VIDEO: George Monbiot on replacing neoliberalism

We spoke with journalist and author George Monbiot about the task of replacing neoliberalism, reinvigorating democracy and averting climate breakdown. Watch the full video:

George’s new book, ‘Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis’ is out now.

  • dilgreen

    The call here is for a deep political story to set against the story of neo-liberalism that animates the right. Excellent! Dead on.
    But everything that follows is hand-waving. No philosophy, none.
    Much criticism of what we (here) already dislike/despair of/despise. All good fun, but not a new philosophy.
    The positive stuff is all reformism and local action – democratic reforms, community building and the like; again, all great stuff – just what we want. But noting new at all – if this was what we needed, it would have happened in the early ’70s.
    What this video does is lay bare the weakness of the left – it’s intellectual bankruptcy. and it goes on and on, trailing nice little ideas which the elite will at best, in extremis, pay lip service to – and in practice, subvert absolutely. Yuval Noah Harari pointed out that Marx and Engels seemed ignorant of the fact that capitalists could read. Well, now they’ve read Situationism and Derrida, too.
    Think about it. We have Marx – so out of date, so discredited as a public myth that it’s a non-starter. And beyond Marx? Gramsci? Bookchin? Deep mythology? Motivating story? Save me!
    No – they won’t. We have to save ourselves. We have to look deeper, we have to build from the well-spring that neo-liberalism has stolen from the left.
    We have to build from a philosophy of autonomy, freedom and human dignity. Build from that to policy. Make freedom our motivating myth.
    Which means forgetting a century of striving for fairness as a means to an end. Life isn’t fair. And people don’t want fairness. They want freedom, and they want dignity.
    Neo-liberalism perverts freedom by equating it principally with economic freedom. We need to build a philosophy that celebrates and works with the dynamic of individual freedom as meaningful only in a social setting. Fairness – relative fairness, not absolute fairness, will follow, sure as night follows day.]

  • I agree with George about the need for a new narrative, only it needs to be many narratives for the world’s many different peoples. We can’t all share the same narrative, unless it is dictated to us as in Orwell’s 1984, which is what the state wants to do, of course, in deceitfully posing as a nation. It wants to be the centre of a “national narrative”, in order to legitimise itself, its ruling elites and the immense power they wield and abuse.

    Looking on the positive side of the madness that transformed Britain and many other western countries into even more overpopulated, multi-racial and multicultural societies, it is no longer possible for them to continue posing as nations, at least, not without becoming every more Orwellian, and notwithstanding how Orwellian things have already become, with the Native or founding majority, white population of all western countries now expected to celebrate their own ethnic decline and ultimate demise by celebrating DIVERSITY.

    Once the ideological blinkers have fallen from one’s eyes, Britain can now be seen for what it actually is, and of course, always has been: a mercenary “patron state” deceitfully posing as a nation it is not, whose primary purpose is to facilitate society’s self-exploitation, to the personal advantage of its ruling elites and favoured (esp. wealthy and academic/formerly priestly) clients, at the expense of society at large and its long (now even medium) term survival.

    We can’t save ourselves without first knowing ourselves, our society and the state that rules over it.

    The academics we look to as authorities in understanding society and the state have failed to do this, because, like their medieval predecessors and counterparts, they are themselves privileged clients and employees of the state, with a massive personal self-interest (subconscious more than conscious) in rationalising and defending its role, self-image (as our “nation”) and ideologies (social, political, economic and racial, formerly religious), on which the state bases its claim to moral and knowledgeable authority.

    I elaborate on these ideas in my blog:

    • Kaslo

      Given that nature is about diversity, not monoculture, I would tend to agree, we do need pluralism (which would account for different geographies, cultures, etc.), But there do need to be a few caveats. Orwell was a huge advocate for free speech, but he also believed even though we are entitled to our opinions, that doesn’t also mean we are entitled to our own set of facts.

  • Cindy Rosengarten

    “Life isn’t fair. And people don’t want fairness. They want freedom, and they want dignity”. Exactly. Maybe some of the leftist propaganda intellectuals should conduct a poll on that…

  • john g

    Monbiot is a repellant, establishment creep.
    He doesn’t represent any alternative to neoliberalism other than in wrapping the rich’s interests in better rhetoric. Best ignored or lampooned.

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