I’m not surprised that the disillusioned, disenfranchised and despairing citizens of the ‘United States of Europe’ have swung to the far Right and that for the first time there will be self-proclaimed neo-nazis in the European Parliament. Not surprised that the French electorate favour Marine Le Pen. Not surprised that in the UK Nigel Farage’s has polled over 25% of the votes cast.
I may not be surprised but I am alarmed.
It would seem that the traditional Left has no compelling answers to the alienation and hopelessness experienced by the peoples of the countries of Europe. The alliance between elected governments and Global Corporate Capitalism (and its lickspittle bankers) has produced a sense of desperation where it is only too easy to suggest that the only recourse is to imagine that fascist and racist fantasies will bring prosperity and safety – whereas the reverse is the case. Fascism and racism cannot, by definition, lead to freedom and enlightenment for all.
Has the Old Left failed? Yes. Failed to bring the universal values of equality, freedom and justice for all to the fore. In the UK for ‘agreeing’ to an agenda set by UKIP so that ‘immigration’, ‘otherness’, and ‘foreignness’ become the territory of debate when the causes of prejudice should be at the heart of the debate.
The poor are not poor because of immigration. The hungry are not hungry because there are ‘strangers’ in the street. Those who are downtrodden, those whom lack access to health, education and welfare are not excluded because there are foreigners in our midst. The poor are poor, the hungry hungry, the excluded and dispossessed excluded and dispossessed because capitalism makes them so – needs them to be so. Where we are all commodities what else can we expect?
Will the Left fail? I don’t know. What I do know is that unless we have values of equality and freedom as the bedrock of our arguments and battles with the Right then we will fight on their terms and that is a battle I’m not sure we can win.
So – what is to be done within the Unites States of Europe? Press for the New and Old Left to join as one and fight for policies that are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights irrespective of any of the categories of oppressive description imposed by those who seek to divide us one from the other.