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Tony Bunyan: Just over the horizon 9
on the part of the state to the people, have undermined the whole concept of democratic control, while retaining its historical trappings.
The process through which this is being accomplished is – appropriately for the EU – a tripartite one. First, there is the machinery through which this is being established, the machinery of the surveillance society and the policing state, which I have outlined above. But that move to democratic authoritarianism relies in large part for its acceptance among the majority populations on the promulgation and inculcation of a state racism that postulates, and targets with increasing rigour, an enemy within. And that, in turn, dictates that the promotion of multiculturalism as a major feature of a liberal democratic society, based on the positive values of diversity, distinctive cultural histories, tolerance and understanding of the contribution of different communities to the wider society, be not merely eroded but actively repudiated through state edict and state policy, supported by a supine mass media. In the EU’s brave new world, an official monoculturalism now holds sway, from Germany’s leitkultur, to France’s laïcité, to Norway’s likhet and Netherlands’ verzuiling, as Fekete and Sivanandan have shown.22 Monoculturalism is not new but previously it was advocated by nationalistic and racist groups. Now it is the new EU norm to be nurtured and funded in the name of ‘integration’. This is not the ‘integration’ of equals, defined by Roy Jenkins, Labour home secretary in the 1960s, as ‘equal opportunity, accompanied by cultural diversity in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance’. Today integration is construed as the imposition of the language, culture, tradition and histories of majority populations on all those ‘others’, from a great diversity of nations, who live in Europe as citizens or resident third-country nationals. Their overt adherence to these strict cultural standards is what will mark them out as belonging, or not belonging, as ‘us’ or not ‘us’.
That is the ideology/homogenising impulse that underlies the surveillance and targeting of Muslim communities and cultures by the state (security and police agencies) and the media, for whom it is easy copy. Every Muslim is, after all, a potential terrorist (or criminal) especially if he or she has ‘radical’ views on world politics.23
So much for the first two elements of the surveillance society/policing state – the technological bureaucratic apparatus, enlivened by a state racism that shifts its focus according to political and economic imperatives. But what of the EU’s great, overarching cornerstone, the supremacy of the democratic principle? What is happening to democracy is the third element in the EU’s transition to a new era.
The UK government-sponsored thinktank Wilton Park made a fundamental and telling point when, after a seminar in 1996, it reached the following conclusion:
Democracy must not be confused with capitalism. The former is a political system while the latter is an economic system. Although many capitalist countries are democracies, capitalism can exist without democracy.24