Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 8 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/20/18

Why Europe's Center-Left Keeps Losing Elections

By       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     (# of views)   1 comment
Author 76846
Message Conn Hallinan
Become a Fan
  (10 fans)

From Dispatches From The Edge

- Advertisement -

Italy, Germany and the EU's Future


(Image by Jimbob283)   Details   DMCA

More than a quarter of a century ago, much of the European center-left made a course change, edging away from its working class base, accommodating itself to the globalization of capital, and handing over the post World War II social contract to private industry. Whether it was the "New Labour" of Tony Blair in Britain or Gerhard Schroeder's "Agenda 2010" in Germany, social democracy came to terms with its traditional foe, capitalism.

- Advertisement -

Today, that compact is shattered, the once powerful center-left a shadow of its former self, and the European Union -- the largest trading bloc on the planet -- is in profound trouble.

In election after election over the past year, social democratic parties went down to defeat, although center-right parties also lost voters. Last year's election in the Netherlands saw the Labor Party decimated, though its conservative coalition partner also took a hit. In France, both the Socialist Party and the traditional conservative parties didn't even make the runoffs. September's elections in Germany saw the Social Democrats (GPD) take a pounding, along with their conservative alliance partners, the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union. And Italy's center-left Democratic Party was decisively voted out of power.

It would be easy to see this as a shift to the right. The neo-Nazi Alternative for Germany (AfG) has 92 seats in the Bundestag. The Dutch anti-Muslim Party for Freedom picked up five seats. The extreme rightist National Front made the runoffs in France. The racist, anti-immigrant Northern League took 17.5 percent of the Italian vote and is in the running to form a government.

- Advertisement -

But the fall of the center-left has more to do with the 1990s course change than with any rightward shift by the continent. As the center-left accommodated itself to capital, it eroded its trade union base. In the case of New Labour, Blair explicitly distanced the Party from the unions that had been its backbone since it was founded in 1906.

In Germany, the Social Democrats began rolling back the safety net, cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy, and undermining labor codes that had guaranteed workers steady jobs at decent wages.

The European Union -- originally touted as a way to end the years of conflict that had embroiled the continent in two world wars -- became a vehicle for enforcing economic discipline on its 27 members. Rigid fiscal rules favored countries like Germany, Britain, Austria and the Netherlands, while straitjacketing countries like Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, particularly in times of economic crisis.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

 

- Advertisement -

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Conn Hallinan Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Conn M. Hallinan is a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus, "A Think Tank Without Walls, and an independent journalist. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. He oversaw the (more...)
 
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Iran Sanctions: War by Other Means

Israel and Syria: Behind the Bombs

Japan Vs. China: Smoke or Fire?

Marching On Moscow

Iran: Rumors Of War

Iran, Israel and the U.S.: The Slide To War