Belfast: Talk and discussion on the issue of neo-liberalism


Working people continue to bear the brunt of the economic recession in terms on job cuts, poverty wages and house repossessions, while the rich and powerful in our society are bailed out again. This is state capitalism and comes under various forms from thatcherism to neo-liberalism.

The Belfast Anarchist Communist Discussion Group, set up by the Belfast branch of the Workers Solidarity Movement recently invited Michael Reinsborough to give a talk on the topic of neo-liberalism.

The public meeting took place on Wednesday 17th June in the Belfast Unemployment Centre.

What is the ACDG?

The ACDG aims to initially create monthly informal public discussions, to debate and analyse all areas of labour, revolutionary history and contemporary issues.

To encourage debate within the wider anarchist/libertarian movement on present areas of struggle. Action without theory is blind and often futile, but theory without action is ultimately sterile and no use to anyone.

To spread and articulate the vision of revolutionary anarchist communism.

We are open to speakers from other political and social organisations. If you have any ideas or suggestions for future meetings, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Contact details:

Below are the notes from the talk. Audio recording of talk and discussion is attached.

Causes of economic crisis

What is an overproduction crisis?
• Wages in china
• Wages in the US, Britain, and Ireland

Financialization – profit in finance sector rather than industrial sector
Banking supposedly to be separate from high risk investment since the 1930s

• Failure of free trade/globalization restructuring
• Failure to restructure oil/energy industry
• Inability to control wage struggle (especially in china)
• Rise of land/resource reclaimation movements
• Financialization of class struggle through expanded use of credit to supplement stagnant wages
• Inclusion of blacks, recent immigrants, women into ownership society, undermining class hierarchy

Responses to an overproduction crisis
• Find another system other than capitalism
o For example: socialism/libertarian socialism
o Requires large scale structural change in the economy
o Another possible change is shift to fascism
• Keynsianism (Roosevelt and the New Deal 1930s)
o Public works programs to create jobs and increase economic demand
o Requires strong fighting working class movement
• Destroy excess capital and start again
o Massive loss of jobs
o Employers restructure to benefit themselves

What does “green shoots of recovery” mean?
• A possible way out for Employers and banks
• Massive layoffs and restructuring for the working class economy

For Neoliberalism the present “state capitalism” is a temporary solution
(For some countries in the global south greater state control of the economy is not seen as temporary)

Responses of Neoliberalism to the “crisis opportunity”
• Reorganize relation between finance capital & and rest of system
• Discipline working class borrowers
• Justification of environmental plunder/wage reductions and new land expropriation (developing world)
What did G20 accomplish (making sure state responses to crisis didn’t cancel each other out)
Green Capitalism rhetoric –renegotion of Kyoto treaty Decmber 2009
Part 1 of talk

Part 2 of talk