New, and More, Socialism

A decade and half after the shock collapse of ‘existing’ socialism in Soviet Union and numerous announcements of the final victory of neo- liberal capitalism, movements for a left wing alternative and New Socialism begin to emerge from Latin America, Ronald Aronson exudes the new confidence and explains why The Left Needs More Socialism.

He also puts the historical role of the former Soviet Union- warts and all- in furthering the cause of Socialism in the last century.

Ugly as it was in so many ways, the Soviet Union not only spurred imitators but stimulated and sometimes supported resistance movements and, more relevant to us, along with the presence of vigorous socialist movements and ideas it encouraged thinking and acting toward alternatives that would be neither capitalist nor Communist. The 1930s through the ’70s saw important and still relevant efforts at social change led by anarchists (Spain), social democrats (Scandinavia), non-Stalinist Communists (Yugoslavia, Italy), coalitions of socialists and Communists (Chile), and coalitions of leftists and less ideological forces of national liberation (Nicaragua, South Africa). Until the end of the cold war, alternatives to capitalism and Communism seemed both thinkable and possible.

Harry Wainwright observes that Left parties- traditional or newer ones, that are succeeding in Europe are those that link themselves with broad based social struggles.

The most successful parties on the European left are those that have immersed themselves in social movements, especially the movements for global social justice, while at the same time using electoral footholds to open up political institutions. What is happening across Western Europe is that significant swaths of public opinion have far more radical expectations than social democratic parties can meet, but most of these voters are slow to shift party loyalties…”Social movements are the engines of transformation,” says Fausto Bertinotti, leader of Italy’s Rifondazione and the Mediterranean maestro of this strategy for outflanking conservative political institutions. Political parties must recognize that they are “but one actor among many,” he insists.

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