Who has the right to speak? Who decides what? And where do we base our political decisions on? We cannot predict how politics will look like in the future. However, we can consider current trends and changes in today’s politics.
In the Netherlands it appears that politics become more and more a language of “the people”, instead of just being for politicians that know what they’re talking about. Politics moves to the street. How can we explain this transformation?
Firstly, it appears that the political style of the Netherlands has moved from a focus on consensus to a more disruptive political system, as Jouke de Vries calls our current political situation in the Volkskrant. This can be seen, for example, in the political style of Geert Wilders, who has been called the master of disrupting politics.
Moreover, de Vries also mentions the innovation literature, which stands for the fast eruption of new political parties, that lead to disruption, friction and fragmentation of the current politics.
Lastly, he also mentions the political mobilisation of civilians who generally don’t identify themselves with politics. However, these “people of the street” get a voice through social media platforms and debate about political issues they have no sufficient background knowledge about. A perfect example of this is the social media platform GeenStijl.nl, who normally posts on random, entertaining subjects. With their project “Geen Peil”, they interfered in the decision of the association agreement with Ukraine. By getting enough signatures, they managed to arrange a referendum, where everyone could vote yes or no and influence the political situation of the entire country. The people can vote, whether or not they have knowledge of the situation or not. Social media becomes a platform not only reserved for entertaining issues, but also becomes a political place where people, without any political background, can influence decisions that used to be solely made by political rulers.
People tend to be more radical and tend to move their opinions to the public. Because people are given the space and freedom to express their own opinions, it appears that they increasingly do so. This is also seen in the youth political movement of DWARS, that also stands up against the current political standards in the Netherlands.
But these transformations are not only seen in our own country, but is also seen in the United States. Politicians and political parties of the US are practically the innovators in this movement. An example is Donald Trump, a man who has little political background, but still is a candidate in the current presidential election. He opposes the current political situation in the US and is an intensive user of social media, to connect to his followers and to forward his message to as many people as possible.
That politics are no longer just for politicians, can also be seen when we consider the situation created around Kanye West. No longer is his identity just that of a rapper, hip hop artist or Kardashian family member. He know thinks of himself as a possible leader of the USA and seriously considers running for president. Consider this: Kanye West living in the White House with his Kardashian family? Not a pretty picture, right? This seems to be more a reality show, than it is a political statement.
Furthermore, students of the George Mason University in the USA where asked about their knowledge about both Justin Bieber and Barack Obama. The fact that these students knew more about Bieber than of their own president, makes it questionable whether or not these people should actually have a say in political issues.
So, ask yourself again: who gets to decide? Who makes the rules? It appears that in the current political developments, it is possible to enter politics, no matter what your identity, background or intention is. Politics become part of the public sphere and people speak up about political issues more than ever. If this is a good trend or not, that’s for the future to point out. At least we know times are changing, that politics are moving and mobilizing and that people, whoever they are, identify and position themselves in political issues considering their country.
Links that are used for this blog: