Friday, September 05, 2008

Microwave Dish

banquet frozen pizza
Originally uploaded by jocasta77
This week I have been reading Tommi Uschanov´s incredibly brilliant and sharp pamphlet on the false argumentation of today´s Left. Uschanov is a Finnish philosopher and journalist who has been composing his statements over the last 5-10 years. The book is fascinating as Uschanov tears the Left´s argumentation into pieces and accuses them of complete misunderstanding of Marx.

Uschanov is not alone with this confusion and disappointment. So are the voters. One should have spent the last decade in a barrel to not notice how Social Democrats lose elections in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Italy,… - list could be continued forever. At the same time the French Socialists lose the presidency to Sarkozy, Finnish big cities are governed more and more by Conservative mayors, Boris Johnson rules over London and Angela Merkel leads the coalition government of Germany.

In most countries the Left – once the defender of the working man and international solidarity – has become a machine led by middle-aged pompous men, heavily linked to trade unions (also led by pompous middle-aged men), an advocate of nuclear power and the biggest anti-globalisation movement. The former leaders of the “party of the people” turn into lobbyists for multinational energy corporations. The party that marched people in their early 30s into ministers in the 1970s is now the (only) movement having a City Council group in Helsinki with the average age of 60.

It is true that many issues such as workers´ rights are achievements of the Social Democrats´s struggle but over the last years the Social Democrats have become the Conservative Establishment – the ones with their foot on the break against change - of many European countries.

It seems like the Social Democrats by and large are out of batteries. In Finland I was reading interviews with the new leader of the Finnish Social Democrats, a woman of my age. Jutta Urpilainen´s mission was to take her party to the centre of the political field, get more active on climate change, invest in families, consult people across the country and attach the word “new” in front of the name of her party. It was somehow disappointing to see that all the ideas are luke-warm copies of concepts executed by others 10 years ago. Becoming like everyone else is not the best exercise for better branding. Everything she was trying to offer as new felt pre-chewed, pre-cooked and recycled.

They say that one needs a real crisis in order for new ideas to emerge. But for Marx´s sake, how long does this take to have again a cool, up-to-beat, engaged and passionate left? Even as someone not being a Social Democrat, I miss decent action and debate.

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