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Renovation or resignation?

This book makes an important contribution to the existing literature on European social democracy in the wake of the 2008 financial crash and ensuing recession. It considers ways in which European social democratic parties at both the national and European level have responded to the global economic crisis (GEC). The book also considers the extent to which the authors might envisage alternatives to the neo-liberal consensus being successfully promoted by those parties within the European Union (EU). The book first explores some of the broader thematic issues underpinning questions of the political economy of social democracy during the GEC. Then, it addresses some of the social democratic party responses that have been witnessed at the level of the nation state across Europe. The book focuses in particular on some of the countries with the longest tradition of social democratic and centre-left party politics, and therefore focuses on western and southern Europe. In contrast to the proclaimed social democratic (and especially Party of European Socialists) ambitions, the outcomes witnessed at the EU level have been less promising for those seeking a supranational re-social democratization. In order to understand the EU-level response of social democratic party actors to the Great Recession, the book situates social democratic parties historically. In the case of the British Labour Party, it also identifies the absence of ideological alternatives to the 'there is no alternative' (TINA)-logic that prevailed under the leadership of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

. Nor is it due to ephemeral factors such as uninspiring leadership or the cumulative effect of incumbency (although these factors are real enough and hardly helpful). The political absence of social democracy stems rather from more long-standing and organic ideological sources. Indeed, one could go so far as to argue that the financial crisis that in the 1990s and the 2000s sought to articulate high finance to increasingly commodified forms of welfare provision 62 European social democracy under global economic crisis through retail finance is above all a crisis

in European social democracy during the global economic crisis
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The Labour Party and the new crisis of capitalism

(1), 17–32. Lees-Galloway, I. (2009). ‘There are alternatives to explore’, Transnational Institute, May, available at: www.tni.org/archives/media_manawatu0509. McCluskey, L. (2012). ‘Ed Miliband’s leadership is threatened by this Blairite policy coup’, Guardian, 16 January. Marlière, P. (1999). ‘Introduction: European social democracy in situ’, in R. Ladrech and P. Marlière (eds), Social Democratic Parties in the European Union: History, Organization, Policies (Basingstoke: Macmillan), pp. 1–15. Marlière, P. (2008). La social-démocratie domestiquée: La voie blairiste

in European social democracy during the global economic crisis
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massive decline in electoral 2 European social democracy during the global economic crisis support for PASOK in Greece. In the view of many observers, social democratic parties have responded (or, rather, failed to respond) to the global economic crisis (GEC) with a continuation of the capitulation to neo-liberalism that also characterised the social democratic party family during the pre-2007 period. This coexists with a corresponding inability by social democratic parties to appeal to an electorate that desires a coherent and progressive alternative. This therefore

in European social democracy during the global economic crisis
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Death by a thousand cuts?

European social democracy during the global economic crisis Postface Death by a thousand cuts? Ashley Lavelle The extraordinary economic events of the past five years have put mercurial capitalism and its propensity for mass destruction on full display. Over the course of its convulsive history, capitalism has given rise to many crippling episodes of regression, with all the attendant waste of human potential: this most recent calamity began as simply one – albeit highly damaging – instance of speculative mania in a long line of such upheavals going back at

in European social democracy during the global economic crisis

achieved. Social democracy has been one of the great success stories in modern political 44 European social democracy under global economic crisis history, but the story had its ups and downs. Success led to great variations between different national movements because each lived in institutional, economic, and sociological microclimates. Usually there weren’t enough workers to win elections and parties had to try to seduce support from middle classes who were often tepid about social democratic economism and workerism (Przeworski and Sprague, 1988). A few parties

in European social democracy during the global economic crisis
The case of British Labour

financial sector, which contributed 15 per cent to GDP, compared to the 6 per cent of its German counterpart.1 Two years later the British government made it clear that it would not countenance any version of the ‘Tobin tax’ on financial transactions, when the German and French finance ministers proposed its adoption to the European Commission (Parker, 2011). One might not guess from this recent history that the British Labour Party, in common with other social democratic parties, has a long history of regarding 78 European social democracy under global economic crisis

in European social democracy during the global economic crisis
Why social democrats fail in the context of the great economic crisis

capitalism is making a huge impact. Quite the opposite is true, to the extent 20 European social democracy under global economic crisis that social democracy is apparently wavering between a continuing adjustment to the constraints of neo-liberal globalisation and the search for an improbable continent-wide ‘green high-tech Keynesianism’. The purpose of this chapter is therefore to explain the reasons for this situation, focusing on the relationship social democracy has forged with the capitalist economy and the European institutions. Our discussion kicks off by looking

in European social democracy during the global economic crisis
The Party of European Socialists and the financial crisis

be used as a cipher which can decrypt the social democratic response to the financial crisis. It should be noted that each individual national social democratic party might not wholly endorse every nuance of PES policy statements. That being said, the PES stance can be taken as a broad indicator of a common social democratic position, which can therefore tell us about wider patterns of changes to European social democracy. Our second objective is to explore issues relating to social democracy through an analysis of the PES. The chapter will explore how the PES

in European social democracy during the global economic crisis
The PES, the debt crisis and the Euro

-faire’ attitude. Rather than coming into conflict with the PES leadership and the national parties supporting the new programmatic orientation, they preferred a policy of ‘discreet’ distancing or silence (it was mainly the British Labour Party and to a less significant degree the Spanish PSOE that opted for the latter). The programmatic leap forward of the PES contributed to the renewal, even if that was limited, of the politics of the European social democracy. Nevertheless, it concurrently contributed to the ‘emergence’ of the major weaknesses of the PES. As the latter tended

in European social democracy during the global economic crisis