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Even in August and for the Beginning of September: Permanent Vigilance Against the Breakers of Society

“Neo-liberal” apparatus is four weapons of mass destruction and permanent war: Deregulate, Commodification, Repress, Indoctrinate. To control and “reform” society for the benefit of predators, and without a summer break.

“Neo-liberalism” is at work in many societies, on the scale of a certain “globalisation” or “globalisation”, of a certain “Europe”, and, among others, of French society since the late 1980s, It’s not just an economic project. Even less a technical project of “improving” economic conditions, whatever we have been led to believe to try to make it accepted, and even if any technical apparatus is in fact an explicit or implicit political measure.

Neo-liberalism is a transversal political apparatus that aims to defeat human societies as a system of human and social relations of solidarity and justice. The goal is to go back to a state of semi-society where only a generalised competition determines who is dominant and who is dominated, who succeeds and who is destroyed. With in addition a distorted starting point, because predators have already installed their domination, their capture of economic, political, educational, linguistic, and cultural means. They have previously made sure to conquer (with some exceptions alibis) in a jungle society that they already impose their control on, including by the forces of their order to prevent the contestation, or even the overthrow, of their domination.

The assiduous and detailed observation of the political orientations of the dominant and their implementation by the governing authorities that they have trusted in French society, since the turn of the 1990s/2000, makes it possible to identify a concerted political project to take over the whole of society, with the aim of enslaving it to their own interests in terms of finance and power, economic and symbolic capital. It is not a question here of assuming a “complot” but of analysing a systemic process, based on an ideology (in the deep meaning of Gramsci, i.e., a vision of the world) that we start to better identify with the hindsight that we have today of the “Shameful Thirty”, which succeeded the “Glorious Thirty” after the transition period of the years 1975-1985.

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This project can be analysed as operating on four convergent, simultaneous, and complementary means of socio-political intervention:

  • Undo society in order to return to a “jungle” state (by a deregulation they call “liberalisation” through “reforms”), in which the strongest, who have previously captured most of the means and assured their domination, are sure to win everything in the competition;
  • Impose universal commodification to make money from everything, including the basic needs of individuals and societies (water, food, transport, health, education …), to reinforce inequalities, and to reduce as much as possible non-profit public services, perceived as “burdens” that cut the profits of the richest rather than united participations and commitments on the future;
  • Instrumentalise institutions, including the so-called democratic state and its “national” foundation, to create political adherence through “patriotism”, to use so-called “legitimate” (but in fact only more or less legal and sometimes clearly illegal) violence against all dissent towards this nation-state itself, towards inequality, towards injustice, towards the inhumanity that this social “order” establishes, maintains, and develops (repression by the forces known as “the order”);
  • Make the population adhere to the action and “legitimacy” of this institutional state by a simulacrum of democracy (so-called “representative” but in fact oligarchic and pyramidal), by the establishment of the hegemony of a nationalist ideology (the Nation-State) and capitalist (the Market); this indoctrination goes particularly through political-media discourses and education, which allow to inculcate this doctrine according to which a minimal society is the only possible one – “natural”, “realistic”, desirable; this makes it possible to reduce the coercive aspect of the system, and therefore its contestation, by putting in place what Gramsci called hegemony.
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These four weapons (deregulation, commodification, repression, indoctrination) are used in a complementary way: commodification strengthens deregulation and imposes faith in the doctrine that would allow everyone to “succeed”, which reduces dissent, and vice versa. .. The violent repression of dissent imposes the “law of the strongest”, the collective submission and the wild character of the deregulated world. The myth of “streaming” [1] is intended to indoctrinate people to accept the deregulation/commodification from which only the already rich benefit by further impoverishing the poor (including non-financial resources: educational, cultural …). It is indeed a global project of “society” (medieval with its lords and serfs), an ideology that attacks simultaneously on all fronts. The global policy pursued under the Macronist regime, in direct continuity with previous governments, clearly demonstrates this if we put all its actions together. I observe them for my part from the field of education – a privileged sector where an ideology is illustrated.

Because, like any system based on hegemony, this ensemble needs to be constantly reproduced and reinforced by a state education that’s in the hands of the dominant: the ministries of education called “national” and higher education and research provide today, with their “reforms”, major examples of ideological discourse and the implementation of this project of political hegemony.

And like any hegemonic system, it must leave small breathing valves at the same time to avoid the explosion of the dominated masses and to constitute alibis: small margins of autonomy, criticism and freedom, the improbable and punctual successes of some, concessions limited in quantity and quality, allow to give the illusion of a system that would not be (in fact not completely) totalitarian, not completely enslaved to a “neo-liberal” ideology, not completely nationalist, and that has remained democratic, diverse, and humanist.

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But let’s not be fooled. There is an urgent need to identify the thousand and one measures through which, in all sectors and at all times, including orders and decrees that appear in the middle of August [2], this deadly apparatus deploys itself. We must have constant vigilance against the arrogance and cynicism of those who break, with great symbolic violence, all that “society” means – human and social. At the beginning of September and even in the middle of August.


[1] Bourdieu spoke about the “neo-liberal utopia” in the early 2000s: we now know that it is a lie.

[2] The Légifrance website lists over a hundred laws and decrees published between July 1st and August 5th 2019 in the Official Journal (and August is far from over). Type “reform” or “law” or “decree” + “July” or “August” (corrected spelling 1990) or “August” in any search engine, the result is edifying …, for example “The decree of July 26, 2019 repeals the previous unemployment insurance agreement of April 14, 2017”.


Mediapart, Philippe Blanchet

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