A teach-in on the New Deal by Clint Montgomery, reflecting on the recent European elections and the rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the U.S. As the present crisis of neoliberalism sees calls from the left for a "Green New Deal" and a return to the post war welfare-state, what was the New Deal and why is its specter returning now?
Held on April 6th at the University of Chicago, as part of the 2018 international convention of the Platypus Affiliated Society.
The financial crash in 2008 caused a crisis for the neoliberal order which has dominated Europe since the 1970s. Initially people put their hopes in neoliberalism, to rectify the situation, by trying to replace one neoliberal party with another but it became increasingly clear that the crisis was terminal. As a result they turned increasingly towards non-neoliberal parties, mostly on the right. Why this turn to the right? Why are people's concerns and needs apparently better met by the right than the left? What does this mean for the left?
Pam Nogales (Berlin, Germany)
Rory Hannigan (London, U.K.)
Jan Schroeder (Vienna, Austria)
David Mountain (London, U.K.)
Dom Jones (London, U.K.)
Clint Montgomery (Leipzig, Germany)
Padraig Macguire (London, U.K.)
Teach-in on anti-Trump-ism and its implications for the left, held by Platypus members Nunzia Faes and Clint Montgomery in Frankfurt, Germany on November 11, 2016.
The accusations against Donald Trump of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and even fascism have been front and center for Republicans, liberals and leftists alike, while at the same time it is recognized that it was millions of former Obama voters who put him over the edge.
Many of the policies Trump called for already existed. For instance, surveillance and increased scrutiny of Muslim immigrants in the “War on Terror,” the war against ISIS, the wall on the border with Mexico, the mass deportations of “illegal” immigrants, and proposals for a super-exploitative guest-worker immigration program. Since the election, many of his strongly worded rhetoric has been removed from his platform entirely. Leaders of the Democratic Party such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have conceded support for Trump on his policies meant to help American workers and to "drain the swamp" by getting finance out of politics. Meanwhile, many on the Left call for the dismantling of the Democratic Party, as a corporate fundraising machine that doesn’t speak to the needs of working people, to start anew. However what this means for them is the reinvigoration of the Democratic Party, which, based on the statements of Warren and Sanders, will now be led by President Trump.
During the campaign season itself the far left was divided between a strong anti-Trump, lesser evil endorsement of the Democrat establishment candidate and those who, too aware of what that neoliberal, imperialist establishment politics meant for people in America and around the world, could only stand helpless before the absence of anything outside the reality of Trump versus Clinton.
What is clear is that there is now no opposition to the status quo from the Left in America with power independent of the Democrat Party. In light of this fact, any future Left must keep firmly in view that its diagnosis of the Trump phenomenon--whether it is whitelash, proto-fascism, or neoliberal discontent--is at once its answer to what it represents. What sort of answers could the Left offer to oppose the establishment from the Left?"