Building Red-Green Alternatives: Can Commons Challenge Neoliberalism From Below?

Inger. V. Johansen, Tom Kucharz, Satoko Kishimoto / Photo: Bettina Gram

By Inger V. Johansen and Gitte Pedersen for Transform! – Following on from our fruitful experience at the 2016 conference, when the issue of Commons was discussed as an integral part of the economic and ecological alternatives we are seeking to develop, we made Commons the focus of this year’s conference. We decided to address the subject from different perspectives, including how to use Commons in transforming society and the limitations involved in doing so. This was an extremely successful conference. We even managed to incorporate Commons into our general debate on alternatives, linking it to the all-important red and green strategic perspectives of our conferences. Nevertheless, we have concluded that, here in Denmark, it is still difficult to raise the debate on Commons at conferences. In this country, Commons is almost exclusively discussed in a few closed political and academic circles. The number of participants at this conference was fewer than on previous occasions, with a decrease in young people in particular. We believe that this reflects the problem. We simply need more time and discussion before we are able to focus specifically on the issue of Commons once again. In the future, we will therefore choose to integrate Commons into the overall themes of the conferences and debate. We strongly feel that we need more debate on privatization and remunicipalization, which is a big issue in Denmark.

G20 Protestors Call For An Alternative To The Neoliberal Order

Protesters show V-signs and shout slogans as German police use water cannon during the demonstration at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017. Credit: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

By Patrick Bond for The Real News Network – On July 7th and 8th, the G20, a grouping of the world’s 20 largest economies, concluded a summit in Hamburg, Germany. At the conclusion of the summit, G20 leaders issued a 15 page declaration. Nineteen of the 20 leaders were able to agree on all points made in the joint declaration, but Donald Trump could not agree with the other G20 leaders on the climate change language. So the G20 broke with tradition and crafted a separate paragraph on Trump’s stance on the Paris Climate Accord and fossil fuels. That paragraph stated – quote – “We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris agreement. The leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible.” And it went on to state, “We reaffirm our strong commitment to the Paris agreement.” The U.S. also managed to insert, however, a piece of text referencing fossil fuels which read – quote – “The United States of America states it will endeavor to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently.” German leader, Angela Merkel, said she deplored the decision by the U.S. government to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, but she reiterated that all the G20 states other than the United States agree that the Accord is irreversible.

First Day Of G-20 Mass Protest, Tear Gas and Water Cannons

G-20  German riot police clash with protesters on July 6, 2017. By Fabrizio Bensch for Reuters.

By Staff for Popular Resistance. The meetings of the G-20 began on July 6 with President Trump and other foreign leaders arriving. They were met with immediate mass protests of globalization policies that urge corporate trade agreements, neoliberal privatization and austerity as well as inadequate action on climate change. More than 100,000 protesters are expected and 20,000 police are on hand to control and arrest them. The Huff Post reported: Violent clashes erupted Thursday between police and protesters in Hamburg, Germany, as world leaders are set to attend the G-20 summit in the city. Several people were injured, according to HuffPost Germany reporters on the scene. Hamburg police said 76 officers were injured. Earlier the department said three were hospitalized for the injuries. They implicated small groups of protesters in the violence. Police used smoke grenades and water cannons on protestors, reporters said, while activists threw stones, bottles and explosives, and set at least one car ablaze. Fires were still burning in the street as of 11 p.m. local time.

Neoliberalism’s Crumbling Democratic Façade

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By Joris Leverink for ROAR Magazine – Years from now, when we look back at the 2010s, what will be the images that come to mind? Will we recall the wealth and prosperity brought to us by free markets and private investment? The freedom and democracy we enjoyed under our neoliberal governments? Or the ways in which we bravely protected our cultural and natural heritage, safeguarding it for future generations? Most likely not. When we think of the 2010s, we will remember the protesters in the streets, the wars ravaging the Middle East, causing entire populations to leave home and hearth behind, and the millions of people across the globe risking their lives just to make a living somewhere else. We will remember the xenophobic attacks, the racist politicians, the gag orders and the crackdowns.

The New Merchants Of Death

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By Jeremy Kuzmarov for ROAR Magazine – In August 2016, the Pentagon announced that Six3 Intelligence Solutions, a private intelligence company recently acquired by California Analysis Center Incorporated (CACI), which was implicated in the Abu Ghraib scandal, had won a $10 million no-bid army contract to provide intelligence analysis services inside Syria. They were to work alongside the roughly three hundred US troops fighting against the so-called Islamic State and to depose Russian-backed Syrian leader Bashir al-Assad. Hiring a company with as checkered a record as CACI is bound to ignite a backlash against US interference within Syria, and may empower the very forces the US is fighting.

Anti-Trump Resistance Will Fail Without Ditching Establishment Democrats

Popular Resistance at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, 2016.

By Bhaskar Sunkara for the Guardian. The reality is the only way to ditch the establishment Democrats is to ditch the Democrats. The party has shown itself to be unreformable and a destroyer of political movements. Half the voting population has left the two parties. The movement must give them somewhere to go and that is independent politics outside of the two party system. It may seem like a shortcut to try and change the Democratic Party but every movement that has tries has found themselves changed and weakened while being absorbed into the Democratic Party, which has always been a party of big business. There is no shortcut — the movement must have its own party so its interests are represented. As this article says “November’s election is a powerful reminder that the Clinton establishment’s mix of socially inclusive rhetoric and neoliberal economics is a weak response to xenophobic populism.:

Former World Bank Staffer Explains How Neoliberalism Is Destroying The World

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By Dylan Charles for Activist Post – More destructive than bombs, money has become the weapon of choice for the global elite, for the hidden hand of finance can plunder and conquer entire nations, assimilate whole cultures, exploit resources and rape the earth while forcing billions into poverty, all with the surprising stealth of pen-strokes and business contracts. Neoliberalism is the economic and political philosophic driving force in the world today. It suggests that human progress is the result of competition, best expressed by an extremist version of unfettered capitalism, where privatization of profits and socialization of losses are acceptable ethics, regardless of human and environmental costs incurred along the way.

Trouble Vs. Trump

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By Staff of Waging Nonviolence – Donald Trump didn’t so much win the election as Hillary Clinton lost it. Clinton’s failure to turn out the Democrats’ traditional base on election day should be understood as a catastrophic failure of the Democratic Party establishment to fire up their base by responding to the growing public opposition to neoliberalism. This, in effect, was the key difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries: Sanders named the enemy — increasing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few under deregulated capitalism — and vowed to confront that power. Hillary Clinton preached a “realism” that simply accepted the ground rules of neoliberalism unchallenged. Compared to Trump’s repeated focus on how the country’s leaders had failed the working class

Newsletter - The Consent Of The Governed

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Governments function because of the consent of the governed. When a government does not serve the needs or interests of the people, it loses its legitimacy and no longer deserves the consent of the people.Plutocracy defined We have argued for a long time that current governments at all levels – local, state and federal -function primarily to benefit the wealthy. Academics have proven that the United States is a plutocracy – rule of, by and for the wealthy. It is time for us to withdraw our consent. Let’s consider how to do that and what protections will be needed. When a government loses the consent of the people, all it has left to wield to keep its power is repression and force. Cooperation Jackson and the Malcolm X Grassroots Organizing Movement, is calling for “a program of noncompliance and noncooperation on both the federal and state levels.” We have entered a new era, a presidency of protest and an increasing illegitimate government. We have the power to withdraw our consent from hate and exploitation and build love and prosperity.

Goodbye, American Neoliberalism. A New Era Is Here

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By Cornel West for The Guardian – Trump’s election was enabled by the policies that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. We gird ourselves for a frightening future. The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians.

Newsletter: Elections Expose the Oligarchs

Democracy Not Oligarchy

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The 2016 presidential election has shown how the duopoly, the two parties that represent big business interests and the wealthiest, are corrupted in ways that prevent the people’s voices from being heard, their necessities being met and the planet being protected from human greed. During the campaigns, leaks have given people a behind-the-scenes look at how the parties operate and research on the candidates shows their personal failures. They give voters an image of elites who behave as if the law does not apply to them and who put themselves ahead of the public interest. Last Friday was a day of embarrassment for both the Republican and Democratic Parties. A tape showing Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault in lewd ways has gotten the bulk of attention, but Wikileaks also released thousands of pages of The Podesta Emails, 2,060 emails and 170 attachments. John Podesta is the ultimate insider.

The Fallacies Of Neoliberal Protest

Participants marching in Black Lives Matter Rally at Cornell University, September 23, 2016 (Credit: Julia Cole Photography)

By Russell Rickford for The Atlantic – I’m delighted that you are mobilizing. Your demonstration reflects your recognition that the escalating crisis of racial terrorism requires a firm and uncompromising response. Your protest in the face of daily atrocities is a sign of your humanity and your determination to live in peace, freedom, and dignity. But as we demonstrate, we must take pains to avoid certain tactical and programmatic errors that often plague progressive protest in a neoliberal age.

The Death Of Neoliberalism And The Crisis In Western Politics

Donald Trump seeks a return to 1950s America, well before the age of neoliberalism. Photograph: H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images

By Martin Jacques for The Guardian – The western financial crisis of 2007-8 was the worst since 1931, yet its immediate repercussions were surprisingly modest. The crisis challenged the foundation stones of the long-dominant neoliberal ideology but it seemed to emerge largely unscathed. The banks were bailed out; hardly any bankers on either side of the Atlantic were prosecuted for their crimes; and the price of their behaviour was duly paid by the taxpayer. Subsequent economic policy, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, has relied overwhelmingly on monetary policy, especially quantitative easing.

Nobel Prize-Winning Economist, Joseph Stiglitz: Neoliberalism Is Dead

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By Will Martin for Business Insider. Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and former adviser to US President Bill Clinton, says the consensus surrounding neoliberal economic thought has come to an end. Since the late 1980s and the so-called Washington Consensus, neoliberalism — essentially the idea that free trade, open markets, privatisation, deregulation, and reductions in government spending designed to increase the role of the private sector are the best ways to boost growth — has dominated the thinking of the world’s biggest economies and international organisations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Since the 2008 financial crisis, however, there has been a groundswell of opinion in both economic and political circles to suggest that the neoliberal consensus may not be the right way forward for the world.

Ecuador’s Raphael Correa: Neoliberalism Has Failed, Not Socialism

President Correa speaks with reporters from international outlets from the presidential palace in Quito, Ecuador, August 7, 2016. | Photo: Ecuadorean Presidency

By Staff of Tele Sur – Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa rejected the notion that the leftist and revolutionary governments in Latin America have failed and instead posited that the real failure in the region has been the neoliberal economic model. “Inequality in a poor country means misery, generalized misery. We must seek out other forms of developing ourselves that are distinct from those fantasies of trickle-down theories,” said President Correa in an interview Sunday.