imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Beyond Possessive Individualism

by Niels Annen, Byorn Bohning and Benjamin Mikfe Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Shrinking the financial sector and abandoning neoliberal myths are vital to prevent the next crisis. The authors, German Young Socialists in their 30s, decry the myths that incomes are just, self-interest leads to public interest and economics and politics are separate.


Criticism of financial capitalism does not go far enough. The left must take up the competition of ideas around a new society with democratic conservatives

By Niels Annen, Byorn Bohning and Benjamin Mikfeld

[This article on political strategy published in: Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung newspaper September 22, 2011 is translated from the German on the Internet,]


Measuring the success of political parties by the success of their representatives has become a fashion. But this is too simplistic. An ideology failed, not only persons: the ideology of market-liberal possessive individualism. This way of thinking that reduces freedom to economic freedom of contract has lost its influence in nearly all German parties - although it had a majority in a moderate form from time immemorial in Germany.

With the financial crisis, a disorderly withdrawal from neoliberalism began in the two large camps, the conservatives and the left or red-green. After a lot of effort, the SPD arduously marched backwards in its “third way” and clears away several liberal errors from the red-green coalition – most recently in fiscal policy. Many conservatives question their partnership with their liberal economic companions stylized as a fairy-tale wedding. Historically it is not an accident that shrill fairground barkers have withdrawn or even abandoned their parties.

We remember Gerhard Schroeder wanted everything to be done differently and better in 1998. Today “improving” is understood as mere pragmatic government work, neither capitulating before political conflict nor the final wisdom for social democrats. Rather we must do many things differently today. This presupposes readiness for a modern, not backward-oriented criticism of capitalism and ideology. The excesses of financial capitalism are denounced everywhere now. But this must go deeper if the criticism should lead to changes. Some critical voices presented with verve are only superficial tactics, not a strategy.


To penetrate to the core, refuting and overcoming the market-liberal myths infiltrating parties and heads is necessary. The first myth is that incomes gained in the free play of forces are just and correspond to performance. The current debate over “more taxes on the rich” suffers in that it is only understood as a bailout-measure for a heavily indebted state.

Social prosperity arises out of a complex interplay of many factors. The wealth of individuals cannot be absolutely equated with their performance. The property owner who constantly raises his rents in a trendy part of town makes a higher profit without doing anything… Thus it is right and reasonable when society properly taxes this profit or the property – to maintain the social and economic infrastructure of the cities and create new reasonable living spaces.

The second myth argues the self-interest of everyone maximizes social well-being. The related question whether everyone can do what he wants with his property (after taxes) is affirmed by society so far as it does not have any side-effects endangering the public good. We need universally applicable rules because the liberal view of the person as homo oeconomicus is often false. The conduct of a herd of ego-tacticians can lead to crises and losses of prosperity as shown in the hundred-year history of greed and panic in diverse speculation crises. Unfortunately the social learning curve is remarkably flat. A politico-economic profit brake to enable sustainable economic- and entrepreneurial growth is more important than a debt brake.

The third myth artificially divides our society into an economic and a political sphere. Democracy has to be kept out of the economy. But how convincing is an ideology that asks the weakened state for scarce tax funds when the free play of forces leads to economic collapse? In history, it was and is mostly the state that overcame crises and introduced new growth phases.

The task of democratic politics is to argue for this functioning of the state on the economic terrain. Otherwise the extortion potential of the “markets” endangers democratic civilization – investors always disinterested in the public interest – as we observe again and again in history.


Neither a nostalgic glance back nor trivial answers lead out of the crisis. One fact is clear: an ever-larger part of the politico-economic assets and of the increasing top incomes must be withdrawn from speculative processes. They must be taken away so these assets are steered into genuine future-friendly investments according to the rules of collective democratic reason – in the turn from the fossil to the solar age. How this can be done is contested. A future-friendly social democratic logic must become concrete. The hope of rationally acting market actors is not trustworthy since their rationality today is oriented in naïve, short-term profit explosions.

For this strategy, we need new social alliances. The necessary democratic organization of the economy only finds acceptance when we overcome the artificial separation between the economic “I” and the civil society “we.” The liberal model of democracy is weak and knows no common agreement on economic questions. What connects the banker from Frankfurt with the cashier from Ulm, the Turkish trainee from Dortmund with the creative from Berlin? They can all wave the flag at a soccer match. The political space of our republic is socially and culturally fragmented.

This is indifferent to the liberal; he doesn’t know anything like society. Still a new “we” needs more than a flag and freedom of contract. A democratic squabbling is necessary about the goals we set and the means for reaching them. We have to embed our economy in a new social republicanism that negotiates common economic goals and promotes a culture of cooperation – without hindering concrete economic initiative and personal autonomy.

Such a “we” may no longer be narrowed in a national way. It must be joined to a shared European identity. Therefore defending the European idea and questioning the market model for the European Union is the task of a pro-European social democracy.

In the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung newspaper, Frank Schirrmacher recently expressed doubt in the so-called middle class camp of market liberalism. On “middle class values,” he said: “I am beginning to believe the left is right.” He in no way crossed over to the left but indirectly called to a competition. It is time to contrast the two great political “currents,” the democratic conservatives and the democratic socialists on the political stage and argue what the social republic of Germany (and Europe) should look like.

Social republicanism is an offer to civil society to organize the economy differently. It makes society and the economy better for everyone. As an idea, it is more than the pure rivalry over the better technique of government.

Niels Annen, 38, was chairman of the Young Socialists from 2001 to 2004 and is a member of the SPD party executive. Byorn Bohning, 33, led the Young Socialists from 2004 to 2007 and is also in the party executive today. Benjamin Mikfeld, 38, was the Young Socialist chairperson from 1999 to 2001.

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

Is the Financial Crash 2.0 Coming? A31 10:07AM

The Shortwave Report 08/31/18 Listen Globally! A30 11:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy