Where’s the Alternative?

Alan Grogan, Labour for Independence co-founder


As another national election occurs, with it comes another frustrating choice for the electorate. The choice between an increasingly incompetent establishment, or ‘radical’ alternatives like the anti-vax Luigi Di Maio or anti-immigrant Northern League. Perhaps most worryingly is the kingmaker appearing to still be corrupt 81 year old Berlusconi, who seems to be supporting Salvini’s Northern League.
This follows a worrying trend throughout the western world recently where the choice is between the status quo; which has brought on a prolonged period of austerity and deprivation for the poorest in society by cosying up to big business and the bankers who brought on a recession, or the far-right, which gains credence by blaming all societies ills on immigration, and promoting themselves as radical change and anti-establishment, despite their ties to big business and a media moving further to the right to bolster declining sales.
In France many were asked to hold their nose to vote for Macron to prevent the ascension of Marine Le Pen. The choice between Cartoonish Trump and Hilary Clinton should have been straight forward but her ties to previous administrations and big business made Trump seem more appealing to a population where most had yet to see any positive change in their declining living standards over the past decade.

Bernie Sanders appealed as a real alternative, much like Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, but only in the right-wing papers of Wall Street Journal and the Daily Mail would their agenda be seen as radical or dangerous. At most they offer a social democratic alternative that would seem perfectly normal and decent in most civilised nations as seen in Scandinavia.
Corbyn and Sanders both have good intentions and rightly highlight the inequality that is seeping through society in most western nations at present. Yet their solutions very rarely extend beyond Bennite thinking which is almost 40 years old, and hardly reflects the current issues and decisions that need to be addressed to improve nations. Little is offered in way of solutions to the oncoming 4th revolution or how to deal with an aging population, climate change or moving forward an economy into the 21st century.
The biggest question that the Italian election again promotes is what has happened to the left in all of this? Why is it that while the right and far right have been able to take on the mantra of radical and anti-establishment, those on the left have gone quiet?

It seems to me that those on the left are always 3 steps behind. They oppose the election of Trump, they oppose fascist governments, they oppose those who attack multi-culturalism and diversity. All of this is correct and proper, but in this opposition, they have found themselves perpetually reacting to an agenda rather than setting one.

It seems far easier to dismiss a supporter of Trump or UKIP or the Northern League as mere racists or fascist rather than understand their votes and views are based on fear for their own future and their families. These fears have been exploited mainly because there are no other real alternatives given than the right wing.
My view of the left, in my own experiences and from looking to other nations is that the left are so unprepared for government that it no longer attempts to produce the intellectual thinking that allow it to create radical alternatives. It is so obsessed with reuniting the left that it allows the smallest of groups in the far left to dictate unworkable policy. That it is still so obsessed with a revolution over 100 years ago which ultimately failed in creating a better society, that it still splinters into factions of totalitarian despot and another who if he had the chance would have done the same.
A real alternative is needed for people unhappy at the current system, desperate for change, clinging on to reasons based on immigration and race that in their own minds probably doesn’t add up, but no one else seems willing to give them an alternative.

Something needs to be done, or else governments in all nations will be plagued with authoritarian right wing agendas, while all the left will be able to do is vote for the lesser of two evils.


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