Spanish CP: Building an international alternative to neoliberalism

Spanish CP: Building an international alternative to neoliberalism


Over the past 40 years, the Partido Comunista de España (PCE) has argued against the theory and practice of the neoliberal states, which in their current expression are modeled after the Thatcher-Reagan era and the Chicago School.

These systems, based on deregulation, the free market, privatization, and government deconstruction, only obeyed the interests of international elites to guarantee a capital accumulation unprecedented in the history of capitalism.

This path of accumulation theorized a globalization without rights and guaranteed freedoms. It turned out to be a model of patriarchal development with a welfare system designed exclusively in the interest of the ruling classes of the U.S. and Europe.

The Washington Consensus [a package of neoliberal economic policy “reforms” developed in 1989 and imposed on developing countries] was transferred to Europe. This was done by the Treaty on the European Union through the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which imposed financial discipline and deprived states of the ability to regulate their own economies, allowing industrial and financial capital to run wild, thus placing states on the margins of security, sustainable development, indeed, of general human interest.

Given their eagerness, it is convenient to remember Karl Marx, who in “The Original Accumulation of Capital” (chapter 24 of Capital) wrote:

Capital runs away from riots and quarrels, and is naturally shy. This is true, but not the whole truth. Capital is horrified by the absence of profit or too little profit, like nature in a vacuum. As profit increases, capital is emboldened. Assure him 10 percent and he will go wherever; 20 percent, and you will feel encouraged; with 50 percent, positively reckless; 100%, he is able to jump over all human laws; 300 percent, and there is no crime you don’t risk, even if you face the gallows.

After the suicide of real existing socialism, U.S.-led neoliberalism attained a resounding world hegemony. The U.S. became the only superpower truly responsible for imposing the principles of the Washington Consensus on most continents. The 2008 Great Recession showed how far humanity could go in the orthodox application of this deregulatory system, exposing “the naked states” which were unable to solve the crisis in favor of the working-class majority against bank speculators and swindlers.

This sparked a historic setback to all social progress achieved after the Second World War. Neoliberalism went on to dismantle the autonomous regional project in Latin America and the Caribbean through a series of coups and economic blockades. The impoverished suffered new measures imposed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, causing an increase in inequality and economic dependency.

The European expression of the neoliberal system, the European Union (EU), is a victim of its own political policy. The EU’s path to implosion came about as a result of tremendous social discontent, as seen in the departure of the United Kingdom and in the appearance of new extreme right-wing movements that in some cases have come to govern or co-govern EU states.

The COVID-19 crisis has once again highlighted the lack of capacity of the neoliberal states to face this aggressive pandemic, this time with more attacks on people’s lives. The privatization of public services such as health, the lack of protection of national production, and the inability to intervene in the economy during exceptional moments left these states literally without elementary means to protect the population (with masks or ventilators).

The extreme example of the neoliberal model is the United States, with a population of 28 million people without any type of health insurance. This most vulnerable population is left to their fate as Trump recently announced the possible exit of the U.S. from the World Health Organization. On the other hand, the People’s Republic of China, the most populous country in the world, has managed to control the pandemic with its own resources by means of the regulatory system of its economy, part of which is nationalized.

The context of this crisis is different from that of the Great Recession of 2008. Everything seems to indicate that globalization led by neoliberal elites has entered a phase of uncertainty. The current neoliberal crisis is characterized by the unstoppable rise of China in becoming the main superpower, the crisis and implosion of the EU, increasing levels of inequality, global unemployment, climate change, and the imminent need for a political, social, and cultural response in bringing about an alternative to neoliberalism.

The Italian philosopher Paolo Flores d`Arcais has said it differently: “Now a revolution is the bare minimum.”

In order to uproot this deregulatory system which leaves states essentially “empty,” we will need to collectively research and strive for a new international program highly influenced by a socialist perspective to ideologically and culturally reject the values ​​and ideas of neoliberalism.

Here at home in the EU, reality demonstrates that this regional project cannot be reformed. The need to tackle this is most apparent in Europe, where a new regional model is needed—one composed of states who have the capacity to intervene in their production.

A new era of globalization must be developed with regulatory states which strive for a regionalization of social and industrial employment in addition to fighting for policies that champion equality.

COVID-19 has dismantled the fallacy that humanity is dependent upon a militarized security system. Human security today has to do with drinking water, housing, food, vaccines, employment, housing, education, and universal and free medical assistance.

World arms spending, which was estimated in 2019 at 1.63 trillion euros, representing 2.2% of the world’s GDP (the highest figure since the Cold War), is no longer sustainable. Compare this expenditure to the 50.4 billion euros spent annually on average during the 1990s on official development aid.

In his Easter Sunday address, Pope Francis expressed support for the idea of ​​reducing arms costs and dedicating those resources to saving lives.

For the PCE, universal and free public health service is a basic right. The then Communist deputy and doctor, Daniel Ortega, raised for the first time during the Second Republic the need for social security for the entire population.

Given this point of view, the PCE actively participated with the so-called “White Tides,” mobilizations of health-care personnel who opposed the privatization of the public health service during moments of right-wing governments. For the PCE and the United We Can coalition, the public health service needs a higher budget, better working conditions for its personnel, and improved technical and research resources. Due to the aforementioned reasons, we oppose the privatization of the health service or to understand health care as a business.

We reiterate our solidarity with you against the untrustworthy, inhumane, and criminal actions of Donald Trump in the face of the pandemic, which poses a deadly threat to all American workers.

This article from the PCE has been translated from Spanish and edited for clarity.

For a brief history of the PCE and its current status, click here.

Image: Maicol Lynch


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