There is no final victory, as there is no final defeat. There is just the same battle. To be fought, over and over again. So toughen up, bloody toughen up.”
— Tony Benn
As a movement that participated in the last European elections and succeeded through our “Electoral Wings” and our European Spring coalition to gather 1,5 million votes for a Green New Deal for Europe, but failed to elect a single MEP, we know all too well what it means to campaign restlessly and lose. The day after is not easy. But despair and melancholy is the dearest friend of the bigots and national populists. When there are bad results, the stakes are even higher, but so is the need for greater determination.
Without knowing your enemies and your false allies, their techniques and their strategies, there is no way out of the current crisis of global capitalism that is leading the climate’s collapse. Instead of supporting progressives and the change they represent, the Establishment always chooses to protect the class interests and further accumulation of wealth and inequality that it depends on to survive. Even a Johnson government with its catastrophic Brexit was a better choice for the ruling class than the prospect of a Labour victory that promised a long-term fight against their interests.
In moments of historic change, when the results of the Left are disappointing and the stakes (with Nationalist Populists like Johnson, Trump, Netanyahu or Bolsonaro in power) are even higher, the Left has to rethink and critically reflect on what can only be described as an appalling failure to defeat people and policies that are obviously not only anti-social but also aimed against the planet itself. The point is not to “learn” from the Nationalist Populists – right wing populism won’t be defeated by left-wing populism. But we need to understand and use technology, language, and emotions in a much more constructive, relatable and productive way if we want to win.
There is no democracy without real public debate and freedom of speech. Billionaire-owned media (including social media platforms) are the enemy of democracy: our political system cannot function in an ecosystem where money guarantees the reach of any information, regardless of how untrue or misanthropic it might be. New, uncompromisingly progressive policies, leading to new uncompromisingly independent media, are needed.
We need clear positions. No middle-of-the-road politics. What happened to Labour is a sort of repetition of what happened in Catalonia: instead of progressives using a good opportunity, a possibly useful crack in the fossilised status quo, this opportunity is derailed through political events that we do not respond to with sufficient determination (in this case Brexit, in Catalonia: independence). The more undecisive progressives are, the more decisive will be the victories of the national populists.
In the dark days of defeat, the biggest enemy is what the great German philosopher and victim of the Nazi regime Walter Benjamin called “left-wing melancholy”. We are with Jeremy Corbyn, the thousands of activists and millions of voters who supported a bold vision and a Green New Deal that DiEM25 is also advocating for the whole of Europe. Perhaps this day in England is bleak, but it too shall pass.
Rethink, organise, take a stand: Carpe DiEM!
By Srećko Horvat and Erik Edman
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