I thought I’d test out doing a weekend post of blogs/links that are perhaps of interest to IDYW followers. The mix is unashamedly critical of neo-liberalism and austerity.
1. Following this post, Perverting our lives and our institutions, including youth work – neo-liberal culture, Emily Hewson offers these further thoughts on how ‘individualism, selfishness, ruthlessness and bullying have become commonplace’ in What has changed us?
2. Continuing the theme of what really goes in the workplace Paul Mason suggests, for many, work is a world of stress, bullying, arbitrary and unappealable decisions, and – at the extreme – sexual harassment and casual racism. In his Politicians love dressing up in hi-vis vests, but they ignore what’s really happening to modern workers he talks of the hollowing out of what labour means. It was workers in the Soviet Union who coined the adage: “We pretend to work, they pretend to pay us”, but in large sectors of modern capitalism that is the deal. To many young people, stuck in jobs with no career progression, no security and no pension, work’s status is diminished. It’s a tendency amplified by the free flow of information about our private lives on social media: few people write about their work in detail; their social and leisure time dominates their life stories. On many people’s Facebook page it is as if their work existed in a barely significant, parallel world.
3. In this latest piece, Domestic Terrorism, Youth and the Politics of Disposability, Henry Giroux argues,
Education is no longer a public good but a private right, just as critical thinking is no longer a fundamental necessity for creating an engaged and socially responsible citizenship. Neoliberalism’s disdain for the social is no longer a quote made famous by Margaret Thatcher. The public sphere is now replaced by private interests, and unbridled individualism rails against any viable notion of solidarity that might inform the vibrancy of struggle, change, and an expansion of an enlightened and democratic body politic.
One outcome is that we live at a time in which institutions that were designed to limit human suffering and indignity and protect the public from the boom and bust cycles of capitalist markets have been either weakened or abolished. (3) Free market policies, values and practices, with their now unrestrained emphasis on the privatization of public wealth, the denigration of social protections and the deregulation of economic activity, influence practically every commanding political and economic institution in North America. Finance capitalism now drives politics, governance and policy in unprecedented ways and is more than willing to sacrifice the future of young people for short-term political and economic gains, regardless of the talk about the need to not burden future generations “with hopelessly heavy tuition debt.” (4) It gets worse.
4. In the The secret country again wages war on its own people John Pilger begins,
Australia has again declared war on its Indigenous people, reminiscent of the brutality that brought universal condemnation on apartheid South Africa. Aboriginal people are to be driven from homelands where their communities have lived for thousands of years. In Western Australia, where mining companies make billion dollar profits exploiting Aboriginal land, the state government says it can no longer afford to “support” the homelands.