Joshua Tartakovsky, 13 April 2016
Despite a massive fear campaign that by voting against an EU-Ukraine Association Agreement they would be “helping Putin,” the Dutch courageously defied the EU neoliberal powers with a majority voting No. 32% of the public participated while the Parliament said that it would respect a participation of over 30%. But several days later EU and the Ukrainian President seemed to reach a deal that would provide for a visa-free status for Ukrainians to come to the EU. The vote of the Dutch was ignored. (Of course, anyone who knows the history of EU referendums should realize that this would be the case, with the referendums given to the Irish over and over again (2011, 2012) until the desirable ‘Yes’ was achieved.)
In the United States, erroneous ballots were handed over and delegates voted en masse for Ted Cruz and not for Donald Trump. GOP Colorado also tweeted shortly after that ‘Never Trump.’ The tweet was then deleted. There is a good reason to believe that the GOP establishment will do everything in its power to prevent Trump’s nomination. He challenges the status quo too much. The delegates will move en masse to Cruz at the end. That will defy the popular will of the voters, but who is naive enough to assume we still have democracy? If Trump managed by an odd miracle, for now quite unlikely, to get the delegates anyway, he might be assassinated at some point. Either way, even if the public votes for him which it seems largely willing to do, the powers that be will never allow him to become the president of the United States.
Similarly, in the Democrat Party, we can expect Hillary to win despite many gains by Bernie. The delegates will vote for her. The public will is irrelevant.
The first signs were in Greece, or perhaps earlier, but by now it should be clear to any sane observer that the rule of the 1% is so fortified, with the media and various institutions of power carrying out their will, that the current order will not accept any change by democratic means. It will just not happen. With every passing day it becomes more and more clear that we don’t live in a democracy, we have something else. What is that something else? With the time that, something else will become more visible.
What should be our strategy?
First, we need to understand the big picture. Capitalism worldwide is no longer sustainable and we are moving into a prolonged recession. Since the 1970s wages have remained stagnant while prices have been going up. The middle class is vanishing. More and more people will be fired since they are no longer needed as companies move to automation. Unemployment and underemployment will grow (remember of course that most unemployed are not counted in the official data), as will the militarization of the police in various cities and the confiscation of private farms and ranches. The US is heading towards a third world war with Russia and China, out of its own initiation, to destroy any competition and ensure its hegemony while hoping to take over scarce resources such as gas which Russia has aplenty and dissect Russia (and then China) into manageable pieces, just as has been done elsewhere. When we understand the material conditions and the crisis of the market, we also realize that things will get much worse and that the current democratic game we see is a charade. It is empty.
What should our strategy be then?
Our strategy should be to continue to support candidates and parties who challenge the status-quo, such as Mr. Donald Trump, with the hope that when the system eventually locks him out undemocratically people will understand what happened. Following months of activism and mobilization, they will radicalize further and will not accept such an undemocratic choice. The same applies to supports of Mr. Bernie Sanders, who naively assume he can get elected in the Democratic Party.
The bigger the disillusionment, the greater the backlash. The greater the hope, the greater the anger when people realize that their decisions have no effect. Therefore, the strategy should be to raise expectations, not diminish them.
The ties they formed with one another will allow them to mobilize. The political activism they engaged in will allow them to form new relationships and friendships from which they can grow, learn and work together. More wisdom can be obtained in discussions led in groups rather than individually.
At the same time, people may come to give up hope on political participation altogether. And indeed, the system is making it clear that political participation has no affect. At the same time, the alternative means growing unemployment, homelessness, wars and mass suffering. Securitized cities. Therefore, despair is not an option for those who wish to survive.
In the case of the US, there may be some room for optimism. Thanks to the Second Amendment citizens have guns, and if the power structures lockout candidates that were elected democratically, it is possible that a growing number of people will not let it happen. At the same time in the US, many people are brainwashed by the main narrative, believe unemployment is their fault and are not politically conscious enough. In European countries on the other hand, people have more of a bourgeoisie mentality, and may not resort to massive disobedience once it becomes clear that EU is turning into a dictatorship. They are too concerned about keeping a proper reputation and appearing honorable. But the more the economic crisis hits eventually, the more people will be more courageous in their actions.
Another lesson from past days is that due to the nature of power, a global revolution will not happen. The EU is a club with only one entrance and no exits. All the states that joined it, will now face European laws, and a European police state. (Hungary perhaps is a notable exception and it will be interesting to see how EU will deal with it.) But the strategy of those who are on the socialist path should be to seek out pockets of resistance in countries that may manage to break out of the EU’s sway such as Greece and develop an alternative there, as countries which already joined the power bloc will not be able to organise and will be facing greater authoritarianism and total control. Cuba will survive, but the social future of Venezuela and Brazil is an open question (just see the Peruvian and Argentinian results as an example.)
For those who are in the libertarian camp, or general patriotic Americans who are pro-Constitution, the goal should also be maintaining their control over private reserves, and seceding from the Federal Government.
Where alternatives cut themselves off from the power blocks, new realities can be formed which will then be emulated.
But this process of awakening cannot be speed up, people must learn the hard way and must come to it on their own. The greater the disillusionment, the greater the backlash. And if people wish to live in fear and earn very little, that is their right too.