“The radical capitalist social revolution in which sovereignty in economic affairs passed from the community as a whole into the hands of special class of masters often remote from production, a group alien to the producers.” — Norman WareThe Anti-Social Socialist: How Do We Rent Our Lives?
West’s incorrect partisan conceptualization of neoliberalism is not only wrong, but it is misleading. While the word “neoliberal” is etymologically related to the word “liberal,” it has no relationship with the current political usage of the term “liberal” and its modern association with the Democratic Party. Rather, it harkens back to the 18th century Scottish economic philosopher Adam Smith who advocated the removal of all tariffs and restrictions on free capital so that the “invisible hand” of the market could bring prosperity to all. In the post-WWII years of the 20th century, Smith’s ideas about the liberalization of capital were brought back into the spotlight by economist Friedrich Hayek and, later, Milton Friedman whose goal was to completely dismantle the social safety nets of FDR’s New Deal, which, it was argued, hampered free capital. Thus, neoliberalism is a “neo” form of 18th century economic liberalism and has no connection to the political “liberalism” of today’s Democratic Party.
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to journalist Diana Johnstone about the betrayal of the Left with its historical role as the champion of social justice and peace now replaced with the boutique activism of identify politics, political correctness and what has become known as humanitarian intervention, the justification of US and NATO adventurism and wars on the specious belief it would liberate the women of Afghanistan or the peoples of Iraq.
Diana Johnstone’s memoir is Circle in the Darkness: Memoir of a World Watcher. Johnstone was the European editor of In These Times from 1979 to 1990, and her work has appeared in New Left Review, Counterpunch and Covert Action Quarterly.Chris Hedges: Wrecking the Left
Around the world, the terms “Socialism” and “Communism” suddenly took on new meanings, once again. Socialism referred to patriotic, anti-Soviet political organizations that sought to get elected, and gradually transition toward a more egalitarian society, one step at a time. Communism referred to the parties aligned with the Soviet Union that adopted Marxism-Leninism as their ideology and ultimately sought to seize power in a revolutionary situation. However, the Communist Parties were also always critical of “ultra-leftism” and calls for violence, and the Soviet Union urged them to not be parties of extremism, isolated from the masses of people.