Written By: - Date published: 5:17 pm, October 30th, 2018 - 97 comments
Categories: class war, elections, International, Left, liberalism, Media, political alternatives, social democracy, useless - Tags: brazil, collapse, liberalism, US
As Ben Chu writing at The Independent notes with reference to Brazil –
The extraordinary political rise of Bolsonaro, previously an obscure congressman in a fringe party, is a symptom of […] failure – not just on the part of the Workers’ Party, but the entire political and business establishment.
Glenn Greenwald in the video linked at the foot of this post echoes Chu , but introduces the wider context that’s witnessing the political establishment (the liberal centre if you will) experience electoral collapse in county after country…after country…after country.
The why’s and wherefore’s are a no brainer.
The politics of parties representing political establishments (you see the problem right there?) are entirely divorced from the political concerns of many of the people whose votes they assume to harvest come election time. And I do mean ‘harvest’. There’s a terrible assumption (maybe best and most recently expressed by the US’s Democratic Party) that certain sectors of the population will vote for a particular party, no matter the policy programme or platform “because tradition”, or “because the alternative”…
The US Democratic Party’s woeful showing at the last US election, where they lost to a Presidential candidate so bad that a dead horse’s arse would have seemed like a sweet option to many people if they’d been given the choice, wasn’t an anomaly.
(btw – rumours are circulating that Clinton fancies having another run at it in 2020. Seriously.)
Previously, that same sense of entitlement and complacency oversaw the near entire disappearance of the Labour Party in Scotland. Yes, they used to harvest votes….they owned the farm as it were. And the machinery – as well as possessing the ability to determine when and where it would rain or if it would shine. They controlled the political discourse as expressed by all major media outlets due to extensive networks of influence forged and maintained over decades. They also had ‘generations deep’ voting traditions and habits to draw from and bank on. They were unassailable. Then in the UK General Election of 2015 they lost 40 of their 41 Scottish seats.
There was also the fun of Brexit. Yet again the political establishment cooried up to itself and couldn’t conceive of a world where the electorate wasn’t wrapped up in the same comforting (and delusional) embrace as itself.
The gulf to political oblivion; the detachment that sits beneath that complacent sense of entitlement to someone’s vote is swallowing up a lot of political parties throughout the OECD and beyond these days.
New Zealand isn’t immune. Right now we have a party leading a government that promised transformation about to have its Annual Conference. So popular is that party, and so swollen are it’s membership numbers, that it looks like it’s had to send out public invites in order to fill(?) a town hall that it’s leader will be speaking in during conference.
There are two ways us voters get to stand on the edge of a precipice to gleefully wave down on some rejected political vehicle as it drops like a stone. One way is good. The other probably ends kind of badly.
But after a generation’s worth (or longer) of getting kicked in the teeth by a political establishment that’s more or less abandoned a swathes of us to poverty and bullshit because they favour the pursuit of some nice looking economic graph and ‘balances’, any politician or political party promising an alternative to the “same old” stands a fair chance of electoral success. So, whereas it would be bloody great if a genuine social democratic alternative was on the ballot, if they’re not, a Trump or a Bolsonaro will do. And the reason why, is that the intention is to deliver maximum pain to those politically responsible for these past decades.
If you don’t understand that mentality, try this.
When I was a kid at school, fights were fairly common. The culture being as it was, it wasn’t really an option to back out or run away from any fight that might be coming your way. So this was the deal. Me (wee kid). You (bigger kid). I know I’m in for a kicking. But I’m going to hurt you as badly as I can on the way down. And sure, the longer I keep going, the more bloodied I wind up being. But that’s beside the point. I’m hurting you.
At school, if there was a “fuck you” attitude riding on fists and feet, then in elections, and sadly, for increasing numbers of people, it’s the same necessary attitude riding on a vote.
Many people who voted for Trump didn’t vote for him because they’re idiots. Same with Bolsonaro. The politics expressed by an establishment that blights peoples’ lives “because ideology” need to be brought down. But sure, if you’re one of those who have remained relatively unscathed by the scourge of liberalism, then I guess you might not be quite able to grasp that.
Which means, perhaps, that you’ll position yourself as one, who in defending and excusing political parties wedded to liberalism (for fear of fascism?) acts as an effective roadblock to social democracy. And ‘fighting the good fight’, as you may believe yourself to be, maybe you won’t think to be asking yourself – if not social democracy, what then?