Paolo Gerbaudo Profile picture
Sociologist researching 21st century politics. New book 'THE GREAT RECOIL' out now:
Julio Valentim Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
9 Nov
The Miliband-Poulantzas' debate on the Capitalist state felt for a long time like a relic of bygone era. The "Moloch state" - the powerful and interventionist social-democratic state - they analysed seemed to have little to do with the "rolled back" state of the neoliberal era.
In their work on the state Miliband and Poulantzas had discussed how state technocracy and dirigisme had become integral part of the capitalist system, and how the pact between capital and labour served the purpose of preventing drift towards socialism.
Yet in aftermath of debate the direction of history took a rather different course: internationalisation of the state (something Poulantzas had already discussed in fact without however drawing its implications), globalisation, and "deregulation" leading to loss of state control
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21 Oct
Sottosviluppo italiano deriva da assenza storica di una "grande borghesia" degna di tale nome. La borghesia che abbiamo è piccola/media di stampo familiare e mentalità da orticello. Divisione proprietà/gestione propria del capitalismo moderno ha funzionato poco nel nostro paese.
Le grandi imprese italiane, eccetto per banche e poche altre, sono o 1) partecipate statali o 2) imprese parafamiliari, con controllo stretto della proprietà.
Abbiamo un'eccedenza di borghesi (e di città borghesi che da tempo immemore vivono sulle province, le 100 città di Gramsci) che però non sono in grado di fare i borghesi e creare egemonia stabile. Per quello spesso la borghesia italiana si è affidata all'estrema destra.
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20 Oct
Here's are some of the points discussed in my @guardian op-ed on the populist right and Covid conspiracy theories. /thread
The populist right dallying with conspiracy theorists is the last chapter of a longstanding culture war on values and identity. The idea was popularised back in 1992 by republican pundit and pres candidate Buchanan and it has become the standard strategy of the hard right. 1/
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12 Oct
The culture war is now eating the right from within.
Over the course of the last decades the growing consensus of the populist right has been partly built by pursuing a culture war against liberal elites and the left accused of imposing on ordinary people alien ideas. 1/
This culture war is multifarious. On the one hand it revolves around conservative rejection of progressive values (LGBT rights, racial equality etc). On other hand it comprises a suspicion of science and technique, seen as a means of imposing progressivism and rationalism. 2/
Read 13 tweets
9 Aug
While we wait for release of new IPCC report it is ever more apparent that to avert climate disaster we need massive state interventionism, the like of which we have not experienced for decades, and we are not culturally/psychologically prepared for. /thread
1/ For a long time climate policy discourse was framed either as changes in individual consumption patterns or local areas (do you remember transition towns?) or multilateralism and action at global level. "Think global act local" or "planetary solutions to planetary problems".
2/ Fact that changes in individual consumption patterns is only an illusion (for how it may give a little help) has already been demolished (at least in the activist milieu). But idea that only planetary solutions will deliver us from global problems is more stubborn.
Read 13 tweets
7 Aug
If Italy is the country of the future, expect to have not just one rightwing populist party but two (Lega + Brothers of Italy). I struggled a bit yesterday to explain to foreign journalist why this is the case.
My sense is that there are 2 parties because of 2 main reasons: 1. territorial divides, 2. divides within the Italian bourgeoisie. Ideology also matters ("post"-fascism in case of Brothers of Italy vis-a-vis post-regionalist populism in the case of Lega). But not as important.
In terms of territorial divides despite Lega becoming national party its heartland still very much in the Po valley, and its free market policy reflects it. Brothers of Italy strong in Centre-South and more economically marginal areas. Its economic policy is more protectionist.
Read 8 tweets
5 Aug
The problem of Agamben and philosophical allies is not that they are Foucaultian, but that they are not Foucaultian enough! It is as if they have only read Discipline and Punish skipping the lectures at the College de France.
Discussing rise of political economy Foucault says that entire point of biopolitics is circulation, facilitating movement of people and things. Agamben and the like instead operate with a vision of government as confinement, using the concentration camp as paradigm of modernity.
For example vaccine passports are not about confining people at home. Much to the contrary they are about persuading them to get out of their homes, winning over their reluctance for fear of contagion. It is a means of circulation not confinement.
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5 Aug
We are moving from 'exopolitics' of neoliberalism (externalisation, outsourcing, offshoring, exports) to 'endopolitics' of postneoliberal era (reterritorialisation, isolationism, rescue-repair-recovery, domestic demand, insourcing, onshoring).

(The Great Recoil, Intro) Image
1/ Idea here is that we are facing a topological inversion in contemporary politics. Outwardness of high globalisation gives way to a countervailing trend. This is not just a moment of involution/backlash, but also of re-centering and internal re-organisation of political units.
2/ This trend is similar to many previous Polanyian counter-movements. Globalisation's expansionist drive was unsustainable politically (as shown by populist revolts) and economically (global supply chain disruption, stagnating domestic demand).
Read 11 tweets
4 Aug
History and ideology come in waves. After the socialdemocratic era (1940s-70) and the neoliberal era (1980s-2010s) we seem to be entering a new phase in the evolution of capitalism, in which the “protectivist” state takes centre stage.

(The Great Recoil, Ch. 1)
This is key to the overall approach/method of the book. What matters to politics is not just ideology (in the sense of specific left/right positions), but "master ideology" at any given historical time, broad social consensus on key issues.
When people referred to neoliberalism as "unique thought" they alerted to broad consensus cutting across centre-left/centre-right on benefits of free market, with disagreements on how it should be handled. Even anti-neoliberals ended up accepting some of neoliberalism's premises.
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3 Aug
Best way to read anti-vaxxers is as extreme coping mechanism: control mania as balancing response vis-a-vis a world out of control. When political control is eroded desires of control focus on the only thing one can still partly control: one's own body.
Anti-vaxx sentiment in this sense is similar to many new age practices: extreme diet regimes, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises. Shared aim is control over body and its functioning.
NIMB: not in my body.
Read 4 tweets
3 Aug
The contemporary ideological horizon is defined by the clash between Neoliberalism and Populism and the rise of an Interventionist Neo-statism which presents itself as a solution to this deadlock.

(From “The Great Recoil”, Chapter 1)
The assumption is that what is changing atm is the general ideological horizon on which various left/right views are positioned.
The basic idea notion here is that of ideological eras:
liberal > socialdemocratic > neoliberal > neostatist (?)
The return of the interventionist state was already apparent in the 2010s as the "phantom content" of various "populisms". Advocacy of hard borders on the right; recuperation of Keynesian economics on the left.
Read 9 tweets
22 Jul
Nell'articolo uscito su Le Grand Continent sostengo che siamo in fase di transizione ideologica simile a quelle vissuta a fine '70 che diede vita all'era neoliberista. Lo stato interventista sta tornando.…
Qui alcune idee chiave /thread
1/ L'idea è quella di cicli ideologici che si succedono: 1. era liberista classica fine '800, 2. era socialdemocratica dagli anni 30, 3. era neoliberista da fine '70. Quello che vediamo adesso ha tutto il sentore dell'inizio di una nuova era.
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5 May
With Pablo Iglesias gone it feels a bit like the end of an era. For those in my generation who witnessed occupied squares of 2011 and then their electoral spinoffs (Corbyn, Syriza, Sanders, Podemos) it may seem like the usual boulevard of broken dreams. It ain't.
As Iglesias himself said in his resignation speech "we have changed Spanish politics and broken two-party rule". Podemos has made a wedge into the Spanish political system that is profound and structural.
Same thing for many other countries. Sanders and Corbyn came very close to snatching away a presidential nomination, and winning majority in Commons respectively. This was unthinkable before 2011.
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11 Apr
A must-listen interview with Brian Deese, director of Biden’s National Economic Council on Bidenomics. It highlights profound shift in discourse and policy. Here are some points: thread.…
Deese argues that the massive stimulus and other economic measures taken by Biden are not simply response to the pandemic. They aim at radically redirecting economic system in the long term.
He identifies two major threats: economic inequality and climate change. But his concern is also geopolitical. He fears US is in increasingly bad position vis-a-vis ascending China
Read 12 tweets
7 Apr
Since 2008 scholars have discussed various "variants" of neoliberalism in its zombie phase: authoritarian neoliberalism, punitive neoliberalism, etc. Yet, what we are now witnessing in the West is something quite different from neoliberalism. New concepts are urgently needed.
Neoliberalism's key tenets are all in question:
1) Monetarism: already gone with post-2008 QE
2) Fiscal Conservatism: largest deficits since World War II
3) Global Trade: Biden is almost as protectionist as Trump
4) Low taxation: ppl are discussing a minimum global corporate tax!
Very difficut to chart what comes next, as it is a very fast moving terrain, and hard to discern conjunctural from structural trends. But many signs point to a more statist model of capitalism than the one we have witnessed from late in 1980s to 2010s.
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