The Catastrophic Management of Catastrophe

Neoliberalism is the chaotic theory of economic chaos,
the stupid exultation of social stupidity,
and the catastrophic political management of catastrophe.
~ Subcomandante Marcos of the EZLN

The catastrophic management of catastrophe. If there is one line that describes the nature of neoliberal crisis management, that must be it. From Mexico and Latin America in 1982 to the South-East Asian crisis of 1997-’98, and from Turkey and Argentina in the early 2000s to the European debt crisis from 2010 onward — the most catastrophic thing about neoliberal crisis management is not only that it has a penchant to turn already catastrophic financial crises caused by runaway private speculation into an immense source of private gain for the same very financiers responsible for the catastrophe to begin with; but, even more nefariously, that it makes those catastrophes so much more catastrophic than they really need to be for almost everyone else.

… The neoliberal ethos can really be summarized in a straightforward principle: “privatize profits and socialize losses!” Or, perhaps more appropriately: “fuck everyone else!”

Read the full diabtribe by Jerome Roos here: Neoliberalism, or The Catastrophic Management of Catastrophe, ROAR Magazine

Greece: Impossible Biographies, Golden Dawns

Many years before the first clouds of the crisis would hover over the Greek skies, amidst Greek society’s most glorious of moments and its most mundane of days, the lives and labour of migrants would be faced with their meticulous devaluation. For them, the crisis has by now come of age. Yet despite and against shallow journalistic interpretations, there is nothing humanitarian about it. This is because for them the crisis was from the upstart orchestrated politically, socially and militarily. In this way, the discourse about racism in crisis-ridden Greece merely obfuscates and comes in handy. For it obscures exactly how structural this devaluation had been for the development of the Greek state in itself, as well as for the self-perception of Greek society. Yet the crisis knows how to twist meanings too. Today, migrants are accused of the very decline of the Greek edifice. And within this twisted world, their devaluation takes on a more offensive and, at the same time, a more legitimate form. Impossible Biographies, as part of the research project The City at a Time of Crisis, bears witness to this offensive.

How is the rise of the Greek neo-Nazi movement Golden Dawn related to the structural crisis of global and EU neoliberalism?

nikos-michaloliakos-leader-of-greek-neonazi-party-golden-dawn

“It would be a mistake to think that the rise of Golden Dawn is a uniquely Greek problem. On the contrary, it is the seed that contains the destruction of the entire EU project. The responsibility for the rise of Golden Dawn reaches far outside the borders of Greece. To understand the rise of Golden Dawn we must look past the black-shirted thugs and simplistic ideology of racist nationalism to the genteel bankers and international financial speculators who are currently being allowed to brutalize entire populations in the search for profits. This story is not so different from what has happened before in other European countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal and even Germany where far-right extremists have ridden waves of popular anger to power. Golden Dawn proves that our fantasies of “post-nationalism” and “European integration” were premature. Economic and political inequality is still capable of producing violent paroxysms of ethnic nationalism. Until Europeans can learn to mitigate these effects of capitalism, they are bound to repeat its sad and painful history. Greece, which has always been the weakest of the Eurozone economies, is today the most extreme example of the effects of neoliberal austerity, but it is not unique. Unfortunately it is likely a harbinger of things to come.”

Christopher Lawrence, Greece’s Golden Dawn: A Wake-up Call for Europe, Truthout, 20 August 2013

What Would Real Democracy Look Like?

“Rather than aiming for yet another change of politicians and parties in power, why not aim for a change of the political system itself? As representative democracy sinks into crisis, we need to go back to democracy in its original meaning as rule of the people. It is time to imagine what real democracy would look like and to create institutions and mechanisms that could be the building blocks of genuinely democratic societies.

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The huge task of reinventing and struggling for direct and participatory democracy in the age of austerity, centralized corporate power and technocratic rule will not be easy. But in the face of increasing ecological, social, political and economic crises, creating real democracy could be our only hope.”

Read the full article by Camilla Hansen in New Compass.