“We know and we have seen that conferences are events which bring together important people who are unable to act on their own, but who together are always able to resolve that in fact nothing can be done… Why is [Europe] unable to forecast and prevent one crisis after another?… Today the European spirit and its people believe in superficial and secondary things… but what does renewal mean? A rule of thumb is that the depth of renewal must be at least equal to the size of the problem… The task, therefore, Dear Friends, is not to do a few things better – we must do more than that.”
- Political and cultural stalemate, especially in an ageing Europe unsure of its place
- Demographic replacement, including of skilled and productive by unskilled and unproductive populations
- Social chaos in the global South as the effects of late industrialisation (‘development’) spread around the world
- Economic collapse, brought about by physical limits to growth to which a speculative, debt-driven financial system has no answer
- Armed conflict, a response to population growth against a backdrop of diminishing resources, inflamed by fanatical religious cults
- North-South confrontation underpinned by ideologies of equitable treatment at odds with political reality in one direction and resource reality in the other
- Ecological collapse, of which climate change is one component
This month’s climate change conference in Paris was set up to tackle one important part of the last of these challenges, and only that, though its actual deliberations showed how inseparable they are all becoming. That lack of joined-up thinking is the problem that may be the key to the rest.
WR President Colin Bex was in Paris, on the fringes of the conference, flying the flag and meeting other representatives. Colin’s request for official accreditation, as the leader of a UK political party, was ignored. The implication is that alternative politics has nothing to offer the world, even though it’s alternatives to the failed status quo that are most urgently needed. Developing the links made at events like the Paris conference is vital to advancing our own alternative. Colin reports that the demonstrators he met were very positive in their outlook: “Not least on account of atrocities visited on Parisians recently, the demonstrators are motivated by feelings of peace, love and respect for and in solidarity with all in the city, especially those who continue to encounter grief and other suffering as a consequence, and accordingly they are committed to generating an exclusively peaceful and friendly experience.”
In Spain, pro-independence and pro-sovereignty parties made some intriguing advances in yesterday’s elections, which also produced very bad results for the established Madrid parties. In Corsica and Catalonia, as in Scotland, Europe is leading the way to a decentralised politics that also recognises the challenges of inter-dependence. What is failing these places, what is failing Europe, and what is failing the world, is a system of old imperial states unable to manage the transition to a radically different kind of future.