Why Labour Lost: Oligarchs are Gaming Democracy 💰🗳 | George Monbiot


A lot of people are blaming Corbyn for
the results of this election. A lot of people blamed Hillary Clinton for the results of the presidential election
that brought Donald Trump in. Now, Clinton and Corbyn are opposites as
far as progressive politics are concerned. People have blamed the opposition in
India for the re-election of Narendra Modi, they blamed the Opposition in Australia
for the election of Scott Morrison, in Brazil for Jair Bolsonaro, similarly in Hungary,
in Turkey in Poland, in the Philippines. Actually blaming isn’t going
to get us very far at all because what we’re witnessing is a global
phenomenon, something big has changed. The oligarchs have
discovered the formula for persuading the poor to vote
for the interests of the very rich and that formula includes massive lying
and cheating on an unprecedented scale. Mobilizing social media particularly to
generate mendacious, manipulative adverts and memes and conspiracy theories in
order to swing people round or to turn them off from voting all together.
Pushing forward killer clowns like Johnson, like Trump, like Modi, like
Bolsonaro, who will do whatever the oligarchs want
but present a sort of almost amusing face to the public and so we laugh along
with them and then they learn from each other, they teach each other. In fact very often
the same political operatives will hop from one campaign to another, constantly
refining the model, refining the formula. So it’s a mistake to fixate on one
leader or one political party and say “oh look how badly they failed.”
Sure, there are failures. There was a lot of internal division within
the Labour Party, that really didn’t help. There was a lot of disarray over Brexit with a lot of
wobbling about what the Brexit position should be Lots of people really liked Labour’s manifesto
so it wasn’t the policy which was the problem and I don’t even think primarily it was
the leadership which was a problem but any Labour leader putting
forward those policies whose aim was to
transform this country would have been demonised
and ripped apart. The fundamental problem is the incredible grip over
our imaginations that the billionaire press still exerts combined with highly effective and
misleading use of social media This is a global phenomenon,
something huge has changed. People who wouldn’t have stood
a cat’s chance in hell 10 years ago are suddenly winning elections
all around the world at the moment. Why is that? Because they have worked
out the formula for how to do it. If there is a formula for how to do it there
must also be a formula for how to resist it. But how, tell me how! one of the things we
need to do is to ensure that people are much more aware
of what is fake and what is real. Dark ads on social media
telling total lies. Facebook, Google, Twitter
they’re all deeply culpable in this So we must defend ourselves from
lies and that requires digital literacy and there are ways of doing that. On the day of our general election in
Finland a 34 year old woman, Sanna Marin, was chosen
as their Prime Minister and she’s the complete antithesis of Boris
Johnson she could not be more different. There was one crucially important thing that
Finland has been doing for the past five years and that’s investing very
heavily in digital literacy. In helping people understand how
they can be manipulated online. Finland has been judged as the country
with the highest resistance to fake news now. Now obviously we can’t expect
Johnson or Trump or Modi or Bolsonaro to introduce an effective
digital literacy campaign because they don’t want
their own lies exposed but you don’t have to rely
on governments to do that. The Democratic Party in the US has now
produced a guide to confronting online lies putting massive pressure on the social media
platforms, on Google, on Facebook, on Twitter, to just take a completely different attitude to the
laissez-faire one that has dominated them so far. What we to see amongst progressive
parties all over the world is a coalition against fake news. So, you would say that white
supremacists tied publications meet a rigorous standard
for fact-checking? When you look at the only Labour leader
who has succeeded in recent times, Tony Blair, you see someone who has pretty well gone
along with the agenda of the billionaire press. I mean he went to great lengths
to butter up Rupert Murdoch, potentially the most
dangerous man on earth. The fear, the worry is, that he had to do that
in order to appease the billionaire press. and that if a Labour leader doesn’t
do that they can’t succeed. If that is the case then we have a real big structural,
institutional, problem and it is called the media. I think there’s a pretty horrible atmosphere
developing at the moment. A real sort of sense that
people want to purge. Got to get rid of all those people
who wanted a different country. Get rid of all those people
who supported Corbyn But it seems to me that in this renewed
furious public argument between Blairites and Corbynites,
or whatever you want to call them, we see really arguing in the wrong terms about
the wrong things and on the wrong scale. They’re looking inward whereas actually
they ought to be looking at the political system as a whole and
how we can radically change that. The problem we face at the moment,
almost regardless of who is in power, Is that we have a very top-down
19th century model of politics. What we need to replace that simple
linear top-down political model with is what I call political rewilding: a system
which is run and owned by the people. We’re beginning to see
very powerful examples of genuine people owned grassroots
politics developing around the world and yet this is not reflected in
mainstream political theory at all. We don’t need to wait for
government to do this for us, government is not going
to do this for us. we start doing it at the municipal level,
in the towns and the cities. So where there are
favourable local authorities, we put pressure on them and
we work with them to design these completely new grassroots politics.
Once we demonstrate the model what you find very rapidly, and this has happened
in other parts of the world, other people want it. They see that in their neighbouring town
there’s lots of exciting things happening which they don’t have in their own town, so the demand for that new politics
begins to spread and begins to grow and gradually can transform
the nature of the whole nation and then it’s much harder for the
oligarchs to get a grip over political life. We also have to attend to the short term crisis
that many people in this country now face Even though most of us
are really hungry we have to be careful with our food,
so we try not to eat a lot in one day. Continued austerity, continued
exclusion and marginalisation. There’s going to be a rising
tide of xenophobia and hatred. It’s even central government policy now. they’re going to attack Romani Gypsies
and travellers that’s in the manifesto. So the first thing we need to do is to
stand in solidarity with everyone who is likely to be victimised
by this government. We double down on our efforts to help
the people who are being marginalised. We have an overtly racist Prime Minister. just since the election already we’ve
seen a marked rise in racist assaults. No one must be left to face the
consequences of this election alone. I mean my big hope is that that result is
going to spark a much wider discussion about what needs to change. We need not just a change of government,
we need a change of political system. We know that just as there is a formula
for the oligarchs to take power there is a formula for defeating them and
for ensuring that there’s a far more effective and robust democracy than
we’ve ever witnessed anywhere and I’m beginning to see the first strands
of what that formula might be and I actually think it’s very exciting. So yeah, this is a time of despondency
but it’s also a time of Hope. Double Down has been achieving
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