[Marxism] can neo-liberalism become "natural"?

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Wed Jan 30 12:30:01 MST 2013


On 1/30/2013 1:42 AM, Lenin's Tomb wrote:
> ... Thus, you tend to avoid commonplace social democratic assumptions
> alongside neoliberal ones. The point of any neoliberal strategy is to
> shift the pendulum further in the direction of neoliberalism.

That's put well, and applies even in South Africa where neoliberal 
macroeconomic policy, a huge microfinance and consumer credit explosion 
and deindustrialisation thanks to imported consumer goods all co-exist 
with sometimes virulent nationalism and a bit of tokenistic welfarism. 
We've found that even where there are popular victories in a Polanyian 
sense, of decommodifying a bit of water and electricity (25 
liters/person/day and 50 kWh/household/month respectively), the neolib 
tariff manager in a municipality or electricity utility sets the second 
block of consumption so high that the overall effect is a huge price 
increase for poor people and hence a dramatic decline in consumption... 
all under the rubric of 'Free Basic Services'.

So what are called 'service delivery protests' spread like wildfire 
under these conditions but all efforts in policy debates and even the 
highest courts have left those neolib structural conditions untouched. 
So the comrades resort to a kind of 'commoning', i.e. systematic 
stealing of water and electricity in their own Polanyian move. But 
that's just temporary; the crackdowns step up and state violence 
intensifies, so protests that are immediately squashed or die out are 
now perhaps best described as 'popcorn'.





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