Neoliberalism

Is this the end of the neoliberal consensus?

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The Brexit vote in the UK and Donald Trump's victory in the US have both damaged the neoliberal project of the past three decades. Joseph Choonara questions the depth of neoliberalism's crisis and advocates continuing struggle against capitalism armed with clear socialist politics.

The global neoliberal order has suffered two wounding blows this year. First the Brexit vote removed from the European Union its second biggest economy. The howls from large capitalist firms, who overwhelmingly advocated a Remain vote, still echo. Now Donald Trump has won the US presidential election on the back of a campaign that promised to reverse the country’s longstanding commitment to free trade and to enact a major economic stimulus package.

So why isn't there a bigger fightback?

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The obvious question, given the popular hostility to neoliberalism, is why isn't there a higher level of fightback especially in the workplace against austerity and an unprecedented assault on working class living standards?

The class struggle in Britain remains shaped by the major defeats imposed on the working class in the 1980s by both the employers and Thatcher's government. Key groups of workers, in the car and steel industry, the dockers, print workers in Fleet Street and above all the miners after their year-long strike in 1984-85 were taken on and beaten.

Unpopular capitalism! Neoliberalism & working class consciousness

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Has the neoliberal ideological offensive succeeded in winning the battle of ideas in society? Not according to recent surveys, writes Mark L Thomas. Two new polls suggest that the majority of workers reject the free market and firmly believe in social democratic values.

Last month Allister Heath, the editor of City Am, a pro free market newspaper aimed at the City of London, expressed a deep concern bordering on panic that support for crucial aspects of capitalism is fast eroding: "Slowly but surely, the public is turning its back on the free market economy and re-embracing an atavistic version of socialism... On some issues, the public is far more left wing than the Tories realise or that Labour can believe."

Making the case for left unity

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The Left Unity initiative has attracted significant interest and a founding conference is taking place at the end of November. Socialist Review invited Andrew Burgin, a supporter, to put the case for why the left needs a new party.

On 30 November a new party of the working class will be launched in Britain. There is little disagreement among socialists that such a party is necessary. What will be its aims and what will be its chances of success?

South Yemen: a clash of wills

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The struggle in South Yemen for independence from the North continues to be way down the agenda of the international media. Mirfat Sulaiman reports on a rising revolutionary tide which no amount of repression seems capable of stemming.

Travelling through the port city of Aden in South Yemen gives you a clear picture of both a city under occupation - with army checkpoints, tanks and armoured vehicles in the streets - and a people's demand for independence. The South Yemeni flag is painted and hanging everywhere, along with revolutionary slogans, pictures of movement leaders and photos of those killed during the ongoing uprising. In contrast, the regime's "unity" flag can only be seen on government buildings and military vehicles.

Thatcher's economic legacy

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When Thatcher was elected in 1979 the fortunes of British capitalism were lagging behind its competitors after decades of poor performance. Her economic policies as a package reflected the desire of the British ruling class to break the power of the workers' movement in the workplace and, through higher unemployment, to increase the profitability and competiveness of British capital.

Under the banner of so-called "supply side" economics her economic assault to restore the competitiveness of the British economy was three pronged. First, trumpeting the virtues of free markets, privatisation was the centrepiece of her policies. By value, almost half of the stock of public assets was transferred to private ownership during Thatcher's term of office - including utilities such as telecommunications, gas, electricity and water and flagship firms such as British Airways.

States and capital, the banks and the bailouts

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Right wingers usually argue that the state should get out of the way of private capital - that economic problems are caused by an overbearing state or regulation. Jack Farmer argues that the state actually serves to prop up the private sector, a role confirmed by the way that capitalism has evolved in recent years

Tories often say that they don't like the state. They say it's a drag on the economy, dampening the risk-taking creativity of the private sector.

Ireland

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Brian O'Boyle considers the growing militant anti-austerity movement in Ireland

The Irish economic crash has been almost without parallel in Western Europe. Having previously been held up as a poster boy for neoliberalism Irish capitalism went into freefall in late 2008, as hundreds of thousands lost their jobs and the banking system rapidly disintegrated. The Celtic Tiger "miracle" turned out to be a mirage and it was the particular rhythm of Irish neoliberalism that can best account for the boom, the bubble and the disastrous bust.

2012: the fire this time

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2011 will come to rank as a year of turmoil, upheaval and revolution alongside 1830, 1848, 1919-20, 1936, 1956, 1968 and 1989.

At its centre stand the Arab revolutions, with the year ending with new clashes between protesters and the ruling military council in Egypt, a strike wave in Yemen, continuing strikes and sit-ins in Tunisia, deepening protests against the Assad regime in Syria and a rash of strikes in Kuwait, suggesting that even the Gulf states may not be immune to revolt in 2012.

Degrees of marketisation

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The new Higher Education White Paper marks a step change in the neoliberal transformation of universities. Jim Wolfreys looks at the ideology behind the government's plans, what it will mean for students, staff and the nature of teaching, and how we can resist

The government's Higher Education White Paper will disrupt and potentially break up the existing system of higher education in England, deterring poorer students from university, subordinating teaching and research to the logic of privatisation and competition, and paving the way for the closure both of courses and of entire institutions.

It makes claims about putting "students at the heart of the system" and "excellent teaching back at the heart of every student's university experience" that are flatly and comprehensively contradicted by the entire content of the document.

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