24 May 2010

The hoplessness of the left

My point was first and foremost an observation of how political society is, rather than a prescription of how to change it. The following three points seem to me indisputable, at least in the short to medium term:

1. Thanks to Blair and New Labour, transforming the Labour party so that it becomes a left-leaning social democratic party is today nearly impossible.

2. The historical communist movement has disappeared and is now irrelevant.

3. The Trotskyite groups are smaller and more marginalised than ever before.

Therefore every possible agent of socialist advance has diminished almost to the point of irrelevance in Britain and in most other European countries.

Green parties, though progressive in some respects, are hardly socialist; no new parties of the left have appeared in the major European countries to counteract the major shift to the right and the hegemony of market fundamentalism. The one major exception is the German Left Party and I have devoted some time to looking at the circumstances in which this party has arisen and enjoyed minor success. (See the link in my initial contribution)

Now, because I said that the new social movements couldn’t be an agent for socialism, this does not mean that I oppose them. As sites of social and political activity they undoubtedly have an educational effect and are therefore beneficial as progressive pressure groups. Maybe I was wrong to call them rabble, but many do include some very silly people who are experts at self-marginalisation.

I do not subscribe to the end of history hypothesis, but I do not accept the argument that capitalism is doomed in the coming decades. Capitalism is structurally condemned to periodic crisis, but these crises have not so far destroyed capitalism, and there is no reason to believe that capitalism can’t surmount these crises in the next century as it did in the last. In fact, capitalism today looks in a far stronger position than it did at several points in the twentieth century.

1 comment:

John Kline said...

The resurgence of the left? In hard times voters look to extremes, right or left. Marx said the last nation to have a revolution would be Britain.