12 October 2010

Why is the left politically weak?

Left of centre parties are out of office in most European countries. Why? Here are two reasons.

First, globalised systems of production have left large numbers of people in the advanced capitalist countries superfluous to requirements. In the credit boom they could be absorbed on low wages in the service sector, but not today. Those working people who are reasonably secure at the moment under capitalism tend in large numbers to identify with the system against its victims.

Second, the end of communism has removed the political need in Western Europe of attempting to satisfy and integrate the working class by means of social democracy. No clearer example of this exists than in Germany; during the Cold War Western Germany's social market model was held up as an example to the capitalist world; today it is portrayed as an impediment.

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