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The Failure of Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism: Brought you by Coca Cola, McDonald's, Shell, General Motors....
Back in 1989, Francis Fukuyama wrote a short essay 'The End of History'[i]. Fukuyama argued the fact that with the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union and the advent of Western Liberal Democracy, the turn of the century was indicating the endpoint of Humanity's Socio-cultural evolution. Democracy, freedom of speech and liberal ideas were now the staples of the free world. The liberal ideas had finally won the cultural wars. And with the fall of Communism, the end of the century proved to many that Neoliberalism and capitalist free market was Humanity’s path to salvation. But of course, History always has a funny way of surprising us.
The recent victory of Donald Trump in the U.S elections 2016 signals not only the victory of ultra right wing conservatism but quite possibly the final nail in the coffin of failing neoliberalist ideas since the further disintegration of the Middle East. This was not the failure of the American people but rather, the failure of the Left. They failed to prove themselves worthy of Change to the working class of the U.S. Our impeccable and just ideas of embracing diversity while supporting Laissez Faire economics, contributing in the further destruction of our environment, clearly failed its own diverse and hypocritical politics. And now since 90 years, extreme conservationism is again being embraced by the Western world. And make no mistake, the DNC Neoliberal Democrats share a huge responsibility of Trump’s victory to the White House.
For many decades, the Right was always considered to be "intolerant", "juvenile“ and the lack of capacity to integrate a different form of opinion. But in fact, it is now the neoliberalism that inadvertently incorporated those level of intolerances. The so-called "Social Justice Wars" in the age of internet were quick to label people "sexist", "racist" or “misogynist” that slowly over the course of a decade or so, started to lose all meaning. The American neoliberalists and the Obama/ Clinton machine, who sympathized and defended Muslims in the western world but systematically encouraged the ongoing drone strikes by the U.S army in seven different nations of the world. The neo liberalists who vow to protect the planet but readily take "political donations“ from big corporations that are directly violating United States Environmental Protection laws.[ii] And by the time Trump came around, his genuine words of intolerance, denial of climate change and further destruction of international relations suddenly had almost no effect to the deafened eyes of the low income families of the United States. So for lack of a better word, Trump became the living embodiment of an "Internet Troll".
After the defeat of the Democratic Party, the American Left now scrambles and point fingers "Who is to blame?". Apparently the Clinton machine blames Comey letters for their election defeat[iii] but of course, there are other reasons for us to indulge into. Misogyny against the first female president? But 53% of white female ratio voted Trump[iv]. Racism? To brand all Trump voters racist is a tactic that the neo liberals so proudly denounce and should be incompatible with their belief system. To break the American Establishment? That could possibly be the case. And unfortunately, Hillary Clinton was not providing a revolution that the majority of the American people were hoping for. For the working class of America, a vote for Clinton meant a vote for further descent into the Abyss.
Ever since the destabilization of the Middle East in the Iraq War started becoming more and more apparent, the Left had the opportunity to move the geo political pendulum towards the left economics, invest in climate change program, destabilize the core infrastructure of capitalism and exploitation of the working class but none of it seem plausible anymore. The Left remained divided amongst themselves over minor issues[v]. They could not agree on the key elements and stick with it. And quite rapidly with the dawn of the refugee crisis of Syria, the conservatism of the West has slowly devolved into ultra right wing politics that attack people on their personal beliefs, skin color, the scape goats of the failing economy of many western nations including Poland (PiS), Hungary (Jobbik) and quite possibly (since the Brexit vote) the future of United Kingdom. Yes, the devolution of the American Right is now engaging in the ultra right politics of George Wallace But the Right is mostly united nonetheless.
Nov 8th 2016 has ushered a new beginning for the American politics. The days of intellectual conservatism of William F. Buckley Jr. and even the Bush era are dead and instead, replaced by radical far right politics of violent discrimination, Nationalism and isolation from the rest of its neighboring nations. Perhaps a recreation of a more divided map before the advent of the first world war, we are now heading towards the world of imperialist nations.
Donald Trump is the Frankenstein Monster that the Republican Party had been inadvertently creating for decades of hatred towards progressive thinking, denial of any sort racism against colored citizens in the country and conducting unauthorized foreign wars. If anything, Donald Trump could be congratulated on single handedly destroying the Republican Party.
But if this spells the failure of Neoliberalism, what other alternative could we look for? Surprisingly, the new Left was already introduced to the main stream America by a senator from Vermont named Bernie Sanders. Self proclaimed socialist, he talked about the implementation of free Health care (which Hilary also struggled for in the 90s), free education, raising minimum wage, taxing the wealthy 1 %, holding Wall Street accountable for the disastrous 2008 Market crash. Sadly, Sanders is probably a little too “socialist” for American at the time and Hillary ended up winning the DNC nomination. But with her embarrassing defeat, the new Left can once again mobilize and follow up to their promises.
So what now? Here are two key points we should continuously strive for:
A) The age of Neoliberalism should be put to rest in the U.S Democratic party and so should Clintonism's pseudo liberal ideas. The biggest reason for this election defeat is that the DNC failed to communicate to the working class Americans. If we are to be convinced of Left ever becoming viable again, we should act upon its ideals. Engage in more open conversations, no political "campaign donations“ from massive corporations and Wall street (yes, it is possible!), focus on more prominent issues facing the working class like health care, free education, tax reformation, raising minimum wage, fight against imperialist wars etc.
B) The threat of radicalism of the Right should be taken as an extreme threat to the global economy and human progress. Any form of discrimination should be taken as a hazard to basic human rights. As Thomas Paine famously stated:
“Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess.”
- Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man
There should be no comprise on this issue.
As one of many who did not support either Hillary or Trump, the outcome was to me a bit surprising but predictable. The future remains uncertain not just for the U.S but the western world in general. But I will say this. The path of this world is still yet to be determined. Whether you sympathize with the Left or conservative Right, the overwhelming majority citizens of the world still believe in equal rights, gender equality and equal opportunities for every person regardless of their race, religion or social class. And until that right is taken away from us, let us exercise it to its full potential and bridge the gap of misconceptions.
Fukuyama's End of History may have been the end of our Socio-cultural evolution in theory but we are still long away from fully implementing it in the world that we live in.
[v] The Divided Left: The Development and Transformation of Advanced Welfare States by Sara Watson