This is far from a scientific article and it has a swedish outlook. I make no claims of knowing what I am talking about. This is more of an internal discussion put down in binaries.
It seems to me we are experiencing the times where old ideas die and new ones should be born. Sovjet style communism died when the wall came down. Socialism lingers on but fails to be relevant. Capitalism has also turned out to be a disappointment if you were expecting trickle down effect and intelligent efficiency. So what is left? One would expect that when neither left nor right is providing solutions, the green center would be an alternative but sadly the environment is not on the agenda despite record breaking temperatures monthly and they fail to give us a vision of how a green future should look like.
I think it is a mistake to try to look at politics in the ordinary left-centre-right scale. Looking at recent events we have the failing economy of Greece, refugees, Brexit, the Trump candidacy and Islamic terrorism. In the Middle East we have an extremist Caliphate and an emerging Sultanate. In Iran and the Arab World the spring activism has died down in the headlines at least, as if people gave up after the Sisi coup.
So how have we responded to this? Both Brexit and the Trump candidacy seem to be a nationalist reaction to the refugee crisis and terrorist attacks but also in a wider perspective to internationalism and globalism. Brexit was also a push for a more local democracy, against the notion that decisions are made far from the people it concerns. Trump plays the same card claiming that he will take away the power from wall street and the establishment. When capitalism has failed to create prosperity to but a few, global and international structures are blamed instead of the lack of distribution of wealth.
It is easy to blame globalism, to point at all the jobs that have moved abroad without mentioning the profit that stays at home in the hands of a very few. But I also see a different reaction to globalism than the ugly nationalism of the 30’s. I will call it localism. Buy a little farm and grow your own food. Live off the grid. Urban gardening. Buy eggs and milk from your local farmer. Here globalism is all the large international companies who pollute our planet for profit. In this line of thought goods should be moved as little as possible but people roam freely. Refugees are welcome. Human rights are important.
So two types of reaction to globalism. White nationalism and green idealistic localism.
But there is also another aspect. The Arab spring gave hope for increased democracy in the Middle East. And the concept of democracy is under discussion. Elections have been held that have had outcomes which western democracies have had a hard time living with. Did the people really want a dictator that diminishes their freedom? The recent coup in Turkey has the essence of this question. How hard can you strike at supporters of a coup against a democratically elected president without suppressing free political thought and killing democracy? The removal of Morsi in Egypt is another example how things can go wrong.
Trump is blurting out statements that are anti democratic. Are we in the west also becoming more accepting of fascism? Poland has a right wing traditionalist party with a name that sounds like a bad joke, Law and Justice, trying to take control of media. Are we so scared of the economic situation that we again risk beliving that a strong leader will make everything alright again just like daddy?
We need to redefine democracy in a new global context. If democracy in Athens was just for the free males, today we can stretch it to white males and well off women. But we need to go further and to do that we have to talk about what it should mean to have democratic rule. It is not just a free election. It is not just direct democracy with majority rule. We have to discuss the right of the minority. And we have to save globalism and internationalism from the capitalists. It could be so much more than a way to provide cheap labor.