Just before you rush to accuse me of infantile hyperbole, just consider that the official political opposition in Germany is the neo Nazi, Alternative for Deutschland Party. Sobering. Accompanying the AfD, we now have large swathes of Eastern and Central European governments under the influence of the neo-fascists. In fact, they are already in government. Ditto for Italy. And in France, Marine Le Pen is patiently waiting her chance.  But there is more to ponder. In the USA, the world’s most powerful military-industrial complex, we might be foolishly tempted to dismiss the Trump presidency as a passing phenomenon, a mere narcissistic, corrupt circus buffoon to be ridiculed and scorned. That would probably be a mistake. He has surreptitiously surrounded himself with white supremacists and rabid right wingers who are intent on dismantling the global post-war infrastructure and replacing it with something more pliable to their nationalist fantasies. It’s not that the old imperialist, war-mongering status quo was anything much to shout about – it certainly wasn’t. But what Donald Trump and Steve Bannon have in mind may turn out to be a whole lot worse.

 

 

 

The whole thing hinges of course of the stability or otherwise of the global economy. Despite the red flashing lights of 2008, not much has changed. Corporate, sovereign and personal debt levels are as high as ever – in some instances, even worse than in 2008. And the neo-liberal, free-marketeers still rule the roost across much of the planet. In fact, it has been the unrelenting greed of the neo-liberal free-marketeers that has opened the door for the current batch of right wing nationalists. Playing on both the legitimate and irrational fears of the US and European working classes, demagogues have, like toxic scum, floated to the surface. Unregulated globalised markets alongside a new wave of automation have decimated the old trades and associated securities. The western proletariat is rapidly being reduced to an aptly named precariat. Under globalised, unregulated capitalism, ‘all that was once solid, melts into air’. And in its wake the disorientated workers look for easy scapegoats. The demagogues happily provide them. We’ve been here before.

For the mass of humanity, the choices are grim indeed. A continuation of the neo-liberal mantra that the unregulated markets always know best or take a chance with the new crop of authoritarian, nationalist bigots popping up right across the planet. Not much of a choice. Of course, we should never delude ourselves that the pre-Trumpian, pre-Brexit days were some sort of golden era. They were most certainly were not. While the post-war institutions established by the victors of WW2 brought some degree of prosperity to the West, it has been nothing but imperialist war,  social deprivation and a relentless grinding poverty for the former colonies. And now, spectacularly, that grinding, man-made poverty is coming home to roost.

It is hard to believe that after seventy years of US led ‘peace, democracy and prosperity’ some two billion of our fellow citizens still have no guaranteed access to clean and safe drinking water. Global capitalism has clearly failed. Billionaire philanthropists like Bill Gates pretend to be fixing the problem but they can’t. Capitalism thrives on winners and losers. It’s in its DNA. But globalised capitalism now has its own existential problem: those that might regard themselves as winners are getting progressively fewer in number whilst the proportion of those barely eking out an existence just keeps on growing. Something obviously is going to have to give but what?

For as long as the global economy limps along, the fascist and authoritarian tendencies emerging all around us may be just about contained. Maybe. But if the global economy tanks again, and in all probability it will, especially if Trump insists on pursuing his protectionist trade wars, then expect a full-blown fascist response. It will likely take different forms; religious, nationalist and ‘national socialist’, but its essence will inevitably be the same. A well-entrenched fascist militarism will be rolled out to cope with a globalised capitalism in crisis. Democratic norms, such as they are, will be quickly swept away. Racism, misogyny and homophobia will all intensify. Scapegoats will be manufactured. Dissent will be crushed. New alliances will be formed. Even as we speak, NATO is unravelling, and Trump is busy building new alliances with his fellow fascist autocrats.

Of course, nothing is set in stone. Even in the most dire of circumstances, we humans can intervene. We are not mere props on the global stage, though I must confess at times it feels like we are just that. But I am an optimist at heart. I still believe, perhaps naively, that even after all the setbacks, we humans can still consciously intervene to influence our future.

On a good day, I like to imagine that there is already an alternative global leadership just waiting in the wings ready and able to challenge the gangsters currently exploiting our planet. And who do I see as our new leaders? Well there would have to be Arundhati Roy, Angela Davis, Ayaan Ali, Naomi Klein, Malala Yousafzai, Caroline Lucas and the Pussy Riot activists. There should also be Noam Chomsky and John Pilger, George Monbiot and Ai Wei Wei and of course, Michael Moore and Yanis Varoufakis. And how about recruiting Linton Kwesi Johnson, Zadie Smith, Akon, Chimamanda Adichie, Salman Rushdie, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach. And although I do not have names to hand, no world leadership would be complete without inspired representatives from the world’s indigenous communities. They, I suspect, have much to teach us.

Anyway, I think you get the general idea. Of course, there are tens of thousands, nay, millions of progressive, heroic activists around the global that we in our Eurocentric world have barely heard of. To all of those I send an invite. 

And there is the point. Any leadership beyond this moment in history cries out to be a collective, grassroots leadership consisting of radical environmentalists and civil rights activists rather than a return to the tired and wholly discredited single party with its ‘supreme leader’ baggage. Yes, we want our big names with a proven track record to counter capitalism’s narcissistic demagogues, money launderers and high priests. But to make the planet work for all its citizens the situation demands leadership from below. Diktat from above, no matter how well intentioned, invariable ends up in the same old crappy way.  Obama started out his political journey as a progressive, urbane and cultured activist but ended up as the US CEO governing over the same old matrix of war and impoverishment.

So as our weary world stands precariously on the precipice of a new fascist era, it’s high time to unleash, as a counterweight to the current crop of fascist gangsters, plutocrats and oligarchs, our own global army of enlightened grassroots activists. And no need to wait – the advanced guard are already on the march.

 

End JPK Copyright 14/7/2018

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 29 July 2018 16:25 )