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NLR 4

What Is to Be Done? A Manifesto for Politics Amid the Pandemic and Beyond

A series by Radhika Desai

  • The fate of capitalism hangs in the balance of international power

    Most commentary on international relations proceeds as if the global order floated above the patchwork quilt of the world map, an ethereal stage on which disembodied states play leading or bit parts in consequential but ultimately inexplicable plots. Inadequate at the best of times, such commentary will not serve when the fate of capitalism itself hangs in the balance of international power.

  • Know your enemy: The dangerous futility of pseudo-philanthropic neoliberalism

    How have Western responses to the pandemic remained within the neoliberal paradigm, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding? What does the behaviour and activities of its major leaders tell us about the new phase of neoliberalism which they will attempt to establish? Why is it almost certain to fail?

  • Political hope in search of an agent

    The left faces an historic disparity between its own long-depleted abilities and the hopes it has begun nursing. Its abilities—levels of union organization and votes for left-of-centre parties, to take only two of the more obvious indicators—have taken a beating amid the neoliberal assault of the past four decades. If one takes a longer historical view, its debility appears even more serious.

  • From pandemic to political pandemonium

    The present crisis mixes public health, economic and political crises. Each consists of the pandemic bringing decades-long processes of decay and decomposition to a head. As more and more governments move to relax lockdown restrictions while curves of infections and deaths flatten, rather than letting up, each of these crises is intensifying.

  • Political hope rises

    There is no pre-pandemic normal to return to. Neoliberal capitalism is certain to emerge from the present crisis transformed. There is, however, the question of how and by whom: by left forces in a progressive direction or by those of capital and the right in an even more authoritarian direction? That is what is politically at stake in the present moment. That is what this manifesto is about.

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