Let’s face it: today’s left is in a terrible muddle, caught between a world that once was and a world that still isn’t. Most of the time, it just seems to be playing defence. And not doing that terribly well.
The basic reason for this is simple. Capitalism is in a long transition from an industrial to a post-industrial, services-based model of society and so far the transition has not gone well. As this transition unfolded in the last two or three decades of the 20th century, Western capitalist societies saw a distinct slowdown in economic growth, twinned with a startling rise in inequality. The early 21st century continued these trends with the global financial crisis of 2007-08 dealing a grievous blow to advanced economies, the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Many countries have recovered from this damage only recently and some have not yet done so.
So we are now talking about many decades of poor economic performance, particularly as it has affected those with low or modest skills whose livelihoods were connected to the old industrial economy. Elites on both the right and the left have appeared powerless to either accelerate this transition so it arrives at a place good for most people or push it back to a better place. Thus mainstream parties and leaders are suffering and populist ones are rising.
So: what to do? In my view, we need a New Left. The old ways are broken, having outlived their usefulness. Here are five theses for a New Left, based on the new realities the left faces.
Read the whole thing at Social Europe: