“The elites who have run the United States and western Europe have proven incapable of offering even the smallest palliatives to their populations. They have allowed the poor to rot ? regardless of skin color ? and grow,” Ali said. “And so what we have is a protest against this center elite, which I call the extreme center because whether it’s social democratic or conservative, they unite to crush.”
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has become a perfect example of this protest against the extreme center, he tells Hedges.
“They’ve found in Trump someone who airs their most crazed fantasies at the same time who attacks the banks, at the same time attacks these new treaties which are being carried through and promises some palliatives to the poorest section of the white working class,” Ali said.
The right and the far right are growing around the world, while the left has been weak. That is part of the reason that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wasn’t able to succeed, even though he also offers an independent voice to the working class.
“I don’t think that there’s anything on the radical left at the moment ? of course, these things are volatile, things can happen,” he said.
Ali cited an appeal that actress Rosario Dawson made to Sanders supporters as to why Trump is so popular at a widely attended rally in New York City at the end of March.
Both Hedges and him think that capitalism is heading towards a collapse and the banks and political elites are doing everything they can to stop it. An example of what they are willing to do to keep the status quo is what happened in the European Union when Greece was on the brink of default.
“Greece is kind of the perfect case study of the myopic thinking on the part of international elites, where they are squeezing everything they can out of this country, knowing full well that it’s ultimately not sustainable,” Hedges said in his first episode of ‘On Contact’ on RT America. “A lot of people in Greece are suffering, and a lot more are going to suffer.”
“They will, yeah,” Ali responded, adding that poor people in Greece were already suffering.
“The figures coming out of Greece were horrific: malnutrition in Greece, people dying for lack of food, people using barter to survive, pensions going down and down and down ? in a poor country,” Ali said. “At the same time as the ship owners, a plutocracy which has owned that country, carries on ? there’s no problems, as far as they’re concerned at all. They don’t pay taxes, they register their ship somewhere else, and even when they don’t, they don’t think it’s their duty.”
Hedges asked if Greece was destroyed to make an example of it, comparable to what then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger did to Chile and Salvador Allende during the Cold War: “The banking system has to destroy Greece … to send a message to countries like Portugal, Spain, Ireland, whose economy is a mess, which is don’t try this,” the RT America host said.
Ali agreed with the analogy.
“This was a message to other countries where there is no armed struggle, no guerrilla warfare: ‘Don’t try coming to power like this and nationalizing industries and rapping us on the knuckles [because] this is how we’ll deal with you’,” he said. “That is what was done to Greece by the European Union and, you know, one has to be honest here… it’s had its effect. It’s pushed people back. The Spanish radical group Podemos stepped backwards. And so it’s had its effect.”
The journalist and author warned that the collapse is coming because the elite refuses to plan for the future.
“They do know that collapse is coming, and they’re trying to make sure that it doesn’t affect them. So the German banks are not prepared to allow the politicians to take any risks by bailing out Greece or bailing out other countries in trouble,” Ali said. “It was one thing bailing themselves out, the banks and the hedge fund system via the banks, but anything else, they say, is unacceptable because it will bring the collapse closer and our interest is to defend the banking system. It’s short-sighted, and they live for today as we know; capitalism and capitalists, by and large, don’t think of the long-term.”