Coronavirus crisis has sounded the death knell for liberal globalisation

Article subtitle: 
By accelerating the rebirth of the nation state and the working class, the pandemic will shape a new era.
Article author: 
Maurice Glasman
Article publisher: 
New Statesman - UK
Article date: 
April 13, 2020
Article category: 
Our American Future
Medium
Article Body: 

The left is prone to misunderstanding “crisis” and “revolution”. The financial crash of 2008 led not to a left revival in the UK but to a long period of Conservative rule and ten years of austerity. This period could have offered a reckoning with the failures of globalisation and of democratic politics, an opportunity to resist the relentless pressure capitalism exerts in trying to transform human beings and our natural environment into commodities. Instead, much of the left reheated globalisation in the name of internationalism and, in the UK, the Labour Party could not assert its leadership of the country. This was intensified in the Brexit interregnum, which was resolved decisively by the Conservatives in the December 2019 general election.  

The virus will shape a new era, not by transforming things utterly, as some commentators have said, but by accelerating and consolidating trends that have played out over the last 12 years.
 
The first of these is that the nation state has re-emerged as the primary force within bordered polities. The immediate response to the coronavirus within the European Union has been the reassertion of national controls over borders and the pursuit of national strategies of containment...
 
Issues relating to national autarchy concerning food, water, energy, manufacture and transportation have now become primary issues of statecraft, and will remain so. The consequences of financialisation have never been more apparent. The invisible hand of the market is being replaced by the mighty fist of the state, and national security is rightly no longer considered an exclusively military matter....
 
State sovereignty was once the fundamental tenet of social democracy across Europe...
 
When the virus blows out, capital will be remorseless in recouping its losses. The institutional and political resistance to that needs to be formulated now, and is also central to our current response to the crisis. Netflix, Amazon and Facebook are huge beneficiaries of the lockdown and will consolidate their domination of the tech and home entertainment markets while smaller businesses fold because of lack of income....
 
Globalisation was committed to the untrammelled movement of people as directed by the demands of the market. Belonging, attachment and the importance of place were viewed with suspicion by economic and political liberals....
 
As the pandemic has resulted from one of the less benign aspects of globalisation, a strengthening of local civic immune systems is required. Democratic accountability needs to be strengthened, along with those institutions that sustain local life such as local banks, vocational colleges, and farming and environmental groups. Not least of these concerns is farming and how to achieve food self-sufficiency....
 
With the US retreating into a world of its own, the EU has been unable to lead. China is presenting itself as the global saviour, but questions remain over its food markets, the veracity of its data, and the quality of its medical exports. It blindsided the world by covering up the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan while buying up much of the world’s supply of personal protective equipment in January....
 
Related
 
The Great Discontinuity, by Fred Elbel, CAIRCO, March 15, 2020.