Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
3 January 2013
SOCIAL DEMOCRATS: WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING
In the developed western world the biggest obstacle to political justice is the existence of the social democratic parties. Having broken completely with the leftwing goals of their 19 C founders, these parties are neither social (an improvement in the social conditions of the mass of the population no longer figuring among their objectives) nor democratic (their policies and organization being determined by a tiny hierarchy of party apparatchiks). The social democratic parties of today – such as the British Labour Party, the French, German and Spanish Socialist Parties and the Italian Democratic Party – are fully paid-up card-carrying supporters of the capitalist free market red in tooth and claw. Naturally, they pretend that this is not so. That nothing has changed (except, where necessary, of course). Having abandoned full frontal opposition to capitalism – why exactly? one might ask – they are now reduced to claiming that their goal is to moderate its excesses. Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they? In order to sell their parties to the public, they have to pretend to differentiate the policies they propose from those of the overtly we-make-no-bones-about-it capitalist parties. However, it is all smoke and mirrors conjured up to mislead the electorate. As we have repeatedly said, Antigone1984 has a simple rule-of-thumb for sizing up politicians: ignore what they say and judge them exclusively by what they do. By this criterion, of course, the social democratic parties have failed abysmally. Since World War II (except for the 1945-1951 administrations of Clement Attlee in the UK), the social democratic parties of western Europe have moved at warp speed to the right to such an extent that they now fully integrated into it. Socialism was jettisoned by Socialist Party leader François Mitterand (French president from 1981 to 1995) as soon as he got his hands on power. The picture is the same in Italy (Bettino Craxi), Spain (Felipe González and José Zapatero), and Britain (Anthony Blair and Gordon Brown). Germany’s Social Democratic Party has existed since 1890 but since it moved decisively to the right with the adoption of the Godesberg Programme in 1959, the party has put clear blue water between itself and anything resembling socialism. That being the situation, what (as Lenin asked) is to be done? No mass socialist movements are possible, we believe, as long as the left-leaning component of the electorate is gulled by the specious campaign promises of the social democratic parties into thinking that these parties offer a real alternative to the capitalist status quo. If this analysis is correct, then it is at least arguable that the radical western left – rather than fighting, at this stage, the capitalist parties – should instead focus its efforts and energies on exposing the hypocrisy of the social democratic parties. It is only when the voters have seen through the naked power-at-all-costs opportunism of the latter that they will give serious consideration to a genuine socialist alternative to the capitalists. In line with this view and however paradoxical it may seem at first glance, the aim of the left must be to do all it can to damage the electoral prospects of the social democratic parties. It is a waste of time and elbow grease canvassing the social democratic parties – as so many leftwingers do – in the hope that somehow or other they will suddenly, against all the odds and in the teeth of all experience, reveal themselves to be valiant paladins of the people, ready and willing to splinter lances against the dark forces of reaction. It is only when the left has broken the back of the social democratic parties that the definitive battle with capitalism can begin.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.