Social Democracy in Europe is Now Swinging Decisively to the Left

Capitalism-and-Social-DemocracyPublished: 5 June 2017
Author: Pat Byrne
(British Labour Party activist)

As Britain prepares for a new General Election in which a left-led Labour Party looks set to do much better than predicted, there are clear signs that the long swing to the right within social democracy in Europe is now running in the reverse direction.

In recent years, there has been much comment on the Left that social democracy was finished and that a new mass left movement was in the process of taking its place. The rise of Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain were trumpeted as evidence for this widespread trend. While welcoming the rise of Syriza and Podemos, our Socialist Network also pointed to the potential of the left within social democracy to regain the ascendancy within the movement as an organic reflection of the rising discontent of working people hard-hit by the world economic crisis.

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‘Our Athens Spring’ a speech by Yanis Varoufakis

VaroufakisPublished: 25 September 2015.

This fascinating and detailed speech on what really happened inside the negotiations between Greece and the Troika, was delivered just over a month ago on August 23, 2015, by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. He was speaking at a festival  organised in the French department of Saône-et-Loire by the local organisation of the French Socialist Party, which is associated with former French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg. Montebourg was sacked from this post in August 2014 by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

?Let me tell you why I am here with words I have borrowed from a famous old manifesto. I am here because:

A spectre is haunting Europe ? the spectre of democracy. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: The state-sponsored bankers and the Eurogroup, the Troika and Dr Schäuble, Spain?s heirs of Franco?s political legacy and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany’s Berlin leadership, Baltic governments that subjected their populations to terrible, unnecessary recession and Greece?s resurgent oligarchy.

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Significance of Swing to Anti-EU party in UK by-elections

Ukip collage reversedby Pat Byrne

With nearly 60% of the vote, this week saw the election of the first member of the British parliament from the right-wing anti-European UK Independence Party (UKIP). This follows on from UKIP’s strong showing in last May’s European elections where it emerged as the leading single party with four and a half million votes and 24 out the UK?s 73 seats in the European parliament.

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