History

I found this on Facebook called, “Why Should We Care About Social Democracy?”

 

Jonah Burch looks at Europe’s Social Democratic parties, their successes and collapse and calls for a reinvestment in class struggle tactics.

Things, I think he missed.

In the UK, the ’83 manifesto, allegedly the longest suicide note in history’ the election was lost for two main reasons, the Right walked out and founded a new centre left party (without the Unions). The UK’s first past the post electoral system punished Labour for this and it took many years to recover those votes. The second factor was Thatcher’s post Falkland’s war popularity, a feature of which was WW2 veterans refusing to back Lbaour’s perceived pacifism in the face of an assault by a military dictatorship.

The Miner’s strike, together with weaker public sector strikes gutted the confidence of the Unions. It was a strike that Government (and Capitalism) had to win as they transitioned to the Oil economy. Coal was no longer need in the UK (or anywhere in Europe). We are only just discovering how far they went. See Justice for Orgreave.  Today, it’s the Oil Tanker drivers wo are the only Union that cannot be defeated and the state has colonised them in the same way they colonised the Electricians in the 70s & 80s. Today though we see new hope as the old Unions organise in the 21st century factories, and new Unionism takes on the gig economy.

The Thatcher era home owner revolution and the pension industry (social security?) reforms are also major inhibitors of the sort of action that the organised working class had been capable of. The former creates debt and a need for cash flow, the latter makes confiscatory or damaging anti-capitalist reforms even those based on direct action less popular.

I wish he’d mentioned the direct action, particularly around housing repossession that are or have taken place in Spain.

I also think he should have spent a bit more time on Germany. It’s role as the front line in the Cold War, the historic 20th century weakness of its centre-left, and the current post-wende bifurcation of the Left within the united German state are all worthy of study, as is the destruction of the post-soviet economies, critically in East Germany but also in the rest of Eastern Europe.

Don’t you just want to live in Denmark or Sweden?

 

History

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