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From Bob's archive: Optimism and pessimism, January 2011

This post is from exactly a decade ago, 20 January 2011, and was part of the "Carnival of Socialism" where different socialist bloggers would round up what was going on in the socialist blogosphere. This post marks my engagement with a couple of historical shifts that, looking back, seem very important now. The 2000s had been a period of economic expansion in the global North, which came to an abrupt end in 2008 leading to a period marked by harsh austerity and also by increasingly sharp resistance. (For me personally, in the 2000s I had been increasingly dis-engaged from the radical left, but the age of austerity and resistance made me re-engage more.)  There is an added note of poignancy in that the "recent victim of the government’s slash and burn approach to the public and voluntary sectors" mentioned in the first section was my friend Shaun Downey , who died some months later, after having been made redundant in the post-2008 cuts.  Globally, 2011 was

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