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Signs of Hope – 2018 retrospective December 28, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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When Gewerkschaftler suggested this they wrote:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

It has been a long 2018. So any thoughts on signs of hope this year?

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1. CL - December 28, 2018

‘Ideas once dismissed as the ravings of the loony left are breaking into the mainstream of economic and intellectual debate….
Olivier Blanchard, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund…recently posed the once-blasphemous question: “What comes after capitalism?”…

Martin Wolf, respected columnist for the Financial Times, recently concluded, if “reluctantly,” that “capitalism is substantially broken.”

In “The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy,” Mariana Mazzucato …she asks us to distinguish between people who create value and those who merely extract it, often destroying it in the process.
(in other words, workers create value that is appropriated by the parasites and predators of finance capital)

“Quinn Slobodian …Neoliberals, he argues, are people who believe that “the market does not and cannot take care of itself,” and indeed neoliberalism is a form of regulation — one that insulates the markets from vagaries of mass democracy and economic nationalism.”
(readers of Karl Polanyi know that market fundamentalism, because it is such an anti-human system, requires repressive state power for its initiation and implementation)

“Slobodian’s lucidly written intellectual history traces the ideas of a group of Western thinkers who sought to create, against a backdrop of anarchy, globally applicable economic rules.
Their attempt, it turns out, succeeded all too well in our own time. We stand in the ruins of their project, confronting political, economic and environmental crises of unprecedented scale and size.
(There are of course clowns like the propagandist and columnist for the Irish Independent, Dan O’Brien, who assert that neoliberalism doesn’t exist-sort of like the guy who spoke prose but never knew that he did)

It is imperative to chart our way out of them, steering clear of the diversions offered by political demagogues. One can only hope that the new year will bring more intellectual heresies of the kind Mazzucato’s and Slobodian’s books embody. We need them urgently to figure out what comes after neoliberalism.”-Pankaj Mishra
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-12-24/two-new-books-challenging-the-consensus-on-capitalism

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GW - December 29, 2018

Yes.

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2. GW - December 28, 2018

That Macron so completely collapsed as a political force along with his political organisation and had to finally to concede ground to the JGs.

Secondly, the the JGs have resisted assimilation by le Pen and that we have simultaneously seen an rise in support for France Insoumise.

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Mick 2 - December 30, 2018

Sorry, late to this, but what’s this about a rise in support for La France Insoumise? I can’t find anything online about it.

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GW - December 30, 2018

My bad Mick. I must have dreamed it.

If you look here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_European_Parliament_election_in_France#Graphical_summary

the only party that has benefited during the GJs has been Le Pen’s. And the greens a little.

Now those are European Parliament elections – so they should be seen in the context of the EP – I couldn’t find an equivalent national source.

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FergusD - January 1, 2019

Everything I have seen suggests Melenchon just wants to divert the JGs into electoralism, votes for him of course. I do t think he is popular with the JGs and clearly is not remotely revolutionary himself.

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FergusD - January 1, 2019

And on a positive note, I haven’t seen any anti-immigration sentiments expressed by the JGs, not significantly anyway. In some parts they have set up ‘popular committees’ where they discuss the way forward. Shades of Russia 1905? One can hope.

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3. GW - December 28, 2018

That Aufstehen has not split die Linke – indeed it is making hardly any political waves. And they largely abandoned the AfD-appeasing anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Disappointingly, although perhaps predictably, they haven’t managed to draw defecting SPD members leftwards – which was the only positive political function that I could ascribe to them. Not surprisingly, on reflection, given Lafontaine’s central role, I guess.

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WorldbyStorm - December 29, 2018

That’s good news. Definitely, and the anti-immigrant rhetoric was abysmal.

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4. GW - December 28, 2018

Finally a significant movement in Hungary to counter the anti-semitic, migrant-bashing authoritarian nationalist neoliberalism of Orbán, in the form of the demonstrations against the ‘slave laws’, forcing workers to make a present to their bosses.

And more significantly it’s directed against nationalist authoritarianism’s Achilles Heel – that for all their rhetoric they in the end do the bidding of transnational capital.

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GW - December 29, 2018

… make a present to their bosses of large amounts (two hours a working day) of unpaid overtime.

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WorldbyStorm - December 29, 2018

Mentioned before that that is the reality of right populism. Beneath all the modish anti-vax, faux (or sometimes all too real) nationalism, etc etc they’re business as usual.

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5. GW - December 28, 2018

That the Brexiteer Brit government were so incompetent in their negotiations and the EU held together surprisingly consistently; meaning that no other countries will be tempted to go down that road in the near to medium future.

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6. GW - December 28, 2018

A general increasing acceptance outside of the usual leftists circles in Europe of the existence of such a thing as ‘captialism’ – along with a general view that it isn’t working out so well.

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Joe - December 30, 2018

Was in Arnotts yesterday. We are looking to buy a new electric carving knife. They’re sold out but more coming in next week. Anyway my wife said to the salesman that we got a new one about five years ago but that it was crap so we are still using the one we got about 25 years ago. I said they don’t make stuff to last any more. And he answered me with one word – ‘capitalism’. The young folk are the signs of hope.

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7. GW - December 29, 2018

The Red-Red-Green government in Berlin continues to be popular and the departments controlled by die Linke are doing particularly good work in building public housing and shelter for the homeless.

All of this in the context of a zombie national government who won’t / can’t act on anything important.

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8. GW - December 29, 2018

The success of socialists and radicals in American elections.

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Alibaba - December 30, 2018

Yes, I underestimated the importance of that.

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9. CL - December 29, 2018

” Many New Yorkers will get a raise next week when New York City becomes the first in the state with a $15-per-hour minimum wage. That will be the new pay floor for employees of businesses with at least 11 employees starting on Dec. 31, up from the current rate of $13, according to the state Department of Labor.”
https://patch.com/new-york/new-york-city/nycs-minimum-wage-will-finally-hit-15-next-week

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10. makedoanmend - December 29, 2018

Never really cottoned on to this thread before, but reading these posts do make me feel rather more optimistic than usual. Hope this continues…

So, thanking yees CL, GW and as always WBS

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11. GW - December 30, 2018

I feel ashamed that I didn’t mention another important sign of hope this year – feminists became more in your face and confrontational on many dimensions.

There was:

a) the wide recognition and refusal of a culture of sexualised violence and abuse with #metoo
b) a sharpening of the fight for reproductive rights across the world, with success in Ireland but near misses elsewhere
c) a strong return to the economic – over unpaid labour and gendered wage inequalities
d) the growth of a gender-queer spectrum, especially among younger people

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EWI - January 1, 2019

a) the wide recognition and refusal of a culture of sexualised violence and abuse with #metoo
b) a sharpening of the fight for reproductive rights across the world, with success in Ireland but near misses elsewhere
c) a strong return to the economic – over unpaid labour and gendered wage inequalities
d) the growth of a gender-queer spectrum, especially among younger people

There is also sign of a movement towards an (e) defenestrating the liberal middle-class set of so-called feminists, who are now All Right Jack (and have some very right-wing views once you scratch the surface). This lot have existed since the fairly rabidly right-wing Pankhursts.

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