Queued for cross-posting on caucus99percent.
Neoliberalism, that buzzword--the definition of which is the source of many a misdirection and hi-jacking, the existence of which many kossacks will deny or endlessly equivocate and trivialize as normal and inevitable--as many of us have known for years, is striking a lot of nerves, causing widespread mental anguish and distress, and precipitating suicides. The latest report comes in the form of an open letter from well over 400 mental health experts, which was printed in The Guardian (Austerity and a malign benefits regime are profoundly damaging mental health).
"The past five years have seen a radical shift in the kinds of issues generating distress in our clients: increasing inequality and outright poverty, families forced to move against their wishes, and, perhaps most important, benefits claimants (including disabled and ill people) and those seeking work being subjected to a quite new, intimidatory kind of disciplinary regime," warned the letter, whose signatories included Susie Orbach—a well-known psychotherapist and social critic.
The Alliance for Counseling and Psychotherapy played a lead role in organizing the statement, which was signed by counselors, psychotherapists, and other providers associated with a broad array of groups, including Psychotherapists and Counselors for Social Responsibility and Disabled People Against Cuts.
The letter specifically took aim at a series of austerity reforms included in the chancellor's latest budget, including the controversial "linkage of social security benefits to the receipt of 'state therapy.'"
But their warnings spoke to a theme with broad implications around the world, as societies from Greece to Jamaica suffer from the harrowing public health impacts of austerity.
"More generally, the wider reality of a society thrown completely off balance by the emotional toxicity of neoliberal thinking is affecting Britain in profound ways, the distressing effects of which are often most visible in the therapist’s consulting room," the letter states.
"This letter sounds the starting-bell for a broadly based campaign of organizations and professionals against the damage that neoliberalism is doing to the nation’s mental health."
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No doubt insufficient stimulus; costly bailouts for the wealthy and not the people; long-term neglect of the victims of the collapse followed by no or grossly
inadequate relief; sequestration; inadequate, quickly de-fanged reforms; lack of consequences for perpetrators; etc., etc., etc., here in the U.S.--in other words, America's bi-partisan austerity program, has brought to life many people's worst nightmares and done extensive
mental health damage here as well. Not just upon the victims, of course, but family members, friends, acquaintances. This is like the fall-out from a war with upwards of 10,000 casualties and millions upon millions of wounded, some permanently, and the vast majority of Democrats apparently have no idea.
No doubt most of us have had many, many first-hand experiences. So why the obtuse embrace of neoliberalism?
For here we are, a group of ostensibly progressive Democrats championing democracy and justice, where a large contingent is already rallying around a Presidential candidate firmly entrenched in the country's neoliberal establishment, her coffers flush to the gills with funding from the financial institutions and individuals who ruined the global economy, murdered the equity that was actually, truly earned by millions of homeowners, slaughtered the retirement accounts of millions of workers willfully and wantonly defrauded, in other words, a candidate sleeping with those who wielded the bludgeons that have driven and continue drive the world into desperation and despair. Because that's normal. It's inevitable. It's what adults do.
How quickly they forget. Not the Republicans. The Democrats.
And we like accuse Republicans for being weak on memory, nuance and math.
Let us just remember, for a second, what happened with the last Clinton:
The most vast, destructively consequential merger & acquistion spree-fueled concentration of wealth and power since the gilded age. Industry after industry after industry collapsed into small, tightly held oligopolies and monopolies upon the graveyards of vibrant, sustainable community businesses, forcing globalization, outsourcing, offshoring, natural resource theft and biosphere destruction, the race to the bottom jobs economy, etc., a war upon the 90% from which it will almost certainly never recover.
Massive media consolidation - hundreds of entities collapsed into entities owned by six (now five?) major multi-nationals, a phenomena which itself has put democracy on the mat.
[How? By embracing the laissez-faire ethos of neoliberalism and losing ALL touch with the boundaries of and ethical stewardship over monopolistic advances and just letting it happen because that's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.]
NAFTA, opening the floodwaters which run to this day in the Amazonian tide of TPP, increasingly rendering workers powerless and thoroughly unrepresented at home and abroad, and soon to subjugate sovereign, even global interests, such as climate change mitigation, to the interests of private multi-nationals to develop, maintain and grow revenue. [If they can't replace fossil fuel revenues from renewables, they'll bill us for loss of revenue when we sidestep them.] That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.
Welfare Reform without effective alternative programs. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.
Wall St De-Regulation - opening S&L funds to risky investments; allowing banking firms bringing securities to market to also produce the advisory analysis used by investors, analysis which was, especially in the dot com arena, routinely fraudulent; permitting rapid expansion of unregulated derivatives toward the creation of the casino largely responsible for the '08 collaps. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.
This is the environment created by neoliberals of both parties, an environment in which pluotcracy is ascendant and democracy is down for the count. An environment which the establishment insists is normal, inevitable and non-negotiable for competitive business. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.
The unquestioned (unnoticed?) capture of board rooms across the country by colluding managers and directors, following which executive compensation has skyrocketed, completely untethered to performance and participants in the rest of the marketplace, invulnerable, beyond reproach, unquestioned to this very day. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.
Those who defend the Clinton economy both give him virtual sole credit for the growth in GDP AND refuse to acknowledge the contribution AND destructiveness of the bubble upon which it rode. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.
Moreover, people will no doubt forget that Clinton began with an austerity program of his own, putting the national deficit ahead of the far more consequential needs of majority of the population already suffering from neoliberalism, then most recently experienced in the '92 recession. And the takeaway they ride on to this day is that the debt is more important than jobs and wages. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.
THIS is what so-called "Democrats" are inviting:
more recoveries and expansions for the 10%,
more bailouts for .1%,
more neglect for the 90% ("it's globalization, can't do anything about that!),
much, much more power over everything for the .1%.
Very shortly, whether Citizens United exists or doesn't will be completely beside the point, since what happens in D.C. will be completely out of the control of whomever is sent there.
Sit back. Relax. The adults are in charge. That's how the Third Way business pragmatists roll.
If the Democratic Party isn't serious enough about democracy to nominate someone who will champion policies and practices that promote democracy while blocking or eliminating policies that increase plutocracy, how can it honestly be considered anything but a tool to co-opt half the voting populace for the wealthy few? It can't. It just can't.
Especially once you consider that that same candidate is the as neo-conservative, hawkish and militaristic as any Democratic Presidential candidate we've had in decades...
For these reasons, for the love god, for those you profess to love and care for, for the GD biosphere, throw all your might behind identifying and supporting a real, non-neoliberal, pro-democracy candidate, and save HRC for the LAST resort. Or at least change the GD Party name to something honest.
[How about the "We'd like to have democracy but believe that's a unicorn so we'll accept neoliberalism, plutocracy, mental illness, endless war, climate change catastrophe Party?"] Because that's what it is at the moment, at least that portion seriously supporting or contemplating an HRC Presidency as anything but the last resort after every other option is pursued.
From the "Democrats Didn't Get the Democracy Memo" Department:
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy and mental health in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few with great mental distress, but we can't have both." - Reality
Please proceed, "Democrats." Please fucking proceed with your destructive plans.