We need an alternative to Trump’s nationalism. It isn’t the status quo. The answer to neoliberalism’s Waterloo cannot be the retreat to a barricaded nation-state and the pitting of ‘our’ people against ‘others’ fenced off by tall walls.
The Guardian has suggested that progressive internationalism should be the antidote to populism around the world. It says that one cannot fight Trump’s supposed populism without suggesting and promoting an alternative.
Progressive internationalism is actually just a fancy ways of saying that more people should receive more things from government. We have a sneaking suspicion this is one of the reasons, perhaps a main reason, that Trump was placed into office if indeed he was put there on purpose.
In America the establishment habitually blamed the victims of predatory lending and the failed health system. It was against this insurgency of a cornered establishment that had given up on persuasion that Donald Trump and his European allies rose up with their own populist insurgency. They proved that it is possible to go against the establishment and win.
Alas, theirs will be a Pyrrhic victory which will, eventually, harm those whom they inspired. The answer to neoliberalism’s Waterloo cannot be the retreat to a barricaded nation-state and the pitting of ‘our’ people against ‘others’ fenced off by tall walls and electrified fences. The answer can only be a Progressive Internationalism that works in practice on both sides of the Atlantic.
To bring it about we need more than fine principles unblemished by power. We need to aim for power on the basis of a pragmatic narrative imparting hope throughout Europe and America for jobs paying living wages to anyone who wants them, for social housing, for health and education. Only a third insurgency promoting a New Deal that works equally for Americans and Europeans can restore to a billion people living in the West sovereignty over their lives and communities.
This is the article’s argument as the author sums it up. But in between he has a lot to say about how the other kinds of solutions are bound to fail. He has the most to say about globalism because Trump’s alternative in his view is merely a reaction. Globalism began to fall apart after 2008, the article tells us.
Overwhelmed by “collapsing financial pyramids,” elites ceased to try to persuade the masses and began to dictate to them. “In the UK, over a million benefit applicants faced punitive sanctions. In the Eurozone, the troika ruthlessly sought to reduce the pensions of the poorest of the poor. In the United States, both parties promised drastic cuts to social security spending.”
We agree with this statement to a point. It was true that the elites stopped trying to persuade the masses. But in our view they did so on purpose.
One possibility is that true elites were trying to provoke a series of alternatives. The alternatives were supposes to culminate in a series of alternatives that are now being proposed.
In both Finland and Scotland basic income programs have been brought to the fore. They are pilot programs that are testing the concept. But we would bet they move ahead one way or another.
People are suspicious of such programs but that doesn’t stop their consideration. This is probably because they have elite backing.
We were perhaps the first publication to tease out the globalist versus populist meme in mid-summer. But we always felt there must be something more to it.
Maybe this is the other shoe dropping. It is not enough to observe that populism has confronted globalism, not if you don’t believe in populism.
You need an alternative, and right on time more progressive perspectives have arrived. If we are correct about these programs, they are about to become more and more prevalent.
That doesn’t mean they are a valid alternative however. What is handed out by government can be easily controlled. If people complain or make a fuss on a variety of fronts, government money may be stopped.
Right now a basic income seems like an alternative to other kinds of handouts. But over time it could become a very controlling alternative. The inflation alone would be difficult to overcome.
Conclusion: A basic income undermined by inflation and denied to people who have alternative government perspectives is not a good program in the long-term. It is much better to let people take care of themselves if they can. Self sufficiency is the real liberation.