What is to be done?*
I’m working on a bunch of essays, book chapters and maybe even a book or two in response to the global financial crisis, making the general point that the sudden collapse of the neoliberal order has found social democrats unprepared for the shift from a long defensive struggle to the opportunity (and need!) to develop a progressive response to the crisis. As obvious examples, it’s necessary to reconstruct the global financial system and to ensure that the burden of the debts that are building up so rapidly is not borne by the poor, who did nothing to create the crisis. This piece (PDF) is an example of what I’m thinking.
I have plenty of ideas about policy (though of course I’m always interested in new ones). But, I don’t have much of a feeling for the political strategies that are needed, so I thought I would try the crowdsourcing thing, which has worked pretty well for me in the past .
Any thoughts are welcome, but it might help to sketch out my own limited ideas. First, it’s important to note that the situation is different from country to country and region to region. For example, the task of selling the ideas to the public seems likely to be easier in Europe, but many of the European social democratic parties seem to be in a pretty dire state (or at least they look that way from the other side of the planet).
Looking at the possible vehicles for progressive change, I can think of
* Existing left-of-centre political parties
* Possible third parties
* Other civil society movements
* (Largely hypothetical) progressive corporations
* Blogs and other kinds of online activism
All of them seem to have problems. And then there are the standard questions of incrementalism vs radicalism, issue-oriented politics vs a coherent program and so on.
Anyway, over to you.
* I’m not at all an admirer of Lenin, but, at least as translated into English, he invariably seems to have the right phrase for questions like this.