The Status of Socialism in Europe 2015

Since I wrote a post on the status of capitalism, I thought this could be an informative extension. With Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece and conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle-East, it is interesting to speculate on what the future holds for the EU and its neighbourhood.

Let’s start in Sweden. The last couple of years, the right-wing coalition steered Sweden towards a more neo-liberal end on the social democratic scale. It’s still a fairly socialist place but income disparity has increased a bit. Recently, the red-green coalition took over, but the only notable change in Swedish politics is the rise of the nationalist party the Sweden Democrats. These trends, pointing both towards the left and the right (and in a green direction, which some define as a separate axis) reflects similar trends in the rest of Europe. These trends can be summarized as socialism and nationalism.

Let’s deal with nationalism first. According to this description, the rise of Podemos in Spain follows a road-map copied from national-socialist movements in South America. Basically, as I understand it, the narrative of liberalism is not compelling enough to the public to sustain a capitalist policy. This leads to disgruntlement and criticism, opening up for a new ideology. I’ll skip most of the terminology in the article for the sake of simplicity, but in my view this is the definition of populism, or not very constructive whining as I usually call it.

The people is diverse and can’t be united under the banner of the working class, but they can find brothers and sisters in whining. The threats are obvious; Islam, Russia, immigrants and austerity. Globalization has opened up the minds of Europeans and opened up countries as well. The disparity between the West and the rest draws poor people to Europe. The same people who want to be pampered complain about foreigners coming here to take all the jobs. It would’ve been ironic if it wasn’t too stupid to achieve the level of irony.

NATO wanted a base on Crimea to control the Black Sea, post-imperial Russia responded with a clumsy invasion of Ukraine; the end result being that e.g. Sweden reintroduced military refresher training to the surprise of many men who are too old to look good in camouflage. Meanwhile, Turkey is doing… I don’t know what the fuck they’re doing, and the Arab world is on fire. This of course as a result of the oil-colonialism practiced by the West. Anarcho-syndicalists peer longingly at the Kurds, knowing it can’t happen in Europe without a war and/or with a new political narrative or movement.

Instead, the void of despair in Europe now becomes jointly filled by the left (or perhaps left-green) and the protectionists who fear war and foreign cultures. This is a fragile truce between traditional foes, but as with Syriza in Greece, the solution is to agree to the smallest common denominators, a few vital policy documents and ignore any deviations, any targeted activism and accept everyone who is willing to sign those documents regardless if they also happen to be nazis or communists. This pragmatic approach creates a broad political consensus, which splendidly transmits via media to the masses as the article on Podemos described.

So, not only has the left been infiltrated politically and not only has the working class become unclear but the ideals of equality have been corrupted from within. What I mean is that socialists are fighting passionately for the equal redistribution of wealth within their little country, completely forgetting that all that wealth is thereby still being hoarded and withheld from the rest of the world. This is different from, but relevantly comparable to, ecological farming in the West and how it preserves the post-colonial inequality when implemented in developing countries.

Within Europe, there is another development in line with this new national-socialism. Today, Catalan nationalists have agreed to attempt to separate the north-west of Spain from the rest of the country by 2017. The situation in Britain is similar. UKIP, the right-wing populists want to split from the EU. Meanwhile SNP, Scottish nationalists, want to split from the UK; they narrowly lost the popular referendum, but the overall trend is what is typically known as federalism, with Brussels as capital. Each nation or even region gains more autonomy, on condition that the outer walls (that is, the borders of the EU) are raised higher. Isolating EU allows for both more autonomy for minorities and more redistribution of wealth, as long as it’s all kept within the borders. In particular, the labour force is not allowed to move freely or settle in Europe and even Europeans who try to leave might get sent to prison. Either way, this has the potential to replace national identities with a European identity paired with individual or regional identities.

This is not a far cry from the Nazi national-socialism; in particular when compared to Hitler’s vision of Fortress Europe. I havn’t even mentioned Africa yet, despite the proximity, that in itself is a testament to isolationism (and post-colonial control).

In summation, I don’t know what the future holds, but it is clear that socialism in Europe at the moment is in bed with isolationists and has been in bed with neoliberals for several decades.

Post Scriptum

Apparently a new British political party called the Northern Party was just formed the day after I wrote this, as if to confirm my speculations: “There are 15 million people in the north of England and we are much stronger together.”

Post Post Scriptum

As the British General Election concludes it is clear that the big winner is the nationalist, socialist SNP.

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