I guess our blogs might be documents future social historians could refer to when they talk about the great stock market crashes of 2008. In general left blogs have acquitted themselves well, in my opinion. There are no hostages to fortune, no predictions of imminent economic apocalypse or an unravelling of capitalist relations of production. Most I've seen have soberly analysed/commented on the crisis, noting its immediate impacts, the strategies open to governments and how capitalism might be reshaped in the longer term.
But what about left bloggers themselves? We're very good setting out what we're thinking, but what are we feeling? I guess it's something we're not used to talking about seeing as we are part of an activist culture that always tempers moral outrage with scientific analysis. But then there's the question of how to feel when it comes to something as large as this crisis. For most of our class at present (and leaving aside the ridiculous increases in food prices this past year) it is something intangible and abstract, and whatever we might be feeling right now is not yet coloured by the misery and despair crisis drags in its wake. But I am going to stick my neck out, and say a few things that might come back and haunt me at a later date.
Despite the scale of what's unfolding before our eyes, I'm not feeling the same sense of foreboding that clouded my brain in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. I cannot avoid schadenfreude. It feels good to see the arrogant financiers, bankers and other witch doctors of voodoo economics despair as their world crashes around them. Its pleasing to see Thatcherite dogma disintegrate in the face of great events as the free marketeers of yesterday go cap in hand to previously neoliberal governments for bail outs. And very, very satisfying to see these former masters of the universe thrash around for some kind of explanation, no matter how absurd.
But there's more than a touch of self-satisfaction. I'm filled with a sense of political optimism I haven't felt in a long time. Can one have the audacity to hope, again? What is sure is the old neoliberal certainty is gone, even if its rotten stench might linger around for a while yet. But there is a new space for ideas. Keynes has been disinterred from his crypt and the necromancy of the 'new' state intervention is reanimating his ideas. But more importantly the spectre of Marx is abroad once again, haunting the nightmares of the bourgeoisie. The attempts at exorcism by the likes of Simon Heffer and Rowan Williams just go to show how anxious they are.
In this period of ideological flux there is an opening of political space that hasn't meaningfully existed in Britain since Labour's defeat at the 1992 general election. There are new opportunities for socialism to provide answers and alternatives to new audiences, and deep down every socialist knows this. If you do have a bit of a spring in your step, there's no need to feel guilty about it because millions are facing unemployment and hardship. Embrace that feeling, get active and organise!