by TARIQ ALI
How did we get here? Following the collapse of communism in 1991, Edmund Burke’s notion that “in all societies, consisting of different classes, certain classes must necessarily be uppermost” and that “the apostles of equality only change and pervert the natural order of things”, became the common-sense wisdom of the age. Money corrupted politics, big money corrupted absolutely. Throughout the heartlands of capital we witnessed the emergence of effective coalitions: as ever, the Republicans and Democrats in the United States; New Labour and Tories in the vassal state of Britain; Socialists and Conservatives in France; the German coalitions of one variety or another with the Green’s differentiating themselves largely as ultra-Atlanticists, the Scandinavian centre-right and centre-left with few differences, competing in cravenness before the Empire.
In virtually each case the two/three-party system morphed into an effective national government. A new market extremism came into play. The entry of capital in the most hallowed domains of social provision was regarded as a necessary “reform”. Private finance initiatives that punished the public sector became the norm and countries (such as France and Germany) that were seen as not proceeding fast enough in the direction of the neo-liberal paradise were regularly denounced in the Economist and the Financial Times.
To question this turn, to defend the public sector, to argue in favour of state ownership of utilities, to challenge the fire sale of public housing, was to be regarded as a dinosaur.
Its time to demand some Respect everywhere. Freedom, Liberty and Equality are not the concepts of a dinosaur. They are essential human demands of people who want to live in a free and fair society. Those who want power and money based on your labor and subservience will always try to tell you that you cannot have Freedom, Liberty and Equality. But, we've also known for a couple of hundred years now that we the people can have exactly that simply by standing together and demanding it.