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Ben Goren @BanGaoRen
, 22 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1/ So #Sweden has voted and the Swedish Social Democrats are the largest party by vote share again, as they have been in every election since 1917. Good right? Nope. The real story is that the far right Sweden Democrats are now kingmakers, a 'former' neo-nazi party w/ power.
2/ So what's happened? Well, in terms of broad brushstrokes and looking at the result in a wider European context, what's happening is that the far right, sometimes openly neo-nazi as with Germany's AfD are milking a historically latent European Christio-xenophobia.
3/ They are taking advantage of a flat economy in which wages haven't risen to match productivity and profit margins, in which housing, transport, food, medicines, and education are more expensive on average, even in Nordic social-capitalist models like Norway, Denmark, & Sweden.
4/ They are taking advantage of the refugee crisis caused by Western regime change across West Asia / MENA and the destructive responses / contributions of Saudi-backed ISIS and Al-Qaeda to the War on Terror economy. Their key messages are simple and horrifyingly effective:
- You're poorer now
- You're poorer now because YOUR govt is spending YOUR money on THEM
- THEY'RE arriving here to take advantage of US
- They're not like us, they can't and won't integrate. We don't want them to integrate
- They undermine OUR shared culture and identity.
6/ The identity stuff is basically a series of white supremacist dog-whistles acting as a unifying node marking the 'in-group'. More insidious is the financial appeal, which neither centre-left nor centre-right have an answer to. And this is why Swedish politics is polarising.
7/ It's polarising just like in Germany, Spain, Hungary, France, and the UK. It's polarising because the neo-liberal economic model has lost its veneer of invisibility and inevitability. It has been exposed as a specific ideology of political-economy, like any other.
8/ And many people are realising that the neoliberal political economy is largely typified by perpetual war in lieu of an economically and environmentally sustainable basis for generating growth. Be it War on Terror, War on Drugs, War on anything, it's still all War.
9/ The obscenity of Destroy2Privatise philanthro-capitalism amidst exploding wealth inequality, where gentrification & chain stores replace organic communities, where facisto-tech bros up of an iWorld cleansed of unseemly dirt & rough edges has revealed its ugly face.
10/ The angst of the zeitgeist is much more than just 'economic anxiety' or class war. It is a fundamental rejection of kleptocratic economies in which democracy serves as a revolving door for the self enrichment of corporations at the expense of the State, on taxpayer's money.
11/ And that rejection is a political vacuum that sucks people in two opposing directions for many of the same visceral reasons. Let's call those directions empathy (socialist Left) and hostility (neo-fascist right). It's all just a little bit of (early C20th) history repeating.
12/ But of course it's not repeating as the conditions are very different but the scapegoats are essentially the same. As are those responsible: the self identified reasonable, respectable, moderate elites, the centrists. Those who scorn the very extremism they've created.
13/ So we see these parties, the SDP in Sweden & Germany, Progress/Labour First factions in the Labour Party, Macron & Est. 'Socialists' in France sliding in the polls. It's not a sudden implosion, more like 5~10% per electoral cycle until either the Left or Right replace them.
14/ For the centre-right, the rise of the far right is an opportunity to made a deal for power. We'll see that now in Sweden. For the centre-'left' the rise of a distinct, proud, & strong Left is a threat that must be combatted even if it means letting the far right into power.
15/ Instead of the centre-left moving to socialism to build a grand coalition, it berates the Left for not moving to the centre to earn respectability and what it still imagines is the key to electability. Yet at the same time it offers nothing new, inspirational, or a solution.
16/ It demands fealty from the Left for a political programme / values that are dying on the vine. It blames the Left for splitting the vote without realising that it is losing its base to the Left AND the Right because voters regard it, rightly, as the malaise not the cure.
17/ A malaise that supports war as economy, that cosies up to illiberal regimes which support terrorism or practice apartheid, sells weapons to warmongers, & sells citizenships whilst deporting those it invited to come decades previously. "It's just business" they cry, perplexed.
18/ A malaise that weaponises hate for political expediency, that imposes austerity and sanctions the poor to pay for it whilst multi-nationals and oligarchs socialise costs but hold profits offshore. A malaise that thinks privatisation means efficiency and markets are 'free'.
19/ A malaise that has destroyed and continues to destroy entire countries whose populations then flee to the countries of the Global North enjoying sanctuary from the war Over There. And then says these refugees and migrants are the problem we can't afford to pay for.
20/ And they wonder, in all their destructive hypocrisy, their blind inhumanity, that voters say "enough" and look to those who would say, unapologetically, "You are the problem and this can't continue". I believe we are at that moment or rapidly approaching it.
21/ I fear similar mistakes will happen, and there are signs of it. The centrist centre-left parties clinging onto power, refusing to move left, and instead punching left to earn respect from the centre-right whilst only facilitating a general ideological move rightwards.
22/ In Sweden, like in the US & elsewhere, an ideological vacuum is opening up that the far right are filling. Their 'solution' is brutal and murderous in it's beguiling simplicity, luring disenchanted voters like a siren to smash themselves on the rocks of their own intolerance.
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