The Silenced Struggle Against Neoliberalism



The Indignados at a demonstration in Madrid, 2012

You wouldn’t think it from reading the mainstream media, but across the world activists, authors, academics and ordinary people are battling collectively against the inequality-causing, productivity-enforcing political agenda that is neoliberalism. Occupy Wall Street did not “fade away”, it thrived. Meanwhile, their inspiration , the Indignados, continue to fight against neoliberalism in Spain. Others struggle alongside them: the think tank, Project for the Advancement of our Common Humanity; the Rules organisation that tackles global inequalities, Mexico’s Zapatistas, and the Ekta Parishads of India.

The movement against neoliberalism spreads via publications consumed by millions of people worldwide. Causing quite a stir was Thomas Piketty’s ‘Capital in the 20th century’. You’ve probably heard of Naomi Klein’s ‘No Logo’. Adding to this list of reputed anti-neoliberal literature, there is: Samir Amin’s ‘The Liberal Virus’, Christopher Boehm’s ‘Moral Origins: The evolution of virtue, altruism and shame’, Stanley Cohen’s ‘States of Denial’, Eric Beinhoffer’s ‘The Origin of Wealth’, the compilation of essays in ‘The Wealth of the Commons: A World beyond Market and State’, David Graeber’s ‘Debt; the first 5000 years’, and Charles Eisenstein’s ‘Sacred Economics’.

Organisations researching into the misdeeds of neoliberalism include ‘The New Economics Foundation’, ‘Positive Money’, ‘Strike Debt’ and ‘The Institute for New Economic Thinking’. They inform the public and seek alternative ways to organise society.

All this continuously misses the ears of the mainstream media.


How COP21 failed the ‘People’s Test’

2015’s under-reported news series


Indigenous leaders float down the Seine to demand true climate solutions amid the Paris COP21 on Dec. 6, 2015

The climate talks ended with a deal that dashed the hopes of protesters filling the streets of Paris until the 11th of December 2015. Social movements, trade unions and environmental groups drew up a ‘People’s Test’ prior to the summit. It proposed targets to tackle climate threats and injustices faced by various communities across the world. And, according to the commentators, the final outcome of the talks failed the test.

The global deal ensures minimal assistance to those most most affected by climate change. Poorer countries require $800 billion in total a year to divest of fossil fuels and for protection against climate hazards. But wealthier nations agreed to provide only 15% of the necessary amount without any offers of compensation for disasters. Thanks to the deal’s vague terms, money can be channelled to poorer nations by various miserly means: redirecting aid budgets, conditional grants, and even using money from immigrants working in wealthier countries.

The deal provides no specific directive to employ renewable energies and is totally devoid of regulation plans. This allows for deforestation, carbon extraction, carbon capture and other dodgy methods of waste removal. Countries made voluntary pledges to reduce their emissions, and will only re-examine these measures as late as 2020.

To top it all, governments scape-goated their poorer counterparts, emphasising the need for developing countries to reduce their carbon emissions, whereas it is the richest nations that contribute most to global warming. 

Island societies and indigenous groups, are particularly vulnerable to climate change due to their closeness to nature. Companies searching for non-renewable energies and bio-fuels often threaten their livelihoods. Such communities were calling for a deal that would ensure their safety from such risks and intrusions. Their call was not answered. Following the climate summit, groups most vulnerable to climate change perceive their only remaining option is to continue campaigning.