Authoritarianism has become a European, a First World problem.
Donald Trump’s candidacy opened up the discussion on a global scale, personifying all that is wrong in the world, by being his greedy, selfish, sociopath self for the entire campaign.
Trump isn’t the problem though: people who were decent and caring, voting for Trump is the problem. People ready to pick up axes and handguns for Trump is the problem. People attacking people of color, even in London, is the problem. Let alone Golden Dawn in Greece, or other hate groups.
|Victory cake being wheeled into Trump Tower|
How did we get here?
I was my daughter’s age, when Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan decided that capitalism is a system by which we are allowed to hunt each other again, this time financially.
This paradigm, became a political dogma, and today it is called being realistic: this is the status quo and it must remain unchallenged. Should a progressive, or a socialist speak out against it, he or she will be branded a communist, or a totalitarian who does not respect free will and enterprise. We need to remember, that, we still had capitalism, before Maggie and Ronald, without giving up our principles or humanity.
Progressives yielded and a world of increasing inequality and poverty was created. Do we really have to think hard where hate comes from? It must be obvious - it has happened before, again and again and again. The historical examples are there. Every time, it resulted in conflict: local, national or multi-national.
Europe was born as an answer to all this. It had ideals set in stone. It declared that Man, Woman and Child would be at its center till the end of time. Human life was its most valuable commodity and the protection of such life would be undisputed. Today, we are building fences and walls, pushing refugees into the sea. The moment we let go of that principle, we regressed.
We opened up the opportunity for pseudo-radicals, to claim that they will solve everything by dismantling all collective tools, safeguarding peace and actively pursuing prosperity for all, including the European Union. The ground was set for a populist rhetoric of discrimination based on gender, race, nationality, wealth, legal status etc.
If we insist, as Europeans, as citizens of the First World, to remain silent and accept the very recent development of this neoliberal status quo, we will be responsible for all that follows.
We cannot avoid facing the real problems caused by the inequality gap that occurred on our watch, and at the same time point fingers to those voting reactionaries, or even those who choose to monetize politically and financially from a situation that we allow to continue undisrupted.
Be it Farage, Trump, Le Pen, or even Varoufakis who almost bankrupt Greece, thinking that it was good fun to gamble our future on some half baked theory of playing chicken with the elected representatives of 18 countries, that lend their citizens’ money for Greece to get back on its feet.
He didn’t even care to see how the system works. He simply attacked, and almost took Greece with him. What good would it do to anyone to break up the EU? Or a Grexit? Britain is significantly stronger - how are they dealing with Brexit?
There is plenty of room for radical thinking - not insane. It requires a lot of work and analysis of the facts, rather than just pondering on how to communicate to voters how to vote what today does not serve them, how to make them believe that it is worth preserving what today does not serve them.
We need to find a way to declare war on Trickle Down Economics, which as far as I know, it is not even an economic model. It is a political one, ruling on political decisions with regards to regulation, taxation and incentives.
Deregulation meant that the top glass would get as big as it liked, leaving no trickles for all those whose lives depend on that glass actually trickling regularly.
Institutionalized tax breaks, offshore havens and loop holes mean that the very few can amass what should be shared. Money is not abundant. On the contrary, it is strictly regulated. If one collects it all, what happens to the rest? Insult to injury: «oh you didn’t work hard enough, you didn’t try, you rely on government hand-outs, you must be lazy, or worthless».
When did it become OK to be a billionaire whilst paying your employees 7 bucks an hour?
We need to say, not as progressives, nor socialists, but as Europeans, that we made a mistake, some 40 years ago. That this is not working. It will not inflate radicals or hate, it will deflate them. Because we will back it with a solution to all this, a plan, conditional to our courage to sever some ties to todays establishment, for a little while, until capitalism is regulated again.
We need to talk freely about Trickle UP Economics: the political will to make sure that the 99% live above the poverty line, safe, healthy, with access to education. What money is left, can then be amassed by the 1%. Not before.
We also need to understand, that it is our business when Syrian farmers protest because they don’t have water for their land. We shouldn’t have turned a blind eye, the refugee crisis has proved it.
Climate change is a thing, and so is Assad’s regime, Assad who believed that war on these farmers was the solution to a water problem. If Assad and turning a blind eye are OK, then so is Organ in Hungary, the progressives legitimized him.
It is an obscene lie, that one nation can deal with any of this alone. It is an obscene lie, that if we all turn into selfish sociopaths, we will continue to have societies. That is no way to stay safe, or safeguard peace.
The 1% should have been a bit wiser themselves: all they rely on to make money, will collapse if we let them have their way in dismantling all that constitutes smaller and larger societies and unions - all that keeps us human.
So can we beat populism and new forms of authoritarianism? Sure we can. By telling the truth. And by being brave enough to stay true and act where change is needed, beginning with our democratic party-institutions, instead of rigging primaries, respecting the voters. There is no democracy (or election wins) in blackmailing.