Title Mr. Luce’s essay A Maladroit Apology for Neo-Liberalism with Mayor Emanuel as the main character, seeking to overcome the Neo-Marxist Syriza stand-in Mr Garcia. Some American Political Melodramas have been built on lesser foundations, many of them authored by Financial Times pundits.
Mr. Garcia is here not just a Syriza stand-in: a rabid anti-capitalist, but a creature of the machine politics of the Daily Dynasty and of the utterly corrupt Public Sector Unions (Teachers Unions have met the Mayor’s wrath) allied to that insidious machine. In a less overheated rhetorical key, Mr. Garcia has more in common with New Dealer Elizabeth Warren than with the with the Greek anti-austerity party. Perhaps, Mr. Luce in his role as dramaturge seeks to heighten the dramatic antithesis?
The pressing question: Who will save Chicago? Mr.Luce frames the question with the appropriate foreboding of the perennial idee fixe of Neo-Liberal pundits. Mr. Luce in his political ardor forgets to include among the Mayors supporters the Charter School entrepreneurs whose experiments in privatized ‘public education’ has proven to be a ‘Free Market’ crime spree.
Mr.Sergei Guriev presents his case on the Nemtsov murder with a simulacrum of eloquence, but it is easy to see the propaganda triumph of the catechism of the New Cold War in his essay. In the fact that conspiracy theory, as long as it is directed at Putin the Terrible, is not just acceptable but an absolute political/ethical necessity. In no other context would the champion of bourgeois politically respectable punditry, the Financial Times, permit such a breech of it’s own conception of etiquette!
The turning point of this political melodrama was reached after the Ukrainian Coup has so miserably, ignominiously failed: the misbegotten product of American/EU political adventurism, that has proven the Foreign Policy competence of Nuland,Rice and Power to be nonexistent, and by definition President Obama. The billions wasted, the lives lost, mere bagatelles in the pursuit of NATO’s hegemonic encirclement fantasy.
Putinology has replaced the Kremlinology of the Old Cold War, and it is just as unreliable: Strobe Talbott at Brookings is an experienced practitioner of those black arts, old and new! This political theology is framed in the shopworn vocabulary of political moralizing. The New Cold War rhetoric is fueled by righteous indignation, allied with jingoist apologetics for the Ukrainian Coup of 2014: Nuland, Pyatt, Rice and Power fueled by billions of tax dollars sponsored/nurtured the uprising and it’s faltering aftermath.With President Obama acting as accessory, before and after the fact.
What does dissident Nemtsov’s assassination have to do with American/EU murderous political adventurism in Ukraine? That is a question the Financial Times will not ask, instead, like a great many respectable Western publications, it will follow the Party Line of Putin as the New Stalin: a monster who only understands the language of violence. World War III beckons !
A moving tribute to Mr. Nemtsov, yet how convenient that he should be murdered at such a pivotal historical moment! Or is Conspiracy Theory verboten at his publication, except in regard Putin? War hysteria/propaganda, in the West, has reached a kind of denouement. One can’t open such respectable bourgeois publications as the New York Review of Books, the Washington Post, the New York Times or even the tawdry Daily Beast, without some scribbler or policy intellectual and or more importantly a credentialed Foreign Policy expert, falling in line with the latest update on The Party Line: Putin as the New Stalin. All of these developments coming after the Coup in Ukraine, for Coup it was, despite President Obama’s assurances to the contrary. We can’t ignore the billions spent by Victoria Nuland and The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies to secure a western foothold at Russia’s very border? Or is our ethical/political position a selective,self-serving myopia?
There is no doubt that Putin is a thug, yet a thug elected by a majority of Russians: we could have called Bush II that very name.
I’m currently reading The Georgetown Set, Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington by Gregg Herken. A gossipy, very readable at some points, and at others bathetic. The Alsop brothers are the featured players in this historical melodrama, and quite informative it is. Also see Edwin Yoder’s Joe Alsop’s Cold War for a portrait of an Cold Warrior who actually had some experience of war, not as some abstract idea, but as a bitter uncomfortable existential fact, in World War II and Korea. Most of the propagandists for the New Cold War have no idea of what war is, and it’s attendant suffering, deprivation or death, nor the requisite moral imagination to engage in a reflection that might yield a fitting humility.
Having explained why I owe whatever understanding of our social world I may possess largely to Karl Marx, I now want to explain why I remain terribly angry with him. In other words, I shall outline why I am by choice an erratic, inconsistent Marxist. Marx committed two spectacular mistakes, one of them an error of omission, the other one of commission. Even today, these mistakes still hamper the left’s effectiveness, especially in Europe.
Marx’s first error – the error of omission was that he failed to give sufficient thought to the impact of his own theorising on the world that he was theorising about. His theory is discursively exceptionally powerful, and Marx had a sense of its power. So how come he showed no concern that his disciples, people with a better grasp of these powerful ideas than the average worker, might use the power bestowed upon them, via Marx’s own ideas, in order to abuse other comrades, to build their own power base, to gain positions of influence?
Marx’s second error, the one I ascribe to commission, was worse. It was his assumption that truth about capitalism could be discovered in the mathematics of his models. This was the worst disservice he could have delivered to his own theoretical system. The man who equipped us with human freedom as a first-order economic concept; the scholar who elevated radical indeterminacy to its rightful place within political economics; he was the same person who ended up toying around with simplistic algebraic models, in which labour units were, naturally, fully quantified, hoping against hope to evince from these equations some additional insights about capitalism. After his death, Marxist economists wasted long careers indulging a similar type of scholastic mechanism. Fully immersed in irrelevant debates on “the transformation problem” and what to do about it, they eventually became an almost extinct species, as the neoliberal juggernaut crushed all dissent in its path.
Thank you for your comment. Faced with the complete failure of Neo-Liberalism what is called for, even demanded, is more Neo-Liberalism. See Philip Mirowski’s Never Let A Serious Crisis Go To Waste.
For a bracing forensic of the Free Market Delusion and it’s insidious hold on economic/political theory and practice, even the complete subversion of the conception of civic obligation, as the paramount guiding principle of republicanism. For a history of the concept of the cultivation of civic republican virtue see J.G.A. Pocock’s The Machiavellian Moment:
Face the fact that in American, since the so-called Financial Reform of 1999, that erased the protections of Glass-Steagall to the Crash of 2008: self-serving mendacity, not to speak of wholesale thievery, has been the operative philosophy of Capital!
We bailed out the Banks, and the utterly corrupt Investment Houses, one and the same? and then came the successor to the benighted idea and practice of ‘Market Discipline’, namely Austerity: we footed the bill twice, Bailout then Austerity!
Mayor Emanuel is a hireling, an apologist, a New Democrat whose faith is in his careerist ambition. And his ability to articulate the Party Line of a Thought Collective that has seemingly endless cash reserves, but whose ethical/political status can be described as bankrupt! Your final sentence reeks of a kind of passive political cynicism:
Emanuel may suck, but he is better than anyone else running.
Sometimes political cynicism reheated has an unattractive aroma. What to call it? the odor of decay, dessicated and dusty? Although Mr. Luce hits his marks with a certain effectiveness, as to Ms. Clinton’s unslakable political ambition, and it’s ruthless exercise of opportunism. For proof of this see the shameless jingoism in her interview with acolyte Jeffrey Goldberg, published August 10,2014, unfortunately Mr. Luce missed an opportunity to write a companion piece or simply an enlightening postscript to this review :
Ms. Clinton combines with certain public relations veracity: Feminism, Neo-Liberalism combined with the R2P, Neo-Conservative, New Democratic alliance in response to their creature The New Cold War, and the revived War on Terror: ISIL,ISIS,IL .