Owen Jones is close to orgasm here

Nonetheless, a left that was no longer supposed to exist has returned. Neoliberalism is no longer without formidable enemies. In Spain, Podemos – which has closely aligned itself to Syriza – is surging in the polls, and similar forces may gain traction in other European countries too. Neoliberal hegemony is – gradually and unevenly – being chipped away. It is still hard to see a world free of it. But it is no longer impossible.

Possibly through it and out the other side in fact.

The tragedy of this is that the Greek situation has nothing at all to do with neoliberalism. The neoliberal answer, the standard IMF one in fact, would have been devaluation. What has crippled the Greek economy is not neoliberalism but the 1930s ordomonetarism of the Bundesbank.

29 thoughts on “Owen Jones is close to orgasm here”

  1. So Much for Subtlety

    The neoliberal answer, the standard IMF one in fact, would have been devaluation.

    I am not sure that this is fair. It would be the default IMF response. But does that make it neo-liberal? It would not win Adam Smith’s support I am sure. Nor is it a solution – it would just buy Greece some time.

    What they need are structural reforms. They need some fiscal prudence, some bureaucratic competence, some official honesty and a lot less Marxism.

    Devaluation will not help if the Greeks just use it as a way of avoiding reform. Britain did this after World War Two. Prostituting the pound was not a solution. Thatcher was. Busting the Unions was.

    How stealing from some fairly random selection of Greeks – those too slow, too trusting, too unconnected – would help them escapes me.

  2. “Murphy and Jones appear to have morphed into one. A frightening prospect.”

    See “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” by H.P. Lovecraft. Maybe Jones has had a portrait of Mumphrey on his wall for a while.

  3. “Neoliberal hegemony is – gradually and unevenly – being chipped away”

    The alternatives being what? Venezuela? Argentina?

    Funny how Owen Jones isn’t mentioning what a bang up job Maduro is doing.

  4. bloke (not) in spain

    Well, to continue a riff I was playing yesterday, I’d guess the Spanish & likely the Greeks & Italians would as easily embrace neo-liberalism as they would far left socialism. If they ever got a chance at it.. The self reliance & market orientation are familiar to them. After all, they do actually have markets. Which they self reliantly sell & buy their produce at.
    It’s countries like the UK, where the expectation the State will provide everything corporate capitalism doesn’t, socialism’s the default.
    What the working people of southern Europe want is the corrupt, self serving, corporate socialists off their backs. The far left parties are promising change & change is what’s needed.

  5. bloke (not) in spain

    Why doesn’t it happen?
    Because there’s no such thing as revolutionary libertarianism.
    It’s proponents are much more comfortable talking with each other than taking it out on the streets. Working people being uncouth oiks ‘n that.
    Say what you like about the commies but their not shy of selling the goods.

  6. Now folks, let’s give Owen his due here. For quite some time the Left has been struggling to redefine itself for the age in which we live. Now it has finally achieved it. Previously socialist governments would come to grief when they had pissed it up the wall so much the money all ran out. Now they are doing it the other way round: they are coming into power with the money already run out and then they’ll start to piss it up the wall regardless.

    It will be interesting to see how the ‘socialist experiment’ works out in Greece and Spain. Oh fuck that, we already know: by the time I retire Greek property will be so cheap that villa overlooking Manganari Bay will be a snip for me. Sorted.

  7. “Funny how Owen Jones isn’t mentioning what a bang up job Maduro is doing.”

    Whenever they do mention Venezuela, they’re always sure to blame those evil neoliberal capitalist western companies for refusing to sell toilet paper at the official exchange rate.

  8. b(n)is,

    “It’s proponents are much more comfortable talking with each other than taking it out on the streets. Working people being uncouth oiks ‘n that.

    Say what you like about the commies but their not shy of selling the goods.”

    The political party that grew the most in the past decade (UKIP) did so without a single march.

    Marches are really rather silly today. They mattered for people who were disenfranchised, but when you’ve got a free press and a vote, they’re just a day out with your mates from Uni. I can’t think of a single march in this country in the past 50 years that’s made any difference to the politics of this country.

  9. bloke (not) in spain

    “Marches are really rather silly today…..I can’t think of a single march in this country in the past 50 years that’s made any difference to the politics of this country.”

    The Poll Tax riots, for a start. Completely rewrote what was a generally popular tax change as an “attack” on the needy, deprived….yadda yadda. “Fatcher! Poll Tax! Power to the People! ®wolfie smith”

    And tell it to the French.
    Government français introduce policy > Those affected by the policy march > Government français gives up on policy. Helps if they burn something, of course.

    I do enjoy harassing those staunch libertarian intellectuals over at Samis. With their monthly seminars to discuss how many Austrian economists can dance on the head of a pin.
    Says I – “Why, instead of talking to each other, don’t you go have a chat with the lads at the EDL? Explain libertarianism to them.
    “Ooo nooo! (shudder) They’re horrible fascists!. With boots!”
    “No they’re not. They just ordinary blokes don’t like their neighbourhoods turning into downtown Islamabad. If you were in their position, you’d reckon fascism was worth a look. No one’s suggesting an alternative. And, in case you haven’t noticed, ordinary blokes often wear boots. We can’t all be librarians.”

  10. b(n)is,

    “The Poll Tax riots, for a start. Completely rewrote what was a generally popular tax change as an “attack” on the needy, deprived….yadda yadda. “Fatcher! Poll Tax! Power to the People! ®wolfie smith””

    That’s not correct. From IPSOS MORI: “Nevertheless, the poll tax was indeed widely unpopular, with 76% disapproving of the policy and only 19% approving by March 1990.”

    “And tell it to the French.
    Government français introduce policy > Those affected by the policy march > Government français gives up on policy. Helps if they burn something, of course.”

    Such as?

  11. Tim Newman,

    Wikipedia seems to suggest it was also down to not being compatible with European Law and that strikes were planned (and strikes can make a difference).

  12. bloke (not) in spain

    Well, I rolled into Bordeaux the day the camionaires were protesting the rise in diesel prices. Bloody great artic blocking every major junction in the city. Town police chatting amiably with the drivers. General bonhomie all about. Gridlock out past the Rocade
    Diesel taxes reduced.

  13. “Georgia has one clear ambition – that after a year or two of a Syriza-led government, her clinic will no longer be needed and will close.”

    If only our NGOs would do the same.

  14. bloke (not) in spain

    Incidentally:
    “Nevertheless, the poll tax was indeed widely unpopular, with 76% disapproving of the policy and only 19% approving by March 1990.”

    Which goes to show how successful protests are.
    There was a great deal of approval when the Community Charge was introduced. It was, after all, a manifesto policy got that government elected with a sound majority. It wasn’t even particularly onerous on the unwaged. Four quid a month, wasn’t it. My rates, pre CT, were £75 on a one bed flat. Highest rated authority in the country, of course.
    But the protests drove the narrative. (With a lot of help from the BBC)

  15. b(n)is

    The poll tax riots were just the spectical and conclusion of tens of millions refusing to pay and community campaigning. It were for once the community activists what done it, rather than the riot

  16. b(n)is,

    “There was a great deal of approval when the Community Charge was introduced. ”

    Was there? OK, people voted for a government that had that in their manifesto, but they had lots of other things in their manifesto too. What’s your numbers for Community Charge support?

  17. b(n)is,

    “Well, I rolled into Bordeaux the day the camionaires were protesting the rise in diesel prices. Bloody great artic blocking every major junction in the city. Town police chatting amiably with the drivers. General bonhomie all about. Gridlock out past the Rocade

    Diesel taxes reduced.”

    Sort of action I disagree with, but I don’t dispute that direct action can change things. But direct action isn’t a march.

  18. The Community Charge (aka Poll Tax) was unpopular from the start because it was payable by all, not just by householders as its predecessor the Domestic Rate was. Coupled with the fact that Labour-controlled councils set it at a much higher level than was necessary to be revenue-neutral, simply to ensure its unpopularity, the outcome was pretty much guaranteed.

  19. bloke (not) in spain

    ” I don’t dispute that direct action can change things. But direct action isn’t a march.”
    Of course I never said anything about a march. I said to take libertarianism out on the streets. Turn it from an intellectual movement into a revolutionary movement. And direct action could be a part of that.
    The State gets its power from acquiescence. Why acquiesce?
    Libertarianism will never prosper as a movement of the middle classes. They’ve always too much stake in the status quo. As UKIP shows as it descends into a tug-of-war between interest groups & loses touch with libertarianism.
    If you wish to curb the power of the State, you do have to confront & fight the State. Middle class intellectuals don’t do storming the Winter Palace.

  20. Well if nothing else this exchange has been illuminating and educational. Owen wouldn’t understand why unfortunately ..
    The ability to say ‘you know what ..we’ve got the 250 bn euros in our account ..and now you can f off’ is not a point he’s discussing either..

  21. Bloke in North Dorset

    Its interesting how the far left* has jumped in to bed with the hard right* with no howls of protest from the likes of Jones. Two sides of the same nasty authoritarian coin who deserve each other.

    *That’s how the BBC was describing the parties.

  22. BiND

    No, the Independent Greeks are not the far right – that’s the Golden Dawn. They do oppose immigration and multi-culturalism, but their origin is in the mainstream New Democracy party – basically they were the guys who couldnt stomach bending knee to the Germans. Golden Dawn are the ones with neo nazi imagery and who go round beating people up.

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