EP meeting in Strasbourg, of course we are always talking about the election in Austria. And the people here fit the result as a little piece of the puzzle into a wider European picture: nationalism is returning, no matter whether it is in the form of Orban, Brexit, Kurz or the right thrust of social democracy. Individual rogue results at elections like in Spain or the Netherlands may be celebrated, but the pattern is clear: we have not been so far away from hegemony for a long time, perhaps never. In Austria, black-blue-liberal have a 2/3 majority, the SP is more Niessl than Häupl and the Green Party is an outsider. There is not even any left opposition in the Parliament anymore.
National holiday therefore. The world is changing. Rationalisation, globalisation, digitisation and on top of that the climate catastrophe… Nobody can solve these problems for themselves, it takes social effort. But who is “society”? Yes, it seems to me that many people want to organise themselves. Or rather: many want someone to organise for them. They feel powerless in the face of these challenges and now quite seriously: that is surely understandable. This multitude does not want to tackle these gigantic problems as strong, independent, self-responsible individuals because they do not feel like it and understand instinctively that it will not work at all. They want someone to do it and are then happy to part of it, but they want to delegate. Somebody should say how to do it because they do not know.
Honestly, I do not find it so irrational what many people are doing.
Both – the jointly acting collective and leadership – are offered by the right wing. And furthermore even empowerment, because they demand more direct democracy. Let us rule in an authoritarian manner and if you do not like it, you intervene. What sort of offer is that?
The nation is the form of organisation, the collective that is supposed to counter global problems. The rightists not only say that, they also believe it. They believe in blood and the people and origins. The left countermodel was always the class, the common interest, instead of a common background. However, even the leftists do not believe in class anymore. They philosophise about how classes have differentiated and now consist of individuals who all have completely unique interests. As if.
The truth is: we have roughly common interests. We, that is those without influence. If politics is disempowered and everything is deregulated, then wealth equals influence. In a democracy, every person has a voice, the euro counts on the market. We must organise those who are powerless in this game, who are not rich and whose voice is privatised. And that is possible, even as progressives. Look at the feminist campaign of recent decades, one can learn a lot from it. At the latest since the 1980s, feminism has been the only successful progressive movement that has understood that over 50 percent of the population has a common interest that must be organised in order to change power structures. That one must overcome rather than broaden differences within the group to create a unified presence. Take a look right now at #metoo, how widespread it has become.
What one can learn from it: if black-blue are now making politics for corporations and the super-rich and their own voters are paying the price, then we should not point the finger at them. We should organise them and sit in the same boat: the lower 99%. They are more than a nation. They are class. Have a nice holiday.