I have finally managed to get around to reading Reclaiming The Commons. It’s emphasis on how the commons, where cultural and political diversity are able to prosper through local democracy and citizen participation, are threatened by enclosures – the social political and cultural dominating structures of political actors such as the state who act as homogeneous forces undermining the commons – is particularly relevent given comments by Ed Miliband regarding Labour’s position on the debt/deficit.
Central to such an enclosure is language. Consider Ed Miliband and co’s. more affirmative adoption of the neo-liberal discourse proscribing cuts as the answer. Ed Miliband believes that for Labour to become a ‘credible’ alternative, the public want Labour to admit that they need to be more open about the cuts and the ‘crisis’ of the current economic situation. There is plenty of information to dispel these myths (consider the TUC’s). As stated in the Reclaiming the Commons article, there is always resistance to such enclosures.
However, given that the establishment and prevailing power structures control the dominant ways of expressing the economic crisis – through economic philosophies associated with neo-liberalism instead of more concentration on economics fields such as political economy, for example; resistance is made much harder. Therefore, Ed Miliband, in conceding to the establishment and dominant power structures’ explanation of the economic situation, is resisting resistance. Instead it is up to the growing movements of local politics to reclaim and recast the economic situation in our own ways.
The parallels of this to the anti-globalisation movement are clear. It is essential to counteract dominant explanations of terms such as ‘fairness’, ‘progressiveness’ and theoretical paradigms such as Anarchism and Marxism. The media are often central to casting such terms in line with dominant neo-liberal conceptions of ‘reality’ and ‘truth’. Ed Miliband has fallen fail to the persuasions to give in to such dominance. It isn’t as though he had a persuasive economic narrative in the first place, but his reinforced endorsement of the ‘need’ for cuts is disappointing.
The resistance required to the dominant language structures are also evident in last night’s Newsnight coverage of the Oldham by-election. Even though I did not watch it, I have seen numerous complains amongst Greens that whilst parties such as the BNP and UKIP were given air space the Greens were not – which is even more infuriating given that the Greens have an MP whilst the former two do not. The Greens however have the most adamant counter-establishment and anti-cut rhetoric/position, making them a good example of the resistance to the dominant language that proclaims the cuts are ‘necessary’. It is easy to see why such resistance and dissent would be shut out by the mainstream channels.
Language is important. It has a central effect upon how people view the current political events. Enclosure is central to the political strategies of the dominant powers; however, there is evidence of resistance to such power taking place all over the world. Ed Miliband may be caving into this dominant language, but it is up to the movement building outside such conceptions to influence parties such as Labour to take a different approach – as well making sure the dissenters are not prevented from public consciousness.