Full refund within 30 days if you're not completely satisfied.
Tony Bunyan: Just over the horizon 11
And by a ‘one-party’ political system I am not just referring to political parties.26 Democracy cannot be conceived of as simply limited to the casting of votes in elections every four or five years; democracy means creating and maintaining a political culture. A culture of diversity, debate, dissent, tolerance, respect for other cultures, a sense of history and an underlying humanity which sustains democracy between elections and which can in that space engage in and influence what is decided and done by governments and states.
Of course, there is no inevitability that ‘democracy’ will engender a political culture that is progressive. ‘Democracy’ can lead to the extreme Right taking power, authoritarianism and even fascism (see 1920s’ Italy and 1930s’ Germany). It is ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ that define a progressive democracy, fundamental human values that transcend political systems.27 But without a genuine, popular democracy, basic freedom and liberty are much more at risk. It is that erosion of democracy which will allow authoritarianism to proceed unchecked in our changing Europe. What 11 September did was to hasten and exacerbate a process that was already under way – to hothouse it, as it were. We are involved in the creation of a world, where the political and the economic are dialectically intertwined in a way that is far more sophisticated and subtle than Orwell’s 1984. But the authoritarian project I have tried to describe is as yet in its infancy.
There are some valid comparisons that can be made with the 1920s and 1930s in Italy and Germany – those that choose to can see the growth of an authoritarian state in the EU, combined with the demise of a meaningful political culture, as some did back then. Another parallel with the 1920s and 1930s is that those of us engaged with the struggle at the European level find ourselves reminded that it is the Left/progressives who are defending liberal-democratic values of accountability, scrutiny, openness, liberty and freedom. A prerequisite of effective opposition is an understanding of the nature of the problem with which we are confronted. In turn this means connecting our different struggles, uniting the pockets of resistance into movements of resistance in Europe and outside. Only then will we stand any chance of halting the juggernaut.
References 1 Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council, amending Council
Regulation (EC) No 2252/2004 on standards for security features and biometrics in passports and travel documents issued by Member States (presented by the Commission). 2 Everyone visiting the EU on a visa is being fingerprinted as of 2007–8. This together with per-
sonal data is to be stored on the EU-wide VIS database (Visa Information System) which will hold over 70 million records within ten years. 3 Council of the European Union, Council approves draft directive on driving licences. Press release, Brussels, 27 March 2006 7794/06 (Presse 90). 4 At the moment people are being asked to agree and a small number are saying no. The NHS
database will be accessible by over 350,000 ‘clinicians’ in the UK. 5 It is clear from the Council internal discussions that while the present proposal is limited to air travel in and out of the EU it will not be long before the plan will cover flights between EU