Decline of socialism in the Western world

Wednesday, 01/05/2019, labour day. The day of the left, socialists and communists. As a response the Catholic invented their own labour day, Rerum Novarum. Indeed, divide and rule.

Regularly, people discuss the reasons for the decline of socialist parties in many countries. And in the countries where they don't decline, mainly in developing countries, opponents do whatever is possible to remove the left from power, even when this means to impoverish the country, so often the rulers become dictators to remain in power and then of course there are justified reasons they can be removed.

Still, I can think of a few reasons why socialism in the West declines (I repeat, my opinion). I don't mention communism because that is/was an extreme form that in normal situation is unlikely to become a main party although a comparison with extreme right shows politicians don't understand why they're opposed to extremism.

  • Socialists often have links with unions and these have become their curse. Indeed, last year in 2018, unions (supported by many socialists) organised demonstrations against ESSENTIAL pension REFORMS. Of course, unions in Belgium can claim their hated Flemish party N-VA is anti-social and thus they must disagree with any of their proposals. NO. When socialists were part of governments, unions also protested against ESSENTIAL pension REFORMS. And thus, a party that seems to side with unions that protests against essential reforms such as pension reforms is not taken serious. Naturally. And it's not only about affordability (yes, also wealthy should pay their taxes) because, although many people are happy to retire, others hate it when they are forced into retirement simply because they reach a certain age, even when they feel fit to continue work (part-time) and thus continue to have social contacts. Other pensioners may want to earn something from their hobby (e.g. gardening) on top of their pension and thus pay taxes on what they earn extra. But unions oppose reforms. I think this resistance against reforms also explains the decline in union memberships because people understand that many social REFORMS are ESSENTIAL and thus people don't want to belong to unions that block them although, during crises and insecure times, people tend to join unions again. For instance, many people want to work until a higher age if jobs are flexible, but unions try to prevent these changes, mainly thinking about their own base: often people who have indeed hard jobs that no-one is able to do until their pension of which the maximum age is now over 65 years. Indeed, unions should concentrate on these workers but equally they should also discuss solutions for those who will need to work longer to have good solutions for both employees and employers; as little has been reformed, now politicians will impose reforms. Naturally. For instance, I think the same maximum working age for everyone is unfair because, many people with hard jobs often start to work at a younger age and thus a maximum retirement age means they will work more years than people who studied and often have lighter work; therefore, as in the past I think the numbers of years that someone works should be taken into account such as full retirement after 45 years with exception for people with certain hard jobs such as builders who should be able to retire earlier, certainly the older people who are close to their retirement as in the past work was heavier while now even hard and dangerous jobs becomes lighter due to the availability of special equipment that didn't exist in the past;

  • Further, socialists notice that green parties gain power and, yes, many socialist now vote green. Why? Because green was the first to understand that green businesses (small and local but also big) need support as they create new jobs that result in cleaner and safer cities, not only because of the use of renewables but also by including more green and car-free streets in which pedestrians and cyclists are safe and thus better livability of cities. In contrast, many unions and socialist friends continue to say that investments in old industries are necessary for job creation as they don't understand the new technologies provide jobs for the generation that is now starting to work while the old industries that use fossil fuels can slowly disappear. It is also the reason why many people start to turn away from liberal parties because people notice they no longer defend small businesses but instead mainly focus on multinationals and bankers with the argument they employ many although modernisation results in people who loose their job but more profits for companies to pay the top excessive wages and bonuses because they say they are the only who understand the complexity of the system they created. They tell governments to reduce pensions and to keep wages of ordinary people under control so companies remain competitive although daily costs for ordinary people increase and smaller companies start to have difficulties and blame people on benefits, even when many may be customers. The result is that liberals focus less on small(er) businesses that find it harder to compete with multinationals and continue to introduce laws that create inequality such as lower taxes for big companies and support for a corrupt financial sector without necessary reforms while less investments such as in renewables and less government because the financial sector tell governments to reduce costs and deficits or face decrease in credit rating while that same financial sector survived because of government support. Also financial inspectors seem to target local businesses while many multinationals and certainly the financial sector seem untouchable. But, big players that didn't cheat didn't receive help; thus, good companies may think to cheat in future to survive as that seems more profitable, at least in the short term. And if financial inspectors inspect large companies, than the jurisdiction will work sufficiently slow so the trial is outside the legal timeframe and managers of big companies escape any possible conviction. And when judgement is spoken within the time and companies are fined, than costs for customers go up to compensate for the legal fee companies have to pay while managers go free and can continue. Therefore, for many people, both the socialists and liberals are no longer a good option, certainly not by many youngsters;
    • Most people want peace but often socialists (joined by the green) are unrealistic and want as little if any investments in the army, even when they know that certain countries are hostile. Most people are not naive and understand that, to have peace, unfortunately but you need to invest in the army, police and intelligence services because not every country agrees to limit its influence to its own borders. I agree that having an army doesn't mean countries should interfere in the policies of other countries unless the president is a psychopath such as in Syria. An example is Cuba where a dictator who was supported by the West was overthrown by his own people and communism was the only possibility against a hostile capitalism whereby Cuba's leaders invested in education and healthcare but decades of boycott by other countries who still seem to prefer a return of the dictatorship result in an impoverished country close to its collapse. Many Westerners agree that other countries should not interfere in the politics of their own country but don't mind influencing policies in other countries. Unfortunately, many developing countries have armies that don't always accept the outcome of elections and overthrow governments instead of preventing other countries interfere. And thus, in the West people understand an army and intelligence agencies are needed to protect our democracy. Therefore, when socialist parties are opposed to investments in a good, preferably professional army, people vote for those who agree to invest in our protection, certainly during troubled times. Because, a modern good equipped army needs professional soldiers and thus investments, not many amateurs with bad equipment as a result of underinvestment. Finally, armies can also help people in need such as overthrow a dictatorship that uses weapons against innocent civilians but also to help countries struck by natural disasters. 

  • Specifically for Belgium, you also have a division between the northern part Flanders where more people vote right while in the southern part Wallonie a large section vote left. In Flanders, the socialists and communists want to join forces with their like-minded in Wallonie because they know that without the south their parties are powerless, even when they don't agree on a number of policies. This division line between two different people is thus not only a language barrier but even more a line that shows the differences in economy, political-thinking and about not understanding each other, whether people like it or not. Even unitarians are often frustrated because their solution may be completely the opposite of that of unitarians on the other side of the line and closer with solutions proposed by separatists on their own side. And while one part wants to impose its will on the other, the other wants to liberate itself; but, if that is not possible than it too wants to impose its will on the others and if they don't wish than they can go.

  • Also the idea that people can be convinced by the myth that everything can be done for free is something people don't believe. And yes, the rich don't need to receive support to send e.g. their children to the best universities but the poor needs this support. Help everyone and taxes will be sky high and thus the rich will use privileges to lower their taxes, privileges the poor can't use as they have nothing to declare.

Solidarity - They shall be condemned and not be, in whatever form it may come

An example that socialists can win was under Mr Tony Blair as New Labour leader who invested in education, healthcare, sciences and research as well as in equal rights and people voted for his socialism that included labourers, employers as well as people with their own business. In fact, anyone could vote for him. After PM Blair came PM Brown and people feared a return to old Labour and thus they voted for the Tories and LibDem (the latter rejected everything they stood for in the election ones in power because, as they claimed, without them in government it would be worse). Labour replaced Gordon Brown by Ed Miliband who won the leadership because he preached old Labour to get the backing of the unions while he was unable to defend a single achievement under PM Blair's leadership such as investments in hospitals and schools that needed to be rebuilt after PM Thatcher's years while seemed to agree austerity was necessary and thus he too lost the next election. Ed's brother David would acknowledge the achievements of PM Blair's government of which he was a member but would also mention the errors that needed corrections. Indeed, people don't want a return to the old socialism but want a good system, whether socialism or otherwise that gives everyone good opportunities. Yes, parties are a thing of the past.

The conclusion at the end of many discussions is that socialist parties should return to their original base. I don't agree as the original base of workers continue to become smaller while politicians such as Mr Tony Blair were able to win elections with large majority because of new policies that convinced people across political parties to vote for New Labour and his government continues to be an example for me although trying to learn from its errors. And yes, there can be a future, not by returning to the old base but by embracing the current as well as future changes. And yes, politicians need to make laws that ensure people experience fairness: good healthcare and education system in modern buildings, whether public or private, sufficient public space where people can relax and meet other people, equal opportunities so everyone can try to live their dream and also to have a good pension reform plan to present during the coming elections and people may vote for those parties.

Still, this moment is not the best moment because, probably it's too late for these ESSENTIAL pension REFORMS as those who blocked them are now retiring en masse and thus may drain the system till it collapses under its weight. Further, the financial sector will force these changes because, yes, they find everyone (except themselves) receive too many benefits and retire too young while they continue to retire their own employees at unacceptable low ages and justify this by claiming they make essential reforms so their business can survive; further, the financial sector received billions of dollars and euros to save it because bad management (even fraud) ruined many people but even countries while they claim others receive too much from governments.


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