28 November 2020

We are at a Crossroads

Since our last issue, we have observed two historic rebellions against regimes in Ukraine and Bosnia. In previous issues, we have written about the popular uprisings in several Arab countries, in Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, in Turkey and Brasil. Now the bells of rebellion ring in Eastern Europe.

Despite different national realities, these protests have a lot in common. Growing economic, social and ecological exploitation, coupled with intensifying authoritarianism are being experienced around the planet. These uprising inspire each other across borders and ordinary people see that they are the ones who must change things through organization and mobilization.

These rebellions are not homogenous. They are internally diverse – in terms of their level organization, political ideologies, demands and strategies. In several countries authoritarian, conservative and pro-corporate rulers tell us that they are the bulwark against dark forces, terrorists, fascists, and fundamentalists.

And due to the actual participation of far-right and fundamentalist groups in many of these uprisings, we, on the left, are constantly pressured to choose between the current oppressive regimes and potential future regimes that may be undemocratic, ultra-conservative, or simply alternative agents of global capital.
Furthermore, charges of ‘imperialism’ – often hollow and de-historicised hollow – are thrown about and used to convince us that we must choose between the lesser of two evils.

From here in the Netherlands, it is our responsibility to show our solidarity with those resisting oppressive and corrupt governments. But solidarity with whom, exactly? Our answer is with the progressive, inclusive and democratic forces within these rebellions. They might not be numerous in some contexts, but they do exist and their vision bears the seeds of a genuinely democratic and just society much more than either the current oppressive regimes or the conservative and fundamentalist factions within the resisting forces. It is with, for example, the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria, Tuzla Plenum in Bosnia, and the Left Opposition in Ukraine that we stand in solidarity.

We should not consider it strange or threatening that these uprisings are not homogenous. Now is the time for organizing and struggling to build alternative visions for a new world order out of these heterogeneous articulations of anger and hope and for supporting the democratic forces fighting in the streets.

The same argument holds for the elections that are happening in and around Europe. We must stand against the imposed options of austerity and oligarchy and fight for a third option – one that is democratic, egalitarian, feminist, and eco-socialist.

More than 100 years ago, Friedrich Engels wrote, ‘Bourgeois society is at a crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism.’ These words are as relevant today as they were then.

We are at a crossroads.

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