Alex Foti on Mon, 25 Apr 2016 08:41:29 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> either in its neo- or ordo- version, liberalism is unwittingly fostering fascism

Dear friends in Vienna and elsewhere in Europe and the World,

this motherfucker hofer got over a third of the votes in the first round of
austria's presidential elections. long gone are the days when FPÖ was seen
as a threat to "european" values, the guy could inherit the post that once
was waldheim's. however the green candidate, a likable 68er could rally all
Austrian democrats and antiracists and defeat the cryptofascist in the
second round (what are the polls?)

Although the president's powers are largely ceremonial in Austria (like in
Germany, Italy and elsewhere), this is not a freak accident. In fact it
bespeaks of a more general trend that is apparent everywhere in the EU
today. The christian/social democrat duopoly on power that has held since
1957 is crumbling due to the sociopolitical effects of the Great Recession
and xenophobic fears of refugees, and especially the way the crisis has
been mismanaged by european elites. Austerity is an ordoliberal, rather
than neoliberal concoction. Anglo-Saxon neoliberalism has never had a
problem with QE, unlike Rheinish ordoliberalism. Interestingly, anglophonic
neoliberalism owes a lot to Austrian economics (Hayek, von Mises,
Boehm-Bawerk) while ordoliberalism descends from the German Historical
School of economics, which was eventually theoretically defeated by
Austrian economics (Methodenstreit) to define a major part of the
contemporary canon of neoclassical economics, but ended up shaping the
policy mindset of Germanophone centrist politicians and all PP parties in
Europe since the postwar period, what we know as ordoliberalismus.

Europe today is like a giant Weimar - the red-yellow-black coalition
supporting the republic was just too weak to withstand the assault of the
nationalist and xenophobic right (nazis descended from ludendorff: weimar's
centrism did well in dispatching the revolutionaries, though..) - just like
today the forces behind Draghi and Juncker are internally divided and
command a reducing part of Europe's political spectrum. Although
ordoliberals and eurocrats are worried by lefties seizing power in Greece
and elsewhere (tsipras is a goddamn delusion - never bet on a trotzkyist;)
spain and catalunya hold more promise), it's the right wing that for the
first time since the 1930s could end up dominating the whole continent.

Two factors are driving the growth of racist formations, both controlled by
liberals. One is budgetary rigor aka structural reform aka austerity, the
fateful idea once espoused by Bruning in 1930 that you have to cut public
spending when mass unemployment arrives. This is a nefarious policy that
Obama never bought into (e.g. the major fiscal stimulus of 2008) and that
by exacerbating unemployment delegitimizes the centrist establishment. The
second is mass migration. Liberalism is for the free movement of people. We
can discuss whether it's to lower wages or whether it's consistent with its
philosophical tenets (open markets, open borders, open societies). Also the
Christian social doctrine in its universalism has always looked generously
(and paternalistically) to political and economic migrants. Conversely,
reformist socialists/social democrats have always been wary of migration,
unlike revolutionary syndicalists: during the Great Depression in France
and elsewhere they called for tighter immigration laws and tolerated
stigmatization of immigrant workers. In fact, social democracy in Europe
has been a nativist affair with the nation-state since the end of WWII.

So maybe it's less surprising to apprise that it is the present Grosse
Koalition government (presided by an SPÖ guy) that has decided to shut down
the Brenner pass, to the great chagrin of noborder activists in Italy,
Austria and the whole of Europe. You don't have to live in former Habsburg
lands (as I do;) to understand that blocking the Brenner means that not the
Union, but the very Single Market is over. Since the 1950s boom, huge flows
of goods and tourists between Italy and Germany have passed through
Brennero and Verona. The Brenner is the physical manifestation of half a
century of economic integration. Is a mini-Schengen in the making that
excludes countries in Southern Europe that are more exposed to migrant

In this grim scenario, #NuitDebout is a rare flash of hope. French lycéens
have already managed to beat securitarianism and, if the old union and
political left don't stand in their way, French youth will be able to
inflict another political defeat to the presidency like it did in 2006 with
CPE. Let's hope this evolves into Europe-wide movement by the precariat and
for the precariat to protect society from xenophobia and inequality and
keep borders open and solidarity going:

Europe Debout Partout!


#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info:
#  archive: contact:
#  @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject: