Posts Tagged ‘shock doctrine’

The Emperor’s New Clothes

March 29, 2015

Every crisis is an opportunity to change the system. — Russell Brand

The Emperor’s New Clothes. a film by Russell Brand and Michael Winterbottom, will be screened on 21 April 2015.

Austerity is a myth, it is being used as an excuse for Shock Doctrine, to destroy the existing fabric of society, to punish the poor, to enrich the rich, to dismantle the welfare state, close public libraries.

Leaked the last few days, how the Tories intend to hit the poor even harder.

David Cameron tells us by 2020, we may get to see a consultant at weekends (don’t be ill at weekends until then). And yet he has had five years to bring this in, but oh no, was too busy selling off the NHS to Tory Party donors and tax dodgers. In the last week, £780 million of the NHS sold off. Strange how Dodgy Dave made no mention in his speech about protecting the NHS.

Crooked bankers, HSBC, money laundering for Mexican drug cartels, laundering for tax dodgers, but not a single banker in prison.

Former head of HMRC, charged with collecting tax, winded and dined by tax dodgers, let Vodafone off £7 billion tax over a sumptuous dinner, now advises HSBC on tax dodging.

Former head of HSBC, given a seat in the House of Lords by David Cameron,  made a government minster.

The financial crash, caused by greedy bankers, should have been used as an opportunity to change the system, to create a fairer system.

In Greece, they have had a revolution, it may happen in Spain too.

In UK, the choice between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, between Tories and ToryLite, is being portrayed by the media as choice. It is not choice, it is more of the same, corrupt politicians out to line their own pockets and vying for the opportunity to act for Big Business.

Austerity is the crisis not the solution

February 1, 2015
Austerity is the crisis not the solution

Austerity is the crisis not the solution

Austerity has proven to be an economic and social catastrophe. A catastrophe for democracy. Austerity is the crisis itself – it is not a solution to the crisis. — Alexis Tsipras

Austerity is a myth, it is an excuse for Shock Doctrine, slash and burn of public services, cuts to welfare, privatisation, sell off on the cheap of State assets.

With the victory of Syriza in Greece last weekend, the fightback has begun.

When did you last hear an incoming Prime Minister and Finance Minister going out of their way in their first speeches to say they would rehire a group of fired workers?

Greek cleaners reinstated

Greek cleaners reinstated

When did you last hear of politicians keeping their election promises?

Is Greece in shock?

April 26, 2013

According to bestselling author Naomi Klein, the systemic use of shock and fear by the power elites to undermine vulnerable communities is very much evident in post-bailout Greece. From the rise of racism to the sell-off of the country’s oil and natural gas resources – much of what will shape Greece’s immediate future are, she argues, predictable consequences of the politics of austerity.

protest

protest

Naomi Klein is the author of controversial New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine, which has been referred to as “the master narrative of our time”. The book argues that business interests and powerful nations exploit shocks in the form of natural disasters, economic problems, or political turmoil, as an opportunity to aggressively restructure vulnerable countries’ economies. She posits that because ultra-capitalistic policies are harmful to the majority of citizens, they cannot be implemented without a shock, ranging from media-hyped anxiety to police torture, that squashes popular resistance. In this exclusive interview, Klein explains how she believes the Shock Doctrine relates to Greece today.

Shock Doctrine

The Shock Doctrine (2007) by Naomi Klein was an international bestseller and its Greek translation, Το δόγμα του σοκ (2010), remained a top-seller for many months

How do events in Greece relate to your arguments in The Shock Doctrine?

To me it is a classic example of the things I wrote about. It’s heartbreaking to see the same tricks and the same tactics being used so brutally. And there’s been enormous resistance in Greece. It’s particularly distressing to see the violent repression of the social movements that were resisting austerity. And it’s just been going on for so long now. People get worn down.

What I’ve been following recently is the sell-off of natural resources for mining and drilling. That’s the next frontier of how this is going to play out – the scramble for oil and gas in the Aegean. And it’s going to affect Cyprus as well. This is a whole other level of using austerity and debt to force countries to sell off their mining and drilling rights for fire sale prices.

When you add the climate crisis on top of that it is particularly culpable that you have an economic crisis being used as leverage to extract more fossil fuels, especially because Greece itself very climate vulnerable. And I think its possible that, as the scramble for oil and gas heats up, there will be more resistance because it’s a huge threat to Greece’s economy.

How much does climate change affect your argument?

Because I am working on a book and a film on climate change, that’s why I’ve been following the extractive side of the shock doctrine in Greece, which has gotten a lot less attention. Understandably, people are focused on having their pensions cut, and the layoffs – and those definitely are more immediate. Although in the case of the [Skouries] goldmine, there is an immediate threat to safety, to livelihood, and to economy, and so people are extremely vocal about that.

But the part of this that I find so culpable, and so deeply immoral, is that the rise of fascism in this context is entirely predictable. We know that this is what happens. And this is supposedly the lesson of the Second World War: If you impose punishing and humiliating sanctions on a country, it creates the right breeding grounds for fascism. That’s what Keynes warned about when he wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace, regarding the Treaty of Versailles. To me it’s so incredible that we continue to allow history to repeat in this way.

Greeks have this particular fear that’s being exploited, around the fear of becoming a developing country, becoming a third world country. And I think in Greece there’s always been this sense of hanging on to Europe by a thread. And the threat is having that thread cut. That fear plays out in two ways: One that you can’t leave the eurozone because that will be the end of your status as a developed country. And then on attacks on migrants and in the anti-immigrant backlash.

Just because something bad is happening doesn’t mean you’re going to go into shock. Shock is what happens when you lose your narrative, when you no longer understand where you are in time and space. You don’t know what your story is anymore.

In The Shock Doctrine you talk about how countries the IMF lent money to were said to have sick economies, and specifically, to have ‘cancer.’ But with Greece we talk about ‘contagion.’ What are the implications of this change in metaphor?

‘Cancer’ is already a violent discourse. When you diagnose a country with cancer whatever treatment you go with is justified, it’s necessarily lifesaving. That’s the whole point of the cancer metaphor. Once you have that diagnosis, you, as the doctor, are not culpable for the negative affects of the treatment.

But calling it a contagion of course means that this is about keeping it contained, and preventing whatever rebelliousness is being incubated from spreading, particularly to Cyprus, Portugal and Spain.

When you have these fears of a contagion, when investors are afraid of a whole region, it means that that region has power to come together as a block with a much stronger hand. This is what I wrote about in the book about Latin America in the 1980s, with the so-called debt-shock. Where it would have been next to impossible for individual countries to stand up to the power of the IMF. But if Latin America as a block had organised themselves and stood up to the IMF together, then they actually would have had the power to break them. And then you would have had a much more even negotiation. I’ve always thought that this is one of the answers to the idea of contagion. If that’s what your opponents are afraid of, organise into a negotiating block.

So the countries of southern Europe should come together negotiations with the troika?

I would think so, yes. It’s called a debtors’ cartel. But it never happens. As far as I know it hasn’t been tried.

There is a concerted attempt to create the false equivalency between an individual who went into a little bit of consumer debt, and a bank who leveraged themselves 33-1. It’s an outrageous comparison.

Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein

Former deputy prime minister Theodoros Pangalos said, “We all gorged together” – as in every Greek was complicit to causing the crisis. In contrast, Alexis Tsipras, the head of main opposition party Syriza, has pointed the finger at Angela Merkel and her followers. How should the way that the crisis came about affect the way we try to solve it?

If you accept the premise that everybody created this crisis equally, then you have created the context where collective punishment is acceptable. That is the whole point of this false equivalency.

There is a concerted attempt to create the false equivalency between an individual who went into a little bit of consumer debt, and a bank who leveraged themselves 33-1. It’s an outrageous comparison. But unfortunately this is the way economics is discussed in our culture where you always have these equivalencies. Between family debt and the debt of a nation. ‘Would you run your house this way?’ It’s a ridiculous comparison because the way you run your house is not the way you run your country. We all gorged together … that means everyone has to starve. But of course we know everybody won’t starve.

The journalist who published the identity of the names on the Lagarde list, Kostas Vaxevanis, said in an interview with the Guardian that Greeks have to go to the foreign press to get news on their own country. What is the role of the press in either assisting or resisting the shock doctrine?

Information is shock resistance. The state of shock that is so easy to exploit is a state of confusion. It’s a loss of story, it’s that panic that sets in, this window that opens up, when things are changing very, very quickly. And those are the moments when we need our media more than ever. This is the collective way that we ‘renarrativise’ ourselves. We tell ourselves a story, we keep ourselves oriented – if we have a good media.

Information is shock resistance.

Just because something bad is happening doesn’t mean you’re going to go into shock. Shock is what happens when you lose your narrative, when you no longer understand where you are in time and space. You don’t know what your story is anymore. That’s when you are very vulnerable to somebody coming along and telling you, ‘This is the story.’

Greeks have this particular fear that’s being exploited, around the fear of becoming a developing country, becoming a third world country. And I think in Greece there’s always been this sense of hanging on to Europe by a thread. And the threat is having that thread cut.

None of this can happen without a complicit media, a media willing to work with the elites, and spread the fear. It’s the fear that’s fuelling this, the fear of falling, falling out of Europe, falling into the developing world. Politicians don’t have the ability to spread that fear on their own. They need the commentaries. They need the hysteria on the talk shows.

Journalists have to understand that none of this can happen without us. We are not just observers. In these moments when it’s all about fear and orientation and loss of story, we are actors in this and we have choice. Are we going to help people stay oriented, or are we going to be tools of the elites?

Whether it’s fear of immigrants, or this supposed calamity in the future that prevents people from looking at the calamity in the present. The calamity has come. This is a depression. But by constantly focusing people on the worst thing that could happen down the road that is always being put in front of you, then you are not focusing on the outrageous, masochistic attack that has been inflicted on this country.

The roots of this are the financial crisis in 2008. And it was the journalists who didn’t ask the questions in the first place, and fed all of this hype about a market boom that was going to last forever and didn’t ask those questions.

We are deep in this. Both in creating the context for the economic crash in the first place, and now being tools of the elites and how we respond to it.

Original article by Lynn Edmonds published by ENetEnglish.

The evil ConDem government in UK is using Shock Doctrine. A debt crisis is being used as an excuse for slash and burn of public services, to savagely cut benefits for the poor and disabled, with the mantra, we are all in it together. Coupled with a weak and spineless parliamentary opposition that competes to see who can hit the poor and disadvantaged the hardest.

Not for Sale! Hands off our Lawn!

December 28, 2011
Not for Sale! Hands off our Lawn!

Not for Sale! Hands off our Lawn!

Set in 8 acres, The Lawn, a former mental hospital, is a museum complex located opposite the recently opened West Gate of Lincoln Castle. The key feature of The Lawn is the Sir Joseph Banks Tropical Conservatory.

Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820) was a naturalist, explorer, plant collector and unofficial first director of Kew Gardens in London. Banks sailed with James Cook on the Endeavour. He was elected President of the Royal Society and remained President until his death.

Sir Joseph Banks brought back many specimens from his travels. He helped to establish the Botanic Gardens at Kew, near London, not only as a repository of thousands of living specimens from all over the world, but as a centre for the introduction of plants to new regions, including breadfruit and tea. His herbarium and library in London became a centre of taxonomic research, freely available to scholars from all over the world, and after his death it became part of the British Museum. Banks farmed in Lincolnshire and his house was at Revesby.

A portrait of Sir Joseph Banks hangs in the Usher Art Gallery in Lincoln. It originally belonged to the late Australian billionaire Kerry Packer (died December 2005), but he was persuaded to sell by the good folk of Lincolnshire.

Also at The Lawn is the John Dawber Garden.

From The Lawn a panoramic view opens up of Lincoln and the surrounding countryside.

The Lawn is for sale. The first local people and visitors learnt of this was when a small notice was placed in the Lincolnshire Echo.

Opponents of the sale have complained at the lack of proper consultation. It is not lack of, there has been no consultation. A small notice in the local paper is not consultation, it is notification, and minimal notification at that. Even those with businesses at The Lawn were not consulted.

Not a single person responded to the so-called consultation. I wonder why?

This is not an asset for the City Council to sell. It belongs to the people. The Council merely holds it in trust on behalf of the people.

By putting The Lawn up for sale, by not engaging in consultation, the City Council is showing arrogant contempt for the people of Lincoln.

What we are seeing is Shock Doctrine. Budgets cuts being used as an excuse to ram through an ideological driven agenda to sell off all public services and assets, privatisation.

What next, Lincoln Castle, South Common or West Common, Boutham Park, Arboretum?

If there are to be cuts than let’s start with executive salaries which more than doubled under neo-Labour. Let’s cut the gravy train of Councillor’s expenses.

A committee has been formed to consider the sale of The Lawn. This should be seen for what it is, greenwash, a fig leaf to cover a rubber-stamping exercise. The self-same people who put The Lawn up for sale, who tried to slip the sale past the public are now to consider the sale. They have already shown themselves incapable of managing and safeguarding an historic city. All that matters is enabling a fast buck to be made. With property prices falling it is not even a sensible time to sell. It is the public who should decide, it is their asset.

The City Planners are either brain-dead and lacking in vision, or worse still corrupt and in the pocket of developers and Big Business.

Look around Lincoln and see the eyesores that have been thrown up in the last decade or so. Unsightly tower blocks that blot out the historic skyline. In the town centre, an eyesore on the side of the river, sandwiched between historic buildings. Brayford Pool, an historic basin, in the 1960s it still had its warehouses. These could have been restored, but no, demolished and eyesores erected, each competing with the other for the prize of ugliest building. A vital Tourist Information Centre in the City centre closed, and that uphill closed during holidays with visitors wandering around looking lost.

Running and maintaining The Lawn costs council taxpayers £47,000 a year. This is less than the cost of one worthless senior jobsworth.

It is because of decisions like this that occupation camps such as St Paul’s in-the-Camp have spread across the country, an estimated 60 camps.

The Lawn would be the ideal location for Occupy Lincoln.

The John Dawber Garden could be used as a community garden, heritage varieties grown, fruit and vegetables for sale, seed swaps in the spring.

If The Lawn is failing, it is because of the Council, the same Council that now wants to sell The Lawn against strong local opposition.

The Leader of the Council claims to be acting for the people of Lincoln. His idea of a sick joke? If he were acting in the interests of the people of Lincoln, the sale would not be on the agenda. Instead he would be looking at how best to make use of The Lawn to the benefit of the people of Lincoln.

The Lawn used to be a pioneering mental hospital of world repute. It would appear the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Hands off our Lawn has formed to oppose the sale. If you see them in the High Street, then please stop and have a chat and sign the petition. or if you do not see them, please sign their on-line petition.

Top story Occupy Global and Local LSE (Thursday 29 December 2011).

Comment: The case against selling The Lawn
‘Declining’ Lawn to be sold off
Lincoln landmark The Lawn put up for sale by City Hall
1,200 people sign petition to stop The Lawn in Lincoln being sold
Why the people of Lincoln must maintain a stake in The Lawn
No proper consultation on sell-off of The Lawn in Lincoln, say angry opponents
Time Is Running Out for The Lawn