Friday, February 28, 2014

Democracy shamocracy. Wuthering times in Europe.

Voters can no longer complain that there is no such thing as choice in politics. As the European Union is gearing up for what will be a rocky election season, with far-right parties expected to win a sizeable chunk of votes, the array of options is dazzling. Unfortunately most such parties appeal either to staunch nationalists or to a prevalent current of anti-European sentiment. But are we right to start writing obituaries for Europe and democracy in general?

Ever since the 2008 crisis, populist anti-EU parties have based their platforms and electoral success on criticizing mainstream parties and proposing policies that would demolish the current political establishment. Their solutions, coated in a sugary rhetoric by charismatic leaders, reek of populism and chauvinism. Banks and Big Business are accused of being the puppeteers standing behind vile and self-serving politicians.

The streets have answered their militant calls, albeit for different reasons and without espousing firm political convictions. We are the 99 percent movement and its anti-political offshoots have generated a crisis of credibility and trust in traditional democratic institutions. And this is how a perfect anti-establishment storm began.

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