In our time a “babushka” of consecutive, overlapping mega-crises is redefining everything on the entire planet. Climate, geopolitics, energy, inflation, standard of living, refugee/immigration, demographics, etc. interact to define every aspect of human life. Technological developments and artificial intelligence, potentially part of the solution, for now add new concerns to the uncertainties and challenges. The scissors of inequalities are opening. Inevitably, the crisis of political representation is constantly growing.
In Europe, its decline in size on the world stage involves the destabilization of the cohesive elements of the societies that make it up. Cultural neoconservatism is on the rise. Nationalism and anti-establishmentism have flared up.
The Right with its worldview is at the core of the problems. However, its policy has succeeded in being seen as the only realistic solution. On the contrary, the Left has not formulated its criticism in an alternative proposal. He is far from being able to convince. Only in some cases does it somehow succeed and is able to support centre-left governments.
Greece was an exception in the second half of the previous decade. In 2015, the economic and social collapse formed the framework for the ascension of the political body of the radical Left to a position of governmental responsibility. The 2019 defeat left open the possibility for him to recover. But his opposition style led him to electoral disapproval. Even worse, then the populist anti-left current dominated within it.
Crash becoming endemic, then. The danger is that dissatisfaction and questioning, if expressed politically, will lead more right and conservative. European and international developments show this. In these circumstances, can there be a left-wing perspective in our country?
High stakes and restated claims
Shifting the agenda to the timing of the horror before us is the answer. On the one hand, in just over ten years is humanity’s climate rendezvous with the limit of 1.5 TheC according to scientists. With all that this implies for our geographical area which is a hot spot of extreme climatic phenomena and continuous flows of impoverished populations for survival. On the other hand, something less will become a fund for long-term debt as the grace period of the 2018 deal expires. The external balance bell is already ringing, while the societal consequences of the previous economic failure are fresh. And as if these were not enough, somewhere there the demographic effects will intensify, as relevant studies show.
The average time horizon – until the beginning of the next decade – imperatively sets the big stakes today. On these, the Left has one (perhaps the last) possibility to reformulate its own claims. First, climate adaptation and ecological sustainability with no one left behind. Second, combating inequalities and fair development. Thirdly, strengthening the Democracy, its inclusive function and the active participation of the society, “concreting” social and political cohesion. In two words, a deep green-red transformation: ecological, socio-productive and democratic.
In this triangle are registered all the great issues of the time. The greening of the energy mix and energy democracy. The protection of the natural – built – cultural environment. The armor against the climatic phenomena that have already knocked on our door (prolonged heat waves, mega-fires, floods of biblical proportions, etc.).
The fair distribution of the produced wealth and labor which have made a dynamic reappearance even in the USA. The redistributive function of the tripartite fair taxation – welfare state – public goods, so that basic social needs are effectively covered. Public health from prevention and primary care to hospitals.
Public education as cultivation but also as a condition of equality in social sociability in a society with unequal starting points. Social and intergenerational solidarity, the second not only upwards but also downwards (women and young men, housing, etc.). A public culture policy that will transfer cultural resources to society throughout the country. The developmental state and the productive and technological shift of the economy, so that the standard of living is based on a solid material basis. The benefits and risks of artificial intelligence.
Dealing with the effects of demographic decline and its arrest. Refugee/immigrant as a field in which humanitarianism and the application of international law are tested. The securing of freedoms and rights. The reform of the state, institutions and public bodies, a multitude of pending issues and anachronisms that still remain. The role of trade unions, social agencies, civil society, local government. The new European and global reality and international relations. Peace as a necessary condition for the future of humanity.
Let’s finally put an agenda!
The Left must finally set the agenda, or the agenda itself is not going to change. To win the hearts of the people by talking in a simple and understandable way about a new model of prosperity and development that will have security, humanity, durability and duration. A big change that to come must first be in values, standards, life attitudes. A cultural change that will become global.
But he must win and their minds. To give flesh and bones to its ideas and principles, presenting in a tangible and coherent way a multitude of leftist applied policies. With rationality, scientific knowledge and technocracy, to regain the intelligence and political effectiveness it has lost – another crash we have experienced in recent years.
At the same time, it must seek consensus and convergence. To actively participate in the reconstruction – on a value and programmatic basis – of the wider progressive current, to which she also belongs.
Updated reason and new answers
A historic responsibility for the Left today is to reinvent itself. Opposing populism the conversation with authentic populism, the youth and the underground currents of society, to turn to the great disputes of the time with modern references and approaches. Courageously and clearly putting forward the socio-centric, democratic and humanitarian initiatives that she has carried on her back since the Enlightenment and the revolutions, to renew her speech with new, inspiring and at the same time convincing, answers.
The Left needs to craft a new face to gain perspective again. It takes a mosaic of new faces to show it.
*Archaeologist – MSc Protection of Monuments, former Deputy Minister of Culture