On the neoliberal ideology and how the Left can defeat it


“ Policy in the decades after World War II was rooted in a Keynesian ideology that saw capitalism as the best possible system and markets as generally efficient, but also advocated an active role for the state in shaping the economy. An active state was justified as necessary to prevent depressions, limit income inequality, increase individual economic security, and prevent such ‘market failures’ as environmental pollution. By the late 1970s, however, an extreme version of classical liberal beliefs had replaced Keynesianism as the dominant ideology. The newly ascendant neoliberal ideology held that individual freedom of choice in markets is the fundamental basis of human welfare, while the state is an enemy of individual freedom, a threat to private property, and a parasite living off the hard work of individuals (…)  A third possible direction of change, besides right-wing nationalism and progressive reform of capitalism, is the one every socialist wants: a transition beyond capitalism, to a system in which human wants and needs guide production rather than the profit motive of a small class of owners. We have learned a few things since 1917, among them the need for socialism to empower the people rather than just deliver some goods to them, and that priority must be given to building an economy that is environmentally sustainable. The critical need to move quickly to an environmentally sustainable path might not even be possible with capitalism’s powerful profit and accumulation drive, but it would be possible under socialism. Such a transition would resolve not just the crisis of neoliberal capitalism but the many contradictions of the inhumane system of capitalism itself, which has long since outlived its usefulness ”

David Kotz, ‘The Specter of Right-Wing Nationalism’, Jacobin Magazine


On nationalism and criticizing your own country


“ It’s good to love your country. But it’s also fine to sometimes dislike what it does; to criticise it; to hold it up to global standards and – when it commits injustice – to demand its punishment and sanction within the global system (…) In its place, it is the culture of what the management theorist Peter Drucker once called ‘the universal educated person’ that must be our bulwark to nationalism, exclusionism and theories of ethnic supremacy ”

Paul Mason, ‘Theresa May says Corbyn hates Britain but she is the one who doesn’t understand it’, The Guardian

On the global crisis’ dangerous consequences


“ Jihadism and ethno-nationalism are expressions of crisis on a global scale, in an era in which many young people’s lives are marked by a sense of uncertainty – the increasing lack of social and financial security that is characteristic of neoliberalism and globalization. Political and economic insecurity inevitably translates into insecurity in people’s everyday lives, from lack of access to welfare to the increasing lack of security in the workplace. The tendency to create inward-facing, exclusive, and even aggressive identity groups stems from this sense of insecurity and self-righteousness in a world where people feel that there is no place for them, and that their futures are uncertain (…) The peaceful world order risks falling apart because of our fears – and our desire, built on delusion, to restoring a simpler time. But this simplicity is a rejection of pluralism, and away from democracy towards authoritarianism. This is the world of our contemporary caliphs: Putin, Erdoğan, Modi and Trump, and the many other leaders of populist parties waiting in the wings. This does little to confront the real economic, social and environmental issues which are the greatest threat to human flourishing – and often deliberately exacerbates those threats so as to create more fear, and so more acolytes ”

Deeyah Khan, ‘How do we combat radicalization? Offer young men hope and security’, The Guardian

On the common aims of Trump and May


“ Trump’s brash rhetoric panders overtly to racism and misogyny; May presents herself as a fair-minded headmistress of the home counties. But their political logic is intertwined, as indicated by the indecent haste with which May rushed to the White House post-election. Both acknowledge inequality but prescribe meritocracy, capitalism and nationalism as the solution. Both want to create economic havens for the uber-rich while deepening the marketisation of public welfare systems and extending the logic of competition in everyday life ”

Jo Littler, ‘Meritocracy: the great delusion that ingrains inequality’, The Guardian

On borders’ uselessness


” It is understandable that borders are creeping into fashion again, lubricated by the passions of various new nationalisms that aren’t at all new. (…) It is understandable because there is an overwhelming sense of fear in many – and a border appears to be a kind of solution. But it may be useful to recall that, until 1990, for half of Europe’s people, borders were a trauma. The iron curtain was more than a figure of speech. It cut into flesh, into families, into the lives of the unborn ”

Kapka Kassabova, ‘New borders will fail just as old ones did’, The Guardian