Saturday, April 24, 2021

Can European Social Democratic Parties Avoid "Pasokification"?

The situation is not good (see the chart below for the saddest tales). Costas Lapavitsas and Jon Trickett discuss the possible fate of Britain's Labour Party in a contribution on Jacobin and Donald Sassoon has a broader survey of the current state of European social democracy on the Verso Books blog. Sassoon:
"By 2020 it had become obvious that traditional social democracy had been comprehensively defeated throughout Europe. Will it survive in some form or other, after the pandemic? Perhaps in Sweden, where it is still in power, but it is in deep trouble even there.
If, as Gramsci said, ‘the old is dying and the new cannot be born’, what is the ‘old’ that is on the way out? And is there something new on the horizon? Identifying the defunct ‘old’ is relatively easy. The ‘old’ that has gone is the kind of social democratic and liberal consensus that prevailed in the West in the thirty years after 1945, the so-called Soziale Marktwirtschaft, the social market.
The social market was supposed to create a national community which, though its members were still unequal in income, wealth and educational level, was sufficiently cohesive to make living under advanced capitalism better than living under any other kind of social system. The cost was not huge at a time of full employment, in what were the golden years of capitalism, the Trente Glorieuses as the French economist Jean Fourastié labelled them in 1979.
This almost generalised unity began to break up in the 1980s and 90s, but only in the last twenty years or so has it begun to affect the post-war party system by weakening the traditional centre-left and centre-right. In 1997, social democratic and labour parties had been in power in eleven out of the fifteen states that were then EU members. Just over twenty years later, these parties were barely in power in only a handful of countries. The social crisis has turned into a political crisis: morbid symptoms galore."
But....pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will comrades. We must soldier on!
May be an image of text that says '50 Parti Socialiste (France), PASOK (Greece) and Labour Party (Holland) % vote share in national elections, 2000-present Parti Socialiste (France) PASOK (Greece) Labour Party (Holland) 20 10 2000 2005 2010 2015 Year 2020'

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