Is there life after social democracy?

21centurymanifesto

by Zoltan Zigedy

“Labour’s problems aren’t very different from those of other Western social democratic parties… In this sense we are experiencing not merely a crisis of the British state but also a general crisis of social democracy” (Labour Vanishes, Ross McKibbin, London Review of Books, November 20, 2014).

McKibbin’s summary assessment of social democracy is both keen and cogent. Social democracy, the political expression of twentieth-century anti-Communist reformism, has arrived at a juncture that challenges its vision as well as its political vitality. In McKibbin’s words: “Over the last twenty or thirty years the great social democratic parties of Germany, Austria, Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand (and now France) have bled support…” One could add, though in a less dramatic way, the ersatz US social democratic party, the Democratic Party.

In a real sense, social democracy drew its energy from its posture as an alternative to Communism. For various…

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