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2016 – a year of reckoning

The year that is about to pass gives us reasons for hope and profound apprehension. In many ways this year was about power – its application and who possesses it. The powers-that-be have realized their hegemonic control can and will be challenged. The people – long forgotten and taken for granted – are stirring and seething with anger. Nothing has been settled; only the contours of the battlefield are coming into focus.

In a number of ways this year was “the end of the end of history.” The overriding controlling mechanism of the ruling elites has been their neo-liberal world and its attenuating ideology; both were assumed to be permanent fixtures of the social order. Never having doubts or need for introspection, the neo-liberal order only had to be refined and tinkered with – an echo of “further perfecting of socialism” of another political system and epoch.

Of course the people have a role in all of this. In fact we are told this is for our benefit. All we have to do is spend money we don’t have, buy things we don’t need and just vote the right way when the ritualized election cycle comes around. After all, we are told we live in democracies and our consent is required to legitimize an order we had no role in creating in the first place. Now there is a growing recognition that the people do not have to take ownership of someone else’s project. This partly explains the Brexit vote and the rise of Donald Trump.

This world of convenience and collusion for the very few is coming apart at the seams. The neo-liberal order is short-circuiting. This is not at all surprising.

The transmission belt of the neo-liberal order is the corporate mainstream media, which should be called what it really is: corporate mainstream propaganda. The fourth estate has been completely emasculated. It long along abandoned its role of informing publics. Today it is merely a megaphone for the established order. Even worse, it is now an aggressive watchdog to snuff out real and imagined dissent. What is particularly disturbing about this state of affairs is how the political left and progressives actively participate in curtailing debate and alternative views. This lack of tolerance has ignited a fierce reaction – thus the rise of a very robust and popular alternative media.

The neo-liberal order – as part of its genetic order – casts aside conservative values and conservative voters. This approach attempts to ghettoize very large minorities across the western world. So-called liberal civic virtues and what should rightfully be called “Human Rights Religion” are deemed as suitable replacements for traditional western values. Well, conservative values and conservatives aren’t going away, in fact they are mobilizing. The year 2016 may very well be remembered as the start of the “Great Revolt.”

The faux politics dubbed “cultural wars” are no longer as compelling as they once were. The neo-liberal project attempts to create a New Man (or New Person in this case). That being is not recognizable to many. The “cultural wars” do not create identities; they in fact only divide societies. There is no better example than the recent U.S. presidential election – if you voted the “wrong way” you are racist, sexist, and all the other demonizing labels. The neo-liberals’ political correctness is corrosive to identity and that too is being more widely recognized.

This year witnessed a process and awareness come into being and translated into concrete challenges of the status quo. The neo-liberal era of “business as usual” is being called out. Though their resolve and resources should never be underestimated. They won’t retreat without a fight and that fight is before us. We can only hope 2017 will be another year of the “Great Revolt.”

Peter Lavelle is host of RT’s political debate program CrossTalk. His views may or may not reflect those of his employer.

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