We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, January 31, 2014

Problems of Eurozone, European Integration Stem From Deeply Unpopular Elite Economic, Social Policy

Click here to access article by Mark Weisbrot from Truthout.

In this piece we see another shallow attack on neoliberalist policies, this time in Europe due to the widespread effects of unemployment, the "rise of fascist parties and anti-immigrant activity [see this] in Europe or the threat of growing European disunity." The liberal critic refers to a discussion in an article published in Harper's Magazine when he argues...
...is missing something that is of central importance, which is implicit in some of James Galbraith's comments but not sufficiently spelled out. That is the neoliberal political project of the eurozone and its policy-makers, the deliberate attempt to remake Europe and move it as far as politically possible away from its prior social-democratic underpinnings.
Weisbrot's general take on this discussion is that neoliberal policies are simply a mistake or aberration which should be corrected to return Europe to its former condition.
...the same problems plague the world's other supra-national institutions, such as the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organization. Until these institutions - like those of the eurozone - can be weaned from their neoliberal, anti-democratic agendas, the nation-state will indeed remain "the upper limit, not only of democracy but of political legitimacy."
Completely absent is any understanding of the tendencies of the capitalist ruling classes to constantly expand their opportunities for more profit and power regardless of the effects on populations under their control. Absent from his analysis is any understanding of post-WWII policies referred to as "social-democracy" which were designed by the capitalist ruling classes to head off the threat of more popular and radical ideas of worker control that were widespread in Europe immediately after the war.

Liberal critics serve an important function in maintaining capitalist rule. By writing such articles as this, they serve to distract people from capitalist's underlying antisocial addiction to profits and power that their system fosters and ultimately to reinforce the idea that "there is no alternative".