How to make our politics more like Scandinavia

Clare Foran of The Atlantic interviewed George Lakey, author of Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got it Rightand How We Can, Too.

Lakey: In the Nordic countries, people first created popular movements that used direct-action tactics like strikes, boycotts, and demonstrations. They also built movement infrastructure, like co-ops and study circles. As these movements gained momentum, they led to the creation of political parties that were controlled by the movements and represented the movements in parliament. In that way, politicians were accountable to the people.

That’s entirely different from what we have in the U.S. with the Democratic Party, for example, where the party is not really accountable to anyone except the economic elite. Today, the U.S. also has low voter participation compared with the Nordics. The path they took—building powerful grassroots movements that then control the politicians who represent them, might help us achieve the degree of democracy that they enjoy.

And Lakey on what Sanders supporters should do:

Lakey: The best thing for Sanders supporters to do would be to focus their energy on direct-action campaigns aimed at achieving specific policy goals. So, for example, if Sanders supporters took the goal of free higher education and turned that into a direct-action national campaign that protesters were willing to go to jail for, that would be a more effective way of achieving that goal than even getting Sanders elected to the presidency. Sanders in the Oval Office wouldn’t be able to get anything done with the current Congress, whereas with a direct-action pressure campaign, there is a better chance of actually getting something like free higher education or Medicare for all accomplished.