Quarta-feira, 23 de Novembro de 2011

The Left (or the Socialists / Social-democrat parties) and the Streets

The massive demonstrations of 15 October endowed the various indignados movements with an unusual collective worldwide visibility. From Lisbon to New York, from London to Madrid, millions of civically active citizens took to the streets to demonstrate their noisy protest against 'the system'. Biding them was a sense of systemic failure and anti-party oligarchy feeling, enshrined in the main slogan: 'more and better democracy now.'



Of course it is necessary to modulate this indignation, understand the nuances and particularities of each event, and understand the different motivations of each case, as homogeneous political protests are very different from  plural and socially diverse ones.

In any case, I think it is clear that there is a large segment of the well informed and civically engaged population participating in a rebellion against the miss-management of the Res Publica and against the current political party structures, as they are unable to meet the demands of the new millennium. As such, and due to the lack of valid institutional partners (read: political parties), these movements set themselves easily on the edge of the system.



Two macro-dimensions help to understand the lack of response from mainstream parties: the European consensus built around the major political forces of the Union (Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and Liberals) and the maintenance of an outdated model of party organization.


The European consensus and the absence of political conflict enables a culture of political intervention at the European level, a situation aggravated by the tradition of backstage party negotiation within the closed frame of European institutions. This means that the center-left opposition, instead of presenting themselves as a political alternative to the current European Commission, is seen in the eyes of the public as co-responsible for the current European political program as set by the right wing, conservative-liberal European Commission.


On the other hand, the lack of adaptation to the new social and political conditions of the millennium has incapacitated many left-wing parties to represent the emerging dynamics. Instead, most traditional, mainstream Socialist and Social-democratic parties are busy promoting internal self-representative institutionalized oligarchies exclusively socialized in their intra-party structures, hence miles away from the new forms of active citizenship.


Now it seems to me urgent for Socialists and Social-democratic parties to start a critical reflective process that takes into account these points. In this sense, I think major statutory revisions are needed to modernize party facilities and reactivate their connection with civil society. These reforms should bosom the new social dynamics, provide an ample space to create programmatic alternatives to existing governance paradigms and promote a new set of actors and ways of political socialization, closer to the people and closer to the street.  

publicado por politicadevinil às 14:06
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The reform of the (European) Republic

It is for me clear and evident that the present European Commission is not providing effective answers to the current economic and social crises, and that it is imperative to seek a coherent and progressive left-wing alternative.


This political alternative needs to be built within a wide frame of progressive parties and political platforms, consider the claims of the present indignados and occupy movements, and emerge with a consistent program to be framed into a political alternative by 2014, in time for the next European election.


Meanwhile it is important, among other factors, that Europe’s Indignados movements shape a cohesive and organized discourse, because the current national initiatives have indirectly contributed to the legitimacy of nationalist narratives that dominate the European cultural discourse today. This lack of a European frame happens because parties and social movements still condition their political reading on endogenous factors - intra-national – that are usually related to the impact of the crisis and the lack of political solutions in their own countries; been therefore more convenient to organize themselves around national narratives. But in reality the conditioning factors that drive today’s European social unrest cannot be considered exclusively local. They have at least a European-wide scope. And the reasons behind the millions of Europeans in the streets are, with few cultural distinctions, shared between Greeks, Irish, Italians, French, Portuguese and British, to name a few.


Now, the lack of a consolidated European public opinion, the absence of a functional European Party System, and the ‘organic nature’ of many of these social movements (sometimes more fiction than reality) helps to explain the lack of integrated answers and the much needed construction of a coherent, shared discourse that could provide a socially valid and politically engaged alternative. And, in this sense, it is urgent to solidify the relationships between these three dimensions, so that the necessary intra-systemic change can occur within a legitimate reformist framework.


For various reasons we have not managed to build a strong European public opinion or public sphere. There are no truly effective European newspapers or television channels and the closest channels we have to a European civic space are our personal contacts gathered around social networks (eg Facebook), which are clearly insufficient to shape a shared, collective European conscience. As such, we are incapable of producing a collective narrative bounding the different shapes of public indignation.



On the other hand, the organic tradition of many social movements, and its ideological backgrounds, had lead to the refuse of any institutional normality and to the inability to create effective links with other institutional partners. This pseudo-post-anarchist tradition sees the current European party landscape without left-right distinction, acknowledging no validity in any of the actual institutional structures, situation that leads to an institutional stalemate with the consolidated mainstream political system, namely with left-wing parties (the political space where a common ground could be easily explored).


Changing the current state of affairs of the two previous dimensions seems to me too demanding, as we are far from establishing the necessary common ground to reunite the scattered European progressive forces or achieve a European public sphere. The responsibility to act within the framework of the Union and provide answers to the new social and civic public claims should fall on the institutionally embodied parties, particularly left-wing European political parties. But the paradox is that today these party structures are more a part of the problem than the solution, and motivate - often rightly - distrust from an engaged civil society.


So, we need to know how to solve this dilemma in order to seek the reform of the European Republic. And the responsibility for this should lay, I repeat, on the European left-wing parties. They are politically capable, skilled and resourceful, and should present themselves as the connecting key that could bind ‘The Street’ and the ‘The Institutions’ together, within a reformist, intra-institutional frame.

Not doing so could mean the end of the European project as we know it and a return to a closed, outdated, and nationalist Europe. Basically, a return to the nineteenth century.

publicado por politicadevinil às 14:05
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Quinta-feira, 10 de Novembro de 2011

Referendo greco-europeu

A tragicomédia grega que se viveu na Europa esta semana veio comprovar que a actual Comissão e o directório Paris- Berlim teimam em esconderem-se dos cidadãos europeus (...)

A tragicomédia grega que se viveu na Europa esta semana veio comprovar que a actual Comissão e o directório Paris- Berlim teimam em esconderem-se dos cidadãos europeus, tomando decisões de brutal impacto social nas costas dos seus concidadãos, no exacto momento em que estes requerem, ruidosamente, serem consultados em assuntos de tamanha gravidade.

Afrontados pela corajosa decisão de George Papandreou em propor um referendo nacional ao novo pacote de auxilio financeiro, os principais líderes europeus rapidamente entraram em pânico boicotando imediatamente quaisquer intenções de consulta popular, deixando evidente que a oligarquia reinante, dominada pelo paradigma liberal-conservador, não tem intenções de procurar outras formas de legitimação democrática que as decorrentes de uma leitura conservadora do processo europeu e dos mecanismos da democracia representativa.

Naturalmente que não está em causa a legitimidade dos mecanismos da democracia representativa, mas antes a promoção de novos processos de validação democrática e o desenvolvimento de novas dinâmicas relacionais entre governantes e governados. Esta tem de ser, aliás, uma das conclusões a retirar do actual momento de reivindicações globais, como o foram no passado as reclamações para o voto universal , para o voto das mulheres, etc.

Ao clamarem por "Mais Democracia", os diversos movimentos cívico-sociais mundiais afirmam claramente que é insuficiente hoje, nas democracias consolidadas, votar-se cada quatro anos para eleger líderes políticos e representantes partidários. É imperativo encontrar novas fórmulas de participação democrática, novos modelos que reconectem governantes e governados e co-responsabilizem ambos no processo de tomadas de decisões políticas.

O uso do referendo pode ser uma solução para este dilema. E deve ser potenciado, nomeadamente para matérias que necessitem reforçada legitimação popular. Claro que não advogo a instauração de modelos puros de democracia directa, mas antes a construção de novas fórmulas de envolvimento democrático na gestão da Res Publica.

Assim, há que louvar a atitude do primeiro-ministro demissionário grego, pela sua intenção de envolver os seus cidadãos. E, ao rejeitaram vivamente esta proposta, a Comissão voltou a demonstrar o seu medo pela consulta democrática e a sua aversão a qualquer aprofundamento democrático das sua instituições. A mesma atitude, aliás, já se tinha verificado aquando dos referendos ao Tratado de Lisboa. Nessa altura, como agora, a Comissão perdeu uma excelente oportunidade de re-legitimar o projecto da União através de uma consulta conjunta aos seus cidadãos, promovendo um referendo conjunto ao Tratado. Esta poderia, e deveria, ter sido a actual proposta da Comissão: promover um referendo ao nível europeu para validar as actuais políticas de austeridade. Fazê-lo teria sido entender as novas condicionantes da vida em democracia em pleno século XXI. Assim, mantemos a gestão oligárquica característica dos sistemas políticos do século XIX.

publicado por politicadevinil às 19:11
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