It’s Happening in Many Countries Beside the U.S. Every single country that has been governed by corporate-centrist principles that favor the interests of the wealthy and big business over needs of regular working people, are showing the results: Falling poll numbers for the leaders, mass-anger and demonstrations, and in some cases, society-wide instability, cynicism and division. Also, we see the usual scapegoating that can be expected from the far-right in any time of turmoil.
France’s “Yellow Vest” Is Largely Pushback Against Corporate-Centrist Policies
France’s Macron has pushed corporate-centrist policies that hurt regular workers while benefitting the wealthiest citizens and business owners. He has cut pensions and wages, loosened regulations on big corporations, weakened labor unions and cut taxes on the wealthy. Perhaps Macron just can’t help it -He was an investment banker before he became President, and apparently still thinks like one -Putting priority on helping rich investors from the “top-down”, while ignoring the needs of the masses. Such policies have provided the fuel of mass-discontent for the furious “yellow-vest” movement, as well as fueling anger among the opportunistic anti-immigrant nationalist right.
England’s Center-Right Policies Are Taking Their Toll
Prime Minister Theresa May of England, like Macron of France, was originally an investment banker (May’s husband, Phillip, still is).
Predictably, May has led her country’s economy in the typical top-down fashion of an investment banker. She has continued many corporate-centrist type policies (as promoted by her predecessors like Margaret Thatcher), that have pushed her poll-numbers, as with Macron’s, down, down, down, and are contributing to increased unhappiness and social instability there.
May’s policies of austerity (mass cuts to benefits of all kinds that help regular people) have been good for bankers, but are predictably seen as unfair and cruel by much of the population, who reap only pain, and no benefits.
Sweden, Germany and Other European Countries
Mass public discontent, xenophobia and sadly, Fascism as well, feed on the deep social divisions caused by neoliberal/corporate-centrist economic policies that, while desired by banks and the investor class to increase profits, impose austerity (i.e. pain) on the masses. This has happened in Sweden, which has been governed by right-centrists for years, who have cut taxes on corporations and poorly-managed (or made cuts in) Sweden’s lauded social welfare system.
In the European Union, it is Germany who calls most of the shots economically, and many of Europe’s economic policies are imposed on the continent by that nation. These policies are corporate centrist and are not popular. Greece, Spain and Italy are suffering the most austerity at this time.
Angela Merkel’s policy vision is “of a Europe of shrivelled public ownership and a minimal welfare state. The overarching conception of European integration here is competition among member states for the lowest wages, pensions and benefits”.
Merkel’s neoliberal, corporate-friendly “centrist” policies have pushed Germany and a number of European countries to the right in reaction:
As pointed out by Chris Hedges, it can happen anywhere -Corporate-centrist/neoliberal policies of austerity that favor elites while causing pain for the masses, can lead to fascism.
A Scary Lesson from History -The Weimar Republic
In a famous historical example, corporate-centrist-type policies have led to abject fascism, and are ominously similar to recent events in some countries. Weimar Republic’s austerity measures that hit the mass of working people very hard while favoring big banks, were prime causes of the dissatisfaction and rage that fed into the rise of the Nazi party in Germany in the early 1930s.
Oh Canada, How Could You?
Presently, even in Canada, Trudeau has cut business taxes and is currently depriving Canadian Postal Workers of the right to strike, which is a classic corporate-centrist-type policy in that it puts the benefit of institutions ahead of benefitting average citizens and workers.
In addition, moderate cuts have been made to Canada’s healthcare system in recent years (by the Harper administration), which have somewhat degraded services, but not yet to an extreme degree.
How far Canada will go down the road of neoliberal corporate centrism, only time will tell.
Wealthy corporate interests are pushing corporate-centrism-neoliberalism/austerity in many places around the world, and the USA is in the crosshairs of that campaign.
Of America’s Two Parties -One Is in Question, While the Other Is Hopeless
The GOP is currently hard in the grip of corporate interests, and seems unlikely to get any better. If anything, the Republican Party looks more likely to move even farther to the right. Who does that leave to do The Peoples’ work?
In America, the Democratic Party, in lieu of a powerful left-populist party which doesn’t exist yet, is currently the only hope to avoid mass turmoil and perhaps even fascism in the not-too-distant future.
The Democratic Party Must Renounce Corporate Centrism
The Democratic Party must find a way to throw off the corporate yoke of campaign financing by wealthy interests, and serve the peoples’ needs. A great place to start would be with a Green New Deal (as has been proposed by its Progressive wing), or something very much like it.
The best way to evaluate the Democratic Party’s ability to be a party of The People, is to vote them into power, make clear Progressive demands, and see how the officeholders perform.
If, somehow, through some song-and-dance routine of avoidance or “fracturing” or procrastination, the party avoids enacting at least some of the strongly populist polices it was mandated to do by popular vote, then the party will be revealed as deceptive and non-performing for The People. It could be a devastating moment.
Perhaps at that time of profound disappointment, a movement for a new party will emerge, which would be an existential threat to the existing mainstream Democratic Party. If the Democratic Party is really that far gone into being a right-center, corporate-serving neoliberal party, then a tumultuous split of the party will be in its future, sooner or later.
But it does not have to come to that.
The Democratic Party must find the strength to turn away from the reflexively pro-corporate policies of Clinton, Obama and the GOP, which it has promoted for over a quarter-century.
Trump’s Election Is a Warning-Sign
We have seen the sad results of these policies in a desperate, cynical country grabbing for the outlandish Trump to be its leader. Other Trumps (or worse) surely lie down the road, if positive change cannot be accomplished.
The stakes are sky-high. The political battles will be ferocious.
But America needs the Democratic Party to find a way to escape the shackles of corporate-centrism and return to an updated version of its “roots” -New Deal-type “bottom-up” economic policies, which build back up a Peoples’ Economy via a transfer-of-wealth to the sinking middle and working classes, and repair the economic viability of those mass groups of citizens.
If The Party can accomplish this admittedly daunting feat, it could end up saving America from the horrors of fascism and chaos, and perhaps, the world as well.
D. Lockman is a retired English teacher and former part-time musician,
with a passion for politics that started before he was 10 years old.
He is honored to be informed by some of the leading progressive and
dissident voices to be found in independent media. He finds mainstream media to be insufficient at informing the active minds of
sincerely curious people in these noisy, tumultuous times.