31 October, 2020

Democracy, That Untamed Excess

New languages of politics will help free the system from the grip of corporate power

Breaking The Box
Occupy Wall Street ­became a popular template for 21st-century protest
Photograph by AP
Democracy, That Untamed Excess

One often hears overzealous warriors of neoliberalism say of Leftists that they live in a time-warp; that the world has long changed and the disappearance of state socialism has finally proved that all their beliefs were little more than pipe-dreams. Ironically, they talk as though history came to an end with the collapse of ­‘actually existing’ socialisms and the global ascendance of neoliberalism in the early 1990s. As though all thought came to an end; as if the distilled essence of everything that could ever be thought, or need be thought, was already encapsulated in the neoliberal dogma.

And so it happens that the neoliberal continues to inhabit the world of the 1990s, when most defeated Leftists too had bought into the idea of the ‘end of history’, at any rate, the end of thought. For some time, it did seem neoliberalism provided the ultimate horizon of what was possible. The CPI(M) in West Bengal and Kerala represented one pole of that defeated Left, the Blairite ‘third way’ New Labour in Britain the other: their defining...



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