I don’t buy all of the enthusiasms of this New Statesman article, but it’s nice to be optimistic for a change.
Published 04 December 2008
At the beginning of the century, the chances of socialism making a return looked close to zero. Yet now, all around Europe, the red flag is flying again
“If socialism signifies a political and economic system in which the government controls a large part of the economy and redistributes wealth to produce social equality, then I think it is safe to say the likelihood of its making a comeback any time in the next generation is close to zero,” wrote Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History, in Time magazine in 2000.
He should take a trip around Europe today.
Make no mistake, socialism–pure, unadulterated socialism, an ideology that was taken for dead by liberal capitalists–is making a strong comeback. Across the continent, there is a definite trend in which long-established parties of the centre left that bought in to globalisation and neoliberalism are seeing their electoral dominance challenged by unequivocally socialist parties which have not.
The parties in question offer policies which mark a clean break from the Thatcherist agenda that many of Europe’s centre-left parties have embraced over the past 20 years. They advocate renationalisation of privatised state enterprises and a halt to further liberalisation of the public sector. They call for new wealth taxes to be imposed and for a radical redistribution of wealth. They defend the welfare state and the rights of all citizens to a decent pension and free health care. They strongly oppose war–and any further expansion of Nato.
Most fundamentally of all, they challenge an economic system in which the interests of ordinary working people are subordinated to those of capital.
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