Preparing for the Perfect Storm: Neoliberal Authoritarianism in an Age of Austerity

ImageTwo noteworthy news items for this week:

First, the Guardian ran an article last week regarding the soon to be published Social Mobility and Child Poverty report on, well, social moblity and child poverty in the UK. According to the paper, leaked findings of the report indicate a gloomy future for the children of the middle class. As quoted by the Guardian:

The commission is also expected to warn of a gathering “perfect storm” of graduate debt, lack of finance to buy homes and job insecurity that threatens middle-class children as they emerge from full-time education. Graduates will come out of university with up to £50,000 of debt to their name; the proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds who own their own homes has fallen from 60% to 40% in the past decade and is expected to plunge further; and the number of 18- to 24-year-olds unemployed for more than two years is at its highest since 1994.

A perfect storm indeed. This prediction merely adds to the daily reports of declining living standards amongst the working and middle classes. Forget about today’s blip in the unemployment figures touted by the business press as yet another indication of economic recovery; focus instead on the figures indicating that the average 0.7% pay rise of 2013 was ‘dwarfed’ by inflation.  So, real wages decline yet again for the employed, while the future prospects of the next generation grow dimmer with each economic forecast. And we haven’t even mentioned the attack on public pensions. So what next?

How about this news item? A new report, published by the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations, has chronicled the global trend by ‘democratic’ states towards an increased tendency to criminalize dissent and utilize excessive legal and physical force against lawful demonstrations against political authority. The research identifies a convergence amongst countries such as the United States, Israel, Canada, Argentina, Egypt, Hungary, Kenya, South Africa and Britain towards the increasing militarization of policing, justified in the name of fighting terrorism, but predominantly employed against mass protests against the failing institutions and the increasingly corrupt oligarchies of the democratic world.

Coincidence?

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6 thoughts on “Preparing for the Perfect Storm: Neoliberal Authoritarianism in an Age of Austerity

  1. The International Red Cross/Red Crescent issued a report last week concluding that Europe faced decades of “poverty, mass unemployment, social exclusion, greater inequality and social despair” as a consequence of European austerity initiatives.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/10/austerity-europe-debt-red-cross

    As for criminalizing dissent, did you notice Cameron’s call for an investigation of The Guardian over the Snowden revelations? The state apparatus is being turned on even the powerful who dare expose government wrongdoing.

  2. A few years ago, a U.S. alternative-media news program, Democracy Now, started referring to the Miami Police Department as the “Miami Army.” We might as well starting adapting that terminology as the militarization of police, in the service of squashing dissent, continues to develop.

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