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“Tony Blair’s great legacy has been to achieve Margaret Thatcher’s ambition” January 24, 2010

Posted by Garibaldy in British Labour Party, British Politics, The Left.
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Depressing story in the Observer quoting the research of Professor John Curtice, who claims that the result of nearly a decade and a half of New Labour has been to shift the electorate to the right, the aim of Maggie Thatcher. Curtice documents how far attitudes towards key economic policies have shifted. In the mid-1990s, half the population believed government policy should be used to redistribute wealth downwards. That has now fallen to less than a third. In 1997, 46% of people believed unemployment benefits were too low; that figure is now under 30%.

The findings suggest people have become less concerned with inequality since Labour came to power – and less supportive of efforts by government to reduce it, according to Curtice. In fact, the proportion who want to see tax and spending increased is the lowest it has been since the early 1980s – during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership.

These figures reveal the stark facts of how the left has been losing the battle of ideas in the UK for the last three decades. Some of the most basic principles of the welfare state and of left-wing economics seem to be the preserve of a minority, even if a significant minority. I suspect if we were to break these attitudes down by age, the results among the generations that have grown up under Thatcher and Blair would be even worse. If it were just a case that the left was losing the battle of ideas over the idea of redistibuting wealth, tax and spend, etc among the general population that would be bad enough. But the fact is that the left itself has turned away from the centrality of economics, as we discussed here and then here last August. Essentially, the Labour Party in both Britain and the Republic has become a liberal party, concerned primarily with issues of formal legal equality and cultural politics, but stripped of any serious commitment to reshaping the economy or using the immense power of the state to combat the inequality of life chances produced by the capitalist system. In fairness, health remains one area where there is a real commitment to equality (at least in Britain), and we see sporadic attempts in education, though mostly centred on access to Oxford, Cambridge and other elite universities. We’ll see how the Labour Party in the south deals with the calls to reintroduce third level fees that seem to be moving up the agenda when it is in coalition after the next election, which seems inevitable now. Not wanting to reverse the main legacy of Democratic Left may count for something; or it may not.

All of which I think is a large part of why the left is having such little success in exploiting the current crisis of capitalism. In the UK, Labour is divided on whether to adopt more egalitarian language of the playing fields of Eton variety or move to the right, while the Liberal Democrats have moved markedly rightwards as well. Even in NI, the Alliance Party has been moving to the right, as the fact that their European election candidate defected to the Tories. The left in the Republic made some gains at the last set of elections, but Fine Gael were the big winners. It seems to me that the public mood in the south has shifted further to the right since then as well. Whether through incomptence and/or spinelessness at the top, or through an insufficiently militant membership, or some combination of all these (delete as appropriate), the challenge that was coming from the trade unions has been significantly weakened. The Labour Party is trying its best not to scare the horses. As the recent departures of Christy Burke and Killian Forde show, PSF in the south is also facing pressure on the question of whether to move to the right or not, while in the north it is (assuming the Executive survives) one of the main players in a regime that is about to implement significant cuts. There’s really no need even to mention the Greens as part of this discussion. As for the media, I don’t think any of us expected anything other than we have got – an aggressive campaign in defence of neo-liberalism.

The parties further to the left must take their share of blame for the lack of an upswing, even recognising their smaller resources. Praise for Michael Taft has deservedly been pretty much universal on the left, and the TASC Progressive Economy blog has made a positive contribution too. The parties themselves, however, have not reacted well enough in terms of the economic debate, so that Taft has sometimes looked like a lone voice. While there have been some policies laid out – such as the insulation scheme advocated by several parties – designed to revitalise the vital construction sector, where is the party with, for the sake of argument, a detailed programme for developing the technology sector in the public interest using the power of the state? Perhaps such a policy exists, but if so I am unaware of it. The various parties have been holding meetings and publishing on the situation too, but on the whole, I think it is fair to say that the the transformative left has not developed its economic policies as concretely as it might have, and we have certainly not got our message out very widely among our target audience. Too many think There is No Alternative – or that the only alternative is Fine Gael. We are not doing enough to rectify this, to combat the effects of now two generations of a political culture that denegrates the possibilty of progressive economic change.

Among both the causes and the effects of the attitudes described by the Observer report are depoliticisation, and the attendant demoralisation. We can see this all around us – the decline in the membership and activities of political parties, the fall in trade union membership, the declining importance in politics in popular culture, even the virtual disappearance of student politics as understood over the last few decades. Again, the left cannot change this on its own, but we must find more effective ways to combat it.

All in all then, I’d say that the Observer report on the Professor’s findings chimes fairly well with the reality of politics across these islands. And more’s the pity. The left needs to find its voice once more, to go beyond the cultural politics in which too much of it has become trapped, to find the confidence to offer bold economic policies that step outside the lines set by the dominant ideology, and the focus to produce them. That means a change not only in the priorities and activites of left parties, but probably of us as individuals on the left too. Answers on a postcard to every left political party in the country.

Comments»

1. Conor McCabe - January 24, 2010

I think the small matter of the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the break-up of the Soviet Union had its part to play as well. when it comes to this, Britain is not an island.

The following quote is from Perry Anderson, writing in 2000. I think it helps to contextualise a little bit the move to the right, especially in matters of economic policy and analysis, within the Left/progressive movement after the failure of Actually-Existing Socialism. Now the Left is not a monolith, but in 1989 the Marxist baby was thrown out with the Soviet bathwater, and I dont think we should forget the crisis of confidence that caused within the Left, as well as seriously undermining Left-wing arguments in matters of economics and economic planning. Recent events may have brought back a sense of confidence, that Marx’s theory of crisis, and indeed his theory of surplus value, have a validity after all, but in terms of the mainstream, and when talking about the British Labour Party, we are talking about mainstream politics, it got one almighty kick in the bollicks in 1989 and spent the best part of twenty years rolling around on the ground in pain while the free-market boys romped it home.

Anyway, Perry Anderson, 2000, writing in New Left Review:

“The only starting-point for a realistic Left today is a lucid registration of historical defeat. Capital has comprehensively beaten back all threats to its rule, the bases of whose power—above all, the pressures of competition—were persistently under-estimated by the socialist movement. The doctrines of the Right that have theorized capitalism as a systemic order retain their tough-minded strength; current attempts by a self-styled radical Centre to dress up its realities are by comparison little more than weak public relations. Those who always believed in the over-riding value of free markets and private ownership of the means of production include many figures of intellectual substance. The recent crop of bowdlerizers and beauticians, who only yesterday deplored the ugliness of the system they primp today, do not….

Ideologically, the novelty of the present situation stands out in historical view. It can be put like this. For the first time since the Reformation, there are no longer any significant oppositions—that is, systematic rival outlooks—within the thought-world of the West; and scarcely any on a world scale either, if we discount religious doctrines as largely inoperative archaisms, as the experiences of Poland or Iran indicate we may. Whatever limitations persist to its practice, neo-liberalism as a set of principles rules undivided across the globe: the most successful ideology in world history.”

“It is unlikely the balance of intellectual advantage will alter greatly before there is a change in the political correlation of forces, which will probably remain stable so long as there is no deep economic crisis in the West. Little short of a slump of inter-war proportions looks capable of shaking the parameters of the current consensus.”

http://www.newleftreview.org/?view=2092

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Tomboktu - January 24, 2010

Had a look at that NLR essay. The section where Anderson states that “Most of the corpus of Western Marxism has also gone out of general circulation” drew a grin when I got to the specific example from the UK of “the name Miliband speaks of another time”.

When he wrote that, it did. And now it means something different from what it used to mean.

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dmfod - January 27, 2010

funny you should mention Miliband Snr. – I’m currently using this theory of the capitalist state in my phd and there have been a few books addressing his work in the last few years so hopefully he will see a bit of a revival. So much of what he had to say back in 1969 in The State and Capitalist Society is so incredibly relevant to the irish government’s response to the economic crisis that he really deserves a fresh look despite spawning David and Ed.

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Mark P - January 27, 2010

Truly evidence that human decency isn’t passed on in the genes.

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2. Garibaldy - January 24, 2010

Conor,

You are of course totally correct. I had referenced the late 1980s, but must have deleted it when making a few adjustments. I also didn’t want to repeat in great detail some of the arguments I made in the pervious two pieces linked in this one about identity politics etc. Interesting to see Anderson’s comments, and thanks for them. I still think though that the New Left is partly to blame for all this, though Anderson is probably the best of the lot.

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3. Conor McCabe - January 24, 2010

Blair is a c**t, no doubt, him and his cohorts, but the ideas of New Labour probably wouldn’t have had the free reign they were given were it not for the view among the mainstream left and progressives after 1989 that when it comes to economics, socialism has nothing to say. The best we can do is tinker with the extremes of a Capitalist-based economy and promote a fairer society at the point of consumption, leaving the point of production well enough alone. I mean, the far left always thought Labour was wrong (in Ireland and in Britain), always thought Labour was sell-out and right-wing – I mean, is Blair the bastard child of Margaret Thatcher or Harry Wilson? – but the events of 1989 shifted the mainstream at a fundamental level.

I remember the planning meeting for the setting-up of Irish Left Review in 2007, held in Cusacks Pub on the North Strand, and our outlook wasn’t that far from Perry Anderson´s. Included at the meeting were bloggers from cedarlounge, Dublin Opinion, Notes on the Front, and Progressive Gardener. I think if a similar meeting took place today, the talk and analysis would be a lot more progressive in economic matters. Indeed, you only have to look at those blogs and the contributors to those blogs since 2007 to see such a shift. And would Progressive Economy be so progressive if the present crisis weren’t upon us? Indeed, would Progressive Economy even exist?

I’m not trying to downplay the influence of Blair, nor indeed the damage he has done to British society and its economy, but at the same time I’m not really into using him as a scapegoat either. I mean, the Guardian and the Observer have both moved to the Right in recent years, in line with New Labour. And the Observer pretty much backed the 2003 Iraq invasion. I’d see New Labour as part of a wider trend in Britain, of which New Labour oscillates between being a consequence and a cause.

But yeah, Harold Wilson. Case to be made for the man being the Chuck Berry of New Labour.

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Tomboktu - January 24, 2010

And would Progressive Economy be so progressive if the present crisis weren’t upon us? Indeed, would Progressive Economy even exist?

For clarification, when you say “Progressive Economy”, do you mean the web site run by TASC or something else (such as a journal or a movement in economics)?

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Garibaldy - January 24, 2010

In the original post I meant the website run by TASC, which I assume is what Conor is talking about.

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Tomboktu - January 25, 2010

Also, Progressive Gardener is behind a firewall 😦

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4. Garibaldy - January 24, 2010

I totally agree Conor that New Labour is as much a consequence as a cause, and that Blair shouldn’t be a scapegoat (but it did make a good headline I thought 😉 ). I also agree that 1989 shifted the terms of mainstream debate. I do think though that the Thatcherite-Reganite thing had already begun shifting general public opinion, making it more difficult for the left to connect with people about the economy, a problem giving a massive impetus by 1989. The frenzy about buying shares in privatised industries is one good example.

I think your point about whether Progressive Economy would even exist or not is a good one. The likely answer is “no”. I take to your point about bloggers, but they can only do so much. And by the way, I’ll heappily admit I’m hardly at the forefront of economic critique myself. But politics requires parties to take actions, and I think the need for more detailed economic thinking from parties is a point worth making time and again.

As for Wilson, I think there’s a qualitative leap between him and the current lot, that means they are more different than similar. But that’s not an opinion I’d fight hard to protect.

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5. Conor McCabe - January 24, 2010

“As for Wilson, I think there’s a qualitative leap between him and the current lot..”

That’s why he’s the Chuck Berry of New Labour, and not the Jimi Hendricks 🙂

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6. Consistent Failure - January 24, 2010

“These figures reveal the stark facts of how the left has been losing the battle of ideas in the UK for the last three decades. ”

As clear as this has been the left does not take it on board.

Left wing parties dont need to swing right. They need to shape up, and start acting like they can really lead.

People like Taft are good because they show up how poor the left have been at developing a coherent and realisable agenda. Too many people are still giving the old tactics one more try. Like in evolution if you dont adapt you die. The left as it now exists is busy dying.

Maybe one day we will end up with a left wing in Ireland that could handle being in power because at the moment we only set our agenda in loose, unattainable terms and walow at 8-11% while believing this is useful.

Brit Labour flip flopped and the democratic left flip flopped because when faced with sticking with an incomplete programme that could not be realised or else being in office they had no choice.

If the left could put together a programme that reflects there will be no revolution, that coalition politics is the reality and build from there then it will work. Draw lines in the sand and have clear goals.

Or on the other hand continue to think a few councillors is the cutting edge of the revolution.

As a political philosophy in Ireland we are conspicouus by our failure to shape either state.

Thats because when faced with 80 years of failure our response is simply to redouble our efforts and think it will bring about a new outcome. Amazingly it does not and Fine Gael are the next govt. and who then will give a shite about bin tax when they swing to the right of fianna fail and people are indebted more and more.

I

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7. Garibaldy - January 24, 2010

CF,

I think we would all agree that many of your criticisms are valid. Having said that, I think that there are different options to just assuming we must be the junior partners in coalitions, and accepting that. For example, in the 1980s I would argue that the threat of the likes of The WP and Tony Gregory drove FF in particular to adopt more left-wing policis than would otherwise have been the case. At the minute we have nothing like that, and no sign of it. Partly, as you say, because our ideas are not sufficiently developed and coherent.

But the problem has been that for too long the mainstream left in particular has accepted boundaries set by others. We need to start trying to setting our own boundaries once again. The danger with your idea is that we will set them too narrowly.

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8. Const. Failure - January 24, 2010

g, thanks for the reply

last point is a criticism i accept as very valid. I like your point on boundaries being set by us and us alone.

Just read now about the health reform in the US. Krugman was fairly annoyed at the democrats looking as if they would drop health reform for some watered proposal in order to get passed. He pointed out the result would be the right would just oppose that as well and the deocrats would look like wimps. Instead the democrats are apparently going to use a procedural tactic called reconcilation to push the reform through pretty much as it stands.

Rather than seeking to constantly bend to the wind they are going to stick to their guns and go for it (at least they should anyhow and damn consensus).

i mention this as it struck me as some might believe I suggest the democrats/left should compromise( have boundaries set for us by others) in order to get things passed rather than square up for a fight. Definitely against that. I think too many on the leff, ie new labour, forgot that sometimes you need to fight.

But I think too many on the left pick the wrong fights, ignore consensus as an option where it could be useful etc.

To switch topics a bit I think the bin charges campaign is a prime example of the irish left failing by focusing on the wrong fight.

We will fight to get bin charges waived, cut etc. but in the meantime allow the current system to make us one of the most indebted nations around.

It will get a few of us elected for a term but achieve nothing else other than a blip.

How do we get past the mindset that the bin charges, water charges etc are where its at.

There should off course be only one radical left party in the state.

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9. Garibaldy - January 24, 2010

CF,

I’m with you on the Democrats. Will be good if they can stick to it, and real change for the better in ordinary people’s lives.

As for the wrong fights. I’d agree that often we are too reactive, or that there is a tendency to try to flog a dead horse. If we can succeed in identifying issues early and leading the charge on them, that can work. Equally, as we’ve seen in the past, practical issues like these can lead to organisational and electoral development, and they are important. I’m not so sure it’s as much a case of seeing these things as where it’s at as opposed to finding a medium for a more general political message at a time of greatly diminised class-consciousness and politicisation. We do need though to get people to see the connection between the bin charges etc and property speculation, political corruption, and the NAMA, if we are to make lasting gains, and promote an alternative. But like we’re saying it’s not easy, and I don’t think any of us has a clear vision of how to do this, beyond consistent effort and trying to find new ways to get the message across.

As for the one party left, certainly there should be greater cooperation.

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10. Cl - January 24, 2010

To frame the argument in the U.S as the Democrats being opposed to the Republican right is misleading.
Just as Blair was a continuation of Thatcherism. Clinton completed the Reaganite revolution. A Democrat, Paul Volcker, a leading figure of the Reagan regime, is now being trotted out as evidence of Obama’s new-found ‘populist’ attack on Wall St.
Neo-classical economics, capitalism’s ideology, is taught in all the world’s universities as gospel.
This intellectual underpinning of capitalism has been refuted by the current catastrophe. But the left has failed to take advantage, mainly because it’s clueless about economics, and also because rightist govts almost everywhere in response to the debacle have resorted to Keynesian measures to boost aggregate demand, and such Keynesianism is seen by many leftists as progressive.

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11. ejh - January 24, 2010

I should say that Labour in Britain hasn’t really beecome a liberal party – it’s become significantly illiberal. Roy Hattersley used to have a line about Labour representing the best instincts of the working class, but New Labour in many ways plays up to its worst.

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12. ejh - January 24, 2010

As for the move to the right among the public – obviously its really hard to disentangle causes and effects here, but I would have thought ideologically you can only really have large-scale commitment to leftwing economic positions, in the long term, where you have largescale attachment to and membership of collective institutions. Most significantly, though by no means solely, this means organised labour. If epople don’t want to be union members then in the aforesaid long term, they’re not going to be supporters of redistribution, or high taxation, of publicly-owned institutions or of welfare states.

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13. Digest – Jan 24 2010 – The Story - January 24, 2010

[…] of the Cedar’s has an interesting post on the changes in centre-leftism over that way. The comments are worth reading too. Also over on the CLR, WorldByStorm deconstructs […]

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14. CMK - January 24, 2010

Things are little less rosy for the ‘right’ than The Observer makes out. Firstly, after the fall of the Berlin Wall the right was facing into the longest, debt fuelled, economic expansion in history. It lasted from ca. 1995 to 2008 and, with the dramatic expansion of credit, enabled almost all workers in the US, Britain and Ireland to believe that they were, at last, getting a piece of the action. Redistribution was through sub-prime mortgages and maxing out on ten credit cards. The market seemed to be working, wealth seemed to be trickling down, just like the neo-liberals said. In that context the Left was always going to struggle.

Now, however, we have at least a decade of austerity ahead of us regardless of which party is in government. There’s little or no credit to go round. Someone on 20-28K a year won’t be getting a mortgage or a credit card with a 4k limit ever again – that’s a huge swathe of the workforce who will have to make do with diminishing incomes and, by extension, dimished lifestyles and, in many cases, the death of fervently held dreams and desires.

What they will be getting will be progressively higher taxes (but not a progressive taxation system!); increased bin charges; water charges; property taxes; carbon taxes; more pay cuts and so on and so on…

The Right will find it steadily more difficult to maintain that “another couple of years’ pain and then the good times will roll again!” – there’ll be nothing to trickle down and, I think, the current hegemony will break down. There’s a sliver of a breach in the walls of the hegemony right now and the Left’s task is to push and push, relentlessly push, on the many contradications and hypocrises in the hegemony that form that thin sliver.

I’ve maintained for a long time that the doctrine of unintended consequences; curveballs etc will come into play in the political situation here. Brian Lenihan’s health status was not predict; workers in the public sector have acquised with pay cuts and levies, but will they actually live under them? There’s fertile soil in the making for the Left.

So, I’m rather more optimistic about the Left here, as events are turning its way and the hitherto carefully concealed barbarities at the heart of neo-liberalism will be imposed on millions of people here. Only the Left has the intellectual resources to counter them; it may, in time, develop the political structures to decisively shift the political axis of this state. People who called you a “f**king lefty lunatic” five years ago will be, perhaps, rather more receptive now and in the future.

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15. dublindilettante - January 24, 2010

I frankly am not convinced that the public gives a shit about ideology in the round (the media and establishment may be wholly given over to neoliberalism, but most voters don’t know and don’t care what it is.) Note that the establishment’s approach when speaking to itself and when speaking to the public is completely different. When couched in ideological terms, it’s all “competitiveness” and “efficiency”; when pitched to the public, it’s about the “greed” and “laziness” of whoever’s in the firing line this week, because those things animate the populace.

Which is good for those of us who want to overthrow a system based on unadulterated greed and intellectual laziness, isn’t it? Even 90% of those who aren’t explicitly socialist aren’t against nationalisation and the welfare state in principle, it’s just that the know the shot’s not on the board as far as the political establishment is concerned, so there’s no point getting worked up about it.

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16. CL - January 25, 2010

CMK: -“The market seemed to be working, wealth seemed to be trickling down, just like the neo-liberals said. In that context the Left was always going to struggle.”- ‘seemed’ maybe. But real wages have not increased in the U.S. in 30 years, despite great increases in productivity. The share of wages in total national income has consistently dropped, and this increasing inequality is a contributory factor in the meltdown, despite, or maybe because of, being supplemented by a massive increase in debt.
The left has failed to take advantage of the crisis of capitalism. From the right we see a re-assertion of ideology, especially in Ireland where a 19th century economic policy is being implemented with barely a whimper of opposition. As the Labour Party waits quietly to coalesce with the anti-working class Fine Gael.
The conservatives are seemingly on the road to victory in the U.K. In the U.S. Obama is surrounded by conservatives economists, such as Summers and Volcker. His anti-Wall St. populist rhetoric is empty. Meanwhile a real, right-wing populist movement gathers momentum…. The harsh reality is that in the greatest calamity to afflict capitalism since the Great Depression the left is in retreat.

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17. Crocodile - January 25, 2010

For thirty years we have been assured of the power of the market; now we are seeing something different – the power of the markets i.e. the financial markets and the hold they have on democracies.
Obama cannot exercise his economic mandate without Wall St plummeting. Governments of small countries like Iceland and Greece are warned that they have no autonomy in economic matters. In Ireland we’re threatened with the big bad IMF if we question the neo-liberal ‘solution’. It is not difficult to imagine the election of a leftish government in a European ‘democracy’ which is then forced out of power by the money markets’ withholding of credit, like a bank closing down a small business because it’s not being run the way they want.
All this contributes to the depoliticisation of our citizenry. Years ago, during the boom, we were told that we could not have a statutory requirement to recognise free collective bargaining, because FDI firms would go elsewhere: they simply wouldn’t accept such limitations. We have a generation in our workforce that prides itself on being hard-nosed and without illusions and one of the illusions it’s proudest to eschew is the one that a ‘small’ open economy’ can run its own taxation and public spending. So they vote for a candidate they like, or a party that espouses a particular niche issue, or don’t vote at all. The real power lies with what Fergus Finlay called ‘the spotty analysts of Wall St’. Our government is like those student councils they have in schools – no power where it matters but good for careerists and allowed a say in allocating budgets – within reason, of course.

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ejh - January 25, 2010

Oddly I was in a car on the way to a chess match a couple of weeks ago and one of my teammates was talking about “el culto del socialismo”. As I didn’t say at the time (one of the advantages of living abroad is that you can pretend not to understand other people’s stupid remarks, even if you do actually understand them) it’s not really socialism that’s the contemporary religion, is it?

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Tim - January 28, 2010

What is Obama’s ‘economic mandate’?

“In Ireland we’re threatened with the big bad IMF if we question the neo-liberal ’solution’.”
Well, Ireland is not implementing the neolib solution is it? Rather than let banks collapse, we are blessed with NAMA, to insulate so-called capitalists from their own misjudgments.

“Governments of small countries like Iceland and Greece are warned that they have no autonomy in economic matters.”

The point is, they do have autonomy -still – and if they reject investors they only run the risk of deflecting future investment. Iceland has made that choice, and they are fully entitled to. Investors, too, are fully entitled not to invest in Iceland in the future. I don’t think things are as gloomy as you suggest.

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crocodile - January 28, 2010

What the examples have in common is that they are cases where the interests of financial institutions have superseded the interests of sovereign peoples.
I think it’s a fair aspiration for progressives to hold, that the wishes of a country’s population, expressed democratically, can not be simply trumped by a flat ‘the markets won’t wear it’.
Obama wants to limit the powers of banks but needs the cooperation of European and Asian leaders.
Meanwhile every cut in this country is justified with the spectre of the IMF – ‘if we don’t do it they’ll do worse’. And we are implementing the neolib solution – who ever believed that the ‘risktakers’ were really prepared to face the consequences of their misjudgements?

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LeftAtTheCross - January 28, 2010

apparently the greek PM was speaking at the Davos meeting today and denied that greece was in discussions with china about a bail out. nice idea, the chinese comrades possibly coming up trumps to undermine the imf…

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18. Cass Flower - January 25, 2010

The situation has gone, and the thinking of a lot of “non-political” people fluctuates, way past the organised political left. A very successful job has been done in driving back the left and shaking confidence in the ideology of socialism, but a much less successful job of keeping the world economy going. The election results brought very strong results for the left in Dublin. Labour hit a peak in the polls when a firm stand was taken against the Bank Guarantee last year and has slid ever since, as it accommodates to Fine Gael. There’s a crisis of leadership on the left that is probably exacerbated by the very evident potential of the situation. There is an almost physical feeling of a dead dragging weight of outdated and irrelevant thinking and its hard to go beyond it. The possibility of dislodging Fiann Fail is very real.

The Socialist Party calls for a new mass party of the left, but it seems to me to be just a slogan and there don’t seem to be practical steps being made to make it happen.

Certainly, I agree with Conor McCabe that the defeat and dismantling of the USSR was a profound blow to the left and to the working class generally. Far more needs to be done in learning the lessons out of that, from 1917 on.

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