Against Austerity – But For Neoliberalism.

One reason why the bankers are laughing all the way to the bank as their fortunes and political power increase is because some opposition to the new ways of their world focuses on the question of austerity, almost in isolation from anything else.

This misses the point. It shows a superficial opposition to what is really happening and is therefore easily dismissed.

Properly speaking austerity means doing without a luxury.

At certain times in history working class movements have consciously accepted some sacrifice in order to build up necessities for life. One such time in Britain was the post war period. Stockings and cigarettes were forfeited for a while in return for a national health service. But the so called austerity of the recent years has demanded that the necessities of life including the NHS itself be sacrificed on the altar of profit.

In particular state power is used to roll back state expenditure on necessities while lining the pockets of the banks with tax payers money through the vicious cycle of bailing them out, putting them in charge of the debt and deficit and ratings agencies and then paying them back as a priority.

Opposing cuts to public spending is not opposing austerity. It is opposing a restructuring of government to destroy democracy and marketise public needs.

Opposing austerity is not necessarily opposing the heart of capitalism in this decrepit stage called neoliberalism.

The Greek people have just found this out painfully. Wedded to the euro, the key prop of ailing capitalisms in Europe, the Greeks sent their negotiating team off to get a little less austerity.

But the rules of the euro club do not permit this. In fact if you ask for a relaxation of the rules or oppose their central plans you are likely, as is the case for Greece now, to get a double dose of control by overseas banks and countries. Notably of course Germany which runs the euro. Austerity is integral to the objectives of the EU, the euro and of course the finance capitalist class which rules the political roost.

To make a fetish of austerity is to miss the point, it is to tilt at windmills like Don Quixote.

Will the Spanish party Podemos make the same mistake?

The curious rise throughout Europe of Left sounding parties that are supportive of the main planks of neoliberalism is just one of the curious signs of our difficult times.

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