May 15, 2015

THEY HAVE TO ESCHEW THE SECOND WAY TO BE VIABLE:

Left's labor lost: Why Europe's social democrats are on the ropes (John Lloyd, May 15, 2015, Reuters)

Both the German Social Democrats and the Dutch Labor Party are in government, but with a more powerful center-right force. The Swedish Social Democrats retain leadership of the government only with the support of the Moderates. The Austrian party of the left also leads a coalition but, as one academic put it, is "merely continu(ing) to administer rather than actively shape the future of Austria."

The German and the Swedish social democrats have been hegemonic forces in their societies, with hundreds of thousands of members, sub-national cultures in their own right. These cultures are thinning fast.

The French socialists govern alone, but both the party and the president, Francois Hollande, remain very low in the polls. The Spanish socialists, in opposition, have revived a little, but not convincingly. In the former Communist countries Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, the left is weak. 

[T]here is one party of the left that has been hugely successful: the Italian Partito Democratico, center-left, with a solid majority in the lower chamber of the Parliament, driven on relentlessly by Matteo Renzi, the 40-year-old prime minister. Renzi is a very New Labour centrist kind of man: indeed, many of his comrades don't believe he is a leftist at all.

His agenda is changing the constitution to bring more stability to the electoral system; reforming the labor laws to make them more flexible for employers; slashing public spending to reduce Italy's vast debt; and confronting trade unions, which have had an arm lock on economic change for decades. Very far from what a leftist government has traditionally seen as its role.

Posted by at May 15, 2015 7:28 PM
  

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