Trump is here. Brexit is here. The damage is done regardless of what both mean in terms of policy. Their media and the popular movements they command are even more dangerous than the new breed of politicians that are now in power.
After this debacle, nevertheless, there is still hope, if we can learn from the experience.
Here is a big lesson for anyone who defends equality and inclusion in the World, from social-liberal and social democrats to democratic radical socialists:
Both Brexit and Trump are the result of the success of rogue members of the establishment in outflanking their establishment counterparts. These ultra-entrepreneurial individuals have supported both “movements” through media manipulation and funding. They have made the most of the new digital technology and culture.
The “traditional” establishment is bemused and angry at them. It is evident that the so-called “establishment” has cracks (It might end up in a state of semi-fluidity, actually, if we play our cards right). Its political unity was an illusion, partly fuelled by theories around class struggle, which, plausible as they may be, have their limitations.
So, what is the way forward?
There are other business groups and wealthy individuals who would benefit from a much faster and decisive technological revolution in areas such as renewable energy generation (there are many more examples apart from this). These members of the “establishment” know that neither Trump or Brexit, nor the Conservative-liberal-social democrat conglomerate in the EU, are going to help them to prosper as fast as they need, and as fast they should, in fairness to some of them. Their chances of bringing technological change and sustainable prosperity to a much needed humanity, and their chances of outflanking some of the more established industries during their own life times, are still poor.
And here is the opportunity:
These business groups and individuals can fund new “movements” and their necessary “media” conglomerates to take on the Conservative(UK)-Republican(USA) populists and win elections by occupying and expanding the left of the political spectrum. It is only that type of electoral change that will make it possible for their industrial activities to grow much faster and consolidate. Equally, it is only that type of electoral change that can bring our agendas of equality, inclusion and fairness back on track.
The success of new ethical technology and energy businesses is compatible with real social and political change, as one will be intrinsically linked to the other: new forms of ownership and business management embedded in new legislation for these industries, as well as public-community-private partnerships, can tie the knot between the new industry and the new political movements once they reach government.
I think it is time for blue sky thinking and action. New media groups, new engagement, new alliances.