The desire for status or belonging or identity are infinite, and overcomes the dead time of 'valourisation' (time taken for investment to turn into profit) of capital by switching to virtual production of weightless capitalism. The creation of 'intangible asset's such as trade marks, while off shoring production is central. This is a form of rentier extraction, as the creation of a trade mark creates no real value if you have offshored not only production but R&D to China. This is why fiance, and free movement of capital supported by monetary policy and independent central banks are central to Postmodern neo-liberal production. The problem being that intangible assets are easy to replace and require monopoly protection supported by a Imperial hegemon to maintain rentier extraction. Why does China need a US or UK trade mark of products where both innovation and production increasingly come from China? How long can the US as a diminishing empire maintain rentier extraction at the point of a military it increasingly cannot afford, particularly against a military and economic superpower like China? It is no accident US companies that have managed to monetise internet technologies are monopolies, google, microsoft, Apple. An operating system for example has a reproduction cost of zero, the same can be said of films or music, so the natural price is zero, only a monopoly maintains profit.

The connection to situationism is the cry of May 68 'Make your dreams reality', which was marketised by making peoples dreams very interesting ones about fitted kitchens, where even 'self actualisation was developed into a product, where even ones own body identity became a product to be developed at a price. This is at the extreme end of Marxist alienation as not only work or the home becomes alienated, but the body itself.
David Harvey covers some of this quite well in his "The condition of Postmodernity". Adam Curtis also covers quite well in 'The Trap' and the 'Century of the self'.

BigB
I'm inclined to agree with everything you write. It would fall into what I called 'precisification' and actual definition. What you describe is pure Baudrillard: that capitalism reproduces as a holistic system of objects that we buy into without ever satisfying the artificial advertorial need to buy. What we actually seek is a holism of self that cannot be replaced by a holism of objects hence an encoded need for dissatisfaction articulated as dissatisfaction a Hyperrealism of the eternally desiring capitalist subject. But Baudrillard rejected the label too.

What I was pointing out was the idea of 'contested concept'. Sure, if we define terms, let's use it. Without that pre-agreed defintion: the term is meaningless. As are many of our grandiloquent ideas of 'Democracy', 'Freedom', 'Prosperity', and especially 'Peace'. Language is partisan and polarised. Plastic words like 'change' can mean anything and intentionally do. And the convention of naming creates its own decoherence sequence. What follows 'postmodernism'? Post-humanism is an assault on sense and meaning. As is the current idea that "reality is the greatest illusion of all".

We are having a real communication breakdown due to the limitations of the language and out proliferation of beliefs. Baudrillard also anticipated the involution and implosion of the Code. He was speaking from a de Saussurian (semiologic) perspective. Cognitive Linguistics makes this ever more clear. Language is maninly frames and metaphors. Over expand them over too many cognitive domains: and the sense and meaning capability is diluted toward meaninglessnes – where reality is no longer real. This puts us in the inferiorised position of having our terms – and thus our meaning – dictated by a cognitive elite a linguistic 'noocracy' (which is homologous with the plutocracy – who can afford private education).

Capitalism itself is a purely linguistic phenomena: which is so far off the beaten track I'm not even going to expand on it. Except to say: that a pre-existing system of objects giving rise to a separate system of thoughts – separate objectivity and subjectivity – is becoming less tenable to defend. I'd prefer to think in terms of 'embodiment' and 'disembodiment' rather than distinct historical phases. And open and closed cognitive cycles rather than discreet psycholgical phases. We cannot be post-humans if we never embodied our humanism fully. And we cannot be be post-modern when we have never fully lived in the present having invented a disembodied reality without us in it, which we proliferated trans-historically the so-called 'remembered present'.

Language and our ideas of reality are close-correlates – I would argue very close correlates. They are breaking down because language and realism are disembodied which, in itself is ludicrous to say. But we have inherited and formalised an idealism that is exactly that. Meaning resides in an immaterial intellect in an intangible mind floating around in an abstract neo-Platonic heaven waiting for Reason to concur with it. Which is metaphysical bullshit, but it is also the foundation of culture and 'Realism'. Which makes my position 'anti-Realist'. Can you see my problem with socio-philosophical labels now!? They can carry sense if used carefully, as you did. In general discourse they mean whatever they want to mean. Which generally means they will be used against you.

Ramdan
"the SPIRITUAL RECOVERY and embodiment of who we really are – PROTO-LINGUISTICALLY and PRE-ONTOLOGICALLY – BEFORE all these MEANINGLESS LABELS get in the way."

Thanks BigB. I just took the liberty to add emphasis.

Robbobbobin
Smarty pants (label).
Robert Laine
A reply to the article worthy of another Off-G article (or perhaps a book) which would include at a minimum the importance of non-dualistic thinking, misuse of language in the creation of MSM and government narratives and the need to be conscious of living life from time to time while we talk about it. Thankyou, BigB.
Simon Hodges
Don't you love how all these people discuss postmodernism without ever bothering to define what it is. How confused. Hicks and Peterson see postmodernists as Neo-Marxists and this guy sees them as Neoliberals. None of the main theorists that have been associated with Postmodernism and Post-Structuralism and I'm thinking Derrida, Baudrillard and Foucault here (not that I see Foucault as really belonging in the group) would not even accept the term 'postmodernism' as they would see it as an inappropriate form of stereo-typography with no coherent meaning or definition and that presupposing that one can simply trade such signifiers in 'transparent' communication and for us all to think and understand the same thing that 'postmodernism' as a body of texts and ideas might be 'constituted by' is a large part of the problem under discussion. I often think that a large question that arises from Derrida's project is not to study communication as such but to study and understand miss-communication and how and why it comes about and what is involved in our misunderstandings. If people don't get that about 'postmodern' and post-structuralist theories then they've not understood any thing about it.
BigB
You are absolutely right: the way we think in commodities of identities – as huge generalizations and blanket abstractions – tends toward grand narration and meaninglessness. Which is at once dehumanising, ethnocentric, exceptionalist, imperialist in a way that favours dominion and overpower. All these tendencies are encoded in the hierarchical structures of the language – as "vicious" binary constructivisms. In short, socio-linguistic culture is a regime of overpower and subjugation. One that is "philosopho-political" and hyper-normalises our discrimination.

Deleuze went further when he said language is "univocal". We only have one equiprimordial concept of identity – Being. It is our ontological primitive singularity of sense and meaning. Everything we identity – as "Difference" – is in terms of Being (non-Being is it's binary mirror state) as an object with attributes (substances). Being is differentiated into hierarchies (the more attributes, the more "substantial"- the 'greater' the being) which are made "real" by "Repetition" hence Difference and Repetition. The language of Dominion, polarization, and overpower is a reified "grand ontological narrative" constructivism. One dominated by absolutised conceptual Being. That's all.

[One in which we are naturally inferiorised in our unconscious relationship of being qua Being in which we are dominated by a conceptual "Oedipal Father" – the singularity of the Known – but that's another primal 'onto-theocratic' narrative the grandest of then all].

One that we are born and acculturated into. Which the majority accept and never question. How many people question not just their processes of thought but the structure of their processes of thought? A thought cannot escape its own structure and that structure is inherently dominative. If not in it's immediacy then deferred somewhere else via a coduit of systemic violence structured as a "violent hierarchy" of opposition and Othering.

Which is the ultimate mis-communication of anything that can be said to be "real" non-dominative, egalitarian, empathic, etc. Which, of course, if we realise the full implications we can change the way we think and the "naturalised" power structures we collectively validate.

When people let their opinions be formed for them, and commodify Romanticism, German Idealism, Marxism, Phenomenology, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Existentialism, etc as the pseudo-word "PoMo" – only to dismiss it they are unbeknowingly validating the hegemony of power and false-knowledge over. Then paradoxically using those binary power structures to rail about being dominated!

Those linguistic power structures dominate politics too. The "political unconscious" is binary and oppositional which tends toward negation and favours the status quo but how many people think in terms of the psychopolitical and psycholinguistic algorithms of power and politics?

Derrida's project is now our project and it has hardly yet begun. Not least because cognitive linguistics were unkown to Derrida. That's how knowledge works by contemporising and updating previous knowledge from Structuralism to Post-Structuralism to

Nihilating anything that can be called "PoMo" (including that other pseudo-label "Cultural Marxism") condemns us to another 200 years of Classical Liberalism which should be enough impetus to compel everyone to embrace the positive aspects of PoMo! Especially post-post-structuralism that stupid naming convention again

Simon Hodges
I think a lot of people forget that both Derrida and Baudrillard died before the financial crisis. I don't think either of them like myself at that time paid much attention to economics and markets as they worked within very specific and focused fields. Derrida spent his whole life analysing phonocentrism and logocentrism throughout the history of philosophy and Baudrillard was more a cultural sociologist then anything else. They like most people assumed that neoliberalism was working and they enjoyed well paid jobs and great celebrity so they didn't have much cause to pay that much attention to politics. Following the Invasion of Iraq Derrida did come out very strongly against the US calling it the biggest and most dangerous rogue state in the world and he cited and quoted Chomsky's excellent work. We should also include the UK as the second biggest rogue state.

Once the GFC happened I realized that my knowledge on those subjects was virtually zero and I have since spent years looking at them all very closely. I think Derrida and Baudrillard would have become very political following the GFC and even more so now given current events with the yellow vests in France. Shame those two great thinkers died before all the corruption of neoliberalism was finally revealed. I believe that would have had a great deal to say about it Derrida at least was a very moral and ethical man.

Bootlyboob
I think you would like this essay if you have not read it already.

https://cidadeinseguranca.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/deleuze_control.pdf

Simon Hodges
There's a good video by Cuck Philosophy on YouTube covering control societies below.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/B_i8_WuyqAY?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&start=3&wmode=transparent

If anyone wants a good overview of postmodernism and post-structuralism Cuck philosophy has has some excellent videos covering the subject matter and ideas. He explains how postmodernism has nothing to do with identity politics and shows how Hick and Peterson have fundamentally misunderstood postmodernism. He also has 3 videos covering postmodern basics and some others on Derrida and Baudrillard. You will not find the concepts explained better though one can never give a comprehensive review as such things are essentially beyond us.

He puts too much weight on Foucault for my liking but that's just the fact that my understanding of postmodernism is obviously different to his because all of our largely chance encounters with different texts at different times, which mean that we all come away with slightly different ideas about what these things might mean at any given time. Even in relation to differences in our own ideas from day to day or year to year.

Bootlyboob
Yes, that's why I mentioned the article in relation to your earlier comment. I don't think any of these philosophers would have changed their stances based on the events 20 or 30 post their deaths. They essentially predicted the course that society has taken.
Simon Hodges
Judith Butler took part in the occupy wall street movement and she's a post-structuralist so she has clearly changed her mind since the GFC. Deleuze may have to a certain extent have predicted such things but that doesn't necessarily mean they would have been happy about them. Derrida always spoke of the 'democracy' to come. Instead what we are looking forward to is tech based technocratic totalitarianism. I don't go along with Deleuze on that matter anyway. I don't see a discreet transition from one to the other but rather see us having to endure the combined worst of both scenarios.
Bootlyboob
In relation to Peterson. I did write an email to him once and he wrote back to me saying he does indeed like the writings of Deleuze and Baudrillard. But it was a one line response. I'm still assuming he merely uses a false reading of Derrida as a prop to advance his own arguments.
Simon Hodges
Peterson doesn't understand that postmodernism is not the source of identity politics or cultural marxism. That source is Anglo sociology. I was doing an MSc in sociology back in 1994/95 and they had been transitioning away from Marx and class conflict to Nietzsche and power conflicts understood within a very simplistic definition of power as a simple binary opposition of forces between and 'oppressor' and a 'resistor'.

They borrow a bit from Foucault but they cannot accept his postmodern conclusions as power is necessarily revealed as a positive force that actually constructs us all: in which case one cannot really object to it on political grounds. Let's face it, these cultural ex-Marxists (now actually an elitist Nietzschean ubermench) don't seem to object to power's miss-functioning at all on any kind of institutional level but solely concentrate on supposed power relations at the personal level.

That's all if you buy into 'power'at all as such. Baudrillard wrote 'Forget Foucault' and that 'the more one sees power everywhere the less one is able to speak thereof'. I try and stay clear of any theory that tries to account for everything with a single concept or perspective as they end up over-determining and reductionist.

Steve Hayes
A major benefit (for the elites) of postmodernism is its epistemological relativism, which denies the fundamentally important commitments to objectivity, to facts and evidence. This results in the absurd situation where all the matters is the narrative. This obvious fact is partially obscured by the substitution of emotion for evidence and logic. https://viewsandstories.blogspot.com/2018/06/emotion-substitutes-for-evidence-and.html
Seamus Padraig
Yup. Among other things, po-mo 'theory' enables Orwell's doublethink .
BigB
This is exactly the misunderstanding of a mythical "po-mo 'theory'" – if such a thing exists – that I am getting at. 'Po-mo theory' is in fact a modernity/postmodernity hybrid theory. Pomo theory is yet to emerge.

For instance: Derrida talked of the 'alterity' of language and consciousness that was neither subjectivist nor objectivist. He also spoke of 'inversion/subversion' – where one bipolar oppositional term becomes the new dominant ie 'black over white' or 'female over male'. This, he made specifically clear, was just as violent a domination as the old normal. How is this enabling 'doublethink'.

If you actually study where Derrida, Baudrillard, Deleuze; etc where taking their 'semiotics' it was to the 'Middle Way' of language – much the same destination as Buddhism. This is the clear and precise non-domination of either extreme of language. Only, they never supplied the praxis; and their followers and denigrators where not as prescient.

There is so much more to come from de Saussurian/Piercian semiotics and Bergsonian/Whiteheadian process philosophy. We have barely scratched the surface. One possibility is the fabled East/West synthesis of thought that quantum physics and neuroscience hint at.

What yo do not realise is that our true identity is lost in the language. Specifically: the Law of Identity and the Law of the Excluded Middle of our current Theory of Mind prevent the understanding of consciousness. To understand why you actually have to read and understand the linguistic foundations of the very theory you have just dismissed.

Robbobbobin
"Specifically: the Law of Identity and the Law of the Excluded Middle of our current Theory of Mind prevent the understanding of consciousness."

Yes, but. What do you mean by " our current Theory of Mind"?

Tim Jenkins
Was that a promo for Po-mo theory, BigB ? (chuckle)
BigB
In fact: if followed through – PoMo leads to the point of decoherence of all narrative constructivism. Which is the same point the Buddhist Yogacara/Madhyamaka synthesis leads to. Which is the same point quantum physics and contemporary cognitive neuroscience leads to. The fact of a pre-existent, mind-independent, objective ground for reality is no longer tenable. Objectivism is dead. But so is subjectivism.

What is yet to appear is a coherent narrative that accommodates this. Precisely because language does not allow this. It is either subjectivism or objectivism tertium non datur – a third is not given. It is precisely within the excluded middle of language that the understanding of consciouness lies. The reason we have an ontological cosmogony without consciousness lies precisely in the objectification and commodification of language. All propositions and narratives are ultimately false especially this one.

Crucially, just because we cannot create a narrat