Friday, June 21, 2024

On The March


Authoritarianism is on the march. Michael Harris warns that we should keep our eyes on Europe:

Across the world the hard right is moving toward centre stage. The latest sign that liberal democracy is in decline comes from an ocean away. But we in Canada would be fools to believe ourselves safely distanced from that tide.

Earlier this month Europe conducted the second largest democratic vote in the world. Four hundred million voters were eligible to choose who sits in the EU Parliament. The most stunning result was a far-right surge — with immediate and dramatic consequences.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo resigned in the wake of the results. His party, Open VLD, won just seven seats, while the two right-wing parties each picked up 20 seats in Belgium’s 150 seat federal parliament. De Croo was left with a one-seat advantage in the seven-member coalition he led and decided that was unworkable.

French President Emmanuel Macron called a snap legislative election for June 30 after his centrist party lost heavily to Marine Le Pen’s far right National Rally party.

Le Pen’s party captured 31.37 per cent of the vote and Macron’s centrist Renaissance coalition only 14.6 per cent. National Rally took 30 seats compared to Macron’s 13. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire pronounced: “This will be the most consequential parliamentary election for France and for the French in the history of the Fifth Republic.”

Although the centre-right European People’s Party will remain he largest party in the European Parliament with about 186 of the chamber’s 720 seats, the right is now positioned to be in the running to form governments in France, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Germany.

Post-pandemic, the world is taking a nasty turn:

None of this accidental. It is, in part, blowback from inflammatory political rhetoric. Donald Trump, for example, refuses to rule out violence if he loses the November election. That moves him from being a polarizing figure to an instigator, just as he was on Jan. 6, 2021. He has warned that there will be “death and destruction” if he is jailed over his recent 34-count criminal conviction in the Stormy Daniels hush-money case.

It is a dangerous message. A study released last year showed one in four Americans thought political violence was justified to “save” the country. Among just supporters of Trump the number jumped to four in ten.

Thanks to social media platforms, found another U.S. report on the growing embrace of political violence, there is a great deal of “anonymous rage” out there.

Not only is a convicted felon, sex assailant and tax fraudster positioned to win back the White House, his iconoclasm has apparently turned the GOP into the Lawless and Disorder party.

We're in for a rough ride.


jrkrideau said...

Some of those European election results are not exactly encouraging but, on the other hand, that we may have to ask ourselves why. I'd say it looks like the more supposedly centralist parties that are losing are just not listening to the voting population. 

In France since Macron was first elected we've had the ongoing demonstrations by les gilets jaunes, massive civil unrest over proposed pension changes that probably are not actuarially necessary but please the wealthy. Then we had farmers delivering manure spreaders of dung to various government offices and tractor convoys blocking highways and, if I remember correctly, even a couple of border crossings into Spain. I don't know, this strikes me has indicating that a fair number of voters in France are not really pleased with government policies.

In Germany, we see massive farmer demonstrations complaining about drastic changes in agricultural policy. These may be even more significant than the farmers demonstrations in France because demonstrations and strikes are much more a national sport in France. The surprising rise of the new left wing party, Alliance Sahra Wagenknecht – Reason and Justice, suggests that it's a somewhat viable alternative to the current Traffic Light  in office that is wanted rather than a true move to the right.

Since the beginning of the Russian "Special Military Operation", some of the sanctions and other actions  that the NATO countries and others have taken against the Russia have drastically raised energy prices that are devastating German industries. Major manufacturer are prospecting for new places in China or the USA to open production facilities. This is not healthy for employment or general prosperity. 

In the Netherlands, again we I've seen some fairly notable farm demonstrations no slightly different causes I think. There are probably lots of other complaints there but I'm not up on the Netherlands enough to know.

The last 14 years of the clown show in the UK with the Conservatives replacing Prime Ministers weekly, okay I'm exaggerating slightly, but with a history of incompetence and pretty obvious corruption combined with the disastrous Brexit suggests that the Tories may be facing a wipe-out similar to Mulroney's débâcle in 1993. The current Labour Party does not look to be much to the left of the Conservatives but it offers a distinct change, at least in the faces in Parliament.

We may not be seeing a move to the right as much as we were seeing a general disgust with  all the parties have been in power quite a while and are not addressing the concerns of your average voter. Voters, out of frustration, are willing to vote for anybody that offers a decent alternative, or even a half decent alternative.

Owen Gray said...

I agree that voter frustration is running pretty high, jrk. But going from the frying pan into the fire is no solution.

jrkrideau said...

But going from the frying pan into the fire is no solution.
Op, I agree but when we get levels of frustration reaching such high levels people seem willing to try anything.

Have a look at Argentina. The voters there elected Javier Milei as President. From what I can see, Milei is crazy. He makes Donald Trump and Danielle Smith look like middle-of-the-road liberals. Heck, he makes Caligula look restrained.

Still, he got elected from what appears to be total despair with the existing politicians and a lack of any alternative.

lungta said...

Both comments are on point.
It is almost like something other than the vote or governing party is in control. Now or ever.
Is it the Golden Rule?
Them that has the gold makes the rules?
There is no interest in humanity especially if your share increases the less care you take of people.
Corpocracy ,as Mussolini so aptly put it, the marriage of government and corporations. Often mislabeled as fascism.
Lots will play with glee and defend interests not their own just to be on the "winning" side. Until they are not.
Politics is a serial promise of sharing with the poor and tax relief and a continuous raping of the poor and enriching the rich. The bits the public get are what the rich are unable to siphon away.
The most damaging human trait currently is the inability to admit being wrong (I think that is why science is so despised as it continues to evolve and change)
I expect the next governance will be bone chilling brutal.

Trailblazer said...

R, We may not be seeing a move to the right as much as we were seeing a general disgust with all the parties have been in power quite a while and are not addressing the concerns of your average voter.!!
Disgust or not; changing political rulers will have little effect until we rid ourselves of 'bought' governments.
It is the Lobby groups that bend the will of the people and financiers that move wealth around to avoid taxes and the multinationals who move manufacturing around the world to suite investors that make our daily decisions.
Governments are ineffectual at controlling these issues.


Owen Gray said...

Money and Arrogance are a fatal combination, lungta.

Owen Gray said...

And, whenever we try to limit the amount of money allowed in politics, the attempt at reform gets undone, TB.

Owen Gray said...

As Macauley reminded us, jrk, power corrupts. The longer one enjoys it, the more addictive it becomes.

Northern PoV said...

The success of the right wing movement is at least partly enabled by all the milquetoast 'centrists' who make war not peace, criminalize the peace activists in their own countries and let the rich off-the-hook.

Will the coming collapse be met with human solidarity as we struggle to survive and share what's left?

Not if these harbingers of chaos continue to prevail.

A tiny ray of hope ... the French left has made compromise pact to run a joint list.

Eons ago, the NDP & Libs were offered the same type of deal (via the Joyce Murray and Nathan Cullen leadership campaigns). If it works in France we should follow suit here ... perhaps encouraged by a suffering a devastating electoral loss to the likes of Lil'PP.

Owen Gray said...

But, if Poilievre wins big, that deal could be a long time coming, PoV. Time's short for the planet.

jrkrideau said...

@ lungta
The most damaging human trait currently is the inability to admit being wrong (I think that is why science is so despised as it continues to evolve and change)

One of my favourite books: Tavris, C., & Aronson, E. (2007). Mistakes were made (but not by me): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts. Harcourt.

Owen Gray said...

The passive voice allows you to avoid responsibility, jrk.

jrkrideau said...

The passive voice allows you to avoid responsibility,
Of course it does. That's what make the title so funny (well at least if your background is in psychology). I just loaned my copy to a clinical psych grad student who broke into laughter upon seeing the title.

Owen Gray said...

We have to take humour where we can find it, jrk.