In correspondence with Dave Harrison (‘Trade With Dave’) on the subject of cultural constituencies, Dave raises the important point:
On what basis do different cultural constituencies constitute themselves?
Where are they coming from?
Fans of SUPERB IRONY have been treated to the recent spectacle of Germany launching a frontal assault on The Democracy Brand right on its home turf. The German message to Greek population and Syriza government alike is : ‘Elect who you want, it makes no difference!’. Newly appointed Greek leader Alexis Tsipras has responded by visiting the war graves of communist resistance activists murdered by the Nazis and referring more than once to the favourable 1953 debt settlement offered to the emergent West German state by the victors of WWII.. ironic it might be, subtle it ‘aint.
All of which diplomatic slapstick would be almost comical if it were not for firm support for the German position across Northern Europe. It is clear that national democratic government as we have understood it for a century or more, is being invalidated by the political realities of the EU.
The ‘left’ and ‘progressives’ are powerless to analyse, much less remedy this crisis of democracy. The left continually refers to this democratic crisis, but offers no contemporary analysis of it. Nor will they ever be in a position to do so. This would require an insight into the relationship between ‘Economic Rationale’ and ‘Germanic Land Democracy’ – not something the Germanic left can ever take on. If it ever did, it would invalidate itself immediately and permanently.
First of all, there is no point trying to discuss this or any other crisis of democracy in abstract general terms. All attempts to do so inevitably descend into a slanging match of the most simplistic and pointless kind: eg. ‘I am more democratic than you’ or ‘the West is more democratic than the East’ etc. This is simply more rhetorical slapstick.
We need a workable definition of democracy that is free from such rhetoric.
We can define Democracy as a group of individuals agreeing to exploit a free resource as equals in respect of that exploitation. For example, in ancient Greece slaves fulfilled the role of a ‘free’ resource. That is to say all Greeks were equal in relation to slaves (they owned them and exploited them etc) even if citizens were not equal to each other in different respects. If one ‘citizen’ went out and kidnapped a foreign person to be used as a slave there was no cost imposed on any other citizen as a result of this. This is why ‘classic’ Greek slave owning democracy is fundamentally different from all contemporary nations holding slaves. Greek democracy was slave democracy.
The modern democracy we have is different from ancient Greek democracy. Not just in its surface forms of government but in its fundamental construction. Greek democracy was based on the ‘free’ resource of slaves, Germanic democracy is based on the ‘free’ resource of land.
Germanic land democracy is based on freedom to buy and sell land within the constraints of the system. What this means is that it is permissible for anyone to buy land anywhere within the designated territory, so long as they can afford it. This form of ownership of land places no cost on another citizen. What happens to, and on, any given piece of land is primarily an economic consideration only marginally mitigated by any other considerations. This is the defining characteristic of the Germanic cult of Capitalism.
Freedom to trade land in this way locates Germanic Land Democracy, its origins (and even its eventual demise!), in time and place. ‘Modern’ (Germanic Land Democracy) has nothing to do with ‘Classic’ (Greek Slave democracy), never had, never will have. Any claim that they have anything in common is purely rhetorical.
Germanic democratic land ‘freedom’ never existed before it was created by the Germanic peoples of NW Europe. The modern nation state developed as a direct extension of this Germanic right to create and trade ‘private’ land. From the nation state came the modern relationship between the citizen and the nation. It is a particular political relationship.
The political relationship of the citizen to the modern state is based not on culture or history but on an economic relationship- the economic relationship encapsulated in Germanic Land Democracy. In a modern developed capitalist state, the questions of free movement, freedom of access, ownership and culture are all supposed to be settled. Now economic ‘classes’ will come to the fore under the auspices of economic rationale. In other words economics will be the focus and purpose of economics and by extension, politics. (see previous post)
However, it turned out that the land and culture battles were not exactly over. Since modern Germanic states began to expand outwards from NW Europe periodic conflicts between local cultural groups and the Germanic form of state have occurred. But half way through the last century, a full blown culture/state crisis exploded in Germany. Fascism pitched Germanic race, and culture directly against Germanic land democracy. And Germanic land democracy was overthrown. What followed was the rise and ‘defeat’ of fascism.
This next bit is particularly important:
Was democracy reconfigured in Germany after the war? No. The democratic German ruling elite had been overthrown by the Nazis. It had proved itself incapable of controlling its geographic and political territory. At the end of the war the German elite was put on an extended period of probation under the tutelage of its Anglo Saxon cousins. It follows from this that the German state is not a real democratic state. For instance, it has only relatively recently been unified. The German ruling class still cannot operate independently. It is constrained within a set of international political chains.
Again, Germany is not really a modern national democracy.
The damage caused to Germanic culture in general and Germanic land democracy by two World Wars was massive. I have described aspects of the strategy employed by the Anglo Saxon powers to rehabilitate Germanic culture and politics elsewhere. But here I want to focus on the implementation of mercantile nationalism.
Mercantile nationalism– is a form of nationalism based on the ‘free movement’ of individuals and mass immigration. In other words it is the most intense form of Germanic Land Democracy that it is possible to have. The brand name for this type of ‘international’ nationalism is Globalisation.
Mercantile nationalism was adopted as the antidote to the ‘poison’ that caused fascism. It was supposed to be an overwhelming dose of what had caused the problem in the first place, whose purpose was literally to swamp the ‘enemy’, (those who hang on to a troublesome cultural identity) and finally sweep them away.
Because of this, modern Germanic Mercantile nationalism naturally and inevitably causes conflict with expressions of culture and location, since these are deep human needs. Global modern politics has come to be about managing this conflict of interest. Broadly speaking management of the mercantile/culture conflict was going reasonably well (at least in mainland Europe), until the crisis in the relationship between globalisation, monetarism and financialisation caused by the Credit Crunch.
Monetarism is the end of economics. This is why I use the term ‘Crackernomics’ to describe the centralised political response to the Credit Crunch. Just as Germanic land democracy was supposed to have resolved the question of land and culture, so Monetarism is supposed to resolve the economic struggle- permanently. Monetarism is the end of economic rationale; the end of economic classes based on income.
Monetarism says there are no economic problems, there are only financial/liquidity problems and is only one way to deal with financial/liquidity problems – through money issuance. In other words, there are no economic problems any more, only political problems to be solved by central authority.
There is a horrible logic here:
- The purpose of politics is supposed to be to resolve conflict.
- Germanic Land democracy is supposed to resolve the conflict between culture, identity and territory and replace it with economic rationale.
- Monetarism is supposed to solve economic rationale and replace it with………?
- Culture and politics.
Which brings us back to Greece. Monetarism inevitably makes the economic problem caused by the Credit Crunch back into a cultural political problem. Germany, previously forced to abandon its culture and adopt mercantile nationalism is now forced to promote mercantile nationalism against Greek culture! Germany was caught on the wrong side of the road going one way in 1945 and now it is caught on the wrong side of the road coming back in 2015. That is just plain unlucky…
Which brings us to the blue pill and the red pill and the choice that faces the Germanic world.
The credit crunch has brought us to a bottle neck.
Monetarism has destroyed economic rationale which inevitably means a return to cultural constituencies. But cultural constituencies were what forced the creation of economic rationale in the first place.
The entire Germanic world has to choose between the red pill and the blue pill Monetarism or Mercantile nationalism. What the Germanic world wants is half of one and half of the other; a purple pill if you will. But there is no such thing.
And time is running out.
Both the British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Barack Obama have been yanking the German neck chain recently. Both have told the Angela of Debt that she had better pull her horns in and cut a deal with Greece to save Europe. She will have to comply, the Saxons are still the bosses. But this will cause a festering resentment in the German population and the German political class. Its not just Greece v Germany on the table, its Germany v the Saxon Axis…