We all know we are in a mess. The problem is, our choices for what to do to rectify it and move forward to something better, seem as futile as each other.
We can sit back and tell ourselves that our leaders corrupt, incompetent and venal as they seem to be, actually do know what to do and do have our best interests at heart. Good luck with that, if that is your choice.
We can decide the political process, both the democratic process and the laws which should protect it, are all now so corrupt and so owned that poltical engagement is futile. What is the point in voting, we can say, when our only choices are parties which are not even prepared to discuss any alternatives to the ‘bail-out the banks and force the public to suffer cuts to pay for it’ plan, which they all proclaim is the only way?
But what then? Prepare for mass civil disobedience? Armed resistance? How many of us are actually prepared or preparing? Who among us is finding out how to organize for revolution or violent resistance? Anyone? Which leaves us where?
It seems to me that the political process, if not already broken and wrested from us, is out-gunned and ill equipped to deal with the forces ranged above and against us. But rather than turn from politics and either roll over and play dead, or pretend to ourselves we are simply waiting and preparing for violent revolution we must take back the democratic process. It was ours. It must be ours again. And I think we can do it.
Here is my proposal.
Founding another political party, or throwing oneself into one or other of the smaller parties does indeed feel futile. How long would it take to build such a party, to elect local councillors, then County councillors and finally to aspire to a single MP? Too long. And then what? A political party can be top of the heap in Ireland, Portugal or Spain but if it tries to rein in the global banks and their system, they simply say,’You can’t do that. You can’t regulate us.’ And they are right. A large part of what has been so dispiriting about the political failure of the last 5 years and more, is the way that the internationally organized financial system has again and again faced down nationally based political power.
Our political system and it’s power is 19th century. It is based upon and limited by National boundries. The banks are not organized nationally. They are organized internationally. They laugh at national boundries and the petty powers they circumscribe. We are trying to fight men who have invented Iron, with stone. We are losing.
So let us orgaize a new politics and a new party internationally. I propose we found a new party – which is organized from the outset, internationally. And we already have one venue where we can organize internationally – Europe.
Now to those of you who distrust the European experiment. I agree that the European experiment has been corrupted and turned into a charter for busy-body bureaucrats and corporate lobbying. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can take it back. Look at Nigel Farage. You don’t have to agree with him or even like what he argues for. The fact is – he has made a platform for himself. He uses the power of being elected in Europe against Europe. There is a path to power waiting for us.
There is no point in creating another party to fight for national power. So let us not bother. Instead, we know what the core crisis is, and we know that it translates perfectly across all national boundries because the same crisis is afflicting us all. Imagine we found a party – the same party – in all our nations. We make it clear that our intention, our focus is to elect MEP’s not MPs. Let people vote for who they feel comfortable with in local and national elections. We would never become a power in any nation – so let us not waste out time trying. Especially because such national power is useless against international foes.
What we must do is set aside the rest of our political and philosphical differences to forge an international European party. One that concerns itself with protecting us internationally and does not seek to meddle where it has no mandate. Let the local govern the local. I believe we not only must do this but can do this. Libertarian or Marxist, Spanish or German, MMT or Gold standard, none of these is the core of this fight or the crisis in our democracy. We all know what the crisis is that is facing us. We all know the forces tearing up our democratic process and undermining the rule of law. We all know the crisis is affecting us all, in all our nations in all our lives and homes. It is affecting all our children. We can and we must unite to fight this common enemy. When we have taken back our democracy and brought the rule of law to bear upon all equally once again, we can return to the fun business of calling each other rogues and knaves as democratic peoples have the right to do. But if we do not unite to fight together the power ranged against us all, then we will not have a democracy. Not a real one. Of course we will have the dress up version where we can dress in its clothes and pretend. Like children playing doctors and nurses. But if we want the radical content of our democracy back, we must put our differences aside for a while. Fight this fight first and foremost.
Just imagine if we could get only one MEP elected in a country, but managed to do so in several countries. Is that impossible? We would still be no one in each of our nations. A minority party destined never to attain national power. Fine. That’s not the power which we are after. But if we had one MEP from each of 10 nations we would be a power in Europe.
The weakness of politics in Europe, what makes it such a monumentally flatulent talking-shop is that all the parties there are nationally based and focussed. When they send representatives to Europe they arrive as the poor-relation extrusions of parties concerned with national agendas and national policies. They form blocks which achieve little or nothing except flaccid and wordy compromise.
No matter how powerful a party is at home, when in Europe it has no mandate to speak for anyone at all beyond its own narrow national boundries. We, our party, organized internationally would be able to legitimately say we had a direct mandate to speak for a minority in ALL the nations from which we were drawn. That, I believe is a new kind of power.
Our strap line might be – “Why vote for another No-Hope national party, when you could vote for the Only Hope international party.
I propose our platform should be –
To stop bailing our insolvent banks.
To force private debts back on to those whose debts they were. They pay them or they die trying.
To recapitalize solvent banks to take the place of the insolvent.
To separate the casino from the deposit side of banking.
To raise the bar for ‘confidentiality’ so high you need binoculars to see it. A presumption of open public acces for ANY information for any public or publically traded body.
To roll back and severely limit the rights of corporations as people-like entities. They are not people. They should not have those kind of rights.
To regulate Derivatives.
To declare that all products must be marked to market. No excpetions. Those products the bankers say are hard to price … their problem. No one forced them to make hard to sell and price products.
To enforce the law upon those responsible for the fraud of the last 5 years.
To STOP the revolving door from finance to politics.
To hugely limit lobbying and party donations.
To reinstate very tight limits on leverage. Which will include bringing within such law the trades in Euro-dollars.
To take swift, Europe wide action against tax havens and the off-shore industry.
Essentially if you want to do any business in Europe you abide by our laws you meet our standards or you don’t do any business here.
I believe a tightly defined and focussed platform will translate into all our countries.
Could we do all of this on day one? No. What could we do? Look at what one bloke in Scarborough with no access to any privy information and no authority has already done. Now imagine ten such people with the authority of the people who elected them as MEP. What could they not do?
I suggest we call this party – if the name is free – “99%”