The so-called ‘Rally Against Debt‘ is unbelievable in several ways. For one, I find it concerning that people can muster enough enthusiasm to rally in support of the current government’s economic, social and political direction. Attempts to defend it, such as “it’s a rally against debt, not in support of the government” don’t square – and to be fair, most supporters of the rally wouldn’t try and argue that (but some may). But, if you take the ‘deficit denier’ line, and can gather enough energy and support for a protest calling for more austerity, and buying into neoliberal conditions/benchmarks regarding debt and deficit – then you are supporting the current government’s actions. The rally is clearly supporting cuts, and lots of them, with added intensity, as they proclaim:
We all think that the national debt is a really serious issue and it would be immoral to leave it to future generations, we need substantial spending cuts sooner rather than later to avoid seeing more and more of our taxes go on debt interest not paying for services
In fact, the whole FAQ on the Rally Against the Debt’s website stinks of pretension and egotistical elitism, with no real understanding or respect of the hardship so many people will go through because of the government’s current direction. Fair enough, I respect their right to protest – but I find it highly ironic given the stick and attacks many of them gave, and still give, to protesters campaigning pro-actively, supporting people’s basic human, social, political and economic rights. These people aren’t really calling for anything other than the government to carry on with what it’s doing. They mimic the rights of protesters, such as the March for an Alternative, whilst getting on a moral high ground acting as though everyone against the government are pathological, uneducated idiots.
Ok, let’s make this very clear. The Tories supported Labour’s spending plans up to around 2007/8, when the crisis happened. Therefore, the fundamental question is whether you support the money that was spent bailing out the banks, or whether you would prefer to have let the banks crash, bringing the economy down with it. Given the Tories rather crash approach to Northern Rock, it isn’t necessary a straight forward answer. But it illustrates the hypocrisy of blaming everything on the previous government, given that the Tories in particular weren’t criticising any form of high spending, poor regulation and excessive bonuses etc., until recently (and still really aren’t, regarding the latter two).
In fact, these practices will long continue, as I have discussed before, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. In a capitalist system, debt is needed. People have to spend, beyond their means, to facilitate the production of false needs and excessive capital. You can’t then complain that there is debt, when the system relies upon this senseless form of economic production. Changing the political economy fundamentally is what is required, but I can’t see the march tomorrow questioning that.
I fail to see the productivity behind the rally, except demonstrating how out of touch some people are with the reality of many people’s lives. I can’t understand how people can look around them, see what’s happening to people’s jobs, benefits, education, welfare and NHS and call that a fundamentally good thing, that deserves a Saturday rejoicing in its ‘success’. The pathetic FAQ defence of the likely small numbers such a rally will get illustrates how disconnected the rally is. People came out in their thousands, and keep coming out around their country, against this government – as they are sticking up for the mass, ordinary people – not status quo, hegemonic constructions.