“There are many opponents of democracy. Some obvious, others in more insidious and more effective ways. Democratic socialism succeeded in the last century in humanizing the capitalist system. Today, a struggle is needed to humanize globalization and together, to regain the power of citizens in shaping their future”.

This was emphasized, among others, by the former prime minister, George Papandreou, speaking at the conference organized by the “Andreas Papandreou” foundation in Patras, on the theme, “Democracy in the future”.

He then spoke of a “deficit of trust between citizens and politics” adding: “This is an anti-systemic questioning, which is deepening in many societies. And I’m not talking about authoritarian or dictatorial regimes. Because society is hardly expressed there, except as a rebellion. I am talking about societies governed by a democratic normality. However, it seems that even among them, today, there is a deeper alienation from the system”.

“This questioning”, he noted, “tends to carry the concept of democracy along with it” and added:

“Those of us who lived through times of dictatorship, authoritarianism, oppression and violation of human rights, consider the need for democracy to be self-evident. However, this position is no longer self-evident today. They challenge many basic principles, practices and values ​​of democracy.

The truth is that we are living through successive crises, the crash of 2008, on Wall Street, and the financial crisis that hit us and other Europeans, in 2009, the ongoing waves of refugees, the great pandemic, the intensifying climate crisis together with the energy crisis, but also the rapid technological developments that overturn labor relations. All of the above causes insecurity, uncertainty, fear and doubt.”

At another point in his speech, George Papandreou mentioned that “we have several decades now the “conquering” of democracy from within, that is, the systematic and continuous marginalization of the citizen, of civil society, of the power of the popular will through a socio-economic system that concentrates power and wealth and produces inequalities, insecurity, dependence, injustices and crises”.

“Well,” he continued, “the paradox and the challenge for us progressive citizens is to reverse the trend of constant undermining of democracy and by revitalizing and deepening it to respond to the critical issues of our time.”

Also, the former prime minister underlined that “today, in every manifestation of our social life, of what we call public life, inequality dominates” and added:

“We have the hyper-concentration of wealth, power, technology and Media, even social networks. Over-concentration in too few hands’.

Referring to the recent health crisis, he said that it “highlighted in the most characteristic way that both the quality and access to health and education fall far short of humanity’s capabilities”.

“In too many cases,” he emphasized, “access to public health and education services is impossible, even in countries like ours that want to claim that we have public systems in both of these areas.”

Speaking about education, George Papandreou underlined that “it is necessary for the state, parties, movements, civil society, to invest in education which, in addition to professional training, will aim at forming informed and critically thinking citizens”.