Hypocrisy in Green

Also published at

To date, Greta has been recognized as a great inspiration by almost all political camps in the Western world. However, her opinions on system changes have been met with total silence.

A three-degree meteor – bringing massive-scale refugee movements, water shortages, wars over natural resources, the extinction of more animal species and the destruction of our natural environment – is heading straight for the earth. It will strike if there is no radical change, but our economic and political rulers have no radical changes to offer. They still try to market themselves as authoritative, knowledgeable and with big green investments and optimism because “the technology exists”, right?

The presumption is that it is major green investments and innovations that will solve the climate issue. But the tendency in industrialized countries is that companies have stopped investing, that they increasingly hoard their profits according to the IMF. The latest trend is so-called “superstar firms” such as Blackrock, Google and Apple that buy up smaller companies, creating technology monopolies, thus replenishing their savings without investing. Capital is stockpiled instead of being used to contribute to solving inequality, climate injustice, lack of trust which could all lead to a breakthrough in the climate negotiations. In the US alone, $4 trillion dollars is kept in the large companies’ “cash vaults”. We see no political will to change these structural problems either in the US or Europe. But for the public, everyone wants to cuddle up to Greta and appear progressive.

The latest example is the EU climate initiative Green Deal marketed as Europe’s equivalent of “putting a man on the moon”. The EU will, supposedly, “stimulate and facilitate”, raising €1tn within ten years, which will lead to CO2-reducing initiatives. It may sound ambitious, but you have to ask where the real priorities are. Is it the climate or big companies and banks that are being protected? A €1tn to save the world can be compared to the four times larger amount of €4.2tn spent to save the banks between 2009 and 2013. The flaunted €1tn is not money set aside, it is a promise to banks to underwrite private investment. Thus, the public takes the risks of the bank loans while companies use the financing and top up their savings. What is actually taken from the EU budget is not €1tn, but only €7.5bn, which can be compared to the €29bn that is being invested in an environmentally harmful gas infrastructure. The “moon landing” is nothing but smoke and mirrors and hypocrisy!

The climate correspondent and Swedish public-service journalist Erika Bjerström recently classified Greta Thunberg as a left-wing populist despite Greta’s clear references to climate research. Her argument is that Greta raises justice issues – that she points out that in reality it is “public opinion that runs the free world. In fact, every great change throughout history has come from the people” – and consistently criticizes our economic and political leaders and thus, as Bjerström puts it, does not give people any hope. Instead, she would prefer Greta to bless the EU’s Green Deal.

No, it is not people’s protests or activism that we should support or young people’s demands for system changes we should believe in. Instead, are supposed to continue to rely on a combination of what is increasingly evolving into a centralized capitalism with executive politicians in green makeup, on banks and technocrats. As an individual, you must instead deal with all the concepts of guilt and shame. We should not even have children because they, like halogen lamps, consume too much energy. Life itself is to be sacrificed while visions of an essential new social order must at all costs be undermined and its critics side-lined. The governing bodies will not budge. They will not work for system changes that give us a society where people have the right to take action and the right to a healthy planet. On the contrary, the Davos crème de la crème, parliamentarians, authorities, journalists and think-tanks will meet such thoughts with resistance.

The climate protest movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) was labelled by the British liberal think-tank Policy Exchange an extremist organization aiming to break down liberal ideas. Furthermore, the British group National Counter Terrorism Policing Network considers XR to be an extremist organization alongside neo-Nazis and Islamic terror groups.

How long will it take before Greta and Fridays For Future are targeted? How long will society allow a younger generation to be happily liberated from the poisonous realism of the establishment, openly and disparagingly speaking their mind about the rulers?

Would a peace prize to Greta have caused a political crisis?

Stockholm 2019 September 27
Photo: Mats Sederholm

Also published on Democracy Chronicles

On December 10 the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded, and many have wanted Greta Thunberg to be the recipient. But would the world’s leaders really have been able to take in Greta’s message? Few would probably realize that a battle has to be fought before her visions come to fruition.

Greta:

We cannot save the world by playing according to your rules, because the rules must be changed.

And if solutions within our system are impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself. We are striking to shake the system.

This is just the beginning. Change will happen – believe it or not.

Young idealistic dreams to take with a pinch of salt? Or does that, perhaps, just reflect the disillusioned and befuddled judgements of the older generation? The quotes are true, but not because it is Greta who pronounced them, but because all creations have an expiry date, even the society that our western world wants to call the most adult and noble we can ever dream of.

We should understand that it is time for an upgrade when our civilization has evolved to steal resources from future generations, from those who cannot defend themselves. We should acknowledge the abuse we have inflicted and our collective normalization of dishonesty in order to maintain our way of life.

• Our economy, the lifeblood of our society, is based on the idea that we steal from the future. Our life force, economic growth, is financed by money that banks create out of nothing, for a debt that we can only pay off in the future.

• We are stealing from our future communities by constantly consuming more than the planet can deliver.

• We are stealing resources and not really being true to ourselves when every day is spent in the pursuit of more ‘stuff’ because society expects us to participate in this addiction and destruction.

The nuts and bolts of our way of life are based on abuse. We live in a dream state, in a consensus trance that an increasing number of people are breaking out of. The world is programmed. The way forward is about de-programming.

But system change is not a utopia, it has happened before.

During the 1930s, the world faced gigantic political and social problems, not least in the United States after the “Great Depression”. President Roosevelt gradually carried out what became known as The New Deal, which entailed a comprehensive reform program involving investments in the public sector and business regulations that resulted in falling unemployment and social reforms. The nightmare was broken, optimism increased, and society rose up again for the benefit of all citizens as it led to the welfare societies of the western world. The ensuing culture of consumption would, ironically, be the beginning of the nightmare into which we have now been seduced.

This time, however, we cannot lobby and negotiate in the same way. Mother Earth does not bow to demands for a realistic transition or a smooth exit.

A peace award to Greta would demand the politicization of her message. The struggle over who will be allowed to carry out the economic, democratic and social adjustments required for this system change will lead to a political war. We are talking about an Extreme Green New Deal beyond the visions of American Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and European DiEM25, with not only green investment but also with demands for reduced consumption. Mother Earth’s more intense convulsions will force politicians and experts to drill ever deeper into the ground of our civilization as they plan for a transition. When they find that hundred-year-old political and economic paving stones must be blown away, we will have a near-existential struggle with progressive forces on one hand and the established and conservative on the other.

The hatred against Roosevelt from isolationist forces during the 30-40s is basically the same as what Greta has to endure today. It comes from those who are embittered, scared and worried; the conservative realists without alternatives. But the end of the coming battle is a given “believe it or not”.Much indicates that Greta will receive next year’s Peace Prize. The climate problem will then be more established, with more insights and greater desperation. It would be the Nobel establishment’s cry for help: a cry for structure and clear efforts. The luxury trap must be disabled and all those who do not want to put an end to the theft and corruption of our civilization should not be allowed to influence our society. In a reclaimed parliament, politicians will be able to enact laws and sort out the parts of society that benefit everyone. What is actually there in the wallet is what we have; what the earth can afford today is what is offered. People should be able to live in the present without being burdened by the financial yoke that the future forces them to bear. Shopping on credit will again be thought of as a disreputable practice.

Finish off Brexit and stop embarrassing the Democracy

Also published on Democracy Chronicles

It is 3 ½ years since Britons voted for an exit and still the British Parliament has not been able to deliver what the voters decided. It was not part of the vote to clarify HOW it would be done, if it would be a hard or soft Brexit, for example, only THAT it would, or would not, be done. It is the task of the political system to take care of HOW as well as THAT it happens, and it has failed at both.

The main reason for this, from what we hear in news broadcast after news broadcast from all over the world, is a boundlessly painful process where adults in the room behave like selfish kids. The members of the House of Commons, including the Speaker, have created something that can be likened to a parliamentary coup that gives them the opportunity, on a daily basis, to put forward new proposals and then vote them down. We see a parliament in which everyone is given the chance to set terms and block them at will, depending on their special interests. We see a government that is unable to rule, and an opposition that defies it at every turn. We see parliamentarians without any respect whatsoever for the voters’ decision and instead, many politicians and much of the media lay the blame for the Brexit mess on the electorate who, they say, voted the “wrong way” and created it.

Anti-Brexit supporters are seeking a new referendum, even though the problem is obviously down to Parliament and the politicians. What would a new referendum achieve besides a second chance for the Remainers and for the secret dream of the whole European establishment that, covertly, they may be able to get their way. Furthermore, seventy percent of the British public do not think a second referendum would be any help as the country is still as divided on the issue of leaving the EU as in 2016, although the marginal majority are now the Remainers. Everyone understands that a new referendum cannot be called every time there is a marginal change in public opinion.

All factions have agreed on a new general election, but only on their own terms. Currently scheduled for the 12th of December, if it gets off the ground, it is nothing but a cry for help and not a decision made out of consideration for the voters. The British Parliament has simply hacked its way out of the Brexit mess; a mess that may well continue forever after the election if the same parliamentarians reclaim their seats. 

In my most secret fantasies, I see an international political decontamination brigade that, out of nowhere, blasts a hole in the wall of the House of Commons, and flushes it clean with high-pressure washers. And afterwards, Democracy’s own security forces install a new parliament which acts on behalf of the voters, and the decision administrators, the MPs, are subordinate to the decisions and not the other way around.

Order! Order!

There are those alongside me who harbour dark thoughts, apparently. According to surveys conducted by Cardiff University and the University of Edinburgh, British voters, whether for or against Brexit, think that “the risk of MEPs being subjected to violence” is “a risk worth taking”.

 Great Britain, it’s time to let go of the EU now. In unbalanced relationships, you come to a point where it hurts more to stay put than to leave. It is better to release the tension, to part and from this find a new foundation from which to work. Right now, the whole of Europe is getting daily doses of learning that our democracy and parliamentary systems no longer deliver. The fact that extreme political alternatives are popping up in the wake of this is a consequence for which none of those who defend the development gutlessly should blame any other “extremist force”.

At the moment, British politicians are blocking the work of the EU and all of Europe. You actually have to get a move on!

At the same time, it is regrettable that the UK should leave the EU because I believe that all international forces, not least the UK, are needed to counter the greatest threats to humanity; the climate, the finance industry, right extremist forces and a diminished confidence in democracy. The latter keeps growing every hour that goes by. The political fatigue in the UK will, if it has not already done so, reach the same levels as, for example, in Greece after the 2015 election or as in today’s protesting Chile and other parts of South America. A new democratic regime and deeper involvement of voters, a bottom-up-democracy with a chance to have greater influence in politics and to participate in social and economic issues are the only things that can rebuild people’s respect for politics and parliamentarians. We would have needed Great Britain to push for this in the EU. Instead, they are becoming a cautionary example.

A Serious Green New Deal

Also published on Democracy Chronicles

The idea of a Green New Deal (GND) is rapidly sweeping across the western world right now. GND is the concept that aims for a radical effort against the impact of climate change. But it might well end with further political rhetoric, using the climate issue as a hook.

Many have wanted to fill this GND goodie bag with their own political ideals, painting it green hoping that this will bring good luck … to their own ideology and its popularity. Barack Obama, Gordon Brown, the US Democrats and most recently, the victorious Spanish Social Democrats (PSOE) are among those who have tried to add this concept to their campaigns.

GND was originally (2007) a purely “green-investment-and-job” concept inspired by Roosevelt’s New Deal but has since been expanded to include social reforms and subsequently been approved by greens, social democrats and the European left.

The only question is whether or not GND is a new American feel-good story in which economic growth looks green instead of blue, sprinkled with some minor social conscience concessions for those worst off. Or does it actually imply the total conversion of society that is necessary?

According to the autumn message from IPCC, we face the challenge of ending 200 years of fossil fuel use within 30 years. We must halve the emissions by 2030 and reduce them to zero by the middle of the century. Presuming economic growth continues, our energy consumption will triple during that period. Limited fossil fuel emissions, green investments and jobs, clean technology, environmental know-how or the homely intention of Roosevelt will not stop the climate threat. But there also needs to be less consumption and depletion of the Earth’s resources. And with such a solution, the number of GND politicians would probably shrink considerably, as the popularity factor would drastically drop!

The word growth, implicitly economic, is what the whole western world is based on. We are told that unless we have growth, we will go under. And since most, perhaps all, of Europe’s politicians (for whom climate conscious Europeans are due to vote in the European elections on May 26) choose the road to destruction, it is important to voice the unvarnished truth. The radical change in society needed to decelerate climate change requires a radical policy. The politicians standing alongside the polling stations with seductive claims about welfare and job opportunities, as well as saving the planet, constitute a jokers’ market.

What is needed:

A New Social Structure – A New Economy – Massive Green Investment – A Renovation of Democracy.

In France, the Yellow Vest protests have left Macron politically isolated. Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood – that is the social knot that must FIRST be untangled before green taxes would be accepted. Inequality is about to erode the whole of Europe with immigration problems, poverty and distrust in its trail. Planting green politics in such poisoned soil is the hopeless proposal politicians offer us today.

A serious climate reversal cannot build on financial markets and banks that continue to make money out of nothing by lending and thereby gaining control over entire economies without conscience or democracy. A new economy must be able to withstand less consumption and smaller loans. Stop making things that break in the interest of profit. Stop bombarding people with advertising, creating dependence on lifestyle and status. The whole treadmill must slow down. The economy must adapt to people, not the other way around. A climate reversal requires composure, not rush.

We are faced with an existential crossroads. Not: “And we also need to think about the environment”.

Today, everyone loves the climate activists, but it is only a matter of time before the support will subside. Already today, there are mutterings from the right about the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. As time goes on, protests will also come from liberal politicians, the media and the business community, and perhaps also from the conservative left, when the inevitable debate about a serious New Green Deal will gain momentum and the issue is becoming an architectural and cultural one for society and not a political makeover.

The election for the future is not a party issue. It is about choosing between fear and conservatism or courage and progress. Maybe even a choice between activism or politicians who do not want to change until they suffer from the panic Greta Thunberg wishes for.


“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
A Davis

The Polarization lacks an ideological solution

Also published on Open Democracy and  Democracy Chronicles

The increasing political polarization, a problem of the entire western world, is based on misconceptions to which today’s politicians find themselves without an ideological solution.


During the night of the midterm elections, I switched on CNN International for the first time in a year, but no longer found a newsroom but rather something that looked like a military headquarters. Us against the president – the president against us.

In Sweden, almost all parties, media and people in general, support the Democrats. Thus it took me almost a whole day to disentangle news reports and subjective analyses, romantic reviews of Barack Obama and, not least, Trump’s self-assured victory rhetoric, before I dared to form my own opinion of ​​how the election actually turned out. The polarization is not just political, it permeates the whole of society, and, just like in war, it’s soon hard to trust anyone.

The biggest winner in the election was the polarization or division of the United States; the dislike of “the others” and the desire to tell them how wrong they are. It’s an attitude that permeates both sides, but, as most people can figure out, is a deeply destructive development, not only occurring in the United States but in the whole western world.

Many point to Donald Trump when talking about polarization, but as it had already started in the 70’s, according to Nolan McArthy Professor of Politics, one has to look deeper. Also, it isn’t caused by social media. And when trying to understand who was supporting the right-wing radicalization, it turns out that the idea that it was the poor who supported Trump isn’t correct. In the Presidential election, Trump had more support from the wealthy than Clinton did. In addition, it wasn’t people suffering from the high unemployment who voted for Trump; they tended to vote for the Democrats.

But isn’t immigration, at least, a crucial and steady indicator of all the successes of right-wing radicals around the western world? No, not even that is correct. Right-wing nationalism also occurs in countries with almost no immigration at all!

The quest for a simple explanation, for absolute numbers, obscures the view of an explanation that is to be found on a somewhat more analytically demanding level. You have to ask at least two consecutive questions if you want to understand it – which many journalists lack both the time and unpolarized attitude to do. One is that few people ask themselves why immigrants are disliked. Also, could there be a common negative experience of society that includes an economic and cultural, as well as an emotional and social, explanation for the right-wing radical support? Some researchers have actually asked these questions and received answers but these haven’t been widely reported. A new perspective of why people vote right-wing radical is:

The experience of being marginalized, not being seen, losing one’s status and ending up an outsider.

For example, it is not immigration itself which is the problem but the fear of finding oneself outside a particular social group, thus losing one’s identity, which creates the resistance to immigration. And it’s not unemployment itself that generates the most dissatisfaction but the fear of being affected by it – rich or poor. Those who really suffer from unemployment tend to vote for left-leaning parties or democrats.

Instead, it’s both a cultural and a social concern to lose one’s dignity and status. New values, new cultures, rapid societal change and a general experience of becoming a loser in this turmoil erodes people’s trust in the entire establishment.

The longing for dignity, stability and equality is so great in the United States today that people who despise the establishment, in their desperation, still resort to one of its most dominant cornerstones and its leader, to capitalism and the capitalist Donald Trump. But the trend is the same in Europe; Sweden is today among the most unequal countries in Europe and the gap between rich and poor increases at the same rate as the number of right-wing voters. The “Yellow Jacket” movement and the recent dramatic protests all over France is another voice of the marginalized..

Decades of increasing political polarization should have given politicians plenty of time for reflection and solutions. But the political establishment in the western world is de facto those who created polarization and are as trustworthy as a runaway train!

The Left’s focus on economic justice can contribute to less dissatisfaction, but not to a different experience of the societal machinery as a whole. Their open approach to immigration, cultural integration and disregard to tradition will increase polarization. And Liberalism – favouring an independent market economy, privatization and a world where human value is measured in consumer spending with no concern for the increasing gap between the poor and the wealthy – has no hope. Furthermore, with global players beyond democratic control, mistrust grows. And this climate of fear and anxiety turns people towards conservatism.

Another democratic and ideological new order is required and a wave of social/humanistic unrest is already noticeable, but we need the courage to ask the questions that actually reveal the social and cultural background to what the media reduce to “violence and protests”.

Circus Trump – A Dream come True for the Establishment

Also published on Democracy Chronicles

Are you tired of the worldwide media plague of the past few years, Donald Trump? One might think that such attention serves critical examination and sensible values. However, the secondary effect is that the debate leads people back to the old and familiar, thus blocking a critique of the current political system.

A few days ago we had a children’s party at our house. While sitting around the kitchen table, the subject of ghost stories came up and one of the nine-year-olds exclaimed: “What if Trump popped up at the window!”

The other day I was sitting on the train reading one of my favorite North American magazines which has undercurrents of anarchy, anti-consumerism and is full of great writing. But before I actually started to browse through it I thought to myself: ”Wonder how many pages before I see him”. One, two, three, four … there he was – complete with grotesque scowl. Yet another one, to add to the many thousands already published in the ordinary media. With a sigh I put the issue back in my rucksack.

And when I attempt to gauge the temperature of the political debate, visiting traditional as well as alternative and progressive news sites regardless of whether in my own country or the United States; there he is. Day after day, same old thing.

Even when I’m sitting in the audience among progressive activists, within less than a few minutes his name is whispered.

How long is this going to last? This is one of the worst political psychosis I’ve experienced; a political traffic jam that just won’t clear.

And everyone is contributing: politicians, film directors, activists, intellectuals and, not least, the news media. According to surveys, he is the president who, during his first year, has had by far the most attention. And, also according to surveys, he is the president most disliked by the media for 25 years. Moreover, there is an unusually large amount of focus directed on him as a person. He has transformed news media into something that more resembles celebrity gossip. They point their fingers, their jaws drop in shocked amazement, they speculate as well as persistently cite facts that will support their self-image as innocent victims of this monster. He shouts back, they respond and boo. This hate-love drama becomes apparent to those who stand outside the ring and see the two opponents, each wearing a clown’s red nose, chasing each other round and round in their media/political circus act.

Some people probably think that this is some kind of speech in defense of Trump. But in this report, I have no wish particularly to condone Trump and his policies – I will neither support nor despise them. Here he is neutral, if anyone still remembers what political objectivity is. Yes, I understand the outrage; his contempt for women, disdain of ethnic groups, climate denial, opportunism, rudeness, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – but nevertheless: there are more important things in the world than his views on these issues.

For example, that the western world is experiencing social decline, or the increase in public apathy and indifference to today’s democracy. You who still choose not to prioritize subjects such as the decay of civilizations in favor of the man with the blonde forelock, just consider that Trump would never have been elected if people hadn’t been so indifferent to the old society.

Are you also aware that in your Trump-mania, you are now standing side by side with the most destructive forces? Those who also do not want him as he creates imbalance in their conservative “ecosystem”, a growing western caste system, where ever fewer people are being given ever more. Those who neglect human dignity and democratic participation. When you look contemptuously at those who voted for the monster and vilify them with rhetorical conservative catchwords as ‘populists’, you are supporting not only political technocrats and corporate capitalists but also lobbyists and globalists. They stand right behind, thanking you for your attention or, more accurately, lack of attention.

Thriving in this political darkness are weeds such as, for example, David Letterman’s interview with Barack Obama after his departure; a self- righteous, democratic feel-good interview that came across as passé as Hollywood’s touched up presidential portraits. Or the well-meaning Morgan Freeman in his series “The story of us”, where he admiringly interviews Bill Clinton about the excellence with which democracy is pursued in the “free world”. I mean, exactly who is free here? You can’t move a metre without being beholden to someone else. You are an economic piece of Lego in a model that you never asked for or had any influence over.

Do you protest against Trump because you want to turn the clock back or because you want to create something new?

The point is that it is not the political figureheads who determine the system in the United States or anywhere else but an unwritten agreement between economic, political and media interests; a culture maintained by an establishment. The president or government are appointed by the system, they don’t change the system. They can create political and economic turbulence around the world, but they never change the status quo, they act within the framework that loses credibility day by day. Meanwhile, the progressive social innovators, system critics and social pioneers have been at the circus. They have been there for a few years now, watching the same performance over and over again: “Trump the Chump”. Enclosed in a political tent without oxygen – yet another silly political pantomime at which we are expected to boo or applaud. A dream that has come true for The Establishment.

The contempt for the radicals

Also published on Democracy Chronicles

In the New York Times article “What’s Wrong With Radicalism” (December 11) columnist David Brooks generalize about radicals. And actually, if one thoroughly consider his exact conclusions even though it’s nicely put together,  it carries a patronizing tone. Having all radical political voices of today bundled into an unserious package should be met.  


If you have a radical view of societal change today, you belong to a mob of factually misguided, gullible, irresponsible, malicious loudmouths who create unrest.

That is the conclusion of New York Times columnist David Brooks’ analysis in his article “What’s Wrong With Radicalism”. An easy and ingratiating read for the diminishing host of readers who are still convinced that the cause of increasing populism, the mistrust of the establishment, and a new political landscape across the western world is only an unusual virus; namely this radical, malignant and infectious mob. But it will soon pass; the well-established politicians, economists and opinion leaders are the obvious shepherds and healers.

There is something religious about this. Or at least a strong sense of escapism. Thoughts veer towards the Titanic and the orchestra that played for the 1st class passengers until the end. Well-dressed, cultured and wealthy people, mostly men, who share an illusory culture that just has to remain.

To me – politically engaged in an activist movement consisting of 70000 members with concrete economic, social alternatives to the current order, in pursuit of genuine democracy and transparency – and others who left the sinking ship long ago; columnists such as Brooks seem like a dying race, with neither political argument nor vision. In the United States as well as in Europe, wise and innovative people and activists work to create a different and worthwhile social structure that can put an end to people’s increasing distaste for those in power and politics.

The Panama papers, paradise leaks, persuasive and dishonest presidents, surveillance, a small autocratic clique of people in the financial industry who are allowed to own most of the world´s resources, media companies controlling millions of people’s digital lives, increasing numbers of people suffering from mental disorders, and globalization that has removed power so far away from people’s everyday lives that no one cares anymore, are some aspects of our reality. Perhaps Brooks considers this fake news and behind the denial is, of course, the insight that this miserable state is not caused by “political fools”; it has been created by all the common democratic and undemocratic forces that have, for so long ruled the western world. Most of the passengers aboard this sinking ship are now trying to protest, knowing that we have crashed into an iceberg – and knowing who steered us into it. But in one of the sloping salons you will find people like Brooks. Clad in evening dress, puffing on a cigar, still in the process of ordering the best available cognac, in conversation with a small clique of opinion leaders who live in the past.

It may be that in this time of doom some of the passengers are screaming, are raging and shoving at each other and that every little pronouncement is not always true, but still, in comparison with Brooks, they stand on firm ground in the understanding that our society no longer primarily serves its citizens.