The Many Ironies of the “Rally Against Debt”

Today a handfull of people protested for ConDem austerity policies, for the cuts that are ruining so many people’s lives, including the most vulnerable in society. About 300 people turned up for this embarassing “Rally Against Debt”.

The “Rally Against Debt” had many ironies, e.g. the fact that one of its organisers couldn’t show up because he was visiting a publically funded museum. But, two ironies really strike me:

1) The name. This was not a rally against debt per se; it was a rally against state debt. The real irony is that what we are seeing at the moment is a real tendency of Capital to attempt to derive profit from individuals and personal income. Arguably this tendency played a key part in causing the crash. The result of the crash was, therefore, that a lot of people lost everything: even their homes were repossessed. The Government responds to this with policies that, whilst ostensibly being about debt reduction, are actually about the personalisation of debt: about making people take on more debt in order to pay off state debt. The HE tuition fees changes are a case in point, but they are not the only example (although it gets more complex elsewhere). The further irony of this, the irony of ironies if you will, is that neither does the Left want the sort of state debt we’re seeing. Because this debt is really the debt of the private sector, which the state took on through the bailouts and passed to the taxpayer. The same group of people who created this debt – i.e. a rich elite composed of financiers, big business and banks – are now demanding the state liquidate its assets – i.e. the welfare system and national services – in order to pay the debts that the private sector owes to its creditors. In the process, the elite players of the private sector also make a shit load out of favourable state contracts (i.e. privatisation of public services). Thus, the rally against debt is in support of handing as much public wealth to an elite as possible, as quickly as possible.

2) The fact that the right always claims it represents the “silent majority”, no matter how evident it is that this is not the case. The fact is, those being adversely affected by the cuts to welfare and the “stagflation” of the economy, are the vast majority. At the moment even the relatively affluent face the threat of redundancy and the reality of a tangibly decreased quality of life. People aren’t stupid. Whilst the Tories retain a lot of support, this does not translate directly into support for austerity.  And this “lot of support” does not translate into a majority, even in electoral terms. The silent majority are sick of austerity and of the financial and political elites; and March 26 saw the vocal representatives of this majority literally smash the illusion that we’re all just gonna float merrily through this.



~ by Wit on May 14, 2011.

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