Donald Trump as elected to become the president of the United States three years ago.
Unfortunately, not much has been done in Europe to address the concerns I expressed back then. And the urgency to do something for the betterment of the living conditions of ordinary people is becoming ever more urgent.
At this moment Europe is being hampered through cemented neoliberal economic policies that are written in several founding treaties of the union. As well as secondary law adopted in the unions political institutions.
The Union has since then conducted trade deals with Canada and Japan that threaten our democratic powers through the investor-state dispute mechanisms. These mechanisms are designed to protect investors in the event of regulation changes that potentially threaten businesses market shares. Such mechanisms used to be common between countries that lacked rule of law but have in these latest developments moved to trade deals between democratic states.
People already feel increasingly powerless to influence policies through elections due to a numerous amount of restrictions to national parliaments and governments. Which is perhaps one of the most significant reasons behind the rise of the far-right all across the continent.
One of the greatest failures, since the fall of the Berlin wall, is the toothlessness of the political left to challenge the neoliberal hegemony that has pushed so many people and communities to bare existential minimum across Europe. In part this is due to an intellectual failure to grasp the issues that communities and people are facing in the increasing uncertainty people face in their lives.
For instance, the discussion on climate change should not focus on blaming and harassing the poor people’s lifestyle choices who struggle to make a living. Instead policies should aim to change structures and in making the combatting of climate change in a fair manner that does not make lives of the weak more difficult.
Another important aspect is that the left needs to reconnect with the needs and struggles of people and communities. Stand up for the weak whenever it is possible. Such is the work for leftist politicians to stand up for the ordinary man and woman in need. And not to abandon them when their rights and lives are being wrecked in the name of profit-making and efficiency.
These call for hard work on the local, national end European levels but one of the biggest struggles of our time is to democratize Europe through removing the shackles of neoliberalism. It is not a proper democracy if ordinary people cannot even decide properly their nations economic policies in elections without the interference of EU institution and regulations. And no wonder more people feel alienated from democratic institutions when no matter how they vote they face the sledge hammer of neoliberalism. No wonder the nonsense of the far-right hits a cord with an increased amount of alienated people when the left has not done its job properly in the past decades.
For the sake of Europe, I hope that the left will get its act together and start to work with energy and intellect to set a vision for Europe alongside ordinary people. Otherwise, I am afraid, Europe will face a dark future where the weak is set against the weak and bare the full brunt of inhumane capitalism.