Is the decline of social democracy reversible?

In a short but wide-ranging article that starts with the current weakness of the Labour Party in Israel and then goes goes on to look at the standing of social democratic parties and movements in Europe and the USA, Eric Lee – an American friend of mine living in London – sees a common trend: the abandonment of a focus on the needs and aspirations of the working class.

In his piece for the Times of Israel, he writes:

“In the beginning, a century or more ago, all those parties were basically labour parties. They represented not so much a specific platform or polices, but a particular social class. You voted for a social democratic or labor party because you identified as part of the working class. You believed that whatever policies the party would stand for would represent your interests.

But over many years, and after many years in power, most of those parties made compromises with reality (as they saw it) which weakened the link between party and class. This has been particularly true in the years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, when general acceptance of what has been called “neo-liberalism” has severely hurt the parties of the moderate left.

Those parties have often led the way with austerity budgets, rivatization of public services, and costly bail-out programs for the finance sector. Their natural constituencies — the working classes — have felt, and in fact were, left behind.”

You can read the article here.


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>