[lbo-talk] Where did the Left Go?

Chuck Grimes c123grimes at att.net
Sun Nov 13 20:05:36 PST 2011

The Occupy Wall Street protests in the US are also directed against the Street's representatives in the Democratic Party and the White House. The protesters probably don't know that Socialists in France still consider Barack Obama exemplary. Is there a misunderstanding? Those who are unwilling or unable to attack the pillars of the neoliberal order (financialization, globalization of movements of capital and goods) are tempted to personalize the disaster, to attribute the crisis in capitalism to poor planning or mismanagement by their political opponents. In France it's Sarkozy, in Italy Berlusconi, in Germany Merkel, who are to blame. And elsewhere?

Elsewhere, and not only in the US, political leaders long considered as models by the moderate left also face angry crowds. In Greece, the president of the Socialist International, George Papandreou, is pursuing a policy of extreme austerity: privatizations, cuts in the civil service, and delivering economic and social sovereignty to a ultra-neoliberal troika. The conduct of the Spanish, Portuguese and Slovenian governments reminds us that the term left is now so debased that it is no longer associated with any specific political content.


This is fairly long, but makes a good companion piece to Doug's interview with Yanis Varoufakis on Saturday. Varoufakis had a very helpful explanation for why going back to the Drachma wouldn't work, but I can't remember the details. Something about a run on banks...

Another thing about EU woes that strikes me as completely disingenuous is the portrayal of Greece, Italy, Spain and others now under threat much like Anglo bigotry towards Latinos. Ever watch those guys work construction? I did a one day laborer spot with a Brazilian gang and almost died. Got home spead eagle on the floor for 9/hr. I couldn't live on 9/hr. There is something deeply wrong with standard economic concepts like productivity and efficiency which evidently has nothing to do with labor.

Getting back to the EU south. The real issues are about saving the US and EU banks and bond holders. Now that Italy and Greece have turned their governments over to former bankers, what next? As far as I can tell nothing short of a bloody revolution is going to stop these bank pigs.


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