The battle between people and capital continues. George Monbiot writes that, for the last forty years, capital has been winning. The problem is our first-past-the-post political system:
Our system allows the victorious government a mandate to do what it likes between elections, without further reference to the people. As we have seen, this can include breaking international law, suspending parliament, curtailing the judiciary, politicising the civil service, attacking the Electoral Commission and invoking royal prerogative powers to make policy without anyone’s consent. This is not democracy, but a parody of democracy.
By contrast to our five-yearly vote, capital can respond to government policy every second, withdrawing its consent with catastrophic consequences if it doesn’t like its drift. There’s a massive imbalance of power here. The voting power of capital, with modern trading technologies, has advanced by leaps and bounds. Electoral power is trapped in the age of the quill pen.
Our political parties are trapped in the old paradigm. In moments like this, real opposition comes from outside parliament:
The democratic and environmental crises have the same roots: our exclusion, for several years at a time, from meaningful politics. In some places, particularly Ireland, Iceland, France, Taiwan, British Columbia, Ontario and several Spanish and Brazilian cities, a host of fascinating experiments with new democratic forms has been taking place: constitutional conventions, citizens’ assemblies, community development, digital deliberation and participatory budgeting. They are designed to give people a voice between elections, tempering representative democracy, allowing them to refine their choices.
There are historical analogs:
Like the suffragettes and the civil rights movement, it was excoriated for threatening “our way of life”. Almost all democratic advances, everywhere, have been secured by people who were branded “anarchists” and “criminals”.
Today's opposition generally falls under the title The Extinction Rebellion. If that rebellion generates policy changes, there is hope for the planet. If it doesn't, we do -- indeed -- face extinction.