Organized as a series of tightly linked, comparative assessments, Mapping the West European Left provides a guide to the state of the left in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain. While all the essays are detailed historical compositions—setting recent crises and dilemmas in a longer perspective reaching back into the postwar settlement—they articulate original insights into the contemporary political conjuncture.
Why did Swedish social democracy lose hegemony and direction while its Norwegian counterpart showed unexpected resilience? What was the background to the Danish rebellion against Maastricht? What are the prospects for the SPD and the Greens in post-unification Germany? Should the British Labour Party embrace electoral reform? What propelled the French Socialist Party from triumph to disaster? And why did the Italian left fail to fill the vacuum created by the collapse of the Christian Democrats?
Behind the questions explored by the contributors to Mapping the West European Left lie deeper issues concerning the future of radical politics in Europe after the repudiation of Keynesianism and the end of communism. With the individual country analyses synthesized by the editors in a concise and comprehensive introductory essay, this book provides key pointers to the social forces and ideological platforms that offer lines of advance to the left today.
On June 5, Pablo Iglesias hosted Perry Anderson on the interview show Otra Vuelta de Tuerka. Reversing the usual format of the show, Anderson posed questions to the host on the "specificity of Spain as a country, as a political culture, and as a situation today."
40% off all our books by Perry Anderson, including The Antinomies of Antonio Gramsci, The H-Word and American Foreign Policy. Ends June 4 at midnight UTC.
Sophie Wahnich's reflection on the first round of the French presidential election was first published in L’Obs on 27 April.
What I take from the campaign and the result on 23 April is French people’s increasingly powerful desire for a leader. The three figures who dominated the debates expressed this same aspiration: Marine Le Pen, of course, but also Emmanuel Macron, acting solo against the parties, and finally Jean-Luc Mélenchon, even if he claims not to be doing so.
This aspiration to be led by a powerful incarnating figure is a worrying one. For the people crying out for this are often the same ones who often refuse themselves to engage in the invention of the society of tomorrow. The desire for a leader often goes hand-in-hand with a refusal to take responsibility. Certainly, the presidential election encourages this. In my view, this desire is a symptom of the present day world, and is not specific to France.