European Social Forum

An article in The Scotsman caught my eye today which discusses a "European Social Forum" which aims to unite left wing activists into an organised political force - Mainstream parties at risk if Left gets its act together. It wasn't so much the content that interests me but the fact that the article had been written and the increasing talk about the vacuum on the political hard left which is being championed by folk like George Monbiot and most recently George Galloway.

The demise of the old Communist parties created a big gap on the radical left-wing end of the political spectrum. That gap got bigger as traditional social democratic parties such as Labour drifted rightwards, figuring that they had no competition on their left flank. But politics abhors a vacuum. At first, that space was filled by a motley collection of single-issue protest groups covering everything from genetically-modified crops to asylum seekers. These groups rejected traditional electoral politics, which they saw as elitist and manipulative. But the fragmentation of these diverse protest groups rendered them largely impotent.

While New Labour in the UK has championed third way thinking accepting of a market economy, yet socially conscious, they have alienated many traditional supporters. The War in Iraq provided a focal point for dissent and the coalition built around "Stop the War" was impressive in width. I can't help but wonder as to it's depth though.

A coherent left and a "reunited" right may yet find Labour seriously challenged on two fronts defending their authoritarian centre-left stronghold. Interesting times.

Posted by Paul at November 10, 2003 06:39 PM |
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