Monday, August 10, 2020

Corporate Economization Is Complete Little Man - You Cannot Escape - No Lives Matter!

counterpunch  |  It is a truism to suggest that the public has now been replaced by the consumer; that the public good has been replaced by individual desire; that public space has been reduced to the private visions of the individual; that democracy has been sacrificed on the altar of economics. As Wendy Brown writes, in, Undoing the Demos, 2012, “Neoliberal reason, ubiquitous today in statecraft and the workplace, in jurisprudence, education, culture, and a vast range of quotidian activity, is converting the distinctly political character, meaning, and operation of democracy’s constituent elements into economic ones.”. Thus, the Left’s traditional urge to build a bureaucracy that restrains predatory commerce in the interest of the public good is subverted by the growth of a corporate state designed to suppress its vestigial caring dimension.

This neoliberal attribute fatally weakens the viability of the obvious ‘Alternative’ to which Thatcher was so averse, that of democratic socialism, which thrived in post-war Western Europe as it emerged from the worldwide crisis. Those governments were driven by a mission: to embrace responsibility for the health of all of their citizens – rather than let it be controlled by black marketeers or corporate looters; to ensure that elder care, youth services and childcare be freely available – not powered by profit; to provide good, free education to all – not restricted by its expense to the privileged few; to declare that housing and adequate nutrition are a human right – not resources to be leveraged by the financially strong; to assert that homelessness has no place in an enlightened state – not accepted as a necessary alternative to the supposed evils of welfare; to declare that the mentally ill, together with the anxious and alienated, find a haven in adequate social services – not left to swell the ranks of mendicant street people; and to ensure that public order is maintained without a militarized police force supporting the criminalization of poverty, the presumption of Black and minority criminality and the thuggish treatment of those it arrests. All these beneficent outcomes must now be sought elsewhere. As Bruno Latour points out in his recent essay, ‘Are you ready to extract yourself from the Economy?’, “After a hundred years devoted to socialism limited just to the redistribution of the benefits of the economy, it might now be more a matter of inventing a socialism that contests production itself”.

Latour makes the point that in the miraculous COVID-inspired halting of production, travel and pollution, the world discovered a hitherto unsuspected superpower – the power of interruption. We have the ability, collectively, it now seems, to become globalization interrupters, neoliberalism interrupters and interrupters of all those modes of production that are destroying the habitability of the earth for humans and our neighboring species. He suggests we have an opportunity of, “Getting away from production as the overriding principle of our relationship to the world.” This constitutes a retreat from the very principle that informed the colonization of the Americas and continues to inform its despoliation.