Imagination is the key to our future
The UK has decided to leave the European Union. The EU itself has now far more ‘far right’ xenophobic parties in the European parliament than ever before in its history. On the back of very virulent xenophobia, Trump, otherwise a sideshow freak in the branding/entertainment industry, is now a presidential contender in the United States. His promise of the ‘wall’ between Mexico and the US is garnering him followers among Republican voters. India recently elected a right wing government with an unprecedented majority – putting majoritarian fictions in the central consciousness of the nation, instead of actual issues that need public debate. From the Netherlands to Australia to Nigeria to the Philippines: people everywhere are electing xenophobic parties and leaders.
Are we collectively getting dumber? Or is their something beneath our collective psyches that needs recognition?
If the last century was about opening the world through fast rails, concordes & the internet, this century would be about making sense of this uncontrollable openness and ensuing vulnerability that individuals & groups perceive.
If the last century was about the individual removed from their immediate world, this century would be about a new social consciousness of and a longing for belonging.
The openness of the last century does not really benefit the individuals and small groups as much as it does the big corporations and governments. The new government has already started to purge the internet of dissidents with arrests and threats. Facebook & Google collectively know more about you than you do.
In a boundless world, you can’t even choose your adversary. You are vulnerable to dangers you don’t even know yet, from people you would never even meet. A boundless world is vulnerable and anarchic.
The only language of 21st century would be the doublespeak. People 20 years from now would only be able to read between the lines and sideways. They would be illiterate to direct words. Sarcasm would be the only humor.
Understand globalised economies = alienated people
The global economic system incentivises capital consolidation and human alienation. Money requires no visa to move, nor does it get racially profiled.
Free movement of people is allowed only so far where cheap labour replaces a slightly higher valued labour. Theoretically, this system of replacing new labour to the detriment of existing labour communities will go on forever, with consistently manufactured chaos ‘elsewhere’.
This is the real bed rock of current global capitalism – expanding margins for the 0.1% at the expense of lower and lower wages for labour everywhere and destruction of valuable ecological resources.
It pits labour in one nation against labour in another; one people against another. It manufactures a vicious competition until all working class people are reduced to serfs – minimum wage, maximum extraction of labour, minimum security.
The vote for Brexit is due to economical anxiety of the working class, which they incorrectly attribute to migrants. The rise of xenophobia across the world is a fallout of globalised capitalism that is increasingly alienating people. People do not realise that the ‘others’ are not taking away their jobs, machines are. Capitalism will turn the human into a machine cog, until it perfects machine to replace the human entirely.
“Left” solution but “Right” reaction
The real reason for the wave of right wing zealots across the globe is the failure of the imagination of left wing leaders. In the absence of political movement that addresses current reality and works towards building an imaginative utopia, people default to the base values of hatred and selfishness. The world needs conceptions of each of our utopias.
The irony is that the political party called ‘labour’ hardly represents labour’s interest. Even the Communist party of India is but a mere joke on the national scale. The left cannot think for itself. It does not understand that it need not be a monolith – it need not follow the hairbrained and faulty conceptions of Marx, Stalin or Mao. It needs to devise an utopia and strategy by itself, putting one’s own people’s interest at the heart of the political movement. Currently, the left cannot define a new reason, a new perspective on labour in the current world. That is the modern tragedy.
The effective response would be for labour across the world to unite against the 0.1% that is pitting them against one another. This is the make or break decade for a sustainable future for the global economy – from a sociological, economical and ecological perspective. It might seem somewhat counter-intuitive but, the world requires a left solution to save itself from descending into mindless chaos fueled by blind ignorant hatred.
Lack of constructive imagination leads to blind ignorant hatred.