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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Neoliberalism Appropriates Egalitarianism

One of the greatest parts of McGuigan’s book is a discussion of how the idea that public provisions should not be extended to everybody actually does the dirty work of neoliberalism. 

Remember how Bernie was demolished for suggesting free college for everybody? And a bunch of idjits started clamoring that he was trying to make taxpayers pay for billionaire kids attending community college? 

And remember how Canada’s Justin Trudeau is eliminating childcare provisions for the well-to-do?

They mask behind egalitarian rhetoric while taking a very tried and true step in the direction of dismantling welfare. The idjits and Trudeau are creating (or reinforcing)  a structure of feeling where means-testing reigns supreme. The next step is to wield the means-testing in a way that will cut off almost everybody and voila! No more welfare for anybody. 

It’s insidious as shit because the rhetoric of fairness is appropriated to serve neoliberal ends. Yes, we have bravely resisted Bernie’s insidious plan to pay for community college for Trump’s grandkids. Yippee for us. 

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9 thoughts on “Neoliberalism Appropriates Egalitarianism

  1. Stringer bell on said:

    “Remember how Bernie was demolished for suggesting free college for everybody? And a bunch of idjits started clamoring that he was trying to make taxpayers pay for billionaire kids attending community college? ”

    Hillary herself made that argument. And it infuriated me.

    We always talk about how republicans have cynically used race to divide people. But centrists aren’t far behind. They just use race differently. So anyone criticizing Obama for taking huge $$$ for speeches to wall street gets hit with this:

    This is an unapologetic liberal, manning the most popular political-comedy show on cable, appropriating the language of civil rights to defend his idol making $400,000 an hour. It’s disgusting to me. Liberals do it all the time, and this was the main reason why I never supported Clinton in the primaries.

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    • God, I so agree! Making this about race is just beyond low. Like I’d be all for it if Obama were white? Seriously?

      This is on the par with the argument that there is no racism in this country because there was a black president. Yes, Obama is rich. Now, how about the earnings of the rest of black men? Do we care about that in this hugely post racist society?

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  2. adrianaurelien on said:

    Hm, that had kind of been my thinking, although I wasn’t opposed to free college for everyone either (I’m not too picky about details, honestly.) But I think this post changed my mind.

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    • Oh, wow. I’m glad. I knew the argument bothered me but I didn’t know why.

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      • adrianaurelien on said:

        To be clear, I was always for free community college for all, but a bit more ambivalent about paying for other universities. But my only reason for hesitating was to save tax money, so my opinion wasn’t strong.

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  3. el on said:

    \ And a bunch of idjits started clamoring that he was trying to make taxpayers pay for billionaire kids attending community college?

    As if :

    A – billionaire kids would attend a community college

    B – their parents haven’t paid in taxes enough to let the kids attend community colleges without demanding more money

    C – the kids always get financial support if parents are rich

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  4. TomW on said:

    Slightly off topic. Have you heard that a group of graduate students at Yale has gone on a hunger strike to force the university to recognize their union?

    I support the right of graduate students to form unions to lobby for better treatment, but I can’t imagine that Yale’s treatment of its graduate students is so horrible that it could ever justify a hunger strike. I mean, if it were that bad the students would be dropping out or switching to different universities.

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    • I wad part of that organization, and oh, the stories I could tell.

      The hunger strike is a total joke. Especially since there’s no real hunger. The strikers agreed to eat whenever they really wanted to during the strike because they say it’s mostly symbolic. It’s more of a “I’m on a hunger strike, so let’s go grab a pizza” thing.

      The compensation package for PhD students in the 6 departments in question is amazing. The best on the continent.

      I’m a union person and I’m all for unions but the actual state of affairs needs to be recognized. A grad student in the Humanities at Yale gets $30K per year on top of a fantastic health insurance package. This is the kind of funding you get for 5 years and you only have to teach 1 course per semester in 2 of those years. Not too shabby!

      Like

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