[Marxism] Pim Fortuyn and liberalism

James Daly james.irldaly at ntlworld.com
Fri Jun 25 01:51:47 MDT 2004


Hi Phil

Could I send this to A-list, where there are some extremely
good-natured libertarians who call themselves Conservatives in the
American sense? It need not involve you in discussion.

As you saw, I was serious about computer trouble, and it's not cured.
As for the rib, as a five -year-old John Stuart Mill said to a hostess
who had scalded him with tea "The agony is somewhat abated".

James

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Philip Ferguson" <plf13 at student.canterbury.ac.nz>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2004 11:33 PM
Subject: [Marxism] Pim Fortuyn and liberalism


> Ian P wrote:
>
> >Pim Fortuyn [a gay in Holland's politics -- J. D.], who one should
note also wished to abolish public spending
> on health and education, I believe).
>
>
>
>
>
> In NZ, the founder and leader of the Libertarianz political party,
who
> want to abolish taxation and public spending, Lindsay Perigo, is
also an
> openly gay man.
>
>
>
> It is another indication of the way in which the logic of attacks on
the
> working class and the implementation of neo-liberal economics is
> logically accompanied *not* by conservative social policies, as much
of
> the left assumed to be a permanent and global truth, but by
> liberalisation of social conventions and laws.
>
>
>
> The NZ case was this.
>
>
>
> In 1975-84 we had an ultra-Keynesian government, led by Robert
Muldoon,
> which substantially increased state intervention in economic life.
In
> fact, when the neo-liberals finally emerged in 1984, they would talk
> about Muldoon as Enver Hoxha and NZ as being the most economically
> regulated society outside Albania.
>
>
>
> Muldoon's government, of course, was not Labour.  It was the
National
> Party.
>
>
>
> Their ultra social-democratic economic policies were accompanied by
> ultra-conservative social ideas.  In 1977, Muldoon gave us one of
the
> most restrictive abortion laws in the world, at a time when the
trend
> even in countries like Italy and France, where the Catholic Church
had
> much more power than in NZ, were liberalising.  There were huge
> propaganda attacks on solo parents, especially solo mothers, etc
etc.
> Male homosexuality remained totoally illegal, etc, etc.  Basically
the
> National Party government was the 'old right' - the social
democratic
> economic consensus and a load of reactionary social policies.
>
>
>
> In 1984 Labour swept into power and the liberal middle class, which
was
> what most Labour MPs were, got their mits on the levers of power.
They
> carried out the most extreme neo-liberal economic reforms seen
outside
> Pinochet's Chile, certainly more extreme than Thatcher in Britain.
And
> they liberalised social conventions and laws - decriminalised male
> homosexuality, banned US nuclear warships, liberalised the de facto
> situation regarding availability of abortion, promoted middle and
upper
> class women, expanded the Treaty of Waitangi industry and opened up
the
> path for a layer of Maori to become middle class and even get into
big
> business, etc etc etc.
>
>
>
> This is the 'new right'.
>
>
>
> They are very different indeed from the old right.
>
>
>
> While NZ was an *extreme form* of neo-liberal economics and social
> liberalisation, it is far from the exception.  All of the other
> imperialist countries have followed a *roughly similar* course - the
> differences have been *of degree* rather than of a fundamental
nature.
>
>
>
> The only exception that I can see is the US, and this explains why
some
> of us in other imperialist countries always end up in arguments on
these
> kinds of issues with American comrades.
>
>
>
> However, I would argue that the things that have made the US
something
> of an exception to the general trend in imperialist countries have
not
> stopped the general trend from occurring in the US, merely slowed it
> down.
>
>
>
> For instance, it is clear that there actually is a new black middle
> class in the US and thousands of black elected officials.  This is
*very
> different* from the Jim Crow era.  Instead of just saying, "Yeh, but
a
> middle class Afro-American can still be stopped by a cop under the
> 'Driving While Black' offence" - which, of course, is true -
wouldn't it
> be a fruitful exercise to look at how this social phenomena affects
> politics more generally and what function this new class fraction
plays
> in consolidating the hold of the ruling class over society in
general
> and over black workers in particular?
>
>
>
> Maybe I don't read the US left widely enough, but all I ever come
across
> on this issue in the US left press that I do see is the denial that
the
> integration of blacks and women into the middle class and into the
> management of the system, at both the economic and political levels,
is
> of any significance at all.  Reading 'Against the Current', for
> instance, is like being in time-warp.  It's like being transported
back
> to about 1968, which I guess is when all its editors and most of its
> writers had their politics shaped.
>
>
>
> To fight capitalism *today* we need to know not only the
fundamentals of
> Marx's economic theory but also the mechanisms and forms of
capitalist
> political rule, how political integration is used and so on.
>
>
>
> Phil
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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