Democratic Alternatives is a French political party formed in March 2013 by ordinary citizens. Its aim is to move out of the crisis, which strikes France like many other countries worldwide. The suggested approach is the democratization of society and its economy.
Start a new political party?
The reason why the founders established a new political party is because they were not satisfied by the current available options. They based their assessment on the observation of a double failure: the failure of communism and ultraliberalism.
Communism collapsed during the 1980s. It started with the workers’ revolt in Poland and ended with the implosion of the USSR.
In France, the extreme left parties did not grasp this downfall. When they happen to mention it, it is only to claim that this breakdown has nothing to do with them and that they are in no means implicated in it.
The right and left parties established ultraliberalism. The left wing of the political left, represented by the Left Party and the Communist Party, delivers an overwhelming speech in order to distract the audience from its own participation in ultraliberal governments. The left wing does not know where to start with the Euro and Europe altogether.
The extreme right took the failure of communism and ultraliberalism into account. We recognize that its program lays out viable alternatives, but we are strongly opposed to its authoritarianism and to its threat to individual liberties.
Instead of giving up, we have overcome fear of ridicule and decided to develop our own proposals.
The crisis of ultraliberalism
After the vanishing of the communist threat, capitalism lost its rival. Fukuyama’s thesis on “The End of History” was widely shared, even so by the parties in the left wing. The triumphant capitalism muted into ultraliberalism. Its new economic theory was based on the precepts of the Chicago School:
• The market is all-knowing,
• The market is self-regulating,
• The market is the most efficient tool to better allocate resources.
This meant reducing the role of the government to the strict minimum. Globalization consisted of ensuring competition between French workers, who had acquired major rights after a century of struggle and oppressed workers, thus creating enormous social inequalities.
What the crisis has showed us is that the market is far from being all-knowing. It is, quite on the contrary, an easy target for manipulation and particularly opaque; there is no self-regulation at all and it is also subject of an immense waste. This crisis of ultraliberalism cannot be resolved on its own. In France, 95% of the population is growing poorer and therefore buying less, thus decreasing economic activity. This decrease is not balanced by the growing consumption of luxury goods, because the very rich are unable to consume the goods they monopolize. This is why all predictions regarding growth recovery are false.
Let us recall how the world crisis of ultraliberalism occurred
The first step was to cut wages in the sector of industry, thanks to immigration and delocalization. This decrease first started unnoticed, because it had been compensated by household debts.
The second step is when it became apparent that many of the loans would never be repaid. The trigger was none other than the subprime crisis in the United States, but another similar incident would have had the same effect. The whole banking system was under a large threat of bankruptcy.
The third step is when the governments assumed all of the bank liabilities. The private debt turned into a public debt.
The fourth step mainly affects Europe. First of all, the bankers demand, in order to reimburse the public debt, the dismantling of public health services, public education and pensions. Furthermore, to remain competitive, they want to enable the rich to pay fewer taxes. The result is the impoverishment of a large part of the population, thus worsening the recession and the government debts.
This brings us to the final section. It is obvious that the austerity policies failed to make a change. The response provided by the ultraliberals is even more frightening: austerity may be growing, but their answer to the consumer demand is to encourage the governments to invest heavily. Since they are already financially over-burdened, the central banks let out an infinite quantity of dollars, yens and Euros.
Sooner or later, an incident will make a currency collapse, provoking a domino effect; its consequences will be difficult to anticipate.
The crisis is primarily a result of the widening social inequalities. The oligarchs (the very wealthy) want to maintain and increase their privileges. By doing so, they keep increasing the spread of the economical and social crisis.
The hegemony of the ultraliberal ideology
Why is such a decadent system so scarcely challenged?
The collapse of communism dragged down all the big pictures views of the world existing at that time, leaving out a triumphant ultraliberalism, which presented itself as a completely obvious consequence instead of an ideology. There is no economic ultraliberal philosophy; it is an “Economic Science”, just like natural sciences. Globalization is not a series of policies and political decisions, but a natural and inevitable phenomenon. The crisis is alien to us; our governments are not to blame. After some time, the recession will give way to the economic upturn, just like the sun after a rainy day.
The ultraliberal ideologists changed the French language to bend the minds. They control the media and insert their new dialect. The leaders do not “choose” anymore, they “arbitrate”, thus implying their neutrality. “Camera surveillance” became “video protection”. “Collective dismissals” are “social plans”, or even worse, “job-saving plans”!
The social and economical problems are depicted as psychological problems. You must win or restore financial-market confidence, consumer confidence or the confidence of economic actors. Make everything good again. One may wonder, why this “confidence” even vanished? If you commit the sin of questioning the future, it becomes a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. Each and every one of us is forced to be optimistic if they do not want to be blamed for the system’s failure.
A schizophrenic society
Ultraliberal values are widely shared. We must therefore be optimistic, adapt to the context, bounce back, make the most of opportunities or be able to sell oneself. Just like Brezhnev’s URSS, the gap between reality and the role that should be played leads to schizophrenia.
Every one is responsible for what happens to them, it is their sole purpose. The real world is a world of mass unemployment, precarious jobs, frustrating work: these failure experiences are internalized. As a result, the French increasingly take antidepressants. The young generation is the first in line on the matter: young adults cannot picture themselves in a stable future and find shelter in video games, role play, alcohol and various drugs.
When poverty strikes, it is the individual who is blamed, not society. Unable to adapt or to bounce back, it is considered as defective. This leads to severe depressions, suicides, or even worse, immolations.
The reactions of French society
Although it is facing an uncommon deterioration of living and working conditions, the French society remains alert. Yet, the rejection of every single ideology translates a lack of trust regarding the slightest idea of change. As a result, every fight has been put into the context of the existing society.
Some hoped that bringing this “patchwork” of dissatisfied people together in forums would initiate a wave of unified efforts and lead to a shared alternative project. But it is as hopeless as trying to make dismantled puppet dance; there is no balance or structure.
Ultraliberalism will not last much longer
The ultraliberal society has no aim other than the senseless enrichment of an already privileged cast, a cozy life for its propagandists in the media and impoverishment for the many. It smells of death.
Not only is ultraliberalism far from being the end of the story, but its downfall is also growing near. Various scenarios can be considered:
• A great revolutionary movement resembling 1848 or the Arab spring, which would be strong enough to topple the current regimes,
• The collapse of currency, causing chaos,
• The legal take-over of the right wing, leading to nationalist and authoritarian regimes, not unlike Orban or Poutine’s.
Both the suicidal destruction of society by the ultraliberal doctrine and the above-mentioned presumptions are unsatisfying for us. We are looking for another way.
For centuries, one ideal only has never disappointed: democracy. It is so appealing that even its opponents claim to have engendered it.
In order to answer to the moral, political and economical crisis, we propose to thoroughly democratize French society. Without going into too much detail, here are the main points:
• The right to free and balanced information for all. A public service independent from political authority should take over responsibility to deliver this information to each and every one,
• The deprofessionalisation of political life. The elected officials must go back to their previous profession once their mandate ends (single or dual). It is thus not possible to generate a corruptible or corrupted political class,
• Decisions adopted as close as possible to the field of their application,
• When it comes to economy, the emergency is to put an end to social dumping,
• We must stop this craze for competition between French workers and over-exploited-workers. We must put an end to this ultraliberal “globalization”. France either imposes its requirements in Europe or it will have to part from Europe’s current state,
• Companies that cannot go bankrupt without posing a systemic risk for the financial system as a whole must not be entrusted to private equity. They will be nationalized,
• The banks, which have done most to cause the crisis, will be seized,
• The employees and the local communities will have a say in the business development of medium and large enterprises on a equal footing with the employers.
With respects to the Democratic Alternatives, we have very simple and effective internal operating rules, which aim to give everyone a voice, a chance to express their ideas, a platform to take initiatives and a way to participate to the decision-making process. Democratic Alternatives has not and will not have a professional politician.
We would like to hear from you
We are interested in your reflections on any or all the questions that have been posed as well as similar experiences outside of France. We stand ready to exchange ideas and meet new people. We can communicate in French and in English, but if necessary, there will always be a way to manage with other languages.