Selections from Hugh Grant’s Green’s “Naming The Beast”
The beast will go unnamed. In fact, any proposals to address the crisis will studiously stay clear of any language that might imply a break with the policies characteristic of a neo-liberal state. There will be talk of better management and governance, of fairer policies, of an end to crony capitalism, and so on and so forth.
All these promises pose no threat whatsoever to the neo-liberal order. If anything, they reinforce it, by creating the impression that affairs of government need to be reordered in the same manner as those of a private corporation, and by letting the nebulous idea of fairness function as a substitute for justice.
Nothing will be said by any politician who aspires to govern that might refer to the class antagonisms upon which the neo-liberal order depends, unless it is to deny that such class antagonisms exist.
The conditions of the EU-IMF-ECB ‘bailout’ are not pointy-headed economic prescriptions: they are a lockdown, designed to evacuate politics from policy, to destroy collective institutions, so that financial institutions receive their pound of flesh, and so that the logic of the free market unfolds unimpeded.
If people can’t name it, they can’t resist it. As a result, they get caught up in the interminable managerial gasbaggery about reform of political institutions, the relentless focus on ‘waste’ in public services (as though the funnelling of countless billions to banks never happened and is not happening), and a creeping disenchantment with the potential of politics to change anything.
This disenchantment will be fuelled, of course, with ad infinitum junk promises of ‘new politics’, ‘reform’, ‘fairness’ and so on.
If nothing changes but the government, then once the cheap high of a change of government fades, and unemployment continues to rise, and living standards continue to fall, the disenchantment will slip into the desperate nativism that is the flipside of the shiny, dynamic, transcendental One Ireland.
So, as you can see, I am quite optimistic about the prospects for the forthcoming election. All that is needed is a massive popular movement with a robust communications apparatus that is able to name neoliberalism as the beast to be slain. How that might be achieved is a matter of some concern…”