The Return of Hope: For an Offensive Double Strategy

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin .... No. 1396 .... April 12, 2017

The Return of Hope:
For an Offensive Double Strategy

Michael Brie and Mario Candeias

The future has gone astray. The neoliberal utopia is exhausted just as are left alternatives. The decades of an initially conservative-orthodox neoliberalism from Margaret Thatcher to Helmut Kohl; its generalization under the governments from Tony Blair to Gerhard Schröder; and, finally, its authoritarian deepening and anchoring in the years of the crisis have caused social inequalities and dynamics, which are hardly under control. The structural crisis is not resolved and cannot be solved in the old framework. The attempts to stabilize financial market capitalism only extend the agony and tear apart the European Union and our societies. The situation is however not characterized by rupture; instead, an old quote from Antonio... Gramsci applies: "The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear." One such morbid symptom is the new radical Right in its various forms.

The political field currently is not being structured along the cleavages of left versus right, but rather along the polarization between a liberal and an illiberal capitalism, between the defence of globalized capitalism with modified means (Clinton, Merkel, May, etc.), and the turn toward a social-national and authoritarian ethno-racist gated capitalism (Trump, Le Pen, Petry, etc.). The good news is that the time of no alternatives is over. The bad news is that it's precisely the wrong alternatives which are opening up. A response to the crisis that is democratic and solidaristic is thus far absent. What dominates is the "loss of a general, positive idea of the good."

There is a great need for this idea of the good. Constantly new movements and initiatives are placing this idea on the agenda. Occupy Wall Street and the Bernie Sanders campaign, the women's marches from the U.S. to Turkey, the passionate struggles for renewal of social democracy within the UK Labour Party or the German SPD, Nuit Debut and the militant strikes against the new labour law in France, the Indignad@s and the rise of Podemos in Spain, the activities for self-organization and solidarity structures and the struggle for a left government in Greece and its course -- the list goes on. In Germany there are the welcome initiatives -- about 8 million people -- for those who have fled to Germany, including demonstrations against CETA and TTIP or participated in the De-Growth-Movement. Many people are pushing for a new politics of a good life, for a democratic mode of living within which dignity and solidarity are lived. But precisely in Germany, the neoliberal power centre of the EU, there lacks the integrative power to help the new world come into being. The masses lack the unifying force to usher in a change of political direction. To contribute to this -- to constitute, and to make visible the democratic camp of solidarity -- is the common strategic task of the left. Hope and power must converge around a "third pole" -- a pole of solidarity -- to effectively intervene in the hegemonic constellation, the contemporary battle-lines between those "above" and those on the "right."

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