Dr Álvaro Rodríguez
Dr Álvaro Rodríguez
ZAK asked Dr Álvaro Rodríguez to answer the following questions:
1. Has our need for security grown or merely our perception of insecurity?
Our need for security has grown, since the welfare state is being undermined by financial capitalism. We witness that basic human rights, such as health, housing, education, and decent jobs are under attack, and this crisis has increased the threats to them. This commodification of life and public services, and the precarisation of jobs are increasing trends that provoke insecurity within the population. This risk is becoming greater, touching social classes to which this uncertainty had been unknown. Moreover, in the wake of this crisis, economies are deeply harmed, and the incompetence of governments to solve the crisis produces even more insecurity – people feel more scared of the future.
Furthermore, more and more people are of the understanding that this situation is very profitable for very few people, those in the top of the so called ‘markets’, who caused this crisis and never paid for it, with the compliance of political institutions. As a result, we have been facing social misery at unexpected levels for a few years. So, we as a society demand not just security, but the means to have a decent life, being capable to design our common projects free from political or economic dominion. We demand democratic societies where security naturally comes from solidarity, equality, and liberty. This is the very root of the indignant movement. And as our first motto said, “We are not commodities in the hands of politicians and bankers!”
2. To what extent are interferences between the different risks on the increase? Is a domino effect recognisable?
Since the problems are not just national or European, but global, so must reactions be. We are living in a world where ‘markets’, a euphemistic way to refer to banks, hedge funds, and other economic agents in the top of social pyramids, have created a ‘parliament in shadows’, making policies just for their interest, even if this results in the impoverishment of whole countries. Furthermore, their control of mass media gives them an ideological umbrella, which presents these neoliberal policies as the only possible solution to the problem. This neoliberal ideology has polluted public discussion, universities, and political parties, ignoring uncomfortable realities, such as inequality or democracies’ loss of legitimacy, caused just by this increasing inequality. But as the crisis goes on, the risk of precarisation and social exclusion grows, and people start to realise that reality is not what is shown on TV. This consciousness, spread on the Internet and via social media, is becoming a powerful counter discourse, which gives another explanation to this world crisis. This counter discourse fits better with people’s life experiences all over the world, which makes it even stronger. So, the domino effect is ready to start through the Internet and on the streets.
The domino effect is, actually, a break in the wall of the neoliberal consensus. With each demonstration, this wall is breaking more, following the intensification of social, economic, and political crisis. We could further say that this domino effect is, actually, a wave which is going throughout the planet, creating a new social consciousness. And we foresee an even more intense protest, which will probably result in deep social and political changes.
3. In the face of the present crisis situation should more decision-making authority be shifted to the European institutions/organs?
It is not a mere question of the scale of government. It is a question of what this government does, and of its democratic legitimacy. A European government that makes policies on behalf of financial markets would harm European societies even more than national governments following the same policies. What we need, in every country and all over Europe, are governments that bail people out, and not banks, from a crisis which has not been created by workers, students, or retired people.
The real problem is that in Europe, democracy is in danger, kidnapped by financial power and political instances disconnected from main street. The fact of the proceeding dismantling of democracy can be checked in the way political leaders are elected. Most of them, like Dragui, Monti, Papademos, or the new Minister of Economy in Spain, Luis de Guindos, come from the financial sector. Even if they have been elected, their decision-making is not based on the interests of the people, but on those of the financial sector. There is a ‘revolving’ door between corporations, banks, and national and European governments and institutions, whose mechanism is eroding democratic governance. Therefore, the key point is not just the scale, but the democratisation of decision-making.