, Volume: 17( 8)
Climate crisis brings crucial instability in the European political scene
Department of Greek Green Political Party, Athens University, Athina, Greece.
*Corresponding author: Tsironis G, Department of Greek Green Political Party, Athens University, Athina, Greece; E-mail: [email protected]
Received: July 16, 2021; Accepted: July 30, 2021; Published: August 06, 2021
Angela Mercel, the most powerful European politician, has seen her power questioned during the recent influx of refugees (mainly from Syria) and immigrants in the European Union. The fact is that Germany actually needs foreign working hands to reduce labor costs. Factories that haven’t yet decided to move to India, China or other more competitive countries, need immigrants. Despite this economical fact, the German political scene is moving to a totally different direction. FDP, ex central party that lost its power during past decades and in 2013 didn’t achieve to enter the parliament, investing in xenophobic rhetoric augmented its power from 4,8% to 10,7% and became the 4rth political power in Germany. The new extreme right party AfD, also gained the 3rh position in the parliament and from 4,7% (0 seats) in the 2013 elections raised to 12,6% (96 seats). Most of those votes came from Angela Merkel’s party that lost 8,6% of its voters.
Keywords: Nationalistic; Xenophobic mentalities; Raw materials
Germany isn’t the exception. In the last presidential elections in France, Marie Le Pen gained 21,3% of the voters and the 2nd position following the winner Emmanouel Macron that gained 24,01%. In Italy xenophobic Legua Lombardia of Mateo Salvini from a marginal party 20 years ago, is now the strongest party with 17%. Moreover the central-right alliance won last election with 37%. In Austria, Hungary and most countries the transposition of voters to nationalistic and xenophobic mentalities, becomes the rule.
The middle class is struggling after the 2008 crisis. More and more people feel financially unstable and they have the feeling that their social and economical future will be worse . Populist politicians put the blame on immigrants. As they claim, “immigrants steel our jobs, they don’t respect women, they have unacceptable habits and their religion or culture favors violence.
The fact is that rich European societies and USA for decades are accustomed to a standard of living far above of what they produce and of what the planet can sustain. Those social and financial standards were based in the cruel exploitation of the ex colonies and later of the weaker economies and their raw materials.
Instability in Middle East is closely correlated with aggressive politics of rich countries in the area aiming to ensure profitable access to the oil resources. Jihadism and terrorist attacks ought to be more considered as revenge than as part of Arab culture and religion. This high standard way of living, based on other countries exploitation, is no more sustainable.
Mainly India and China and other countries as well, strengthen their economies and begin to claim important part of the global income. Europe and USA cannot monopolize anymore the technology field as cannot maintain their privileged access to the raw materials. It’s not so easy anymore to use third countries as the cheap field to establish unacceptable activities that cause disasters, as happened in 1984 in Bhopal.
As a result, EU politicians can no more ensure and promise the privileges that characterized the middle class high-level standards, since the end of the Second World War. Instead of having an honest discussion about a new social contract, they prefer to accuse the immigrants and the foreign cultures and religions and claim them as threats to the European civilization.
Despite this evolution, the gap between the standard of living in EU and USA and the majority of other countries, remains huge. And this is the main reason that thousands of desperate people try to arrive to EU and try to find a probably illegal job without security and pension funds .
In this complicated situation a new threat rises: The fears about the results of climate change become a threatening reality. Global community now confronts a climate crisis with a serious economical, social and environmental impact. In 2017 only, there were 18.8 million new disaster-related internal displacements recorded .
In the report of IOM (International Organisation of Migration) it has been estimated that until 2050 there will be 200 million climate refugees.
Either we speak about billions of refugees, or dozens of millions, the fact is that less than few thousands Syrian refugees provoked political earthquake, as we mentioned before. There are countries in Europe like Czech Republic where the refugees’ problem is on the top of the political agenda, while they don’t actually host any refugee. So if the European society, for all the reasons we mentioned above, or for other reasons, has been proven incapable to tolerate Syrian refugees, which will be the situation with the millions of climate refugees?
The narrative of neo-Nazis is simple. The planet cannot afford 7 billion people. It is the natural selection that will lead to the extermination of the weaker. Western Christian societies have been proven as more capable, civilized and they must survive. The only way to maintain the standard of living, to drive big cars, to have pools in the houses and spend fuel is through the extermination of the weak, the underprivileged .
The easiest way to promote this natural selection is to stop providing help and support to poor societies. Why offer to them medicines, food or supplies? Why let them migrate to our privileged countries? Why help them survive, if they aren’t able to survive themselves?
Off course nobody in Europe claims to be a neo-Nazi. Neither Orban nor anybody else says that those people must die. They just say that each should remain in their own country and that it is not sustainable to mix people with different religions or cultures.
It is not difficult to prove that all these accusations and claims have no serious arguments. First of all, they lack morality and solidarity between human beings. But they also are economically and historically unfounded:
- In the whole history, from the Ancient Greece, Rome, to USA, UK and modern Germany, all the strong states are based on the interaction of different cultures and religions. Knowledge evolutes much faster if different and often controversial ideas get in touch. Isolated and “pure” societies have rather a disadvantage than an advantage.
- Immigrants aren’t illegal by their own will. They are illegal because major economical interests, need cheap and unsecured labor hands. USA, UK, Germany and other economical giants need the stratification of salaries. After the labor victories in 1949, black labor became too risky. So, the illegal migration offers to the employers cheap “slaves” that aren’t able to legally complain about their salaries, that are far below the legal ones. Neither about the unsecure work condition. The high standard of living for American, German or Italian citizens would collapse without those cheap hands.
- Nobody risks his child’s life in a rotten small boat, if the risk to remain in his homeland isn’t higher. But the situation in Africa, Pakistan and even in many areas in India isn’t unrelated to the high standard of living in the capitalistic metropolis. Those people are vulnerable and lack water and food, because the ex-colonial forces have stolen and they still steal major natural resources from the natives. In Africa and South America, millions of land acres became coffee or cotton cultures and, often with the use of violence, natives are moved to less productive lands. The over-pumping of water leaded to the desertification and thousands of people that lived for thousands years harmonically in the nature, started to starve. The cheap raw materials that guarantee the high level of life in the rich societies are strictly correlated to the humanitarian catastrophe in the ex-colonies and poor countries.
We can understand that the narrative of xenophobic rhetoric is not only immoral. It is not only risky for the most vulnerable societies. It is mainly risky for the rich societies that they still exploit the weaker ones and they still base their high standard way of living to the existence and exploitation of most vulnerable people.
We must try to imagine a humanitarian catastrophe due to the climate crisis. It is probable that, if the 2/3ds of humans will exterminate, most of them will most possibly die in the poor countries. But would this Armageddon be the sacrifice that will save Europeans and their way of living? Without cheap hands cultivating cheap food and extract cheap row material, the European economic system will collapse . Without factories in China, India or Malaysia, Europeans will lose 99% of their goods.
Basically, if the neo-Nazi’s vision will ever become true, people in India, China or Africa will have better chances to survive that Europeans, because they are used to live without daily clean water or food.
We must explain to European citizens that climate crisis isn’t the God’s cleansing that will vanish some uncivilized strangers, and will protect the good Christians. Climate crisis will mainly destroy the unsustainable high level of life and can be only confronted with global solidarity and common actions. We must explain to Europeans and Americans that the main enemy is their own way of living and not the desperate people that get in rotten boats to cross the Mediterranean.
But how this difficult and uncomfortable truth will be accepted by the voters? If the strong Angela Merkel cannot convince Germans that German economy needs the immigrants and that solidarity is the solution and not the problem, who else can be the barrier that will stop neo-Nazism?
The green wave
Green European parties, if we exclude the populist and xenophobic parties that are mentioned above, show a remarkable increase in political power. Greens insist that global and European economy must turn as soon as possible to sustainability, solidarity and protection of humans and nature.
Moreover, they claim that our way of living has moved away from any notion of happiness and prosperity. European citizens could be richer and happier, if they abandon consumerism and look for quality and not for quantity.
GDP is not the only measurement for financial success. Who is actually richer in the following examples?
- A person that:
Earns 2000$ but
- spends 3 hours on a daily basis in his car to get to work and back home and paying for the car’s expenses
- needs doctors from the private sector
- lives in a noisy and polluted city
- Eats fast food and needs diets and gyms to control his weight.
- Spends a lot of time accompanying his children by car to their afternoon activities, which must be also financially supported
- Spends a lot of money and time to visit nature during weekends
- Earns 1000$ but
- Goes and returns from his job in 10 minutes by bicycle
- Has a public health system fully covered by social security
- Lives in an environmentally healthy area
- Has enough time to enjoy a healthy home cooked meal and dinner
- His children’s activities are close to home, supported by the city institutions and children can actually walk to them with safety
- Nature is accessible and near his home.
Greens supported essential economic reforms, such as circular economy. According to their belief, instead of squandering natural resources, goods must be redesigned and repaired in order to have a longer life. Raw materials as metal, paper, plastic must be re-used. They contain energy and human work and it is a pity and a waste to discard them .
The Green Party fully supports the SDGS voted on 2015 in the UN by 193 countries as well as Paris agreement on COP21
They also claim that multicultural societies based on solidarity and tolerance is the only sustainable answer to the present crisis of middle class in Europe. It is only natural and totally understandable for people to feel insecure and afraid of their future. But the answer is not to get stuck in a life that needs more than 2,5 planet Earths to be maintained .
Green way is not the easier way! Populist rhetoric gains voters but leads societies to a nightmare. It is easy to be indifferent to the human losses in the Mediterranean, where desperate people try to reach the European paradise. But if us, Europeans, do not care about them and the reasons that pushed them to migration, the same reasons will soon threat our lives, and it will probably be too late.
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