Friday 8 May 2015

Austerity as the contested ground of future politics

More and more I feel that austerity is going to form the principal political space of conflict not just for the coming years but for the coming decades. Its neoliberal version is only getting stronger. As ecological crises bite more and more, another version will cross-cut the first (with the same distribution of suffering in both cases).

Econo-austerity and eco-austerity will work together and operate through the same spaces of exception and immunity (i.e. spaces outside protection and spaces outside obligation, respectively).

What we see now is the thin (but rapidly thickening) end of a wedge that prises apart the haves and the have-nots, not by way of systemic dynamics (or not by these alone) but by deliberate, concerted efforts. We are facing an era of fortifications -- steel to keep the poor out, concrete to keep the rich dry (all secured by finance and law).

More pragmatically and immediately: How did anti-austerity become a 'radical' cause? Criticism of austerity is mainstream economics (albeit not neoliberal economics).

Labour, among other such parties around the world, accepted the austerity narrative and it's getting harder and harder to go back on that with every passing day -- days like these in particular.