The following article originally appeared in OpenDemocracy. You can view it by clicking here.
It is a commonplace that since the 1970s, capitalism has left the western working class as roadkill on the road to globalization. What is new about our contemporary moment is that the same is increasingly true for the Euro-American middle class.
Be kind, forward wind. What if, despite all the recent left’s hesitation about prophecy, we still feel something is going to happen? Perhaps we are in a similar moment to the early 1960s – only four or five years away from a ‘May 1968’ moment, with all its spontaneous eruptions and consequential structural rearrangements.
Do we need a weatherwoman to recognize the winds of insistence for change blowing through the Middle East, the Mediterranean basin, the ‘north’ Euro-American cities, and Latin America, let alone the vastly under-reported tensions elsewhere? If all these are social trembles, foreshadowing a greater quake, how ought we to prepare in the streets, the classrooms and all the interconnecting spaces in between?
Some preliminary answers come through the keywords: neoliberalism, occupy, and world-system. Within the last decade, ‘neoliberalism’ has replaced ‘globalization’ as the preferred term to describe the latest regime of capitalist accumulation.
Thanks to writers like David Harvey and Naomi Klein, we have a common sense about inequality-producing tactics that overlap and reinforce each other. These maneuvers include privatization, deregulation, financialization, return to the watchman state of police surveillance, opportunistic austerity, and crony collaboration among financiers, civil society institutional administrators, and political elites. Read the rest of this entry »