Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Freedom Means Subordination to the Decisions of Concentrated Unaccountable Private Power

jacobinmag  |  Since the late 1970s political parties all over the world have embraced a politics of free markets, privatization, and financialization. While promising freedom, this political project — typically referred to as neoliberalism — has brought record levels of economic inequality and significant democratic retrenchment, particularly in the advanced capitalist world.

Scholars often explain this shift by pointing to the victory of the New Right — personified by figures like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. But a new book by sociologist Stephanie Mudge tells a different story.

In Leftism Reinvented: Western Parties from Socialism to NeoliberalismMudge looks at left parties in advanced capitalist countries over the last century and shows how the experts aligned with those parties pushed them in the direction of spin doctors and markets. In the process, left parties’ ability to represent the interests of their own working-class constituencies was eroded — and ordinary people were shut out of the halls of power.

Political organizer and socialist activist Chase Burghgrave recently spoke with Mudge about her new book, the role of experts in democratic societies, and whether a more vibrant, egalitarian politics is possible.