Remembering Tuesday, September 11

Last Saturday, September 11, we observed the anniversary of a terrible terrorist act, inflicted on a free people with a democratically-elected government by multinational conspiratorial forces. The terrorist attack happened on a Tuesday. It resulted in the death of thousands of innocent people and the offenders have never been brought to justice. We should etch that day – Tuesday, September 11, 1973 – in our consciences, especially if you are an American, British or Australian citizen, given the culpability of our respective governments in that despicable coup d’etat. Today, a bit of a different blog post as I remember this historical event and the way it undermined progressive thought for years. The type of economic policies introduced by Pinochet on advice from the ‘Chicago Boys’ became the standard approach for even the traditional social democratic parties in the 1980s and beyond. We still haven’t abandoned the macroeconomic ideology that accompanies this approach. And Chile, 1973, was the live laboratory. Yes, the Blairites and the Delors-types and the American Democrats, etc don’t chuck inconvenient people out of planes in the ocean to get rid of them like Pinochet did on a daily basis, but the macroeconomics invoked is not that different.

The progressive recognition of September 11, 2001

A while ago, I gave a presentation to a definitely Left-wing audience about the way neoliberalism had increased inequality by reconstructing employment in casualised precarity.

It was on September 11 of that year and the news all day had been recalling the Twin Towers attack.

I started my talk in the same way I started this blog post – being ambiguous.

The audience enthusiastically affirmed each statement – about terrorist acts, attacks on freedom, attacks on workers, multinational conspiracies, the need for a response, etc.

If anything, their reaction to each statement I made became more animated and I had clearly hit a nerve.

When I finished the opening, by saying, “Yes, we should never forget what happened on Tuesday, September 11, 1973” – they were shocked and they realised they had been roped into going along with the mainstream media hype.

It illustrated, in my view, how the Left had lost its focus on class struggle and become invested in new narratives that made its susceptible to capture and co-option by mainstream ideology.

That susceptibility has permeated our traditional progressive political forces and has had massive consequences for workers and our planet.

The US obsession with September 11

In recent weeks, the stark, hasty and humiliating retreat from Afghanistan by the Americans has captured the attention of the international press.

There are no good stories to be told.

A ruthless invasion by the US, justified by the flawed assumption that it could bring American-style democracy (a misuse of the word ‘democracy’ if ever there was one) to a nation ruled by warlords with strong ethnic differences, ended with the US fleeing to a deadline and leaving behind chaos.

I have no truck with the Taliban who seem to be like medieval barbarians but after 20-years of occupation by the US, accompanied by massive investment in the most destructive weapons imaginable and related technology, the barbarians outsmarted them.

And in the last week or so, the Western media has gone overboard in reminding us of the Twin Towers attacks on September 11, 2001.

The media has gone crazy observing the 20 anniversary.

And, to be clear, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. The Twin Towers attacks were brutal and indefensible.

But why does the West forget what it did to Chile yet go crazy about the other event that happened on Tuesday, September 11?

Both the US and the UK were implicated in the Coup d’Etat in Chile in 1973.

The US government couldn’t accept that a democratically-elected government in Chile might want to control its own resources, particularly, in that case, the valuable copper industry.

The UK also had invested in the copper extraction and were horrified when Salvador Allende proposed to nationalise the sector for the benefit of the people rather than the multinational owners.

On January 23, 2018, the British historian, Mark Curtis, who specialises in the analysis of declassified government documents to analyse British foreign policy, produced a new archive for our benefit – Chile: Declassified.

He collates public articles and also documents that were previously classified under Government rules.

His file (drawn from the National Archives) – Chile, 1971-3 – provides some stunning revelations that bear on this sordid period in World history.

See also the excellent report from Sputniknews (January 23, 2018) – UK’s Secret Support of Murderous Dictator Pinochet – which goes into more detail than I do here.

The democratically-elected government in Chile was overthrown by a military coup (planes, bombs, murders etc), which was instigated by the US CIA and global financial interests.

You can read the declassified CIA documents on their involvement – HERE.

I was always interested in Chile not only because I was deeply angered by the actions of the Right and the brutality that accompanied and followed the Coup.

It was also became a laboratory for Milton Friedman and his goons from the Chicago Economics Department – the so-called – Chicago Boys – to impose their pernicious neoliberal policy regime onto a nation wtih the help of the IMF and the World Bank.

The former institution was in a state of shock as a result of the collapse of the Bretton Woods system, which had defined the IMFs role.

With flexible exchange rates, the IMF no longer served a purpose and so it reinvented itself by becoming a neoliberal attack dog for the corporate and financial elites in the US and elsewhere.

It was able to exert considerable influence on national politics by withdrawing financial support, invoking punitive structural adjustment programs and other more devious means.

The US government also sought help from the World Bank to withdraw financial support from the Chile – to starve it of international funds.

The behaviour of the IMF in Chile in the early 1970s clearly demonstrated its growing neo-liberal credentials. Their role in the Chilean overthrow of democracy was an early manifestation of their willingness to add their name, authority and resources to the development of the neo-liberal attack on the Keynesian orthodoxy.

Chile was the first notable action by capital to attempt to arrest the falling profit rates in the 1960s, which had arisen as income distribution became less skewed towards to the top end and workers enjoyed increasing employment security and prosperity under the full employment framework.

The Chicago Boys were an integral part of the Chilean story.

They were a group of economics students of Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago or at the Pontifical Catholic University in Chile.

They were trained in the extremes of free market, Monetarist thinking and with their fresh PhDs took on senior policy roles across Latin American nations.

They were zealots – advocating deregulation of labour markets, privatisation of government services, scrapping welfare state provisions – the really hard-edged 1970s economic rationalism.

Salvador Allende’s government had rejected their manifesto which is one of the most extreme public documents you will ever read.

You can access it via the National Library of Chile (Biblioteca Nacional de Chile) – “El ladrillo”: bases de la política económica del gobierno militar chileno (“The Brick”: bases of the economic policy of the Chilean military government) – after it was made public in 1992.

This was the dirty work of the Chicago Boys and was completed just before the Coup in September 1973 – conveniently. Pinochet and his henchmen had the blueprint to wreck the Chilean economy and they didn’t waste any time.

In the document, they write that their “libertarian ideals” and the “vision of the leaders of the military forces” to give them the scope to introduce their plan.

They give special credit to “Augusto Pinochet and the Members of the Honorable Government Board”.

The Chicago Boys? “Nosotros fuimos sus colaboradores.” Enouogh said.

There is no doubt that the IMF was also keen to do the bidding of the US government, which was prosecuting the neo-liberal agenda with vehemence on behalf of the large Wall Street firms, which provided massive funding to the Congressional members.

The new regime abandoned so-called fiscal activism (the discretionary use of government spending and taxation policy to fine-tune total spending so as to achieve full employment), and, instead, empowered central banks to disregard mass unemployment and fight inflation first.

Later, absurd notions such as rational expectations and real business cycles were added to the litany of Monetarist myths, which indoctrinated graduate students (who became policy makers) even further in the cause.

Milton Friedman coined the term “shock policy” to describe the assault on Latin American nations by these economists.

The mass unemployment that followed was a direct result of the harsh fiscal austerity that was implemented exacerbated by the decline in world copper prices and the OPEC oil crisis.

David Harvey in his 2007 article – Neoliberalism as Creative Destruction – wrote that “the economic threat to the position of the ruling elites and classes was now becoming palpable”.

He recounts how:

The US had funded training of Chilean economists at the University of Chicago since the 1950s as part of a Cold War programme to counteract left-wing tendencies in Latin American. Chicago-trained economists came to dominate at the private Catholic University of Santiago. During the early 1970s, business elites organized their opposition to Allende through a group called ‘the Monday Club’ and developed a working relationship with these economists, funding their work through research institutes. After General Gustavo Leigh, Pinochet’s rival for power and a Keynesian, was sidelined in 1975, Pinochet brought these economists into the government, where their first job was to negotiate loans with the International Monetary Fund. Working alongside the IMF, they restructured the economy according to their theories.

There was a massive redistribution of income away from workers towards profits as Pinochet suspended collective bargaining and outlawed trade union activity.

Real wages fell sharply and the top 20 per cent gained an increasing share of national income.

Between 1973 and 1982, the top 1 per cent of the income distribution increased it share of income from just over 11 per cent to around 20 per cent.

Through the 1970s, the repression of the trade unions increased.

Davin Harvey noted that the Chilean coup demonstrated how profit rates could be restored if trade unions were smashed and public assets sold off to the private sector.

Britain and Chile in 1973

Mark Curtis’s work also helps us better understand the role that Britain played in the Chilean coup courtesy of some declassified material.

I won’t go through it in detail but among other things we learn that:

1. Britain was upset that its “major interest in Chile … copper” was under threat because Allende wanted to nationalise the sector.

2. The British Ambassador to Chile at the time wrote to the UK Foreign Office on September 3, 1973 about his “first impressions” on Chile.

He wrote just before the Coup was that “One option for Chile future is a coup”:

If this were followed by a military-guided regime, or subsequently by elections bringing in a moderate, democratic government, I suppose one could look to an eventual revival with the help of American credits and some kind of Marshall Aid. It is on this that the business community are pinning their hopes.

He acknowledges that the “business community” were pushing for a military dictatorship to get rid of Allende.

In the same Memo, he wrote:

… many people in the poorer and depressed sections of the community have, as a result of President Allende’s administration, attained a new status and at least tasted, during its early days, a better standard of living,

On September 14, 1973, three days after the Coup, the British Ambassador wrote:

The coup was carried out efficiently and with a cold-blooded, surgical approach untypical of the Chilean character … It is likely that casualties run into the thousands, certainly it has been far from a bloodless coup”.

But the British government already knew that.

On September 13, 1973, the British Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Hume wrote:

Circumstances of Allende’s overthrow and death render this case delicate… Accordingly we consider that it would not be in anyone’s interest to identify too closely with those responsible for the coup … But we still have enough at stake in economic relations with Chile to require good relations with the government in power.

So, never mind the murders and the slaughter. We adopt the ‘blind eye’ approach and get on with business as usual with the dictatorship.

Seven days after the Coup (September 18, 1973), the British Ambassador wrote:

I think I should make clear that, whatever the excesses of the military during the coup, the Allende administration was leading the country into economic ruin, social disorder and political chaos.

Yes, because the poverty was being reduced and the vast majority of people were starting to enjoy a “better standard of living”.

And, next day (September 19, 1973), he showed his true colours:

Most British businessmen, whether they have investments here or are interested simply in exporting to Chile, will be overjoyed at the prospect of consolidation which the new military regime offers … Those British subsidiaries and investments which have emerged from the last three years relatively unscathed – [various including Shell] … – are all breathing deep sighs of relief … One thing does seem certain to me. Now is the time to get in. If we delay too long, while we may not miss the bus, we are likely to have difficulty in finding a comfortable seat”.

The correspondence continued and it was clear that the British government was seeing the new military dictatorship as a major source of export revenue via arms deals.

The UK Ambassador wrote on October 1, 1973:

Circumstances also will push them into directions which British public opinion will deplore. But this regime suits British interests much better than its predecessor …

Various other exchanges between British officials confirms that the British export of arms (Hawker Hunter planes etc) would accelerate to the Dictatorship.

Never mind that:

1. During the Coup, “Chilean Air Force Hawker Hunters were putting on an impressive show of force… the Hawker Hunters dived down at the Moneda Palace and with remarkable accuracy released their aerial rockets. These did much damage and set the Palace on fire. The President’s residence on the outskirts of the city, where resistance was encountered, was similarly attacked”.

2. “There are lots of stories of deliberate killings and brutalities … There were reports of summary executions of some of those who resisted the Armed Forces, and the large-scale round-up of government supporters and sympathisers, particularly foreigners. Several thousand were held in the football stadium where some received very rough treatment.”

3. “As to the ruthlessness of the coup, the military would argue that half-measures or a ‘soft’ coup would not only have been ineffective but would have led to prolonged civil war.”

But “the current regime has infinitely more to offer British interests than the one which preceded it. The new leaders are unequivocally on our side and want to do business, in its widest sense, with us. I hope that Her Majesty’s Government will respond”.

And so it goes.

This was a case where a nation that was ‘reclaiming its state’ to enhance the lives of normal people was invaded by foreign capital using the military. It set a scary precedent.

Australian government and the CIA

In the book (and subsequent movie) – Falcon and the Snowman – we encountered – Christopher John Boyce – and we learned about the role he played in the defense industry in the US and his discovery of “misrouted cables from the” CIA, which showed the CIA was actively undermining the Australian Labor government of Gough Whitlan in the early 1970s.

Whitlam wanted to close the US military bases in Australia (especially Pine Gap) and withdraw from Vietnam.

The CIA pressured the Governor-general of Australia to dismiss the twice, democratically-elected Whitlam government in 1975.

Christopher Boyce also discovered that tundermining democratic governments of its allies was routine for the CIA, if the US didn’t like their political flavour.

He had previously learned of the CIA’s part in the fall of the Allende government in Chile.

He started to smuggle classified documents and sold them to the Soviet Union through an intermediary. He was caught and served 25 years in prison.

But he knew how venal the US government and its agencies were in trying to manipulate political systems around the world.

In the case of Australia’s coup, it was engineered via the head of state (who was a conservative lackey) and there was no military involvement.

But in the case of Chile, it was clear that a different, more lethal approach had to be taken. And it was.

We also now have more information about the Australian government involvement in the Chilean coup.

An Australian academic has recently won access via the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to previously classified documents that categorically show the role played by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (our equivalent of the CIA) has opened an office in Santiago in December 1970 with the express mission to help the CIA destabilise Salvador Allende’s government.

That office was opened by the Conservative government in Australia and it spied on the Chilean government, facilitated CIA operations and regularly reported to CIA HQ in the US.

When Gough Whitlam was elected as the first Labor Prime Minister in December 1972 (after 23 years of conservative government) he ordered the spy agency to close its operations in Santiagio.

But the documents show that Whitlam was however torn, which this memo from the boss of ASIS and the staff in Santiago attests (Source):

… he was most concerned that CIA should not interpret this decision as being an unfriendly gesture towards the US in general or towards CIA in particular … The Prime Minister said that now that he had made his decision he wanted us to cease our clandestine activity as soon as possible …

The current conservative federal government has fought hard to stop the academic getting access to the documents.

They don’t want the people to know what their forebears were up to.

Some hope though

This article (September 10, 2021) – Chile: from 9/11 to the end of neoliberalism – is worth reading.

It reports of the recent struggle against the neoliberalism installed by the Pinochet regime – the campaign by the citizens to change the constitution, and the push-back from the elites, who benefit from the inequities built into the Pinochet framework.

There is renewed political instability in Chile as social democratic sentiments become increasingly organised and the traditional political forces (both centre-right and left), who have operated within the Pinochet constitution, face political oblivion.

As the author notes:

Chile has become a case study in alienation between the establishment and civil society; and while a large part of the population now sees the establishment as illegitimate, civil society has proven able to organise and exert pressure to demand nothing less than a new social contract.

So there is hope.

And Chile might just “become a blueprint for other countries” in Latin America to reject the US-imposed neoliberalism and address the serious issues of inequality, poverty, unemployment and environmental pillage.

But then what will the CIA do?

Remember Chile – Pressure Drop

Here is my band – Pressure Drop – recalling the event (I wrote this song in 1978, this version was recorded live in May 2011).

Play it loud and get angry.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2021 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Oh you are definitely hitting nerves with this. Still raw nerves that I question why you would want to activate. I guess you didn’t have any family members that worked in those buildings. Maybe you knew nobody that worked there. I did- though they survived thankfully.

    You can make your points without using that tragedy to play off of.

  2. So much for the world’s greatest democracy! NOT! Gough Whitlam’s Labor government was a mildly reformist government but US interests were threatened so a coup was orchestrated with the connivance of the conservatives and Governor General toady Sir John Kerr. If I was Whitlam I would have refused to accept dismissal, torn up the notice and in turn sacked the GG. But Whitlam played by the rules though his opponents did not.

    The US has form for meddling and imposing the will of capital many times before. It’s just the means and the degree of blatantness which varied.

    I think US power and influence is on the wane though.

  3. Yes, brilliant post by Bill, and I mean ALL of it. I was particularly struck by this:

    “It illustrated, in my view, how the Left had lost its focus on class struggle and become invested in new narratives that made its susceptible to capture and co-option by mainstream ideology.” – Bill Mitchell.

    Along with calls for reintegrating humane ethics and morality into political economy, we must renew calls for reintegrating class politics into political economy. When we discriminate, in a systemic / systematized fashion or in a personal ad hoc and prejudicial fashion, we always discriminate persons by category. The most obvious categories today are economic class, race, ethnicity and identity plus wealth status itself as a class indicator across the board. Classification into categories is all about classing and classes. Everywhere and always, by definition and in actuality, it is about class politics.

    Prejudicial classifications of race, ethnic group, identity are really still just subgroups of broader class politics. But as Bill suggests, they can be co-opted to create new narratives which misdirect. We need to revive broad class politics powerfully and radically, in the sense of all oppressed classes and identities combining in solidarity against the oppressing system of the highly propertied and rich. All talk about economic theory that is purged of class considerations is deliberate obfuscation and misdirection. The neoliberals want us to argue endlessly about technical and fallacious economic theory points, and/or about narrow identity politics points, all of which presume class realities do not exist. Believing that the issues are purely economic or of an “identity” nature rather than also power-political and about class is to get bogged down in the deliberate obfuscation and misdirection of capitalist ideology.

  4. People, if you want to help convince people of the truth of MMT, I have an idea.
    There is this other site, “politicsforum”.
    There I’m alone trying to convince the masses about MMT.
    Can 1 or 2 of the lay-experts here come over and help me?

  5. Jerry, I can understand how you feel about the 2001 assault on America but just think of all the West’s assaults on other countries and the killing that went on. Those people grieved too. We have to think differently on how we treat other nations who have a different cultures from us. Read this article which I think is very apt. But remember there are more ways to kill a cat as Bill has pointed out.

  6. Progressive people the world over shouldn’t forget the dirty vital role played by American foreign policy and CIA’s direct involvement in overthrowing democratically elected governments in order to implement their neo-colonial policies. I have a firsthand experience as a teenager of the colonels’ seven years military dictatorship in Greece, which ended with the bloodshed uprising of students in Athens Polytechnic one year after Pinochet’s coup d’etat. Arrest, torture, exile, and murder of thousands of dissidents especially of left wing believers was part of junta’s daily routine. However, the Greek case dwarfs the suffering that happened in Chile.

  7. Dear Demetrios, please forgive me if I’m wrong but your last sentence, I think you intend as, However, the Greek case (Regime of the Colonels 1967-74) is dwarfed by the suffering that happened in Chile. But you give us a good reminder that CIA interference to ensure the left never play a part in democratic regimes, was/is long active in post-WW2 Europe with much bloodshed.
    My thanks to you for reminding me of and getting me to research a little into the Greek experience. You say it ‘ended with the bloodshed uprising of students in Athens Polytechnic one year after Pinochet’s coup d’etat’. That I think is not quite right, in that the quashed student sit-in in November 1973, although undermining the regime, led to a counter coup and junta rule in Greece only ended a year later after the Greek army interference in Cyprus (not backed by the USA). Unfortunately it now seems there is more hope for Chile than your longsuffering country.

    Dear Jerry Brown, while I understand your feeling, I guess many people with family members murdered in Chile have wondered, particularly after 2001, why there was never any recognised international mourning of the events of 9/11/73. Of course suppression of history and replacement with preferred events/mourning isn’t limited to ‘the west’ as we know from the unmarking of June 4th 1989.

    Dear Bill, thanks for your jolting educational words and music, and I’m wondering now whether you influenced The Clash to pen their Washington Bullets in 1980

  8. Dear Jerry Brown (at 2021/09/13 at 9:47 am)

    I wrote:

    And, to be clear, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. The Twin Towers attacks were brutal and indefensible.

    But why does the West forget what it did to Chile yet go crazy about the other event that happened on Tuesday, September 11?

    I think you “got the wrong idea”.

    The point about 11/9/2001 is that it is now used as a sort of talisman to obscure political differences and incite Western-Muslim discord. But 60,000 odd people died in Chile as a result of American malevolence.

    Why isn’t that considered an event to be observed?

    And why has the Left allowed itself to be trammeled into the September 11, 2001 was the only significant event on September 11?

    best wishes

  9. Dear Patrick you’re absolutely right, thanks for correcting me. I meant to say that Greece’s human casualties from junta were less severe than Chile’s, and the Polytechnic uprising marked the beginning of dictatorship’s end, which officially took place with the return of Karamanlis from his Paris self exile and the formation of an interim political government that lead to the parliamentary elections of 17 November, 1974.
    Best wishes,

  10. Just to let you know the supposed photo of the new central bank governor of the Afghanistan was misidentified by India Today and it is not actually a picture of Haji Mohammad Idris.

  11. Don’t get me wrong here Bill. I am not saying don’t recognize other tragic events. I have a friend who drives around with a sign on her car urging people to remember the Armenian genocide conducted by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 or so. And let’s not forget the massacres in Rwanda. Or the Holocaust for that matter. The Nazis killed more people every day for years than what happened on 9/11/2001.

    The attack on September 11 2001 killed thousands of American civilians and severely disrupted a major city and one of the largest countries in the world. For a time. But far worse, it led to two wars that killed or maimed thousands more Americans (and other allies) and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans who had nothing to do with those attacks.

    Grief is difficult and personal and to a certain extent that should be recognized and not used to make other points.

  12. Steve_American: I went to [Bill edit: site you mentioned] and entered strings like “MMT” and “Modern Monetary Theory” into their Search bar. I got no results. Can you provide more specific links to MMT discussion on that site?

  13. The neoliberals have long played the game of wedge politics and selective compensation. Wedge politics uses identity politics and single hot button issues (often decked out with fake facts) as the wedges to split classes along identity and single issue fault lines. The general results of neoliberalism and wedge politics have been that the poor and powerless sections of the population were kept wedged apart from each other and from the solidarity of the befuddled “neoliberal left”. This wedging impacts black people, unemployed people, people with disabilities, different gender identities and so on. Selective compensation was provided to those placed above the the poor and the powerless. Those placed in the entitled and favored position had votes which could be bought by this selective compensation process of middle class welfare and welfare for the rich.

    The neoliberal betrayal of the people has entered a critical new phase with the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic and other major trends from the collapse of the middle class to the rapidly escalating climate crisis and its attendant crises like mega bush-fires, super storms and super droughts. This comes with a change in the proportions of classes. This change is intrinsic to neoliberal operations. Most of the entitled and favored people were and still are white, Anglo-Saxon, English speakers in the large baby boomer cohort (like me as I fit into all those categories). The depression generation / war generation white cohort were also favored. Those were the parents of the baby boomers sometimes called the Silent Generation, people born from 1928 to 1945.

    Many of the “Silents’ have already passed away and of course their voting patterns have passed with them. The white baby boomers largely remain and whether from the upper working class, middle class, upper middle class or of the rich they have been selectively compensated, especially in retirement, with middle class welfare and welfare for the rich. This selective compensation process buys their votes.

    This setup is now breaking down. The neoliberal betrayal of the people and of common weal(th) values, that is of common-good values, proceeds apace and spreads into classes who previously had considered themselves immune to neoliberal neglect, which they saw as only keeping the undeserving and the different in their “proper” place. The already established middle class is shrinking, partly by wealth loss and partly by already beginning to die off. But new middle class formation is not taking place, just as new household formation by young adults largely fails to take place under neoliberal economics. It is now much harder for young 20 to 30 something persons to properly enter the middle class and achieve the dwelling ownership status which is an important part of this. Middle class recruitment is down. This could well change voting patterns.

    In addition, it appears some white baby boomers are beginning to experience new levels of neglect which they may at first find surprising and even shocking. Their selective compensation gravy train ride is coming to an end. This is consistent with the expansion of neoliberalism. New targets for cost cutting must always be found. The neoliberal process must continue until the 0.1% of the very rich are even richer and concomitantly the rest of the population are much poorer. The Silent generation and Boomer generation are now beginning to see their comfort, security and expectations seriously fray. They are even beginning to suffer and die at higher rates from neglect, especially from nursing home neglect, from the COVID-19 let-it-rip strategy and the seriously delayed or lowered access to elective and even sometimes emergency surgeries, again due to “COVID-19 let-it-rip” strategy.

    It will be interesting and critical to see how voting patterns and direct action patterns change, in a country with compulsory voting like Australia, when more demographic groups begin to realize noliberalism is shifting them from a privileged and selectively compensated class to just another exploited and discarded class. Welcome to late stage neoliberalism! This is the stage where we all, except for the super rich, begin to realize we are expendable in the name of profit. We are all about to be thrown to the “wolves” or pathogens of encroaching morbidity and death, and finally probably even to poverty, segment by segment, if we don’t die first.

    Opening up with high COVID-19 case numbers, with inadequate vaccination rates (of leaky vaccines as the virus rapidly mutates) and with inadequate NPIs (non pharmaceutical interventions, will throw to the virus a vast section, as much as 50% of the Australian population. It potentially throws all the over 60s to the virus (they have rising medical preconditions over time plus the advancing and normal immunosenescence of the aged), plus it throws all the disabled and other persons with medical preconditions to the virus. It also throws our medical, nursing and paramedical staff to the virus with inadequate PPE, inadequate ICU spaces (lack of negative pressure air-con etc.) and inadequate staff levels and funding: all chronically under-funded over many years of neoliberal maladministration.

    This IS the disaster, the compound disaster of combined disasters, that was long predicted by the opponents of neoliberalism to be inherent in neoliberalism. The long sabotage of democratic state capacity and the betrayal of people and environment by the monetarists, neoliberals and plutocrat capitalists comes to a head now. What are we going to do about it?

  14. On that other site, someone responded to my claim that because banks don’t lend the savings of depositors, that now banks can invest them. Is this true. If it is true, then why has no MMTers said a word about this?
    Then someone else, posted a graph of excess bank reserves from 2005 to 2020. On it the banks’ excess reserves went way up in starting in 2009 until 2014 and then they went down a lot, but in 2020 still were at about half of the peak value. This was his evidence for agreeing that banks can directly invest excess reserves.

  15. Dear Topsy (at 2021/09/14 at 2:15 am)

    Thanks for the fact checking. I have edited the blog post to suit.

    best wishes

  16. “On that other site, someone responded to my claim that because banks don’t lend the savings of depositors, that now banks can invest them. Is this true. If it is true, then why has no MMTers said a word about this?”

    It isn’t true.

    Deposits are bank liabilities, not assets. The backing assets are the loans the bank has made. Therefore they are already ‘invested’, since it is that ‘investment’ that created the deposit in the first place.e

    Your interlocutor is thinking of banks in ‘bags of gold’ terms, not in the correct ledger view of how a bank works.

  17. Steve American…

    Honestly, don’t get sucked in. It is Bitcoin land. They won’t listen to you because they have a form of mental illness still yet to be discovered by psychologists.

    The website seeking alpha over at least 65% of all articles believe that is true. So does Max Keiser on RT and every guest he has on his show. Max even wears a Bitcoin pin and has no real understanding of how the monetary system operates. His show is a complete farce. Renegade Inc on RT is so much better.

    Where does it all come from this fake knowledge ? The far right god worshipping , gun loving , God bless America crowd that live in the website called Zero Hedge. They all sing off the same song sheet. Don’t understand QE, repo’s, reverse repo’s all the things that increase and decrease the actual reserve balance. or the fact that reserves increase when the government spends. No idea how interest rates work They have it backwards.

    Their whole arguement goes like this.

    We hate the FED and government ✓

    We hate the FED and Government they are causing Weimar, Zimbabwe and Venezuela ✓

    We hate the FED and government they are inflating asset prices especially housing and the stock market via QE ✓

    We hate the FED and government because savings are locked away and not being put back to use. All because of interest on reserve balances ✓

    We hate the FED and government and want to bring back the gold standard or Bailey Brothers Building and Loan in Bedford falls with George Bailey as FED chair ✓

    We hate the FED and government and Bitcoin is the second coming of christ ✓

    We hate the FED and government stagflation, stagflation, stagflation ✓

    Don’t go there Steve You will be dealing with people who have a mental illness. Any sane person who used to frequent those sites left years ago after looking at the facts and changed their minds. Those who stayed even after the facts where on the end of their faces have a different agenda. More akin to those who are members of the proud boys the far-right, neo-fascist organisation.

    If you get sucked in imagine World war 1. You will be there for years and won’t have moved them an inch.

    They are sheep so you are better off debating the shepherd. Seeking Alpha have shepherds with plenty of sheep. So do most right wing blogs especially in the UK. Debate the shepherd make them look a fool and ignore the sheep. You do get results once you identify who the farmer is.

    The liberal left are the sane. The Guardian is one big farm of bullshit.

  18. @ James E Keenan,
    If you are on the right site, which is not certain —

    You start from the Home Page.
    Then you scroll down to the several “pages” of Topics.
    The 3rd block of topics is “Political Issues”. The 1st issue is “Economics and Capitalism”, with the sub-issue of “Credit and “Debt.
    Click on Econ & Capit.

    You will see a number of threads. The 1st few are where I’m posting now, but I post on Cred. & Debt too.
    My handle is “Steve_American”.
    Click on the top thread to go to a thread where I’m posting. Or any of the top 3 as of now.
    Click on the tiny arrow over on the right in each thread to go to the last post in that thread. If you click on any place that appears it will take you to my Home page and scroll down to near the bottom to see where you can click on “search steve_americans posts, to get a list in reverse order of all my posts.

    I hope this helps.
    I hope you come and support me. Thanks

  19. Concluding ikon’s perceptive, penetrating comment is the question: “What are we going to do about it?” The problem with attempting an answer is the “we.” Due to the various wedges that ikon describes which have fractured “the people” and kept them in ignorant antagonism, there is no “we” left to push back collectively on the latest measures taken by neoliberalism to further immiserate us. How can there be a revolution of “the people” when decades of manipulation and conditioning have us eagerly at each other’s throats? Thus our hope must lie in forces beyond human control–God, if you desire to go there, or constantly-mutating Covid coupled with ever-increasing environmental collapse. “The people” themselves are powerless at this point to bring down the global neoliberal system, yet it is clearly under existential threat by forces even more powerful, more fundamental, than it is. I detest saying this, but it seems so obviously true. My fondest hope is that someone here or elsewhere (where I express a similar dispiriting opinion) can convince me that I’m wrong. Once upon a time, not that long ago, I fervently believed that humanity could usher in that glorious eco-socialist thing which Jesus reportedly called, in the terms of his own time and place, “The Kingdom of God.”

  20. You mention Chile and the bombing of the Presidential Palace by the Chilean Air Force Hawker Hunter jets and the atrocities carried out by Pinochet, but there is a bright light amidst this darkness.

    When the engines from these jets were sent back to the UK for servicing, they landed in the Rolls Royce factory in East Kilbride. When the workforce learned where the engines were from, they “blacked” them – made them inoperable and refused to work on them. It was the days when trade unions actually worked.

    Four men – Bob Fulton, John Keenan, Robert Somerville and Stuart Barrie – led the revolt and steadfastly refused any negotiation on the basis of human rights and solidarity. It became a major issue in UK politics at the time – but the union didn’t break.

    Four years, these engines lay in crates in the yard – in bits and rusting and unserviceable. Eventually, MI5 broke into the yard one night and pinched them! Sent back to Chile in 1978 but they were useless and time had moved on.

    There is a wonderful documentary about this story – the gratitude from the Chilean people bestowed great honour on these men just a few years ago. I thoroughly recommend it.

    Nae Pasaran

  21. Dear Mark Russell (at 2021/09/15 at 9:32 am)

    Thanks for the pointer to the short documentary on the East Kilbride workers. They were very brave people and demonstrate how much we have lost by killing off our trade unions and allowing capital to divide the working class.

    best wishes

  22. Dear Bill

    You’re most welcome. The contrast between these men and those of today, is quite staggering. Four miles from my home is BAE Systems, who sell their Typhoons and missiles to Saudi Arabia for use against the Yemeni. Lytham is a very wealthy town thanks to BAE – and any discussion about the ethics and morality on this issue will generate much anger and disdain.

    To me it’s “blood money” but for most others it’s a large bonus and a good pension. That’s all that counts.

    Should you ever have an opportunity to watch the full 90 minute documentary, please do. It shows what is possible with solidarity between men.

    All the best

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