The Independent: ‘Socialism Declining in Europe as Populism Support Grows’

A Russian Communists' supporter stands by a flag picturing Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), during a rally in downtown Moscow on August 22, 2016, to mark the symbolic 25th anniversary of the August 1991 putsch. On August 19, 1991, a group of security …

The socialist left in Europe has suffered a bruising year, leaving the Independent to review a decade of poll rating decline while populist parties rise.

The Independent, a news website that was once a printed newspaper before falling on hard times earlier this decade catalogues a decade of calamity for the left in Europe in Socialism Declining in Europe as Populism Support Grows.

In the end-of-decade roundup, the fortunes of traditional left-wing parties across the continent, taking in Labour’s historic defeat in the United Kingdom, the rock-bottom popularity of the Social Democrats in Germany, and the flatlining Emmanuel Macron in France.

Noting “It was a bad year to be any kind of socialist in Europe”, the review ruminated on the decline of socialism:

A decade ago, the prime ministers of Britain, Spain, Greece and even Hungary were from the centre-left. Many went on to swiftly lose power, but then socialist governments emerged in France and Italy. Now the political brand looks like an anachronism.

Populism has tested the ability of mainstream parties to adapt and some on the centre-right are regaining their footing. That cannot be said of the traditional left. It gravitated towards the middle ground in the 1990s, and then paid a price for selling out. But a pendulum swing to 1970s-style radical ideology has been shown to be just as out of sync with the times.

This year ends with the humiliation of the Labour Party in the UK’s 12 December election and Germany’s Social Democrats more unpopular than at any time in living memory. In Italy and Spain, the centre-left are in government only thanks to precarious alliances with the anti-establishment groups that grew from the 2008 financial crisis.

Read more at the Independent


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