Muppet of the week!
Massimo A. Allamandola
suburbanstudio at runbox.com
Thu Sep 6 13:17:10 BST 2007
Not a personal critique or analysis
but sure can give us some space
for thoughts ... in particular regarding
the previous discussion on the list :
indepency from Neo Liberal & New Labour
new world "odour", direct action, climate camp & the BBC ...
(ops! the Guardian!!! )
... and elephant in the corner...
Unfortunatly the message was signed under the general
name of Anarch writers.... ( no real name) .
> George Monbiot: Muppet of the week!
> George Monbiot, the green activist and writer, has never let his
> ignorance of anarchism stop him from commenting on it. It takes a
> wilfully ignorant person to write the nonsense about anarchism contained
> in his self-contradictory book, "The Age of Consent." Sadly, many of
> those reading and reviewing that book were equally ignorant (Johann
> Harri, please take a bow) and so he had little to worry about.
> One thing seems sure, like many a liberal and Marxist he dislikes our
> ideas and seeks to smear us by means of "guilt by association." This he
> did recently in The Guardian when discussing neo-liberalism. As he put
> it, the neo-liberal "project was assisted by ideas which arose in a very
> different quarter. The revolutionary movements of 1968 also sought
> greater individual liberties, and many of the soixante-huitards saw the
> state as their oppressor . . . the neoliberals coopted their language
> and ideas. Some of the anarchists I know still voice notions almost
> identical to those of the neoliberals: the intent is different, but the
> consequences very similar." ("How the neoliberals stitched up the wealth
> of nations for themselves", August 28, 2007)
> Yes, indeed, how could those in the Parisian streets fighting the riot
> cops who had attacked their protests possibly consider the state as
> oppressive? How could they fail to see how wrong they were to consider
> the state as the defender of social hierarchy as well as the capitalist
> class and its power and property? How did we anarchists fail to note how
> neoliberalism was, in fact, really fighting against wage labour and
> factory fascism? How could we fail to note Milton Friedman?s and
> Frederick von Hayek?s outspoken opposition to profits, rent, interest,
> wage labour, hierarchical authority and patriarchal family structure?
> How could we fail to see the neoliberals proclaim with Proudhon that
> property is both theft and despotism and urge its abolition?
> Equally strangely, the "US oligarchs and their foundations" who have
> "poured hundreds of millions into setting up thinktanks, founding
> business schools and transforming university economics departments into
> bastions of almost totalitarian neoliberal thinking" have not been as
> forthcoming funding anarchist projects and organisations. Don?t these
> people realise that we share their "language and ideas"? Apparently not.
> True, the neo-liberals do waffle on about "liberty" a lot, but then the
> Stalinist bureaucrats used to waffle on about "solidarity" a lot, too.
> Presumably, that means we anarchists "still voice notions almost
> identical" to those of the Stalinist dictators? Unlikely, although some
> on the right (like, say, the neo-liberals) say we do. Perhaps we can
> look forward to Monbiot?s critique of Rousseau by noting he talked about
> democracy and republics a lot which means that Democratic Republic of
> China?s rulers have "coopted" his "language and ideas"?
> The underlying mentality is interesting. Rather than anarchists being in
> agreement with ideas of neo-liberalism (or vice versa), it is in fact
> Monbiot who agrees with them. Clearly, for him, freedom simply means
> being free to exploit, to oppress, to be anti-social and anti-ecological
> rather than, say, the freedom to be yourself and manage your own affairs
> in association with others and in harmony with the planet. Thus freedom
> is associated with capitalism and our radical helps push back the
> struggle for an ecological society by associating it with statism and
> rule by (at best) well-meaning, but ultimately clueless, politicians,
> bureaucrats and intellectuals. Monbiot?s logic is clear: people cannot
> be free to govern themselves as this will lead to the excesses of
> capitalism ? and the neo-liberals join in and proclaim "hallelujah,
> another convert!"
> In reality, a lot of state violence was required to create capitalism
> and, of course, to maintain it -- the state has always been an
> instrument of minority rule and capitalism, like any hierarchical
> system, depends on it. When left alone, people form communities and
> associations to determine and look after their own interests and to
> defend themselves against those seeking to exploit or oppress them --
> something no ruling class happily tolerates (particularly as such
> popular organisations create the potential of a new world while fighting
> the old). Hence the neo-liberal assault on unions, community
> organisations, and protest in general. This is a truism, given the
> nature of capitalism as a system but also given that its vision of
> humanity is at odds with real people. Neo-liberalism, at heart, aims to
> make the real world resemble the model of neoclassical economists which,
> in turn, allows the latter to appear more realistic than it actually is.
> As Bakunin warned, to impose the abstractions of scientists (to be
> generous to mainstream economists, ideologues would be more accurate)
> onto the world would be both devastating to the general public and
> require state force.
> Unsurprising, then, the authoritarianism at the heart of neo-liberalism
> -- even a superficial look at the politics of neo-liberalism shows that
> it is firmly in favour of "archy." Obviously, this applies economically
> within the workplace (wage labour gives them no problems) but it also
> applies politically as well. The neo-liberal agenda has always turned to
> the state, just as capitalism has always done. Even Monbiot recognised
> this: "The conditions that neoliberalism demands in order to free human
> beings from the slavery of the state - minimal taxes, the dismantling of
> public services and social security, deregulation, the breaking of the
> unions - just happen to be the conditions required to make the elite
> even richer."
> Breaking of the unions? That has always required state power, as does
> dismantling public services and so forth. Anarchists, of course, prefer
> direct action ? like, for example, strikes and organising workers on the
> shop-floor ? you know, the kind of thing neoliberals use the state to
> stop. What better example do you need that we anarchists "voice notions
> almost identical to those of the neoliberals" than that? Nor should we
> forget that the "first neoliberal programme of all was implemented in
> Chile following Pinochet's coup, with the backing of the US government
> and economists taught by Milton Friedman." Some socialists may subscribe
> to the parliamentary road to socialism, but no anarchist advocates the
> military dictatorship way to anarchism.
> So, implicitly, Monbiot presented enough of reality to show that
> anarchists and neoliberals really do not share anything in common. In
> fact, neoliberalism has always explicitly pursued a statist political
> strategy and goal, namely the state reduced to its "minimum" role as
> protector of private property and the power which goes with it -- i.e.,
> the kind of regime anarchism cut its teeth on opposing in the nineteenth
> century. As anyone even vaguely aware of anarchism would know.
> Within a week, he noticed the contradiction. "After my column last
> week," he wrote, "several people wrote to point out that the neoliberal
> project - which demands a minimal state and maximum corporate freedom -
> actually relies on constant government support. They are, of course,
> quite right." ("This great free-market experiment is more like a
> corporate welfare scheme", September 4, 2007)
> So why say otherwise in the first column and suggest that anarchists and
> neo-liberals share common aims and ideas? Do anarchists support the
> neo-liberal agenda of "constant government support" to ensure a "minimal
> state and maximum corporate freedom"? Of course not. We just realise
> that freedom is too important a word to leave to the supporters of
> capitalism to monopolise and that the state, even Monbiot?s beloved
> social-democratic one, exists to keep capitalism going and ensure that
> the general public do not free themselves from both state and corporate
> That the corporate elite may object to certain functions of the state
> should not blind us to the fact that they need it. Nor to the fact that
> they will always turn to it when required -- even to accept social
> democratic reforms if pressured by direct action from below
> (particularly if the alternative is genuine social transformation). We
> anarchists argue that without that pressure, things will get worse. That
> is why we support direct action, solidarity and popular
> self-organisation and struggle -- as the neoliberal era shows, relying
> on politicians to do it for you is doomed to failure. Only pressure from
> the streets and workplaces can countermand the power of capital on the
> state-- and, ultimately, get rid of both once and for all.
> For other articles by Anarcho, visit:
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