The International Journal of INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY, vol.13, no.1, (Winter - Summer 2017)
2017 Barry Seidman’s interview with Takis Fotopoulos*
for "Equal Time for Freethought" radio show on The NEW WORLD ORDER IN ACTION: Globalization, the Brexit Revolution and the “Left” (Progressive Press, December 2016)
(Thursday, November 16, 2017)
The following interview with Takis Fotopoulos by Barry Seidman, together with his first interview for Equal Time for Freethought more than nine years ago, mark the two most important stages in his writing work: the first one with reference to the project of Inclusive Democracy he developed in the 1990’s and this one with reference to the fundamental shift of strategy that the rise of the New World Order (NWO) of neoliberal globalization requires. It is shown that the institutional foundations he took for granted in the ID project (nation-state and social democracy) although, even at the time, were crumbling, they were still in existence and, therefore, the struggle for social liberation was still possible within the existing institutional framework. He now stresses that the definite phasing out of both in the NWO makes social liberation definitely dependent on national liberation. In other words, the precondition for any struggle for social liberation in the present era of neoliberal globalization is national and economic sovereignty. In this sense, the present interview is particularly significant as it is the first full-fledged interview on the basis of his latest book.
B.S.: It's been almost nine years since we've had you on the program; a lot has happened since then. But before we get into all that, or some of that, and examine the ideas in your book perhaps a few definitions of terms would be a good idea. Firstly, the term New World Order is an often-used conspiracy theory term, as you know, which could describe anything from a clandestine totalitarian world government and Freemasonry to alien invasion, believe it or not. So why did you choose to use this term and what do you mean by it?
The meaning of the New World Order and the Transnational Elite
Takis: The term New World Order (NWO) is being used in a different way by both the Left and the Right. I mean the Right, as you said, usually what it means by this is a conspiracy theory of some sort, whereas for the Left it means a kind of ideology. In fact, what I am going to do today, and of course I did in the book, is to describe a new definition of the New World Order, according to which the New World Order is a structural change in the capitalist market system.
B.S.: Another term you use is Transnational Elite. Are we talking about the 1 percent here or political ruling classes? Which one are we speaking about or is there something else?
Takis: The Transnational Elite is defined in relation to the New World Order which, as I said, is a structural change in the market capitalist system that is related to the NWO and it simply means the network of the elites, which are not just local elites, they are transnational elites in the era of globalization. We do think we have local elites but these are not the elites which control the world. The world is controlled today by Transnational Elites. And these are economic elites––that is those that control the transnational or multinational corporations––political elites, cultural elites and so on.
Neoliberal globalization defines the New World Order
B.S.: The term globalization also has several meanings, one of them being the idea that we are creating a united world where everybody is free and the West will help the Third World nations become successful like Europe and United States blah blah blah. How are you using this term? And do you think any of the West's actions in countries like India for instance have benefited people there?
Takis: Of course what you just described is what I call the ideology of globalization. In fact, globalization is simply an economic phenomenon. It's simply today’s evolution of the capitalist market system. The capitalist market system today can only be globalized and this implies certain important consequences. For example, if you have a globalized capitalist system, that means that markets have to be open and liberalized. And this is the basic condition, actually––what in the European Union call the “four freedoms”. It simply means that all markets, (the markets for commodities, i.e. for goods & services, the markets for labor, the markets for capital) should be free and liberalized. In other words, markets should not only be open but also there should be no controls on them. So, this is the defining characteristic of globalization today. And this has nothing to do with the ideology you mentioned. How you can say globalization helps people in India or in the United States and so on when in fact (and this is verified by much evidence, some of which actually I described in the book) there is a continued concentration of income and wealth all over the world in the last 20 years or so since globalization emerged. So, you may have an increase in the national income of China or India or whatever. But this does not mean that this wealth is distributed in any way fair or equal. And this is something that even serious systemic analysts recognize and they say this is the major problem of globalization, that its benefits are not distributed in any way fairly. That's why, actually we have much reaction, mainly, the present reaction in the form of what we may call neo-nationalist, or as I call them, sovereignty movements.
B.S.: I've spoken with some people who believe that globalization has helped India because people are working there in the national economy, you know, wealth has gone up a little bit, that kind of stuff. And when I say that it's not distributed properly, they blame that on the people, the elites in India, rather than on the system itself, rather than on globalization. So that's why I was asking that question as well.
Takis: What we have now in countries like India, China and of course in the western world is a few billionaires, and on the other hand we have also some sort of middle class developing in both India and China, but the rest of people there, the vast majority of people, are victims of globalization. And, in fact, the same is going on not only in India and China but in various capitalist countries too. Why people voted for Brexit in Britain, why people voted for Trump in the United States? That is, if you analyze, as I did, their voting preferences and so on, you will see that, in fact, it's the victims of globalization, in both cases, that voted for Brexit or Trump, and the same happened in France when they voted for Le Pen, or in Austria and so on. So, in other words, we have an international, or world-wide, movement now, from below, which of course is being exploited by political elites. And Trump is a kind of political elite exploiting this movement, and the same in Britain and so on. But we have to distinguish between the movements from below and what are the party movements, or political movements, that tried to express this movement.
The phasing out of the nation-state in the New World Order
B.S.: One final term, which confuses people in this country, too depending on what your political ideology is. So, I want to know how you're using the word, the term, the political philosophy “neo-liberalism”. This term really gets a beating here. Hillary Clinton supporters, who still actually think of her and themselves as traditional liberals, believe it's a fake term created by the right wing to demonize liberals and progressives. I've actually heard people tell me that. Progressives, which are I guess Social Democrats, think of the term as sort of a special version of capitalism, which has somehow ruined the nation and weakened the United States and that we have to get back to a more social democratic sort of capitalism like FDR’s New Deal. And the Left, whatever that may be anymore in this country, sees it as just the latest version of capitalism born from Reagan and Thatcher and the transnational elites’ efforts to save capitalism from itself. So, all that said, how were you’re using the term neoliberalism in your work?
Takis: Actually, I don't accept this explanation. That is, neoliberalism is not just an ideology, as many people in the Left or the so-called Left suggest today. And it is not just, also, a version of capitalism, unless you mean by this that this is a structural phenomenon in the evolution of the capitalist system. In this sense, I would accept it, but today's capitalism has very little to do with the capitalism of 30 years ago, even more so a hundred years ago. The basic qualitative difference between today’s capitalism and previous capitalisms is that the capitalist system used to be linked, from the beginning, with the nation state. In fact, the nation state helped a lot the evolution of capitalist market internally, domestically, in each country. However, today, the capitalism that has prevailed today, has been trying, in any way possible, to eliminate the nation state. In other words, we have now the phasing out of the nation state. This can be seen clearly in the European Union for example, where member states do not have, any more, any say in the domestic economic affairs but, instead, domestic economy (especially if they are members of the Eurozone as well), domestic economic policies are determined from outside, from a bureaucracy in Brussels. And the same happens all over the world, where we have the phasing out of the nation state and, instead, we have supranational or Transnational Elites developing, what I called the Transnational Elite before, which actually controls today's world economic system. So, this is what I mean by neoliberal elites. As I said at the beginning, the NWO of neoliberal globalization is a structural phenomenon that signifies the new form that capitalist market economy has taken in the last 20 years or so, which has very little to do with previous models of capitalism. Even the globalization of the early 20th century, as some call it, has nothing to do with today’s globalization, because that globalization, which was attempted by countries like Britain and Germany and so on, was in fact globalization based on nation-states or on empires, the British Empire, the Russian Empire and so on. So, to the extent that these empires were in constant conflict between them, obviously, no globalization could be possible, that’s why they ended up with the First World War and then with the Second World War. it was a conflict of imperialisms, exactly because capitalism at that time was based on nation states. Today this is inconceivable, you cannot have a war between European states. Why? Because they have common interests, they express the same economic interests, sometimes of the same multinational corporations. Their common interests are expressed politically and militarily by NATO and so on. So, there’s no reason for Germany to start a war against Britain and vice versa. This is the qualitative difference of today from any previous globalization and from previous nation states.
The globalization’s myth of peace
B.S.: Right, right. So, I mean, I think a lot, although I’m not sure about the United States but I think if people pay attention to Brexit and the EU issues, even here people get the idea that there is a strong difference between the nationalist kind of capitalism versus this internationalist kind of it and globalization. But, still, there is a debate about which is more dangerous to humankind: this transnational neoliberal capitalism which is obviously dangerous, or the old school nationalism and negativism? This is of course a debate which came about here, partly, due to Brexit in the United Kingdom, as well as the rise of Donald Trump and Trumpism in the United States. So, here, I guess we can talk in a little more detail what your view is on these two political modalities.
Takis: Yes, but before we reach Brexit I think I have to say a few words about what you mentioned. In fact, there are wars today. Simply, there are no wars between the countries which are fully integrated into the New World Order, as I said, between European states, or between U.S.A. and Europe and so on. Of course, we had a series of wars in the last 20 years or so. First, in Yugoslavia when NATO bombed Serbia, then in Iraq where there was an invasion of the country, then in Libya and then in Syria where the same pattern was repeated and so on. So, I mean there are wars, but these are different wars from the wars between advanced capitalist states, as it was the case both in the First and Second World Wars-- more in the Second. Now, we have wars by what I call the Transnational Elite against any state which resists being integrated into the New World Order.
Takis: That’s why there was a war against Iraq: because it was a sovereign nation. That's why there was a war against Libya and Yugoslavia: because all of these were sovereign nations which were not integrated into the New World Order and accordingly they had to be subordinated. Yet, there is a propaganda of the Transnational Elite that the European Union secures peace in Europe! This is funny because, it’s not the European Union that secures peace, but the fact that the capitalist states in Europe, (the elites of course of these countries), were united in creating the European Union, exactly in order to express better the interests of the multinationals. In fact, the basic treaties which established the European Union had been drafted by a mysterious organization called the European Round Table of Industrialists, which has (effectively) created all the institutions of the European Union. So, we have to distinguish between nationalism and the old nation-state wars (on the one hand) and what is today the start of a kind of internationalism (on the other). That is, what I call the New World Order of neoliberal globalization-- which still creates wars, but not between the advanced capitalist countries which are integrated into the New World Order. There are still of course conflicts that we all know. For example, why there is all this tension with Russia? Because Russia is not integrated yet fully, Although it is a member of the World Trade Organization and so on, it's not fully integrated, in the sense that the Russian elite under Putin wants to participate in the Transnational Elite as an equal member, something they do not accept. I mean the elites in the West do not accept it and that's why we have all this tension between the Transnational Elite and Russia.
The significance of the Brexit revolution
B.S.: So, Brexit then. There are some different views here, even from people in England. I mean some say it was a bad thing because of security reasons, some say it was a bad thing because of (its effects on) international travel between the countries, that it's good to have, you know, one world government kind of liberal beliefs. Others think it was a good thing that it happened, because even though it might bring back a sort of nationalism, maybe, maybe not, it also breaks the pattern that the EU has set and maybe it will lead to some changes within the neoliberal agenda. So, what do you think Brexit meant and do you think it's going to last? What do you think about those opinions?
Takis: Of course, to understand what Brexit means and how people see Brexit you have to distinguish between which people you are talking about.
B.S.: Right, of course.
Takis: The elites basically are against Brexit and we saw it during the campaign for Brexit when all the major transnational corporations which are based in the U.K. launched a huge campaign to terrify the people (what was called the ‘Project Fear’) ––to terrify people not to vote for Brexit. And in fact the Transnational Elites took part, an effective part, in this campaign, even Obama came here in London to say that you have to vote against Brexit, and the American elites were of course against Brexit, the European elites, the European Union elites were also against it and so on. In fact, it was basically a movement which started from below. In other words. once the Conservative Party launched this referendum in the firm belief, (it was Cameron at the time leading the Party), that they will win it, they did not know (what will follow). They did so because there were some elements of the Conservative Party who were in favor of Brexit, but by no means the majority. There was however a strong part, or a significant part, of the Tory party which forced Cameron to have a Brexit (referendum). Again, as I said in the beginning (they believed) that the no vote would win but, in fact, what's happened--and this can be proven by the results of the election-- was that many people in Britain from lower income groups, that is the working class, poor farmers, people with small shops and so on, all these people who were the victims of globalization all these years (voted for Brexit). People, for example, in the north of England, who became unemployed when Thatcher started opening markets––because, why an industrialist in Britain would use British steel when he can buy steel from Korea or whatever at half the price or less? So, the basic industries in Britain closed down at the time. There used to be a huge car industry in Britain and a huge basic industry to support it, the steel and rubber industries and so on. But all these industries closed down. And Britain, in the last 20 years or so, was transformed from an industrial economy to a service economy, that is (an economy) that was relying mainly on the financial sector, the City of London and so on, while everything else was imported. Of course, all these poorer people, who were employed by these sectors which were phased out, were very angry they lost their jobs and they lost sometimes even their home and so on. All these people became immediately supporters of the “Leave” vote because they thought that it was the European Union, which was the means through which these globalization policies were passed and were implemented. In Britain it had been calculated that something like 60 percent of the legislation passed through the Houses of Parliament in fact is generated in the European Union, in Brussels. So, when people belonging to all these groups found out all this they said “come on, who is ruling Britain now, it's not us anymore, It’s somebody else in Brussels, so let's get out of it”. And that's why there was this huge movement of people who were completely apathetic up to then to the electoral contest, that is people who had ceased voting for the Labor Party because the Labor Party, since Blair, has become a pure neoliberal party, as was also the case with most Social Democratic Parties. So, the traditional clientele of the Labor Party either moved to other parties, or mostly abstained and what happened with Brexit was that all these people, particularly those who used to abstain, came back and voted for Brexit and that's why you see that the poorer income groups voted for Brexit. In fact, it was only in London where Brexit was voted down. Why in London? Because London concentrates all the financial sector, (which is of course the beneficiary from globalization) and those who work for it, but there are also people coming from all over the world who try to find their future there, as it happened for example with immigrants to the United States and so on. But the rest of Britain, the rest of England in particular, voted in favor of Brexit. And the same would have happened also with Scotland, but the Nationalist Party of Scotland voted in favor of the European Union (!) it went against Brexit. On the other hand, the Nationalist Party in Wales voted in favor of Brexit.
B.S.: But what about Ireland.?
Takis: Ireland, Northern Ireland, voted in favor (of Remain in the EU) but in fact the Nationalist Party, which is now actually cooperating with the Conservative Party in governing the country, voted against (Remain). So, they were divided in Northern Ireland.
How we could explain the rise of Trump in the USA?
B.S.: Moving now to the United States, I know you're from Greece and you live in England so you're looking from outside in at the United States, which is an anomaly sometimes, but a lot of things have happened that are similar. You know we’re a service based culture now and we don't produce the imports etc., etc., etc. Donald Trump is a new kind of thing for us ––and I've seen some crazy stuff happening here including George W. Bush. But this is something a little different, for better or worse. You know United States now has probably the least qualified ––and we can discuss what qualified means, (“to be qualified” just means carrying out the wishes of the transnational elite)–– but the least qualified in (terms of) our history, i.e. a sleazy narcissistic game show host, you know, who has now not only split the Republican Party but holds a mirror up I think to the United States, to us, showing us what we really look like to the world because of our policies over the last five decades. What do you think about the rise of Trump himself and the empowerment of the most divisive elements in American culture with him, like the neo-Nazis and the xenophobes and the nationalists and stuff like this?
Takis: So, the first question is therefore whether there is, qualitatively, any difference now in the United States, whether things are worse, from what point of view are worse and why people voted for Trump-- which is also the second question that is how we explain the rise of Trump. I think here that we have to distinguish as I've said before between the elites --both in the United States and in the other advanced capitalist countries-- and the victims of globalization, which belong to the lower social classes, the working classes etc. The United States have not of course suffered because of globalization, if we talk about the national statistics, about how the national income has grown and so on. Why is this? Because, in fact, what we really had was U.S.-–based transnational corporations which expanded all over the world. So, from their point of view, of course, things were rosy because they could exploit cheap labor in China or India or whatever. But, at the same time, they had of course to move many parts of their productive activity from the U.S. abroad.
The classic example is Apple of course. As you know, when you’re buying an Apple computer, it says “made in China”. Of course, it’s not made in China because all the electronic base of the computer is made in California. not in China. In China, they simply assemble the computer and they state it's all made in China! Now this means that many people who could work in the United States in the steel industry and the car industry and so on found themselves, in the last 20 years or so, being unemployed because cheap European cars, or Chinese, or Korean cars could come to the United States and the result was that people in the United States––workers especially in what is called the Rust Belt states and so on–– became unemployed and therefore very angry with what's going on. So, these are the reasons why things are not going well for some, who actually happened to be the majority, both in Britain and the United States and so on, while, for others, of course things are going very well. That is, in the United States people in the coastal parts of the United States both in the east and the west (California, New York and so on) have no problem but the people in the middle, where actually all main industries used to be based are not happy at all with what's going on. So, there was a popular movement both in the United States and in Britain against globalization and its affects. And it was then Trump who exploited, if you like, this movement and promised that he will bring back jobs from abroad, that he would punish the multinational corporations who move their activities abroad, that he would reduce the immigration from Mexico, etc. So, these were popular demands, which therefore gave him the victory because of the work that he could bring in all these areas in the center of United States, as against the liberal parts of the United States in the east and the west. That’s how you can explain the rise of Trump. And that could, also, explain the huge war that was launched against Trump, even after he was elected. I had not seen in my life the entire establishment to attack the president who was elected––at least, this was I think an unprecedented phenomenon––and this can only be explained because, as I said, it is the Transnational Elite that controls not only multinational corporations, but controls also the world media like The New York Times, or The Times and The Guardian here, and so on, it controls also the cultural industry etc.. In fact, that's why we may talk about the Transnational Elite because we have a network of elites which actually takes decisions and promotes its own decisions and its own ideology all over the world.
The smear campaign by the “Left” on the rise of sovereignty movements
Now, to come to the last part of the question about the rise of neo-Nazis and so on, I would say that this is part of the propaganda that is being developed by the Transnational Elites and the media they control, because neo-Nazis have been in existence in both Europe and the States for many years. But usually they did not control more than two or three, or five percent at most, of the electorate. So, what happened and you saw in Britain that 51 percent of the population voted for Brexit or what happened in the States and you saw many millions of people voting for Trump? Obviously, they did not become neo-Nazis from one day to the next! This is just a smear campaign launched by the Left. And this is a major other item we can discuss, i.e. that the Left attacked very much these movements that started from below and only wanted sovereignty and they've attacked them because they thought--rightly of course-- that they’d lose electoral clientele because in Britain, for example, it can be proven that the vast majority who voted for Brexit were working class people who used to vote in the past Labor. So obviously all these workers did not become neo-Nazi's. Simply, they found out that the (mainly Blairite) Labor Party, which clearly functions as if it is in the payroll of the European Union, does not express them anymore.
B.S.: OK. So, this is rather complex. England maybe a little bit simpler. I can't say for sure I don't live there. There are similarities of course but here in the United States there's a variety of things going on, obviously. I'm not sure how many people in the electorate understood even what Hillary Clinton represented. A lot of people didn't like her. They might have had an idea that she and Obama and the Bushes represent the Transnational Elite and they were tired of establishment politics–– that's been happening here for a while. They might also understand the problems, the individual problems, with Donald Trump and the types of people that are happy that he's the president. I don't mean the people who have been hurt by the Transnational Elite but those elements in society (associated with racism) because this society has a type of racism that obviously is different than in England, with slavery and with a lot of other things. Also, it gets even more confusing when you add the other so-called revolution around Bernie Sanders because some people saw that as something from below. Even though he's part of the system and he's part of a social democratic ideology, Sanders’s supporters figured they were going to bring back some kind of social democracy that we never really quite had anyway. They were going to bring us back to the time before neoliberalism, before Reagan took over and Bush and every one since Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton supporters––I'm not even sure you know it was a lot of stuff going on there–– they wanted the first female president amongst other things. So, it may be that it’s not so much that people voted for Trump or for a third party, as opposed to voting against the establishment, against Hillary Clinton. But here we have the Christian fundamentalists, who have always been a big voting group for the Republican Party supporting Donald Trump, which is really odd because, based on their own expressed values as so-called Christians, you know, Donald Trump is nowhere near an exemplary figure of that. So, I think there's a lot of things going on, he's really exploiting through all those characteristics of this country through religion and racism and white working class Americans and all this other stuff. Who knows what Donald Trump really believes. But now, you know, when you wrote the book he was just becoming elected, with the election just happened. Now he's been there for a while. What do you think has happened? Do you think it's the same kind and he still represents people who, whether they understand what's going on or not, still think that he represents, or his administration somehow underneath all the craziness represents nationalism or isolationism versus the Transnational Elite’s neo liberalism? Or do you think Trump has become part of the system and now is being used by the same Transnational Elites, no matter what comes out of his mouth?
Social Democracy is dead and buried in the New World Order
Takis: First, as regards the division between Clinton and Trump, or even that between Sanders and Trump, I think that it is generally accepted that the entire liberal establishment was against Trump and that it was divided, however, as regards the support for Hillary or for Sanders. Of course, the majority of the liberal establishment and liberal voters were in favor of Hillary Clinton, who controlled also the party mechanism and so on and against Sanders. And Sanders, of course, became unreliable from the moment he called his supporters to vote for Hillary, disappointing many people who may have believed in his program. Now, the problem with people like Sanders is that it’s not just a matter of personalities. It’s that social democracy is not feasible anymore, it’s not possible anymore in a globalized society and economy, as the one we live now. It’s not a matter that Sanders wants to betray his voters, or that the same happened in France with Mitterrand or Hollande, or the same in Britain. it’s not that all these wanted to betray their voters. It’s simply that they had to accept the structural characteristics of the system, otherwise they cannot actually implement any of their policies–– unless they break with the institutions of the New World Order. If they decide not to break, then they cannot do anything else, from inside. You cannot, in other words, improve the European Union so that it would become a good Social Democratic Union. In fact, this was attempted in the late 1980s with the Delors Plan, which was a Social Democratic program (Delors was also a Social Democrat). But all this was thrown out and was rejected by the successors of Delors and the new generation of European Union leaders, who adopted the neoliberal program not because they wanted to abandon the social democracy but because they found out that with open and liberalized markets ––which they took for granted–– they did not have a choice. That's why you see the collapse of the social democracy not just in the United States in the form of Sanders, but all over the world. In Europe, now, all Social Democratic Parties collapsed. Look at the electoral results in Germany, in France, in Italy and in Britain and so on (Britain is presently an exception as it got Corbyn, [a kind of Tsipras], we can discuss it later if you like). But, otherwise, the Social Democratic Parties all over Europe and in the United States collapsed. The reason is that they could not any more offer what the old Social Democratic Parties offered in the past. So, that’s the reason why people voted for Trump in the United States or for Brexit in Britain.
B.S.: Before we leave this, I just have one question about that. There was a line that was a quip, if you paid attention I'm sure you did to the primary debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, where he was talking about health care you know universal socialized healthcare like most of Europe still has in other places, and he was describing Denmark as an example. And she said, well, we're not Denmark. Do you think Scandinavia, Denmark, Sweden those countries are still holding on to a Social Democracy of some sort and, if they are, are they an exception? So maybe when Hillary Clinton said we're not Denmark she really meant we're not going to do that here because we can’t do it, not because we won't.
Takis: In fact, this is not true. Actually, I have written an article about the Scandinavian social democracy a few months ago where I had a lot of evidence and research by Scandinavian people who showed that it is a myth that the old Social Democratic state still exists in any Scandinavian country. In fact, what they did, both in Sweden and in Denmark and so on, they introduced open and liberalized markets which, as regards for example labor means that you cannot have anymore full employment, as we used to know it in the past. That is, now they have flexible labor, and flexible labor means that you should be available at any time whenever your employer asks you to work and so on. In fact, part-time work, and what they are calling in Britain and the U.S. ‘zero contract hours’ are prevalent. But zero contract hours means something like, if you remember the old Hollywood films where every morning somebody from the factory was coming out of the gates and was choosing between people who were going to work. Now this is the situation today in Britain and I suspect also in the United States. That is, people who do not have any contract, do not have any insurance, or any effective insurance rights and so on, have to work (this way) in order to avoid unemployment and if they don't want to work this way then they (the employers) can simply use immigrant workers. That's why they have so many immigrants allowed to get into Europe and to some extent also in the United States. So, what happens is that, as regards the health care for example you mentioned, no social democratic health care system is any more viable. In Britain, for example, you know they had the best health care system and I have personal knowledge of it because when I came here (50 years ago or so) it was working marvelously, as when it was established, immediately after the war by a very different of course Labor Party than the present one. And it was free at all levels, that is people could use the health system, from the general practitioner up to the more specialized operations, and so on. Now what happened however later on, following Thatcher, Blair and the rest, was that (Governments) had to reduce taxes, as lower taxes is one of the basic elements of the neoliberal globalization. That is, a country has to be competitive in order to compete within the open market, and to be competitive it has to have low taxes, particularly corporation taxes and so on. So, they lower taxes, and this means what? This means they have to lower also state spending. And the first candidates were health, where most spending was going and education. So that's why the health system in Britain started deteriorating rapidly since Thatcher and Blair and continues to deteriorate now. Clearly, the idea of the Transnational Elite is that the quality of services will become so bad over time, so that people will prefer (those who can afford it of course) private service. Something similar is going on in the United States. As regards the Scandinavian countries, as I said, once they adopted the flexibility of prices and wages, then, they cannot talk any more about social democracy. In fact, they just try to keep some sort of (comprehensive) health system by taxing people (who can afford) more. On this, they differ perhaps from continental Europeans, but still the system has no comparison with what the health system or the education system in Scandinavia was 20-30 years ago, with what is going on now.
On the side effects of the individualization of society in the New World Order
B.S.: Ok. Early in your book you talk about the social and psychological effects on peoples when their countries enter the New World Order. I can't speak directly on nations outside the United States, never visited them, but it's evident here that America has become what sociologist Charles Derber describes as a sociopathic society, with shooting, mass shooting, almost every day, or every week. It feels like these days there's lots of things going on in this society that's crumbling. Charles Derber lists many reasons for his belief that we’re a sociopathic society. You mentioned this too. What are some examples you see wherever you see them? Like for instance in the United States we have an increase of the use of anti-depressants and other drugs. There is a lot more depression and anxiety than there used to be. There's more eating disorders than there used to be.
Takis: These kinds of trends, that is people who are antisocial, who are individualized people who try to explain everything around them and act accordingly on the basis of how they and perhaps their family will do better but not giving a damn about the collective––either it is the community or society in general–– these trends are of course cultivated by the cultural globalization and the ideological globalization. The sort of society they promote is a society where human rights have to be protected at any cost, even if they refer to relations between minorities in the population like between transgender people and so on. That is, human rights is the ideology of globalization, which is used not only domestically but also as regards their foreign relations. Don't forget that all the main wars of the Transnational Elite in the last 20 years were in order to protect human rights in Iraq in Libya and so on. So, this means that there is a deliberate trend to individualize society because this is the whole idea of neoliberal globalization. People try to accommodate themselves with the existing social and economic framework and try to find individual solutions for everything affecting them. They don't any more think in social terms, as they used to think in the past. In this connection, I would say that self-determination today, or rather the sovereignty movements I mentioned before are an expression of self-determination. In the past, self-determination was expressed either in the form of classical democracy or in the form of confederations of communities and this was the main form up to the French Revolution. After the establishment of national states, self-determination was expressed through the nation state. That was the only way in which, collectively, people would express their desires about what to do with society, how they are going to move, how they're going to spend their income and so on. But whilst nation-states are being phased out, as its happening today, then, in fact, people do not have any means of collective self-determination anymore and the only thing they are left with is individual self-determination. That is, they try to sort out their problems at the individual level. This has all sort of side effects like the ones you mentioned. People become depressed, people do become anxious because they feel they are failed people if they don't succeed in the market and can't get a good job, or good house, or whatever. That is, assign any fault to themselves, any fault in other words related to why they don't get a good job, or why they don't get a good house etc. Everything becomes individualized. If everybody thinks in individual terms that means that all these psychological problems that you mentioned are simply necessary side effects of this kind of society we live in.
B.S.: Right. Right. And loneliness as well.
National liberation as a precondition for social liberation in the NWO
B.S.: Is there a way in your mind to defeat neoliberalism, capitalism in general perhaps, and take power from the elites and give it back to the people without a violent revolution or waiting for some apocalyptic event to occur first?
Takis: In fact, I happen to suggest a shift in strategy because, if you remember, when we were talking about inclusive democracy this strategy was very different from what I'm talking today and the reason is not that I changed my ideas. I still believe that an ideal society should be an inclusive democracy, but the problem is how you get there. And to my mind this is not possible any more, as it used to be perhaps 30 or 40 years ago. That is, then, there were (still) people in local communities and so on, who were creating eco-communes or whatever and tried to implement their ideas at the local level, in the hope that, this way, they could expand at the social level, what they were doing at the local level.
B.S.: It seemed even more positive 10 years ago than it does now. More possible I mean.
Takis: Yeah, today this is not possible anymore, that is, in order to be able, even to experiment on this kind of basis, you have to be able to control the economy around you and you can’t control in any efficient way the economy around you if it is globalized and it is huge corporations that control what people buy at the supermarkets or whatever they use their money generally. So, what I mean is that today we live under occupation, that is we have a kind of occupation by the Transnational Elites, which actually take all important decisions about ourselves. So, if you have an occupation, the only way to proceed, as it happened during the German occupation in Europe during the Second World War, is, first, to get your national liberation. Then, once you have national liberation, in other words once you can control your nation, you can control your country or your community-- I mean economic control and political control and of course cultural control––once you control your community, then you can talk about how you can change the community how you can have an ideal society and so on. That's why I call this movement today a movement for self-determination, as it is the expression of self-determination today, which used to be in the past in the form of confederations etc. Today, the form of self-expression, or self-determination, that is available is only through the creation, first, of forms of society which secure national liberation. And once you get your national liberation then you can talk about social liberation. That is, the social liberation presupposes if you like, national liberation. Unless you control your own environment, your country, or your community, you cannot talk about an ideal society. Even the Russian Communists in 1917 they did what? They stormed the Winter Palace, Why? Because that was the center of power and they knew that they had a nation, the Russian nation, and all that was needed was to invade the Winter Palace and get all power needed in order to convert society according to what they believed was the ideal form of society. But, today, there's no Winter Palace anymore in any country. Which is the Winter Palace in the United States? Is it the White House? And who controls the White House? At least, not Trump! It is obvious now that nobody can control the White House unless he is approved by those elites that control the media, control the Senate and so on. The same happened in France. Who controls the Elysee Palace? It's not of course Macron. Macron was in fact selected by the Transnational Elite, exactly, in order to implement the program of the Transnational Elite towards creating a full federation of European states. In other words, a program towards the formal abolition of national sovereignty. And the same in Britain with Theresa May and so on. In other words, it's not anymore who is Prime Minister and who is President that control today's society. It’s all these elites, which actually control the people who are elected in such places. Don't tell me that if Hillary Clinton were elected she would not accept all the demands of the Transnational Elite, or of the multinationals, or the mass media.
B.S.: Of course not. She was part of that, she helped create it.
So, what do we do then? Go back to some form of nationalism before we could then go to some form of community and inclusive democracy, which is I guess what Brexit was about? But I don't even know, if that can happen in Europe--forget about the United States. A lot of people think it might be a lost cause here. But is there anything besides violence like the Russian Revolution, that we saw how it turned out? Is there any way to have a real liberatory project now and how to take any steps towards it? Superficially speaking, is there hope left?
Takis: As regards first the term that you use, nationalism, I don't agree that we should call all these movements nationalist movements. That's what I explained in detail, why they are not nationalists in the old form, because they are not aggressive nationalists, we are talking about defensive nationalists, that is we are not talking about Nazis who want to expand the economic area of activity of their own countries and so on. So, what you call nationalism in Britain today, or in France and so on, has nothing to do with expanding in other countries in any aggressive form. They just fight in defense of the right to determine their own affairs in their own country. That's why I call these movements sovereignty movements rather than nationalist or even neo-nationalist because they still can be smeared by the Left as if this is some kind of aggressive Nationalism, which they are not. So, what was the last part of your question?...
B.S.: Well I just wanted to ask while we talk about these topics and we get to the end of the conversation about what could be done and if there's anything that could be done. Most of my guests tend to be very pessimistic. I'm pessimistic in some ways too. But is there any reason to be optimistic at all or idealistic that things could change in a positive way, or is it too late?
Takis: No, it's not too late I think, and I made concrete proposals in my book that the way forward is for all those movements which I characterized self-determination movements to start being organized from below because at the moment it's people like Trump, or Farage in Britain, or LePen in France and so on who, for their own reasons, political reasons, or ambitions, or whatever, try to ‘exploit’, as I said, these movements. The point is that these movements have to organize from below, in other words, they have to self-organize in the form of Popular Fronts like, as I mentioned before, during the German occupation. There were popular fronts fighting the Nazi conqueror both in Greece and in France and elsewhere in Europe. So, what we need today is people to self-organize in the form of Popular Fronts in order to get their national liberation. And once they get national liberation, they have to organize a self-reliant economy, in other words, people will have to break with the institutions of the New World Order and create self-reliance, I don’t mean autarky of course, I mean self-reliance in the sense that people in the country, say in the United States or Britain , will be able to cover most of their basic needs , and even more, by the domestic production, and then, and only then once they have covered their basic needs, they could start trading on the surpluses of their production and exchange surpluses with other countries ––and all this could be done within a new community of nations. In other words, I think that only if a new community of sovereign nations is created, only then we can have a ray of hope that we can get out of the present neoliberal globalization. If people organize, first, in the form of Popular Fronts and get their national liberation, and then they fight with other nations which are also sovereign (or fight for their sovereignty), they can unite with all these nations to create, at the end, a community of sovereign nations, which will really change the form of the world. As regards to what would be the form of such a society, that should be left to the people themselves to decide. In other words, after people have got their national liberation they may want to have a kind of socialism, or of soviet communism, or inclusive democracy, or an anarcho-syndicalist society or whatever.
B.S.: Like the Spanish anarchists during the 1930s.
Takis: Yeah, yeah. All these should be decided afterwards, that is, after they got national liberation, because we should not forget that the Spanish anarchists that you correctly mentioned and, as I mentioned before the Bolsheviks and so on, they all already had their own national liberation, and the problem for them was how they move from national liberation to social liberation. And this is something that the assemblies of the future should decide.
B.S.: Right. That is what you've been talking about since you wrote Towards an Inclusive Democracy and things are a little bit more complex now. But I do personally think that that's possible, although it seems like a really tall order. But, who knows, things happen quickly sometimes, if enough people in enough places get more upset and have their lives more turned upside down, then things like that might be possible.
Thank you Takis Fotopoulos for being on Equal Time or Freethought again.
Takis: Thank you too Barry.
* This is a slightly edited (for purposes of publication) version of the interview with subtitles and explanatory words added, missing words replaced, and repetitions deleted. The interview was aired on 23 December 2017 and can be heard here.
[Equal Time for Freethought; show 590: The New World Order in Action and Takis Fotopoulos, Dec 23d 2017]