“Heavy Legacy”: Why do Neoliberals Outplay the European Ieft


Even before the USSR ceased to exist with the faith of millions of people in the possibility of building socialism in a separate part of the world, Europe saw the dark neoliberal coming. At the end of the crisis of the 1970s. in the USA and Great Britain neoliberal forces came to power. In vain, some perceived them as conservatives: they were not going to preserve the social achievements of the twentieth century, the nuclear family, or traditional religions. They only sought to return the socio-economic relations in the XIX century, when there was no social state, no labor rights, or general secondary education. European nations resisted. A workaround was found.

As in North America or Great Britain, on the Old Continent, the left turned out to be in the role of forces for a bypass maneuver. These were the liberal European left. They replaced the traditional left, with their parties, committees, clear programs and the ability to organize a mass movement. As a result, many skills were lost, including the ability to organize mass demonstrations not as a spontaneous flow, but in the form of controlled units with security guards and filtering participants from provocateurs and police agents. The loss of skills often concerned strikes, especially national ones, with many organizational subtleties.

It is believed that the degradation of the left hastened the generation of 1968 with its ideas of anti-authoritarianism. However, the general change of the European left happened under the influence of the gain of capital, which became transnational.

It showed its strength to the left government in France in the 1980s, and from that moment began the convergence of respectable left-wing politicians and big business. The Social Democrats especially changed, they simply became one of the types of neoliberal parties with insincerity in the form of almost the main feature. In general, on the left, including the radicals, the “cultural agenda” began to prevail, the themes of minority rights and environmental protection as a value that are above the material well-being of broad sections of the working people.

Anti-globalism and the "new left wave"

Even before the world economic crisis began in 2008, society in the EU began to tire of left-wing parties and their willingness to follow the right agenda. Under the argument about the decline of the old left antiglobalism appeared. The withdrawal of production from the EU to other countries continued, and it was quite logical that this movement had no “discipline of factory workers” or even a holistic strategy. However, it was critical, unlike the official degenerated left-wing parties. This helped shape the new left parties, such as the Greek "Syriza".

Already in the years of the global crisis, similar forces arose in many countries. They only occasionally sought a noticeable influence, but always carried in themselves the pathos of outrage against injustice and ideological vagueness. In essence, that was a disguised betrayal of ideals, the condition of which was the uncertainty and inconsistency of ordinary participants in the process.

Not politicians and talkative professors deceived the people, but the people themselves were looking for ways to be deceived in a special way in order to combine a radical pose and complete conformism. It occurred largely from ignorance of where to move and fear of moving somewhere, if this leads to radical left-wing changes.

The political moderation of this new left wave was offset by its cultural radicalism. Radicalism was purely liberal. It included the promotion of the rights of sexual minorities and other “oppressed” groups, discourse on a “green economy” and debureaucratization of governance, freedom and specifically treated anti-fascism (almost any conservatism was equated to it), lobbying for freedom of drug use, the right of everyone to choose gender, and cultural tolerance . All this took place in conditions of youth disarray, influx of immigrants from poor countries and dismantling of the welfare state. The main thing was the "post-industrial" expansion of society.

The liberal left of Europe and North America did not seriously impede the neoliberal offensive. Their struggle was largely decorative, even when economic problems increased, which happened in 2009-2013. More trade unions and traditional leftists resisted the EU's “austerity” regime, but they kept weight in few places. A characteristic was the example of the Communist Party of France, which had become a vague, dodging euroliberal structure. The culmination of her reputational fall was electoral support for Emmanuel Macron.

In the context of the global crisis, the “network” or “creative” anti-globalism, which without any reason called itself alter globalization, completely lost its attractiveness and persuasiveness.

In the USA, in the form of left-wing democrats led by Bernie Sanders, and in Great Britain, in the form of an update of the Labor Party, an uncertain left social-critical revival began. In the European Union, the masses continued to be lost in doubts, while the leftists ignored the problems of the EU - they didn’t put an edge on the real possible arrangement of a different Europe.