Internationalism has been the default position of the left. Suspicion of nationalism stems from its long association with a single ethnic or religious group, excluding the ‘other’ and defusing class solidarity. But is the default position valid any longer? Continue reading
Since Margaret Thatcher made her famous pronouncement about the lack of an alternative to free-market capitalism, many on the left have seemed to agree. Continue reading
Nearly everyone agrees that the left is a mess. The main clash in most Western countries today pits mainstream neoliberals against right-wing authoritarian populists, with the latter channeling the rage instigated by the policies of the former. The mainstream social-democratic parties in Europe are in electoral free-fall. The ‘Pink Tide’ in Latin America has rapidly receded (with a couple of exceptions). And far-right populism is becoming the movement of the traditional working class. A crisis may erupt at any time in the form of another financial meltdown, an ecological disaster, an authoritarian reaction or a foreign-policy miscalculation. Continue reading
Everyone agrees that the left, especially social democracy, is a mess. But what should be done about it? Continue reading
Many of us are drawn to the idea of a New Left because we yearn for change of a certain type: toward a more democratic, egalitarian, cooperative and sustainable society. In practice, however, the left is in a perilous state in many countries. Reactionary populist and nativist movements are making inroads among constituencies, especially the working class, who might be expected to favour progressive causes.
What needs to be done to rejuvenate the left, to build a new left in sync with the 21st century? No one has all the answers. But at least we can identify the key questions and reflect on the possibilities.
With the parties of the democratic left in Europe in free-fall, with the receding of the ‘Pink Tide’ in Latin America and with the widespread rise of far-right populism, a shift in progressive strategy is past due. Continue reading
A vision is a story about our common future that touches our hearts as well as our minds. To be effective, the story must, in simple words, portray a future that people would want to inhabit and identify some practicable steps for getting there. The left globally has not been effective lately in presenting such an attractive story-line. But there is an exception: Bernie Sanders, who emerged from obscurity as an independent Senator from Vermont to nearly capture the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Continue reading
Every generation develops its own New Left. This is a natural process as proponents struggle to come to grips with new challenges and old failures. Continue reading
“A young person who isn’t a socialist hasn’t got a heart; an old person who is a socialist hasn’t got a head.” Is this true?
This old adage suggests that an attachment to the left is merely a romantic and naïve phase that should eventually pass as we mature and gain a more “realistic” understanding. Realism from this viewpoint involves the acceptance that There is No Alternative (TINA) to presently-existing capitalism and liberal democracy, that the most we can expect is some minor tinkering.
But this conservative viewpoint is unconvincing for two reasons. Continue reading