Donald Trump was the most interesting story in the 2016 elections, but everyone thought he was going to lose,” recalls Israeli journalist Nadav Eyal, 43, in a Jerusalem cafe, discussing his coverage of the tycoon’s campaign. Republican to the White House. Documentaries of him on the ground for Hebrew television led him to assume that Trump could win. That was the embryo Revolt. From the trenches of the global uprising, which he now presents edited by Debate in Spain (published on June 16). “I have linked the dots that represented the miners in Pennsylvania with the campaigns of Le Pen in France or the anarchist revolts in Greece with a line to describe a complete picture,” details this reporter specializing in international information missions. Brexit, the rise to power of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil or the hegemony of Viktor Orbán in Hungary are milestones in the wide-angle vision that he offers in his book on the causes of a wave of global discontent against globalization.
The edition of Revolt that is presented in Spanish has been updated between the outbreak of the pandemic and the start of the war in Ukraine. The red flag that waved on the cover of the first version in Hebrew (2018), following the Trump presidency, is now white, as an emblem of the middle way that the author defends in the face of the social transformations generated by economic interdependence. Eyal, prominent columnist for Yediot Ahronot, the Hebrew newspaper with the largest circulation, has included, among other novelties, a chapter on the proliferation of hoaxes that condition contemporary reality. His original thesis in favor of global cooperation in a globalized world is of a Keynesian nature.
QUESTION. He defends globalization in his work, but its implementation has run parallel to the rise of nationalist populism, with the adverse result of an unequal distribution of fortune in societies. Why is it so widely rejected?
RESPONSE. We are witnessing a revolt of mainly Western people against corrupt, hollow, irresponsible and unsustainable hierarchies and power structures. Among all the rebels there is a common thread, although they are not all the same. Ecologists are not the same as neo-fascists. People feel that the system of globalization does not work. After the pandemic it is even more obvious: national structures are incapable of facing global challenges.
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P.You have witnessed in the last decade the failure of the Arab Spring, the exodus of thousands of Syrian refugees to Europe or the revolt of the camps of the indignant in the heart of Tel Aviv. Do you confirm with your experience as a reporter the growing resistance to globalization?
R.In my book a revolution is not sought, but progress. Faced with the most radical Marxist vision, which sees globalization as exploitation, others believe that it is something fantastic and the solution to all ills. I propose a dialectical approach after more than two decades collecting people’s concerns as a journalist. For example, if the members of the urban elites are the main beneficiaries of globalization and the inhabitants of the peripheries are the ones who are losing the most, why don’t the former pay more taxes?
P.“Not everyone will agree with Eyal’s interpretation of the globalization crisis, but few will remain indifferent,” Israeli writer Yuval Noah Harari, author of the best seller global sapiens. Do you also include yourself in the new current of global thought that has emerged in Israel?
R.Israel is a state founded by a very cosmopolitan diaspora, a minority that was attacked for its beliefs through anti-Semitism. For me, being a Jew is fighting for civil rights for everyone, including the Palestinians.
P.What do you think of the changes registered in countries like Chile or Spain, where some young people who were rebels have reached quotas of power in the Government?
R.It already happened in Greece. The question is: have they evolved? Bernie Sanders supporters [izquierda demócrata en EE UU] they consider that President Biden does not represent a change. Jumping from the street to power is healthy, but I worry about originally radical people who don’t evolve towards pragmatism. It usually happens with nationalists, populists and chauvinists. They are not moderate in power, but are strengthened by it.
P.You defend evolution against revolution. But how to reach that broad consensus that he proposes on the central issues that affect the most vulnerable citizens in the face of globalization?
R.“If there is no struggle there is no progress.” I quote at the beginning of my work these words of the writer Frederick Douglass [que escapó de la esclavitud y se convirtió en líder del movimiento abolicionista en EE UU a mediados del siglo XIX]. My book is not a manifesto. Progress is needed, but we must be attached to reality, without volunteering beyond our possibilities. My proposal is common sense: pragmatism.
P.It is also committed to a social protection network financed by redistributive taxation, as a remedy to reinsert those excluded by such an interconnected economy and mitigate the polarization of societies. Wouldn’t that imply the end of globalization?
R.We have to decide if we want to live without globalization in a poorer world, in which our children will not have the best chances. Is there an alternative? Of course, but with fewer opportunities. I have pursued in my work a common approach when speaking of the miners of Pennsylvania, the Greek students or the peasants of Sri Lanka. I identify with them, and I think that empathy is very important. Globalization, as I see it, is about community, fiscal redistribution or solving the problems of each region. It serves to understand that each political community is relevant to the destiny of the planet. A new consensus of global cooperation is needed, with common sense solutions, and a will for change and progress in the face of the unfeasibility of the current global model.
P.Is the Ukraine war the first or the last of globalization?
R.Nationalism and populism today embody an evil reverse of patriotism, the national identity that is based on helping others. Until the war in Ukraine, globalization has been an Instagram story in which everyone looked good in the photo. Now it is clear that globalization must represent a liberal and democratic project, arising from Western countries with values such as economic efficiency. In the Ukraine, the Russians have discovered that there is no longer any relativism in the West. Globalization is not just about money, and if you want to belong to this club, there are certain rules.
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