Martin Luther King’s observation in the late 1960s regarding the black rebellion in the United States remains sadly pertinent. Continue reading
Tag Archives: democratic socialism
How to Explain Socialism to a Teenager
“What is socialism?” Continue reading
Freedom, Community, Self: Insights of Karl Polanyi
“Life is man’s missed opportunity.” Although Karl Polanyi used these words to sum up Hamlet, they also encapsulate his sense after 1947 that capitalist society had forfeited a promising future – a liberating freedom in community. Yet perhaps the opportunity has not been forfeited but delayed. Polanyi’s insight into the connection among freedom, community and personal responsibility can still guide us. Continue reading
Nationalism versus Internationalism: What Path for the Left?
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
Socialism – Is There an Alternative?
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
Karl Polanyi and the Rejuvenation of Today’s Disoriented Left
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
The Fascist Virus
In an unpublished article circa 1934 entitled “The Fascist Virus”[i] Karl Polanyi sketches a theory of fascism that remains relevant. This theory is further elaborated in an article entitled “The Essence of Fascism”[ii] and in The Great Transformation (1944). In light of current politico-economic trends, this theory is worth revisiting. Continue reading
Social Democracy is Dead. Long Live Social Democracy!
Everyone agrees that the left, especially social democracy, is a mess. But what should be done about it? Continue reading
An “In-Between” Progressive Strategy: Beyond Socialism versus Social Democracy
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
Learning from Bernie Sanders
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