The description of Cultural Constituencies that I began to develop a couple of years ago was a natural progression from an analysis of the political and economic changes that had occured in the global economy as a consequence of the credit crunch. Economics as we had known it had ceased to exist and been replaced with a hybrid semi- Marxist control and command economy..the Free Marxet.
Marx was absolutely right when he deduced that the political structure within developed societies is a direct consequence of the economic structure of these societies. In order to support our previous form of political democracy it was necessary to have an economic arena wherein two opposing sides could work out a compromise of economic interests. This was a form of market in labour, wherein under controlled circumstances, ‘workers’ and ‘bosses’ could compete to secure relative econmic advantage.
In our present command economy such an arrangement is clearly insupportable. A command economy cannot allow independent institutions such as genuine trades unions that would forcibly prosecute the interests of members to the detriment of the overall planned economy. It follows that the economic and political dichotomy required for traditional political democracy is not viable.
In this altered environment Cultural Constituencies emerge as the only possible vehicle through which differing social groups can identify and pursue their interests. The Brexit vote is the latest and most spectacular evidence of the emergence of Cultural Constituencies as the prime political force at work in the developed economies today.
The Brexit referendum was won by a little over 30% percent of the total population of Britain – a sizeable minority but not by any means a majority of the population. Despite this observation it cannot be argued that Brexit victory is somehow illegitimate. There is no minority within Britain that is greater in size than the Brexit gang so by the terms of formal democracy the vote stands.
Despite this unavoidable truth it is absolutely clear that Remain does not intend to accept the political reality of the Brexit vote or its legitimacy. This clearly brings the entire democratic framework within which the referendum was carried out into question.
Fundamental questioning of the existing democratic system is an inevitable consequence of the emergence of Cultural Constituencies. The reason for this is not complicated. The political system as we know it is designed to service economic constituencies groups who identify themselves and their interests in primarily economic terms.
If economic constituencies are no longer to be the prime building block of the system how can that system remain unaltered?
Imagine a large university building in the process of being constructed over two or three generations. Half way through, the builders find out that the red brick they have been using will no longer be available. The alternative building material they are being offered has a different tensile strength, water absorbance characteristic etc. which means that the structure that had originally been envisioned cannot be supported by this type of brick.
The part of the building that is not already built using the old brick will have to be extensively redesigned if it is to be built using the new brick. This is the political process we are watching being worked out now in Europe and around the globe.
This tension between the old plan and the new is now beginning to make itself felt through the altering structure of political parties. Political parties as we know them represent a hybrid solution to the problem of ‘modernising’ Germanic land democracy.
Germanic Land democracy is based upon the free ownership and transfer of land. In all the Germanic democracies, land ownership was originally the prime requirement for the right to vote- to participate in the democracy. No land, no vote.
However, with the development of the cult of Capitalism and large numbers of landless ‘workers’, who were by definition disenfranchised, it was necessary to develop a hybrid solution. Cities rapidly became large centres of landless people which gave birth to an alternative ideology to Germanic Land Democracy- later identified as Communism.
This Communism would inevitably challenge the existing order and given the superiority of urban areas in numbers and productive capacity would win. The solution was the creation of geographically constructed constituencies that expressed an economic justification for their existence through the party system.
The voting system would formally be based on geographical location, but the motivating political dynamic for taking part in that system, the parties, would be economic in character. This is the basis for so-called modern‘universal sufferage’-the right of everybody to vote.
From the point of view of stabilising Germanic societies this served the dual purpose of avoiding a direct challenge to Germanic land democracy by those who had no land, while at the same time avoiding the obvious conclusion that the political system should be formally organised upon economic or class lines.
Geographic boundaries as the basis for politics and democracy were preserved. And this is fundamental to the continued existence of Germanic Land Demorcacy.
Despite the rhetoric to the contrary, this form of compromise has proved to be inherently UNSTABLE and prone to periodic seismic crisis. Universal suffrage only became widespread in Europe around the turn of the last century and immediately produced a series of political and economic shocks that have increased in severity to the present day.
As a consequence of these shocks, the ideology of welfarism was developed to mitigate the obvious disparities of political and economic power. Welfare is the bounty paid to the landless to prevent their overthrow of land based Germanic Land Democracy.
However, these internal developments in the Germanic economies did not occur in a vacuum. Across the world changes in the balance of power meant that developed nations were having to modernise Germanic Land Democracy against a backdrop of relatively diminishing international power.
In the late 1960’s this reached a point of absolute crisis and the formal intellectual abandonment of the free market economic model in America. The Free Market was replaced by monetarism – continual state control of the economy through the amount of money allowed into the economy by ‘independent’ central banks.
As the effects of Monetarism became apparent, we could see the end of the distribution of wealth and resources through the work and production model and its replacement with the distribution of wealth and resources through a property or asset ownership model.
This intermediate property or asset ownership model reached its own breaking point with the snapping of the link between taxation and asset and property ownership – what has come to be known as Neo Liberalism, and just as significantly, Globalism.
In essence globalism is not the movement of capital around the globe, that has been a greater or lesser feature of economy for thousands of years. It is most significantly the break between wealth generation through asset ownership and taxation by national governments.
This gives rise to the present crisis which is expressing itself at the weakest point of the chain- the joint between economic political parties and geographic political system. In Britian today the political system is physically imploding in front of our very eyes.
The two major parties have no effective leadership and furthermore, they have no prospect of establishing effective leadership in the short to mid term foreseeable future. By this I specifically mean that they have no plan to deal with the consequences of Brexit that will not necessarily entail their own eventual political destruction!
The two opposing sides in the Brexit conflict represent not economic differences, but cultural identity differences. This has become all but impossible to hide.
The Brexit side is perfectly willing to accept any short to mid term financial problems including uncertainty and some degree of isolation so long as it achieves their long term goal of disentangling English politics from Europe. Likewise, the Remain side is entirely comfortable with ongoing hardship,especially for young people, in the form of mass immigration and competition for resources so long as they can stay within the European ideological mindset.
These are political AND personal decisions made by the individuals who have voted for each side. In this new political environment, the existing political parties simply have no way to lead ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ to some form of traditional compromise. There are no economic incentives they can offer to achieve compromise.