The Powerful Forces Against Socialism

The world is seeing sweeping changes against established political dynasties and entrenched capitalism.

These changes are happening in democratic countries. Witness the revolution led by Bernie Sanders earlier this year as a U.S. Presidential Candidate. The Democratic Party did not like what they saw in him, and predominantly supported their choice in Hillary Clinton who failed to deliver the goods by losing what was her election to win. The working class and the young people loved Bernie Sanders. You just have to listen to some of his rousing speeches and see the reactions of very young people in his campaign. It is almost like he was leading a revolution against powerful forces aligned against him. He was militating against Wall Street Capitalism, the greed, the money power of political dynasties, and what not. It was eerily similar to what Communist revolutionaries spoke some half a century ago.

This is increasingly happening in Europe, where the reasons could be slightly different. Europeans are worried about “soft” positions of their governments on immigration matters, and their inability to create new jobs. So, right wing parties are gaining ascendancy in countries like France and Denmark. Germany is in turmoil as well, given that liberals are being questioned, and conservatives seem to be gaining. There are, of course, differences between the U.S. and Europe, but one thing is clear – people want change from established status quo. While Bernie Sanders did not get nomination from his Party to be their official candidate, by electing Donald Trump the American people have signalled their deep desire for a change. It is pertinent to note that Mr Trump did not fully represent the views of his Party either. He was widely differing from established Republican Party positions on many issues of national importance. But then, his Party had no choice but to accommodate him.

In India, the current Prime Minister has taken devastatingly effective actions against the established forces by demonetising large denomination currencies, which pits him against these forces. One can only hope that he is right in making a political assessment, but he needs to win the forthcoming elections. Without hard cash, it is almost impossible to win an election in India. So, it will be interesting to see the emerging forces in these elections, and also to gauge whether Indian Citizens are supporting their Prime Minister in such a daring move to push India from a cash-based economy to a digital economy, in the process partially eliminating corruption and fake currency.

All such interesting and very critical changes will impact the world in many ways in the coming years. The entrenched politicians and capitalists are not going to keep quiet, and will hit back as soon as they can to protect and preserve what they have gained over the past several decades, and it is only but natural to expect that kind of reaction. The worrisome aspect is that the new forces of socialism and conservatism (depending on the country) may not be prepared or equipped well enough to fight back, and that could lead to some unwanted disasters around the world.

It may be pertinent to note here that socialism now appeals to very young folks who are still in colleges, in their early twenties. As we all know, the attention span of young people is rather limited and they quickly catch what they like and then move on, without sometimes making an assessment of pros and cons of differing philosophies. Combined with their deep desire for a change in status quo in all aspects of their lives, it is but only natural for such folks to adopt socialism which stands for change from established philosophies  – political and economic. Bernie Sanders in the U.S. exemplified this aspect of change and positioned it without rubbishing everything else.

One cannot underestimate the power of the capitalists and conservatives. Not all conservatives are capitalists however. Capitalism thinks that it has built the economies of the largest and most successful countries of the world and is now being challenged by socialists who point out the greed in the capitalist system and the aggrandizement which marks it wherein fewer and fewer people are gaining at the expense of millions of people. Forces are rallied, and it would be interesting to see how this fight goes.

On the other hand, conservatives are an altogether different bunch of folks who have strong positions on immigration, trade, guns, offensive defense and civil liberties. Nothing wrong with such positions, however for them the world is either white or black – shades of grey do not exist in their world opinion. One must be either on their side or they must be wrong. While such extremism is unpalatable to most common people, the principle of conservatism is gaining ascendancy in the public media, where you would witness strong and persuasive leaders arguing their case dispassionately and with lots of reason.

So, in a nutshell, things are predicated to change in countries around the world, and change will come quicker if the current governments do not listen to their own people. Again, these are not “revolutions” per se, but potential changes in the way governments run their businesses and operations.

Well, let us think and see around us. We should feel the change in the “air” around the world.


Vijay Srinivasan

18th December 2016







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