Democracy and the economic crisis….

Political Betting has an interesting musing on whether democracy itself will become a casualty of the economic crisis. Firstly, it’s perhaps worth pointing out that the a priori assumption that the article makes, that representative democracy is the only form of democracy is flawed. Other forms exist and as the article points out, it’s the lack of responsiveness of representative democracy that could very well lead to severe trouble.

Secondly, we have to be honest and say the most pressing threat to representative democracy is likely to come from the far-right, not the far-left or even the social democratic left. The plain fact that most on the left wont accept is that the far-right is more popular in its core constituency, the working class, than it is. This is for various reasons, not all to do with the lefts immediate failings, but the key point is that it is recognised. If an attack on representative democracy was to come from the far-right it would be right to defend it (while arguing its weaknessess are what caused the crisis in the first place). Ultimately, however, the EDL, BNP et el are unlikely to take state power, but they may pave the way for a UKIP or more ultra-right-wing Conservative government.

As the article notes, the objective conditions for a crisis in representative democracy exist;

Youth unemployment in Greece is 43% and even higher in Spain. Governments are having to cut drastically and promises previously made can no longer be kept. It is difficult in such conditions for those who have delivered them to credibly paint a rosy picture of the future. It is far easier for the whole political class to take the blame.

Where there’s been a disconnect between politicians and electorate, that becomes an even simpler message – that of a corrupt elite in it for themselves who might be elected by the people but who don’t represent them, enacting policies without popular support and delivering failure.

The poverty of the poor is pushing them to the very brink (and over) the edge of desperation. Meanwhile, the middle classes are being ruined too as their incomes are slashed, their children are being landed with debt (tuition fees) and they can barely service their own rising debt burden, let alone maintain their standard of living. It truly is a perfect storm, one that will consume entire governments whole.

All of which makes the lefts urgent rediscovery of democratic, socialist politics more urgent. We need to articulate a programme of demands that can appeal as much to the beggar on the street as much as the person struggling to make ends meet. In other words, a programme of radical social transformation, which has been urgently necessitated by this current crisis, which can address the needs of the majority. If we don’t then we may well find that even the limited democracy we currently enjoy is taken away from us and that would be a tragedy for all concerned, not just the left.

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About darrellgoodliffe

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2 responses to “Democracy and the economic crisis….”

  1. john reid says :

    Even though there are parts of the U.K (essex Kent) where the BNP vote is white van man loasdamoeny, who never voted labour in the Past ,Both Brown and blair new that Laobur lost some of its whtie owrkign class votes in other parts of the U. K over genuine concerns about immigartion and other cultrues that are finding it hard to intergrate into the traditionlview that Relgion and party Politics don’t mix (witness the Church of england has never effected a British political party on abourtion And laobur has never taken a secterian divide on Norhtern ireland policy, with most Laobur supprters in N.I voting SDLP,

    But i repeat agian that the BNP were agiasnt IRAQ Afghanistan, Agaisnt ID cards, want to leave Europe, spend more on pension ,renationalise everything, build more council houses and put the higher rate of Income tax up, the BNP memeber elected tot eh Greater London assembly in2008 Richard Barnbrook was a former laobur member

    and the EDL aren’t a political party

    UKIP are pro women being able setr up their own red light districts had the first transgender M.P and are pro gay/Transgender rights and consider themselves liberal on drugs

    the BNP hate the EDL claiming the EDL are pro multicultraulsim as tehy have asain GAy Jewish and Black members, the EDl may have their “football” hooligan elecment and have some members arrested for throwing bricks throw a Asian shop keepers window, but 2 asian men came to ne of their marhces and started hurlign abuse along the lines of behead those who sa Islam is violent and british troopsburn in hell adn burning poppies , to whicht ey had a fight with EDL mmebers, Remember lord Glasman siad tha labour should listen to the concerns of those who sympathise with the EDL,

    Yes the recession seems to cuase the problem of poverty ,but the BNP’s rise was during the peak times, and teh EDl’s describes itself as anti extreme islamiphication, not immigration asn many (extreme)Muslims are born here or (White)
    the BNP also consider teh EDL to be elft wign as they have pro gay/transgender associations,

    former UKIP Mp robert kilroy silk was a member of laobur too.

    Like

  2. darrellgoodliffe says :

    John,

    It’s a relatively interesting point you make that the BNP actually did better when the economy was. What that shows however, is that people feel excluded from benefiting from even economic gain and pushed to the margins. I agree the EDL arent a political party. I see the most likely manifestation of what I talk about, being UKIP, if they can get themselves sorted.

    Like

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