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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US Presidential Elections: Does the Rise of Bernie Sanders have a wider significance?

Collage1Published: 4 February 2016.
Author: Owen Jones.
Intro by: TSN Editor.

The results of the first contest for the Democratic nominee for US President, held in Iowa a few days ago, resulted in a virtual tie between the establishment figure of Hilary Clinton and the ?socialist? challenger, Bernie Sanders. This is an incredible result for Sanders who is calling for ?a political revolution? to take back wealth and power from ?the billionaire class?. Now the next question in the Democratic Party contest is whether Sanders can extend his growing support among white youth and workers to the black and hispanic population, as well as to older voters.

The success of Bernie?s Sanders campaign so far is clearly part of a wider international movement for radical change driven by the world economic crisis and the inexorable rise of inequality. The following article by Owen Jones compares the rise of support for a more radical alternative in the US to similar developments in Europe, and highlights the generational aspects they represent.

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Spain: An Open Letter from the new Leader of Izquierda Unida (United Left)

CollagePublished: 13 Feb 2015
Statement by: Alberto Garzón (Izquierda Unida)
Intro by: TSN Editor
Translation by: Erik Andersson

In recent months we have carried a number of articles about the explosive rise of Spain?s new radical party, Podemos, which according to the opinion polls is now the most popular Party in Spain. One of the many consequences of this rise has been the eclipsing of Spain?s Izquierda Unida (United Left) which has seen much of its public support swing behind Podemos. This has understandably caused a lot of soul-searching in the Party and the rise of new leaders in key areas. It would also seem to have pushed the United Left to adopt a more left-wing stance, as the Open Letter below from the new Party leaders would seem to indicate.
. . . In particular we in The Socialist Network welcome the commitment of the United Left party leader towards democratising the political system and the economy though the public ownership of the energy sector, all strategic companies and the financial system. And in the case of the latter, it ties in well with our Network?s upcoming campaign for the democratic public ownership of the banking sector which we shall be launching next week.

Open Letter from Alberto Garzón
I write this letter to ask for your support in heading a transformative left-wing project.

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The Rise and Rise of Podemos in Spain

Podemos leader 2Published: 11 Nov 2014
Intro by: TSN Editor
Author: Julian Coppens

The following highly informative article by Julian Coppens was published a few days ago in the Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. The article helps to explain the exploding popularity of Podemos and to detail the current debates taking place on how the new Party should be organised. It finishes on how the rise of Podemos has put the fear of god into the Spanish ruling establishment and their panic-stricken responses to it.

Podemos Mass Congress
About 8000 members of the new organisation Podemos packed the Palacio Vistalegre in Madrid on October 18 and 19, 2014, for the final stages of the Citizens’ Assembly ?Si se puede? (Yes we can). The assembly, with 150,000 taking part online, discussed draft documents for the foundation of the Spanish state?s newest and fastest growing political force.

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The PODEMOS ‘Phenomenon’ and its Manifesto

1podemos - smaller

As we reported in June, Podemos (‘We Can Do it’), the new Spanish left-wing party whose origins lie in the ‘Indignados’ street protests of three years ago, won 8% of the national vote in the elections for the European Parliament, and sent 5 members to the EU parliament. For a party that was only founded in March this was an amazing result that has only been amplified since the election. Already it has doubled its support in the opinion polls to around 16%, with 45,000 members joining the party online.
This level of support and membership if maintained would make Podemos the third largest part in Spain, an unprecedented achievement for a party
less than six months old!

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