August 12, 2011

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After neoliberalism (this post will repeat stuff I've said before; it's one of those posts where I am stuck on something, where something I think I've known seems different or new or inflected in a way I didn't get before) Our time is like the seventies. In the seventies, Keynesianism collapsed. According to Judith Stein: the seventies is the only decade after the ends wherein Americans ended up poorer than they began. "The decade featured the deepest recession since World War 11, growing and permanent trade deficits, anemic productivity, rising oil prices, and high unemployment and inflation..." In the face of these challenges, policy makers "traded factories for finance," that is, they replaced assumptions that capital and labor should prosper together with an ethic that claimed that promoting capital would ultimately benefit labor. As Stein emphasizes, the story about the seventies that matters is not one of increasing conservativism on the part of white workers. Rather, it is one of a polity in conflict, people and policies in deep turmoil and upheaval as the old consensus broke down and a new one forced itself into the picture. 2008-2011: the turmoil expressed in market turbulence, Tea Partiers, Republican devolution into pure bat-shit crazy, Standard and Poors debt rating, the stand off over the debt ceiling, policies that go in opposite directions, unemployment, etc is the turmoil of the decline of neoliberalism. Obama is governing as a neoliberal--feeding finance--when that approach is not working. It's not generating the soothing yet superficial boosts and bubbles...
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Government aggression against striking Verizon workers (From the WSWS) The Obama administration, state and local police, and the courts are carrying out an increasingly aggressive intervention on behalf of the telecommunications company Verizon against 45,000 striking workers in the Northeast US. The workers, now entering their second week on strike, are opposing $1 billion in concession demands by the company. On Friday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), an agency of the Justice Department, announced that it was investigating as a “national security” issue unsubstantiated charges of sabotage leveled by Verizon against striking workers. FBI Special Agent Bryan Travers issued a provocative email connecting the alleged incidents to the September 11 terrorist attacks. “Because critical infrastructure has been affected, namely the telecommunications of both a hospital and a police department, the FBI is looking into this matter from a security standpoint as part of our security efforts leading up to the 9/11 anniversary,” the email stated. A day later, the New York Post reported that New York City has begun deploying police officers, including members of an anti-terror unit, to escort strike-breakers across picket lines and monitor picketers. According to the Post, police officers are “monitoring Verizon garages and following its trucks with cops from all over the city, including members of the Critical Response anti-terrorism units.” The newspaper quoted one police officer complaining, “We have to follow Verizon trucks all day.” The government and police are seizing on the charges of sabotage to increase pressure on the workers, even as they ignore numerous instances of...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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