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How Thatcherism produced Corbynism - UnHerd
In Britain, as elsewhere, the Thatcherite project was self-undermining. While the country Thatcher brought into being was very different from the one she inherited, it was nothing like the country she intended to fashion. Insofar as it ever existed, her Britain was a country of dutiful middle-class families prudently saving for the future. But rather than consolidating and expanding this middle class, she consigned it to the memory hole. More individualist, post-Thatcher Britain is also less bourgeois.

Aside from their homes, few middle-class people have assets of any importance. Beyond the public sector, pensions are dependent on the vagaries of the market. Without job security, much of the middle class lives only months from penury. Incomes have increased for many, but so has debt. While distancing Labour from its past and turning it into an overwhelmingly middle-class party, Tony Blair continued the hollowing out of middle-class life that Thatcher began.

A type of capitalism emerged in which the practices that shaped bourgeois life as it had been known in the past – saving for the future, pursuing a lifelong career, self-sacrifice for the sake of family stability – became redundant or dysfunctional. Adapting to ceaseless change came to be regarded as the primary virtue. Accelerating and accentuating processes that globalisation was driving anyway, Thatcher created a society she could not have imagined.
UK  politics  academia  tenure  Thatcher  Thatcherism  JosephKeith  Keynesianism  state  welfare  employment  individualism  neoliberalism  precarity  insecurity  post-industrialism  middleClass  Corbynism  TheLeft  globalisation  Brexit  referendum  PeoplesVote  farRight  dctagged  dc:creator=GrayJohn 
10 days ago by petej
At the risk of being attacked from all sides, a few short words on Brexit and the Labour Party. One thing I can see is that, in general, *both* sides of the argument have their hearts in the right place. Both want something positive in left wing terms. 1/
At the risk of being attacked from all sides, a few short words on Brexit and the Labour Party. One thing I can see is that, in general, *both* sides of the argument have their hearts in the right place. Both want something positive in left wing terms. 1/
UK  EU  Brexit  Leave  Remain  TheLeft  LabourParty  austerity  immigration  freedomOfMovement  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=BernalPaul 
20 days ago by petej
Labour should prepare to fight neoliberalism within the EU – Lexit is not an option
But the British left has to stop dreaming about Lexit. One of the things we have genuinely learned from the process of trying to leave the EU is the extensive nature of its status as a regulatory superpower. Even a Britain ruled by the Socialist Workers Party and the Morning Star would find itself forced to comply with Commission directives. Paradoxically, a left exit from Europe is only possible if Europe itself goes left.

For two and a half years Labour has dutifully and painfully tried to make Brexit work. But parliament has been sidelined, time has run out, and the space for a Labour-designed version of Brexit has disappeared. If anybody has betrayed Brexit it is Theresa May. Once her deal is thrown out, the moral authority of the 2016 referendum evaporates. It’s then either no deal or no Brexit.

And if it’s no Brexit, watch the blood drain from the faces of European neoliberalism: I’ve been with Jeremy Corbyn as he’s hit both Brussels and the Hague with messages of uncompromising clarity: neoliberalism is over, austerity is a catastrophe. But to the stunned audience of centrist social democrats, Corbyn’s words always seemed like a message from afar. If we play this right, we can take it into the heart of Europe.
UK  EU  Brexit  withdrawalAgreement  LabourParty  Remain  reform  Maastricht  Germany  Italy  budget  Portugal  Greece  Spain  EC  neoliberalism  JunckerJean-Claude  freedomOfMovement  migration  exploitation  TheLeft  CorbynJeremy  dctagged  dc:creator=MasonPaul 
4 weeks ago by petej
There is no left-wing case for Brexit: 21st century socialism requires transnational organization | British Politics and Policy at LSE
The left needs to turn resolutely to Europe. It needs to pluralise (and not reduce) the sites of political conflict. It needs to build a pan-European movement through transnational party lists, shared political manifestos, and common protest initiatives. It needs to mobilise migrant workers rather than alienate them even further. It needs to campaign, in a coordinated way, not for a liberal superstate with a common army but for a European socialist federation which renounces neo-imperial ambitions once and for all. It needs to advocate neither the abandonment nor the reform of the European Union but a review of the Lisbon treaty that dismantles neoliberalism and bureaucracy. It needs to campaign for non-territorial citizenship, European-wide public ownership, extensive popular control of the economy, a new digital common, direct democracy, a federal parliament with revocable public offices and a non-technocratic, accountable, administrative apparatus based on strong principles of subsidiarity.

This is neither “leave” nor “reform”: it is “transform”. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to how the project can become appealing to European citizens, given the current predicament. Matters of tactic and strategy will be different in different member states. This is why Remain and Leave mean very little without concrete ideas of how one can go from where we are to where we aspire to be. But these ideas need organizational structures and an international mass movement to be developed. Rushing to abandon the primitive forms of transnational coordination that the current European Union offers seems premature in the absence of realistic, alternative paths forward. Retreating to civic republican projects disconnected from the wider fight for transnational democracy will only strengthen capital, and the far right.

Socialism in the 20th century took a civic nationalist form. Socialism in the 21st century can only be transnational. This is a very demanding task. But it has one advantage. Unlike socialism and social democracy in one country, it has not already failed in the past.
UK  EU  Brexit  TheLeft  socialism  internationalism  transnationalism  nationalism  socialDemocracy  SchroederGerhard  BlairTony  politics  LabourParty 
7 weeks ago by petej
From Trump to Boris Johnson: how the wealthy tell us what ‘real folk’ want | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian
With that conceded and, hopefully, addressed, the left is in a far more solid place to expose and challenge the disingenuousness, hypocrisy and inadequacy of the culture-warriors on three main counts. First, their prescriptions don’t work. Britain does not feel like a stronger, more confident place since it voted to leave the European Union, but more divided, lost and lonely than anyone can remember. It didn’t put the great back into Great Britain but the little into Little England. In short, it has proved an inadequate balm for the post-imperial melancholy so many were apparently experiencing. Denying Muslims and migrants their civil rights or women their reproductive rights doesn’t give other groups more rights. When terrorists kill fewer people than toddlers with guns and are more likely to be white and American than brown and foreign, the threat to your “way of life” is the way you are living it.

Second, there are far more powerful and plausible national stories we can tell, that are inclusive and optimistic and they occasionally break through. Obama’s first election, when a multiracial, multigenerational, economically diverse coalition came together to embrace a message of hope and change from a black American, was a case in point. It is always worth remembering that roughly one in eight of Trump’s voters backed Obama in 2012.

Similarly, in Britain, the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012 or the, albeit belated, revulsion at the treatment of the Windrush generation this year showed that there was a more inclusive story to be told about what really is great about this country.

Finally, all too often the rightwing cheerleaders for these “ordinary folk” are more embedded in the elites than those they attack can ever be. When George W Bush, who is teetotal, is the man you’d most like to have a drink with, an Old Etonian Bullingdon boy like Boris Johnson is able to get away with posing as a man of the people, and Trump can get the modern equivalent of $140m from his dad and still claim he is a self-made man, something is seriously wrong.

Or as George Clooney put it about Trump: “I grew up in Kentucky. I sold insurance door to door. I sold ladies’ shoes. I worked at an all-night liquor store. I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews. The idea that I’m somehow the ‘Hollywood elite’ and this guy who takes a shit in a gold toilet is somehow the man of the people is laughable.”
USA  TrumpDonald  politics  populism  TheLeft  TheRight  elites  wealth  oligarchy  culture  nativism  immigration  multiculturalism  liberalism  paternalism  dctagged  dc:creator=YoungeGary 
7 weeks ago by petej
Decline and Fall: What Next for May’s Deal? | Novara Media
The third option is a general election. Without the fixed-term Act passed to shore up the Cameron-Clegg coalition, such an election would already be underway; it is the natural remedy for political impasse. An election allows not only a conversation about Brexit in narrow technical terms, but to put to the country the profoundly differing visions of the future which now exist between the two major parties, including a throughgoing rejection of Conservative economics, a rebalancing of the country’s disgorged financial sector, and an end to the punitive austerity of the past Tory administrations. Such an election would be difficult for Labour: it would require the party to clarify its Brexit plans beyond the six tests, in explicit propositional terms, and require a future Labour government to push for renegotiation under an extended Article 50, in order to rectify the mess and incompetence of the Tory negotiating team. This seems the best strategy for the left in Labour: it will require those active in the party to demand their MPs refuse Tory fear-mongering and the siren call of Soubry’s national government.

As we enter what looks like the endgame of May’s ministry, the sights of the left ought to be focused on the possibility of a transformational, socialist government. Behind the political churn, deep questions lurk: what sovereignty looks like in a globalised world, how to rectify the decades of wreckage inflicted by successive governments on this country and its working class, how to adequately tackle the planetary death spiral capitalism has locked us into. Only the left can answer those questions – and it now must.
UK  EU  Brexit  withdrawalAgreement  MayTheresa  ToryParty  politics  DUP  customsUnion  NorthernIreland  Scotland  SNP  LabourParty  stateAid  Parliament  leadership  1922Committee  BarnierMichel  GNU  SoubryAnna  referendum  generalElection  TheLeft  dctagged  dc:creator=ButlerJames 
8 weeks ago by petej

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