America’s democratic gamble is terrifying – we must do all we can to oppose it

No one who believes in democracy can vote for Trump.

First published at

So, Trump threatens to put on trial and to imprison his opponent, if he wins. And if he loses, he threatens to call foul, claiming that the election is rigged against him.

This is behaviour typical of the worst kind of ‘banana republic’. No self-respecting believer in democracy could vote for such a person.

Moreover, the Kremlin is seeking to influence the election to get Clinton to lose and Trump to win. How did we reach a situation where the Republican Presidential candidate is preferred by the Russian premier, who commits espionage to try to help him win?

And yet even this hasn’t finished Trump off. On the contrary, there is still a very realistic chance that Trump will win. This is not like the situation in France in 2002, when Chirac destroyed Le Pen in the head-to-head run-off, and Le Pen never really stood a chance. Trump could still win.

This shows that American democracy is doubly in peril. Because a leading Presidential contender can say these things – and yet he still remains in contention.

How is this possible?

One key reason is the weakness of his opponents. The Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who could have stolen a real march on Trump at this election by being the far-more-of-our-time smart right-wing alternative remains doggedly and stupidly out of touch with young people (and in fact all rational people) on great issues of our time such as climate change.

The Green candidate Jill Stein is, naturally, great on a raft of key issues but has blotted her copy book very, very badly through not only being a Putin-apologist but, because of this, going so far as to claim that Clinton is worse than Trump, and supporting Assad’s/Putin’s war criminal attacks on the Syrian people.

As for Clinton herself: she is an excellent debater who took Trump apart over the three Presidential debates (and yet he remains in contention!). She is highly-experienced, and a safe pair of hands on a number of important issues (such as: not banning abortion).

She has improved her policy-platform considerably on several key issues since Bernie Sanders’s endorsement negotiations with her; Clinton has also improved her position vis-a-vis neoliberal free trade deals and campaign-finance-reform, over the past year, under pressure from Sanders’s rivalry — this is about the only good news about the current presidential election cycle).

However, she remains a weak candidate; partly because of an irrational hatred of powerful women etc., but also, and crucially, because she remains to an terrifying degree in the pocket of high finance and more generally of those who are committing our planet to a corporate-dominated, neoliberal future. I.

One reason why Trump remains in contention, then, is because many who might have been persuaded by Sanders, whose tremendous opposition to neoliberal trade-deals etc. played such a key role in almost enabling him to pull off the impossible and beat Clinton in the primaries, are won over by Trump’s opposition to NAFTA and to similarly-disastrous examples of ‘peak-globalisation’.

In other words: even if Trump is seen off, American democracy is in dire peril. For it remains to be seen whether a President Clinton would be able to do or even try to do all the good things she promises. And, even if she does, America will remain a plutocracy more than a democracy. One country, under big money.

That’s one key reason why Trump is still in the race.

But, to return to where I started: the bottom-line is that no-one could believe in actually-existing ‘democracy’ or in a possible future democracy, and still vote for Trump, after his latest incredible remarks, remarks so dangerous they may well lead to violence if he loses. Which is why it is incredible, and profoundly-disturbing, that he is still in contention at all.

I think therefore all of us owe it to our American friends, and to the future of the world, to do whatever we can in the remaining days and weeks to influence the result. Not, of course, through espionage or the like!

But through letting Americans know that we cannot understand how a democracy which has given much hope to the world can so casually gamble with no longer being a democracy at all.


Post-growth Localisation – a pamphlet by Rupert Read and Helena Norberg-Hodge

“Is ever more economic activity a good thing at all, in a world where what is scarce is nature, and time, and peace and quiet?”

Rupert Read

“The most effective way to alleviate a whole range of seemingly disparate symptoms — from deforestation to pollution, from poverty to ethnic conflict — is to change the dominant economy. Most important of all, countering the pressures that separate us from one another and the natural world would resonate with our deeper human needs. At the most fundamental level, localisation is the economics of happiness.”

Helena Norberg-Hodge


Why Some Questions Have No Answers

Professor Catherine Rowett’s will be talking to UNA at 1pm at the Friends Meeting House on Friday 16th September .  It should be a fascinating talk .  She is going to talk about “What’s the relevance of Christian ethical teaching when it comes to international crises? And why some questions have no answers”.
Its a gem of a subject and should make for a good talk and discussion – do try and attend!2016-september-poster-pdf

Join the Global to Local movement in London this month


This month in London, we’re holding two special events to help people break out of the depressing paradigm of globalisation, and take a closer look at how to build an ‘economics of happiness’ in the UK and beyond.

So many of our current crises—financial, social and ecological—are fueled by the scale of the economy. But as awareness of globalisation’s disastrous impacts grows, so does the chance for meaningful change.
At each event, you will hear from renowned speakers including environmental economist James Skinner; eco-philosopher Rupert ReadDiego Isabel La Moneda, Director of the Global Hub for the Common Good; Stephen Hinton, co-founder of a Swedish eco-village; and Molly Scott Cato, a Member of the European Parliament.

Discussion topics will include:

  • Beyond Brexit: Policy and Grassroots Change for a New UK Economy
  • Urban Growth and Sustainable Food Systems in London
  • Trade Treaties and Other Mechanisms of Globalisation
  • Ushering in a Culture of Peace and Happiness


Details about tickets, speakers, and schedules can be found on the event pages below.
The Economics of Happiness:
Creating a More Equitable World

Wednesday, 14th September, 10am – 5:30pm
24 Greencoat Place, London SW1P 1RD

Speakers include Helena Norberg-Hodge, Stephen Hinton, Diego Isabel La Moneda, and Michael Smith.

Co-hosted by Local Futures, Initiatives of Change UK and Global Hub for the Common Good
Towards a Localised Future:
A New Economy Convergence

Saturday, 17th September, 9am – 5pm
173-177 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ

Speakers include Helena Norberg-Hodge, James Skinner, Molly Scott Cato, Rupert Read, Bruno Lacey and Charlotte O’Connor.

Co-hosted by Local Futures and Green House

Starting To Think About How A Progressive Alliance Could Actually Work

It is clear that Labour alone are not going to win an absolute majority in Westminster in 2020.

That is probably the deepest reason why there is more and more talk about the possibility of some kind of ‘progressive alliance’, to deliver real democracy and to pose an alternative to endless, un-green right-wing rule in the UK.

So, how do we get there? Plenty of us believe that progressive parties need to start to discuss – to at least consider the possibility of – some kind of electoral pact. A ‘popular front’ to avoid fragmenting the vote among ourselves in winnable seats looking towards electing a Parliament in 2020 that would have a progressive majority for democratic change. For mending our broken democracy…

…continued at