The origins and emergence of the European Left Party
in The European Left Party
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This chapter analyses the various radical left international initiatives prior to the birth of the EL in 2004.

We discuss how deep divisions between ‘sovereigntists’ (who looked to the nation-state as a defence of the welfare state and of redistributive social justice) and ‘Left Europeanists’ (who believed that the crisis of socialism required a pan-European and ultimately a global strategic response by the radical left and that ‘national roads to socialism’ were no longer either adequate or even viable in the face of capitalist globalisation) hampered and delayed the emergence of the EL. From the ashes of ‘traditional’ communist forms of multi-party ‘co-operation’ – the various Internationals and attempts at Moscow- or Beijing-dominated meetings of communist parties – a kaleidoscope of differing initiatives eventually emerged. We discuss some of the most important. We show how dissatisfaction with these initiatives lay behind the determination of some of the most significant European radical left parties to take the initiative that resulted in the creation of the EL in 2004. We discuss the differing motivations of some of the parties that joined the EL at the outset and the initial steps that the EL took.

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