Margaret Thatcher ruled Britain from 1979 to 1990, more than enough time to destroy the country’s economy. Thatcher was the great promoter of so called neoliberal policy, which she pushed on with extreme brutality. Privatization, attacks on unions and workers’ rights and public services destruction made the UK one of the first countries to suffer the consequences of neoliberalism, reducing part of its population to misery. Thatcher came to virtually abolishing the minimum wage and harshly repressed the miners’ strike of 1984, struggle that lasted a whole year, with pickets formed by thousands of workers and whose defeat was instrumental in breaking the backbone of the British labour movement. That defeat was what allowed the implementation of that policy later to spread to the entire world, coming to Brazil in 1994 with Fernando Henrique Cardoso and whose collapse occurred in 2008.
The result of the program of “free market” was the final fall of the British industrial production, making the UK economy even more predominantly speculative.
It was Margaret Thatcher who still decided to go to war with Argentina over possession of the Falkland Islands.
Despite the obvious disaster of neoliberal policy, except, of course, for the handful of big capitalists and speculators who won with it, until today there are still those who defend them. His biggest supporters and those who have backed her experiments, are today waging a struggle against bourgeois nationalism in the backward countries, which they cynically call “dictatorial”, as the Chavez government, Cristina Kirchner, Fidel Castro, among others.
Most interesting, however, is to note that the policy implemented by Thatcher in Britain, by Reagan in the United States has the third leg, fundamental to the coming of age of neoliberal policies, the murderous Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. While calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist, Thatcher greeted her butcher Chilean friend, with whom she actually had a close relationship.
It turns out that Pinochet was one of the first major policy advocates “neoliberal” and Chile was the great laboratory of neoliberalism, carefully chosen and prepared to receive such a policy of “Chicago boys”, which, given the degree of state control of the economy, could not be done without a very violent repression, which completely crushed the Chilean labour movement and any form of resistance by bloody force. Today in Chile, there is not even a chewing gum manufactured domestically.
The “free market” as conceived by this group, it is important to be clear, is exactly the opposite of what its name would indicate. This is not a free competition economy, something already impossible these days, but the brutal domination of a small group of bankers and capitalist monopolies over the economy, where state ownership in the economy obviously no longer exists, but brutal intervention exists to promote these groups to the detriment of the vast majority of the population.
Thatcher is the evidence, now deceased, that the scorched-earth policy of the defenders of a supposed “free market” is not only ideal to complement the appearance of democracy in imperialist countries, but also the blatant dictatorship of Pinochet, which shows that these are but two faces of capitalism itself, to be used according to the convenience of those who dominate world economy.
Pulbicado no Causa Operária Online número 3417, de 10 de abril de 2013