I consider myself to be a social-democrat.
Social-democracy is the political branch of which Karl Marx is the progenitor and John Locke it’s godfather. I think that’s a happy and worthwhile mix. In the past, the present and for the future.
Alas, my political philosophy is moribund.
The British Labour Party, the German Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands ( SPD) and my own country’s Partij van de Arbeid ( PvdA), lost their ideals, lost their course, lost their appeal, lost their voters and will be extinct soon. Partly because their leadership jumped on the bandwagon of neo-liberal triumphalism after the competing Soviet Union collapsed in ‘89/’90. Tony Blair, Gerhard Schröder and Wim Kok respectively misled and betrayed their party, their voters, their philosophy. Their potential voters, mainly lower class and middle class people are left in the cold.
It’s even worse. There’s a blizzard raging, bringing globalization and inequality, which in their stride destroy socio-cultural habitats as well as social economical firm ground. It creates huge distrust in national and international institutions. What’s called “reform” in reality is redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.
Outrageously unfair. Vide Piketty.
At the same time the bureaucrats and representatives in charge are rather obscure greedy villains, rather than fighters for their noble cause. Well, at least that’s the perception of the rank and file. And those involved don’t seem to care too much about the motions of disapproval at the ballot boxes.
There also is a lot of anger at the cultural elites who hand over tokens of their local and national identity to supra national institutions or any other pressure group that is to be appeased. It’s being done casually and without much ado.
Social Democratic administrators, politicians, bureaucrats and progressive intellectuals have failed and still fail their grass roots. The men and women in power should take the “99%”serious at long last. Because now for them there’s only the choice of apathy, alienation, taking refuge on the extreme right (hoping for protection of what they perceive as national identity) or the extreme left ( hoping for protection against neo-liberalism).
But left wing extremism can cause a growing number of industrial conflicts and strikes, right wing extremism is breeding ground for xenophobia and scapegoating.
A new strong movement is necessary. One that offers a perspective of safety. One that acknowledges we need a cultural elite which is at least as cocky as the French one, when it comes to defending national traditions. And fulfils the wish for a thorough narrative that presents a convincing, reassuring and aggressive answer to the challenges neo-liberalism puts to the welfare of the 99% ( which perhaps is 80, 82, or 75%).
I’m afraid I will not live to see the changes I hope for. Which of course is inconsequential. My life, that is what remains of my life, is good enough as it is. But a cohesive society demands other solutions than the present situation of ongoing austerity measures and transfer of sovereignty. The working class is competing with cheap exploited labourers from low-income countries, the declining middle class is fighting a losing battle against the privileges of big business and big banks.
In the not so long long run that’s the recipe for economic misery for most people and social disintegration of national society at large.
I’m not opposed to the EU. I’m opposed to the Lisbon treaty. I’m not opposed to globalization. I’m opposed to Big Business taking advantage of the process by restoring 19th century relations between capital and labour.
It’s about time responsible progressive leaders start making a difference for the better.