Monday, June 24, 2019

The Rot in the Neoliberal Order

Chris Hedges looks at the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London that left 72 people dead and sees it as a metaphor for neoliberalism and social decay.  It is the era of 'everyday low taxes' and maximized profits no matter the cost to others, even their lives.

He writes of how, in the wake of the disaster, survivors, largely Muslim immigrants, mobilized. More telling, he writes of how the British government responded by putting counter-terrorism powers to work.
The British government’s Counter-Terrorism and Security Act of 2015 includes a program called Prevent. Public professionals are forced by law to report behavior patterns that the security services claim lead people, including children, to become terrorists. Public professionals, especially teachers, are instructed to watch for “absenteeism,” “crying,” “unhealthy use of the Internet,” “a desire for excitement and adventure,” “a desire for political or moral change,” “family or friends’ involvement in extremism” and “being at a transitional time of life.” 
“Prevent turns the public sector into an appendage of the war on terror,” Lowkey said. “Doctors, opticians, social workers, nurses, teachers, even those who work with children as young as 3 years old in nurseries, are legally obliged to report to Prevent signs of radicalization.” 
“Signs of radicalization are defined by Prevent as changing of a hairstyle, being withdrawn, not attending class, talking a lot in classes, not talking a lot in classes, getting tattoos, looking for a higher purpose, looking to achieve moral or social change within a society—all of those things are things that can render a person reportable to Prevent,” he said. “Prevent allows police to interrogate children without the presence of their parents.”
This seems much like the handiwork of Erich Honeker's dreaded Stasi that forced East Germans to spy on each other, children groomed to turn in their parents for imagined acts of disloyalty.

This from the land of Runnymede and Magna Carta.


Anonymous said...

“absenteeism,” “crying,” “unhealthy use of the Internet,” “a desire for excitement and adventure,” “a desire for political or moral change,” “family or friends’ involvement in extremism” and “being at a transitional time of life.”

In other words do not be either a normal teenager or a person who gives a damn about the world or others.

Praise Hayek & Pass the Soma!


The Mound of Sound said...

"Praise Hayek & Pass the Soma!" That does sum it up, PF.

John B. said...

"Freedom is messy."

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm not sure how to take that, John.

Brian Dundas said...

Actually, I must differ. All of those things are still OK (as long as you have right skin tone, that is).

John B. said...

The reference to Hayek caused to me contemplate what reactions, if any, the Freedom Caucus types in America might have toward the practical application of a system of beliefs, now allied with theirs politically, by powers supported by their fellow travellers in Britain. That brought to mind Rumsfeld’s remark on the situation created when America brought freedom to Iraq.

The Mound of Sound said...

Racism does seem to be staging an international comeback, Brian. I'm not sure what this portends but, along with the rise of autocracy, illiberal democracy coupled with the tenacious hold of neoliberalism, the failed model that will not die, it's worrisome.

The Mound of Sound said...

I suppose there's hope, John, that the economic shock of a no-deal Brexit might bring the Brits back to their senses but, these days, there are no safe bets.