"The future is feminist and ecological"

2023-12-11 Miguel Urbán; MEP, visits the Leuphana Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS) in Culture and Society

Miguel Urbán; MEP ©Christine Kramer
Miguel Urbán; MEP

“Take the question: Who has the right to have rights? What is the actual answer”  Miguel Urbán brought the numerous students and LIAS fellows into contact with the reality of today's extreme right. "We often see a possible answer through the lens of solidarity. But the response should actually be formulated from the perspective of rights. That means: not defending our rights, but giving rights to others!"

Miguel Urbán, Member of the Spanish Left in the European Parliament in Brussels, dissected the fundamental reasons for the rise of the far right, which the politician and activist has been analysing in detail for many years. He started from a "primal fear" that has gripped a significant part of the middle and working classes of losing what they have in a sea of growing precarity, in an ecological crisis due to climate change. As a result, the group lacks a horizon for social improvement.

Miguel Urbán, Member of the Spanish Left in the European Parliament in Brussels, described the conservatism of the extreme right as a movement that is concerned with preserving the current situation. The extreme right's vision of the future therefore does not consist of a different economic order in order to improve the conditions of the deteriorating social groups. "This is a strongly defensive narrative against even more vulnerable population groups such as migrants, who are stopped at the borders and removed from our public life by cancelling their right to have rights," warned Urbán.

To understand the current political situation and counter the extreme right, Urbán said, it is crucial to understand the inability to imagine an alternative to this general deterioration and hopelessness. He sees the most promising solutions in feminism and environmental protection: “The feminist movement imagines a future that is not characterised by patriarchal social cuts and the struggle for survival, but by emancipation, equality and the expansion of rights. At the same time, the environmental movements denounce the unsustainability of the current economic order if we want to continue living on this planet.”

When asked what exactly these movements have in mind, Urbán said that they envision a different and more democratic future: “They defy the anti-humanist competitive core of our political present.” This would give them the chance to become a progressive cornerstone for a progressive alliance with the growing part of the population that is suffering from the current increase in inequality. This emancipatory potential partly explains the relentless reaction of the far right and an important part of the establishment against feminism and environmentalism.