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
Tag Archives: social democracy
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
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
The Origins of Today’s Fascist Tendency
In responding to the threat of today’s fascist tendency, an effective strategy depends upon a robust diagnosis. It is clear that right-wing populists, the harbingers of this tendency, are channeling the resentment and rage of substantial segments of national populations. But where precisely does the anger come from? Continue reading
The Emerging New Left: Seven Key Issues
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.
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
A New Vision for the Left II: Challenges
When I showed When the People Awake to an undergraduate class in the mid-70s, the militant documentary received a strongly favourable response. It had been made in 1972 by left-wing Chilean film-makers who supported the democratic-socialist administration of Salvador Allende’s Unidad Popular. When I screened the same stirring documentary in the same course 25 years later, the students responded negatively. In fact, they voted with their feet, most of them withdrawing from the classroom under the cover of dark. What had changed in the interim? Continue reading
Towards This Generation’s New Left
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