The Crisis – Opportunities, Ideas, Threats. Part Two

Key Questions

The continuation of the Bolivarian project in Latin America, the outcome of the Arab Spring and the lessons of the (primarily Southern) European movements will be key in forging the future opposition.

In Latin America the question is whether the Bolivarian project can continue and deepen, especially with the likely retirement of Hugo Chavez from the spearhead.  The resurgence of the Zapatistas and other movements in Mexico (Oaxaca is something to keep an eye on) could open a new front in Central America too.

In the Middle East and North Africa it is unclear whether we will see this area fall back into neo-colonial status or if it can forge a new developmental path.  The battle between social forces of the left and the right (as much as the Salafists may be seen as a novel and particular form of fascists) is also key.  Their are also implications for a move against Iran and a general fragmentation of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

Key lessons can be learned from the resistance in Southern Europe.  These lessons extend to new militant forms and transformative political structures built along a horizontal model, as seen in the Greek Syrizia and the Spanish Indignados.

Bermuda Options

The situation for Bermuda is limited.

As noted previously, the possibilities for even a limited socialist system in Bermuda alone is not practical, without similar movements overseas, particularly in the USA.  And with the brutal crushing of the Occupy Movement there, and the overall poor prospects of the ‘left’ there, this is unlikely.

The Occupy Movement itself was limited, and most certainly open to criticism in terms of vision, tactics and strategy.  It was, however, one of the most profound mass movements to have developed there in decades, and warrants further analysis.  The main question now is whether it can reform itself in one way or another.

In Bermuda, the nominal ‘left’ remains quite strong.  But what is this ‘left’?

It consists of the Progressive Labour Party, the various labour unions and a number of civil society organisations that express progressive views.

The PLP itself is essentially a Third Way social-democratic party, albeit with some unique characteristics, and in these the closest ‘similar’ party (for the sake of comparative analysis) is, arguably, the South African ANC, although direct comparisons are difficult on account of the radically different contexts.

Following the 2012 defeat, after 14 years in power, this Party is undergoing some restructuring.  It is unlikely to return to ‘socialist’ perspectives, but a move towards a new social-democratic vision cannot be ruled out.

The Unions are strong, although weakened after years of decline, and their vision is arguably limited.

It is unclear what the strength of the civil society actors is, as they are not generally thought of as mass organisations.

There are also a number of ‘lone wolves’ of the left, such as this blog.

The Challenge

The challenge is to:

1 – Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the existing ‘left’.

2 – Articulate alternate visions for these agents – not to dictate but to ‘seek to inspire’ – but also to help ‘re-arm’ them, after a fashion.

3 – Provide an alternative to the austerity turn and neo-liberal vision that the OBA appears to be representing.

4 – Provide a ‘defense’ against the expected charge against the public sector and the unions; but this defense must also articulate a new vision.

5 – The overlying challenge is to help reform the left (beyond the formal agents of the PLP and the unions), in terms of ideological re-armament, laying the foundation for a better moment.

This will involve defending against the neoliberal and austerity agenda and developing a counter-hegemony to it, at least in terms of ideological contestation of what is and what could be.

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