Rethinking Greece: the Left project and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony

… Interview with Nancy Fraser – Published on Greek News Agenda, by Ioulia Livaditi, Dec 11, 2016 (video 5.21 min and text).

Nancy Fraser is Henry and Louise A. Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics at the New School for Social Research and one of the world’s leading thinkers in political and social theory. She has been Einstein Fellow of the city of Berlin, and holder of the “Global Justice” Chair at the Collège d’études mondiales in Paris. She works on social and political theory, feminist theory, and contemporary French and German thought//

… The social movements that developed in Greece after 2011 seem to have died down after the signing of the 3rd memorandum in 2015, Podemos in Spain has not been able to fulfill their electoral potential and right-wing nationalism is on the rise. Do you think that the European Left has lost its ability to inspire popular movements?

  • I think that these things develop in fits and starts, not in a smooth line. So I wouldn’t assume that a setback here or there means the end of the Left project. We had all the Occupy and Indignados movements throughout the world, and I would say that Spain and Greece were really the only countries, at least in Europe and North America, who managed to develop something out of those movements: people found a form to institutionalize, at least temporarily, those energies, instead of letting them totally disappear. That is a positive, but it is a different matter as to whether a government can deliver the full set of demands and aspirations of the participants in those movements, or more generally, of the citizens … //

… What to you think Brexit and the recent vote in Italy could mean for the future of the EU project? … //

… Some analysts claim that Donald Trump won the election because the Democratic Party put too much emphasis on identity politics (race, gender) and not enough on economic issues. Do you agree with this assessment? … //

… Do you think Donald Trump’s victory signals a shift of the electorate toward right-wing nationalism?

  • Like I said in the beginning, things are very much in flux now, this it is not a settled matter. It could go into a much more right-wing and nationalist direction, but it could also go into a more left direction. In the US we can see that in the success of the Bernie Sanders campaign, which came very close to getting the nomination away from Hilary Clinton. She had every bit of the bureaucracy, of the machinery of the Democratic Party behind her, she was the anointed successor to Obama; everybody thought this was a foregone conclusion. And this guy comes out of nowhere and suddenly inspires millions and millions of people. That to me reflects the spirit of Occupy, not just the young people in the squares, but the broad support beyond the squares that Occupy got, which was 60%-70% nationally according to the polls at the time.
  • This shows is that there is a body of sentiment in the country that at some level agrees with the Occupy language on the 1%. That was very powerful language, it rung a bell. People knew what that meant, and they felt very strongly that that was true and should be changed. Sanders’ version of that was to use the word “rigged”. It’s a “rigged” economy, a “rigged” political system. That was another way of saying that there is a deep structural unfairness in the society, something that really resonated.
  • Later, Trump copied this language from Sanders and started himself talking about the rigged system, adding the phrase that ‘no one could fix this better’ than he could, because he knows how it works from the inside. He talked about how the people who run the banks, the government and the big corporations are “killers”. This is an amazing way to talk about the corporate elite. It’s true, but no one says these things. Overall, I think it’s highly likely that Trump as president will end up disappointing many of the people who voted for him, and there will be another battle over this, this is not the end. This body of sentiment is inchoate, it’s not fully formed, and it can be articulated in a number of different ways.

You have written about how the emancipatory claims of the feminist, anti-racist or LGTB movements have been hijacked by neoliberalism and redefined in market terms. Can you talk more about this? … //

… Social reproduction work (taking care of children and the elderly, maintaining the household etc), is devalued (not paid/underpaid) and at the same time absolutely necessary for capitalism. You have identified this as a structural contradiction of capitalism that is becoming even more acute now. Do you think this issue can be solved within capitalism? … //

  • … If you think along those lines, and how can we do something like that, but in a way that overcomes the exclusions and injustices that were built into it, then you would have to think in terms of a global regime. I don’t mean a sort of world state, I mean something like what the EU is saying about harmonizing social policies, but not just within Europe, much more broadly. Because now, one of the ways that neoliberalism tries to deal with this problem is to import migrant women to do very low-wage, precarious and highly supervised intrusive domestic work for the professional managerial middle class and upper middle class. So it has to be something global, it cannot be premised on anything like a male breadwinner / female homemaker model, it has to include no-heterosexual families, it was to overcome the racial/ethnical divisions of labour that assign the dirtiest and least well-paid forms of care, like working in nursing homes to people of colour.
  • I think that is the best that capitalism could do and I don’t know if it can do it. But I think we could adopt an agnostic view. Meaning, this is what we need to have, we will keep an open mind, if capitalism can give it to us, so much the better, if not, too bad for capitalism. I think you don’t have to decide now how it’s going to be. You can push for this, and as movements grow and radicalize they will start having to think about what are the obstacles to this. Global finance is going to be one and there is also an ecological question that is very pressing, because one thing is clear: if you try to universalize something like the high-carbon footprint consumer’s lifestyle of the European and North American middle classes to the whole world, it would be completely ecologically unsustainable. One would have to think about how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together and then again see whether there is a form of capitalism that could be invented. It doesn’t exist now, no one even knows exactly what it would look like. We’ll see. But in the meantime, we should also be thinking about non or post-capitalist possibilities too.

(full long interview text).


The Econocracy, an Interview with Cahal Mora, on naked capitalism, by Yves Smith, Dec 17, 2016: Cahal Moran is a member of Rethinking Economics, the worldwide student movement to reform the teaching of economics. He is the co-author, with Joe Earle and Zach Ward-Perkins of the book The Econocracy: The Perils of Leaving Economics to the Experts the authors can be followed on their Twitter account @TheEconocracy. Interview conducted by Philip Pilkington, a macroeconomist working in asset management and author of the new book The Reformation in Economics: A Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Economic Theory. The views expressed in this interview are not those of his employer;

On Toronto Tolls, Marxists Align with Auto Industrial Complex, on Dissident Voice, by Yves Engler, Dec 16, 2016: what’s left and what’s right? Usually it is obvious, but sometimes you have to take a step back and consider the bigger picture;

How Dominance, Authority, and Control Work in a Zionist, Context – Part 2: Readings in the Jewish Zionist control of the United States: Interviews with Francis Boyle, James Petras, and Kim Petersen, on Dissident Voice, by B.J. Sabri, December 16, 2016;
(Part 1);
Book: The Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite, author Robert D. Kaplan, on amazon;

Critical Analysis – Broken Promises: The Structural Legacy of Capitalist Democracies, on Axis of Logic, by James Petras, Dec 14, 2016;

Investment in Early Childhood Education Yields Substantial Gains for the Economy, on Institute for New Economic Thinking, Dec 12, 2016:  new research by Nobel Laureate and Institute for New Economic Thinking Advisory Board member James Heckman finds strong economic gains from birth-to-five education programs;

UK Diplomat Knows Who Was Behind The DNC Leak, It’s Not Russia, 5.16 min, uploaded by Rusty TV, Dec 12, 2016 … he said: “I have met the DNC leaker and he’s not Russian”. Washington Post has in an article stated that it was the Russians that were behind the hack, but this assertion is dismissed by Donald Trump and Reince Priebus …;

Website: History and Geography of Europe and the World (maps, photos); /Euratlas Conditions of Use: … the online Euratlas Shop sells historical cartography programs and maps. You will find here educational software like historical atlases and digital resources for students, teachers, genealogists, scholars, journalists or graphic designers;

… and this:

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