Tuesday, 11 Dec 2018

Can left-wing internationalism rise against Trump and the extreme right?

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The time of President Trump in power has put an end to a somewhat surprising reconfiguration of world politicsIn the West, especially in Europe, right-wing political movements have attacked in the most noisy (and most profitable) way the existing international order. They scored electoral gains by focusing the perils and discontents of globalization. And they have won a significant slice of working-class voters by arousing the nativist sentiment as a solution to their economic desperation.

This week, this dynamic has played again. Right-wing commentators on both sides of the Atlantic have pointed out that the weekend protests in France were further evidence of an audience that was clashing with a liberal elite disconnected from its means. The carbon tax proposed by the Macron government, argued this motley group of animators and politicians, testifying to the alleged temerity of "globalism" defended by power brokers in a cosmopolitan bubble.

Trump even intervened, suggesting that Macron's woes proved that the Paris climate agreements were a failure. (It does not matter that the anger against the French president concerns his governance, not the global efforts to fight against climate change.) He also retweeted a misleading tweet from a supporter claiming that the French demonstrators were demanding Trump and were enraged by the "socialist" program of Macron. (It does not matter that one of Macron's main French critics is that he is not socialist enough.)

Not wanting to be left out, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recalled the White House's point of view in a fierce speech on Tuesday in Brussels, where he mocked the bureaucrats of the European Union. multilateralism championed by personalities such as Macron. "Our mission is to assert our sovereignty before the international order and we want our friends to help us and also assert their sovereignty," said Pompeo, expressing what sounded like a rallying cry from Western nationalists. "We aspire to make the international order to serve our citizens, not to control them. America intends to lead now and always. "

The Republican party of Pompeo would have been the first to cheer the free markets, the cross-border reach of the US capital and the vision of laissez-faire behind an integrated Europe. Now, with Trump at the helm, he has totally retreated under the banner of blood and earth nationalism, echoing the far-right politics of Europe – rather than the traditional center-right center of the continent.

In response, centrist Democrats, such as former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, urged their allies in Europe and the United States to position themselves right in immigration so as not to be charged to promote mass migration.

Others think that it is a game of fools to give the right to set the terms of the debate. "We must make clear our belief that our country has the right to control who enters and leaves our borders," said representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) This week, "and to bring down the Republican in straw that any Democrat believes in setting the immigration system and calls for human policies actually believes in "open borders".

But beyond the border battles, the rivals Trump and Pompeo at home also find their voice in politics. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Chaired last week a rally of left-wing leaders in Vermont. Sanders, a potential presidential candidate in 2020, has been more vocal in recent months about international affairs, warning against a growing "authoritarian axis" in world politics, which calls for a gradual and united response .

"One of the main themes of the weekend was that the international left had not managed to organize as effectively as the nationalist right," said my colleague Dave Weigel, who attended l & # 39; event. The recent victories of ultranationalists have been suspended, including those of Italian far-right leader Matteo Salvini, now deputy prime minister of the country, and right-wing nationalist Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil. In both cases, voters angry over the direction taken by their country in the aftermath of the financial crises opted for the most fiercely opposed candidate.

Fernando Haddad, the left-wing politician Bolsonaro defeated, told Weigel that Brazil "was reaping the consequences of the failure of the neoliberal project." The former ruling leftist party, Brazil, was associated with a failed status quo; Following the financial crash of 2008, their leaders were unable to capture the imagination of voters angry against an economic status quo partly attributable to the center-left.

It can change. Sanders and his cohort discussed ways to build populism who does not need to hide behind walls or stir up the fear of immigrants.

"We need to demonstrate that the only way for many to regain control of our lives, our communities, our cities and our countries is to coordinate our struggles along the axis of a New Internationalist deal, "said Yannis Varoufakis, a former Greek finance minister on the left. who was also in Vermont, wrote in an editorial earlier this year. "While globalized financial capital can no longer tear our societies apart, we have to explain that no country is an island. The fight against poverty, private indebtedness and dishonest bankers, as well as climate change, require local and international action on our part. "

According to Weigel, Varoufakis urged Sanders to run for president. Other potential candidates for the 2020 program make similar noises. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Recently made the connection between the challenge of inequality and the political struggle against corruption and authoritarian governments elsewhere.

"This combination of authoritarianism and corrupt capitalism is a fundamental threat to democracy, here as in the United States and around the world," Warren said. "It's a threat because economic corruption knows no borders – and in a global economy, corruption can provide a strategic advantage."

Like Varoufakis and Sanders, she called for a reshaping of globalization, where trade agreements are negotiated more in the interest of workers. It has founded a "defense of democracy" in the strengthening of international labor rights, the closing of tax havens for mega-rich and the dissolution of the monopolies of the brewery of the largest multinationals in the world.

In a different way, Warren and Sanders are both trying to develop a blueprint for a progressive international agenda.. The economic dividend that these measures could yield, they hoped on the left, would go a long way in countering the parties that judge voters frustrated by right-wing nationalism. In Europe, there are already examples of successes on the left, including the rise of the cosmopolitan and environmentally conscious Greens in Germany. And, in the United States, regardless of Trump's hierarchy, anti-immigration policy remains the preserve of an embittered minority: in a recent survey, more than 75% of Americans believed Immigration was a "good thing".

But Trump remains firmly supported by a noisy base. And right-wing parties are likely to be on the verge of winning major victories in next year's EU legislative elections. Following demonstrations in France, Macron's centrist ruling party collapsed in polls against the far right.

"Right now, the racist, violent, homophobic and sexist extreme right is organizing," said Ada Colau, leftist mayor of Barcelona, ​​at the top of Vermont. "We must amplify all the alternatives that we develop in the world."

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