2000 cycle of financial crises have invited an authoritarian policy response by the nation states affected by it. Authoritarian regimes regardless of their ideological identification – left or right – have stabilized the global market by way of introducing growth in the economically less developed parts of the world creating new territories for it. The up until then uncharted territories of Russia, Turkey, China and many more have become part of the map of the global neoliberal market, and the authoritarian rule has made it possible. The burst of the financial bubble in 2008 has been palliated for years through austerity measures imposed by the Western nation-states: the means have been those of a state which declares an economic state of exception and, thus, legitimizes and legalizes its interventionism in what is supposed to be a quasi-natural phenomenon, the market. So, we let us note that authoritarisanism has been fixing and conserving global neoliberalism for more than a decade now, by moving from the East toward the West, from the South in the direction of North, although there are variations and exceptions: for example, UK’s authoritarian response to the crisis of the neoliberal economic reality preceded that of Hungary.
Democracy, pluralism and welfare state will have to be cut out of the equation if neoliberalism is to be preserved. Nationalist populists are what sustains international or global neoliberalism. The more nationalist they are the better they serve the global neoliberal interest. In a number of brilliant articles, Ian Bruff has demonstrated the economic logic behind the political processes resulting into an unstoppable surge of nationalist and populist authoritarianism. This surge has moved from the margins toward the economic and political global center and has culminated in the election of Donald Trump. Hailing this election result as an opportunity for a leftist accelerationist strategy is failing to identify the economic function of the new authoritarian hybrid regimes – preserving the neoliberal status quo which is maintained mainly by cheap labor. The stability of the euro is preserved by the intra-European outsourcing conducted mainly by Germany, as Lapavitsas and Flasserbeck have demonstrated in Against the Troika: Crisis and Austerity in the Eurozone (Verso: 2015), the growth in Eastern Europe and that further Eastward is enabled by devaluation of labour. Precisely because of the competitive advantage of automated labour, human and animal labour have been devaluated drastically.
Middle class will not recover. There will no longer be such thing as middle class – classes are obsolete. In neoliberal authoritarianism, there will be only two categories: proletariat (precariously employed and unemployed) and a capitalist state. All those who depend on the volatile market are bound to become precarious. The only stable category is the political elites controlling and legislating the market. Thus, the true capitalist in a capitalist state is the state itself, not the “vicious corporations.” In fact, vicious corporations are capitalist insofar as the ownership and exploitation are enabled and sustained by the state. It is crucial to underscore that the opposition between the state and capital/ists is a false one – capital and (capitalist) state are one and the same thing, two sides of the same coin. The illusion that there is some auto-regulated quasi-nature of capitalist economy has been dispelled by the rise of authoritarianism as the only means of preservation of the neoliberal economic order: domination of finance economy over real economy enabled by strong, authoritarian states.
The contradiction that renders contemporary neoliberalism untenable is palliated by authoritarianism (and its favored economic measures austerity, flat taxes, outsourcing and cheap and precarious labour). The tendency toward auto-acceleration that is immanent to capital has been impeded by the preservationist strategies of authoritarianism. Hence the law of contradiction that vouches change in the direction of surpassing capitalism is currently and indeterminately violated and its productiveness inhibited.
— Populism is not (finally) kind of political platform. What may look like Populism in Sanders’ platform is Center-Left technocracy in Western Europe (it is not his fault that some of his supporters cast him as a demagogue). The connotation of Populism to which I refer is another kind of “aestheticiztion of politics.” It is a politics of expression, of tribalism over facts, of gesture more than structures, relationality and experience over realism, in which these are tuned to a simple vertical image of ‘us vs them’ mapped into ‘low vs high’ and ‘authentic vs abstract’ as much as ‘in vs. out’. It follows to and from the “theological” image of Politics that Carl Schmitt, Cornel West, Ted Cruz, and Judith Butler have argued, quite variously, is essential. It absorbs thought into stupidity, such as Franco Bifo Berardi’s endorsement of Beppe Grillo’s Five Star movement (has he recanted this?) Across the two (a “theological” aetheticization of politics plus the absorptions of stupidity) we have the symptomatic dreamworlds of conspiracy theory (another post, another day)." The last paragraph is a quote from a blog post by Benjamin Bratton