The left is confused. Really confused.
Broken-hearted about Hillary’s loss of the US presidential election, in bits over the victory of Brexit, in a state of meltdown about the rise of hard-right parties in Europe, leftists now spend their time railing against people who are anti-globalisation.
The problem with Trump supporters and Brexit voters is that they are closed-minded nationalists, they say.
These people who keep disobeying their betters and voting for things they shouldn’t be voting for just want to live in their own tiny, homogenous worlds, they cry.
Whether it’s the ‘America First’ cry of Trumpites or the alleged ‘Little Englandism’ of Brexit fans, too many folks are turning away from the global and embracing the national.
“Be more global!”, the left says.
Which is weird when you consider that, just a few years ago, the left itself was anti-globalisation. Angrily anti-globalisation.
Cast your minds back to the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Back then you couldn’t so much as sip a Starbucks latte without seeing some dreadlocked white leftist at the window shouting: “Starbucks is evil! Globalisation kills!”
They marched and yelled about the evils of the global agenda
Their queen was Naomi Klein, author of No Logo, the anti-globalist manifesto. “Globalisation is death”, they yelled at their annual noisy protest outside the G8 meeting.
And yet, now many of these same leftists slam ordinary people — or what they no doubt view as American rednecks and dumb European xenophobes — for taking a similar stance.
For believing, as many Trump and Brexit voters do, that global capital is often a destructive force, and that the national plane is a better sphere for political decision-making than the international one.
It seems it is okay to be against globalisation if you have a PhD in political studies and love gabbing about Naomi Klein over Prosecco with friends.
But if you’re not so well-educated, and maybe even a little working class, then it will be assumed you are anti-globalisation only because you’re a massive racist.
It’s not possible, apparently, that these frightful, gruff ordinary people might be critical of globalisation for good reasons.
Because let’s be honest — while many on the left might have had a Damascene conversion to the virtues of globalisation, there are still solid reasons to be wary of it.
The best reason is because globalisation often has a devastating impact on democracy, on people’s sense that they have a real say over their lives and the future of their nations.
By lifting both economic and political matters out of the domestic sphere and putting them in the hands of new global elites of experts, globalisation turns political matters into the playthings of an aloof oligarchy.
Consider the European Union. The way the anti-Brexit lobby is droning on, you’d be forgiven for thinking the EU is the most civilised form of policymaking humankind has ever created.
Indeed, the Archbishop of Canterbury recently said the EU is “the greatest dream realised for human beings” since the fall of the Roman Empire.
Mate, calm down. In truth, the EU is a vast and bureaucratic byzantine institution in which unelected commissioners can make laws that the 500 million inhabitants of the EU’s 27 member states are expected to live by.
This elevates politics above the throng. It makes people feel powerless. The vote for Brexit was a revolt against this feeling of powerlessness.
On economic affairs, too, bodies like the European Central Bank (ECB), the World Bank, the IMF and others turn what ought to be democratic questions — how trade is done, tariff rules, the management of economic crises — into matters for faceless bureaucrats.
In the US and across Europe, millions of people feel that their very livelihoods are often under threat from these institutions which have globalised economic decision-making.
Witness how both Greek and Irish people had economic ‘solutions’ that they voted against imposed on them nonetheless.
The ECB drew up austerity packages for Greece and Ireland and effectively forced their governments to accept them. They are global elites, you see, so they are wiser than the plebs.
Globalisation sounds nice. We all like to think of ourselves as a little universal.
But don’t be fooled: globalisation is just a fancy word given to the removal of political choice and economic clout from the citizens of the West.
Of course more people are pissed off with globalisation — just like leftists were before they got sucked in by globalist mythmaking.