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Attempt the Impossible! Theses for a New Left Majority

by Institute of the Solidarity Modern Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 at 12:57 PM

The Brexit vote and the American presidential election have dramatically accelerated the crises of classical neoliberal policy. The exit from neoliberalism can only succeed in a social movement and cannot only be a matter of a government or of the parties.


Theses for a New Left Majority

[These theses published by the Institute of the Solidarity Modern are translated abridged from the German on the Internet.]

The Brexit-vote and the American presidential election have dramatically accelerated the crisis of classical neoliberal policy. The fiasco of the Clinton campaign shows neoliberalism can and will still drift to the right. Only attack as the best defense remains to neoliberalism. It will rely on the combination that functioned first in countries like Hungary and Poland, then in Great Britain and now in the US: the combination of a neoliberal policy continued after its breakdown with the release of social-national resentment in the middle and in the lower sector of society. For this fire risk mixture to function, it is represented in typical variations…

The political situation remains open for its progressive solution, for the further development of a solidarity modern age even if the rise of authoritarian-rightwing populist neoliberalism makes many anxious. If such a "third option" should open up – beyond Clinton or Trump, Brexit or "business as usual" – it must offer more than a new edition of the national welfare state or a "leftist" neoliberalism…

We cannot choose the "lesser evil" anymore. This possibility was taken long ago by the rightwing after Brexit and after Trump's victory… The exit from neoliberalism can only succeed in a social movement and cannot only be a matter of a government or of the parties… May we have the courage to reverse our perspective!


Let us now work on the chance of a new leftist social majority. Let us break the paralyzing feeling of no political alternatives that results from the one-sided fixation on opposition-, protest- or movement-politics. There will only be a politics of hope in the foreseeable future when people govern with a realistic and utopian transformation project, a project that embraces more than party- and movement politics… The campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn and the movements behind Podemos and Syriza did that…

Much more is needed than a negotiation process between three parties or their parliamentary representatives. Social alternatives for a solidarity and sustainable exit from more than three decades of neoliberalism will not arise in backrooms, close circles or on drawing boards. They must be broadly discussed in different milieus… The failed elites will not give up without a fight any more than the forces of an authoritarian neoliberalism. We do not forget that the social-national resentment has murdered many in the last years and decades in Germany…


A social-ecological transformation needs a sustainable, resource-sparing solidarity and democratic economy, a transnational European horizon, and work methods and ways of life that outgrow domination of nature and growth mania. In Germany, this assumes an end to the neoliberal export model and an end to the austerity policy and the self-destructive competitive orientation in Europe.


We need a long-term investment program financed by public indebtedness and greater tax revenues as a motor of reconstruction and strengthening the European economy after the disaster of austerity. Therefore let us urge the rebuilding of the economy and the systematic priority of vital public necessities. Let us resist the socially- and ecologically destructive export model of German and the Euro-economic nationalism and production for the sake of production. Let us commit production to the subsidiarity principle, the public interest, and common property and to accomplishing the energy turn. Let us alight from the idiocy of consumerism in which we and others only degrade ourselves. Let us focus on the long-overdue codification of the global production- and supply chains.


Let us finally carry out – transnationally – a basic unconditional security of the material, cultural, and political sharing of common property. Let us struggle for reduced working hours to the height of the technologically possible, for a minimum wage that is really above the poverty level and a general citizen- and gainful work insurance. Let us organize the long-necessary upgrading of caring work. Let us uncompromisingly demand guaranteed security- and justice-benefits for everyone. Let us finally encourage a far-reaching and exciting debate around a different understanding of creative activities.


Let us commit democracy to the globalization of law and justice in an economic and ecological perspective. Let us strengthen the democratic constitution of our local communities through the comprehensive expansion of their political authorities and their economic resources. Let us concretize both in a restructuring of the international security systems, the armed forces, police and secret services. Let us ensure the basic rights of everyone in cyberspace.


Let us commit democracy to the globalization of law and justice in an economic and ecological perspective. Let us first strengthen the democratic constitution of our local communities through the extensive expansion of their political competence and their economic resources. In the same course, let us support the constitution-giving process for another European Union and its transnational citizenry. Let us establish this citizenry on social, economic, cultural and political conditions in which their claim to the human right of freedom of movement can really be a free decision. Let us prevent the distortion or perversion of the right to freedom of movement to a selective immigration and screening policy subject to an economic calculation and begin a debate over the right of migration.


The decades following May 1968 continued our ways of thinking, mentalities and social relations and were never only decades of neoliberal de-control. If we continue this movement, we oppose all forms of sexism, nationalism, and racism and open ourselves to the free conflict around the good life. Let us found this movement and face the conflict in the material prerequisites: for a social-ecological infrastructure that guarantees the basic right to ecologically produced food, to housing, health care, free transportation, to free participation in education and culture and protection from all forms of discrimination. Let us live equal rights in freedom in a culture of democratic dissonance.

… Let us add a third option of the colorful crossover to the classic neoliberal pole of the "status quo" and the authoritarian neoliberal pole of social-national resentment: the third option of an actual leftist change of direction. More than another government is involved which we all known would be insufficient. This third pole could govern differently in the future in Germany and Europe on all planes of political life. This different governing would go beyond the ultimately resigned self-restriction to protest and opposition, institutionalized state and administrative action as well as the maneuvers and tactics of the parties... "Only we ourselves can free ourselves from this misery," as we sing in an ancient hymn.

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