Bookreview: How to win the Class War

14 January 2014

Peter Whittaker reviews How to win the Class War by Susan George for the New Internationalist: "The biggest danger to capitalism would be co-operation between the range of social forces opposing neoliberal control".

In 1999 I reviewed Susan George’s original Lugano Report, a Swiftian satire in which a shadowy group of advisers gather in the luxurious Swiss resort to recommend the best ways to preserve capitalism in the new millennium. In How To Win the Class War she reconvenes her fictional working party to consider developments during the past decade and make suggestions as to how to further protect the system against people and governments.

In arid mandarin-speak, the working party assess the banking crisis, austerity measures, tax havens and the worldwide entrenchment of neoliberal economic orthodoxy. They show that, far from being disasters for capitalism, recent events have facilitated a paradigm shift in which the Neoliberal Elitist Economic Model has supplanted a Leftist Enlightenment Model that prioritized people over systems. They write scornfully about universal suffrage and human rights, and argue that free-market capitalism is not merely indifferent to such concepts but fundamentally inimical to them.

The book concludes with the warning that the biggest danger to capitalism would be co- operation between the range of social forces opposing neoliberal control – from the Occupy Movement and the Indignado protests to trade unions, feminists, Greens and anti-cuts groups. Susan George’s message is of course the flip side of this satirical ‘warning’: this is precisely the task faced by all who oppose the endless ‘war of all against all’ that capitalism imposes.

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