Monday, June 27, 2016

bruce wilder 06.26.16 at 8:05 pm

RP @ 317: I prefer to talk about neoliberalism vs conservatism.

Aren’t there different flavors of conservatism involved?

My right neoliberalism v left neoliberalism has always been based on the emergence of a narrow discourse anchored on the right by right-libertarian conservatives exemplified by Milton Friedman and his Chicago school heirs, not conservatism in its full breadth.

A second point is that “neoliberalism” is a kind of “fake” ideology, deliberately synthesized as a cover story. I am not sure anyone is a neoliberal, who isn’t paid to model neoliberalism in the political media. Milton Friedman et alia created a narrative that apologized for a policy agenda of reactionary, often authoritarian desiderata while denying any authoritarian intent — not just denying it, but adopting a rhetoric of freedom and choice. Charles Peters et alia did much the same, claiming the aegis of progressive intent and values for reactionary policy. Then, what became right and left neoliberalism figured out that they could legitimate each others’ views, policy projects and status, by arguing with each other almost exclusively. Their treatment of their respective flanks was not symmetrical: the left neoliberals had to hippy-punch to keep their street cred, while the right-neoliberals had to patronize, quiet and condescend to goldbugs, isolationists, christian dominionists and other crazies in their right milieu.

In British politics, a more organic right and left have broken the surface, and the neoliberals will work their magic to make those disappear. Corbyn isn’t a leader, because he was not a sufficiently fanatical advocate for the EU, you see. On the left, neoliberals will demand that Labour go all in for Remain, which looks to me to be electoral suicide on its surface, but it is critical for neoliberalism to insist otherwise.

I don’t know that I am sympathetic enough with Tories to understand Tory politics, though I understand that UKIP has been eroding the Labour base in a strategically important way, even as it has set up a fracture among the Tory elite about how to assemble an electoral coalition. Like many conservative parties, the elite leadership tends to be people oriented to social and economic dominance and much of the voting followership, the easily demagogued. Racism and resentment are tools of the trade that logically and historically precede any neoliberal ideology. Neoliberalism simply doesn’t present an effective tool to those who would practice certain forms of demagoguery, even though it works fine for the more cosmopolitan and prosperous Tory constituencies among the professional classes, where racism is a mere condiment.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


June 25, 2016 at 12:39 am

I just don’t think this is fair to him. I don’t see how this hurts the Greens. Name something that’s time sensitive that deadlines before the end of July. They’re supposedly working on getting on more state ballots. I haven’t heard of a deadline impacting that process that ends before the Democratic Convention, and there are already plenty of Sanders supporters working to help her, as far as I can tell.

When the odds are against you, it means you’re likely not to win. That doesn’t mean your strategy is bad or that you’re acting in bad faith. If he wasn’t “going to the convention” he’d have to concede his delegates to her right now. That means we’d be getting EVEN LESS information about her various crimes and corruptions. Today, her people voted down every single Bernie plank at the platform committee. That’s meaningful. It means if he decides not to endorse and possibly go third party, it’s harder for them to misrepresent him and the progressive movement. It’s harder to say “Oh, their positions are really the same. It’s just the details.” That’s now demonstrably untrue. There aren’t details in the platform. Planks are basically big picture ideals. Now the Democratic Party is on record as being pro-TPP, anti-$15 minimum wage, anti-single payer health care, pro-death penalty, pro-fracking. She’s been trying to fudge all that. Her mouthpieces — both volunteer and paid — will still say crap like that. But it will be harder to do, and easier to disprove. It will be easier to get more people to realize they can’t give in and vote Democratic. It is those soft progressives whose spines need stiffening. They need to be peeled away from the Democratic Party, and going all the way to the convention was a necessary condition for that, if we to have any hope of breaking the neolilberal hold on the country peacefully.

Bernie doesn’t own his supporters. He doesn’t herd or direct them. He has explicitly been teaching people not to ever fall for that line from any politician. He never says “I’ve got this.” He says “We’ve got this.” He’s not keeping anybody on the sidelines. He’s teaching people how to organize and connect who might never have done it otherwise.

Stop talking about him like he’s a savior or a martyr. He has done absolutely nothing to deserve the scorn or screams of betrayal I keep reading all over the place. He may fail. He probably will fail. To expect one elderly pol from Vermont with the entire global elite against him to crush hegemony and bring forth a new political order is asking entirely too much. He has done something brave. There is value to his strategy. You are free to help gather signatures for Jill Stein right now. There is plenty of time for people on the sidelines to learn about her and vote for her. The kinds of people you are fretting about were not going to be doing signature gathering for the Greens in June anyway.
Reply ↓

bruce wilder 06.24.16 at 7:59 pm

Lee A. Arnold: The basic problem underneath all of the discontent is not trade and immigration. It is that the elites really are protecting their ownership of wealth.

Their ownership of wealth and the power of domination and the claims on income and consumption that go with it.

As the advanced economies move ever further in the direction of “the rise of robots and AI ” and “anybody will be able to make anything” (using quotes to indicate that I have some quibbles about describing trends that way), many of the financial claims we call “wealth” look ever more arbitrary and socially counter-productive. IP claims in Pharma are among the most morally outrageous, because financial drones can extort millions by holding lives hostages over medicines that cost very little to make. But, really, the profits of Disney or Apple don’t look sustainable — how much will an iPhone cost in five years, ten years? how much will bandwidth cost? Why am I spending more than a few pennies to watch a movie?

Politically, the political opportunism of smash and grab is going to look better and better, if elites continue as they have, relying on wealth claims from ever higher mountains of debt. If anyone can make anything, and do it cheaply provided they don’t have to pay for the brand management or the IP, collapse of the global system doesn’t look like such a big threat.

The costs that matter in the long run are not the fictions spun out by the City of London in the wake of the computing and communications revolution, but the rising tariff charged by the natural environment, which really doesn’t want our exports and can not sustain the rate of our imports.


On Brexit

Catherine Taylor replied to this comment from Galdruxian | June 24, 2016 23:40 | Reply

Since I happen to understand the minds who think like this, I'll translate this from ideological nether-nether-land into something a little more mature / non-gibbering.

It boils down to two pictures:

Putin responds to FEMEN protester

Draghi cowers as woman launches vicious glitter attack

Draghi cowers as woman launches vicious glitter attack (close up: different angle)

[Astute readers will note the picture locations to give a slightly weightier clue at where they've been most used / have had the most impact]

Whilst the Putin picture got meme'd to death (It is too late Sergei, it was always too late), the Draghi one didn't.


If you've two choices, guess which one actually has something respectable in it? Hint: it's not the man scared of glitter. [Note: this isn't an endorsement, it's a translation from the "Alpha Male" Mindset].

(To translate for Greg: a retired gif is a meme that has been used so perfectly that it can never be used again - it's the Plato's Sun of Memes).


Same thing has happened in this debacle.

Things we've learned:

1) The remain campaign neither meme'd well nor sold a vision of utopia nor even said anything positive at all. It boiled down to suits stating that the economy would tank, which is the last thing (post-2008) you want to do if you want the poor to give a shit. Even Eddie Izzard etc missed the point of it - young people voted 3:1 to remain, yet didn't turn out.


No fire, no great memes.

Remember, this is the generation post the Fight Club soliloquy.

2) Remain tapped into old people. The post-war, post-responsibility generation. And they squawked - "FUCK YOU, GOT MINE, SWINEHUND GERMANS AT IT AGAIN" while the NHS gets burnt to the ground. [Yes: that was a Cameron joke].

3) Democracy is a sham both ways - the EU (post replacing many member states with ex-Goldman Sachs technocrati wunderboys) has done precisely fuck all to solve or address the inherent issues of inequality, youth unemployment, ecological meltdown or even 0% interest rates and QE Unicorn Cash [meta-meta: putting Legarde on trial just shows the petty shit post "stitched up with a maid" DSK rape thing. EU is burning, power players are playing power].

A photo OP of leaders parading down a closed street with an artificial crowd behind them or bravely stating that 2oC will not be breached while enacting nothing to stop it...

Does. Not. Count.

And from the bottom up?

Look at the people sailing the boat.

BJ (yes: that is why he should never be PM) while announcing his Pyrrhic victory looked like the skin over his eyes were enveloping them in a Lovecraftian curse of "The Land of the Blind is Lead by the Blind" this morning. Grove looked like his soul was crumbling as he did his speech.

The best part?

Mentioning the UK as the fifth largest economy in the world... as the markets stomped the pound and put France ahead.

Now that's schadenfreude.


Anyhow, Hetero has got the point, kinda.

But not really.

Historians will know that the UK had the first European civil war and general "kick the King in the bollocks" movement far before the rest got into the act.


This is all just a stress test.

You all got a F-.

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