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The Neo-liberal programme is the very antithesis of class consciousness and solidarity.  The hyper individual focus of neo-liberal dogma forever places the systemic problems of society out of reach, while at the same time insisting that the Pyrrhic drive to better oneself (see self recrimination and loathing) is the only solution.

     “This is a kind of neo-liberalism of the emotions, in which happiness is seen not as a response to our circumstances but as a result of our own individual mental effort, a reward for the deserving. The problem is not your sky-high rent or meager paycheck, your cheating spouse or unfair boss or teetering pile of dirty dishes. The problem is you.
      It is, of course, easier and cheaper to blame the individual for thinking the wrong thoughts than it is to tackle the thorny causes of his unhappiness. So we give inner-city schoolchildren mindfulness classes rather than engage with education inequality, and instruct exhausted office workers in mindful breathing rather than giving them paid vacation or better health care benefits.”

[Source:New York Times]

Whelp, looks like we just need another dose of equality and we’ll get there…

 

onequality

Or, perhaps, working to dismantle the systems that oppress women in society might be a more effective way to advance the cause of women. Some thirty years after the Second Wave, women are still remorselessly objectified, not in control of their reproductive capacity, and are under the near constant threat of harassment on the street and in the workplace.

Perhaps a more a return to the effective practices of the second wave might be in order, if affecting societal change is a priority.

Greek_legislative_election_2015_map.svg*Update – The election results are in.

There might be hope for the people of Greece in their upcoming elections.  Excerpts of an interview of Tariq Ali hosted by Kostas Vlahopoulos and Thomas Giourgas.

“3. What is your view of the current sociopolitical situation in Greece?

Tariq Ali: The situation is polarised. The fascists of Golden Dawn and the Conservative descendants of the wrong side in the Greek Civil war have the support of a sizeable section of the Greek population. This cannot be ignored and we do so at our peril. The emergence and growing support for SYRIZA (and PODEMOS in Spain) is the post positive development in Europe, but in order for it to move another step forward without moving backwards it will have to challenge the Greek oligarchs, confront the ship-owners mafia that owns the media, that pays few taxes, if any, and also to remove the tax free status of the Orthodox Church. Its not that the Church is poor. Its ownership of property makes the institution an oligarch in its own right. In the case of the ship-owners they must be compelled to pay taxes in retrospect so that the country can move forward economically again and start functioning properly. Such a move will annoy the more backward sections of the EU elite but will be popular in Europe as a whole and will lay the basis for a political battle with the Troika by splitting their supporters.

 

 

1. For the first time in Greek political history, a radical left party, SYRIZA, is the strong favorite to win the general elections taking place in January the 25th. What kind of reaction do you expect from the neo-liberal Europe and in particular from Germany?

Tariq Ali: If SYRIZA wins it will mark the beginnings of a fightback against austerity and neo-liberalism in Europe. Two concurrent processes will be in motion from the beginning of the victory. There will be a strong attempt by the EU elite led by Germany to try and tame SYRIZA via a combination of threats and concessions. The aim of this operation is simple. To try and split SYRIZA at a very early stage.

Secondly there will be a high level of expectation from SYRIZA’s electorate and beyond. Mass mobilizations will be extremely important to sustain the new government and push it to carry through the first necessary measures. The debt and the readjustment measures must be repudiated immediately before moving on to implement a plan that restores the social gains that have been achieved and are being dismantled by the Troika-led governments. The first three months will be decisive in terms of revealing the contours of the political and economic landscape envisaged by SYRIZA. Neo-liberalism can not be dismantled overnight but the will to do so must be paramount. Bandwagon careerists must not be allowed to sabotage what can and should be done

6. Financial markets are considered to be the omnipotent regulators of politics and democracy itself in some cases. Could it be possible for a left government to clash with market system within the capitalist framework?

Tariq Ali: Yes, that is what is on the agenda today and what the Bolivarian governments in South America have been doing for the last fifteen years with relative success. Market-fundamentalism has led to a sharp decline in democracy (Wolfgang Streek, the German sociologist has explained the process of decline very well in his books and essays) and the Wall Street crash of 2008. What is needed is a combination of regulation, state intervention to take back the public utilities and create and own industries that can help fund the former andsenhanced democracy on every level to ensure popular participation.

This can be our only minimum programme at the present moment.”

One can only hope that the push back against the neo-liberal tide will take root in Greece, blazing the trail for the rest of the EU to follow.

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