How about this whole economic crisis thing, eh? In less than three weeks neoliberalism ended, investment banking as a job description went the way of the dinosaur, and the U.S. financial sector has been nationalized.
Everything is happening very rapidly and potentially long-lasting changes are being rushed through faster than you can say Collateralized Debt Obligation.
What? You don’t know what a CDO is? Me neither. Luckily I found this amusing video that explains.
What is happening? Has the country gone Socialist overnight?
The way I see it is this: the government just intervened – to say the least – in the economy, so the argument that the state should “stay out of the business world” is dead and buried as of September 26th, 2008, when the U.S. government agreed to the “bailout” of banks that would have otherwise gone belly up.
Of course, the governments of the world have bailed out the capitalists on multiple occasions in the past, and each time they pretend it’s something new and different and won’t happen again. In fact it is a regular feature of capitalism, regardless of what libertarians and free-marketeers want to believe. Capitalism needs the State like Beans need Cornbread, full stop.
What remains to be seen is whether the outcome of this recent government intervention and the many actions that will follow on its heels will be a harbinger of a tendency towards Social Democracy, as in a sort of new New Deal, or towards an even more repressive fascist state.
Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis explain here.
Historically, as in during the 20th Century, both Social Democracy/Socialism and Fascism were responses to a collapsed financial system.
If the power of Capital is not checked, by social movements or some other forces, There Will Be Blood. Or if not Blood then at least Fascism. In the name of “austerity” we can expect draconian security measures and god knows what else in the years to come. Don’t presume Obama or McCain for a reluctant F.D.R., because the powers that be would much prefer a New And Improved Mussolini. Always.
My advice to the reader is in the words of Jeremy Scahill: It’s not what we do on November 4th, it’s what we do on November 5th. We have to be organized and get busy, or else the worst is sure to follow.