Looking back: The year 2016
Now an increasing number of those who are left to abject poverty and the limited number of those who are reeling under surplus wealth must know that technology has given them equal footing and opportunity to access information
The Year 2016 has been berated with confusions, contradictions and uncertainties. There is a crying need to review the past and to seek new solutions to new challenges. One of the biggest newsmakers has been the global political trend. It is the rightist swing sweeping the world. It is the tendency of finding one’s niche within the corner of one’s room shutting the door and windows. It means one is desperately looking for security not out of comfort but out of fear. Ask doctors what it means; it is the symptom of depression. It is also a symptom of economic crisis. Otherwise, why would Britain, the country, which heralded capitalism, go for Brexit?
Similarly why would the USA, the country founded and enriched by immigration, turn back on its pro-immigration policy? The next in line seems to be France known for bringing the republic agenda in the world. Those countries with the history of being critical of globalization, market economy by being traditional communists in the past have now taken to market economy. Their home grown market economies in their own style are making them formidable opponents for USA and Britain. They seem to be not only comfortable but are better players in the market economy than the real players who invented it. The rise of China and Russia is the case. While Donald Trump is asking American investors to come back to USA, Xi Jinping, the President of China, is looking for international partnership to hatch its eggs along the Silk Road and maritime route.
Those countries calling themselves free countries teaching the values of democracy to the world are now going against their own principles. Instead of deepening democracy, they are being increasingly racists, misogynists, immigrant-haters, anti-inclusive and anti-climate conservationists. In short they are finding solace in white supremacy.
Those countries being run by state socialism increasingly disempowering the masses in the name of empowering the socialist states are slowly raising the flag of nationalism. Not able to meet the challenges of globalization, the fast development of communication and technology, challenging the over-centralized states, it is creating an artificial external enemy shadow boxing it.
Today neither neo-liberalism is safe nor state run socialism. Take the example of pro-gun law, which is being supported by the Republican Party in the USA as a proof of the highest individual right to freedom. Similarly, take the example of North Korea, its underground nuclear tests and other tests have created dangerous ripples in its region. No one within North Korea is questioning these phenomena as it is being done in the name of collective security of its people. Both are classic examples of violence: one neo-liberal USA and the other state run socialism North Korea. Both are a threat to humanity in their own ways and may not be sustainable in the long run.
When the ideals one holds dear, be it neo-liberal values or state socialism values, start to turn against itself then it means it is time to think of change. It means one must now think beyond these ideologies. Already in some parts of this world people are coming with alternative ideas be it the Alternative Party in Denmark, be it Aam Aadmi Party in India, or be it Pirate Party in Iceland. They are focused on transformative politics than power politics.
They are questioning the limitations of both neo-liberal and state socialism by addressing it at a higher level. They are trying to avoid the shortcomings of neo-liberals who tend to over-emphasize individual freedom at the cost of collective interest.
Similarly they are critical of state socialism, which tends to over-emphasize collective interest at the cost of individual freedom. By being the center left they are advocating frontist ideology taking the left and right steps based on concrete analysis of concrete situations. Today, with global warming, development of Internet and handy fast connecting communication tools, countries are turning more interdependent. Knowledge is becoming increasingly common property. With the freedom of movement of money comes the freedom of movement of laborers.
Those who want to make more money would soon be forced to realize that it is the laborers who make money and not the money itself. With increased migration more are now in a position to compare one’s country with others.
Now an increasing number of those who are left to abject poverty and the limited number of those who are reeling under surplus wealth must know that technology has given them equal footing and opportunity to access information to make or destroy the world. And this will give birth to extremists from both the left and the right.
The growing number of civil wars at any time may flare into another world war. Hence one needs to think globally and act locally. Nepal is no exception. As the right trend is sweeping across the world, in
Nepal too this trend is beginning to affect the forward looking agendas that had been brought through various people’s movements. There is growing polarization between those who want a forward-looking federalist state and those who want to stick to the old monolithic state.
What is interesting to note is that the Trump phenomena came to the USA from the right forces, and the Nepali Trump is being manufactured from the so-called left forces in Nepal.