Crises and democracy

Issue section: 

Rosa Luxemburg's contribution to progressive thought is a timely reminder of the challenges that face the European left (Socialist Review, January 2009).

The deputy governor of the Bank of England has admitted that this is the greatest economic crisis in human history, yet the European left has never been weaker. Luxemburg's eventual political failure, and the total defeat of a European socialist movement stronger than anything we see today, should chill us all.

It should be clear that in the "Atlantic" economies there is no effective left to speak of. The only forces that have benefited from the crisis are those of the European right. As Britain's economy continues to plunge we may well see the British National Party's support boom on a scale that the left can only dream of - and given recent moves to abandon electoral politics altogether, a distant and unrealistic dream.

The world has been stunned by the abruptness and depth of the economic crises, and yet the European left, itself born from the only critique that can explain this crisis, is lost in bitter infighting. Unless we wish to miss the greatest opportunity to remake the world in a century, we must unify and transform ourselves to ensure that European socialism again becomes a living, democratic mass movement.

Loki English