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Emerging fear-states: Mumia Abu-Jamal’s speech to the Rosa Luxemburg Conference

March 10, 2017

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Meinen Freunden: Bewegung!

Only a mass movement can wipe the smirks from the faces of billionaire global would-be dictators like Silvio Belusconi and Donald Trump.

What is happening in America and Europe bears study and reflection. On the surface, we see a rightist drift, as fearful, resentful publics empower forms of politics that promise safety, especially regarding terror attacks that have blown up and bloodied world capitals recently.

If we look closer, however, we see how economic insecurity, driven by the investor class, has waged an austerity war against working-class and poor people. For economic insecurity begets political insecurity.

If we couple this with the phenomenon of rich people taking office, we see how the superrich are no longer content with renting or buying politicians.

They’ve cut out the middle man – and wage class war themselves. Thus, we have Berlusconi, the media magnate, in Italy, and Trump, a real estate developer, in the U.S. They run to enrich themselves – and their class – in naked expressions of crony capitalism.

We see how economic insecurity, driven by the investor class, has waged an austerity war against working-class and poor people. For economic insecurity begets political insecurity.

Why are we seeing this now? Because neoliberal capitalist parties – like the Social Democrats and the Democrats in the U.S. – have advanced austerity plans and supported globalist policies that have advantaged investors over workers. They do this because they receive vast sums of money from investment donors – and these donors are repaid with business policies which advance their bottom lines.

By doing so, they may’ve enriched party coffers, but they’ve weakened the social positions of their voters, who must contend with lower wages and higher prices. This has led to working-class estrangement and growing disenchantment and even desperation among workers, as jobs, especially manufacturing jobs, are taken abroad to sites with lower labor costs.

Why are we seeing this now? Because neoliberal capitalist parties – like the Social Democrats and the Democrats in the U.S. – have advanced austerity plans and supported globalist policies that have advantaged investors over workers.

That desperation, born of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), for example, led many to flee to those who promised more and better jobs – like Trump, for example.

Thus, those who benefited from the jobs being moved in the first place, the capitalists, are now expected to replace them – with better pay to boot! Does that make sense?

Workers who expect some political forces that have impoverished them to suddenly enrich them are playing in the dark. They hope for that which will never come.

Betrayed by their erstwhile neoliberal allies, they turn, in desperation, to rightist demagogues, who promise jobs, bread and glory.

Workers who expect some political forces that have impoverished them to suddenly enrich them are playing in the dark. They hope for that which will never come.

One would think they’d have learned from Germany’s example or Italy’s example of several generations ago. Hitler’s National Socialist Workers Party promised glory – and stained the nation with infamy. Similarly, Mussolini’s Fascist Party brought Italy degradation and destruction.

People turn to these types of figures in times of economic despair, when “normal” governments seem incompetent, unable to cope with challenges facing them, when living conditions fall to dangerous and desperate levels and when tomorrows seem more fearful than hopeful.

We see this in the vast anti-austerity movements in Europe, like the recent Brexit vote in Britain.

Neoliberalism and its anti-worker globalization project set the table – and nationalist publics are eating the meal.

Socialists and real leftists have been sidelined and undermined by not serving the interests of workers or not opposing the capitalist globalists with sufficient vigor. Here I refer not to revolutionary or even radical political formations, for they rarely hold political offices in governments. When they do, they but yield to the politics of pragmatism.

Neoliberalism and its anti-worker globalization project set the table – and nationalist publics are eating the meal.

I mean the parties in power in the capitalist West, like Labor in the U.K., like the Democrats in the U.S., like the Social Democrats in the European states, all of whom embrace neoliberalism, or the politics of pragmatism that serves the market – or, more accurately, the investor class.

And because they serve that class, they must betray the working class, the poor, the impoverished, the oppressed. They serve as elegant, highly intelligent, persuasive servants of capital, who build massive prisons, neglect schools, arm cops with more weapons of war, sell health care to the highest bidders and the like, while posing as representatives of the people.

Neoliberalism, as typified by the likes of London’s Tony Blair or Washington’s Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, really means conservative politics of service to the market, military and police repression, and the subjugation of labor – but done with class, with a smile, with soft words and politeness.

For years, political writers have called this The Third Way, a kind of centering between right and left. That’s nonsense. For it is really rightist in movement, while leftist in speech.

It supports racist mass incarceration in America and war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It supported the destruction of Libya, while sending more weapons to Israel.

It is, in essence, kinder, gentler conservatism, which opened the door to the coming of Donald Trump.

For years, political writers have called this The Third Way, a kind of centering between right and left. That’s nonsense. For it is really rightist in movement, while leftist in speech.

Here, the politics of illusion have given rise to the politics of fear and emerging fascism.

It is time for a real Left to organize – and rise!

It is time for a real Left to organize – and rise!

© Copyright 2017 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. His new book is “Writing on the Wall,” edited by Joanna Hernandez. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit www.prisonradio.org. Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries. Send our brother some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932. Thousands heard this speech at the 22nd International Rosa Luxembourg Conference held Jan. 14 in Berlin.

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