Saturday, 4 June 2011

Who will be a voice for the emerging precariat?

by Guy Standing (italics mine)
Published at, Wednesday 1 June 2011 22.00 BST

Progressives need to find ways to speak to the new global, insecure classes before the far right does.

(Precariat; apparently Japan's contibution to the English language. Describing the insecurity of part-time work without contract. Rubbish word, we don't need it and rubbish part time insecure jobs have been around for yonks, it's just that you, Guy have just found out about them. Do 'progressives' find it hard to listen to oiks? Why do they have to 'find' ways to listen? Isn't it something one just does? Ask a question, listen to the answer!)

For the first time, the mainstream left in Britain and Europe has no progressive agenda. It has forgotten a basic principle. Every progressive movement has been built on the anger, needs and aspirations of the emerging major class. Today that is the precariat.

(Here we can agree, 'progressives' have nothing to offer, apart from more of the same and if their basic principle is still 'social justice' I'll pass on that, thank you. Liberty please, oh and free speech.)

The protests spreading across the world are manifestations of the precariat taking shape, the latest example being in Spain – where the indignados reject mainstream political parties, while demanding what appears as a discordant bag of changes. Recently, in many European cities as well as Japan, the precariat mingled in EuroMayDay parades; in Milan, more than 30,000 participated. In the Middle East, the upheavals can be seen as the first precariat-led revolutions, when educated frustrated youth demanded a more secure and occupationally rewarding future. Greece is following, with its den plirono actions and prolonged mass protests. Today it is Spain that is the inspiration. Soon it may be London.

(Let's hope Respect or Edward Maggotbrain or other Fabian types don't hijack any nascent movements here in the UK. Please, please precariat people, they are the idiots who created the sorry mess our economy is in, don't listen! They are the enablers of alien colonization.)

The global precariat is not yet a class in the Marxian sense, being internally divided and only united in fears and insecurities. But it is a class in the making, approaching a consciousness of common vulnerability. It consists not just of everybody in insecure jobs – though many are temps, part-timers, in call centres or in outsourced arrangements. (Let's leave Marx out of this, I can't find anything based on Marxism that has actually worked, anywhere. Well, maybe Culural Marxism, that's worked hasn't it? There's quite a way to go though, after all toddlers STILL can't get tattooed and Muti witchcraft is STILL not taught at the tech.) The precariat consists of those who feel their lives and identities are made up of disjointed bits, in which they cannot construct a desirable narrative or build a career, combining forms of work and labour, play and leisure in a sustainable way.
(I think the last bits here are lamenting the grinding trevails of the underclass. Agreed, it's rotten at the bottom, but forget Marxism already. 'Combining' work and play? 'Sustainable' labour and leisure? Is he proposing methane driven karaoke for office cleaners?)

Because of flexible labour markets, the precariat cannot draw on a social memory, a feeling of belonging to a community of pride, status, ethics and solidarity. Everything is fleeting. They realise that in their dealings with others there is no shadow of the future hanging over them, since they are unlikely to be dealing with those people tomorrow. The precariatised mind is one without anchors, flitting from subject to subject, in the extreme suffering from attention deficit disorder. But it is also nomadic in its dealings with other people.

(That'll be globalization and mass immigration. Did you ever think it would do any good Guy? If 'progressives' had actually thought through their policies, before holding hands with trans-national corporations, we might not be suffering such dislocation. Not abandoning our own past and not dismissing our own heritage as a nation, might also have helped ease alienation. Cultural Marxism is designed to increase societal atomization)

Although the precariat does not consist simply of victims, since many in it challenge their parents' labouring ethic, (dad, why bother fixing buses? Get with the sustainable play!) its growth has been accelerated by the neoliberalism of globalisation, which put faith in labour market flexibility, the commodification of everything and the restructuring of social protection.

(Is he talking about professional benefit claimants here, or jet-setting, metrosexual, freelance computer programmers?)

In the UK, none did more to expand the precariat than the New Labour government. Its current leadership is tainted by association, but must now build a progressive strategy to appeal to the precariat. Time is short. We have seen across the industrialised world a growth of the far right. It was led by Silvio Berlusconi, who when re-elected announced that his objective was to defeat "the army of evil", by which he meant migrants in the Italian precariat.

(New Labour did let the progressives down, didn't they? 13 years dismantling Britain, erasing the English, massive statist meddling; but not enough fairness. I'm sure they'd have got there with one more term. Tainted is not the word. DAMNED more like.
Now, whatever Berlusconi is [and I'd say buffoon], he's not the leader of Europe's 'far right'. Throwing a 'populist' bone to the electorate is only evidence of cynical politicking.)

In doing so, he signalled why the precariat is the new dangerous class. Chronically insecure people easily lose their altruism, tolerance and respect for non-conformity. If they have no alternative on offer, they can be led to attribute their plight to strangers in their midst.

Neofascism is unlike its 1930s predecessor, (yes, it barely exists) in that today a global elite of the absurdly wealthy and influential is steering an ideology that wants a shrinking government, falling taxes on high incomes, and authoritarian control over recalcitrants, nonconformists, collective bodies and "losers" in the market society, including the disabled and young unemployed. Social democrats have fallen prey to the charms of the elite, just as much as centre-right parties have. It was not the Tories or Lib Dems who fought to block the EU directive intended to give temporary workers equal rights. It was New Labour. (Yeah, and it was New Labour, y'know 'progressives' who brought in 'authoritarian control over recalcitrants, nonconformists', naysayers and nationalists, patriots and anti-jihadists. In fact anyone who felt a teensy weensy bit uneasy about gubmint [thank you Cheradenine] expansion and the importation of millions of new people had their opinions demonized. I've not heard of any proposals to outlaw rioting anarcho-trots, though, or ranting poppy burners, or placards that promise us our own holocaust. The globalized elite do run the show, but you're missing something, Guy: whether socialist, social democrat or conservative, their policies are the same, you cannot slide a cigarette paper between them and the young unemployed don't stand a chance while the borders are open. Totalitarian is the word and it is led by the EU and every other trans-national, unelected body.)

The only way to arrest neofascism is to forge a new politics that offers the precariat what it aspires to build. A new progressive agenda, like all those throughout history, must be class-based, however it is packaged. It must look forward, not be atavistic. It must be egalitarian at its core and respond to the emerging class. The faddish "Blue Labour" openly looks back and rejects all this.

(The way to arrest neofascism, is to vigourously defend freedom, return to classical liberalism, defend the nation state against quisling culural marxists, moral relativists, post-modern apologists for rank cruelty, colonization by Sandsters and Submitters, stop the hemorrhaging of power to unelected bureaucrats and the exportation of intellectual and industrial capital to our rivals and enemies.)

Progressives should dispense with notions of "the squeezed middle". It suggests there is not a "squeezed bottom" and is another refusal by the lukewarm left to confront structures of inequality, in a way that would respect the traditions of generations of progressive thinkers. As the spectre of neofascism grows – in the US Tea Party, in the English Defence League, and around Europe's far-right parties – progressives must risk being mildly utopian.

(I'm sorry, the Tea Party neofascist? This is pathetic, Guy. The Tea Party stand against the 'global elite of the absurdly wealthy', they are FOR a genuine, working economy, they are FOR the revival of The Constitution of The Founding Fathers, they are FOR liberty and wealth creation. I was unaware that the U.S. Constitution inspired the socialist Hitler. Crikey!

And here, the Guardian goes again, besmirching the EDL. They never learn, do they? One more time: the EDL are a single issue grassroots street movement, agitating against extreme Islamists. What the hell is 'fascist' about opposing Taliban lovers, muslim kafir pimpers and sharia advocates? Is it because they are a movement sans socialism and Trotskyite gibberish? Yep!

Let's NOT take any more utopian risks, thanks much. Utopian risks have set us on the road to perdition. Let's get re-aquainted with reality. Let's return to proven economic and societal models. Screw Marx, Lenin, social justice and utopianism.

The left are obsessed with 'fascist' spotting. It's an industry. Nick Lowles' Searchlight even keep tabs on UKIP for gawds sake. Meaning is drained from the word by bandying it around so slackly.)

What is needed is a reinvention of the progressive trinity of equality, liberty and fraternity.(Nope, let's not take a lead from the French Revolution, we know where that led.)A politics of paradise will be built on respect for principles of economic security and all forms of work and leisure, rather than the dour labourism of industrial society. The precariat understands that, and politicians on the left should listen.

The 'politics of paradise' will end in universal serfdom and a stack of dead bodies as history attests.

If you're looking for true anti democratic politics look to the EU.

Also, if you're really worried about the rise of the truly nasty, STOP putting down anything that is not loony utopian marxist drivel as populist/little englander/rascist/xenophobic/fascist/nazi. Without an outlet in the mainstream of politics, many of those who don't buy the 'liberal' line might try some other tactics when it gets really bad.


Cheradenine Zakalwe said...

The left loves to pretend that anti-immigration sentiment must be driven by economic worries. Look at the Euronews clip on the True Finns I posted. Most of the film talks about economic woes in Finland; only when the scene has been set appropriately do they show the True Finns expressing opposition to mass immigration.

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