This letter was first published in Le Monde. Translated by David Broder.
(via Wikimedia Commons)
As a rule, crises open up the terrain of the possible, and the crisis that began in 2007 with the collapse of the subprime market is no exception. The political forces that upheld the old world are now decomposing — first among them social democracy, which has since 2012 entered a new phase in its long process of accommodation to the existing order. As against these forces, the National Front has diverted part of the anger in society to its own advantage. It has adopted the pretense of an anti-systemic stance, even though it challenges nothing about this system, and least of all the law of the market.
Such is the context in which Nuit Debout was born — a movement that now marks the first month of its existence. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall the opposition to neoliberalism has taken various different forms: the “Bolivarian” governments in Latin America in the 2000s, the “Arab Spring,” Occupy Wall Street, the Spanish indignados, Syriza in Greece, the Corbyn and Sanders campaigns in Britain and the USA…. Future historians delving into our era will doubtless say that it was particularly rich in social and political movements.
This review of Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin's The Making of Global Capitalism and David M. Kotz's The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism (Harvard University Press, 2015) first appeared in the December 2015 issue of Perspectives on Politics.
The contemporary international economic order has many characteristics whose combination raises important analytical questions. The level of economic integration is extremely high — almost certainly higher even than in the first era of “globalization,” from the 1870s to 1914. The extraordinary integration of global markets for goods and capital coexists with a level of government involvement in national economies that is unprecedented in the modern era. The system was largely constructed along lines laid out by the United States in the aftermath of World War II — the first time an international economic order was put into place by design. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been the unchallenged leader of the world economy. However, there is an extraordinary degree of cooperation on economic matters among leading states, and supranational institutions play a far greater role in managing international economic affairs than at any time in history.
Chris Hedges’ two-part interview series with Leo Panitch, author of The Making of Global Capitalism, begins with a single premise: US anti-imperial rhetoric masks its own imperialist activities. From military interventions in the name of democratic values to devastating neoliberal reforms under the guise of increased plenitude, empire thrives because it is largely invisible.