Slow Politics

Britain’s dealing with a Conservative Prime Minister in a coalition with Liberal Democrats. Rather than steamrolling through the aggressive (and regressive) plans for change that he’d initially penned, David Cameron has to negotiate a little with the Lib Dems. Just a little, mind. It’s not like he’s having to discuss this with folk who are fierce ideological opponents. Liberalism once had some fairly impressive views about social change and the evils of private property but today, Liberal Democrats are Conservatives’ super-ego: they’ll moralise, opine, quake and then let the free market do its thing. But at least there’s the illusion of a coalition government, in which tough ideological differences need to be overcome.

The New Statesman recently carried a piece which drew on my treatment of Zapatista politics, of what I called ‘Slow Politics’. Michel Bauwens at the P2P Foundation asked whether I could make the discussion available and so, for what it’s worth, here are the few relevant pages from The Value of Nothing. Be warned, though. There’s little here that Cameron and Clegg might be able to adopt. Changing the tempo of the LibDem-Conservative coalition is unlikely to change its politics. What the Zapatista’s demand is something altogether more democratic, something that treats property relations very differently, and asks much more from citizens than simply for patience while their leaders sort things out….

The Value of Nothing – Slow Politics