Rally In Ignorance… #rallyagainstdebt

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.

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9 thoughts on “Rally In Ignorance… #rallyagainstdebt

  1. I’m not rallying in support of the Government, Gov. Spending under Cameron is going up every year in cash terms, I want it to be going down.

  2. The really crazy thing is that the financial crisis was precipitated by governments failing to spend *enough* to support the private sector’s desire to net save. The result was growth was felled by unsustainable private debt. People largely don’t realise that given the nature of our monetary system (non-convertible, flexible exchange rate *fiat* currency), the only source of net pvt. sector financial assets is government spending! All these people banging on about how their taxes are being missused to fund excessive gvt spending on services, interest payments and all the rest of it have it completely ass-backwards. If the gvt issues the currency (which it does, via spending), then it must follow that the gvt has to spend before private actors can get the currency they need to pay tax. So gvt spending funds payment of taxes, not the other way around! Demands for the gvt to cut the deficit by cutting spending are effectively demands for the private sector to become even more indebted, and we ask know where that will lead.

  3. Lovely to see you back, blogging in such fine form!

    Your chosen title says “rally in ignorance”, and you go on to articulate a series of points with which I entirely agree.

    However, may I put forward a view that the misguided ‘protest’ is driven by a rather more noxious brew of ignorance, fear and bluster?
    Ignorance : because it seems there are people who have a genuine lack of knowledge and understanding of how an economy works.
    Fear : this seems to me to be a prime moving force. Some people on the right seem to be so fearful, they panic and lose touch with reality. They fear the wrong things. Their thoughts are held prisoner by their fears.
    Bluster : the 2008 crash and recession ought to be seen as the ultimate failure of 30 years of neoliberal economics being dominant in the western world. Some on the right are so desperate to hide this from public view that they resort to extraordinary bravado and bluster, with denial of fact and inversion of truth on the grandest scale (in a huge bluff to mask the intellectual bankruptcy).

  4. Hey, Phil. Thank you for the comment, and glad you are glad i am back hah! Much appreciated.

    And awesome comments there, totally agree with you – sophisticated and well put forward; can’t add to it! Thank you!

  5. The latest figures are showing an increasing gap between rich and poor, approaching Victorian-era levels. The cuts are trading a fiscal deficit for a social deficit, which has far more damaging sociological ramifications. Of course, profits will be made from this.

    As we now see on reflection, the rally didn’t attract many people. That’s not to say there isn’t support for the Tories – to be fair, it’s almost unnatural for people to rally, march, and protest in SUPPORT of their government.

    The rally, then, seems to have just been designed as a semi-ironic two-fingers to the half-million that could actually afford to make it to London on March 24th, and the millions more who supported its ethos but couldn’t make it.

    As you rightly say in this hard-hitting, well-written piece, it just comes across as elitist, and pompous. More than that, it ended up rather pathetic.

    • Thanks for the comment, Jay.

      Totally agree, and well said – again can’t add to that really, it is utterly disturbing that such self-centred pathetic ‘rallying’ could happen as people’s lives are being destroyed en mass. Some people, hey?!

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